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Good, Bad & The Ugly

August 23, 2012
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The good

Another year, and another Iowa State Fair in the record books. People took advantage of the mild weather (sweats were popular), as fair officials stated attendance numbers were up about 6,000 through Saturday. President Obama enjoyed a beer, while everyone else had to wait. Maybe thirsty patrons led to the record number who participated in WHO’s annual Cast Your Kernel Booth, which had more than 72,000 people lead Republican candidate Mitt Romney to victory in the unscientific poll. Criminal activity was down overall, although the highest number of arrests came on Friday, Aug. 17 with 73 total charges including 66 arrests. Maybe Hank Williams Jr.’s scathing remarks about President Obama got people fired up? If you’re sad to see the fair end, don’t worry, it’ll be back next year, providing just enough time for your cholesterol levels to go down.

Although some people believe they can’t function without their Smartphones, we all seemed to live enjoyable lives before them. Hearing someone talk loudly over his or her phone or sitting with someone who is on the phone the entire time is annoying and can ruin a good time, which is why a California restaurant is rewarding those who put away their Blackberrys. Eva Restaurant, in Los Angeles, Calif., is offering customers a 5 percent discount when they leave their cell phones with staff. Owners say nearly half of their customers have taken advantage of the deal, with many expressing thanks at the chance to let go of their phones for a while. This will hopefully be yet another California trend that spreads throughout the U.S.

The bad

Local police nabbed who is perhaps the most non-observant burglar in the Greater Des Moines area. A local resident at the 3200 block of Third Street called police after he heard someone enter his home last week through what was supposed to be a locked door while he was in his basement. He said he had a lap full of tools, so when he recognized the voice of Keith Schwartz, 41, yelling his name from upstairs, he did not make a move for fear that the sound of the tools would give him away. Instead, he quietly texted a friend who called the police. By the time cops arrived, Schwartz was gone. While police were taking the report, the not-so-bright alleged burglar showed up again in the backyard. He was arrested.

According to a recent American Lung Association report, tobacco use is higher in rural communities than in suburban and urban communities, and chewing tobacco use is (not surprisingly) twice as common. That means country kids are more likely to use tobacco and to start earlier than city kids. Experts attribute this to lower education and income levels; more exposure to secondhand smoke due to a lack of smoke-free air laws; rural imagery, such as the Marlboro Man, in advertising; fewer programs and services to help people quit; and low tobacco taxes.

The ugly

Former Des Moines Police Officer Brandon Singleton is in trouble — again. He was pulled over last week for allegedly failing to display front/back license plates which led him to be charged with carrying weapons, possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of a weapon as a felon and probation violation. Singleton was arrested in April after officers discovered drugs in his patrol car. He lost his job and was sentenced to one year of probation after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor drug possession charge. As Singleton continues to get caught for his crimes, we can only wonder what he might have been getting away with when he was a cop.

Two female co-workers at a meat processing plant in China got into a food fight on the production line over who was the fairest of them all. Xin, 22, learned that her friend, 20-year-old Zhang, had landed a bigger financial loan from the factory than she did, according to Guangzhou’s Shishi Daily, which reported that the fight broke out when Zhang took a dig at Xin’s skin tone. “You look darker lately,” she told Xin, who told reporters, “When she made fun of me and said I was dark, I got mad and lost my mind. So she grabbed a fist full of meat floss from the manufacturing line and chucked it in Zhang’s face. Zhang retaliated by throwing a bunch of dried meat back at Xin. And then they really went for each other, which got so bad that the cops had to come in and break the meat slingers up. CV

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