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News of the Weird: Protect, serve and get along

Posted: October 1, 2009 2:25 p.m.
Updated: October 2, 2009 6:00 a.m.
Small Town: In Jericho, Ark., alleged harassment by cops got so bad, according to an Associated Press report, that the fire chief went to court twice in the same day in August to complain about speed traps. The chief's charge angered the seven officers attending the hearing, and a courtroom scuffle ensued, resulting in the chief's being shot in the back and hospitalized. WMC-TV reported that the shooter has not been charged but that an arrest warrant has been issued for the chief, who was then fired by the mayor. The police force has been disbanded by the Crittenden County sheriff, and all firefighters have resigned.

Big City: George Vera, who weighs nearly 600 pounds, was booked into jail in Houston in August and was in custody for more than 24 hours before he casually informed cops that they had missed finding the 9 mm handgun and two clips that were hidden in his rolls of fat.

Science on the Cutting Edge
Sharron Thornton had been blinded nine years ago from a severe reaction to medication that caused her mucus membranes, including the eye's lens, to die and shed (and caused her also to lose hair, skin and nails, though the latter three grew back). In a revolutionary procedure, the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute at the University of Miami (Fla.) had the bright idea to shore up her eye with a piece of her tooth and jawbone (the cuspid, or "eye tooth") so that a prosthetic lens could be implanted. That was only part of it: The tooth portion, with the implanted lens, had to be micro-sculpted and implanted first into Thornton's chest for access to nutrients. Thornton's vision is now 20/70 without eyeglasses.

Recent Inexplicable Side Effects of Brain Injury: (1) Malcolm Darby, 70, awoke from surgery following a stroke in Oakham, England, last year to find that he had near-perfect vision (after having worn eyeglasses since age 2) but later discovered that he no longer spoke or understood French. (2) A 37-year-old German woman, who had been treated for epileptic seizures in 2006, reported recently that among the side effects were occasional feelings that she had undergone a sex change and was a man.

Calvino Inman, 15, is not part of the gothic subculture at his high school in Rockwood, Tenn., but he would be a natural. He has an annoying case of what one opthalmologist called "haemolacria," or bloody tears. The boy seems to bleed uncontrollably from the eyes, up to three times a day, according to a September ABC News report, but so far, specialists, employing ultrasound, an MRI, and a CT scan, are unable to determine the cause.

Bovine Madness
(1) Britain's National Farmers Union issued a general alert in August, after four fatal attacks on people by cows, that dogs should not be walked near grazing fields. "The cattle are interested in the dog, not the walker," said an official. (2) During a three-day period in August near the village of Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland, "dozens" of cows killed themselves by leaping off of a particular cliff. Officials discounted accidents as the cause since cows in the area generally become familiar with the dangers of cliffs.

Least Competent Criminals
Recurring Themes: (1) Broward County (Fla.) Sheriff's Office is looking for the man who robbed the Citi Trends store in Oakland Park in September and has released the surveillance video, showing the man removing his mask. However, the man continued trying to shield his face, using only his hands, but the video makes him appear to be playing peek-a-boo, according to a WFOR-TV report. (2) David Perticone, 46, was arrested in Severn, Md., in August and charged with stealing about $25,000 worth of items from a woman's house just down the block. The woman discovered the items in Perticone's front yard, part of a yard sale he was conducting.

Classic Middle Name
Charged recently with murder and awaiting trial: Michael Wayne Limley, St. Joseph, Mo. (August); Timothy Wayne Sanders, Suffolk, Va. (September); Marcus Wayne Barber, Port Arthur, Texas (September); Robert Wayne Howell, Longview, Texas (September); Barney Wayne Keizer, Salmo, British Columbia (September). Murder trial ordered: Bryan Wayne Hulsey, Glendale, Ariz. (charged in 2007, trial rescheduled for October 2010); Benjamin Wayne Holcroft, Goulburn, Australia (September); Billy Wayne Hall, Sparta, Mo. (trial site changed, September). Sentenced for murder: David Wayne Alexander, Pittsburgh (September); Benjamin Wayne Watta, Seal Beach, Calif. (January). Committed suicide after (according to police) murdering his girlfriend: Jason Wayne Strickland, Gilbert, S.C. (August). Confessed to murder: Billy Wayne Wallace, Fort Worth, Texas (confessed to police in August in cold-case murders from 1986 and 1994 but had not yet been charged at press time).


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