"With its neatly cut lawns and luscious tropical vegetation," wrote a BBC News reporter in July, Miracle Village, Fla., is an "idyllic rural community" of 200 residents — about half of whom are registered sex offenders, attracted to the settlement near Lake Okeechobee because laws and ordinances elsewhere in Florida harshly restrict where they can live (e.g., not within a half-mile of a school or park).
Incumbent residents might have been apprehensive in 2009 when a pastor started the local rehabilitation ministry (one even called it a "nightmare on Elm Street"), but since then, no one could recall a single impropriety involving an offender. And lately, 10 to 20 more applications arrive each week (screened to keep out diagnosed pedophiles and those with a history of drugs or violence).
Kneel before Zod … uh, me
Dana Carter's debut as principal of Calimesa Elementary School in California's San Bernardino County was quite inauspicious, as parents quickly objected to his August policy of requiring kids to drop to one knee when addressing him.
One parent said her daughter was forced to kneel while awaiting his attention and rise only when he lifted his arms. Carter said he would discontinue the policy and insisted he had instituted it for "safety" and not because he imagined himself as royalty.
(1) A 40-year-old woman was killed in a near-head-on collision in August in Spring Lake, Fla., while joy-riding on a back road at night on her dirt bike. She was accidentally hit by her husband, who was also joy-riding, in his all-terrain vehicle, and who also died.
(2) A 50-year-old man in Berne, N.Y., was killed in August when, driving an all-terrain vehicle, he virtually decapitated himself on nearly invisible wire strung across a road as one of a series of booby traps he had installed to protect his marijuana plants.
Unclear on the concept
In August, the Mother Nature Network website showcased an array of camping gear seemingly designed for the daintiest of those ostensibly "roughing" it. The Blofield outdoor couch inflates in minutes to produce a facsimile of a Las Vegas lounge sofa. The Rolla Roaster's 42-inch-long steel fork assures elegance (and evenness) in marshmallow-roasting.
For fashion-conscious backwoods women, Teva makes high-heeled hiking sandals ($330). The mother of all Swiss army knives, by Wenga, has so many gadgets that it suggests a parody of a Swiss army knife. To be a camper is to sleep in a tent, though, and why not the trailer-mounted Opera tent, including hardwood floors and a wine cooler?
Law in her own hands
By her own admission, Joan Hoyt, 61, of St. Louis, has difficulty writing, is easily distracted, needs frequent breaks, and "reads about 2½ times slower than her peers" — yet she wants to be a lawyer. She filed a lawsuit recently against the Law School Admission Council for special accommodations to take the standardized admissions test after the council offered to grant her "only" 156 extra minutes for the exam.
She also demanded a room by herself with a "white noise" machine and the ability to bring a computer and food and drinks to the exam.
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