Muhammad Ali Hasan, the Republican candidate for the State House in pricey Summit County, Colo., told the Vail Daily that, as part of his campaign, he’s taken a vow of celibacy until January. His Democrat opponent, incumbent Christine Scanlan, commented, “Oh, my goodness. That probably falls in the ‘too much information’ category. Yeek.”
Homeowners in Englewood, a suburb of Denver, now have to scoop the poop in their own backyards, reports the Denver Post. A task force that met for over a year came up with the new law that gives people 72 hours to remove dog-door face fines from $50 to $999. The town got tough on backyard dog poop for sanitary reasons, said deputy manager Mike Flaherty, who acknowledges that enforcing the ordinance presents problems. How, he wonders, will officers determine the exact age of the poop in question? Especially in winter, when, as he pointed out, “It’s going to be frozen.” Warnings are more likely than fines, he said, unless there’s a complaint. Homeowners, meanwhile, are calling the law a tad intrusive.
A chicken named Thelma laid a gigantic egg that might have set a record,reports Capital Press. It was eight inches in circumference and the size of a small ostrich egg. “’Ouch’ was my first reaction,” said the chicken’s owner, Margaret Hamstra. Unfortunately, Thelma died a few days later, which, as Hamstra sadly noted, “kind of puts a damper on the story.”
The Durango Herald called it a “car chase,” but for it definitely wasn’t a high-speed one: For 25 minutes, Samuel Luna, 62, drove a less than speedy 3-to-5 miles per hour while trying to escape police. The pursuit in southern Colorado’s Montezuma County began when Luna refused to leave his car even though he was sitting in the middle of a road. “He said he was waiting for traffic to clear, but there was no traffic,” said Undersheriff Dave Hart. Police pulled out all the stops to get the car to halt, including laying spike strips, busting the car’s windows and stunning Luna with a Taser gun. The driver was not thought to be driving under the influence, but he was charged “on suspicion of vehicular eluding” and resisting arrest.
When 90 corporate jets crowded into Sun Valley’s airport recently during a pow wow of business bigwigs, the value of all the “big iron” on the ground -- as pilots call it -- was estimated at $2 billion, reports the Idaho Mountain Gazette. Airport manager Rick Baird said that more than half the planes covering the tarmac were Bombardier Global Express aircraft, which cost $45 million each, while some of the bigger and pricier Gulfstreams sell for up to $450,000, new. We’re guessing that nobody cringed at the gas pump, yet filling the tank of one of the smaller jets is now an astounding $48,000.
The weekly Farmer’s Market in Corvallis, Ore., has an unlikely hit on its hands. It’s the “Meet a black guy” booth, where white folks can chat about race relations with two young men skilled at improvisational comedy, reports the Corvallis Gazette-Times. Jeff Oliver, who is black, and Sean Brown, who is white, say they “just want to get people to talk.” The event has garnered national attention, but what’s even bigger is a Web site called rent-a-negro.com, the deft domain of Portland writer and artist damali ayo. She features T-shirts of a black woman with the message: “My new friend,” as well as photos of an earnest white man closely examining the kinky hair of a patient black man. She also sells a greeting card – she calls it “the racecard” -- sporting the message: “We don’t always take the time to talk about racism,” and another that admits: “So I’m your only black friend.” And she’swritten a book outlining in detail how white folks can dramatically improve their “race-dar”; it’s titled How to Rent a Negro.
The Spokesman-Review has begun outing people who bought bogus degrees from a diploma mill based in Spokane, Wash. The Justice Department, meanwhile, refuses to release the list of almost 10,000 buyers to the public. A source familiar with the list says, “There are people in high places with these degrees, and only one of them has been charged with a crime.”
The paper has done a preliminary analysis of degree buyers, and so far 135 have ties to the military, 39 work for educational institutions, and 17 workfor the federal government. Some examples of higher-ups in government and industry making over their resumes: William R. Church, a senior military advisor who works in the White House, bought a phony master’s degree in business administration. Duwayne Huss, an employee of Nuclear Management Co., which runs two nuclear plants in Minnesota, bought his degree in nuclear engineering. NASA employee Timothy Francis Gorman bought a fake degree in electrical engineering, and over at the U.S. Department of Health, oncology expert Frank S. Govern bought a doctorate in health care administration.
Eight people who operated the diploma mill have been indicted and convicted of federal crimes, and the ring leader, Dixie Ellen Randock, a 58-year-old high school dropout, was sentenced to three years in prison. Compared to the real thing that takes years of hard work and can cost well over $100,000,the bogus degrees were delivered fast and cheap. Bonita E. Broyles, author of books about prescription dosages and nursing care, bought her doctorate in education for just $2,225; Brett C. Jarmin, who worked as a police chief in Edgemont, S.D., bought his bachelor of science degree in criminology for $1, 041. There was also a school district superintendent who bought a fake doctorate in Columbus, Ohio, and a Saudi Arabian who bought several degrees in gynecology and obstetrics. The Saudi Arabian is Remah Moustafa Ahmed Kamel, 42, and he may be practicing medicine in his home country. One buyer apparently became addicted to ersatz higher education, buying the most gold-edged certificates so far: Anthony McGugan of Barnegat, N.J., spent $24, 088 on 16 different degrees that range from Christian education to addiction and youth counseling.
Here’s a tip for employers: If a job applicant presents a resume boasting adegree from “A+ Technical Institute” or a bachelor of science from “Berkeley Professional University,” you might want to give the slacker a pass and call Homeland Security. The federal agency is now in charge of investigating the buyers of fake degrees.
It's a battle of the uber-rich -- Aspen vs. Telluride -- to see whose residents can best wean themselves from disposable grocery bags. Both towns have so embraced the bag battle -- aka an educational campaign -- that the competition has been extended through Labor Day. Telluride's Sheep Mountain Alliance and Aspen's Community Office for Resource Efficiency share the same goal: passing ordinances in both towns that will ban or restrict plastic and paper bags. "Disposable bags represent an incredibly wasteful habit that can easily be curbed," says activist David Allen. "Ireland's success in reducing bag use by 90 percent is a perfect example." For every reusable shopping bag that's purchased at the checkout or brought in, participating grocers donate 5 cents to a Green Fund; the fund helps pay for a local environmental project. Best of all, the "winning" resort town -- the one that raises the most money -- gets to crow that it's uber-green as well as uber-rich.
Beware of vehicles that sport bumper stickers, warns a social psychologist at Colorado State University: They signal that the drivers have an attitude. It's not only bumper stickers that tell on a driver, but also window decals, personalized license plates and other "territorial markers," says researcher William Szlemko in the Washington Post. Apparently, it doesn't matter whether the messages urge support for "whirled peas" or warn other drivers to back off because "the voices said to stay home and clean the guns." Any message on a vehicle conveys territoriality, and that's the link to road rage: Easily angered drivers "tend to think of public streets as 'my street' and 'my lane' -- in other words, they think they own the road."
A chimpanzee who served as best man at his owner's wedding has been eluding pursuers in the San Bernardino National Forest, 50 miles east of Los Angeles. Moe broke out of what The Associated Press calls a "state-of-the-art cage" at Jungle Exotics, which trains animals for Hollywood. His owners, LaDonna and St. James Davis, rescued him in Tanzania 42 years ago after poachers killed his mother, and they raised Moe as they would a child, "toilet-training him, teaching him to eat with a knife and fork and letting him sleep in their bed and watch TV." The runaway is said to be gentle, but he has a checkered past -- mauling one police officer's hand and biting off part of a woman's finger when she stuck her hand in his cage. Moe's owners said the chimp wasn't really at fault for attacking the woman -- "he mistook her red-painted fingernail for his favorite licorice."