Monday 05/07/12

Human Interest News   —   Posted on May 7, 2012

Official: Polka dots painted on North Dakota home an eyesore

BISMARCK, N.D. — Jim Deitz believes he’s creating a Grand Forks landmark, but the downtown apartment house he’s painting one polka dot at a time is making a city planner cringe.

The retired house painter on Tuesday was putting the final polka dots on his home-turned-apartments, where passers-by have been gathering to watch him work and to request colors from his palette of a dozen cans of brightly colored paint.

“Pizza delivery drivers won’t have any trouble finding this place,” Deitz said of the century old-two story home that houses six apartments. “You can’t miss it.”

The house is next to a church, a fraternal organization building and a new low-income apartment complex. Deitz and the city had negotiated a deal to buy out the property to expand the low-income housing facility.

Deitz said he was offered $100,000 for the home a year or so ago.

“They were going to buy me out and they backed out,” Deitz said. “I want $150,000 for it now.”

Ryan Brooks, the city’s senior planner, said the polka dot house is an eyesore and that he thinks it’s Deitz’s way of protesting the city’s decision not to buy the property.

“It’s hard to say what this gentleman’s true motives are,” Brooks said. “I think my opinion is the same as everybody — I wouldn’t want to be living next to it.”

Brooks said the city doesn’t have a code that forbids homeowners from painting their houses in certain colors or schemes, however garish.

Deitz insists the polka dots are meant simply to brighten up the neighborhood and are not as a form of protest.

About eight tenants live in the home, and none mind the new paint scheme, he said.

“I got people waiting in line to get in this place,” he said.

Deitz researched several different paint jobs before picking the polka dots.

“I looked at all kinds of crazy paint jobs on the Internet and came up with this polka dot deal,” Deitz said. “She looks good.”

Brooks believes the polka dots won’t migrate to other neighborhoods in the city.

“I don’t see this as a trend because most people take a little pride in their homes,” Brooks said. “The paint he’s putting on that thing is the only thing new on it. It’s in rough shape.” 

Tsunami-swept Harley in container found in Canada

In this undated photo taken before March 11, 2011 by its owner Ikuo Yokoyama and distributed by Japan’s Kyodo News, a Harley-Davidson sits in the garage in Kakuda, Niyagi Prefecture, northern Japan.

TOKYO — It must have been a wild ride. Japanese media say a Harley-Davidson motorcycle lost in last year’s tsunami has washed up on a Canadian island about 4,000 miles away.

The rusted bike was found in a large white container where its owner, Ikuo Yokoyama, had kept it. He was located through the license plate number, Fuji TV reported Wednesday.

“This is unmistakably mine. It’s miraculous,” Yokoyama told Nippon TV when shown photos of the motorcycle.

Yokoyama lost three members of his family in the March 11, 2011.

The motorcycle is among the first items lost in the tsunami to reach the west coast of North America. In March, an Alaska man found a football and later a volleyball from Japan; their owners were located last week using names that had been inscribed on the balls.

Canadian Peter Mark, who found the bike and its container, told Fuji that he “couldn’t believe that something like that would make it across the Pacific.” The report said he found it April 18 on Graham Island, off the coast of British Columbia.

The motorcycle was caked with “a lot of corrosion, a lot of rust,” said Mark.

When he saw the Japanese license plate, Mark wondered if it might have drifted from Japan after the tsunami, and contacted a local TV station.

The Fuji report said the motorcycle would be shipped back to Japan, and that the shop that sold it to Yokoyama would help with paperwork and storage.

Debris from the tsunami initially gathered in the ocean off Japan’s northeastern coast and has since spread out across the Pacific. In February, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said currents would carry much of the debris to the coasts of Alaska, Canada, Washington and Oregon between March 2013 and 2014, though they also predicted that some of it could arrive this year.

Last month, a U.S. Coast Guard cutter fired on and sank a fishing boat in the Gulf of Alaska that had drifted from Japan after the disaster. Authorities had deemed the ship a hazard to shipping and to the coastline.

Tennessee police arrest man for paying with real $50

SHELBYVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee police are apologizing after arresting a man for using a $50 bill they thought was fake but that turned out to be real.

Police in Shelbyville thought the bill was counterfeit after a convenience store clerk called them. The clerk said a marker used to detect false money didn’t show the bill was real.

The Shelbyville Times-Gazette reported Officer Brock Horner arrested Lorenzo Gaspar on Friday.

But a police evidence technician told the arresting officer that some old bills don’t react to the markers. So police gave the money to two banks to check, and they said it was real but just very old.

Gaspar was released from jail and police apologized to him.

‘Super villain’ challenges Seattle masked crime-fighter

Phoenix Jones

SEATTLE — The whole “super hero” thing going on around Seattle over the past several months reached new levels Tuesday.

Just as the self-proclaimed masked crusader Phoenix Jones and his sidekicks Midnight Jack and Caballero were staring down a hoard of [Occupy Wall Street] May Day protesters at a former federal courthouse, a new video, challenging the mace-carrying Seattle “superhero”, was being uploaded to You Tube.

In the video, sprinkled with tight and shadowy shots, a man calling himself “Rex Velvet” of the “Social Villains Alliance” challenges Jones.

Velvet is seen with all the classic villain accoutrement. He sports an impressive handlebar moustache and wears a bowler hat and eye patch.

He carries a katana sword and a small metal plate in the shape of the Space Needle which he throws like a ninja star. He also has a large scar running the length of the right side of his face– presumably from his last super hero run-in.

Velvet uses some harsh words for Jones and his partners, calling them “nerds in tights.”

While the video is a well-produced and decently creepy and funny parody, Velvet ends his 2 minute and 36 second memorandum promising he will not stop until Seattle is rid of Jones.

From The Boston Herald.