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News of the Weird

Saturday July 06, 2002

Mister Softee beats up man 

who doesn’t like his music 


HARTFORD, Conn. — The driver of a Mister Softee truck is facing assault and breach of peace charges for allegedly attacking a frequent critic of the music coming from the truck’s loudspeakers, police said. 

Luis Amaro, 51, is accused of charging out of his truck Saturday and swinging a bat at Wilbur Troutman. 

“Mister Softee tried to kill me!” Troutman, 64, said Tuesday as he recovered from arm bruises and a graze to the head. 

Amaro could not be reached for comment. But Felix Rios, who owns the Mister Softee franchise in East Hartford, said Troutman is at least partially to blame for harassing his drivers for the last several weeks. 

Troutman, 64, has been following the Mister Softee trucks throughout his neighborhood, taking pictures and recording the music from the trucks in a campaign to get them banned from city streets, Rios said. 

“I’m not saying what our driver did was right or wrong because I wasn’t there. But I know this driver, and I know he wouldn’t lose his temper without a good reason,” Rios said. 


Official utilizes
a public service

SPRING LAKE, Mich. — A Michigan lawmaker has come clean about his trash and acknowledged that he put refuse from his farm in a bin at a Spring Lake school then lied about it to a sheriff’s deputy. 

State Sen. Leon Stille said he cut corners while cleaning his farm for his daughter’s wedding because he was running around “like a chicken with his head cut off.” 

Police were called to Jeffers Elementary School after a custodian said someone dumped tires, cans of paint, buckets of unknown material and boxes of trash in the school’s bin. 

Some materials had Stille’s name on them, and the custodian noted the license plate of a vehicle registered to Stille. 

An Ottawa County sheriff’s deputy contacted Stille, who denied dumping the trash. Later, a Sheriff Doug Nowak stopped at Stille’s home, and the lawmaker confessed. 

“He indicated that he did not want any bad press as a result of this, so he did not want to take the initial blame,” Nowak said. 


It’s not your plate 


VALRICO, Fla. — A couple wanted to express pride in their Italian heritage with the license plate ”2 Dagos,” but were told to return the plate to the state because some people feel it’s an ethnic slur. 

Phil and Fran Lascola said they are fighting the request, saying they don’t consider the term insulting. 

“How in the world could they say this is obscene?” said Phil Lascola. “We’re Italians, we’re not slamming anybody.” 

Florida issued the license plate 18 months ago for the couple’s BMW, but reconsidered its decision when it received a recent complaint. 

The state says it has the right to withdraw or refuse to issue tags that are vulgar or objectionable. 

Controversial plates have included “Atheist,” “Mutiny,” “H-8” (meaning hate), and variations of the “f” word. After a fight, the Gainesville man with the “Atheist” tag was allowed to keep it. 

A Save the Manatee specialty tag that read “EAT UMM” was taken away from a Tallahassee driver. 

Phil Lascola said he received a letter Saturday from the state telling the couple to return their plate. The couple is considering hiring an attorney to handle the dispute.