News of the Weird

Saturday March 30, 2002

Who has the most horses? 


LEXINGTON, Ky. — It appears Lexington has some competition for the title “Horse Capital of the World,” even though it has spent about $8,000 to post 40 signs proclaiming itself as such. 

A horse-breeding community in central Florida said the name is legally theirs. The Florida Thoroughbred Breeders’ and Owners’ Association says it obtained a trademark on that title for Ocala and Marion County, Fla., and would mount a court challenge to stop others from using it, according to the organization’s vice president, Richard Hancock. 

“No one else can use that term. It belongs to the Florida Thoroughbred Breeders,” said Maria Hernandez, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in Washington. 

Hancock said he applied for the trademark three years ago after hearing that Lexington had proposed adopting the phrase and getting a trademark on it. It was granted in June. 

“We beat them to the punch,” Hancock said. 

Kentucky produces nearly 30 percent of all U.S. thoroughbreds and has dozens of top stallions, including Storm Cat, one of the most valuable with a stud fee of $500,000. 



Quite a miscount 


HONOLULU — Auditors looking at the city’s finances recently found that two sewer valve repair kits valued at $290 each were mistakenly counted nearly 10,000 times each over the past three years. 

The discrepancy caused the sewer fund’s inventory balance to be inflated by about $5.8 million. 

City officials said an antiquated inventory system was to blame for counting 19,998 kits instead of two, and a new accounting system is being installed. 

Auditors had to go through some 1,800 sheets of entries to find the problem, said Tim Steinberger, city director of environmental services. 

“We should not run into this problem again,” he said. 

PriceWaterhouseCoopers discovered the error during the annual audit for the city’s federal financial assistance programs. 


COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A public library isn’t trampling on a patron’s constitutional rights by requiring him to wear shoes inside the building, a judge has ruled. 

The judge threw out Robert Neinast’s freedom of expression lawsuit Wednesday, and agreed with the library that the barefoot ban protects patrons from exposure to broken glass, blood and other bodily fluids that have been found on its floors. 

“We think the rules are reasonable and are for the good of all customers,” said library Director Larry Black. 

Neinast, who had been asked to leave the downtown library for being barefoot several times from 1997 to 2001, said he sued the Columbus Metropolitan Library for blocking his healthy lifestyle and First Amendment rights. 

“If any bureaucrat can make a rule regarding health and safety, state parks could make everyone wear sunscreen,” Neinast said. 

The software writer, who represented himself in the case, said he did not know if he would appeal. 


SALEM, Ore. (AP) — A man suspected of robbing a bank gave himself away when he tipped a waiter $100 in order to get a seat away from the window. 

Chris Ronemus was thrilled to receive the large gratuity on a slow day at DaVinci Ristorante, but he wasn’t allowed to keep the money. 

Scott Michael Farrow, a 33-year-old unemployed painter from California, allegedly threatened a Wells Fargo teller and fled with an undisclosed amount of money Wednesday. 

Police canvassing the neighborhood entered the restaurant and asked if anyone had seen someone matching suspect’s description. An employee pointed out a man at a table inside, and mentioned the $100 tip.