'Snail-mail' was snake mail
FARMINGTON HILLS, Mich., July 19 (UPI) -- A Farmington Hills, Mich., auto mechanic who thought it was a hoot to put a 6-foot boa constrictor in his mailbox faces up to six months in prison.
The letter carrier on his route was shocked when she opened the mailbox on July 7 and was confronted by the non-poisonous snake.
James Mell doesn't think the stunt was so funny now that he faces federal criminal charges of obstructing the delivery of the U.S. mail, the Detroit News reports. He could be fined and sentenced to six months in prison, if convicted.
"I thought it was funny," Mell, 31, told the News, "Looking back on it, it isn't, and it wasn't."
Mell sent the postal carrier a letter of apology, saying he was sorry about pulling a prank a 10-year-old would do.
Ex-nun hired to guide Wal-Mart policy
BENTONVILLE, Ark., July 19 (UPI) -- A 65-year-old former nun has been hired by Wal-Mart to help shape the company's policies on labor relations, healthcare and the environment.
Harriet Hentges, who was a nun in the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet from 1958-72, will assume the newly created position of "senior director of stakeholder engagement," The Washington Post reported.
Hentges, who also has a doctorate in international economics from Johns Hopkins University, has worked as chief operating officer of the League of Women Voters before joining the United States Institute of Peace, where she worked as a foreign conflict mediator in Iraq and the Balkans.
Wal-Mart spokeswoman Sarah Clark said Hentges was hired for her "understanding of complex issues" rather than her religious background, which Clark said "had nothing to do with it," the Post said.
Couple asks Internet for in vitro funds
WICHITA, Kan., July 19 (UPI) -- A Wichita, Kan., couple has started a Web site asking visitors to contribute money to help them afford in-vitro fertilization.
Brandi and Shelton Koskie said they created BabyorBust.com when a doctor told them in vitro was their best chance of having a baby, CBS News reported Tuesday. The couple said the procedure, which costs $15,000 per attempt, was far too costly for them.
"We're still young, getting started off to some extent," Shelton said Monday on CBS's "The Early Show." "And so, that is way out of our ballpark."
"We figured," Brandi said, "this would be a really easy way to use the Internet as a way to reach everybody and tell our story. And by accepting donations on the site, we also thought we could blog our story, tell every detail (along the way), and hopefully educate others about infertility."
The site was launched July 1.
"(Monday) morning, we checked, and we were about $5 short of $1,500. So, it's doing pretty well," Shelton said.
Woman sues to end anti-cohabitation law
BURGAW, N.C., July 19 (UPI) -- A former sheriff's dispatcher in Pender County, N.C., is heading to court in her fight against an anti-cohabitation law that she blames for the loss of her job.
Debora Hobbs claims she resigned from the Pender County Sheriff's Office in May 2004 after Sheriff Carson Smith used a 200-year-old state law to order her to stop living with her boyfriend, get married or leave her post, the Wilmington (N.C.) Star News reported Tuesday.
Peter Isajiw, an American Civil Liberties Union attorney arguing on Hobbs' behalf, said the law violated her fundamental rights.
"The law only applies to heterosexual couples," Isajiw said. "It does not apply to homosexuals. The law does not apply to married couples."
Pender County attorney Trey Thurman asked Superior Court Judge Benjamin Alford to dismiss the case, saying Hobbs cannot challenge the law because she has not been legally charged with the crime.
Alford said he needed time to study the case and did not know when he would make a ruling.