Odds & Ends
By Devin D. O'Leary
MAY 26, 1998:
Dateline: Poland--The Polish news agency PAP has reported
that two people died last Thursday in an explosion at a garden
gnome factory in Kozuchow in western Poland. Three others were
injured, one seriously, in the blast at the plant which manufactures
ornamental garden figures in the shape of jolly forest-dwelling
fairies. Efforts are still underway to identify the remains of
the victims. Local authorities have not yet identified the source
of the blast, although volatile paint fumes are suspected to be
the cause. Gnome production has flourished of late in western
Poland thanks to the demand from neighboring Germany. Illegal
sales of "German-style" garden gnomes by small, unlicensed
stalls near the Polish/German border have evoked protests from
Dateline: Mexico--By the end of this month, Mexico City's
top hotels will be offering paranoid clients financial protection
against crime for just a small additional surcharge on their bill.
Mexico City Hotels and Motels Association President Juan Jose
Garcialourdes told the Reforma newspaper that the proposed
anti-mugging insurance will cost guests between $2 and $2.50 per
day. Earlier this month, the U.S. State Department warned American
tourists that crime in Mexico's capital had reached "critical"
levels. Mugging insurance is the Hotel and Motel Association's
latest attempt to bolster flagging tourism rates.
Dateline: New York--The Green Party of New York State seems
to have settled on a candidate for governor. Their choice to replace
current governor George Pataki: "Grandpa Munster." Green
Party leaders meeting near Syracuse last weekend decided that
former actor Al Lewis--best known for portraying aging vampire
Grandpa Munster of the '60s sitcom "The Munsters"--should
be the man to lead New York into the 21st century. The 88-year-old
Lewis is also known as a union and political activist and currently
hosts a weekly talk show on issues and politics on New York City's
KBAI radio. The environmentally oriented Greens are hoping that
Lewis can nail down 50,000 votes in the general election, enough
to gain the Green Party "ballot status" in New York.
With ballot status, the Greens would be guaranteed a spot on the
New York ballot for the next four years.
Dateline: Indiana--A train conductor who kicked a small
child is being hailed as a hero. Norfolk Southern conductor Robert
Mohr and engineer Rod Lindley spotted 19-month-old Emily Marshall
in the path of their oncoming 96-car freight train. Lindley managed
to slow the locomotive down to 10 miles per hour while Mohr grabbed
onto a railing, leaned out over the front of the moving train
and gave little Emily the boot. The child, who had wandered off
from her nearby home, sustained a cut to the head and a swollen
Dateline: North Carolina--Let's hear it for poor sportsmanship.
Recently, Mabel Lowman, Burke County's assistant clerk of court,
decided it was time for a promotion. Lowman made up her mind to
run for clerk of court, and last Tuesday she won the Democratic
primary, defeating her current boss, Iva Rhoney. On Wednesday,
Rhoney--who retains her position until the Nov. 3 general election--fired
Mabel Lowman and two deputy clerks who supported Lowman. "When
I came in, she just told me to clean out my desk," Lowman
reported. Lowman, who has worked in the clerk's office since 1976,
faces Republican Ray Lail in the upcoming general election.
--compiled by Devin D. O'Leary