Wednesday, March 7, 2018

"News of the Weird: Mar. 8, 2018"

From The Shepherd Express:

March 6, 2018
4:42 PM

Russian Dope
As the 2018 Winter Olympics got underway—and athletes from Russia were forced to compete under the Olympic flag and be designated as “Olympic Athletes from Russia” (OAR) as punishment for systemic doping at the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi—bobsledder Nadezhda Sergeeva proudly wore a t-shirt that read “I Don’t Do Doping.” But, on Friday, Feb. 23, Sergeeva became the second Russian athlete to fail a doping test (curler Alexander Krushelnitsky also failed a drug test). Sergeeva had been a vocal critic of the Olympic policy toward Russian athletes, telling Yahoo Sports: “If we are here, and we are clean, we should be able to walk under our flag.”

Here Comes the Judge!
District Judge Joseph Boeckmann, 72, took a personal interest in the young men who came through his courtrooms from 2009 to 2015 in Cross and St. Francis counties (Arkansas) with traffic citations or misdemeanor criminal charges. The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported that Judge Boeckmann routinely dismissed those charges pending completion of “community service”—which the judge would arrange through private phone calls with the men. The “service” amounted to providing sexual favors or allowing Judge Boeckmann to take pictures of them in “embarrassing positions; positions that he found sexually gratifying,” a court document revealed. Boeckmann, of Wynne, Ark., admitted to the charges in October and was sentenced Feb. 21 to five years in prison. Prosecutors had agreed to a lesser sentence in light of Boeckmann’s age, but U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker ordered the maximum sentence, saying, “(H)e acted corruptly while serving as a judge. That sets his crime apart.”

Compelling Explanations
On Friday, Feb. 9, the Texas Third Court of Appeals upheld the four-year prison sentence Ralph Friesenhahn, 65, of San Antonio received after his fourth DWI conviction in 2016, rejecting arguments from his lawyer, Gina Jones, that the state’s legal limit for alcohol concentration discriminates against alcoholics, who have a higher tolerance for liquor. “You’re not being punished for being an alcoholic,” Sammy McCrary, chief of the felony division for the Comal County criminal district attorney’s office, told the Austin American-Statesman. “It’s the driving that’s the problem.”

Special Delivery
At the beginning of February, several residents along a block in Marina, Calif., were hit by mail thieves. But the criminals probably didn’t know what hit them when they stole Rosalinda Vizina’s package. reported that Vizina, an entomologist, had ordered 500 live cockroaches for a study she’s working on. “I feel a little bad for the roaches in case they got smushed or tossed or something like that,” Vizina told KSBW. “For the thieves, I hope they went everywhere,” she added.

Mullet Mania Down Under
The mining town of Kurri Kurri, Australia, cut loose on Saturday, Feb. 24, with a new festival to draw visitors: Mullet Fest, a celebration of the infamous hairstyle and those who wear it. Local hairdresser Laura Johnson came up with the idea, which included contests (Junior Mullet and Ladies’ Mullet categories, etc.) and bands like The Stunned Mullets. Winner of the junior division prize, Alex Keavy, 12, told The Guardian: “It’s not a hairstyle, it’s a lifestyle.” He pledged to use his $50 prize to buy his girlfriend a pie. More than 180 contestants competed for Best Mullet of Them All. Meryl Swanson, the local Labor MP and a contest judge, said she was “looking for pride, people embracing the mullet, finding self-worth in it.”

Wichita Windfall
Christina Ochoa of Wichita, Kan., and her mom, Christy, explained to The Wichita Eagle that more than 50 $5 withdrawals Christina made from a Central National Bank ATM during a five-day period in mid-January were for a “money cake” she was making as a gift for someone. But the bank says the faulty ATM was dispensing $100 bills instead of $5 bills, and that Christina received $14,120 instead of $1,485. In a lawsuit filed on Monday, Jan. 22, the bank sought $11,607.36 (plus interest) it says is owed by Christina. The bank is also trying to seize two cars she bought during the same period—claiming that the $3,000 down payment for one of them was made up entirely of $100 bills.


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