Sometimes getting a wrong number can be a beautiful thing. A woman named Syd texted a picture of herself in a dress - apparently seeking an opinion - but to the wrong number. But instead of just ignoring it or telling her she had the wrong number, the receiver texted back a picture of five of his kids smiling and giving thumbs-up signs. He also wrote: "I believe this message was intended for someone else. My wife isn't home, so I couldn't get her opinion, but the kids and I think you look stunning in your dress! You should definitely go with that one!" The text exchange went viral after a friend of Syd's posted it to Twitter. It later became known that the nice text came from Tony Wood of Missouri. The reason his wife wasn't home was because she was with the couple's sixth child, Kaizler, at the hospital. The 6-year-old is battling leukemia, and after the text story went viral, people started donating to the family's GoFundMe campaign. As of this writing, it had raised nearly quadruple its $10,000 goal, and an update on the page thanks everyone for their support: "God continues to show us He is there for us and it is awesome to see His love move! ... Our needs to get back on our feet have been met! We can't thank you enough, but any further donations are unnecessary!" Tony Wood also tweeted a picture of Kaizler giving Syd his own thumbs-up. (MSN)
Teachers and Guns
While some continue to clamor for arming teachers with guns in our public schools, teacher Dennis Alexander of Seaside High School in Monterey County, California - who was also named 2013's reserve officer of the year for the Sand City PD and trained in firearms - was demonstrating "public safety" Tuesday for his administration of justice class with a semiautomatic handgun. But as Alexander was handling the weapon, it fired while pointed upward, sending the bullet ricocheting off the ceiling. One student suffered non-life-threatening wounds to his neck from either falling debris or "fragmentation"-not from a bullet, and that class went on after the dust literally settled. Two other students reportedly also had minor injuries. "It's the craziest thing. It could have been very bad," the dad of the 17-year-old student with the hurt neck says, adding school officials never checked to see if any students were injured, and that he and his son's mother were the ones who noticed his bloody shirt and neck injuries when he got home. Alexander, meanwhile, who's been a reserve officer for 11 years, has been placed on leave from both the school and the Sand City PD. "I have concerns about why he was displaying a loaded firearm in a classroom," that department's chief says. "We're looking into any violation of city ordinance or the penal code and we'll determine whether or not there are any applicable charges." For the record, California teachers are not allowed to bring firearms into classrooms, even with concealed carry permits. (Washington Post)
Don't Let Your Animals Fly United!!!
A dog died on a United Airlines plane after a flight attendant ordered its owner to put the animal in the plane's overhead bin. United said yesterday (Tuesday) that it took full responsibility for the incident on the Monday night flight from Houston to New York. In a statement, United called it "a tragic accident that should never have occurred, as pets should never be placed in the overhead bin." The dog was in a small pet carrier designed to fit under an airline seat. Passengers reported that they heard barking during the flight and didn't know that the dog had died until the plane landed at LaGuardia Airport. Passenger Maggie Gremminger posted a photo on Twitter of the dog's owner and children after the flight and wrote: "I want to help this woman and her daughter. They lost their dog because of a United flight attendant. My heart is broken." United spokesman Charles Hobart said the flight attendant told the dog's owner to put the pet carrier in the overhead bin because the bag was partly obstructing the aisle. It is unclear why the carrier was not placed under a seat, he said. Hobart said United is investigating the incident and talking to the flight attendant, whom he declined to identify. He said the airline refunded the tickets purchased for the dog owner and her two children and the fee that they paid to bring a pet on board-typically $200. The cause of the dog's death was not immediately known. Last year, 18 animals died while being transported on United - there were six cases on all other US carriers combined, according to the Department of Transportation. (Newser)
Portland: Uber's Least Favorite City
The city or Portland just fined Uber nearly $3.5 million and renewed its permit to operate there for just six months instead of a year - essentially putting it on probation while the City Council ponders stiffer regulations, such as requiring Uber and Lyft to carry the same liability insurance as taxis. The political tides have shifted dramatically for Uber in Portland after revelations it used special Greyball software to evade city regulators when it began operating there illegally in 2014, and then took a year to notify the city and state that its driver and passenger records were hacked. In addition, the pro-Uber majority on the City Council evaporated in last year's elections. Commissioner Nick Fish, who, along with Commissioner Amanda Fritz, voted against a major rewrite of taxi regulations in late 2015 that paved the way for Uber to enter and dominate the market said, "I just want Uber to play by the rules and be a good corporate citizen." Uber's response: "While we disagree with the city's basis to pursue a civil penalty, we do not minimize what occurred. Uber's new leadership has taken a series of steps to be accountable and respond responsibly. We will continue working with the city to try to engage in a constructive dialogue and resolve this matter fairly." (KOIN)
For Some, Prison is Best
In Clayton, Missouri, Paul H. Borroni went to prison at age 17 for fatally stabbing a fellow high school student because she wouldn't date him. He spent about 38 of the last 39 years in prison - and apparently, police say, he wanted to go back. Freed from prison a month ago, Borroni said he had been kicked out of one housing facility and then tried to get a bed at the Biddle House homeless shelter in downtown St. Louis, but found there was no room. Not wanting to be homeless, Borroni walked into a bar popular with judges and lawyers and in plain sight held up a bar employee - hiding his right finger beneath his coat and pretending it was a gun. He told her to give him cash or he would shoot her. Then, he ordered her to call police so he could be arrested. Do it, he told her, or he'd shoot her. Later at the police station he told detectives, "I want to go back to jail." He got his wish. He is now locked up at the St. Louis County Jail in lieu of $250,000 bail, cash only. Prosecutors charged him last Wednesday with first-degree robbery. His next court hearing is set for March 26. (St. Louis Today)
So What's a Little Lead in the Kids' Water?
In Nashville, a secret recording has revealed a plan to sabotage efforts to protect Nashville school children from toxic lead in their drinking water. "It's stunning," said parent Chelle Baldwin. "It's stunning, the callousness of it." An investigation by NewsChannel 5 exposed data kept secret by the district showing high lead levels in some Metro schools. In response, a number of schools installed special fountains that were supposed to filter out the lead. But the recording, from inside a meeting of Metro Schools maintenance employees, reveals plan to dismantle those efforts by Dennis Neal, the executive director of facilities for Metro Schools. Neal wanted the fountains to bypass the filters but they are equipped with lights that show when the filters are working and when they need to be replaced. So Neal's team came up with a solution for that, too. One woman at the meeting suggests taking out the light bulbs. An investigation is now underway. (NewsChannel5.com)
What the What?
Students in Preson, Idaho, were reportedly subjected to a disturbing scene last week when a teacher allegedly fed a puppy to one of his reptiles as the children looked on. A local animal activist filed a police report after hearing about the after-school incident, in which Preston Junior High science teacher Robert Crosland allegedly fed a sick puppy to either a snake or a snapping turtle. The Franklin County Sheriff's Department and the school district are both investigating the incident. While the animal activist calls the incident "disgusting," "sick," and "violence," some students and parents have said they were not upset by the incident because the puppy was apparently "deformed" and "going to die anyway." They say Crosland was just trying to illustrate the "circle of life"; one parent calls him "the best science teacher Preston Junior High has." In a statement, the Preston School District calls the incident "regrettable" but assures parents it "occurred well after students had been dismissed and was not a part of any school directed program." The statement says steps will be taken to ensure such a thing doesn't happen again, but that "we hope that any errors in judgement made by a teacher in this instance will not cause us to forget the years of care, effort, and passion the teacher has given to students in Preston School District." (Idaho Statesman)