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Good Bad Ugly

10/10/2012

The good

A young Indian social scientist, whose research on groundwater resources in agriculture led to major policy changes benefiting thousands of farmers in West Bengal, was recently named the first recipient of the “Norman Borlaug Award for Field Research and Application, Endowed by the Rockefeller Foundation.” For her intense fieldwork surveying more than 4,000 groundwater users, Aditi Mukherji will be formally presented with the $10,000 award on Oct. 17, in Des Moines, as part of this year’s World Food Prize international symposium.

More than 297,000 Iowans walked to support the Healthiest State Initiative last week, topping last year’s walk count by about 6,000 walkers. In August 2011, Gov. Terry Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds announced the plan to make Iowa the healthiest state in the nation within five years as measured by the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index. In 2011, Iowa ranked 16th compared to all other states, moving up from the 19th position in 2010. For more information, visit www.iowahealthieststate.com.

 

The bad

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Des Moines police literally brought in the big dogs in order to find a despicable burglar who was allegedly trying to steal from Habitat for Humanity last week. The K-9 unit led cops to where one of two suspects were hiding in the brush by a shed. David Lee Mefferd Jr., 43, was bitten by the dog and held in place until officers could take him into custody. To further his misfortune, Mefferd might have a broken ankle, an injury he sustained while breaking into the facility. He refused to provide any information as to how he arrived at the business or the identity of the second suspect. Mefferd was taken to the hospital for his multiple injuries — the broken ankle and bruised ego — then to Polk County Jail. Lesson learned: If you’re going to steal, don’t steal from one of the largest charitable organizations in the state. That’s just wrong. That’s like stealing from a priest, or from a baby.

A public display of physical violence went down on the east side last week that was so blatant, many witnesses were compelled to intervene. Several people were traveling down Hubbell Avenue on Oct. 1 when they saw a woman jump from a maroon Dodge Intrepid screaming for help. A man got out of the vehicle, chased the woman down and proceeded to beat her in front of several witnesses. He then dragged her back to the car. In an attempt to stop the suspect from escaping the scene, two motorists pulled their vehicles up to barricade the Intrepid, but the driver rammed both vehicles until it was able to maneuver free. The vehicle then sped off with the victim still inside. Witnesses said it appeared the victim was driving, and the suspect was reaching down and pushing on the accelerator from the passenger seat. Several Des Moines Police Officers patrolled the area in search of the vehicle, but it was not found.

 

The ugly

You can’t even buy French fries on the dollar menu anymore, but this jackass can be bought for a buck. An anonymous New York teen (last week’s great YouTube sensation) thought $1 would be an acceptable bribe to run his tongue down a subway station handrail. Licking a public toilet seat would be more sanitary (not to mention, daring), as experts say he would only pick up about 50 microbes on the stool as opposed to the thousands of germs he now carries on his tongue from the railing. If that doesn’t trigger your gag reflex, get this: Studies show that more than 50 percent of handrails hold traces of fecal matter. Ironically, his chances of getting sick are slim. He’s probably more likely to get sick from those fries, which he still can’t afford.

How would you like to perish in the bowels of 700 pounds of irony? You know it’s pretty bad when all that remains is your dentures, which is exactly what family members found of 70-year-old Oregon hog farmer, Terry V. Garner. His family was concerned when Garner went to feed his animals and didn’t return. Further investigation by the family produced only a set of dentures and various unrecognizable body parts strewn about the pen of hogs, each weighing more than 700 pounds. The Coos County Sheriff’s Office is still investigating how Garner “ended up in a position where the hogs were able to consume him.” CV

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