Local Politician Unknowingly Funky, Freaky

A Mississippi political hopeful is discovering the downside of name recognition.

Rick James (search) is the name of both a Hattiesburg City Council candidate and the flamboyant singer of the 1981 hit "Super Freak," who died last August just as he was poised to make a comeback.

The self-described "king of punk funk," jailed later in his career for drug abuse and violence against women, is the subject of a recurring skit on the Comedy Central cable-TV hit "Chappelle's Show," in which host Dave Chappelle (search), dressed as the singer, acts bizarrely and randomly shouts out "I'm Rick James, b*tch!"

According to the New York Post, people in Hattiesburg have been stealing "Vote Rick James" signs at such a rate that the aspiring city councilman's wife has asked Comedy Central for compensation.

"We would appreciate a small campaign donation for more signs, as we are working-class people and financing this campaign out of our own pockets," wrote Diane James to the cable channel. "Each time a sign is stolen, it costs us $4.75!"

The Mississippi Rick James ran in 2003 for the state house but apparently had no trouble from sign-stealers then.

"Every time a 'Rick James' piece runs on your show, we stand to lose dozens of signs overnight, which end up decorating people's front yards and dorm rooms," Diane James added, not specifying whether the relocated placards remained in the relevant electoral district.

Not only are the signs costing a bundle, says Mrs. Rick James, but there's a degree of public humiliation involved.

"Young children on bikes scream, 'I'm Rick James, b*tch!' as we drive by in our car with our 'Rick James' car signs," she states. "People even drive by our home and scream, 'Super Freak.'"

According to the Post, Comedy Central has not yet responded to James' letter.

— Thanks to Out There reader Mary S.

It's the Good Intention That Counts

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A man drove his car into a wall at the Division of Motor Vehicles building, then walked in and renewed his driver's license, police say.

Police believe the man was driving while impaired on medication and charged him with driving under the influence.

No one was injured.

The man's car went up over a sidewalk Thursday, denting the building's metal siding, cracking the inside of the wall and startling workers sitting nearby in the DMV's accounting department.

"I saw the guy back up, get out of his car and walk into the DMV like nothing happened," DMV employee Michelle Steinman said.

No one in the public area of the DMV noticed the accident. Workers in accounting notified higher-ups and pointed out the driver, who had taken a number, apologizing to a clerk that he had "tapped" the building.

By the time police arrived, the man had paid $20 and renewed his license.

— Thanks to Out There readers Donna G., Daniel H.

Lunch Money Turns Out to Be Funny

WEST SEATTLE, Wash. (AP) — A sixth-grader and two of his friends were suspended for using phony dollar bills made on a home computer to buy food in the school cafeteria.

On Monday, a cafeteria worker at James Madison Middle School (search) found a dollar bill that didn't look or feel like the real thing. Seattle School District spokeswoman Patti Spencer said people in the lunch room were told to watch for more counterfeit bills.

An assistant principal called Seattle police the next day after a sixth-grader tried to use one of the fake bills to buy beef jerky from the cafeteria.

Seattle Police spokesman Sean Whitcomb said the boy made 20 fake dollar bills on his aunt's computer, brought them to school and shared them with his friends.

The King County Prosecutors' Office is reviewing the case and deciding whether to file charges. School officials suspended the three boys for several days.

— Thanks to Out There reader Jimmy D.

Teacher Allegedly Made 5-Year-Old Unclog Toilet

BONITA SPRINGS, Fla. (AP) — After a girl got sick in the bathroom of her kindergarten class, the teacher made her don rubber gloves and manually remove a clog from the toilet, according to a lawsuit filed by the girl's mother.

Lori Januska sued Bonita Springs Charter School (search) last week after she said her 5-year-old daughter, Heather, clogged the toilet Sept. 22 and her teacher made her remove the clog as the entire class watched.

The suit said "a vulnerable 5-year-old was subjected to cruel, unusual and traumatic disciplinary actions which directly resulted in severe emotional distress, pain and suffering and mental distress."

The girl suffers from an incurable gastrointestinal condition.

The suit, which seeks unspecified damages, claims the school staff was negligent in hiring an unqualified teacher.

School principal Pamela Franco and school district attorney Keith Martin declined comment on the suit.

Mark Levinsen, senior vice president of administration and human resources for Charter Schools USA, investigated the original complaint and said the teacher was disciplined.

Highway Sign Tells Drivers to Speed Up

VIENNA TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — Drivers on southbound Interstate 75 (search) got a surprise Thursday morning from an electronic construction message board.

The board, which for weeks had been alerting drivers in Genesee County near Clio that construction starts this month, instead greeted them with the message: "Speed Limit 100 MPH Go Go Go."

"We got a call from the state police before 5 this morning [Thursday] and we took care of it," Bill Shreck, regional spokesman for the Michigan Department of Transportation, told The Flint Journal. "We weren't amused."

The speed limit in the area is 70 miles per hour, Shreck said. The sign was the only MDOT message board affected.

The message boards are controlled remotely by a computer through a subcontractor, Shreck said. That company is looking into who changed the board and how.

"We know it wasn't a purposeful act by the contractor, but we don't know if it was hacked into or if it was a disgruntled employee or what," Shreck said.

Mail Carriers No Longer Need Fear Killer Chihuahua

HOBART, Ind. (AP) — The owner of a Chihuahua that, as earlier reported in Out There, was so nasty to mail carriers that they stopped mail delivery has pleaded guilty to letting her pet run at large.

Hobart City Judge William Longer ordered Vicki Seber to pay $172 in court costs but suspended the fines because Seber said she has taken the 4½-pound dog, named Bobo, to her mother's home in Hammond.

"I'm just glad it's over," Seber said. "I feel so silly. I'm a grown adult trying to defend a Chihuahua."

City Attorney George Galanos explained to the judge that Bobo was creating a nuisance by nipping at the ankles of mail carriers.

Seber told the judge Bobo is "very small and very sneaky."

She said he slips out the front door of her home or under a fence around the backyard to nip at the mail carrier.

"For some reason he doesn't like the post office," she said. "That is, the only person he chases is the mailman."

It got so bad that the U.S. Postal Service sent a letter to Seber March 3 saying it was stopping mail delivery to her block if she could not control Bobo.

"It doesn't matter what the size of the dog is," Judge Longer said. "Your obligation to control a pet remains the same."

Compiled by FOX News' Paul Wagenseil.

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