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News Quirks 

Published October 2, 2013 at 10:03 a.m.

Curses, Foiled Again

While Joshua Burgess, Chaz West and Marquise Williams were awaiting the start of their trial for home invasion and armed robbery in Pensacola, Fla., Court Security Deputy Joseph Kastor found a note in the courtroom, apparently dropped by one of the suspects. The note advised another suspect about what to say to get their stories straight when they appeared before the judge. When confronted with the note, the suspects changed their pleas to guilty. (South Florida Sun Sentinel)


The International Paralympic Committee declared swimmer Victoria Allen, 19, ineligible for this summer’s world championships because she isn’t disabled enough. Having won four medals and set a world freestyle record the year before, she “failed to provide conclusive evidence of a permanent eligible impairment,” the IPC ruled on the eve of this year’s competition. A star child athlete, Arlen developed a neurological condition that led to her spending three years in a vegetative state before she awoke in 2010 with paralyzed legs. She insisted she is being punished because her doctor believes that her condition might improve. IPC official Peter Van de Vliet defended the ruling. “If you’re classifying an amputee, either they’ve got a leg or they haven’t, and in 12 months they still won’t have a leg,” he said. “But when you get to these types of wheelchair athletes, it gets tricky.” (The New York Times)

After Jakiya McKoy, 7, won the Little Miss Hispanic Delaware contest, pageant officials took away her crown because of concerns that she isn’t Hispanic enough. Contestants are required to be at least 25 percent Hispanic, but Maria Perez, president of the sponsoring Nuestras Raices, said the verification the child provided “does not specify she was 25 percent Hispanic or Hispanic at all.” The McKoys protested that the real reason their daughter’s reign was cut short was her dark skin, not the lack of documentation. (New York’s Daily News)

Geographically Challenged

When President Barack Obama made a bus tour with stops in Scranton, Pa., and Binghamton, Buffalo and Syracuse, N.Y., cable news network MSNBC showed a map of the presidential itinerary that grouped Syracuse, Buffalo and Binghamton near the state’s northeastern border with Vermont. Buffalo is in the far western side of the state, 330-plus miles from where the MSNBC map located it; Binghamton and Syracuse are in the state’s center, roughly 200 miles from where the map depicts them. MSNBC host Martin Bashir called the error an honest mistake. (Business Insider)

Slightest Provocation

Prosecutors told a court in Deschutes County, Ore., that Lawrence Loeffler, 86, shot his wife to death for putting the lid on the ketchup bottle too tightly and because his stepdaughter failed to wish him a happy birthday. (Associated Press)

Authorities accused Boca Raton, Fla., city worker Donell Allison Jr., 33, of brutally beating another city employee after the victim took refuge in the back seat of a city vehicle when it began raining and sat on Allison’s lunch. (South Florida Sun Sentinel)

Criminal Comestibles

A Scottish court sentenced Wayne Stillwell, 25, to 10 months in jail for rubbing bacon over the handles of a mosque in Edinburgh and then throwing the bacon into the building. “Muslims regard bacon as unclean,” Stillwell explained after pleading guilty to causing a breach of the peace. (Edinburgh News)

Police arrested a 52-year-old woman who reportedly entered Seattle’s Dim Sum King restaurant, told the patrons to “go back to China,” flipped over their plates, spit on one man and doused other diners in soy sauce and chocolate milk. (Seattle Post-Intelligencer)

Second-Amendment Follies

Authorities said Matthew Coleman, 37, shot his wife through both legs at their home in Windsor, Vt., while trying to show her that a 9-mm gun wasn’t loaded. (Burlington’s WCAX-TV)

Downside of Law & Order

The Dutch justice ministry announced the closing of eight prisons because of a lack of criminals. Crediting the declining crime rate, deputy justice minister Nebahat Albayrak said the closings will result in the loss of 1200 jobs but indicated the Netherlands is negotiating with Belgium to take 500 prisoners. That deal would net the Netherlands $40.5 million and delay the closing of two of the prisons. (The Huffington Post)

Strange Bedfellows

The National Rifle Association joined an American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit against the National Security Agency’s phone-tracking program. The NRA’s supporting brief warned that the NSA’s data mining could inhibit people’s “willingness to communicate with the NRA” and “allow the government to circumvent legal protections for Americans’ privacy,” thereby creating an illegal “national gun registry.” (USA Today)

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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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