March 20, 2014
City Considers Taking Ban On Spitting Off Books
Grand Rapids, MI (AP) A ban on spitting in public in Grand Rapids could soon be off the books. The Grand Rapids Press reports the City Commission on Tuesday plans to consider deleting the word ``expectorate’’ from a list of prohibited public acts that includes urination and defecation.
City Attorney Catherine Mish wrote in a memo that language was added to the code in an era when the use of chewing tobacco was prevalent and spittoons were common. She says the code’s language ``did not disappear as quickly as the spittoon.’’ Mish says she contacted local health officials, who told her spitting doesn’t pose as much of a threat as it might have in the past.
Mish has been scouring city code to find archaic rules, including one recently on being willfully annoying.
Frozen For 1,600 Years, Antarctic Moss Revived
Washington (AP) Scientists have revived a moss plant that was frozen beneath the Antarctic ice and seemingly lifeless since the days of Attila the Hun.
Dug up from Antarctica, the simple moss was about 1,600 years old, black and looked dead. But when it was thawed in a British lab’s incubator, something happened. It grew again.
British Antarctic Survey ecologist Peter Convey said the moss was visibly greening with new shoots after three weeks. He said scientists didn’t do anything to make it grow except squirt it with distilled water.
Convey said this may make scientists rethink what is dead and what’s not. ¬†He said this is by far the longest case of revival of a plant or animal from frozen limbo.
The study was published Monday in the journal Current Biology.
Maine Man’s ‘Gun’ Turns Out To Be A Tattoo
Norridgewock, ME (AP) Police armed with assault rifles descended on a Maine man’s home after members of a tree removal crew he’d told to clear off his property reported that he had a gun.
Turns out the “gun” the tree crew had seen on Michael Smith of Norridgewock was just a life-sized tattoo of a handgun on his stomach.
Smith, who works nights, was asleep when the tree crew contracted by a utility to trim branches near power lines, woke him up at about 10 a.m. Tuesday.
He went outside shirtless and yelled at the workers to leave. When he’s not wearing a shirt, the tattoo looks like a gun tucked into his waistband.
Smith tells the Morning Sentinel the tattoo has never been a problem before.
Police didn’t charge him.
Northern School Greets Spring With Burning Snowman
Sault Ste. Marie, MI (AP) Students at a northern Michigan university are getting ready to mark this week’s long-awaited end of winter with the traditional burning of the snowman.
Lake Superior State University says the 40-year custom will repeat at noon Thursday.
Spring officially arrives that day in the northern hemisphere at 12:57 p.m.
The university says students and maintenance employees build the 10- to 12-foot-tall snowman ``mostly from paper destined for the recycling bin, along with a wood and wire frame.’’
Lake Superior State says this year’s ceremony will mark another transition on the Sault Ste. Marie campus. It says that school President Tony McLain hands off the torch to light the snowman to his successor, Thomas Pleger. The presidential change takes place in July.
Pant-less Man Seeking Coat Kicked In Door
Seattle (AP) Police in Seattle say a pantless and very intoxicated man kicked in an apartment door and told a resident he was looking for his coat.
Officers found the man Friday on his back in the hall outside the victim’s apartment, covered in cuts, scrapes and bruises.
The apartment resident said he’d never seen the man before. Then a second man in the victim’s apartment acknowledged he had been ``partying’’ at the apartment with the pantless man the night before.
Police called for an ambulance to take the man to a hospital. It’s not clear how he sustained the cuts and scrapes.
His coat? He was wearing it.
Sick Rhode Island Man Lived With Dead Wife For Days
Johnston, RI (AP) Rhode Island authorities say a 71-year-old man with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia had lived with his dead wife’s body for at least two days before officials entered the home this week.
Police in Johnston say the man’s 67-year-old wife died a few days ago and he wasn’t aware that she had passed. Authorities say there were no signs of foul play.
Authorities say the man called the Fire Department on Wednesday and officials found the woman’s body and a dead dog. The home was condemned because of what authorities called deplorable living conditions.
The man was taken to a hospital for an evaluation and officials were trying to contact his family. The medical examiner’s office is investigating how the woman died.
Washington Homeowner Fighting To Keep Treehouse
Wenatchee, WA (AP) Zeb Postelwait of Washington state always wanted to build a treehouse for his sons. He got the chance last summer after moving into a Wenatchee home with a big tree in the front yard.
Two months later he received his first notice from the city to tear it down.
The Wenatchee World reports officials say the treehouse overhangs the sidewalk, threatening public safety. Postelwait disagrees.
City officials say he could keep it if he takes out a $1 million insurance policy. But Postelwait says no way.
The city is prepared to seek a court order to remove the treehouse and send Postelwait the bill.
He feels the city is harassing him.
UK Legislator Pans No-Guitar Prison Policy
London (AP) A guitar-loving British legislator has challenged a policy that he says makes it impossible for prisoners to play steel-stringed or electric guitars.
The Labour Party’s Kevin Brennan Tuesday cited singers Johnny Cash and Billy Bragg as people who helped bring music into prisons for rehabilitative purposes.
He said government policy was making it more difficult for prisoners to develop their musical skills.
Prisons Minister Jeremy Wright said he wants prisoners to be able to play guitars solo or in groups but that “some restrictions” had to be imposed.
There are fears that steel strings could be used as weapons.
Wright said he would review regulations to make sure they are appropriate.
One of Cash’s most famous songs, “Folsom Prison Blues”, depicts the plight of a convicted murderer stuck in prison.