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Martinez, California:

Gus Kramer faces an unusual challenge in his race for county assessor: His opponents would rather see a dead man elected.

Kramer’s only rival in the Contra Costa County race, Dan Hallissy, died of a heart attack April 10 — too late for anyone else to run.

But Hallissy’s name will remain on the ballot for the June 7 nonpartisan primary. And the incumbent assessor is working to get him elected.

Voters should have “a chance to elect an honest, experienced person to this office,” said assessor John Biasotti.

A Hallissy victory would force a special election next March, open to any candidate.

U.S. Representative Bill Baker, a Republican, also is backing the posthumous effort. His spokesman said voters should have a choice.

Kramer, who briefly stopped campaigning to mark Hallissy’s death, decried the effort as a “classical case of cronyism.” He said his opponents “want the taxpayer to blow $800,000,” about the cost of a special election.

Kramer also bristled at the charge he’s unfit for the job, citing his experience as city clerk for Martinez and as a real estate agent for the county’s Public Works Department.

The assessor’s office is responsible for estimating property values in the 830,000-person county, 30 miles east of San Francisco. The job pays $84,000 a year.

Taipei, Taiwan (AP) – Diners tempted to lick a plate after a delicious meal can now go a step further – eat the plate.

Chen Liang-erh, 50, an amateur inventor, announced Friday that he had perfected an edible plate made from wheat grain, and that he planned to mass-produce it and other edible crockery including cups, bowls and food containers.

Chen spent six years developing the plate, which he said would retail at about 7 cents each.

Diners who don’t want to eat the items – which taste like unsalted popcorn – can boil them for a nutritious meal for animals, he said.

Chen said this can help reduce pollution caused by discarded crockery. The only disadvantage, he said, is his crockery cannot be washed and reused.

January 16, 1993

In 1989, a Union Bridge, Md., high school permitted a female student, Tawana Hammond, 17, to try out for its football team under the pressure of a federal statute that bars school discrimination on the basis of gender.

On her first scrimmage, Tawana, a running back, was tackled and suffered massive internal injuries.

In October 1992, she filed a $1.5 million lawsuit against the county board of education for its alleged failure to tell her how dangerous football is.

Sure, there are some pretty stupid criminals out there. Yet this excerpt from a Washington Post article proves that not all criminals are dumb – in fact, some are so clever that the Post labeled this article, “The Best Comeback Line Ever”

In summary, the police arrested Patrick Lawrence, a 22-year-old white male, resident of Dacula, GA, in a pumpkin patch at 11:38 p.m. on Friday.

Lawrence will be charged with lewd and lascivious behavior, public indecency, and public intoxication at the Gwinnett County courthouse on Monday.

The suspect explained that as he was passing a pumpkin patch he decided to stop. “You know, a pumpkin is soft and squishy inside, and there was no one around here for miles. At least I thought there wasn’t,” he stated in a phone interview.

Lawrence went on to say that he pulled over to the side of the road, Picked out a pumpkin that he felt was appropriate to his purposes, cut a hole in it, and proceeded to satisfy his need. “I guess I was just really into it, you know?” he commented with evident embarrassment.

In the process, Lawrence apparently failed to notice a Gwinnett County police car approaching and was unaware of his audience until Officer Brenda Taylor approached him. “It was an unusual situation, that’s for sure,” said Officer Taylor. “I walked up to (Lawrence) and he’s… just working away at this pumpkin.”

Taylor went on to describe what happened when she approached Lawrence. “I just went up and said, ‘Excuse me sir, but do you realize that you are screwing a pumpkin?’ He froze and was clearly very surprised that I was there, and then looked me straight in the face and said, ‘A pumpkin? Darn…is it midnight already?”

GET OUT YOUR ‘PORTABLE HAND-HELD COMMUNICATIONS INSCRIBERS’

WASHINGTON – When is a pencil not a pencil? When it’s on a Pentagon shopping list – then it’s a ”portable hand-held communications inscriber,” says a Republican senator.



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