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March 17th, 2011 |

The good

Mark one up for the little guy. Suzanne Castello and Robert “Barney” Bahrensfuse are heroes in the Heartland, honored last month with a Center For Rural Affairs Citizenship Award. The couple raises livestock on their Grinnell farm, and rising insurance costs for independent business owners caused them to join the fight as advocates for affordable health care in rural communities. From one independently-owned business to another, Cityview says, these farmers should take a bow.

Money certainly isn’t everything, and apparently it’s the poorest people in America who see that the clearest. According to a Mint.com survey, people who earn $20,000 or less a year also are the largest contributors to local charities. In fact, poor people are reportedly twice as charitable as those who make $100,000 a year or more. Americans give about 300 billion of their hard-earned dollars to various charities every year. And U.S. charities collect more money from good American people than the government collects in taxes!

 

The bad

Animal lovers beware, this story is heartbreaking. Illinois resident Vicki Moon, 62, was arrested on numerous charges after police found 17 sick dogs living inside her filthy house that was filled with piles of feces. Neighbors have been complaining for years about the stench coming from the house and told officers that Moon has been living in her car outside the home. According to police, officers searched for more than two hours, wading through feces, trash and debris while looking for at least 17 animals living in the home. Investigators say conditions were extremely bad, finding feces piled up to 18 inches high on the second floor. While conducting a final sweep of the home, officials opened a deep-freeze in the garage and discovered 17 dead animals, including two large dogs, 13 puppies and three cats, wrapped in plastic. Moon was charged with 17 misdemeanor counts of animal neglect.

Zombie fungus is alive and well. No we’re not talking about the movies; we’re talking science, and it’s already taking over certain insects. Four new species of Cordyceps zombifying fungi, which causes unusual behavior in tropical ants and other insects, have been discovered. Once infected, the fungus uses unidentified chemicals to control the ant’s behavior and produces a long stalk that protrudes from the ant’s head, shooting spores out in the hopes of infecting other ants. Footage of an ant being overrun by the fungus and eventually sprouting spores can be seen in the BBC documentary “Planet Earth.” Humans caught a virus from a monkey in “Outbreak,” so why couldn’t we catch something from ants?

 

The ugly

We feature dirt bags here every week, but this idiot ranks with the best. Texas resident Jonathon Earl Stuckey, 27, was arrested after punching his elderly mother in the face. According to police, they observed an intoxicated Stuckey stumbling home. Stuckey made it to his mother’s front lawn but fell before going inside. Stuckey’s mother came outside and attempted to help her son up, but instead of thanking her, he punched her in the face. Officers then attempted to intervene, but Stuckey attacked them. Stuckey was eventually taken into custody and charged with assault on a public servant, domestic assault, public intoxication and resisting arrest.

 

We’re guessing AIB would rather have cheaters in their midst than what allegedly happened with an employee who is now on unpaid leave. Last week, Kent Eugene Oman, who was the director of Fenton Hall dormitory, was charged with sexual exploitation of a minor. According to the criminal complaint, Oman allegedly made videos and took photographs of minor-aged girls and boys using a hidden camera in the bathroom of his on-campus apartment. Homeland Security was tipped off by an informant about someone using peer-to-peer software to share child pornography. Agents then traced the alias back to Oman, searched his apartment and seized a number of items including computers, hard drives, memory cards, video tapes, DVDs, books with images of naked children, printed sexual stories and a hidden video recorder that looked like an air purifier. AIB apparently now stands for An Inappropriate Boner. CV