News Quirks | News Quirks | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

Published June 12, 2013 at 11:42 a.m.

Curses, Foiled Again

A police officer stopped a car for a traffic violation in Clayton, Mo., and asked driver Joseph Meacham, 39, to step out. Meacham obliged but then shoved the officer and fled on foot. He ducked into a building, which turned out to be St. Louis County police headquarters. After Meacham was arrested at gunpoint, Officer Korey Golcynski noted, “It appears the subject had no idea where he was going.” (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

More Woes

The United Nations is considering a ban on killer robots. Calling them “lethal autonomous robotics,” or LARs, a draft report for the U.N.’s Human Rights Commission by Christof Heyns, a South African professor of human rights law, urges a worldwide moratorium on “testing, production, assembly, transfer, acquisition, deployment and use” of robots that can attack targets without human input, until an international conference can develop rules for their use. The report says the United States, Britain, Israel, South Korea and Japan have developed various fully or partially autonomous weapons. (The Canadian Press)

An End to Doughnut Breaks

Police in Lowell, Mass., agreed to allow global-positioning systems in patrol cars to track officers. The Lowell Patrolmen’s Union had expressed concerns about the GPS devices being used to discipline officers found not to be where they’re supposed to, but the union agreed to their implementation in exchange for a retroactive 0.25 percent hike in base pay. The city pays for the GPS units with money seized during drug arrests. (Lowell Sun)

Why They Call It Dope

Oscar Ramiro Ortega-Hernandez, 22, drove more than 2000 miles from Idaho Falls to Washington, D.C., and fired as many as eight shots at the White House, according to prosecutors, who said after his arrest that Ortega-Hernandez “expressed anger towards the government regarding the continued criminalization of marijuana,” which he acknowledged smoking and claimed makes people more intelligent. (Associated Press)

Adding Insult to Injury

Police said a man who found an intruder in his garage in Boonville, Ind., chased the man off with a shovel, then addressed the thief on Craigslist: “How does it feel to get whacked with a long handle shovel by an old man, not once, but twice? If you want to try again, come on back.” (Evansville’s WFIE-TV)

Double Jeopardy

Scott Ferguson resigned as mayor of Oakland, Tenn., following reports that he has two wives. “I decided to resign because I have not been true to my wife, and I have neglected my family,” Ferguson, a Church of Christ preacher, said, although it was unclear whether he was referring to his first wife, Laurie, and their four children or to Miguelina Mora, whom he married on Valentine’s Day. Mora asked for a divorce or annulment, plus alimony, claiming Ferguson married her fraudulently because he’s still married to Laurie Ferguson. (Memphis’ WMC-TV)


One in five Seattle business owners surveyed blamed a ban on plastic bags for an increase in shoplifting. Typically, shoplifters enter stores with reusable bags containing some merchandise, then add a few items and walk out. “Across the United States, we have seen these bag bans, and the shoplifting has always had a substantial leap,” Jan Gee, president of the Washington Food Industry Association, said, “and so it was not a surprise to us.” (Seattle Weekly)

It Happens

The town of Brunete, Spain, reported a 70 percent drop in unscooped poop since it enlisted volunteers to track down dog owners who fail to pick up after their pets. The 20 volunteers patrol the town, and when they observe owners who fail to pick up after their pets, they approach them under the guise of casual conversation to learn the dog’s name. They check the name against a pet database to find names and address of the owners and mail the excrement to them in an official box marked “Lost Property.” (Britain’s Telegraph)

City officials in Abbotsford, British Columbia, apologized for spraying chicken manure on a makeshift camp to drive away homeless people. After homeless advocate James Breckenridge complained about “the dumbness of using chicken manure in light of bird flu” and the fact that the homeless people wind up tracking the manure “all over the place in the city,” city manager George Murray said the city would remove the manure from the site. (Canada’s QMI Agency)

Slightest Provocation

Authorities accused Orlando Llorente, 41, of attacking his girlfriend over what he considered false allegations posted on Facebook. According to Miami police official Kenia Reyes, Llorente, a plastic surgeon, waterboarded the 36-year-old woman continuously until she lost consciousness and banged her head on the floor. (Miami Herald)

Authorities accused barber Timothy Evans, 31, of fatally punching co-worker Michael Alao, 22, after the two argued over a set of broken clippers. Jon Bramble, owner of the barbershop on New York’s Staten Island, said the argument was more about respect than it was about the clippers. (Staten Island Advance)