Dispatches > Quick Takes

Quick Takes

Issue: "Foster care's future," March 5, 2005

Still going

Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor even apparently old age keeps this mailman from his route. Six days a week, 90-year-old retired rancher Kermit Paxton gets in his mail truck and embarks on his 70-mile mail route in western Nebraska. He says the route doesn't always go smoothly. Once he rolled his mail truck in icy weather. Another time he flipped his pickup. But there's more to the retiree's life than delivering the mail. In his spare time, he delivers Bibles as a member of the Gideons International.

Noise complaint

Executives with shoe manufacturer Goosebumps Products Inc. weren't laughing when their newest line of shoes came with some unplanned, embarrassing sound effects: "They were whoopee cushions for the feet," said Goosebumps representative Bryan Thomas. A company chemist said bubbles in the gel-filled insole caused the unsettling noise when wearers took steps, and Goosebumps is suing Bell Chem Corp. for providing the low-grade silicon that produced the bubbles.

Alabama eviction

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Some evictions in Alabama are getting violent. During a dispute with a tenant in a rental property near the Georgia line, the 69-year-old landlord, Joseph Hammock, broke the building's window and tossed a tear gas canister into the home. Renters said Mr. Hammock used the tear gas as an eviction technique. But it was the landlord who fled. Georgia police apprehended the landlord at his Georgia home on an unrelated arson charge.

Medicine breath

A Michigan woman arrested for drunk driving didn't get her libations from the corner liquor store-she got them from the oral hygiene aisle. Carol Ries, 50, who pleaded guilty to driving while drunk on three glasses of Listerine, was sentenced Feb. 15 to two years' probation.

Authorities suspected Ms. Ries was intoxicated after she rear-ended another car at a red light in January. Searching her car, police recovered a bottle of the mouthwash, which contains between 21.6 percent and 26.9 percent alcohol, depending on the formula. A breathalyzer test revealed that Ms. Ries's blood alcohol level was .30 percent, more than three times the legal limit. But she did have fresh breath.

Custody correction

Apparently, there is at least some honor among some thieves. Ricky Lee Claycomb was serving time in a Colorado prison for robbery when he was taken to Ohio to stand trial for rape. Ohio jurors acquitted him Feb. 15 and authorities there released him, even though he told them that he still had two years to serve in Colorado.

So Mr. Claycomb called his mother, who sent him money, and he took a bus back to Colorado and returned to the Fremont Correctional Facility in Canon City. "He was nice enough to call ahead," said Katherine Sanguinetti, a spokeswoman for the Colorado Department of Corrections. "I think he was afraid we would shoot him or something, but it wasn't his fault Ohio let him go."

Detroit lyin'

Detroit may be the rejection capital of America. The Motor City has produced the most calls of any town to the "Rejection Hotline," an enterprise launched in 2001 by Emory University student Jeff Goldblatt. Here's how it works: A person you're not interested in asks for your number. You say: (248) 262-6861.

But when that number is dialed, a recording kicks on: "The person who gave you this number did not want you to have their real number. . . . Do your best to forget about the person who gave you this number because, trust us, they've already forgotten about you." The Detroit number has logged more than 1.2 million calls since its 2004 launch, making it the most called of the 29 Rejection Hotlines Mr. Goldblatt operates across the country.

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