Tuesday, October 10, 2017

WEIRD NEWS

When Heroes Double Down
On August 8, 15-year-old Jasmine Block disappeared from her home in Alexandria, Minnesota. She was reportedly held for nearly a month in an abandoned house, where she says she was physically and sexually assaulted. On September 5, she somehow manged to break out and swam across a lake. Once she got to the other side, she started running. That's when 65-year-old Earl Melchert saw her from his truck and suddenly recognized her as the missing girl he'd seen in newscasts and posters around town. He got Jasmine into his truck, called 911, and started driving the teen to the local police station. As they drove, Jasmine saw a car driven by one of the suspects, which helped cops catch them the same day. But as heroic as that was, it was Melchert's next "incredible act of kindness," as the Alexandria Police Department notes on Facebook, that brought on even more hugs: He turned down the $7,000 reward and gave it to Jasmine instead. The Alexandria PD says, "He believes that young lady that came running towards him that September day is the real hero." They added, "Thank you Earl, it is people like you that make this world a better place." Meanwhile, Jasmine is back in school and healing with the help of a therapy dog, while the three suspects - Thomas Barker, 32, a family acquaintance, as well as Joshua Holby, 31, and Steven Powers, 20 -- have been charged with kidnapping, false imprisonment, assault, and criminal sexual conduct. (Twin Cities Pioneer Press)

Dove Apologizes - For Racist Ad
Dove is back in the hot seat. Their latest TV ad shows a black woman pulling off her brown shirt to reveal a white woman in a pale shirt, who then pulls off her shirt to reveal a non-Caucasian, but still light-skinned, woman wearing a slightly darker shirt. There are many who find the image of a black woman appearing to turn into a white woman racist, pointing out that years ago, soap companies used to advertise their products with images of black people using soap to clean themselves and reveal white skin. Dove has apologized in a social media statement reading: "Dove is committed to representing the beauty of diversity. In an image we posted this week, we missed the mark in thoughtfully representing women of color and we deeply regret the offense that it has caused. The feedback that has been shared is important to us and we'll use it to guide us in the future." It's not the first time a Dove ad has been called racist; in 2011, a body wash ad appeared to depict a darker-skinned woman as "before" and a lighter-skinned woman as "after," though the company later said all the women in the ad were meant to "demonstrate the 'after' product benefit." (Jezebel)

You'd Think Schools Would Know About Landmark Supreme Court Rulings
In Houston, India Landry is a senior at Windfern High School. She doesn't stand for the pledge of allegiance and hasn't since 9th grade. She says, "I don't think that the flag is what it says it's for, for liberty and justice and all that. It's not obviously what's going on in America today." For the record, in 1943 the Supreme Court ruled that making students stand during the pledge was unconstitutional, and while not everyone may agree, they have always recognized India's rights to free speech and her protests have gone by all these years without incident. That is until she was in the principal's office Oct. 2 when the pledge began over the PA system. Principal Martha Strother instructed India to stand and when she refused, Strother EXPELLED HER from school. Now India's mom, Kizzy Landry, is suing Strother and the Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District, saying her daughter's First Amendment rights were violated. Of course the ensuing media firestorm made Stroher rethink her position and India was invited back to school late last week and told she didn't have to stand, but the Landrys had already decided to sue. Meanwhile, a statement since issued by the district notes "a student will not be removed from campus for refusing to stand for the pledge" and that it will handle any such matters "internally." (KHOU)

Don't Try to Beat the Train
Pennsylvania State Police say a mother in an SUV was trying to "beat the train" when she failed to yield the right of way and was hit by another SUV leaving both vehicles disabled on the Norfolk Southern Railway tracks. Police say the panicked mother was able to free her infant from a car seat and pull her to safety just seconds before the train slammed into the vehicle. The mother and the infant sustained moderate injuries, as did the other driver and multiple traffic violations are expected to be filed. Trooper John Corna said at the time of the accident, warning signs were flashing, meaning the mother should have stopped, but the gates hadn't come down yet and she was trying to beat the train. (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review)

Hiker Dies From Rattlesnake Bite
In Golden, Colorado, 31-year-old Daniel Hohs was an endurance athlete and in great shape. So hiking the local mountain trails should have been a piece of cake, but then he was suddenly bitten on the ankle by a 4-foot-long snake when hiking with a friend. Hohs took a few steps and sat down. His friend called for help at 12:40pm, but emergency responders had to hike about 1.5 miles from the trailhead to reach him. It took them 22 minutes. During that time, a doctor who was on the trail tended to him. Hohs was rushed by ambulance to a hospital, but it was too late. He died a short time later. Hohs triathlon training partner Heather Gollnick called Hohs "so vibrant" with a "huge smile and this energy that just made you happy. It was contagious to everyone." State reptile specialist Tina Jackson says hikers who encounter snakes should leave them alone adding, "In most cases, the snake is not going to bother you. Don't try to kill it." Fatal snakebites are actually very rare and statistically you actually have a greater chance of being killed by a lightning strike. (Post Independent)

Snorting Coach Looses Job
Here's a pro-tip: If you're one of the highest paid assistant coaches in the NFL, don't send a video of yourself snorting a white powder to a girlfriend while saying, "Hey babe, miss you, thinking about you. How about me going to a meeting and doing this before I go?" We'd be talking about 55-year-old Chris Foerster, the offensive line coach for the Miami Dolphins. He resigned yesterday after the video went public. There's no word on exactly how that happened. A statement from the team read: "After speaking with Chris this morning, he accepted full responsibility and we accepted his resignation effective immediately." Foerster, who made between $2.5 million and $3 million a year, echoed that in a statement of his own saying: "I want to apologize to the organization and my sole focus is on getting the help that I need with the support of my family and medical professionals." (Palm Beach Post)

What the What?
In Leesburg, Florida, 52-year-old Kristin Betz was arrested for tailgating a sheriff's deputy. But you can hardly blame her - Betz said "Jesus commanded" her to do it. The deputy was driving his patrol car when he noticed a beige Volkswagen within inches of his bumper. He was going to let it go and made a right turn and got into the far left lane of U.S. Highway 441, when he noticed the same car tailgating him again. The Volkswagen then went into the center lane, where the woman behind the wheel began staring at the deputy. She then swerved in the deputy's direction three times, almost causing the two cars to crash. After pulling Betz over the deputy asked her why she was driving so dangerously. Betz said "because I was praying for you and your salvation." When asked the question again she replied, "Jesus has commanded me to." We can only assume Jesus was with her as she was booked into the Lake County jail. (ClickOrlando.com)

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