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Nov. 9, 2007 at 6:30 AM   |   Comments

Great-nephew defends John Dillinger

MOORESVILLE, Ind., Nov. 9 (UPI) -- An Indiana man has committed his life to defending the honor of the nation’s former Public Enemy No. 1, John Dillinger, a report said.

Jeffrey Scalf, great-nephew of the Depression-era bank robber, spends evenings scouting the Internet for people profiting from or besmirching Dillinger, The Los Angeles Times reported.

Since beginning his crusade, Scalf has had a hand in closing a Dillinger museum in Indiana and renaming a Dillinger festival in Iowa. He's settled Dillinger-related suits with a San Francisco game company and Indiana restaurant and he dreams of the day when licensing fees will not only help him recoup legal fees, but also fund a foundation for troubled youth or a family-approved museum.

"For good or ill, this is my family's legacy and no one is going to take that away from me," the 50-year-old Scalf said.

Dillinger stole the equivalent of $4.8 million during a 14-month bank-robbing spree in 1934 and 1935, destroying thousands of mortgage records as he plundered banks. Federal agents fatally shot him July 22, 1934, in an alley outside the Biograph Theater in Chicago.


Mayor re-elected as write-in candidate

AUBURN, Maine, Nov. 9 (UPI) -- When John Jenkins was re-elected mayor of Auburn, Maine, he became the first person in the city's history to win a citywide election as a write-in candidate.

Jenkins not only won, he smoked the competition -- collecting more than 2,100 votes while his nearest competitor received just over 1,300 and the third-place finisher garnered just over 500 tallies, The Lewiston (Maine) Sun Journal reported.

Jenkins did little campaigning until the final days of the election.

"I didn’t paint a sign," he said, explaining his supporters did all the work. "This is a victory for the citizens. I happen to be the person who was brought along by the everyday people."


Mix-up sends wrong child to wrong house

JACKSONVILLE, Fla., Nov. 9 (UPI) -- A mix-up in the pickup of a Florida man's 4-year-old grandson from a Jacksonville pre-school created an awkward and tense situation.

Long Branch Elementary School pre-kindergarten student Zacari was safe at home with his family Wednesday, a day after he was mistakenly taken to the home of a different family, WJXT-TV, Jacksonville, reported.

A grandfather went to the school to pick up his grandchild and wound up putting Zacari on his bike and rode home.

"We were riding a bicycle, and he had to pick me up and put me in the middle," Zacari said.

When they arrived at the man's home, his wife recognized the boy wasn't her grandchild.

Meanwhile, Zacari's aunt had arrived to pick up the boy and panicked to learn her nephew was already gone.

"I was thinking the worst. I was crying. I was shaking," the aunt said.

Fortunately, the man who picked up the 4-year-old was biking back to the school to return him.

School district representatives said protocol was not followed in the mix-up and the teachers involved would be disciplined.


Transgender MP can't be wedding witness

FOGGIA, Italy, Nov. 9 (UPI) -- Italy's first transgender member of parliament is crying foul after being prohibited from standing up as a witness at a cousin's wedding.

"It's an outrage," said Vladimir Luxuria, a 42-year-old former drag queen. "This just goes to show how out-of-touch the Church is with the wider Catholic community, which is increasingly open and tolerant."

Luxuria, born Wladimiro Guadagno, said she considers herself neither male nor female but prefers feminine pronouns and references, the Italian news agency ANSA reported.

Luxuria said she didn't think the ban was legitimate, because rules governing wedding witness do not mention people's gender. Witnesses who are the best man or maid of honor sign the wedding certificate.

The bishop's office in the city of Foggia confirmed Luxuria was banned, but did not offer an explanation, ANSA said.

© 2007 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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