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UPI NewsTrack Quirks in the News

Oct. 13, 2009 at 5:25 PM   |   Comments

Man arrested for pillow throw

EDGEWATER, Fla., Oct. 13 (UPI) -- Police in Florida said a man was arrested for throwing a "biohazardous" pillow at an officer.

Investigators said they were called Sunday to the Driftwood Mobile Home Park in Edgewater, Fla., by George Batty, 62, who told officers he was afraid his son, Erik John Batty, 40, had taken too many pills and was attempting to hurt himself, the Orlando (Fla.) Sentinel reported Tuesday.

Officer Myles Lawler said he arrived on the scene and determined that Erik Batty had not taken a dangerous amount of pills. The man refused medical treatment for a bleeding injury to his forehead.

Lawler said Batty shouted for him to leave and threw a pillow, which the officer deflected.

"I felt the pillow was biohazardious material and could contain hazards," Lawler wrote in the report, noting Batty has several diseases.

Batty was arrested and charged with battery on a law enforcement officer.


Felony Franks riles neighbors

CHICAGO, Oct. 13 (UPI) -- The owner of Felony Franks, a Chicago hot dog stand staffed by ex-convicts, said he does not understand the animosity of some neighbors toward his business.

James Andrews, 64, who opened Felony Franks on the West Side of Chicago last year, said Alderman Robert Fioretti denied him permission to hang a sign outside of the business because he does not like the name and the official told him he also plans to oppose permission to cut a curb to install a drive-through lane, the Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.

Andrews said he was also accused of "pimping out" the community by a local pastor and members of a neighborhood association have pledged to avoid the business unless the owner changes the name and jail-themed decor.

"I don't understand it," Andrews said of the strong opposition to his eatery. "I really don't."

However, Andrews said the hot dog stand brings in about $30,000 each month and he is considering opening more locations. The owner said he has no intention of changing the name.

"I won't even consider it," he said.


Australian police stations hit by thieves

MELBOURNE, Oct. 13 (UPI) -- Police stations in the Australian state of Victoria have been robbed on an average of once every two weeks for the past two years, a newspaper reports.

The thefts range from potentially serious with handcuffs, police badges and parts of uniforms stolen, to the petty, including a chocolate bar and a few dollars in coins, the Melbourne Herald Sun said Tuesday. A young shoplifting suspect who had been given a warning and released tried to steal a cell phone on the way out and ended up with a criminal charge.

The Herald sun examined reports between January 2007 and April 2009 and found 47 thefts. Twelve remain unsolved.

At least five were believed to have been carried out by police officers. Three officers quit after the Ethical Standards Department began investigations while a rookie police officer suspected of stealing uniform items has been suspended.

Ten of the cases involve the theft of collection boxes for the Blue Ribbon Foundation, which honors police officers killed in the line of duty.


City targets 7-year-old flamingo sculpture

HAMPDEN, Md., Oct. 13 (UPI) -- A Maryland restaurant owner said a city inspector told her the pink flamingo sculpture she put up seven years ago is subject to an annual fee.

Denise Whiting, owner of the Cafe Hon in Hampden, Md., said the flamingo, which is made from chicken wire and a bed sheet, has stood on the corner of 36th Street and Roland Avenue since 2002, but the city's Department of General Services sent her a letter recently saying an inspector had determined the sculpture needs a license to remain in place, the Baltimore Sun reported Tuesday.

The city said the sculpture projects "into the public right of way," making it subject to a "minor privilege permit" involving an annual fee. The amount of the fee was unclear Tuesday.

"It's like, now that we've made our mark, the city is saying, 'Let's pick on them,'" Whiting said. "I've done a lot of things that draw attention to this community. This is just one of them."

City officials did not say why the flamingo was being targeted after seven years without incident, but they said such matters are usually driven by complaints from the public.

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