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March 22, 2013 at 6:30 AM   |   Comments

Girl, 13, made to hold punishment sign

CRESTVIEW, Fla., March 21 (UPI) -- A Florida couple who punished their 13-year-old daughter by making her hold an embarrassing sign at the side of the road said the punishment was a last resort.

Gentry and Renee Nickell said their teenage daughter's behavior had become increasingly worse since Renee's brother was killed in Afghanistan in December 2011 and the sign punishment they used Saturday was an idea they had been given by a Christian counselor several years ago, the Northwest Florida Daily News reported Thursday.

"I'm a Self-entitled teenager w/no Respect for authority. I'm also super smart, yet I have 3 'D's' because I DON'T CARE," read the sign the girl held at the side of a road for 90 minutes Saturday in Crestview, Fla.

"I wasn't even thinking about what the public was going to think," Renee Nickell said. "I was thinking about our daughter. It was for her to be in the public and recognize what she had done wrong."

She brushed aside online criticism of the punishment and a call to the police from a witness who objected to the treatment of the teenager.

"I asked her, 'Were you scarred? Traumatized?' She said, 'No mom, I knew it was coming.'"


Elderly man trapped at bottom of toilet

CHATSWORTH, Ga., March 21 (UPI) -- An elderly man was hospitalized after spending more than an hour trapped at the bottom of a deep toilet pit at a Georgia park, officials said.

Lisa Parker, spokeswoman for the district that covers the U.S. Corps of Engineers property at Carters Lake, said toilets at the park open to the hole where the refuse is treated and left to decompose. The man apparently fell in after standing on the toilet instead of sitting, the Dalton (Ga.) Daily Citizen reported Thursday.

"We've had these type of toilet facilities for 10 to 15 years, and he just misused the toilet, unfortunately," Parker said.

Parker said the man was trapped for about 70 minutes, as it took some time for family members to become concerned and park representatives had to be summoned to unlock the door.

The spokeswoman said the man was "covered in mess and scraped up." He was taken to Murray Medical Center in Chatsworth.


Coffee billed as world's strongest

NEW YORK, March 21 (UPI) -- A New York company is marketing its Death Wish brand coffee as "the strongest coffee in the world."

The company's website said the brew, which is made from fair-trade Robusta beans that are organically grown, "is the most highly caffeinated premium dark roast organic coffee in the world. This is Extreme Coffee, not for the weak. Consider yourself Warned," ABC News reported Thursday.

Death Wish said its coffee has double the amount of caffeine of regular coffee per 16-ounce serving, so "that means that Death Wish is giving 660 milligrams. Case reports have shown toxicity at about 700 mg," said Dr. John Spangler, professor of family medicine at the Wake Forest School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, N.C.

The product, which can be purchased at deathwishcoffee.com, costs $19.99 per pound.


Mass. gov.'s third term joke hits Twitter

BOSTON, March 21 (UPI) -- Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick said his comment about seeking a third term, which set off a flurry of activity on Twitter, was just a joke.

A spokeswoman for the Democratic governor said Patrick joked after a "generous" introduction from a University of Massachusetts dean at the Performance Management Conference, saying that the kind words had made it easier for him to run for a third term, and Twitter soon filled with reports that the governor was running again when his term expires in January 2015, the Boston Herald reported Thursday.

The Twitter accounts spreading the news included New England Cable News, a Boston Globe reporter and Washington reporters.

Patrick's office also received a deluge of phone calls following the comment.

"Complete chaos just erupted in our office -- no I don't know what he said but whatever it was it was a joke!!" tweeted Patrick aide Bonnie McGilpin.

"I wasn't even out the door and somebody told me that Twitter was lighting up," Patrick said.

Patrick said he plans to stick to his promise to his wife, Diane, to serve only two terms as governor.

© 2013 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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