Odds & Ends
Dateline: Massachusetts—School administrators at North Brookfield Elementary School were forced to clarify policy after a teacher sent students home with a note stating that all writing instruments had been banned from classrooms. Earlier this month, sixth-grade teacher Wendy Scott sent a letter to all parents of sixth graders announcing that she and fellow teacher Susan LaFlamme were instituting a new rule banning students from carrying writing implements—including pencils, pens and mechanical pencils. According to the memo, students would be issued a pencil for use in class. That pencil would be collected at the end of the school day. The memo went on to say that any student found with a writing implement on their person or in their backpack after Nov. 15 would be assumed to be using it “to build weapons.” The memo said any offending students would be sent to the principal’s office for disciplinary measures. Within a day of the memo’s release, however, interim Superintendent Gordon L. Noseworthy explained that the teacher’s memo had not been reviewed or approved by either the principal or the superintendent. Noseworthy told Worcester’s Telegram that the memo was “over the top” and does not reflect any North Brookfield School District policy. Police Chief Aram Thomasian Jr. told the newspaper he was approached after the memo was released by parents of one student who had been suspended for having a pen that had been altered to fire a wadded-up piece of paper. “The student showed me how it worked. I'd be surprised if the spitball traveled 4 feet. And at that, I'm not even sure it had any spit on it,” he said. The school’s principal sent a follow-up memo to the families stating that no changes would be made to school procedure, Mr. Noseworthy clarified. “This was an attempt by a fairly new sixth-grade teacher to make changes that were not warranted. The student who was found with an altered pen was suspended and as far as administrators were concerned, the matter was put to rest.”
Dateline: West Virginia—A drunken couple was arrested and charged with stealing a motorized shopping cart from a Wal-Mart in Huntington and driving it to a nearby strip club. Billie Jo Stevenson, 36, and Jonathan Lee Misner, 34, were arrested around 1:40 a.m. on Monday, Nov. 15. The couple was charged with grand larceny and public intoxication. Criminal complaints say that a Wal-Mart customer spotted a man driving the motorized shopping cart west on U.S. 60 as a woman walked behind. A state trooper found the abandoned cart parked in the westbound lane of U.S. 60 in front of the strip club. Sheriff’s deputies soon arrived and witnessed Stevenson and Misner exiting the strip club and returning to the abandoned cart. Stevenson piloted the cart for a short distance along U.S. 60 before both suspects were apprehended. According to the police report, they appeared to be intoxicated.
Dateline: Michigan—The Detroit News reports that Southfield resident Darryl Alexander has rejected a $150,000 settlement offer in his lawsuit against Del Monte Corp. of Delaware and Kroger Co. of Ohio. Alexander is suing the canned food company and the supermarket giant because he was injured after using a screwdriver to pry the lid off a can of Del Monte Orchard Select Premium Mixed Fruit. According to Alexander, the lid popped off, flew into the air and struck him in the eye. Alexander filed a claim in U.S. District Court in Detroit in June 2009 claiming “injuries to his head and face,” blurred vision and other damages. According to the claim, Alexander is suing both the manufacturer and the retailer for selling “mixed fruit that is injurious to the health.” The suit had sought $75,000, alleging permanent eye injuries, “pain, psychological harm, humiliation, anxiety, anguish” and more. Earlier this month, attorneys for the defendants offered a $150,000 settlement—double what the suit was asking for. Mark Miller, Alexander’s attorney, told the Associated Press the $150,000 settlement wasn’t enough.
Dateline: Nebraska—A woman is charged with trying to cut her name off her boyfriend’s neck after a domestic argument turned ugly. Tressa Amerson, 19, was jailed on a domestic assault charge following her altercation with Ronald Miner, 30, at his residence in Lincoln. A probable cause affidavit notes that Miner told officers he and Amerson had been having “ongoing relationship problems for the past week.” According to Miner, the most recent argument cropped up because Amerson “believed he broke her car.” Miner told officers Amerson “grabbed a knife and attempted to cut the tattoo of her name off his neck.” Police officers on the scene noted several scratches across the name “Tressa,” which was inked on the left side of Miner’s neck. Amerson denied attacking Miner, but police found a small pairing knife on the floor of Miner’s living room and arrested Amerson. Miner was interviewed by TheSmokingGun.com and said he had been dating Amerson for about a year. Asked if he considered Amerson his girlfriend, Miner replied, “kinda, sorta, not really,” before adding, “she’s pretty crazy.”