Lead Story

In Sacramento, California, in December, a trial was held for an August 1989 incident in which Baptist preacher Bryant Wyatt had made a soul-cleansing confession from the pulpit about his affair with one of his parishioners, Rosene Pollard (a fashion consultant and long-haul truck driver). Pollard sued Wyatt and the church because, immediately upon Wyatt’s announcement, Wyatt’s wife, who was seated directly behind Pollard, grabbed Pollard in a choke hold and wrestled her to the floor, injuring her before the two women could be separated.

The Democratic Process

In September Willie Herenton became Memphis’s first black mayor. Overlooked was the strong showing by perennial candidate Robert Hodges, 44–better known as Prince Mongo from the planet Zambodia–who has run for various offices over the last ten years and who received 2,921 votes to Herenton’s 122,585.

Turkey’s best-known circumcisionist, Kemal Ozkan, switched parties in last fall’s political campaign. He had been a member of the Motherland Party, which used Ozkan to attract crowds at rallies by offering voters free circumcisions for their children, but switched to the True Path Party, where he believes his skills will be better appreciated.

In November, Jim Marsh was again elected mayor of New Market, Minnesota, defeating with 31 write-in votes the only announced candidate, who garnered 25 votes in the town of 243. It was the fourth term Marsh had won, and the third time he had won via write-in after expressing his reluctance to accept the job. He said he was disappointed that he won but took comfort in the fact that his victory margin seemed to dwindling.

In December a couple in Little Rock, Arkansas, found in their attic 200 marked ballots from a 1968 primary election. The house was once owned by a deputy to former sheriff Marlin Hawkins, who last year wrote the book How I Stole Elections. Authorities determined that the ballots would have changed the result of the contest for local prosecutor, but the statute of limitations on the crime expired in 1974.

Things You Thought Didn’t Happen

Physician Donald Miller, leaving his practice in Taylors, South Carolina, to join a group practice in Michigan, recently sold his office building at auction to auto-leasing and -salvage executive Bob Rogers, and for another $4,000 threw in the medical records of his 10,000 patients. Rogers, who later said “I’ll buy anything that looks like I can make some money off it,” at first tried selling photocopies of the records back to the patients for $25 each but ultimately sold them at a profit to a physician in Jacksonville, Florida.

In September in San Diego, Navy enlisted man Vernon Isip, 39, was charged with the felony of “dueling” following the death of a man with whom Isip was competing for a woman’s affections. Said the prosecutor, “This was what they thought was the noble, gentlemanly thing to do.” In November, a judge dismissed the charge for insufficient evidence.

Norman McKinnon, 48, shot in the face by robbers on a New York City subway in October, was saved when the bullet lodged in his dentures.

In three incidents in a 50-day period last fall, two people were murdered by bow and arrow and another was seriously wounded. Aaron Whittaker, 32, of Miami was injured by an arrow that smashed through his window as he sat up in bed in the middle of the night; Patricia Allen was killed in downtown Ottawa in November by an arrow shot by her estranged husband; and in Phoenix on Christmas Eve, a man was killed by his girlfriend’s ex-boyfriend.

Darryl Malone, 29, filed a sex-discrimination complaint in January against his former employer, Northwest Nevada Telco, claiming that he had been repeatedly passed over for promotion because he is a man. His job was talking to male callers on a 900 line as a female character named “Raven.” He says he was one of the company’s most popular women.

Creme de la Weird

According to a recent wire-service story, President Bush once received an invitation to the funeral of a man described as “hard-working” and “patriotic.” The man was not quite dead, the letter writer explained, but was hooked up to a life-support machine whose plug could be pulled at any time to accommodate the president’s busy schedule.

Least Competent Person

Latest criminal self-identification: A man not identified by the original newspaper report was arrested in Watertown, South Dakota, in August for exposing himself to clerks while sitting in his car at a fast-food restaurant’s drive-up window. He had just paid for his purchase by personal check.

The Diminishing Value of Life

Gerald Marotta, a mechanic in El Sereno, California, shot himself to death in early January because he was despondent over California’s new law requiring motorcyclists to wear helmets, which had taken effect the first of the year. His wife later indicated that Marotta’s way of dealing with problems was to ride his motorcycle with no helmet on. His suicide note read in part, “Now I can’t even ride.”

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): illustration/Shawn Belschwender.