Fort Myers Florida Weekly


The fringes of the immigration debate

. The Outer Frontiers of U.S. Immigration Policy: The $125 million Jay Peak ski resort in Vermont, with 120-room hotel, ice arena, golf course and the Northeast’s largest water park, is just months away from completion, thanks to half-million-dollar investments from each of 250 foreign nationals from 43 countries who, as part of the deal, were given conditional U.S. “green cards” (for permanent residency). At the other end of America’s immigration conundrum, prosecutors in Snohomish County, Wash., dropped the rape charge in July against illegal immigrant Jose Madrigal-Lopez, 46, for lack of evidence and released him back onto the street. Mr. Madrigal-Lopez has been deported from the U.S. 10 times already but keeps returning. 

Bad mommies

. Ranay Collins, 49, was arrested in Las Vegas in June and charged with beating her 16-year-old daughter with a cane. The arresting officer quoted Collins’ explanation: “That (expletive) owes me $50 for rent.”

. Police arrested Christina Muniz, 29, in Surprise, Ariz., in June, after being summoned to the home by Muniz’s son, 11. Ms. Muniz had just informed the boy and his brother, 6, that she was abandoning them to move to California with her boyfriend to fulfill her dream of becoming a stripper. With police watching, the older boy approached Ms. Muniz for a hug, but she slugged him in the stomach. 

Courtroom weirdness

. David Lowe, 47, was convicted in Brooksville, Fla., last year of “lewd or lascivious exhibition” after he sat in his car, masturbating, outside a convenience store while ostentatiously holding a large dildo to his mouth in front of a woman and her child. In July 2010, a Florida appeals court reversed the conviction and freed Mr. Lowe, pointing out that conviction under that particular statute requires “sexual activity,” which is defined as occurring between two or more persons.

. Vietnam’s Version of an “Innocence Project”: “Traditional medicine” practitioner Pham Thi Hong is credited with freeing three men who had been convicted of a rape in 2000 and were serving 16-year prison sentences. According to Hong, men with certain small spots on their ears are virgins, and since the men still have their spots, they could not have committed rape.

. Mark Seamands, 39, went to trial in May in Port Angeles, Wash., accused of second-degree assault and two lesser charges for the hot-iron “branding” of his three children, aged 13, 15 and 18. Each of the kids bore the mark “SK,” for “Seamands’ Kids.” At trial, however, the kids testified that they not only consented to the branding but thought it was cool (despite the second-degree burns), and as a result, the jury dismissed the assault charge and deadlocked on the two lesser ones.

. An internal police inquiry concluded in April that it was an accident that an officer in the Utica, N.Y., courtroom of Judge Randal Caldwell shot Caldwell in the leg with his Taser gun. Investigators concluded that the officer was merely trying to re-holster the weapon to make it less uncomfortable, and it slipped. 

Redneck chronicles

. In July, Mike Morateck, 46, a selfdescribed “man of science,” won the Jefferson (Wis.) County Fair’s annual cricket-spitting contest with a hock of 21 feet, 2 inches. His two main “scientific” secrets (he told Milwaukee’s

Journal Sentinel): “pick a big cricket” and “feet first on its back with the head pointing out because you don’t want the legs dragging on the way out.”

. Juliana Bryant, 33, was arrested in Florala, Ala., in July after police were called to her home on a disturbing-thepeace complaint and discovered several open gasoline containers throughout the house. Ms. Bryant explained to the officers that she “like(s) the smell.” 

Blood for a buzz

. With heroin too expensive for many African addicts, some ask an addicted friend for a temporary fix — withdrawing a teaspoonful of the friend’s heroin-tinged blood and injecting it into their own bloodstream. Evidence of this practice (called “flashblood”) comes from anecdotes from health officials in Tanzania, Zanzibar

and Kenya, reported in The New York

Times in July. Doctors said they question the euphoria-producing quality of such tiny amounts of heroin, but are certain that flashblood will potently deliver any HIV present in the donor’s blood. 


. Jammie Harms, 34, who had been executive assistant to CEO John Smith of the developer Hearthstone Homes, filed a lawsuit against the Omaha, Neb., company in June for her wrongful firing. According to the lawsuit, Mr. Smith told Ms. Harms that, after consulting with psychics, he was troubled by her pregnancy. He said he was feeling “negative energy” from her fetus, sensing that it was “hostile” toward him and causing him to be reminded of his own unpleasant experience as a fetus.

. Colin Hall, Lord Mayor of Leicester, England, visiting the Southfields library for its Summer Showcase on global understanding in June, apparently at some point experienced his pants falling down. His spokesman later said, “He was not wearing a belt, and the trousers

came loose and fell.” (Reports in The

Guardian and other newspapers emphasized that nothing indecent occurred.) 

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