Odds & Ends

Devin D. O'Leary
5 min read
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Dateline: The Netherlands– In an example of startling efficiency, a 65-year-old Dutch widow, who had meticulously planned her own funeral after her husband’s death last year, died last week next to her own grave. The elderly woman probably died of a heart attack while visiting the family grave in Amsterdam where her name, but no date, was already inscribed, De Telegraaf reported. The woman was carrying a handbag containing her will when she died. She had already organized all the details of her funeral, including what music she wanted played, the paper said.

Dateline: North Carolina– Prosecutors say a nurse killed a plastic surgery patient because the woman stole her high school boyfriend some 30 years ago. Sandra Joyner’s death after a mini-facelift had been attributed to medical error. But five years later, nurse anesthetist Sally Hill has been charged with poisoning her with a powerful painkiller. Authorities said witnesses remembered Hill, 50, saying she believed Joyner, 45, had stolen her boyfriend when the pair were students at Olympic High School in Charlotte. Detective Chuck Henson told a court last month he believed Hill poisoned Joyner and turned of an alarm that could have alerted other nurses to her condition. Hill, who is in custody without bail on first-degree murder charges, denies the claims.

Dateline: New York– An ex-inmate of the Westchester County Jail chose a lousy Halloween costume when he went out trick-or-treating in his old prisoner’s jumpsuit. The former inmate, Oscar Aponte, was escorting his young daughter door-to-door in Peekskill last Tuesday night when he was spotted by a county correction officer, who was also out trick-or-treating with her child. “She confronted him, and he ran and drove off,” said Susan Tolchin, chief adviser to Westchester County Executive Andrew Spano. After Aponte fled, the officer took down his license plate and called authorities. The nearby jail went into lockdown until a prisoner count could confirm that no one had escaped. Meanwhile, police located Aponte and confiscated the authentic orange jumpsuit. Aponte was in jail from May to September for violating probation on a drunken driving charge. According to jail policy, prisoners are not allowed to take their jumpsuits home when they are released. On Wednesday, Aponte was charged with petty larceny and possession of stolen property, both misdemeanors.

Dateline: Wisconsin– A man attempting to rob a fireworks shop accidentally fired his shotgun, igniting the fireworks and starting a blaze that destroyed the building. No injuries were reported at North American Fireworks, the Vilas County Sheriff’s Department said in a statement. The owner told deputies a male entered the business last Friday night wearing a ski mask and armed with a shotgun. The owner managed to wrestle the shotgun away and remove the man’s ski mask, but a stray shotgun blast ignited the store’s stock. The suspect fled on an all-terrain vehicle that had been parked outside. According to The Birmingham News, a 20-year-old man was being held in jail after being tracked to a home about 10 miles away.

Dateline: Alaska– Dona Highstone lost both a coin flip and a position on a rural Alaskan school district board to a dead woman last week. Katherine Dunton, who died of cancer on Oct. 3, the day of the local election, ended up in a 19-19 tie with her opponent, Mrs. Highstone. According to state election rules, a coin flip is supposed to end such electoral ties. Highstone, being the only living person in the race, got to call the toss. Unfortunately, she called “heads” and the coin toss landed on “tails.” As a result, Dunton was re-elected to the Aleutian Region School District board. “This is the first I have ever heard about, not only in our state but in any other,” said Whitney Brewster, director of the Alaska Division of Elections. The school district, which has jurisdiction over about 50 students, has not yet decided how to fill Dunton’s seat.

Dateline: Florida– Winter Haven police chief Paul Goward has been fired for suggesting that some of his officers might want to lose weight. Tired of seeing cops with blubber hanging over their belts, Goward drafted a memo asking “jelly bellies” to shape up. The Oct. 11 memo apparently caused offense to the doughnut-suckers in the department. After receiving several anonymous complaints, city managers cut Goward loose. “If they got their feelings hurt to the extent of ‘Do something about it,’ then I did what I was intending to do,” said an unapologetic Goward, a trim 6-footer who was forced to resign his $92,000-a-year post last week. In his memo, titled “Are You a Jelly Belly?” the chief never singled anyone out, and apart from the title, didn’t call anyone names. Instead, he provided a list of 10 reasons police officers should be in shape. He said overweight police poorly represent the profession, poop out when chasing suspects and might have to resort to “a higher level of force” if a criminal got the upper hand in a fight. Winter Haven police officers are required to pass physical examinations to be hired but are not regularly tested for fitness thereafter.

Compiled by Devin D. O'Leary. E-mail your weird news to devin@alibi.com.

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