Brickbats December 2009


The Georgia Department of Natural Resources seized 500 turtles from Steve Santhuff, alleging his possession of them was illegal. A jury ruled in Santhuff's favor, so the department had to return the turtles to Santhuff. But the agency couldn't quite fulfill the whole request: More than 300 of the turtles died while in the government's possession.

Inspectors working for the Stoke City Council in England have warned residents to remove welcome mats and potted plants from their porches. Officials say people might trip.

In Tinley Park, Illinois, Mayor Ed Zabrocki says police have been overzealous in ticketing cars that don't have municipal stickers. Tinley Park residents are required to buy the stickers for road maintenance, but cops have been ticketing cars driven by people from outside the city and even state. The police reply that the ordinance allows them to ticket any car without a sticker..

Massachusetts drivers challenged more than 250,000 traffic tickets last year. This year the state legislature reacted by imposing a $25 fee on motorists who take their cases to court. The fee will not be waived if a driver wins his case.

In Tarpon Springs, Florida, police officer Jeffrey Robinson resigned after admitting he slashed the tires of a bicycle owned by a homeless man. The bike was being held in a department storage area after its owner was taken to jail for trespassing 10 days earlier. Robinson says he slashed the tires in anger because the homeless man used racial slurs against him during the arrest.

The Department of Veterans Affairs mistakenly told some 1,200 veterans they had amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, according to the National Gulf War Resource Center. The department says the correct number was more like 250, and it isn't sure why the vets were mistakenly sent the letters.

Mark Wattson collapsed in agony and had to be rushed by ambulance to a hospital in Swindon, England, where doctors told him his appendix had burst and needed to be taken out. This made Wattson angry and confused, since those same National Health Service doctors had operated on him just three weeks earlier to remove his appendix. No one seems sure exactly what happened the first time they cut him open, but doctors did remove his appendix during the second surgery. But the incision became infected, and Wattson had to be admitted to the hospital a third time.

Police in Guangzhou, China, now demand fingerprints, a DNA sample, and a handwriting sample from anyone wishing to work in a bar or night club.

More than 150 people marched outside Indiana's Richmond High School after school officials suspended hundreds of students for violating a new dress code. That dress code bans clothes that officials deem too tight as well as clothes they feel are too loose. The code also bans stripes, florals, and plaids, as well as any logos.


Charles Oliver