TWO COUNTY EMPLOYEES REPRIMANDED OVER 'GHOST CAMERA': BUTTE, Mont. (AP) — Two county employees in Montana have been reprimanded after a motion-activated camera was installed in a little-used room in the health department in the hopes of capturing paranormal activity.
An internal investigation found that no crimes had been committed, The Montana Standard reported. Butte-Silver Bow County Chief Executive Matt Vincent said he could see the humorous side of the situation, but questioned the judgment of the employees involved.
"Whenever you're talking about ghosts it's off the wall," he said. "But it's serious in that the public gives trust in us and we need to take that seriously, and setting up cameras in public buildings to catch paranormal activity, I don't think that is gaining the public's trust."
A memo about the investigation from Interim Human Resources Director Penny McElroy said a health department employee thought it would be fun to have the Butte Paranormal Investigative Team see if there was any paranormal activity in the building. Members of the paranormal group said they thought they had permission to set up the camera. It was to be there for just an hour, but they forgot the camera when they left.
McElroy and County Attorney Eileen Joyce said images taken were of three employees who appeared to be doing something work-related. Joyce concluded in August that no crimes had been committed.
Vincent said the employee who arranged to have the camera brought in received a written reprimand, while another employee who knew about it was given a verbal reprimand.
The case came to light when an employee who noticed the camera on Aug. 21 was worried that someone was spying on employees and turned the camera over to police.
LAW SCHOOL GRAD GETS BOOT CAMP IN VEGAS BIRD DEATH: LAS VEGAS (AP) — A University of California, Berkeley, law school graduate was handcuffed and taken to a Nevada prison boot camp Wednesday for beheading an exotic bird during a drunken chase at a Las Vegas Strip resort.
Justin Alexander Teixeira, 25, said nothing as he was sentenced as expected to a little more than six months in the camp.
He could serve another three to five years of probation before he can ask to have his felony conviction reduced to a misdemeanor, prosecutor Frank Coumou said.
The judge scheduled a probation sentencing hearing for April 14. Teixeira could face up to four years in state prison if he violates terms of the deal.
His attorney, Michael Pariente, called Teixeira extremely remorseful and said the incident happened while Teixeira was "heavily intoxicated."
Teixiera has been volunteering in recent months for the Society of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in California, Pariente said, and was grateful to have an opportunity to avoid a felony conviction under his plea agreement.
Outside court, Coumou noted that Teixeira should learn next month whether he passed the California State Bar exam he took in July. He'll be serving his boot camp sentence at High Desert State Prison in Indian Springs, outside Las Vegas.
Whether Teixeira is admitted to practice law in California could on depend on whether a felony remains on his record. A statement on the bar website notes that people convicted of violent felonies or felonies involving moral turpitude "are presumed not to be of good moral character." But it allows room for a pardon or "a showing of overwhelming reform and rehabilitation."
Teixeira, of Placerville, Calif., pleaded guilty in May to one felony charge of killing another person's animal. That avoided trial on that charge and two other felony counts that could have gotten him up to eight years in prison in the October 2012 death of a helmeted guineafowl named Turk at the Flamingo hotel-casino.
Security video showed Teixeira and two other Berkeley students laughing and chasing the chicken-sized bird the morning of Oct. 12, 2012, to the horror of hotel guests having breakfast nearby.
ARLINGTON CEMETERY WILL ALLOW SMALL MEMENTOS: ARLINGTON, Va. (AP) — Arlington National Cemetery is relaxing its policies to allow family members of those buried in its section for those who died in Iraq and Afghanistan to leave behind small mementos and photos to honor those soldiers, a spokeswoman said Wednesday.
Families in that section had been leaving stones, photos and other mementos at their loved ones' gravesites, even though cemetery policy strictly regulates such impromptu memorials.
Responding to complaints, cemetery staff cleaned out some of those memorials recently. Then families who had left the mementos complained about their removal.
Patrick Hallinan is the executive director of the Army National Military Cemeteries and Arlington National Cemetery. He met with Section 60 families on Oct. 6, and worked out a compromise that will allow displays through the fall and winter months when the grass doesn't need cut often, said cemetery spokeswoman Jennifer Lynch.
Officials emphasized that items that are unsightly, anything affixed headstones, dangerous items such as tobacco, alcohol, ammunition, and glass, as well as any item that might pose a risk to workers or visitors.
MAN SPRINKLES FIANCEE’S ASHES AT EYEWEAR STORE
SARASOTA, Fla. (AP) — Police say no charges will be filed against a grieving man who sprinkled some of his dead fiancee's ashes near an eyewear store, causing a Florida mall to be evacuated and shut down for two hours.
Sarasota police Lt. Pat Ledwith says a man on Tuesday sprinkled some of the ashes in places that were special to the couple. Officials say the woman had a connection to LensCrafters in the Westfield Southgate Mall and because of that, the man released some of the ashes there on Tuesday.
To store workers and passersby, it was unclear what the white powdery substance was. Police and hazmat crews responded, and the mall was shut down.
Police say the mall and the Sarasota Fire Department could seek to recover civil costs from the man, who wasn't named.