DES MOINES, Iowa, June 2 (UPI) -- A Corvair enthusiast in Iowa who used his license plate to insult Ralph Nader has been told that the "F Nader" message has to go.
The Iowa Department of Transportation issued the plate to John Miller five years ago, the Des Moines Register reported. Apparently, it took officials quite a while to decide that the "F" is short-hand for a naughty word.
Officials decided to take action after they received a letter from Joel Paulson of Ames about the plates.
"'F NADER' is obviously this Corvair owner's response to Ralph Nader's charge against the Corvair. I don't believe I should have to explain to my children about 'F NADER,'" Paulson wrote.
Nader, who has run as a third-party candidate for president in recent elections, first gained national recognition in the 1960s with his crusade against the rear-engine Corvair and his book "Unsafe At Any Speed."
Miller said he did not intend the plate as a slur, describing it as an in-joke among Corvair fanciers. But he has been ordered to turn the plates in with the promise of a free vanity plate of his choosing or a $50 refund and a standard plate.
Man charged with selling stolen gas
BALTIMORE, June 2 (UPI) -- Police in Baltimore say that an entrepreneurial thief sold motorists heavily discounted gas stolen direct from the pump under the noses of real employees.
Joseph Boulware was arrested at a Citgo station when workers began wondering why he was hanging around going from pump to pump.
"He asks you, 'You want gas? I will fill you up for $10,'" Mohammad Mehtabdin, manager of the Citgo, told the Baltimore Sun. "Nobody will complain about that."
Investigators say that Boulware, a former employee of a tank testing company, had a magnetic key and the codes that allowed him to pump gas without paying for it. At the Citgo station, he allegedly pumped 450 gallons with a normal retail value of $1,300 before he was caught.
Boulware also was charged with possession of crack cocaine. Investigators are trying to determine if he pulled off similar scams with more success. They say that at least one gas station has had 800 gallons disappear with no explanation.
Law or no law, Seattle bars still smoking
SEATTLE, June 2 (UPI) -- Smoking in and even near bars has been illegal in Washington state since December but certain neighborhood bars in Seattle still offer ashtrays.
Washington has the toughest statewide anti-smoking laws in the United States, but the Seattle Post-Intelligencer found numerous neighborhood "dive-bars" willing to gamble late at night that regulars won't call the Health Department.
One bartender -- who doesn't smoke -- said she waits until it's late, and then decides if it's safe to distribute ashtrays, the newspaper said. She said a clear signal there are non-smokers present is "if there's a table that's been here for a while, and no one has gone outside for a smoke."
Another bartender complained of a loss of freedom of choice.
"There has to be some personal responsibility," he told the newspaper. "If you don't like to be around smoke, don't go to a bar where there's smoke."
Since the law went into effect in December, the local Health Department has only fined two establishments -- one for two violations at $100 apiece, and a second $300 for three violations, the newspaper said.
New York boy, 16, got Mercedes for sex
NEW YORK, June 2 (UPI) -- A 39-year-old woman has been charged with repeatedly having sex with a 16-year-old neighbor to whom she gave a $35,000 Mercedes Benz.
Lisa Frodella was charged Wednesday with two counts each of third-degree rape and third-degree criminal sexual act after the youth told police they had been having an affair since January, the New York Post reported.
It all fell apart in April when the youth, now 17, showed up at home with the new car, and his mother became suspicious, the newspaper said. The youth claimed he and Frodella had met in at least two motels, her car and her home.
He claimed once, Frodella called his high school pretending to be his mother to take him out of class, Nassau Detective Lt. Kevin Smith said.
The car was returned to Frodella, whose lawyer says the boy is fabricating "90 percent" of the story.
Frodella could face up to four years behind bars on each count.