Alibi V.28 No.46 • Nov 14-20, 2019 

Odds & Ends

Odds and Ends

Dateline: Michigan

A woman from Charlotte, Mich., is facing the possibility of serving jail time for overdue library books. According to CNN, Melinda Sanders-Jones didn't know she still had two books she'd checked out from the Charlotte Community Library until she was told she couldn't use the printers there a few months ago. According to the mother of five, she immediately returned the books and assumed she would receive a fine. She soon forgot all about the incident. Near the end of last month, Sanders-Jones was in line to receive a promotion at her job as a security officer, but her boss contacted her to tell her that her background check failed because there was a warrant out for her arrest. Sanders-Jones says she has never even gotten a parking ticket and assumed it was a joke. But Charlotte Police had indeed put out an arrest warrant charging the woman with failure to return rental property. The Economic Crimes Unit at the county prosecutor's office reportedly investigated the case after the books had been checked out for several months. Charlotte Library policy requires staff to call, text or email a person when items are a week overdue. If the person does not respond, staff are required to attempt contacting them again at two weeks overdue, again at one month overdue and once again at three months overdue. When the items have gone four months past their due date, the library will send a warning by certified mail stating, “If you don't bring these materials back in two weeks, we will submit it to the Economic Crimes Unit.” Sanders-Jones says she never received the notices, because she had to change addresses repeatedly to escape an abusive relationship—even ending up at a shelter for domestic violence victims. She says she is willing to pay for the items and fines, but no one from the library or Economic Crimes Unit will accept her money. Sanders-Jones appeared before a court magistrate and was released on a personal recognizance bond. She is reportedly facing no more than 93 days in prison or a maximum fine of $500, per the Michigan State Penal Code. The Charlotte Community Library apologized on its Facebook page for “any negative consequences that may have resulted recently due to our overdue book policy and collection actions … Our library board will review all our policies in the near future, and we will help anyone who may have been affected.”

Dateline: California

California has legalized eating roadkill. According to New Food Economy, the Wildlife Traffic Safety Act, also referred to as the “roadkill bill,” was signed into law by California Governor Gavin Newsom last month. Currently, it is illegal for anyone other than a state agent to collect roadkill, but the new bill will allow residents in three pilot regions to “salvage” the meat from animals that have been struck by vehicles on a roadway. Meat from deer, elk, pronghorn antelope and wild pigs will be eligible to be collected in this fashion. To collect the meat, drivers are required to report animal collisions to the state’s fish and game commission using an app. If the animal is dead, the motorist will automatically receive a salvage permit through the app and be allowed to collect the carcass. If the animal is alive and injured, state authorities will be called in. The pilot program is set to run in 2029. If it is successful, the program will be expanded to include the entire state. Every year, between one and two million large animals are reportedly hit by vehicles in the US. According to the Federal Highway Administration, these accidents kill an estimated 200 people and cost over $8 billion in damages. Animal rights group PETA has endorsed the consumption of roadkill. The group says roadkill is a healthier and more animal-friendly option for meat-eaters to consume than mass market meat.

Dateline: Iowa

An inmate serving time in an Iowa prison for a murder conviction says his life sentence should have ended when he died on an operating table in 2015. Des Moines Register reports that Benjamin Schreiber was found guilty of first-degree murder in 1997 and received a life sentence without the possibility of parole. In March 2015, he was hospitalized after developing septic poisoning from kidney stones, and doctors had to operate. His heart reportedly had to be restarted five times during the surgery. Schreiber recovered, and in 2018, he filed for post-conviction relief, claiming he'd fulfilled his life sentence when he died in 2015. The district court denied Schreiber's request, writing that his claim was “unpersuasive and without merit.”

Dateline: Canada

A Canadian man has been assured that a curb that was damaged by city snow removal machines in 1993 will be repaired by 2037. According to CBC, Calvin Hawley still remembers finding the damaged curb after returning from the hospital where his son was born on January 26, 1993. A “large chunk” of the curb outside his home had accidentally been knocked off by city workers. Hawley says he called the City of Winnipeg that spring and continued to call over the years. He claims that at one point, he was told by city employees that the complaint filing system had been upgraded and his original complaint had been lost. In 2017, Hawley contacted the city once again and was given a number to check his request online. The city finally responded and said he can expect to see the issue resolved by June 26, 2037. Hawley is reportedly taking the news in stride. “It is kinda funny when you think about. It will be a grand day when they actually come out,” he told reporters.

Compiled by Joshua Lee. Email your weird news to josh@alibi.com.