Important events as reported by daily newspapers and summarized by Daedalus Howell.
Petaluma’s ArgusCourier.com reports that police took into custody a woman occupying a downtown doorway “with grass and twigs in her hair and clothing, talking about suicide.” No word why the fuzz targeted the outdoor production of A Midsummer’s’ Night Dream, but the production flagged without the actress who was portraying the mercurial woodland fairy Puck (“Pretty soul! She durst not lie near this lack-love, this kill-courtesy”). Several members of the awestruck audience were charged with loitering.
An apparent group of student vandals qua asbestos-abatement vigilantes rained righteous terror upon Terra Linda High School by breaking into the main hall and turning on a faucet that soaked 14 classrooms, a computer lab, and the library, according to the Marin Independent Journal. “I don’t want to believe it was one of our kids,” said Principal Biff Barnes, in utter denial. “I just desperately want to find out who did this and punish them as completely as the law would allow.” Investigators believe the culprits entered the school through a window, thereby eluding an apparently useless security system. They then entered a second-floor utility closet, hooked a hose to the faucet in the sink, and cranked up the spigot, where the hose remained until neighbors reported flooding out of the school. The water has seeped under asbestos tiles in the library and hallway, spurring their removal (boo-hoo–we can’t have soggy cancer-causing agents on school grounds, now can we?).
Santa Rosa officials shut down fast-food restaurant the China Inn after police witnessed dumping of grease, cooking oil, and food waste into the city’s storm-water system. The restaurant’s corporate president, Claude Alexandre, blamed the dumping on morally deficient “low-level, minimum-wage employees” (gotta love those corporate types). “I don’t know why it’s a big thing,” he told the Press Democrat. It’s a big thing, Claude, because the underground drain eventually flows to the Russian River and would fuck up the city’s wastewater-dumping. Environmental inspectors have not documented the damage to fish, but are certain the creatures are nonplussed by the Chinese food detritus.
That two-headed hydra of investigative prowess cleaved from the San Rafael Police Department and the FBI say there’s a “strong possibility” that a man who recently robbed a downtown San Rafael bank, unaided by any order of disguise, might also have robbed another bank three blocks away last November, reported the Marin Independent Journal. The bureau’s Special Agent Andrew Black agreed: “There is a strong possibility that it’s the same guy.” In both cases, Black said, the robber waited in line and approached a teller without a mask or other disguise, quietly demanded money, and bailed. The suspects in both cases were described by witnesses as white, middle-aged, about 5-foot-9, 150 pounds, and wearing a denim jacket and a baseball cap embroidered across which was the tell-tale epitaph “I am a bank robber.” This is why agent Black is “special.”
The big bad wolves at Philip Morris are trying to huff and puff and blow smoke in the eyes of Terra Linda High School students, reports the IJ. The manufacturer of Marlboro, Virginia Slims, and lung cancer delivered a raft of book covers to the Marin County school as part of its “youth smoking prevention effort.” Critics contend the book covers are riddled with subliminal images touting the pleasures of smoking. One design depicts a young man on a snowboard with clouds and mountains in the background. But the red-tipped snowboard looks suspiciously like a cigarette, and the clouds look like smoke. “Young people will recognize the fact that when you look at the picture, it looks like a cigarette,” said Jennie Cook, chairwoman of the state Tobacco Education Oversight Committee and a member of the Marin Tobacco Coalition. “It is putting a cigarette in front of them and making it look glamorous.” A 1998 law forbids the marketing of tobacco products to minors. But the use of “smoke and mirrors” in cigarette advertising apparently remains legal.
In a tragic spin on their HeatWave Bag pizza delivery promotion (“crisper crust, bubbling cheese, and hotter toppings”), 40-year-old Napa Domino’s employee Martin Berg was arrested for arson and two counts of cruelty to animals after allegedly setting a kitten on fire. “It was shocking that somebody could do this to an animal and just walk away from it,” Napa Police Cpl. Kirk Premo said to the Napa Valley Register (vs. lighting it on fire and stomping it out?). The suspect allegedly “took the cat out of the truck, poured charcoal lighter fluid on it, and lit the cat on fire,” Premo said. The kitten was found alive and taken to a veterinarian, who was unable to save it. Bad Andy. Bad Martin, too.
From the January 11-17, 2001 issue of the Northern California Bohemian.