Odds & Ends
An auction house in the Channel Islands has canceled an online auction for a vial of late President Ronald Reagan’s blood. The PFC Auction house said in a statement that the anonymous seller had pulled the item from sale. The five-inch glass vial filled with dried blood was said to have been used by a laboratory that tested Reagan’s blood for traces of lead after he was shot by would-be assassin John Hinckley in 1981. The seller said he obtained the vial at a U.S. auction earlier this year but has received numerous complaints from the former president’s family and foundation about the upcoming sale. The blood’s owner now says he will donate it to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation in California. “While we contend that the removal of the vial from the hospital laboratory and the U.S. auction sale in February 2012 were not legal acts in our opinion, we are grateful to the current custodian of the vial for this generous donation to the Foundation,” said John Heubusch, the foundation’s executive director. Online bidding for the vial had reached more than $30,000 before the sale was called off.
Harvard University is apologizing for allowing convicted Unabomber Ted Kaczynski to update his alumni profile in time for a 50th class reunion. Kaczynski graduated from the school in 1962 with a degree in mathematics. He is locked up in a federal Supermax prison in Colorado for killing three people and injuring 23 using homemade mail bombs between 1978 and 1995. For the 1962 class reunion, the alumni association sent out notices asking all graduates to update their class profiles. Kaczynski responded, listing his occupation as “prisoner” and his awards as “eight life sentences, issued by the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California, 1998.” Copies of the “class report” containing the infamous alum’s info were handed out at reunion activities during commencement week. Once word got out, the alumni association issued an apology. “While all members of the class who submit entries are included, we regret publishing Kaczynski’s references to his convictions and apologize for any distress that it may have caused others."
A 55-year-old man was arrested for drunk driving outside a Dubuque bar after police pulled him over and found a zebra and a parrot in the front seat of his truck. Officers charged Jerald Reiter with operating while intoxicated. Police reports say Reiter was stopped in the parking lot of the Dog House Lounge with his animal passengers. Field sobriety tests showed the driver had a blood alcohol level of .14, nearly twice the legal limit in Iowa. Reiter later told KCRG that the zebra and the macaw are like kids to him and his girlfriend. The couple say they took the zebra and the macaw to the Dog House on Sunday night because it often lets people bring their pets inside. Reiter said the owner told him they couldn’t bring the zebra inside because they were serving food that night. Bar owners dispute Reiter’s claims, telling KCRG that no animals are ever allowed inside the business. According to Reiter, he returned the animals to his truck and was taking them home when he was arrested. Reiter, who was released from Dubuque County Jail on Monday, May 21, plans to dispute the OWI charges. Reiter says he was just about to pull over and let someone else drive when he was stopped by police.
A group of conscientious seniors at Kenowa Hills High in Walker decided to forego their traditional senior prank. Instead, all 64 seniors rode their bikes to school on the last day of classes—accompanied by the town’s mayor and a police escort. Unfortunately, Kenowa Hills High Principal Katie Pennington blew up over the nonprank and kicked all 64 seniors out of the graduation ceremony. After the students arrived at school, Pennington summoned them into the auditorium for a meeting. Part of Pennington’s angry speech was caught on a student’s cell phone. “If you and your parents don’t have sense enough to know your brains could end up splattered on Three Mile and Kinney, Fruit Ridge, then maybe that’s my responsibility,” Pennington said, before concluding, “get your butts home. You’re not participating in senior walk today.” Parents of the seniors obviously weren’t as concerned with their 17-year-olds engaging in the dangerous activity of bicycle riding. Many parents spoke out against Pennington at a previously scheduled school board meeting that night. By Wednesday, the school district released an apology on Pennington’s behalf. “Yesterday, I made a mistake and sincerely regret my actions,” read the apology in part. “Did I overreact? In retrospect, of course I did.” The school district superintendent said the one-day suspension would not count against the students and that students who missed final exams because of the suspension would not have to make them up. The school’s senior walk and commencement ceremony has been rescheduled for Wednesday, May 30.