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Lead Story

A class-action lawsuit recently challenged Oregon’s alleged failure to follow its Medicaid policy of supplying dentures to low-income people who lose their teeth. Oregon claims it has only enough money to furnish dentures to quadriplegics, who need teeth for things other than eating. For other toothless people, the state furnishes only the name of a nutritionist and a free blender.

Least Competent People

Paul Telles, 44, was electrocuted in Lakewood, California, in December when, after driving into a utility pole, he tried to pick up a live electrical wire and move it off his car.

Police in Portsmouth, Rhode Island, charged Gregory Rosa, 25, with a string of vending-machine robberies in January after he fled from police who spotted him loitering around a vending machine. He later tried to post his $400 bail in coins.

Convenience-store clerk Wazir Jiwi told Houston police in January that he had foiled a robbery by a man who pulled two guns on him and demanded cash. Jiwi praised the guns and asked the man if he’d consider selling them. After a bargain was struck, he ordered the now-unarmed robber to leave the store loot on the counter and get out.

David Posman, 33, was arrested recently in Providence, Rhode Island, after allegedly knocking out an armored-car driver and stealing the closest four bags of money. It turned out they contained pennies, weighed 30 pounds each, and slowed him to a stagger during his getaway, so that police officers easily jumped him from behind.

The Belgian news agency Belga reported in November that a man suspected of robbing a jewelry store in Liege said he couldn’t have done it because he was busy breaking into a school at the same time. Police then arrested him for breaking into the school.

Well Put

In February in Baltimore, 20-year-old Corey Greene was convicted of murdering 18-year-old Barry Alexander, who had come to his brother’s aid after the brother had questioned Greene’s manliness by saying, “You eat wonton soup.”

In January Episcopal priest Robert Williams, a self-described homosexual, spoke to a religious gathering in Detroit on the virtues of same-sex relationships. A priest in the audience asked if Mother Teresa’s life would be “substantially enriched if she took on a lesbian lover.” Williams replied, “If you’re asking me do I think Mother Teresa ought to get laid, my answer is yes.” The questioner later accused Williams of “celibate-bashing.”

Sports News

Lisa Leslie of Morningside High School in Los Angeles scored 101 points in the first half of a girls’ basketball game against South Torrance High but was deprived of a shot at the record of 104 when South Torrance players decided not to play the second half because they were losing so badly.

In December the Neah Bay High School girls’ basketball team beat American Indian Heritage of Seattle 100 to 2, after leading 59 to 2 at the half.

Police arrested jockey Sylvester Carmouche, 28, for fraud after he “won” a January race at Delta Downs in Vinton, Louisiana. He apparently had taken advantage of the dense fog that night by holding back at the starting gate while the other horses circled the track and then joining them for the stretch run, which his fresh horse won by 20 lengths.

Seeds of Our Destruction

Fundamentalist preacher W.N. Otwell of Fort Worth said he would run in the 1990 Texas governor’s race on a platform of abolishing taxes, ending gun controls, and firing all female employees from state government.

In January the Kentucky house Agriculture and Small Business Committee rejected by a 10 to 3 vote a rule banning public-school students (including elementary-school students) from smoking on school grounds.

In January a woman in Woodbridge, Virginia, who had been assaulted several times by her estranged husband and who had brought police sergeant Ramon Gomez to her home to protect her while she gathered her things to leave, was nonetheless stabbed to death by her husband while packing as Gomez waited downstairs.

Every day Americans throw out 4.3 million pens, 5.5 million blades and razors, and 670,000 tires.

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