It seemed like a good idea when the town of Celoron, N.Y., agreed in 2009 to pay for a bronze statue honoring the village's only celebrity. Lucille Ball had spent her childhood years there, and even today, everyone "Loves Lucy." The result was apparently a monstrosity, described in news reports as "frightening" and unrecognizable by anyone who has ever watched Lucy's TV shows or movies. The sculptor offered to make another one for free, but Mayor Scott Schrecengost said, "No thanks" and is raising funds for a makeover.
Leading economic indicators
In additional fallout from budget cuts and personnel reductions at the IRS, the supervisory revenue official for the Dallas region disclosed in April that his office had so few collectors that it would pursue only scofflaws who owe the government at least $1 million. "I have to say," the supervisor told a reporter, "nobody's ever going to knock on [the] door" of anyone who owes from $100,000 to $999,999.
Unclear on the concept
At Australia's sixth annual National Disability Summit in Melbourne in March, all of the speakers except one were able-bodied. That person, in a wheelchair, had to be lifted up to the stage because there was no ramp. Furthermore, disabled activists in attendance told the Australian Broadcasting Corp. that the "disabled" section's table was at the back of the room, the food tables were elevated to accommodate standers, and one accessible toilet was being used as storage space.
German high school student Simon Schrader, 17, preparing for the all-important "Abitur" advanced-level tests to identify top-performing students, filed a formal request in April, under North Rhine-Westphalia state's generous freedom of information law, for an advance copy of the test. "I just wanted to see what they would say," he said. (He filed a little late, in that the state's deadline for responding came after most of the testing.)
In preparation for the National Union of Students Women's Conference in Solihull, England, in March some attendees requested that clapping for any of the speakers be discouraged, but that approval from the audience be expressed by "jazz hands" — open hands, palm directed to the stage, and the fingers extended wildly. Using "jazz hands" would show compassion for attendees who have anxiety and other disorders, and for speakers who might be distracted by the din of approval.
A jury in Atascadero, Calif., having already convicted Mark Andrews, 51, of murder, concluded in March that he was legally sane at the time he shot his neighbor to death even though he claimed she was a vampire and that he himself had been, for 20 years, a werewolf. (A month later, a judge in San Francisco acquitted Santino Aviles, 41, of robbery and other felony charges after he claimed that the apartment he broke into was a spaceship that would take him to safety before the imminent explosion of the Earth. His lawyer called his condition a "meth-fueled psychosis," and he was convicted only of misdemeanors.)
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