Elaborate elevator access will be available in the new Porsche Design Tower near Miami (opening in 2016 and already 80 percent sold out, according to a December report by Slate.com). The 132 oceanside units (in square footage from 4,300 to 17,000 and in price from $5.3 million to $32.5 million) include glass-walled, elevator-accessed spaces for two or four cars (for people who would rather admire their Bugattis and Maseratis than the Atlantic Ocean).
In December, Fort Worth, Texas, Judge Jean Boyd sentenced teenager Ethan Couch to probation with no jail time for drunkenly killing four people in a car crash — apparently accepting Couch's "defense" that his affluent, permissive childhood had taught him irresponsibility. (WFAA-TV turned up a 2012 case in which Boyd sentenced a 14-year-old black kid to prison for punching another boy who then fell, bumped his head and died.)
Jim Howe, father of two children at South Cumberland Elementary School in Crossville, Tenn., was handcuffed and briefly detained by a sheriff's deputy in November after mistakenly believing that he could walk his kids home when class let out at 2 p.m. Actually, the school allows 2 p.m. departure only for kids being picked up in cars; pupils who leave on foot must wait until 2:35. (Howe assumed that the waiting period was only to protect young pedestrians from pick-up traffic.) Deputy Avery Aytes said a rule is a rule and that if Howe failed to cooperate, he would be jailed.
Unclear on the concept
Police finally arrested William Footman, 55, in October as the person who somehow managed to swipe inside-front-door mats from at least 37 New York City banks between March and May. No money was ever taken, and some banks were slow to realize the thefts — ignorant that they had even had front-door mats in the first place. "I sell them to bodegas," Footman said. "Their floors get wet."
Rodney Rotert of Tulsa, Okla., filed a lawsuit against Philadelphia Insurance Cos. demanding the return of "his" classic 1967 Chevrolet Camaro, supposedly worth about $100,000. His case is complicated by the fact that he also recently pleaded no contest to possessing stolen property, i.e., that same car, stolen from an Arkansas dealer in 2007. (Rotert claims he bought the car legitimately, but he also changed the Vehicle Identification Number to obtain a false title.) Rotert said his legal claim, especially with the "current" VIN, is superior to the insurance company's claim.
News that sounds like a joke
Iowa lawyer Robert Allan Wright Jr. was suspended for a year by the Attorney Disciplinary Board in December for mishandling client funds. One client had received a "Nigerian inheritance" letter in 2011, and Wright apparently jumped at the opportunity to receive "$18 million," seemingly unaware of what almost everyone else in the developed world knows about unsolicited Nigerian business deals. By December, Wright had looted accounts of other clients in order to pay the "fees" necessary to free up the $18 million. He was spared a more onerous punishment only because the board concluded that Wright "honestly … continues to believe" that the inheritance is real — that "one day a trunk full of … one hundred dollar bills is going to appear upon his office doorstep."
The Petite Syrah cafe in Nice, France, began pricing its coffee differently in December to introduce greater politeness among the notoriously brusque French. If a patron orders by saying, "Bonjour, un café, s'il vous plaît" (i.e., with "hello" and "please"), the price is about $1.90. "Un café, s'il vous plaît" — not quite as polite — costs about $5.80. The price for "Un café!" — apparently the usual way of announcing one's need for coffee — about $9.50.
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