UPI NewsTrack Quirks in the News

May 1, 2012 at 5:00 PM
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Man called 911 to report phone problems

YORKVILLE, Ill., May 1 (UPI) -- An Illinois man who called 911 five times to complain about his iPhone not working properly was sentenced to a year of probation and a $1,000 fine.

Michael Skopec, 48, pleaded guilty to resisting a peace officer last week in Kendall County Court and was sentenced to probation and the fine for calling 911 five times Nov. 9, 2011, to complain about problems with his phone, (Chicago) Sun-Times Media reported Tuesday.

"Listen here," Skopec told the dispatcher during one of his calls. "I can't get through to my phone unless I dial 911. I'm ready to smash my phone into the concrete wall. Is that OK? No, it's not OK. What the hell's wrong with my phone?"

An officer was eventually dispatched to Skopec's house and placed him under arrest.

Woman charged with biting dog

LAKE IN THE HILLS, Ill., May 1 (UPI) -- Police in Illinois said they arrested a 19-year-old woman accused of drunkenly biting her mother and the family dog during an argument.

Lake in the Hills police said Analise Garner, 19, returned home after a night of drinking around 4 a.m. Sunday and allegedly bit the family's English bulldog three times while arguing with her mother, WBBM-AM, Chicago, reported Tuesday.

Police said Garner also allegedly bit her mother's right hand and scratched her on the side of her face.

The dog allegedly bit Garner back on the left arm.

"The dog was defending himself," police Sgt. Mark Smith said. "She'd already bit him a few times. The dog was not charged."

Garner was charged with animal cruelty, two counts of domestic battery and underage drinking. She was released Monday on $3,000 bond.

First dog makes online pitch for Obama

WASHINGTON, May 1 (UPI) -- Talk about a dogged presidential campaign: First pooch Bo has the starring role in an Internet ad for U.S. President Obama's re-election bid.

The Internet ad opens with a two-toned blue background, similar to other pro-Obama spots, then Bo appears on screen, tongue out and roaring to play, The Washington Post reported Monday.

"Join Pet Lovers for Obama," the ad implores.

Political pets have long attracted attention. Then-Sen. Richard M. Nixon's dog, Checkers, was the subject of speech on an early 1950s scandal. Bill Clinton had an adopted stray cat, Socks.

But Obama may be trotting into uncharted territory by featuring his Portuguese water dog in campaign ads and fundraising appeals, the Post said.

Mark McKinnon, a top campaign adviser for former President George W. Bush, quipped that the 2012 race "has gone to the dogs."

But McKinnon also told the Post a candidate's relationship with animals can be an important point for many voters.

"People look at a whole constellation of attributes when they vote for president," McKinnon said. "Pet lover may not be high on the list, but it's on the list."

'Psychiatric suspensions' in kindergarten

NEW YORK, May 1 (UPI) -- The attorney for two New York families said their kindergartners were pulled from separate charter schools after being placed on "psychiatric suspensions."

Attorney Nelson Mar said Brianna Pena, 5, was placed on one of the "psychiatric suspensions" on the first day of her transfer to Harriet Tubman Charter School when officials deemed her to be too troubled for the facility, the New York Daily News reported Tuesday.

"Nobody cares about me," the girl was reported to have repeatedly shouted during class. She also allegedly threw chairs during the incident.

Relatives said the girl was likely anxious about it being her first day at a new school where she didn't have any friends. However, officials required her to receive "psychological clearance" before returning to the school.

Mar said Christian Charriez, 6, was removed from South Bronx Classical Charter School in a separate incident after being suspended four times. The attorney said the family was told the final time that he would not be allowed back into the school until he received a psychiatric analysis and diagnosis.

The U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights is investigating the Charriez case, Mar said.

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