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The pitfalls of sleeping on the job
March 30, 2009

NEW YORK, NY (NY Daily News) — He's part of the ground crew, but a JetBlue luggage handler went airborne - trapped in the belly of a New York-to-Boston flight.  Sidney Nurse flew 200 miles in the cargo bin after mysteriously getting stuck while loading bags at JFK Airport, officials said.  The 21-year-old worker stunned his tarmac counterparts at Boston's Logan Airport Saturday when they opened the cargo door of the twin-engine ERJ-190 jet and unloaded him along with the luggage.  "Even after talking to him we were a little uncertain as to how it happened," Massachusetts State Police spokesman David Procopio said Monday.  Cops initially suspected Nurse of being a stowaway, but Procopio said he was just an accidental tourist.  Local NBC News reported that Nurse dozed off while loading bags, and didn't wake up until Flight B6-1004 was taxiing for takeoff.  Nurse told cops he panicked when he realized the plane was in the air and used his cell phone to call JetBlue officials during the 37-minute flight.  A medical team examined Nurse at Logan and determined he was not injured during the trip, in which the plane traveled at an altitude of about 17,000 feet.  JetBlue spokesman Bryan Baldwin had no comment except to say the airline was investigating the incident.  Baldwin said the cargo bins on JetBlue planes are pressurized, which allowed Nurse to survive.  Nurse returned to New York on a JetBlue flight; this time flying with the passengers instead of the bags.  While Nurse's unconventional flight is startling, it was not the first time a New York airport ground-crew worker has survived a flight in an airliner's cargo compartment.  In June 2005, a La Guardia Airport baggage handler took a nap in the empty cargo bin of a Spirit Airlines MD-80 and woke up 90 minutes later in Detroit.

Remember your past

DETROIT, MI - R.C. Gaitlin, 21, walked up to two patrol officers who were showing their squad car computer equipment to children in a Detroit neighborhood. When he asked how the system worked, the officers asked to use his I.D. for an example. Gaitlin gave them his driver’s license, they entered it into the computer, and moments later they arrested Gaitlin because information on the screen showed that Gaitlin was wanted for a two-year-old armed robbery in St. Louis, Missouri.

Australian man rescued from washing machine
January 10, 2006

SYDNEY, Australia (AP) - A man had to be rescued after becoming wedged in a washing machine while playing a game with his children, a newspaper reported Tuesday.  A fire officer pulled Robin Toom, 38, out of the machine after Toom became trapped while playing hide-and-seek, according to Sydney's Daily Telegraph.  "I just hopped in there and couldn't even get the lid down and the kids came in and said, 'Ha, ha! We found you,'" Toom told the newspaper.  Toom, of the Queensland city of Townsville, waited for an hour with his knees pressed to his chest before being rescued by local fire squad member Dave Dillon, the paper reported.  Rather than dismantling the washer, Dillon reached into the machine and pulled out Toom's wedged foot.  Toom said he planned to change the rules of hide-and-seek for his children.  "I hope they don't go hiding in any washing machines now," he said. 

Barbie Accused of Being Part of the Transgender Movement
January 3, 2006

WASHINGTON, D.C. (ABC News) -  The Concerned Women for America were well, concerned. Outraged, even. Was Barbie becoming part of the transgender movement?  On Dec. 30, CWA, a leading Christian conservative group, noted on its Web site that on the Barbie Web site,, "there is a poll that asks children their age and sex."  The age choices were 4 to 8 but children "are given three options for their choice of gender": I am a Boy, I am a Girl and I Don't Know.  Bob Knight, director of CWA's Culture and Family Institute, said Barbie manufacturer Mattel was being influenced by the "transgender movement."  To pose "this transgender question at little girls, they've really crossed the line," Knight said, who added that "bisexuality gender confusion" is the Web site's agenda, which is "very dangerous."  The concern comes after a conservative boycott of Mattel's American Girls dolls. The American Family Association and the Pro-Life Action League protested that some American Girls dolls were wearing "I Can" wristbands, which support Girls Inc. Girls Inc. is a national, nonprofit organization that promotes education and self-esteem programs, as well as sex education, and supports abortion rights and the acceptance of gays and lesbians. The Mattel-Girls Inc. partnership ended on Dec. 26.

But Mattel, which also manufactures Barbie, said the Barbie incident is much ado about nothing.  "This was just an innocent oversight," says Lauren Bruksch, a spokeswoman for Mattel. As a rule of thumb, Bruksch said, the questionnaires at always try to have a neutral answer or nonresponse option. For gender, this third option should have been "I don't want to say," rather than "I don't know." The Web site has since been fixed.  Knight had said CWA would contact Mattel to investigate the matter, but Bruksch said Mattel first heard of the complaint when ABC News called for comment. 

Hitler voicemail leads to trouble
December 22, 2005

VIENNA, Austria (AP) - An Austrian man who used an oath of loyalty to Adolf Hitler for his cell phone voice mail has been sentenced to two months in prison.  Police came across the message on the 20-year-old’s phone in 2004 when they called to question him about a burglary.  Prosecutors say he downloaded the message from the Internet. It includes the repeating of the phrase “Sieg Heil!”  The defendant says that the download was a “spontaneous act” and that he did not fully embrace the meaning of the oath.  He was sentenced to a year in prison for theft and fencing stolen goods, but the court decided to tack on two extra months for using the oath. 
A law in Austria makes Nazi propaganda a crime.

Erotic moments from Bible...
December 5, 2005

BERLIN (Reuters) - A German Protestant youth group has put together a 2006 calendar with 12 staged photos depicting erotic scenes from the Bible, including a bare-breasted Delilah cutting Samson's hair and a nude Eve offering an apple.  "There's a whole range of biblical scriptures simply bursting with eroticism," said Stefan Wiest, the 32-year-old photographer who took the titillating pictures.  Anne Rohmer, 21, poses on a doorstep in garters and stockings as the prostitute Rahab, who is mentioned in both New and Old Testaments. "We wanted to represent the Bible in a different way and to interest young people," she told Reuters.  "Anyway, it doesn't say anywhere in the Bible that you are forbidden to show yourself nude."  Bernd Grasser, pastor of the church in Nuremberg where the calendar is being sold, was enthusiastic about the project which is explained online at  "It's just wonderful when teenagers commit themselves with their hair and their skin to the bible," he said.

Scavenger hunter asks police officer for help, gets arrested instead
November 9, 2005

FRUITPORT TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) -- A man on a scavenger hunt entered a police station hoping to get a photo of an officer eating a doughnut.

What he got instead was thrown in jail.

Fruitport Township police officers Bryan Rypstra and Jon Durell heard a knock at the station's back door Saturday evening and found a man wearing a long wig and a Kiss T-shirt and a woman in a frilly pink dress.

The pair said they were on a scavenger hunt with another woman who had gone to a nearby store to buy a doughnut.

"Part of the scavenger hunt was to get a picture of a cop eating a doughnut. They wanted to know if one of the officers would be willing to get their picture taken," police Chief Paul Smutz told The Muskegon Chronicle.

The officers planned to play along, and they chatted with the man and woman while waiting for the doughnut run. As they spoke, the man, Louis Jasick, recognized Rypstra, a high school classmate who happened to be working overtime that evening.

Durell then remembered seeing Jasick's name on a flier that had been posted in the station only a day earlier. Jasick was wanted on two felony warrants for failing to pay $5,000 in child support.

Jasick was listed as a flight risk, so the officers invited him inside and arrested him.

"He was surprised at first," Rypstra said.

Jasick, 34, a resident of the Muskegon County township, was arraigned Monday in 60th District Court and released on two $2,000 bonds, one for each count. A preliminary examination was set for Nov. 18. 

Toe-Sucking Burglar Strikes Again
November 8, 2005

GREENWOOD, Ind. -- Police say a man who previously handled the toes of a sleeping burglary victim reverted to his old ways Sunday night, allegedly sneaking into an Indiana apartment and stealing money before touching a slumbering resident's feet.  William Russell was arrested at a hotel not long after he allegedly entered a Greenwood apartment without invitation and stole $52 while its occupants were sleeping, police said. Police said that after Russell took the money, he entered a bedroom where a man and woman were asleep. Russell touched the man's feet, Greenwood police Detective Matt Fillenwarth said.  The man who was sleeping "woke up and felt someone rubbing his leg and fondling his toes, and finally ... he realized it was not his girlfriend," Fillenwarth said.  The man chased Russell outside and watched him drive away in a pickup truck, police said. Authorities tracked the truck to the hotel, where Russell was arrested.  Police said they know Russell as the "Toe Sucker" because he has a foot fetish. Fillenwarth said Russell once broke into a home and awoke a resident by sucking on her toes.  Russell has multiple convictions of residential entry and burglary. He was being held in the Johnson County Jail on Monday with bond set at $100,000.

Accidents do happen...

LOS ANGELES, California (AP) -- Actress Sutton Foster was rehearsing a number called "I'm An Accident Waiting to Happen" earlier this week when she fell and broke her arm.

"I wasn't even dancing," the Tony-winner said Thursday. "I was just stepping backward, and my feet went forward, and I fell backward and caught myself with my hands."

She was rehearsing the musical "The Drowsy Chaperone," which is scheduled to open November 18 at Los Angeles' Ahmanson Theatre.

Foster said the show will go on, although she'll have to modify her performance until her arm heals. Such planned stunts as a dive roll through a hoop, cartwheels and complicated lifts are being eliminated.

Zamboni driver cited for DUI at rink

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) - You can't drive with alcohol in your system, even if the vehicle is a four-ton ice-cleaning machine at a skating rink.

Zamboni operator John Peragallo was charged with drunken driving after a fellow employee at the Mennen Sports Arena in Morristown called police and reported that the machine was speeding and nearly crashed into the boards.

Police arrived after Peragallo had parked the machine after grooming the ice during a break in a public skating session.

Police said Peragallo's blood alcohol level was 0.12 percent. Levels of 0.08 percent and above are considered legally drunk.

Zamboni privileges were revoked for Peragallo, 63, of Randolph, who has worked for the Morris County park system since 1994.

It's a 100 Grand, not $100,000 as a prize


Lexington (Ky.) Herald-Leader

A Lexington woman who says she was jilted by a-WLTO-102.5 FM contest filed a lawsuit yesterday against Cumulus Media Inc., which owns Hot 102 and four other local stations.

The complaint, filed in Fayette Circuit Court, says the radio station and its Atlanta-based parent company breached a contract to pay $100,000 after a radio contest prize was revealed to be a caramel-filled candy bar, Nestle's 100 Grand, instead of cash.

On May 25, night host DJ Slick said he wanted to thank people who listened throughout the American Idol finale by sponsoring a contest to "win 100 grand." "No joke," the host's Web blog said of the contest.

Norreasha Gill won by listening to the radio show throughout the night and being the 10th caller just before the Idol winner was announced. As family members rushed to her house to celebrate, she screamed over the airwaves and began describing what she would do with $100,000, she said.

"I just freaked out," Gill, 28, said. "I couldn't move, I was so afraid that the phone would click off. I was shaking. They congratulated me and told me I could pick it up the next morning."

Before the family went to bed, Gill promised her children -- ages 1, 5 and 11 -- that they'd have a minivan, a shopping spree, a savings account and a home with a back yard.

"I couldn't sleep, there were so many knots in my stomach," said Gill, who is six months pregnant.

When she arrived at Hot 102's studio the next morning, she was asked to return that night, when DJ Slick would be in the office. By the time Gill and her fiance returned home from breakfast, a message from the station manager was waiting.

He explained that she had won a 100 Grand candy bar, not money. Later, he offered her $5,000, Gill said.

"I said I wanted $95,000 more," she said. "Nobody would watch and listen for two hours for a candy bar.

"What hurts me is they were going to get me in front of my children, all dressed up, and hand me a candy bar, after all those promises I made to them. You just don't do that to people."

Gill's attorney, Lee Van Horn, says Gill was treated "maliciously."

"The DJ knew this wasn't $100,000 and he led her to believe it was," Van Horn said. "This was an incredibly cruel joke to play on her, especially on the air in front of so many people."

DJ Slick, who was not named in the lawsuit, did not return an e-mail. WLTO and Cumulus declined to comment, identify the DJ by his given name or say whether anybody was fired because of the incident.

The host said on his Web site,, that he had left his job at the radio station.

Experts said Gill's case will rely on state contract law but the radio station also could face actions by the Federal Communications Commission, which licenses radio stations.

FCC regulations say contest descriptions can't be false, misleading or deceptive and that stations must conduct the contests as advertised. Stations in El Paso, Texas, and Shreveport, La., have been fined for contests that told listeners they'd won cash prizes without specifying they were in Italian or Turkish lira, not U.S. dollars.

In November, the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Council threatened to file an FCC complaint after three morning show hosts at Cumulus-owned WXZZ-103.3 FM pulled a hoax that flooded county government offices with calls. The morning show hosts apologized and were temporarily suspended from the station, but no complaint was filed.

"No radio station wants to be fined by the FCC," said Richard Labunski, a University of Kentucky professor who teaches media law. "They really should know better and not mislead the audience."

Listeners ought to be skeptical of radio stations handing out large cash prizes, Labunski said, but the show host and station crossed ethical boundaries with the contest.

"It does nothing but create bad publicity," Labunski said. "People are not going to say, 'Oh, this was funny.'"

Gill says she has put her plans to buy a minivan and home on hold until the family's finances are solidified.

She said, "It crushes me for it to be a joke."


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