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[NEWS OF THE WEIRD]

by Chuck Shepherd

Community Activism

Despite Chicago’s recent crisis of gang-related street murders, the Roseland Community Hospital in a tough south-side neighborhood is on the verge of closing because of finances, and community groups have been energetically campaigning to keep it open. Joining civic leaders in the quest is the Black Disciples street gang, whose cofounder Don Acklin begged in June for the hospital to remain open, explaining, “It’s bad enough we’re out here harming each other.” Besides wounded gang members needing emergency care, said Acklin, closing would amount to “genocide” because of all the innocent people exposed to crossfire.

Government in Action

• Suspicions confirmed: A warehouse in Landover, Md. maintained by a company working on contract for the US Environmental Protection Agency, contained “secret rooms” of furniture and equipment described as “man caves” for company employees. The EPA inspector general announced the discovery in May, and the government confiscated TVs, refrigerators, couches, personal photos, pin-ups, magazines and videos that the contractor’s personnel brought in while ostensibly “working” on agency business.

Creme de la Weird

Whitby, UK town councilman Simon Parkes, 58, confessed to a reporter in June that he had had an extramarital affair — in fact, an extraterrestrial extramarital affair — with the 9-foot-tall Cat Queen, and that she had born him a child. Parkes said the Cat Queen is biding her time until technology is available to bring her and the child to Earth. Said Parkes, “There are plenty of people in my position who don’t choose to come out and say it because they are terrified it will destroy their careers.” Parkes said his wife knows about his periodic meetings with the Cat Queen and is “very unhappy, clearly.”

Recurring Themes

• Least competent criminals: Shaun Paneral was questioned by police in Carlsbad, NM in May, on a loud-music complaint and, concerned that he already had an outstanding arrest warrant, gave his name as “Shaun Paul.” Paneral thus became the most recent perp to choose his alias badly. “Shaun Paul,” whoever he is, is also wanted by police in New Mexico, and Paneral was arrested for the false ID.

Police Report

• Rewarding the breast disguises: (1) An April crime report in San Francisco, noting that a female driver had rammed another car in a parking-space dispute, also noted that the victim gave officers little help. The man could not tell officers the model car that hit him, and certainly not a license plate number, but he “was able to give a detailed description of the suspect’s cleavage.” No arrest was reported. (2) Colombian prisoner Giovanni Rebolledo was serving a 60-year sentence (as a member of the Los Topos gang charged with extortion, kidnapping and torture) when he escaped and decided on an extreme identity change in order to move about in the country. He became “Rosalinda,” complete with, according to Colombia Reports news service, “impressive” breast implants, but nonetheless was identified in May in a routine traffic stop and arrested.

• In Kobe, Japan in May, an unemployed, 32-year-old man carried out a minor theft (stealing a wallet from a parked scooter) apparently just to be locked up in the world-famous city. Besides being the home of Kobe beef, it is acclaimed for its French, Chinese and octopus cuisines, and in fact, Kobe’s Nagata Ward Precinct is renowned for the special gourmet boxed meals prepared by local bento shops, delivered daily to prisoners, which the thief said was foremost on his mind.

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