Town Cracks Down on Cell Phones

It's become illegal to use a cell phone in Illegal Pete's.

The Boulder, Colo., Mexican restaurant chain has a sign up on the wall: "If you don't want any trouble, get the [bleep] off the phone!"

It's only one of several Boulder businesses trying to cut down on customers' mobile usage, reports KUSA-TV.

At Alpine Barbers (search), another sign threatens to add $5 to the bill of any customer caught yakking away.

"You'd be surprised what $5 does," said co-owner Charles DeVischer, who added that collected fines go to a local church.

Cell phone use led to arguments and ruined the barbershop's homey ambience, DeVischer pointed out.

Illegal Pete's (search) manager, Shawn Latham, said it's just common sense.

"I mean, we can get up to a hundred and some people in line," he explained, "and when you're waiting that deep in line, you don't want someone holding you up because they're having a 15-minute conversation on their cell phone."

Customers are generally supportive.

"Maybe because we do have to kind of teach cell-phone etiquette to people," said Boulder resident Paul Dougherty. " They're not going to get it on their own unless they walk in somewhere and the rules say 'no cell-phone use.'"

— Thanks to Out There reader Travis R.

Chamber of Commerce Fires Psychic

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Maybe David Levin should have seen it coming: An economic development group fired him as a consultant over concern that his self-professed psychic powers were interfering with his work.

The St. Louis Regional Chamber and Growth Association (search) knew Levin was "spiritual," but word of his claims to have supernatural powers became a credibility issue, said Richard Fleming, president and CEO of the group.

Levin, 64, was an executive coach and strategic planner for the St. Louis nonprofit group, which paid him $1.4 million in fees and reimbursement since 1997.

An article in the British magazine Prediction says Levin ran a consulting business for executives and that he and Fleming met in 1993, the year before Fleming was named chief executive of the St. Louis non-profit.

In the article, titled "A Psychic Family," Levin alleges he, his wife and their 15-year-old son are all psychic.

"David has this uncanny combination of intuitive sense and real ability to see the big picture," Fleming said in the article, published in the September edition. "His intuitive vision has been a huge help to me as a leader as well."

Fleming did not return telephone messages last Thursday, and Levin did not respond to telephone and e-mail requests for an interview. The magazine said that the Levins were conducting seminars in London in August and September.

The magazine reported that Levin's Center for Intuitive Leadership (search) in Boulder, Colo., is meant to help business leaders "through a transformational clairvoyance-based method."

A Yabba Dabba Doo Time

DENVER (AP) — Federal regulators shut down a phony Internet bank claiming to be located in the tiny Colorado town of Bedrock — population 10 — near the Utah state line.

Through its Web site, the First National Bank of Bedrock (search) offered deposit accounts, investments, debit cards and credit cards, according to the federal Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.

The address listed for the bank — 7729 S. Granite Ave. — doesn't exist, said Bedrock postmaster Ruth Swain.

Regulators said it was unclear if the Web site was a joke, perhaps in reference to the fictional town on the old "Flintstones" TV show.

But the Web site could have been an attempt to collect personal information, said Kevin Mukri, spokesman for the currency comptroller's office.

"There are a lot of scams out there," he told the Los Angeles Times. "Usually, they're after the same thing, personal information and account numbers."

The Web site seems to have been registered under a fictitious name, the office said.

Bedrock, an old mining town, still receives mail for Fred and Wilma Flintstone and their cartoon pals, Barney and Betty Rubble, said Swain. She stamps them "Return to Sender: Fictitious Cartoon Character."

Concerned Citizen Gives Essential Gift

YORK, Pa. (AP) — York, a city struggling with its finances, has received a most practical gift.

An unknown donor dropped off a case of toilet paper at City Hall on Sunday. The gesture was in response to a recent comment made by York Councilman Wm. Lee Smallwood, who wondered how the cash-strapped city would close a $25 million deficit in the police and fire pensions.

"We can't even afford toilet paper," Smallwood said.

Mayor John Brenner said the toilet paper was left at City Hall with a note from "a friend."

"It is amazing someone took it upon themselves to turn this into a practical joke," the mayor said Monday. The toilet paper was given to the public works department to be doled out, he said.

"What do you think we are going to do with it — decorate the trees? Of course we will use it," Brenner said.

Smallwood said it was comforting the public is paying attention to the city's problems. "They are just trying to help out," he said.

Lion On the Loose in Brazil

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil (AP) — Police were searching last Friday for a lion that reportedly has terrorized a small village in northeastern Brazil for over a week.

Residents lock their doors when darkness falls in Santa Barbara, about 700 miles northeast of Rio de Janeiro. The local school suspended classes for fear the animal would attack students.

Lions are not native to Brazil. The biggest feline in this hemisphere is the jaguar.

But residents said the animal was a lion, which appeared to be sick and very hungry. It was spotted eating chickens and cats, said Damiana de Sousa Estrela, a receptionist at the Santa Barbara police station.

Federal wildlife officials said the animal possibly was a jaguar, which is native to the region although increasingly rare.

"There's certainly a predator in the region attacking livestock. But if it's a lion or a jaguar, we still don't know," said Augusto Morelli, of the federal environmental protection agency, Ibama.

If the animal is a lion, it was likely abandoned by a traveling circus, Morelli said. He planned to capture the animal within the next few days.

Compiled by's Paul Wagenseil.

Got a good "Out There" story in your hometown? We'd like to know about it. Send an e-mail, with a Web link (we need to authenticate these things), to