News you may have missed in 2010. You tell me which are fact and which are fiction.
Playmate "overexposed" by TSA
LOS ANGELES — Former Playboy Playmate Donna D'Errico — Miss September 1995 — feels overexposed by TSA airport scanners. The former "Baywatch" babe accused a TSA official of singling out her, and her son, to undergo full body scans at the Los Angeles International Airport.
"It is my personal belief that they pulled me aside because they thought I was attractive," said D'Errico.
"My boyfriend looks much more like a terrorist than either I or my son do, and he went through security with no problems," D'Errico said.
As a further complaint, D'Errico says the agent never gave her the option for a pat-down.
Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen fired
COLLEGE PARK — Ralph Friedgen, head coach of the University of Maryland football team, was fired in the same season he was named Atlantic Coast Conference coach of the year, even though there has been no hint of scandal during his tenure.
Friedgen won the conference championship during his first season, when he was the consensus national coach of the year. He also earned ACC coaching honors both his first year and this one, and took his teams to seven bowl games in 10 seasons.
Cops catch suspect tattooed suspect
MIAMI — Police locked up a suspected iPhone thief on Tuesday thanks to his distinctive forehead tattoo.
Each heist involved a man entering a store, jerking one or two display iPhones from their security cables, and running away. Witnesses remembered the man's tattoo.
It's a great help when suspects "put stupid things on their face and make it easier to identify them," said Jim Leljedal, a spokesman for the sheriff's office.
Joseph Williams, 19, will face at least 19 counts of grand theft. His tattoo read: "I'm Me."
Police taken on horse-and-buggy ride
LEON, N.Y. — Levi Detweiler, a 17-year-old Amish youth, accused of leading police on a low-speed one-mile chase when he allegedly refused to pull over while driving his horse and buggy, has been charged with underage possession of alcohol, reckless endangerment, failure to stop at a stop sign, failure to yield to an emergency vehicle and over-driving an animal.
And, yes, "over-driving an animal" is an actual crime.
WikiLeaker wronged by leaks
LONDON — Julian Assange, the spokesperson and editor in chief for WikiLeaks, a whistleblower website and conduit for news leaks, has been wronged.
In November, WikiLeaks began releasing the 251,000 American diplomatic cables in their possession, 40 percent of which are listed "Confidential" and six percent are classified "Secret."
In December, someone leaked records involving a criminal prosecution of Assange, who describes himself as an activist for "radical transparency."
As a result of the leaks, "Julian may be forced into a trial in the media" and "the purpose can only be one thing — trying to make Julian look bad," said Bjorn Hurtig, Assange’s lawyer.
Big Ten to change name
PARK RIDGE, Ill. — The Big Ten Conference has decided to change its name following the addition of a 12th member to the formerly 11-member athletic conference and in consideration of the 0-5 shellacking it took in New Year's Day football bowl games. The new name will be the Modestly Sized 12. Also, the proposed names of the two new conference divisions have been changed from Leaders and Legends to Losers and Lousy Losers.
Suspect tries low-speed escape
TAMPA — Sheriff's deputies were searching a house for stolen property when they got a tip that one of the suspects, identified as Charles McDaniel, 25, was trying to make his escape — on a riding mower.
Lawn mowers aren't good getaway vehicles, according to Bobby Cleveland.
"And they're just a little too slow — unless you're on my mower," said Cleveland, the man who holds the world record for highest speed reached on a lawn mower, 96.529 miles per hour.
McDaniel was apprehended, arrested and charged with theft of a firearm, carrying a concealed firearm and being a felon in possession of a firearm — but not speeding. He left the crime scene at an estimated seven to eight miles per hour.
Christmas tree threatens peace
SEOUL — The South Korean government responded aggressively to North Korea's sinking of a South Korean warship in March and the November shelling of a South Korean island which killed two and injured 20 more — by lighting a Christmas Tree
South Korea says a giant Christmas tree near the North Korean border will stay lit up till January 8 — the date that marks the birthday of North Korea's heir apparent. The tree — a nearly 100-foot-tall metal tower strung with light bulbs — was lit up as marines stood guard against any cross-border attack on it.
Gary D. Gaddy would like to wish his reader(s) a joy-filled new year.
NOTE: All of the above stories are absolutely true, with the exception of the one on the Big Ten, in which the name-change parts were made up — but not the rest if it. (But I should acknowledge that a "Big Ten," team, The Ohio State University, won — for the first time in ten tries — a bowl game against a Southeastern Conference team. But I should also note TOSU used five suspended players in the game. True. Look it up.)
A version of this story was published in the Chapel Hill Herald on Friday January 7, 2011.
Copyright 2011 Gary D. Gaddy