? In Illinois, the Avery Coonley School has been banned for two years from the state science fair. Were they caught cheating? No, they were caught winning. After taking its fourth straight state championship, the team was banned by officials who wanted to give other schools a chance at the title. This must be what they mean by "the thrill of victory."
? The Boston public schools have a policy against bringing guns to school. There are no exceptions. So when one was found in 7-year-old Amber Nickoles's bag, the principal suspended her for three days and ordered her to undergo psychological evaluation. That'll teach her to bring a pink water pistol to class.
? San Diego County Supervisor Leon Williams knows racism when he sees it. And he has seen it in county literature warning people about a dangerous new strain of bees that has made its way up from South America. He's upset that a bee that is "aggressive and nondomesticated and attacks you" is referred to as Africanized. The bees originated in Africa.
? In urging a congressional ban on certain semiautomatic rifles, Attorney General Janet Reno said, "Assault weapons …have no place in a civilized society." She didn't seem to feel that way 10 years ago. In 1984, then-State Attorney Reno signed federal forms allowing a former aide to own a fully automatic Colt M16A1. Apparently, her friends aren't part of "civilized society."
? One Texas woman thinks that the books she reads and the television shows she watches have nothing to do with her ability to serve on a jury. Unfortunately for Dianna Brandborg, a judge disagrees. She was sentenced to three days in jail for refusing to answer these questions when they were posed to prospective jurors.
? In New Haven's Long Wharf Theater, an audience member stormed the stage during a performance of the play Faith Healer and demanded that one of the characters put out a cigarette she was smoking.
? Students at Grand Forks, North Dakota's Central High will soon vote on a new name for their sports teams. The old name, Redskins, was dropped due to racial concerns. The choices are Grey Wolves, Knights, Pioneers, and Pride. Let's see. Grey Wolves would just reinforce the false image of the wolf as a mad indiscriminate killer. Knights were a militaristic part of a patriarchal society. Pioneers celebrates those who drove the Native Americans from their lands. And Pride always goes before a fall.
? During a power outage, 16-year-old James Gallagher figured out a new technique to find his way about in the dark. He filled a bowl with Final Net hairspray and lit it. The flames ignited the bottle he was still holding, causing it to explode. The boy suffered second- and third-degree burns over his face, arms, hands, and chest. He's now suing the manufacturer, claiming that the label on the bottle of hairspray warning that it was flammable was too small.
? Who'd want to shoot at Alaska state Rep. Joe Sitton? No one, it turns out. Juneau police investigating Sitton's complaint that he was fired on as he walked to his hotel room concluded he'd simply heard a car backfiring.
? Police in Johnstown, New York, were alarmed by men who would show up at night in cars with New York City license plates and buy up all of the city's baby formula. They wanted to detain them, but buying in bulk isn't illegal. Suspecting that drugs were involved, though they didn't know how, the police asked the DEA to investigate. Eventually, authorities determined that the men were simply coming in to buy the formula, which is substantially cheaper in Johnstown, and reselling it in New York City.
? New York state has made it illegal to "interfere" with a woman who is breast-feeding, even if she hasn't covered herself. Those who violate the law face up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine.