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Weird National Briefs (06/09/2021)

June 8, 2021
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Record collection

UNIVERSITY HEIGHTS, Ohio (AP) — After nearly five decades of blowin’ in the wind, a double Bob Dylan album finally has a direction home: A man living in San Francisco has mailed the vinyl back to an Ohio library 48 years after it was supposed to be returned.

Howard Simon recently sent the album along with a letter to Heights Libraries apologizing for his tardiness, according to a news release from the library system outside Cleveland.

Simon checked out Dylan’s “Self Portrait” album in 1973 as an eighth-grader at a University Heights middle school. Simon says he found it between two other Dylan albums in his personal vinyl collection.

“As a recent retiree, I am taking the opportunity to turn my attention to some of the many vignettes of life that by dint of career and family have been neglected these many years,” Simon wrote. “I am returning with the letter an overdue item by my count, approximately 17,480 days overdue as of this writing.”

His letter says the album cover is a little battered after traveling with him from University Heights to San Francisco with various stops in between, but the library says the records themselves remain in “great shape.”

Simon also sent the library a $175 replacement fee for “Self Portrait” along with an album he recorded, “Western Reserve,” for possible inclusion in the library’s collection.

The library bore no hard feelings, or sense that Simon wasted their precious time, essentially telling him in the press release don’t think twice; it’s all right.

“The funny thing about this is that we don’t charge overdue fines anymore–as long as we get the item back, we see no need to penalize people,” branch manager Sara Phillips was quoted as saying. “We’re grateful that Mr. Simon returned the record. I’d said we can now call it even.”

TME – If it was “Down in the Groove,” they probably would have sent it back to the guy.

Dirty politics

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M (AP) — A New Mexico sheriff who is running for mayor of Albuquerque was interrupted while on stage at a campaign event by a flying drone with a sex toy attached to it and a man who punched him.

Bernalillo County Sheriff Manuel Gonzales’ campaign said the Democrat was unharmed and “will not be intimidated.”

The Albuquerque Journal reported that a video posted on Facebook shows Gonzales answering questions from the audience while standing on a stage at an events center when the drone bearing the sex toy started buzzing near the stage.

A sheriff’s office report said the owner of the event center grabbed the device and that 20-year-old Kaelan Ashby Dreyer unsuccessfully tried to grab it.

The report said Dreyer then turned his attention to Gonzales, swinging his fist and calling him a “tyrant.” A deputy wrote that Dreyer punched Gonzales’ hands and was then removed from the event by deputies.

Gonzales said at a news conference on Wednesday that he believed Dreyer was with several companions and spotted someone standing on the other side of a fence who he believes was flying the drone.

“It became so distracting from the sound and everything I couldn’t really get my point across,” Gonzales said.

Dreyer has been charged with petty misdemeanor battery and misdemeanor resisting, evading or obstructing an officer. According to a deputy in the report, Dreyer said that he did not intend to hit Gonzales but was upset at the way Gonzales answered a question and intended to swing his fist through the air.

TME – Anyone else think this metaphor is just a little on the nose?

Shell game

ROME (AP) — Dozens of tourists will have to pay dearly for their souvenirs from Sardinia’s pristine beaches.

Italian media on Saturday said customs police on the Mediterranean island issued fines of up to 3,000 euros ($3,600) to 41 people who in recent days tried to leave the island with a total of 100 kilograms (220 pounds) of sand, seashells and beach rocks.

The LaPresse news agency said in some cases tourists had put the beach booty up for sale on the internet, feeding a flourishing, illicit market for such souvenirs, including from swank resort areas along the Italian island’s Emerald Coast.

Bags of sand, shells and stones were seized at Sardinia’s airports and ports in keeping with a 2017 regional law that established fines ranging from 500 euros ($600) to 3,000 euros. The seized sand was brought back by authorities to the beaches when possible.

The law aims to prevent the cumulative effect of removing sand and shells by the millions of tourists who flock each year to the Mediterranean island, which is renowned for long stretches of pristine sandy beaches.

TME – Why not just find someone who sells seashells down by the seashore?

Bear beware

NAPLES, Fla. (AP) — A black bear seen wandering in downtown Naples has eluded wildlife officials even as sightings of the animal continue.

Naples police say the bear was first spotted on Friday in the city. Several unsuccessful attempts were made to trap the bear in hopes of relocating the animal, the Naples Daily News reported Sunday.

Residents of the area continue to call authorities with bear sightings around the city in southwest Florida.

Authorities say the bear has not been aggressive and avoided interactions with people.

Bears as young as 18 months can sometimes wander into populated areas while trying to establish independence from their mothers and searching for a new home, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

TME – No need to fear – dude just hibernated through spring break and is looking to party.

Frontier justice

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — A prosecutor and a defense attorney in Nebraska have been reprimanded for a scheme reminiscent of the Wild West in which they told two convicted criminals to get out of town and never return.

On Friday, the Nebraska Supreme Court issued public reprimands for Custer County Attorney Steven Bowers and Broken Bow defense attorney Christopher Wickham for carrying out the “banishment plan.” The high court said Bowers and Wickham violated rules of professional conduct and their oaths as attorneys.

Under the plan brokered by Wickham and Bowers, the defense attorney advised his clients, who had been charged with felonies, to plead guilty then flee the state before sentencing, with the understanding that they would not return.

Bowers, the prosecutor, agreed that if the men skipped out on their sentencing hearings and left the state, he would direct the county sheriff to not seek extradition to have them returned to Custer County, the high court said. Wickham and Bowers also schemed to seek a low bail for the men, so they could be freed before the sentencing hearings.

The court’s reprimand orders don’t reveal the names of the men who were charged, what charges they pleaded to or when the scheme was carried out.

In the reprimand order against Bowers, the high court said at least one of the men fled Custer County before his sentencing hearing and was later arrested about 200 miles (320 kilometers) away near Omaha. Bowers did not seek to extradite the man to Custer County, and he was released from custody, the court said. The court did not say what happened to the other man.

Neither Bowers nor Wickham immediately returned phone and email messages left Friday by The Associated Press seeking comment.

Bowers and Wickham both filed responses with the Nebraska Counsel for Discipline conditionally admitting the violations and waiving any challenges to the accusations in exchange for the reprimands.

The reprimand does not affect either attorney’s ability to practice law but does require them to disclose the reprimand if they seek to practice law in another state where they’re not licensed.

TME – This probably isn’t what people mean when they say “eliminate crime.”

Last modified on Tuesday, 08 June 2021 14:11

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