Economy a boon for 'need a job' bracelets
SARASOTA, Fla., May 20 (UPI) -- A pair of Florida entrepreneurs said they struck gold with their simple yet functional idea -- silicone bracelets bearing the message: "I need a job."
Sarasota residents Barbara Bourn, an interior design sales representative who describes herself as "underemployed," and Stephanie Aucoin, who lost her accounting firm position, sell the wristbands from their Web site, LaidOffNeedaJob.com, the Detroit Free Press reported Tuesday.
The women said they have already recouped their initial investment by selling between 5,000 and 6,000 of the $3 bracelets, which are available in yellow or pink, in just three months.
The Web site also offers tips for job seekers and updates on economic news via Twitter and Facebook.
"We're just trying to help," Bourn said. "All the feedback is very gung-ho and very positive."
One of the pair's customers, Diane King of Cass County, Mich., said she purchased 40 of the bracelets for family and friends. She said one of the bracelets helped her son land a job interview.
"It gets conversations started," King said.
Blagojevich's wife offered reality TV role
CHICAGO, May 20 (UPI) -- The wife of ex-Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich may take part in a reality TV show to raise money to fight his corruption charges, a lawyer for the family said.
"It appears she's going to do it," lawyer Sheldon Sorosky said.
Patti Blagojevich lost her job after her husband's arrest in December and the couple needs money to pay for his legal defense, said Glenn Selig, her spokesman.
Blagojevich is charged with conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and solicitation of bribery in a Justice Department complaint that alleges, among other things, he tried to sell Barack Obama's vacated U.S. Senate seat to the highest bidder.
Patti Blagojevich was offered her husband's place in the show "I'm a celebrity ... Get me out of here" after a federal judge last month banned the impeached governor from traveling to Costa Rica for the filming, which begins June 1, the Chicago Sun-Times reported Tuesday.
The NBC show features minor celebrities in humiliating and repulsive acts, such as eating insects. Patti Blagojevich would join actors Stephen Baldwin and former American Idol contestant Sanjaya Malakar.
Patti Blagojevich has not said how much she's been offered to appear in the show, though her husband was reportedly offered up to $123,000, the Sun-Times said.
Dog's water bowl tabbed as fire cause
SEATTLE, May 20 (UPI) -- Sunlight magnified by water in a dog bowl left on a Seattle home's wooden deck was the probable cause of a fire, officials say.
Lt. Eric Keenan, the Seattle Fire Department's community liaison officer, told Monday's Seattle Times while such an incident is rare, it's not unheard of.
"There was nothing else in that area that could be identified as a fire source -- no smokers, no electrical devices," he said.
The newspaper reported the Sunday fire destroyed the deck and badly damaged an adjacent kitchen, with total losses estimated at $215,000. No people or pets were injured.
Keenan said he had heard of a similar fire in which glass in a door caused a construction site blaze, while University of Washington atmospheric scientist Steve Warren added the theory is not impossible.
"The shape (of the bowl), the height and the angle of the sun would have to be just right," he told the Times.
Mystery fines tied to stolen plates
GEORGETOWN, Ky., May 20 (UPI) -- A Kentucky woman said she has received 24 toll violation notices from New Jersey and Maryland in the past two weeks despite not traveling to those locations.
Zelpha Mitsch, 89, of Georgetown, who said she's never been to New Jersey and last visited Maryland around 1946, said she has been getting "Notice of Enforcement Action" letters from transportation officials in the two states that accuse her of failing to pay tolls on the New Jersey Turnpike and the Fort McHenry Tunnel near Baltimore, the Louisville (Ky.) Courier-Journal reported Tuesday.
"It's got me puzzled," Mitsch said.
Mitsch said she used to have the 4680E license plate cited by the notices on her old blue Chevy pickup truck, but she removed it once it expired three years ago. She estimated the plates were stolen in February, before the dates on the letters.
The notices sent from Maryland did not include pictures of the offending vehicles, but the New Jersey notices bore photographs of the license plates on a variety of different vehicles.
Marian Pearcy, Mitsch's lawyer, said the notices have been shown to Floyd County Prosecutor Keith Henderson's staff and a stolen license plate complaint was filed. Pearcy said the theft report will be sent to law enforcement agencies across the country to help track the plates and to transportation authorities to ensure Mitsch does not lose her license as a result of the fines.