Public Offender

An Idaho public defender became a very public offender after she delivered a crude note to county commissioners.

Kootenai County (search) defense attorney Linda Payne, angry that her raise was $5,000 less than she'd been told, walked into the commissioners' offices last Thursday and dropped off a tube of lipstick, a tub of Vaseline and a greeting card.

"The next time you choose to give us something please lubricate and/or kiss first," Payne wrote in the card, according to the Spokesman-Review of Spokane, Wash. "Vaseline and red lipstick are enclosed. (Please excuse the small amounts. I don't make that much to give you how much you need or deserve.)"

"The raise you gave us and cut in half is simply another example of crud you thrust upon the criminal attorneys for the county," she continued. "To give us a raise and then take it away the next day is yet another example of your disrespect for loyal county employees."

Payne concluded by accusing the commission of calling public defenders and prosecutors an insulting profanity and thinking "monkeys could do our jobs."

"It took us all by surprise," said Commission Chairman Gus Johnson, who deemed Payne's note "unprofessional."

County Human Resources Director Cherie Bates explained that an accounting error had miscalculated the raises for county lawyers, who were told of the erroneous pay increases last Tuesday, then informed the next day they'd really be getting a smaller amount.

"It was a simple mistake in calculation," Bates said. "I couldn't be more sorry that happened."

Payne was suspended for one week without pay.

'Shower Jesus' Up for Auction on eBay

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Some may see it as a sign to call a plumber, but a Pittsburgh man sees the divine.

Jeffrey Rigo, 30, an Internet network engineer, is auctioning off a piece of water-stained plaster from his bathroom that he says looks like an image of Jesus Christ.

Rigo says he saw the image when he stepped out of his shower Saturday evening.

"I got out of the shower and yelled, 'Jesus Christ!'" Rigo told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review in a story published Thursday. "My girlfriend asked me, 'Oh, my God, what is it?' I pointed and responded, 'No, Jesus Christ!'"

Rigo is seeking at least $1,999.99 for the water-stained piece of plaster he's dubbed "Shower Jesus" on online auction Web site eBay.

Rigo, who isn't religious and doesn't believe the image is a sign from God, said he's approaching the auction lightheartedly.

"The entire auction and its proceedings are not meant to be taken seriously," Rigo said in an e-mail interview. "There is no hidden agenda here, no religious or political commentary to be derived."

Using a rotary tool, Rigo cut out the section of plaster and found the water leak. He then made a box, filled it with plaster and placed the "Shower Jesus" inside to dry.

As of Thursday, there was one bid. The auction ends Tuesday evening.

Boy Takes School Bus Home — by Himself

OWEGO, N.Y. (AP) — Police say a 15-year-old boy stole a bus from school and then led officers on a chase that ended at his home in a neighboring county.

A school employee called police to report the theft.

While the initial report was being taken, the bus zipped past a Broome County sheriff's deputy on patrol. The deputy started to pursue the bus but the driver wouldn't pull over.

A state trooper set up a tire deflation device in Tioga County (search) but the bus kept going.

Police say the 10-mile chase finally ended when Michael Beckett pulled into the driveway of his home in the town of Owego. Officers apprehended Beckett after he ran from the school bus.

Authorities say charges are pending. Beckett was released to a parent.

Aliens, or Just Bad Weather?

FARMLAND, Ind. (AP) — Strange markings appeared in a field this week, but some experts say they are more likely the result of rough weather than artistic aliens.

From the country road alongside the green wheat field halfway between Farmland and Parker City, 15 miles east of Muncie, the markings look like interconnected circles, arrows and other stuff of science fiction.

But from above, the shapes are not geometric and look like weather damage, said Ball State University (search) professor David Arnold, who saw a picture of the markings taken from a small airplane this week.

"This looks very much like 'blow down' from thunderstorm winds and rain," Arnold told The Star Press of Muncie. "I have seen these patterns many times and feel quite confident they are weather-related."

Farmland resident Michelle Slaven saw the markings from her vehicle Monday and pulled over to get a better look, standing on the roof of her truck to see.

"I said, 'Oh, my God!' I'm telling you, I was so excited," she said.

Roger Sugden is a founder of Independent Crop Circle Research Associates (search), which investigates crop circles throughout the Midwest.

He said many "randomly down crops" that do not have surprising shapes do show the energy signatures of an extraordinary event.

"All we know is there's some high energy that hits the field," he said.

Farmer Ralph Bosworth, who owns the wheat field, was not as excited about the markings.

"I sure don't know nothing about it," he said. "I'd say that's nothing but wind that's done that."

Crooked Accountant's Run of Fun Comes to End

PITTSBURGH (AP) — An accountant whose motto was "live until Friday" pleaded guilty to stealing between $1 million and $2.5 million from clients and lavishing strippers with gifts and jobs.

John J. Bowman, 52, of Shaler, pleaded guilty Tuesday to defrauding 11 clients between 1994 and 2002.

According to prosecutors, Bowman spent client money at a strip club, dropping more than $1,000 a night. He also hired young women to work at his now defunct business, Bowman & Associates. He hired a stripper as a secretary and gave her $20,000 for a down payment on a home and paid her $600 a week.

The plea agreement calls for Bowman to make restitution. He is scheduled to be sentenced Sept. 23.

One Vote, One Man

TOWN OF OREGON, Wis. (AP) — Randy Way had a pretty good idea about the outcome of the referendum when the polls closed. He was the only one allowed to vote.

As expected, Way approved a plan by the village of Oregon to annex 80 acres from the town.

He's the only person living in the annexed area, so he's the only one who could sign the petition requesting the referendum and the only one allowed to vote Tuesday.

Town Clerk Denise Arnold printed two ballots.

"We gave him two just in case he read it wrong and made a mistake," Arnold said. "This is probably not the norm. It's pretty weird."

Three paid poll workers were required to be on duty for 13 hours for the election after town officials said they were unable to find anything in state law that would allow the polls to close early after Way had voted just 17 minutes after the poll opened at 7 a.m.

Way bought pizza for the poll workers to show his appreciation.

Compiled by's Paul Wagenseil.

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