Firefighters miffed at congregation
MONSEY, N.Y., June 16 (UPI) -- Congregants at a synagogue in New York state thought it was funny when the fire alarm went off after someone burned an offensive newspaper in a trashcan.
Firefighters who responded to the call were less amused, especially when members of Congregation Anshe Sfard in Ramapo, N.Y., refused to leave the building, the Rockland (N.Y.) Journal News reported.
"They laughed when the fire chief ordered everyone out," Ramapo Detective Sgt. John Lynch told the newspaper.
The newspaper in question was Wednesday's New York Post with a picture of three women in bathing suits on its cover. A member of the congregation took the paper into the men's room and incinerated it.
"We're the ones getting out of bed at 11 o'clock at night to protect them," Scott Meier, assistant chief of the Tallman Volunteer Fire Department said, the Journal News reported. "What will it take for them to cooperate with us? Do we have to pull one of them out of a building dead one night?"
The congregation did leave the building when police showed up.
Man steals picnic table for proposal
IRVINE, Calif., June 16 (UPI) -- An ex-Marine with a romantic bent stole the picnic table where he first kissed his sweetheart from a public park in California, promising its speedy return.
Stefan Robichaux sent an e-mail message to officials in Irvine, Calif., the day after he and two friends liberated the table from Deerfield Community Park and painted it purple, the Orange County Register reported. "Operation Purple Steel," carried out under cover of darkness, went off smoothly.
"This bench will be returned no later than 23:59 hours (PST) on June 30, 2006," Robichaux promised.
He also plans to remove the paint.
Robichaux and Naomi Goetz first met as children at a church camp. Almost six years ago, when they were teenagers, they shared a kiss at the picnic table in the park, the newspaper said. Their romance cooled until last year, when Goetz sent Robichaux an e-mail message.
Now out of the Marines and working as an international sales coordinator, Robichaux wanted his proposal to be a memorable one.
"If you're not gonna propose in Paris, you've got to do it in style," he told the Register.
Goetz, who calls her fiance a "prince among men," thinks he is honest since he notified authorities of the table's whereabouts.
Jurors get ripped off
ST. PAUL, Minn., June 16 (UPI) -- A group of jurors became crime victims when at least one thief sneaked into the Ramsey County (Minn.) courthouse deliberation room and stole their valuables.
The jurors were hearing a case involving a man accused of stabbing his wife. They had gathered in the deliberation room before proceedings began Monday afternoon and left their belongings, the St. Paul (Minn.) Pioneer Press and Minneapolis Star Tribune reported. A court officer was supposed to lock the door, a spokesman for the sheriff's division said.
"That is the procedure, but in this case the clerk did not lock the room," spokesman John Luey told the Pioneer Press.
Luey told the Star Tribune that though there are surveillance cameras throughout the courthouse, there are none near the room from which the items -- including wallets, credit cards and an iPod -- were taken. No witnesses have stepped forward, he said.
"It's going to be a tough one to solve," he said. "There's not a lot to go on."
Indy yearbook breaks taboos
INDIANAPOLIS, June 16 (UPI) -- High school yearbooks are supposed to preserve fond memories but officials at an Indianapolis school are less than fond of this year's edition.
Students at North Central High School decided to immortalize pictures of drug and alcohol use and smoking on page 39, and Superintendent James Mervilde told the Indianapolis Star he's been fielding phone calls from parents over the content.
The captions on the pictures indicate the activities are positive. None of the students' faces is visible.
"I regret the fact that some people have used this unfortunate publication ... to draw broad inferences about Washington Township," Mervilde said. "I don't think we've dropped our standards. I don't think we've lessened our moral standards in any regard. I think what we have here is an error, a bobble."
As a result, yearbook adviser Tom Gayda has been told to draft new guidelines for students to make sure they follow board policy, Mervilde said.