Watercooler Stories

Jan. 21, 2011 at 6:30 AM

Man, 66, becomes Eagle Scout

WILMINGTON, Pa., Jan. 21 (UPI) -- A 66-year-old Pennsylvania man with cerebral palsy is being awarded the rank of Eagle Scout by the Boy Scouts of America after 25 years of effort.

Bill Hartman of Wilmington said it took him 25 years to complete the required 21 merit badges, community service hours and his final project, WPVI-TV, Philadelphia, reported.

Hartman, who in the past competed in the Special Olympics, said he was inspired to finish his Boy Scout rank-climbing by a neighbor who became an Eagle Scout in 2002. He said he hopes his accomplishment will inspire others.

"They can do the same thing if they put their mind to it," Hartman said.


First grader punished for finger pointing

OKLAHOMA CITY, Jan. 21 (UPI) --An Oklahoma woman said she was outraged when school officials gave her 7-year-old son an in-school suspension for pointing his finger like a gun.

School officials -- without confirming the identity of the boy in question -- said a student pointed his finger like a gun repeatedly, even after being told "on more than one occasion" not to do it.

Lydia Fox said her son, Patrick Riley, received an in-school suspension Jan. 14 from Parkview Elementary School in Oklahoma City for using his finger to simulate a gun. She said she pulled the first-grader from the school rather than have him submit to the punishment, The Oklahoman reported.

"He doesn't really see why he got in trouble," Fox said. "I don't feel like he did anything to intentionally threaten or harass another student. It was just a 7-year-old boy being a 7-year-old boy."

District spokeswoman Stacey Boyer said "a student attending Parkview Elementary has repeatedly used his hands to simulate a gun and act as if he is shooting fellow students. The child has been told on more than one occasion to stop this behavior. The parent was notified on multiple occasions and has met with the principal to further discuss the ongoing behavior."

Boyer said she could not comment on disciplinary measures.


Fountain-falling texter: 'I'll sue'

WYOMISSING, Pa., Jan. 21 (UPI) -- A Pennsylvania woman whose fall into a mall fountain while texting went viral on YouTube said she's considering suing.

"I didn't get an apology, what I got was, 'At least nobody knows it was you.' But I knew it was me," Cathy Cruz Marrero, 49, said Thursday on ABC's "Good Morning America."

Marrero's attorney, James Polyak, said he wants to know the identities of the security personnel at the Berkshire Mall in Wyomissing responsible for making the video public, as nearly 2 million people have watched his client stumble obliviously into the fountain.

"I was like, 'I'm hoping nobody saw me. So let me just walk away,'" Marrero said, adding a word of advice to the digitally obsessed: "Do not text and walk. … The fountain could have been empty. ... I could have walked into a bus, you know. ... I could have got hit by a car. It can happen anywhere ... anywhere."

Marrero has her own legal problems, having been charged with theft by deception and receiving stolen property in October 2009. Her next court date is April 21, where she likely will be sentenced to six months of house arrest and electronic monitoring for allegedly using a co-worker's credit cards to purchase jewelry worth thousands of dollars without authorization, ABC said.

Marrero has four convictions for retail theft in the late 1990s and was convicted of a hit-and-run in 2009.


Top Swedish baby names: Maja, Oscar

STOCKHOLM, Sweden, Jan. 21 (UPI) -- Swedish statistics indicate the most popular baby names in the country for 2010 were Maja for girls and Oscar for boys.

Statistics Sweden said 895 girls were given the name Maja in 2010, accounting for 1.6 percent of all girls born on the country, while 1,108 boys, 1.9 percent of all boys born, were named Oscar, Swedish news agency TT reported.

Also in the top 10 for girls were Alice, Julia, Linneam, Wilma, Ella, Elsa, Emma, Alva and Olivia.

The rest of the top 10 for boys were William, Lucas, Elias, Alexander, Hugo, Oliver, Theo, Liam and Leo.

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