Lead Story

In October, William M. Cave, a circuit court judge in Montgomery County, Maryland, sentenced a former YMCA lifeguard, who was facing nine years in prison, to serve a total of three days in jail for the statutory rape of an 11-year-old girl in 1988. He served the customary one-third of the sentence and was released the next day.

Questionable Judgments

One person died and 31,000 were left homeless in a Manila suburb in October after a husband hurled a kerosene lamp at his wife during an argument, triggering a seven-hour fire.

Five businessmen near Wildwood Crest, New Jersey, were charged in July with endangering swimmers by dumping high-potency chlorine tablets into the ocean in order to reduce the high levels of fecal coliform bacteria, publicity about which was interfering with tourism.

A driver for the Vogel Disposal Company, trying to avoid a collision near Akron in April, slammed on his brakes even though he knew that his cargo–300 gallons of human waste–would ooze to the front of the truck, over the cab, and onto the highway.

The latest instance of a man waiting, nude, in a Laundromat for his clothes to wash: Harry Stauka, in October, in Athens, Ohio.

Kourosh Bakhtiari, 27, stood trial recently for masterminding a three-man escape from a New York City correctional center in which he meticulously braided over 15 rolls of unwaxed dental floss to make a rope strong enough to support a 190-pound man. However, he had neglected to plan for gloves; from gripping the floss, he had to be hospitalized for severed tendons and ligaments in his hands.

Odds & Ends (Mostly Odds)

Robert Arthur Magoon, 19, separated from his father since birth, was reunited with him recently when both showed up at the Santa Clara County Jail in California, the son for violating parole and the father for robbery.

In August the Westinghouse Credit Corporation in Kansas City sued its partner in a building contractorship for $19.2 million for allegedly making bad decisions and causing the partnership to collapse. The defendant is Never Fail Builders Inc., which is headed by a man who legally changed his name to Mr. Never M. Fail Jr.

David Wimp of Riverton, Colorado, has spent several hours a day for the past 15 months at an electronic adding machine, adding “1” over and over to the increasingly large number on the screen. He got to three million and is now working backward to zero, at which point he will start all over and go to five million. He has used 14 miles of paper. In a lengthy interview with Associated Press in October, he declined to elaborate on why he is doing this.

The estate of Elvis Presley earns $41,000 a day, over 75 times the amount President Bush earns a day.

On October 10 in Grand Prairie, Texas, a man was killed by a car while standing in the spot where his brother had been killed by a truck just 35 minutes earlier.

In a recent crackdown on unpaid parking tickets, Houston police found that of the top 100 scofflaws, 41 were lawyers, who averaged 88 unpaid tickets. Said one offender: “It’s not that we think we’re above the law. It’s just that legal-looking notices don’t have the same impact on us as on most people.”

The Centers for Disease Control reported in October that 36 percent of U.S. hunting injuries have occurred when hunters fell out of trees in which they were sitting in wait. Of the 214 such injuries studied, 17 were fatal.

After a Fort Worth newspaper reported that police were seeking a woman with a rose tattoo on her left breast as a robbery suspect this summer, 300 people called in to report women they knew with such tattoos.

Odd Endings

In October police in Austin, Texas, were seeking a transient in his 60s in the stabbing death of Gary Howard Mays, 44. Witnesses said the two were arguing about which one had experienced harder times.

E. Frenkel, a Soviet mentalist who claimed to have stopped bicycles and cars and who had announced his desire to take on something more challenging, was killed when he tried to stop a freight train in the southern city of Astrakhan in September.

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