Woman, 25, Pleads Guilty
To Abandoning Cats in Park
Painesville, Ohio, Municipal Court Judge Michael Cicconetti figured Michelle Murray, 25, should get a taste of her own medicine.
Murray, 25, pleaded guilty to abandoning about 35 kittens and cats in two parks on two nights in Lake County, Ohio, in September. Rangers found them, but nine died.
So Cicconetti sentenced her to spend a cold night alone without shelter in a park, and then 15 days in jail.
"I wanted her to have the same experience the animals went through," said Cicconetti, who is known for creative sentencing options. Two years ago, he gave two teenagers who had stolen and defaced a nativity statue the choice of jail or buying a new statue and marching through the streets with it on a donkey.
During her night in the park, Murray will be able to contact park rangers in an emergency.
"The weather forecast is for a particularly cold night, so we may have to make modifications," Cicconetti said.
-- Kari Lydersen
Five Muslims Were Praying,
But Not for the N.Y. Giants
Halfway through the second quarter of the Sept. 19 football game, just as the New Orleans Saints scored a touchdown against the New York Giants, five men were found kneeling in prayer near a ventilation duct in Giants Stadium.
"When it's time for prayer, it's time to worship God," one of them, Sami Shaban, 27, a Seton Hall Law School student, later told the New York Daily News. "No matter where we are, we stop and we pray."
Security guards summoned the FBI. The men were detained. The Muslims, all Giants fans, said they were the targets of racial profiling. Steven Siegel, an FBI spokesman, disagrees. He said, "It was where they were, not what they were doing."
After the incident, stadium executives decided to create "prayer areas." Soon fans will be able to retreat to those spots when religious duty calls -- or when the Giants are losing.
-- Michelle Garcia
Thanksgiving Cooking Oil
Being Collected to Run Buses
You've heard of leftover turkey sandwiches and making soup out of turkey bones. So what to do with all that used Thanksgiving turkey fryer oil?
In Texas, chicken-fried steak is a delicacy and fried turkeys are a holiday staple. This year, North Texas officials are asking residents to donate their used oil -- peanut oil is the favorite for frying up a nice, juicy turkey -- to a company that will convert it into biodiesel fuel for the city of Denton. It's true: The city's fleet of garbage trucks, buses and other vehicles can run on converted turkey fryer oil.
Washing cooking oil down the sink can cause clogging of municipal sewage systems, so cities such as Denton and Fort Worth for years have collected residential cooking grease and oil.
But the used oil previously went to city compost piles or collection centers that charge fees. Five cities in North Texas are offering to collect the used oil from residents free of charge through the end of 2005 and donate it to Denton-based Biodiesel Industries Inc. to be converted to fuel the city's municipal fleet.
The largest amount of used turkey fryer oil is generated between Thanksgiving and Christmas, and gasoline prices are high.
"With the gas crisis . . . this is a great time to go biodiesel," said Donna Kliewer, waste services manager for Allen, Tex. "It's the best alternative fuel you can think of."
-- Sylvia Moreno
Giants fan Sami Shaban accused authorities of racial profiling.