Raising a middle (of-the-road) child

Doug and Veronica Wright celebrated their first wedding anniversary on March 17 on the U.S.-Canadian bridge at Niagara Falls because it is the only place they can meet. The American Doug is barred from Canada because of a criminal record that includes an illegal entry into Canada; Canadian Veronica is barred from the U.S. because of a 1997 drug conviction. The couple's 6-month-old son lives with her and plays with both on the bridge.

Begging scrutiny

In April, a federal judge in Hartford, Conn., threw out the defamation lawsuit against Princeton University filed by disgruntled, would-be medical student Rommel Nobay, who claimed that Princeton's having bad-mouthed him for lying on his application discouraged other schools from accepting him. Nobay admitted to fudging his class standing, SAT score and other things that applicants sometimes exaggerate; however, attracting more attention were his personal statements, in which Nobay wrote that a family of lepers in Kenya had so much faith in him that they had donated "half their beggings" to help him with his education.

Heeling breath

Mark Hatterer became a local hero in York, Pa., in April, after he rescued Scottie, the Scottish terrier that had fallen into a septic tank. Hatterer wiped most of the muck from the unconscious dog's snout and gave mouth-to-mouth resuscitation until he came to.

Blue prints

At an American Academy of Forensic Sciences meeting in San Francisco in February, FBI man Richard Vorder Bruegge said he and his colleagues could identify jeans-wearing suspects by their pants because every pair has a unique wear pattern in which light and dark lines run across the seam. In one criminal trial, an FBI expert witness picked the defendant's jeans from among 35 pairs his lawyer tried to confuse him with.

Wrong numbers

Kelvin Floyd received a modest two-month sentence and a fine in Aiken, S.C., in March for stealing a car. Floyd had wisely known to obliterate the car's vehicle ID number and to replace it with a substitute number. However, apparently the best he could come up with was his own Social Security number, which police immediately recognized was bogus.

Firebug burns himself

Richard W. Miller Jr., wanted in Utica, N.Y., for arson, was captured by U.S. marshals in Arizona in February. According to one of the arresting marshals, he asked the suspect if he was Richard Miller. The suspect said no. The marshal said they would have to fingerprint him anyway and they did, and at the bottom of the blank fingerprint card, on the signature line, the suspect very helpfully signed his real name, "Richard Miller."

Talking stash

In January, Hipolito Vega was arrested in Holyoke, Mass., and charged on a previous warrant for driving without a license. He asked to make his one phone call from the police station and spoke in Spanish, believing no one at the station could understood him and that he could tell his friend where to pick up a stash of cocaine he had just hidden. However, Vega failed to notice Officer Manuel Rivera, who heard Vega talking and alerted officers, who were waiting by the stash when Vega's friend arrived.

Bum steering

Six weeks after a U.S. Marine jet clipped a cable holding a ski gondola near Cavalese, Italy, killing 20, The London Daily Telegraph revealed that Italy's top naval officer and two others are being investigated for manslaughter in the accidental ramming of an Albanian naval vessel in which 97 people drowned.

Suffering from bad taste

Airport police in Sao Paulo, Brazil, arrested Gerardo Gallo in January after a search of his suitcase. They had found packages totaling about 50 pounds of cheap cheese and had become suspicious when they saw Gallo's destination was Switzerland. Asked an inspector, "Why would anyone take so much third-rate Bolivian cheese to a country which is famous for its top-quality cheese?"

Packaged inside the cheese was about 22 pounds of cocaine.


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