Lead Story

In July mail carriers in France announced they would make no more deliveries in Cap d’Agde, a resort town of 30,000 people and Europe’s largest “naturalist” community. Citing “embarrassment” at having to walk through town to face people shopping and gardening in the nude, the carriers began dumping all mail outside of town, forcing residents to sort for themselves.

Missed the Point

Kenneth Dean Johnson, the first person to have his car seized under a 1990 drunk-driving ordinance in Portland, Oregon, was stopped again in February and lost another car. At the second stop, he voluntarily produced a vial of white powder, telling police it was heroin and that he was using it in an attempt to kick his 11-year drunk-driving problem.

Police in Birmingham, Alabama, responded in April to a woman’s plea to save her estranged boyfriend, who was threatening suicide in her apartment. When the man failed to drop his suicide pistol, they shot and killed him.

Oldrich Pavek, 50, had his trial for shoplifting in Saskatoon, Canada, halted pending a psychiatrist’s report, ordered because of his courtroom behavior: Pavek criticized the judge for not standing up if he expected others to stand. When Pavek failed to reveal a previous conviction because he thought it didn’t count until the appeal was final, and the judge corrected him, Pavek told the judge to go brush up on the law. When a probation officer said he wanted to talk with Pavek, Pavek said his “fee” for “consulting” “just went up” to $20,000.

Parents of three seventh-graders filed a lawsuit in Lafayette, Louisiana, in March charging their science teacher Bernadette Rubin with causing the kids “loss of the enjoyment of life” by teaching sex education.

Bruce Fitzgerald was appointed harbormaster of Springfield, Massachussetts, in February, despite the fact that because of changes in the flow of the Connecticut River, Springfield no longer has a harbor and is down to a single dock.

The Albanian soccer team was ejected from Great Britain in May because of an incident at Heathrow airport during a stopover. According to an airport spokesman, the players thought “duty free” meant “free of charge” and began stuffing their pockets with watches and jewelry until guards stopped them.

In October, the Pittsfield, Massachusetts, school committee adopted a plan to allow 11th- and 12th- graders to get credit for mandatory physical-education classes merely by reading materials on exercise concepts.

Least Competent People

A gang of bank robbers, hitting a bank in Bologna, Italy, just after $400,000 in pension payments had been deposited, detonated an explosive device beside the safe. But they only made off with a few thousand dollars because the explosives brought down the ceiling and walls, wounding 85 people (including one robber).

A 40-year-old woman’s suicide attempts failed in Pineville, Louisiana, in August. She first tried a drug overdose, but wound up only groggy enough to then misfire in several attempts to shoot herself.

Two U.S. Navy enlisted men were charged with theft of Paula Thistle’s car phone in April near Annapolis, Maryland. Thistle, on discovering her phone missing, had called the phone’s number, told the man who answered that she was “lonely,” made a date with him, and arranged for police to make the arrest when the man showed up for the date.

Federal agents arrested Gary and David Gross of Alpharetta, Georgia, in April for attempting to counterfeit $4.5 million with a printing job described by agents as “poor.” The agents were tipped off by a store owner, who reported that the two had bought the kind of linen paper used in currency and then had asked the owner if he had any green ink that “matched the ink on a one-dollar bill.”

The Lipman, Richmond, Greene advertising agency was forced to revise a radio ad for Yonkers raceway in New York several months ago. Written for the raceway’s 40th anniversary, the ad took listeners back to 1950, when “Eisenhower is president” and the “Army-McCarthy hearings are going full blast” (errors of three and four years respectively). In the agency’s “corrected” ad, 1950 became the year that Bobby Thomson hit his famous 1951 World Series home run.

In October Carnell Wilder, 25, worried about failing his exam to be a Philadelphia police officer, arranged for his girlfriend, Dianna DeLarge, to help him. Instead of her taking the exam in his name, both took the exam at the same time in his name. Suspicion was aroused when Wilder received both a passing grade (hers) and a failing grade (his).

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