* "Your vehicle was seen traveling on southbound I-95 near I-195 on Wednesday, September 27. Please provide the following information: Where were you going? Who was with you? What was the purpose of your trip?" Maryland's Mass Transit Administration had videotaped some 48,000 motorists, gotten their addresses from state records, and sent them letters like that one. The agency says it was trying to identify traffic patterns between Baltimore and Washington, in hopes of persuading the federal government to fund a high-speed rail service in the area.
* In Thousand Oaks, California, the fire protection district cut down the weeds on a vacant lot owned by Jim Shaddix and sent him a bill for $1,173.10. The district says that's only fair, since Shaddix ignored three notices that the weeds were a fire hazard. But Shaddix has an excuse: He never received the notices, because they were sent to the lot's former owner. The county assessor says Shaddix is telling the truth; and in fact, it takes at least five months for the county to register title changes. Nonetheless, the Board of Supervisors ruled that Shaddix must pay the bill.
* In Camarillo, California, Michael Nelson got hit with a $271 ticket for littering. His crime? He was spotted by a California Highway Patrol officer spitting sunflower seeds out of his window while driving down U.S. Highway 101.
* The city of Pompano Beach, Florida, just doesn't want some colors around. The city has passed a law requiring businesses to paint their buildings in shades "traditional" to Florida's coastal areas. City commissioners admit they don't know exactly what that means. But they know what it doesn't mean: bright colors and chartreuse. They're pretty sure white, gray, beige, tan, brown, terra cotta, and peach will be allowed. But only light shades of pink. Light shades of blue and green are okay. Darker shades of blue and green, and colors such as mauve, yellow, red, gold, and black, will be permitted only for accents.
* For nine years, Jayme Dias enforced the sexual harassment code in Falmouth, Massachusetts. Now the city has fired him. Dias has been accused of repeatedly trying to kiss and fondle a town employee and making unwanted calls and visits to the woman's home. Dias denies the charges, but the town administrator said there was enough evidence to remove him from his job.
* When a teacher fell ill at Union Intermediate High School in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, the assistant principal allegedly called in 9th grader Brandi Blackbear and questioned her about a book on magic that she had checked out of the library. Then he suspended her for 15 days, apparently because he thought she had cast a spell on the sick teacher.