Fired Basketball Coach Goes on

Offensive With School, Parents

The Lehi High School girls' basketball team was winning, but parents at the Utah school weren't happy with the way coach Mike O'Connor was running things. They complained. O'Connor was fired. And then he decided to fight back.

O'Connor sued not only the principal who fired him, but also the 30 parents and community members he accuses of hatching a plan to run him out of town. And he wants $1.5 million from each of them.

O'Connor coached the team to a 52-17 record, winning back-to-back regional championships. But parents and other players became jealous when he gave a freshman a starting spot and were unhappy about playing time, O'Connor said. Parents went to Lehi's principal, Sheldon Worthington, and then to the school board. They wrote dozens of letters accusing O'Connor of being abusive toward his team, misusing team funds and recruiting players to play at Lehi. All false, O'Connor said in his lawsuit.

"What does it mean to lose your career? What is that worth?" asked Joseph Rust, the lawyer representing the former coach.

-- Kimberly Edds

Diligent Newspaper Carrier

Arrested for Flood-Zone Delivery

The folks in central Pennsylvania had to make do without cable television, video games and DVDs after Hurricane Ivan blew through and flooded streets. But at least six people got the local newspaper.

Carrier Betsey Patrick set out with her father in their raft to deliver last Sunday's edition of the Patriot-News to the people of Carlisle.

"The people were so excited," Patrick told the Associated Press.

State police officers failed to appreciate Patrick's sense of duty. Taking watercraft into flooded areas poses a public safety problem, and they slapped her father with a citation for recklessly operation of a watercraft. When Patrick protested, they arrested her for disorderly conduct.

Patrick promised to fight the charges, but she will have to fight her case alone. Carriers are independent contractors and not employees of the newspaper.

-- Michelle Garcia

Wis. Protects Residents' Right

To Favor Butter Over Margarine

When it comes to butter, it's not nice to fool Nels Harvey, as the Ponderosa Steakhouse in Menomenee Falls, Wis., learned the hard way.

Harvey, 71, was distressed the other day when his baked potato arrived slathered in margarine. He asked for butter. The waitress said the restaurant did not serve butter. Harvey insisted, secure in the knowledge that state law 97.18(4) was on his side.

It is illegal in Wisconsin to serve colored margarine in public eating establishments unless the customer requests it.

After checking the law on the Internet, Harvey complained to the local newspaper and the county health department, which sent an inspector, who confirmed the violation. "I expected butter. I ordered butter. The law says they have to give me butter," Harvey said. "Wisconsin is the dairy state!"

The law, designed to boost dairy sales, is a remnant of an era when it was illegal to buy colored margarine in Wisconsin. It was only in the 1960s that the statewide sales ban was lifted.

Harvey never did get his butter from the Ponderosa. But diners may now choose between genuine and fake.

-- Peter Slevin