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News Quirks 

Published December 9, 2009 at 10:50 a.m.

Curses, Foiled Again

Police investigating a drive-by shooting at a home in Buchanan, Wis., found auto glass in the street and deduced the shooter had forgotten to lower his car window before firing five shots. Appleton’s Post-Crescent reported that a check of area auto glass repair shops led to Andrew J. Burwitz, 20, who admitted shooting at the house, where his ex-girlfriend lived.

Win Some, Lose Some

Mary Lait, a custodian at the Cook County, Ill., sheriff’s office, was awarded $14,022 for injuries she claims she suffered on two separate occasions while “reaching around to pick up a piece of toilet paper,” according to court documents.

After his release from prison, David M. Cohen, 43, a former police sergeant in Stoughton, Mass., asked the town to reimburse him $113,496 for expenses related to his case. The Brockton Enterprise said that Cohen claims the town owes him for 87 accrued vacation days, 125 unused sick days, 144 hours of comp time accrued for not using sick time, 152 hours of supervisor comp time, 481 hours for court appearances related to his criminal case, 280 hours of overtime to prepare for his case, at least 61 percent education incentive pay for 2007, and 61 percent for accrued stipends and benefits. Cohen’s conviction in 2007 was for attempted extortion. “We will reject the man’s request,” Town Manager Mark S. Stankiewwicz declared.

Opportunity Knocks

The Illinois Attorney Registration & Disciplinary Commission announced it’s considering sanctions against Chicago immigration attorney Samir Chowhan for telling a woman seeking employment at his firm that sex was a job requirement. The Chicago Tribune said the woman complained to the commission that after she responded to Chowan’s ad on Craigslist seeking an “energetic woman” for “general secretarial work, some paralegal work and additional duties for two lawyers,” Chowhan replied by email that “in addition to the legal work, you would be required to have sexual interaction with me and my partner, sometimes together sometimes separate.” Chowhan added that previous women filling the position “have not been able to handle the sexual aspect of the job later. We have to be sure you’re comfortable with that aspect, because I don’t want you to do anything that you’re not comfortable with. So since that time, we’ve decided that as part of the interview process you’ll be required to perform for us sexually.” The email concluded: “I am free to interview today.”

How the World Works

After last year’s chocolate sale failed to raise enough money, a parent advisory council at Rosewood Middle School in Goldsboro, N.C., came up with a plan to sell test scores. According to Raleigh’s News and Observer, students can buy 20 test points for $20 and add 10 extra points to any two tests of their choice. Although the extra points could change a B to an A or from a failing grade to a passing grade on the two tests, principal Susie Shepherd insisted that they wouldn’t amount to enough to change a student’s overall grades.

The 2002 Municipal Rehabilitation and Economic Recovery Act that put Camden, N.J., under state control set aside $175 million for dozens of city projects that officials promised would create jobs and lift Camden out of poverty. Instead, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported, most of the bailout money, $99 million, went to universities, hospitals and government agencies and tourist attractions — including $25 million to expand the aquarium to include hippopotamuses and sharks. Noting the money turned out to have no effect on Camden’s median income, which remains the lowest of any medium-sized American city, the Inquirer observed, “Thanks to $25 million in recovery money, America’s poorest city now has hippos.”

More Nails in Print’s Coffin

Nearly half of regular Internet users in the United States said they’re willing to read news online, including on mobile devices. The survey, commissioned by Boston Consulting, found that the 48 percent who said they would pay for online news indicated the average amount they would pay is $3 a month. Although both figures were lower than those surveyed in other Western countries, Americans were much more likely than the others to pay for admission to sites that offered Internet access to multiple papers.

A meeting of magazine salesmen at a motel in Tacoma, Wash., ended when two men announced they wanted to quit their jobs, only to be beaten with baseball bats and golf clubs. Police arrested the remaining six salesmen in an SUV just blocks away after discovering one was armed with brass knuckles and a gun. KOMO-TV reported the door-to-door subscription operation, called Fresh Start Opportunities, was a scam in which young men claiming to make a fresh start in life take donations ranging from $50 to $800 without delivering the magazines.

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About The Author

Roland Sweet

Roland Sweet was the author of a syndicated column called "News Quirks," which appeared weekly in Seven Days.


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