Stop! or I’ll dry you
PENSACOLA, Fla. — A school crossing guard last year discovered he could slow down speeders by taking aim at them with a hair dryer resembling a radar gun.
Now, he’s got the real thing.
Six fifth-grade students at Suter Elementary School sold lemonade and collected donations to raise $93.93 for the radar gun that they presented to Dale Rooks on Monday.
“It looks just like a hair dryer, and I don’t mean that to be funny,” Rooks said.
Rooks still cannot write tickets, but he can tip police to any habitual speeder he identifies with the radar gun, police Capt. John Mathis said.
“We’d try to assist in actually clocking that individual,” Mathis said. “Any effort he can do to assist us is certainly welcome.”
Not a lucky day for
one lottery thief
LITTLE FERRY, N.J. — A man who allegedly stole dozens of lottery tickets from a Little Ferry store was captured several hours later when he tried to cash in a winning ticket at another local business.
Tyrone Bennett, 39, of Paterson, allegedly took the tickets from the Village Market store on Saturday after he used a rock to break a window. Investigators recorded the serial numbers of the stolen tickets and alerted state lottery officials about the theft.
Several hours later, Bennett allegedly brought the winning ticket to another unidentified store and tried to claim a $12 prize.
The store’s lottery computer recognized the stolen ticket and told the clerk not to pay the money. The clerk, though, asked Bennett to fill out a claim form and he complied, listing a local address where he was staying.
Bennett was arrested within the hour and charged with theft, burglary and possession of stolen property.
MADRID, Spain — The government couldn’t help but chuckle last week when students opposed to reforms aimed at raising education standards released a flier calling for demonstrations with a glaring spelling mistake. Now it’s the government’s turn to blush.
A letter written in Catalan, signed by Environment Minister Jaume Matas and sent to tens of thousands of homes in northeastern Spain, contained 13 spelling errors and two geographical errors.
The letter defends a controversial hydrological project in which water is to be diverted from the Ebro River, which flows through the Aragon and Catalonia regions, to the Mediterranean coast.
Education and Culture Minister Pilar del Castillo, the architect of the education overhaul, reacted to the flier by saying, “Students who call demonstrations are the ones who get the worst grades.” She has said repeatedly in recent days that Spain’s schools are churning out uneducated young people.
Responding to minister Matas’ multiple slip-ups, a Socialist Party leader in Catalonia, Jaume Antich, said: “Are you trying to prove Pilar del Castillo right when she talks about low cultural levels? In view of this letter, I don’t know if you’d pass the exam she wants to reinstate.”
STUART, Fla. (AP) — A jury has awarded $50,000 to a couple who sued officials in the town of Sewall’s Point for displaying a picture of their house at City Hall with the words: “Our view of the hillbilly hellhole.”
Residents Blaine and Sally Rhodes had asked jurors to award them more than $15,000 in the defamation lawsuit against Mayor Don Winer and clerk Joan Barrow.
The suit claims Winer and Barrow ridiculed and harassed the Rhodeses and invaded their privacy by displaying an 8-by-10 photo of their house, given to the officials for Christmas in 1998.
The photograph of the back of the Rhodes house showed a damaged floating dock hanging from a tree.
“It’s a great burden off my shoulders,” Blaine Rhodes told television station WPTV. Government officials “have to be held accountable for their actions, just like you and me.”
The Rhodeses’ neighbor, Jann Levin, took the photograph and wrote the caption. She has reached an undisclosed settlement with the couple.
Michael Piper, attorney for Sewall’s Point, said the caption was “a classic statement of opinion, and opinion is not defamation.”