Odds & Ends

Odds & Ends

Joshua Lee
5 min read
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Dateline: Arizona

Leaders in a small Arizona town have apologized for arrest threats leveled against a nationally-famous 12-year-old investigative crime journalist. The Washington Post reports Hilde Kate Lysiak was confronted by Patagonia, Ariz., Police Chief Marshal Joseph Patterson while she was investigating a case earlier this month. The chief was reportedly upset about being followed by Lysiak and allegedly threatened to place her into juvenile detention. A video later captured by the 12-year-old reporter appears to show the officer confirming the threat as well as telling her, “If you put my face on the internet, it’s against the law.” In the video Lysiak asks Patterson what crime she is committing by following him, and he tells her that she refused to comply with a “lawful order” from a police officer. The incident garnered international media attention and Chief Patterson told reporters he’d received death threats. Soon after, the town posted a statement saying it had “taken action we believe to be appropriate for the situation,” and including a reference to Arizona law ARS 13-2401, which makes it a Class 5 felony to post personal information of a police officer on the internet if it poses a threat. Lysiak’s mother reportedly reached out to the town’s mayor, Andrea Wood, who read the following apology at a town council meeting last week: “The governing body for the town of Patagonia would like to apologize for the First Amendment rights violation inflicted upon Hilde Lysiak, a young reporter in our community. We are sorry Hilde. We encourage and respect your continued aspiration as a successful reporter. We believe and fully support the constitutional right to freedom of speech in the public sector.” Lysiak continues to report for her self-published Orange Street News as she has for the last four years. She has co-authored six Scholastic books with her father based on her experiences, and a television show based on her life is reportedly in the works from Apple TV.

Dateline: Wyoming

A new school in Wyoming is being opened for a single student. According to
CNN a Wyoming school district will be reopening Cozy Hollow Elementary—which has been closed for more than a decade—so one kindergartner living in a remote area of the state can attend classes. The student reportedly lives in a mountainous rural area of southeast Wyoming, about an hour away from the nearest active school, and commuting during the winter months would be impossible. Over a decade ago, Cozy Hollow served five students, but was closed due to a lack of need. It is expected to be open for the next six to eight years, as the kindergartner has a younger sibling who will be attending when they are old enough. State law requires an on-site school for isolated students. Albany County School District 1 will be submitting an application to the Wyoming Department of Education School Facilities Division for funding to reopen the school. It estimates the cost of one teacher, supplies, utilities and site repairs for the school over a single year to be around $100,000. This will be the second one-student school in Wyoming.

Dateline: India

Poppy farmers in India are reportedly in a pitched battle with a group of opium-addicted parrots who are continuously raiding their fields.
NDTV reports the large group of birds feeds on farmers’ crops in Madhya Pradesh around 30 to 40 times a day, and although farmers continue to complain, they have received no help from authorities. The farmers have reportedly begun guarding their fields against the nuisance and have taken to making loud sounds and using firecrackers to frighten the parrots. So far none of their tactics have had an effect. The farmers were already reportedly suffering from scattered rainfall, and the parrot issue has many of them concerned about the future of their crops. The birds have also raided poppy farms in other parts of the country. Cultivators in parts of Rajasthan and the districts of Chittorgarh and Pratapgarh. Each poppy flower contains around 20 to 25 grams of opium. Affected parrots have been seen crashing into trees or lying dazed on the ground, according to witnesses. Once the effects wear off, the birds allegedly return to the fields for more. The opium trade is a large part of the economy in Madhya Pradesh. The majority of India’s licensed poppy cultivation takes place in the state and its neighbor Rajasthan.

Dateline: United Kingdom

Authorities are asking drivers in London to stop using cash at parking meters because gangs are reportedly using vacuum cleaners to suck change out of them. According to
BBC News, £120,000 has been stolen in the past year from parking meters in Kensington and Chelsea. Will Pascall, of Kensington and Chelsea Council spoke to reporters, saying, “We have gangs stalking the streets and smashing their way into machines to suck the cash out. We also now know from local police that this is funding further criminality in London, from drugs and trafficking to possibly violent crime. It is a trend we need to stop and motorists going cashless is one way we can help tackle this.” The thieves allegedly drill holes in the sides of the machines and snake a vacuum hose down into the machine to suck the change up. Gangs are also reportedly driving into meters or using sledgehammers to break them open. Authorities are urging motorists to pay for parking through an app. There are over 70 parking meters in use in the area.

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

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