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Wednesday, April 19, 2017


The Nation of California Was Not to Be
It was a long shot, but supporters of a referendum to make California an independent nation finally ended their efforts this week. Ironically, the "Yes California Independence" campaign fell apart after its president, Louis Marinelli, moved to Russia! Marinelli's wife is a Russian national who has struggled with the US immigration process. In a lengthy message to supporters Monday, Marinelli said he is in Russia and seeking permanent residence because of his "frustration, disappointment and disillusionment with the United States." Meanwhile, Marcus Ruiz Evans, the group's vice president, withdrew the California Nationhood ballot measure, and then said he was joining the California Freedom Coalition, which plans to file its own ballot measure in coming weeks. The coalition would need to collect more than 585,000 signatures to qualify a ballot measure declaring California's independence for the November 2018 ballot. Of course, assuming that even happens, then Congress and 38 states would have had to agree to change the Constitution to permit California to actually secede. (Union Tribune)

When Your Birthday Present Nearly Kills You...and Then You Get $760K
A Texas girl whose 16th birthday present almost killed her has been awarded $760,000 -- more than $200 for each of the approximately 3,500 feet she plunged after her parachute malfunctioned. Makenzie Wethington, now 19, suffered internal injuries as well as a broken pelvis, lumbar spine, and shoulder blade in the Jan. 25, 2014, skydive in Oklahoma. After a negligence lawsuit, a judge ordered Robert Swainson, owner of the now-closed Pegasus Air Sports business, to pay Wethington $400,000 for physical suffering, $350,000 for mental suffering, and $10,000 for future medical expenses. Wethington, whose lawsuit alleged that she wasn't given proper training and that she was given the wrong parachute for her skill level, told the judge that after she jumped from the plane, her lines became tangled and she blacked out as she spun out of control, the Oklahoman reports. The next thing she remembers is waking up in a hospital bed. Swainson actually argued that she "injured herself" by panicking "when things did not go exactly as expected." After the accident, the US Parachuting Association raised the minimum age to 18, a limit that was already in place in most states. (Dallas Morning News)

Fake News Makes One Man Die Happy
The last thing 75-year-old Michael Garland Elliott heard was a fake news story and his ex-wife, Teresa Elliot, said he died a happy man because of it. Michael and Teresa managed to remain close friends even decades after their divorce. He was dying of heart failure and was a big news junkie who apparently hated Donald Trump. It was in his final moments that Teresa told Michael that Trump had been impeached. She said, "I knew that would bring him comfort and it did." According to an obituary in the Oregonian, upon hearing the news, Elliott "took his final, gentle breath, his earthly work concluded." For the record - and just in case there is any confusion- President Trump has not been impeached." Well, not yet. (New York Daily News)

Honesty - Still the Best Policy
Jake Bowers of Ohio wanted to set a good example for his children - and it cost him $14,000. That's how much money he found on the side of the road as he drove his family to a park in Worthington, a Columbus suburb. Bowers says when he initially saw the "blue felt bag" on the roadside, he thought it might contain someone's laptop. Instead, it was filled with $100 bills. Bowers and his family drove straight to the Worthington police station, and the bag was returned to its owner. It wasn't too hard to find him - a wallet containing the owner's ID was inside the bag. Bowers said it would have been nice to put the money toward his car loans, but he had something more valuable in his hands: "the opportunity to help restore someone's faith in humanity." A police report says the owner had taken the cash to a car dealer but left without buying a vehicle. He told police he must have left it on top of his car and driven off. (Washington News)

Drug-Sniffing Lizard
The Avondale Police Department in Arizona has shared photos from the swearing-in of its newest and most unusual officer - Iroh the drug-sniffing lizard. No kidding. Iroh, a bearded dragon that first came to the department last April as part of a pilot program, was officially sworn in by Chief Dale Nannenga and photos of the ceremony were posted to the department's official page on Facebook. The department said officials reviewed research indicating reptiles have a strong enough sense of smell to make them more effective than dogs at detecting some types of narcotics. A Facebook post reads: "Our pilot program drug sniffing bearded dragon will be assisting Officers in the City. Please help us welcome Iroh!" (Newser)

Watch Those F-Bombs!
A potty mouth landed one Louisiana teenager in jail and he could spend more than a month behind bars. Deputies arrested Jared Dylan Smith after they say he yelled an "F-bomb" while sitting next to a 75-year-old woman and quote, "clearly disturbed her peace." No one else heard it, and Smith denies it happened, but he was arrested and spent a night in jail. He was released on $200 bond. In Louisiana, the penalty for disturbing the peace is up to 90 days in jail, and a $100 fine. (WTSP)

Record? Two Corvette Crashes in Seven Minutes?
The license plate of the white Chevy Corvette read "Culnane," and police say that Kevin Cullinane was the man behind the wheel in two different accidents just seven minutes apart. At 7:15 p.m., Goffstown police responded to a hit-and-run accident involving two vehicles. Witnesses told officers a late-model Chevrolet Corvette took off after the crash, heading east. Just seven minutes later, at 7:22, witnesses say the same Corvette hit another vehicle, but when Cullinane tried to leave that scene, he was detained by the witnesses until police arrived. Manchester police learned from witnesses that the Corvette was traveling at a high rate of speed and weaving through traffic when it struck the other vehicle, pushing it into a telephone pole. No one was seriously injured, police said. Cullinane, 54, was charged with conduct after an accident, operating under the influence of drugs and reckless operation. Charges are also pending against Cullinane in Goffstown. (Union Leader)

What theWhat?
A person aboard a Southwest Airlines plane was arrested after security staff found a loaded gun in his hand luggage. Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple said the handgun was found during a routine screening of Erik Gibson, who told officials that he had forgotten that he had the gun with him. Oh by the way, Erik was to be the plane's PILOT! He had just flown from New Orleans to Albany, however he was not screened. He's been charged with misdemeanor weapon possession, but has been released on bail. Incidentally, this is the second gun that has been found by Albany baggage screeners in four weeks. (Fox News)

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