Watercooler Stories – June 14, 2012 – UPI.com

Text joke leads to courthouse bomb search

HOUSTON, June 14 (UPI) — A Texas woman just released from jury duty was arrested after she jokingly sent a text message asking a co-worker to phone in a bomb threat, authorities said.

Harris County Precinct 1 Assistant Chief J.C. Mosier said Cynthia Ann Creed, 51, had just been released from jury duty Tuesday at the Harris County Courthouse when she sent a text message to a co-worker reading, “Call the courthouse (1201 Congress) Tell them there is a bomb … Pleeese,” the Houston Chronicle reported Wednesday.

Creed sent a message about 13 minutes later explaining she was “just kidding,” but by that time the co-worker had already alerted police, who cleared the jury room and were searching the building for explosives with bomb-sniffing dogs.

“I am flabbergasted,” Mosier said. “I don’t know what in the world she was thinking. This is the kind of thing you expect from a 17-year-old teenager, not a 51-year-old woman.”

He said he was shocked to learn Creed had just been released from jury duty and was “a block or two down the street” when she sent the first text message.

Mosier said he believes Creed was telling the truth about the incident being a joke.

“I do feel horrible because this is a good woman,” he said. “But she made a silly, but serious mistake.”

Creed was charged with giving a false report and was ordered held in lieu of $5,000 bail.


Homeless man to keep cash from river

BASTROP, Texas, June 14 (UPI) — Officials in Bastrop, Texas, said a homeless man jailed on public intoxication and criminal trespassing charges will receive the $77,000 he found in January.

The Bastrop City Council voted 6-0 to return the money to Timothy Yost, 47, who discovered the 70 $100 bills and 40 South African Krugerrand gold coins Jan. 18 on the banks of the Colorado River at Fisherman’s Park, and his attorney said he is expected to receive the money within 48 hours, the Austin American-Statesman reported Wednesday.

“It is a great day for Bastrop; it is a great day for Mr. Yost,” said Yost’s attorney, Aleta Peacock.

Peacock, who confirmed Yost is currently in jail, said she had filed a lawsuit asking for the money to be returned.

Bastrop City Attorney Jo Christi Brown told the council there was no evidence the money had come from illegal drugs or other crimes.

“The city wishes Mr. Yost the best of luck,” Mayor Terry Orr said.


No Greenwood, Bieber for kindergarten

NEW YORK, June 14 (UPI) — A New York principal criticized for cutting Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the USA” from a kindergarten graduation has also cut Justin Bieber‘s “Baby.”

PS 90 Principal Greta Hawkins, who received sharp criticism from parents and other locals when it emerged she decided not to have the kindergarten students sing Greenwood’s patriotic tune at their June 20 graduation, released a set list for the event that also revealed Bieber’s “Baby” had been removed from the program, the New York Post reported Wednesday.

The program will include “We’re All Together Again,” “The World is a Rainbow,” “Shake Your Sillies Out” by Raffi, and “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” from the movie “Toy Story.”

Some parents at the school, which has been beset by months of tension between Hawkins, teachers and parents, said cutting the Bieber tune was a political move to draw attention away from the Greenwood snub.

“She’s trying to keep the heat off her back,” parent Luz Lozada said. “We made a big uproar and I’m glad they did something about it. That song was not right for this age group. They should just leave the ‘God Bless the USA’ song.”


School offers ‘gender blind’ dorm rooms

BUFFALO, N.Y., June 14 (UPI) — A New York state university said this fall will see the first time the school has allowed students of different genders to share dorm rooms.

University at Buffalo officials said students have been shown to do better academically while living on campus, and they are hoping the move will encourage more students to remain in university housing, the Buffalo News reported Wednesday.

“The role of the university is not to determine with whom students may or may not live, but rather to empower its students to make their own decisions responsibly,” said Andrea Costantino, director of campus living. “In today’s society there is no reason why someone should not be living with whom he or she feels most comfortable.”

Trey Ufholcz, a transgender student who recently earned his master’s degree in social work at the school, brought the idea of “gender blind” housing to the attention of administrators last year.

“I thought it was an outdated policy,” Ufholcz said. “I think as a society, we have progressed.”

The National Student Genderblind Campaign, which promotes allowing students of different genders to live together on campus, said the policy can help to provide a safer environment for LGBT students.

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