Watercooler Stories

Sept. 23, 2010 at 6:30 AM
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Nose stud yields fourth suspension

CLAYTON, N.C., Sept. 23 (UPI) -- A North Carolina high school student was suspended for the fourth time for refusing to cover up a nose piercing she said is part of her religion, lawyers said.

Katy Parker, an attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union, which has taken on the case, said Clayton High School freshman Ariana Iacono, 14, was suspended Tuesday for the fourth time for refusing a compromise offered by Johnston County school officials, the Raleigh (N.C.) News & Observer reported.

Officials said Iacono could keep the piercing, which they said violates the district dress code, if she covered it with a bandage for the remainder of her time at the high school.

Parker said Iacono is a member of the Church of Body Modification, which promotes tattoos and piercings as part of a path to spiritual enlightenment.

"We don't think she has an obligation to do it," Parker said of the offered compromise. "We think it's unreasonable to ask a student to wear a Band-Aid on her face for the next four years."

Parker said the ACLU is aiming to settle the matter out of court. School officials declined to comment.

'Pubic schools' billboard typo corrected

SOUTH BEND, Ind., Sept. 23 (UPI) -- The company behind a digital billboard in Indiana that was missing one key letter "l" from "public schools" apologized and said the error has been corrected.

The Blue Water group, which is contracted by the city of South Bend to promote the city, took responsibility for the "pubic schools" typo on a digital billboard inviting people to visit southbendon.com, WSBT-TV, South Bend, reported.

"I feel terrible. It's a mistake we made, and we're guilty of it, and responsible for it, and we take full responsibility for the error," said Patrick Strickler, president of the Blue Waters Group.

Strickler said the ad was taken out of the digital billboard's rotation and corrected before being replaced.

"We're the ones who made the mistake, not the city or the school," Strickler said.

Tightrope walker going 23 stories up

BUFFALO, N.Y., Sept. 23 (UPI) -- A French high-wire artist announced plans to walk the tight rope for 150 feet while more than 23 stories above the ground in New York state.

Didier Pasquette said he will walk a tightrope Thursday stretched between the twin replicas of the Statue of Liberty at the Liberty Building in Buffalo, the Buffalo News reported.

"It's the only place in the world where I am alone. Nobody can come with me on my wire if it's not a high-wire worker," Pasquette said Tuesday.

The feat is planned to kick off the "Beyond/In Western New York" arts event, which organizers said will involve more than 100 local, national and international artists.

Louis Grachos, director of Albright-Knox Art Gallery, which helped to organize the event, said the tightrope walk is the perfect way to begin the arts festival.

"As we started to talk about the project, we noticed that many people knew and loved the Liberty Building as a symbol of Buffalo. The poetry of this great French artist walking between the two Statues of Liberty is going to be a wonderful moment, I think, in our history," Grachos said.

City settles with boxer-clad man for $10K

BOULDER, Colo., Sept. 23 (UPI) -- A Colorado city is paying $10,000 to an activist who was arrested while wearing only boxer shorts during a city council meeting, lawyers confirmed.

David Lane, an attorney for activist Seth Brigham, said the city of Boulder agreed to pay his client to avoid a lawsuit on First Amendment and Fourth Amendment grounds for alleged violations of his free speech and freedom from unlawful arrest, the Boulder Daily Camera reported.

"Under the terms of the settlement, neither side is making any admission of liability, errors or blame," Boulder city spokeswoman Sarah Huntley said in a statement. "The city's decision to settle this claim is based on economic factors, including the costs that would be associated with litigating this matter."

Lane said Brigham's rights were violated Feb. 16 when he was arrested after refusing to leave the podium while wearing only his boxer shorts during a city council meeting. Trespassing and obstructing police charges were filed and later dropped.

"They're paying money because we threatened to sue for the First and Fourth amendments," Lane said. "If they want to save taxpayers' dollars, then don't violate the constitutional rights of taxpayers."

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