Sometimes the news isn't serious; it's silly. Some of that's floating around today. And this story is what experts call a "so what?" story.
- A reporter was actually assigned, and wrote, an article about ice cream sales spiking in the summer. Stop the presses, fellas. Hold on there, hoss -- you mean to tell me folks are buying ding-danged ice cream cones in July? This is some amazing stuff. Believe it or not, this is a real quote from the story: "We see more people in the summer," said Chad Nitzky, owner of Rita's Water Ice in Royal Palm Beach. [Palm Beach Post]
- Then to the south, the complete opposite: a story that actually tells readers something they don't know and, if they have a pulse, probably really pisses them off. Clear Channel, everyone's favorite corporation, complained to FDOT that some big, nasty palm trees are making their beautiful billboards hard to see. Actually, they've filed 40-something such complaints in Broward and Palm Beach.
Worse, an FDOT landscape architect said that some trees will need to be cut down to be in compliance with the 2006 law that gives billboards "unobstructed views."
The whole thing stands as an indicator of what's wrong with South Florida, why so many characterize it as ugly. Billboards trumping trees. Face it, if they can pass a law like this, they can fund some study showing that tourists actually visit us for our pretty billboards [Sun-Sentinel]
- Even farther south comes the next story, and it's another that is bound to surprise, shock, and anger readers. No matter what you think about the Boy Scouts organization, this tale points out some incredibly inept leadership, awful decision-making, and terrible damage-control management. Last May, 17-year-old Michael Sclawy-Anderson of Plantation died during an Eagle Scout hike. His parents filed a wrongful-death suit, and they should collect every cent. The death was entirely preventable and shows that this particular batch of scout leaders failed to adhere to the laws of common sense throughout the misguided mission. For instance:
* May is not the best month in which to undertake a 20-mile hike through the Everglades. January is a better choice.
* Hiking in 100-degree heat is possible, if it's a mile or two. A 20-mile hike lasting more than ten hours in those conditions? Only if you're trying for the Bataan badge.
* The group left at 8:30 a.m., and no one called for help until 6 p.m. -- about five hours after hikers were unable to eat much due to the heat, two and a half hours after Sclawy-Anderson was stumbling, and 90 minutes after he was rendered incapacitated.
* Not enough water was brought for the length of the hike or the environmental conditions.
Sclawy-Anderson died trying to earn a merit badge. [Miami Herald]
- Yet, elsewhere in the Herald, some good news. The evil creature known as the chupacabra has apparently vacated South Florida and taken up residence in... Texas! Good riddance, says the Juice. Not that we didn't love the cuddly critter blamed for sucking farm animals dry, spitting out their bones into a bloody heap... we even nicknamed him Chewie!
Back in the mid-'90s, the story reports, chupacabras terrorized South Florida, even "slaughter[ing] two cows into mounds of guts and severed heads." Well, now they're someone else's problem. And they give good quote in Texas, as evidenced by the Fort Worth animal control officer who came upon one last week, calling it "the ugliest animal he'd ever seen." Here's his eyewitness account. ``It was ugly, real ugly. I'm not going to tell no lie on that one.'' [Miami Herald]