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 V.17 No.31 | July 31 - August 6, 2008 

Odds & Ends

Eric J. Garcia

DATELINE: New Zealand—Hundreds of thousands of dollars in cameras and equipment were lost by media members after a boat sank at a ceremony designed to send off the country’s Olympic rowing team. No one died or was seriously injured in the incident, and the seven journalists and boat pilot—all wearing lifejackets—were plucked from the frigid water of Lake Karapiro. New Zealand Herald photographer Sarah Ivey told the story in her own newspaper: “There was just water gushing in over the front like something out of Titanic and all of a sudden I was up to my knees in it,” she reported. “Everyone was screaming and swearing ... but mostly everyone was shouting, Oh hell, I’ve lost my lens or Oh hell, I’ve got to get my camera out of the water.” A New Zealand spokesperson has promised an investigation into the incident, as the boat employed in transporting the media members should have been capable of holding 12 without fear of capsizing, and stated that divers would attempt to retrieve the missing equipment. Said Ivey, “It would have been the World Press Photo of the Year—all the photographers trying to keep their gear up in the air—but no one could take the picture.”

DATELINE: New York—The Albany Times Union reports that Calvin Morrett, 19, was found guilty of disorderly conduct. His sentence includes 24 hours of community service, court fees and the expense of having a public apology printed in the local newspaper for dressing up as a penis during a high school graduation in Saratoga Springs. Morrett, who said he had wanted to perform the prank for his own graduation ceremony in 2007, has become something of a local and YouTube celebrity for the incident (see clips titled “Saratoga Graduation” and “Dick that interrupted Saratoga’s 2008 Graduation”). At the ceremony, Morrett ran across the stage in costume spraying Silly String as students were called to receive their diplomas. He tried to outrun security guards in making his escape, but his bulky gear held him up. Following the incident, Morrett stated that getting arrested for the prank was “totally worth it.”

“It would have been the World Press Photo of the Year—all the photographers trying to keep their gear up in the air—but no one could take the picture.”

DATELINE: Missouri—Springfield resident Debby Rose is suing the county health department, a local Wal-Mart and Cox Health Systems on charges that she is being discriminated against because of her pet bonnet macaque monkey, Richard. Rose claims Richard assists in treating her acute social anxiety disorder, finding that the monkey’s therapeutic effect helps her overcome a tendency for panic attacks. In 2006, the Springfield-Greene County Health Department warned area restaurants and grocery stores to bar Rose from entry into their establishments with Richard in tow. Rose was also told to leave a Wal-Mart because of the monkey and was disallowed from participating in Cox Health Systems’ nursing classes even though she allegedly registered with the monkey in full view. The suit seeks special exception for Richard under the Americans With Disabilities Act, which allows seeing-eye dogs into businesses that would normally reject them for health reasons, and even claims Rose “has been denied access to medical treatment and the ability to visit relatives who are seeking medical treatment.”

DATELINE: Washington—Two burglars who robbed a department store in the early morning were found shortly after sunup sleeping in a city park on pillows and hammocks they’d stolen in the heist. Surveillance cameras at the Fred Meyer department store in Monroe captured footage of Kyle Burress, 25, and Allen Pierce, 27, according to the Everett Herald. The store manager called police about three hours later upon noticing that padlocks from four large storage containers behind the store had been cut. The pair had to be awoken by police in order to be arrested and have been charged with second-degree burglary. “We believe alcohol was involved,” reported Monroe police spokesperson Debbie Willis. “I’d say a lot of alcohol was involved.”

DATELINE: California—In Modesto, three gang members broke into a man's house at about 6 a.m. while he was sleeping and beat and stabbed him before they realized they had the wrong man, whereupon they apologized. The perpetrators, according to Modesto Police Sgt. Craig Gundlach as quoted in the Modesto Bee, were interrupted by three others in the house who had been upstairs and subsequently came downstairs to see what the commotion was about. One witness later told Sacramento TV station KCRA that “The one guy that stabbed him, he says, ‘You know what, I’m sorry, ma’am.’ And he hugs me and said, ‘Please, we made a mistake.’ ” The gang members even offered to drive their 32-year-old victim to the hospital, but he refused. The attackers remain at large, but “their apology does not alleviate any crimes they committed,” said Gundlach.

Compiled by Os Davis.


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