Odds and Ends – Friday December 8- December 14, 2017


Lawsuit: Couple detained after hibiscus mistaken for pot

Sarver, Pa. (AP) – A couple who say they were handcuffed for hours in a police patrol car after their hibiscus plants were confused for marijuana are suing the police and an insurance company. Edward and Audrey Cramer say in a lawsuit filed Tuesday that a Nationwide Insurance Co. agent investigating a fallen tree at their Buffalo Township home sent photos of their flowering plant to police.

The lawsuit alleges that Buffalo Township police officers with assault rifles went to their home on Oct. 7 to investigate. Audrey Cramer, 66, said she was partially dressed when she went to the door and police would not let her put on pants before she was handcuffed. “I was not treated as though I was a human being,” she said. “I was just something they were going to push aside.” Edward Cramer, 69, said he returned home a half-hour later to find his wife in the back of a police cruiser and officers pointing guns at him. He also was placed in the cruiser despite trying to convince the officers the plants were hibiscus, not marijuana. “They actually ignored me,” he said. “They wouldn’t even listen. I said, ‘I can show you pictures on the internet.’” The Cramers eventually were released without charges. They are seeking monetary and compensatory damages and court costs. Nationwide Insurance declined to comment on Friday, citing the litigation. Township police also declined to comment.

6 Czechs fined for sporting Borat mankinis in Kazakhstan

Prague (AP) – Six Czech tourists who dressed up in skimpy swimsuits made famous by Sacha Baron Cohen’s “Borat” have reportedly been detained by authorities in Kazakhstan’s capital Astana. Sporting lime green “mankinis” and black wigs, the men had hoped to take a picture in front of the “I Love Astana” sign. But local police took action, detaining them on Friday and fining them 22,500 tenge ($68) each for committing minor hooliganism, according to the Kazakh news website informburo.kz. The swimsuit became popular after Baron Cohen, playing the fictional Kazakh television presenter Borat, sported it in the 2006 movie “Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan.” That film offended many Kazakhs by portraying the country as backward and degenerate.

(informburo.kz, via AP)
(informburo.kz, via AP)

Small town Connecticut election decided by coin toss

Bolton, Conn. (AP) – An election for the governing board of a small Connecticut town has been decided by a coin toss. The Journal-Inquirer reports that Republican Michael Eremita on Tuesday kept his seat on Bolton’s five-member Board of Selectmen with a coin-toss win over Democratic challenger Kim Miller. Both received 718 votes in last week’s election. Under the town charter, tied elections can be decided by a special election or a coin toss. Eremita and Miller agreed on the latter because a special election could have cost up to $3,000. Eremita, Miller, and Town Clerk Elizabeth Waters all flipped coins. Eremita won because he and Waters both tossed tails. Miller came up heads. Eremita’s victory gave the board in the town of about 5,000 residents, located 10 miles (16 kilometers) east of Hartford, a 3-2 Republican advantage.

Phoenix man tries turning locomotive into a runaway train

Phoenix (AP) – A Phoenix man was close to turning a locomotive into his own runaway train. Police say 20-year-old Julio Rodriguez was arrested earlier this month after trying to steal a train from a rail yard just south of downtown Phoenix. Union Pacific Railroad workers say they were alarmed when they heard the train horn Nov. 8 and went to investigate. They discovered Rodriguez, who was actually released from jail earlier that day, sitting in the engineer’s seat. Employees removed him and found he had moved levers and pushed buttons. They say he was one pedal away from actually moving the train. According to court documents, Rodriguez admitted to trying to steal the train. He faces charges of theft of means of transportation and burglary.