Giddyup! When a strain of equine herpes led to a temporary quarantine at horse farms in central Utah, the sponsors of the Davis County Mounted Posse Junior Queen contest in May had a dilemma, but instead of canceling the competition in which the cowgirls show their skills on horseback, they decided to conduct the show except with the girls riding stick ponies to get style points. Former queen Savanna Steed told KSL-TV the change would be good because it would better test riders' knowledge of the routines instead of their relying on their horses to make the moves.
(1) Former Camden, N.J., police Sgt. Jeffrey Frett pleaded guilty in May in a scheme to qualify for early retirement by arranging to be shot in the leg (to be attributed to random street violence). The plan deteriorated, police said, when Frett's wife (the designated shooter) missed his leg, merely ripping a hole in his uniform pants.
(2) Ryan Martin, 29, and Erica Clayburn, 20, were charged with reckless endangerment in Derry Township, Pa., in April after Martin was shot in the jaw. The couple was playing a game resembling "Marco Polo" with a loaded handgun, with an eyes-closed Clayburn firing when Martin shouted "Gun!" (Martin was supposed to duck out of the way before Clayburn pulled the trigger.)
Latest Religious Messages
Unclear on the Concept: India’s Ganges River has become famously polluted, in part by reverent Hindu pilgrims who toss "offerings" (such as clothing, statues and the cremated ashes of loved ones) into it in hope of prosperous lives and holy afterlives. Hindu immigrants in New York City, without access to the Ganges, have called upon Jamaica Bay as a stand-in. The formerly quiet waters adjacent to JFK International Airport now ebb and flow with similar offerings that ultimately litter the bay’s federal recreation area shoreline. Hindu community leaders in New York, with only mixed success, constantly urge greater environmental sensitivity.
• From time to time, clever rabbis suggest ways of bypassing ancient Talmudic laws that restrict observant Jews' behavior on the Sabbath (a day of "rest"). In April, Rabbi Dror Fixler, an electro-optics expert from Bar-Ilan University in Israel, said he could foresee a day when even driving a car might be permitted on the Sabbath. The driver would wear an encephalography helmet that could catch brain signals and transmit them to a car’s operating and steering system, removing the need for "action" on the driver's part (thus theoretically leaving him "at rest").
The Continuing Crisis
(1) The Columbus, Ohio, school board accepted principal Kimberly Jones' resignation in May following revelations by The Columbus Dispatch that she, though earning $90,000 a year, swore on federal forms she made just $25,000 – so her own two children would qualify for reduced-price school lunches.
(2) Prime Healthcare Services, with a reputation for rescuing financially failing hospitals, reported two new acquisitions, in Victorville, Calif., and Redding, Calif., somehow curiously experienced rates about 40 and 70 times the state average in patients with a rare Third World Ghanian sickness that, conveniently, qualified the hospitals for enhanced Medicare reimbursements.