Originally created 02/02/05

Odds and Ends



ANGLETON, Texas - A Houston-area mother whose daughter's tardiness landed her in school detention wound up in jail over one of her son's unpaid fines.

Susan Manis was surprised last week when two Brazoria County deputies showed up at her home with a warrant for her arrest.

Manis and her husband, Steve, had recently spent an hour in detention with their 13-year-old daughter, who was late for class six times when the family's van wouldn't start.

"I'm wondering what's going to happen next," Susan Manis said Monday. "I'm 42 years old, and I've never had anything more serious than a traffic ticket."

Manis said she was handcuffed, put in a patrol car and taken to jail.

"I just cried at first," she said.

Her husband contacted a judge, who called the jail and ordered her release.

The warrant stemmed from Manis missing a monthly payment on fees and fines levied against one of her sons when he was a juvenile.

Because her son, now 19, does not have a steady job, she had agreed to send the court $50 a month to pay off about $10,000 in fines, fees and court costs he owes from three convictions.

"I accepted responsibility for them," said Manis, who agreed in court to make a payment by Thursday.

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RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) - A buffalo that escaped from an auction ended up in a dressing room at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center, where it spent a couple of hours staring into a mirror.

The buffalo jumped over a steel panel Sunday morning during the Black Hills Stock Show & Rodeo, went down an alley and got into the dressing room reserved for visiting sports teams, said Brian Maliske, the civic center's general manager.

"The door happened to be unlocked and he pushed the door open and went in," Maliske said.

The crew conducting the Black Hills Classic Buffalo Sale decided to keep the animal locked in the dressing room for the rest of the auction. During its two-hour stay, it reportedly became fascinated with its image in a big mirror.

Once the sale ended, a rodeo crew member coaxed the buffalo out of the dressing room and back into captivity.

The animal never got into a public area, Maliske said.

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FORT WALTON BEACH, Fla. (AP) - The children at Ocean City Elementary say school stinks.

And they're right.

More than 70 have transferred from Ocean City Elementary because an aging and outmoded sewage treatment plant next door is emitting a foul odor.

"The smell affects us physically as well as the operation of our school," said Principal Debbie Boutwell. She said the school's budget is affected because out of 77 children who received zoning waivers not to attend the school, 70 cited the smell as the reason.

"We get roughly $3,800 per student, so that's a lot of money that we aren't able to use for staffing," Boutwell said. "We have to write grants to get extra programs like PE and music."

She and her staff had hoped Okaloosa County, which operates the treatment plant just outside Fort Walton Beach, would close it soon. But officials last week said it will be another three years before that could happen.

"Relocating a sewage treatment plant is a really tough thing to do," County Manager Chris Holley said when he met with Boutwell and teachers. "Nobody wants it in their back yard."

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SYDNEY, Australia (AP) - Roo rage is apparently on the rise in Australia, a post-graduate student studying the phenomenon said Tuesday.

Guy Ballard, a student at the University of New England in the north of New South Wales state, began logging kangaroo attacks on humans after two such incidents in 1999 and 2002.

"We had thought there would be three to five attacks in the past two years but we've had 15 to 20 reports so far," Ballard said. "We are going to expand our research to better understand the context of the attacks."

He studied a small region between Coffs Harbor, a coastal town 300 miles north of Sydney and Grafton. Although such incidents are rare, Ballard said kangaroos can become aggressive and will attack if provoked.

"Now that more urbanized people are coming into contact with kangaroos they are starting to learn the lessons that rural Australians have known for quite some time," he said.

Ballard said an Eastern Grey kangaroo is about the same size as an average man and can inflict serious lacerations.

"It's about six feet tall with sharp claws and powerful hind legs. You wouldn't want to come up against that," he said.

Last year, there were two reported kangaroo attacks in the Australian capital, Canberra, hundreds of miles south of Coffs Harbor. In one, a woman was attacked and in another, a woman said a kangaroo drowned her golden retriever in a pond. Officials blamed those attacks on a drought that had forced the marsupials into the capital in search of food and water.