May 22, 2013

Charles Oliver: BB guns are ‘unacceptable’

Charles Oliver

— • New York City police have charged Jack Pawlowski with reckless endangerment, endangering the welfare of a minor, resisting arrest and possession of a BB gun. Several parents complained after seeing Pawlowski and his children playing with a BB pistol in a local park. “I mean, he’s brandishing a firearm and I don’t care if that firearm is plastic. That’s unacceptable,” said Leni Calas, one of the parents upset with Pawlowski.

• Budget cuts and teacher layoffs almost cost Oregon’s Gold Coast High School its band a few years ago, but Lenie Duffy, a former teacher who is now the business manager for Backwoods Home Magazine, stepped forward and took over as band director on a volunteer basis. But the magazine reports that a teachers union filed a complaint about a volunteer filling a position that it believes a paid teacher should have, no matter that the school didn’t have the money for a music teacher. The state Teacher Standards and Practices Commission sided with the union, and the school system canceled the band. Students at the school staged a protest, so the school allowed the band to re-form as an off-campus club with Duffy remaining as director. They’ll still get to perform at school functions and compete in band meets. But they can’t practice on school time and will get no credit for their participation.

• Democrats in the California Assembly are considering a bill that would allow state colleges and universities to award contracts up to $250,000 to small businesses or businesses owned by disabled veterans without putting them up for competitive bids. The bill would also exempt college and university employees from state anti-corruption laws with regard to these contracts. The bill has already passed one committee.

• A report by the United Nations Forestry Department recommends eating termites, grasshoppers and other insects. The report says bugs are high in protein and minerals and contain more healthy fats than many meats. Arnold van Huis, one of the authors of the report, says that in a blind taste test nine out of 10 people preferred meatballs made from mealworms and meat over meatballs made just out of meat.

• A British court gave Adil Rashid a suspended sentence after convicting him of raping a teenage girl. Rashid had claimed his education in a Muslim school left him ignorant of British law.

• Lake Stevens, Wash., officials have agreed to pay $100,000 to settle a civil rights lawsuit brought by Brandon Fenter and his wife. The couple had been driving in Marysville, Wash., when a man flagged them down. He identified himself as a police officer, told Fenter he’d been driving recklessly and told him he’d send him a citation in the mail. The next evening that man, Lake Stevens police officer Steve Warbis, and fellow officer James Wellington forced their way into the Fenters’ home and arrested Brandon Fenter for reckless driving. Those charges were later dropped. Warbis and Wellington remain on the police force.

Charles Oliver is a staff writer for The Daily Citizen.