Jason's Feed
Jun 5, 2012

On U.S. car license plates, DAMNIML8 is OK, TOILET is not

By Jason McLure

(Reuters) – When Whitney Calk sought a personalized license plate from a Tennessee state agency to tout her vegetarian ideals, she was annoyed when she was told no. Turns out the letters ILVTOFU can be construed to mean more than enjoying bean curd.

“When I see T-O-F-U, I see tofu,” says Calk, who requested the so-called vanity plate from the Tennessee Department of Revenue last September.

May 23, 2012

U.S. schools with single-sex classrooms may face ACLU lawsuit

LITTLETON, New Hampshire (Reuters) – The American Civil Liberties Union is threatening legal action against as many as a dozen school districts from Maine to Mississippi unless they stop programs the group says illegally segregate boys and girls into single-sex classes and promote stereotypes.

The group also was demanding that Florida’s Department of Education launch an investigation into widespread single-sex teaching in that state, where 32 schools in 16 districts offer single-gender classes. A spokeswoman for the department said they had not yet received the demand, which is posted on the ACLU’s website.

May 22, 2012

N.H Republican apologizes for calling former GOP official “stripper”

LITTLETON, New Hampshire (Reuters) – A Republican New Hampshire legislator has apologized for calling a former state GOP official who endorsed his political rival a “stripper” and a “pole dancer,” party members said on Tuesday.

The outburst at a GOP picnic over the weekend in Goffstown, New Hampshire, targeted Pam Manney, 55, a grandmother of four and former vice chairwoman of the state Republican Party.

May 17, 2012

Poe letter to “Mary Had a Little Lamb” author sells for $164,000

LITTLETON, New Hampshire (Reuters) – A one-page 1837 letter from the writer Edgar Allan Poe to the editor of a popular women’s magazine has been sold for $164,000 at auction.

Poe wrote to Sarah Josepha Hale, herself a well-known literary figure and author of the children’s poem “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” to decline an invitation to publish an article in a magazine she edited at the time.

May 16, 2012

A ‘gold rush’ for Maine’s baby eel fishermen

PORTLAND, Maine, May 16 (Reuters) – George Forni will spend
most of next week holed up in his home in Sullivan, Maine,
guarded by a new surveillance system and armed with a stun gun
and pepper spray as he buys live baby eels from neighbors for
thousands of dollars.

May 31 marks the end of what has become a gold rush for a
small group of Maine fisherman – the 10-week season for catching
juvenile eels, known as elvers, whose price has increased nearly
a hundredfold over the past decade.

May 16, 2012

Blame that yucky maple syrup on the weather

LITTLETON, New Hampshire (Reuters) – Bad news for waffle lovers.

Historic warmth in March slashed this year’s U.S. maple syrup output as much as 40 percent as sugar maple trees, which need freezing temperatures at night to sustain sap production, dried up early or largely produced bad-tasting syrup.

In the Northeast, where nearly all U.S. maple syrup is produced, sugarmakers traditionally gather sap from maple trees during a six-week season from late February to early April before buds appear on the trees.

May 15, 2012

New Hampshire legislator apologizes for “Sieg Heil” remark

LITTLETON, New Hampshire (Reuters) – A New Hampshire legislator apologized repeatedly on Tuesday for saying “Sieg Heil” during a heated floor exchange with House Speaker Bill O’Brien, a fellow Republican who critics have called a bully.

O’Brien was trying to cut off debate on a controversial voter identification bill and dismiss State Representative Steve Vaillancourt from the speaker’s podium when Vaillancourt uttered the phrase associated with loyalty to Adolph Hitler.

May 11, 2012

Elderly mob boss gets 5 years for strip club shakedowns

By Jason McLure

(Reuters) – An aging accused Mafia boss was sentenced on Friday to 5-1/2 years in prison for terrorizing and extorting protection payments from strip clubs around Providence, Rhode Island.

Luigi “Louie” Manocchio, 84, also known as “The Old Man,” “The Professor” and “Baby Shacks,” pleaded guilty in federal court earlier this year to one count of racketeering conspiracy, according to a statement from the U.S. Justice Department.

May 8, 2012

Vermont poised to be first state to outlaw fracking

May 8 (Reuters) – Vermont will be the first state to outlaw
a controversial oil and gas drilling method known as fracking
when Governor Peter Shumlin signs a bill banning the practice, a
largely symbolic move given the state’s apparent lack of energy

Hydraulic fracturing has helped companies tap potentially
decades of gas supply and huge amounts of oil from previously
inaccessible shale formations dotted across the United States in
recent years.

May 8, 2012

Pop artist who created LOVE sued for renouncing artwork

By Jason McLure

(Reuters) – An 83-year-old artist known for his block letter “LOVE” design that became a symbol of the anti-war movement in the 1960s is being sued by a Monaco-based art dealer for renouncing the authenticity of sculptures once valued as high as $1 million.

Beginning in 2008, art buyer Joao Tovar paid $481,625 for 10 sculptures of the word PREM, a Sanskrit term meaning “love,” from a one-time business partner of renowned pop artist Robert Indiana, Tovar said in the lawsuit filed in superior court in Rockland, Maine.