Originally created 10/14/02

Odds and ends



FAIRFIELD, Ill. -- It's hardly the fastest thing on the road, but police say a red riding lawn mower was an effective getaway vehicle for a burglar.

Witnesses told police they saw the suspect driving the mower away from a home where an intruder made off with more than $1,000 in jewelry Monday.

"We believe he rode the mower to the crime scene as well," said Fairfield police Sgt. Steven Sons.

Fairfield, in southeastern Illinois, is about 30 miles west of the Indiana state line.

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MOCKSVILLE, N.C. -- Look at the street signs and you might think people in Davie County don't like visitors.

There's Staya Way and Getta Way, Keepa Way and Outatha Way. But the people who live on the streets say they're friendly.

"When we named the road, we didn't even think it was odd," said Keretha Shore, who lives on Staya Way. "We just thought it was funny."

The Shores' former neighbor, David Plott, suggested the name when the county mandated several years ago that all roads have names so that emergency vehicles could find them. Other neighbors liked it, too.

Briggett Ferrell said she hoped the name might discourage people who sometimes park in her family's back yard and fish in the lake behind their house. But her son, Joey, said the signs don't discourage anyone.

"People always laugh," he said. "People ask if we're joking: 'You're lying to me, right?"'

All four roads are private, so property owners along the roads had naming rights. As long as the names didn't offend anyone and didn't duplicate any existing names, they were OK, said Tim Barba of the Davie County Planning Department.

Rick Franklin, who named Getta Way, said he doesn't want people to think he's antisocial. Just last weekend, he had 160 people over for chicken stew, he said.

"I ain't put up the gate yet," he said.

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LAKE CITY, Fla. -- A man who wanted to change his name to God chose a new name when a judge turned down his request.

The former Charles Haffey's new name is I Am who I Am.

The former Haffey said after his first choice was rejected in April, he went to the Bible to find a backup. He drew on a passage where Moses asks God who he is and hears: "I am who I am or I will be who I will be."

"That's kind of wordy, so I'm just going for 'I Am Who I Am' as my full legal name," he said. "My first name, of course, would be 'I Am."'

The 55-year-old said he sought the name change as a way to gain release from feelings of anxiety and rage that have plagued him since he served in Vietnam.

"I was fatally wounded in the mind and the spirit," he said. "I didn't suffer any bodily injury. It's just what I saw, what I did. I killed myself."

Who I Am said he became a Christian and was baptized in April. It was shortly after that when he decided to change everything, beginning with his name.

Last week, he bought a tombstone to be inscribed with his former name. He plans to plant it in the tall grass on his property.

He said it will read, "'Charles Walter Haffey, born Sept. 23, 1948, and died Oct. 21, 1968, Republic of Vietnam."'

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WILMINGTON, N.C. -- Jim Cone didn't need to pick up dinner last weekend. It came to him.

Cone said he was boating on the Intracoastal Waterway last Saturday when he crossed paths with a large, leaping Spanish mackerel.

The fish went airborne and grazed the head of Cone's daughter. It smashed through the half-inch-thick plastic windshield before bouncing off Cone's chest and landing on his wife's leg.

"I was screaming because I didn't know what happened," said Patti Cone. "And there was a fish in my lap."

Spanish mackerel don't jump frequently, but they do jump, said Rich Carpenter, district manager for the Southern Region of the N.C. Marine Fisheries Division.

"He could have been chasing something," Carpenter said. "Or something could have been chasing him."

Apart from some small cuts on Cone's chest, the broken windshield and some moments of panic, the boaters were OK.

After catching their breath, the Cones took the fish home and cooked it for dinner.

"It was good and fresh," Cone said. "I guess you could call it a free lunch, except for the windshield."