March 6, 2013

Charles Oliver: An overreaction to Pop-Tart ‘art’

Charles Oliver

— • Officials at Maryland’s Park Elementary School suspended Josh Welch, 7, for biting his Pop Tart into the shape of a gun. Well, they say it was a gun. Josh insists he was trying to make it look like a mountain. In any event, according to a letter they sent home to parents, he “used food to make an inappropriate gesture.” That letter also informed parents that counselors were available to any students troubled by the event.

• In Ambridge, Pa., a receptionist at a local dentist’s office called Travis Clawson to remind him of an appointment. She got his voice mail, which seemed to say something about shooting at a school, so she called police. In turn, they called the local schools and had them all locked down. Police finally found Clawson, at school, hauled him out at gun point and searched his locker. They didn’t find any weapons, but they did discover that his phone’s voice mail message has the theme song from the TV show “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” which contains the line “shooting some b-ball outside the school.”

• Four years ago, the Oregon Legislature created a databank to track drugs filled by pharmacies in that state. The databank was supposed to help doctors and pharmacists spot signs of drug abuse and help prevent overdoses, so lawmakers mandated that law enforcement could not access the databank without a warrant. But the federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) believes that law does not apply to it. It has repeatedly filed administrative subpoenas, which do not require a judge to find probable cause, to access the databank. The state has now taken the DEA to court to require it to obtain warrants if it wants to access the databank.

• Parents of some children at Colorado’s Mission Viejo Elementary School were outraged to receive a letter from Principal Andre Pearson telling them that whites would not be allowed in a new after-school tutoring program. When local media asked about the program, Pearson refused to talk. But a district spokesman said the principal had made a mistake and the program would be open to all students.

• New Athens, Ill., police chief Dallas Hill has been charged with two counts of official misconduct and one count of theft. An iPod and an iPad, taken as part of a burglary investigation, disappeared from the department’s evidence room last year. The devices were later returned to the evidence room, and authorities say a forensic analysis revealed Hill had been using them.

• Luis Montano has worked for American Airlines for 13 years as a gate agent, but one day his supervisor called him in, told him the federal government had placed him on a “no fly” list and sent him home. For three months, he tried to get the government to explain why he’d been placed on the list and asked to have his name removed. He didn’t have any luck until a Florida TV station started asking questions. Just a few days after a reporter contacted federal officials, the Department of Homeland Security sent Montano a letter saying he was no longer on the list. But the letter did not explain why he’d been on there or why he’d been taken off.

• The actors, producer and director of a Greek production of the play “Corpus Christi” have been charged with blasphemy. A Greek bishop complained that the play, which depicts Jesus and his apostles as gay, was malicious. If convicted, the defendants face several months in prison.

Charles Oliver is a staff writer for The Daily Citizen.