Archive for April, 2011

Toddler Hospitalized After Eating Marijuana Cookies

Posted in News, Parents Behaving Badly with tags , , on April 29, 2011 by punauni

DENVER — Denver police say a 2-year-old boy was hospitalized after eating cookies that contained marijuana.

Court records show 25-year-old Denitra Vigil brought her son to the hospital on March 19 after he appeared unusually sleepy. Hospital officials said marijuana’s active ingredient, THC, was found in his system.

Records show Vigil said her son climbed on a chair in the kitchen and opened the freezer, where the cookies were kept in a bag. Police say Vigil didn’t know how many cookies the boy ate.

Child Protective Services told police that he was lethargic through the night, but stable.

Vigil was arrested on a misdemeanor child abuse charge and released on a $10,000 bond.

Vigil’s attorney declined to comment  Thursday.


Maine Boy Born Without Hands Honored for Penmanship

Posted in Awesome, News with tags , , on April 29, 2011 by punauni

READFIELD, Maine — A 10-year-old boy who earned a spot in a national penmanship contest despite being born without hands is in a league of his own, contest organizers say.

Fifth-grader Nicholas Maxim, who writes by holding a pencil between his arms, impressed the judges enough that they created a new category for students with disabilities. Maxim received the first Nicholas Maxim Special Award for Excellent Penmanship this week at a school assembly.

The student at Readfield Elementary School is known for his penmanship, even though it’s not easy for him because he was born without hands or lower arms.

Judges who sifted through 200,000 handwriting entries in the annual contest run by Zaner-Bloser, of Columbus, Ohio, were so impressed that they decided a new category was warranted to inspire others.

Maxim, who said he likes writing and illustrating comic strips, didn’t know his paper had been submitted to the contest, so Monday’s school assembly in his honor came as a surprise.

“We submitted his entry because we felt his penmanship was amazing considering he completes most of his work without using his prostheses,” said Principal Cheryl Hasenfus.

Zaner-Bloser estimates that more than 2.5 million students have participated in the handwriting contest during its 20-year history. The 2011 winners will be announced next month in Florida.

Mom locked kids outside during severe weather

Posted in News, Parents Behaving Badly, Sad with tags , on April 15, 2011 by punauni

Police say a Louisville mother left two infants locked outside in the rain during severe weather, while she slept safely in her home.

23-year-old Ashley White was arrested Monday afternoon.

Police say they were called to White’s home in the 1200 block of Central Ave., north of Taylor Blvd. Earlier in the day, concerned citizens allegedly found two little girls — ages 1 and 3 — locked outside the home close to an “extremely high-traffic street.” It was raining at the time, and police say the area was facing severe weather.

Police say the concerned citizens knocked on the door of the home several times, but got no answer. At that point, they took the children to their home. That’s when police were called.

“They were filthy, hungry and very scared,” said LMPD spokeswoman Carey Klain. “We’re just fortunate we have neighbors who were paying attention and were able to assist and help these children to safety.”

When they arrived, police were able to make contact with White — the mother of at least one of the children — who was inside the home. She allegedly told officers that she had been asleep, and that she believed the children were inside the whole time. Upon further investigation, police say she admitted to the officers that she is addicted to Opana, and that she, “needs help.”

Click HERE to learn more about Opana.

White’s actions placed the children in, “extreme danger,” according to an arrest report, and Child Protective Services was notified. The children were taken to the Home of the Innocents.

White has been charged with endangering the welfare of a minor.

Fairmont Trio Arrested on Child Abuse, Neglect Charges

Posted in News, Parents Behaving Badly, People Behaving Badly, Sad with tags , , , on April 15, 2011 by punauni

FAIRMONT — A Fairmont man, his wife, and his girlfriend are behind bars for child abuse and neglect charges.

The State Police arrested Eric Harris, 30, Katherine Harris, 29, and Jessica Swift, 27, after Harris’ daughter showed up to school with a black eye.

According to the criminal complaint, state police began its investigation after receiving a call from Marion County Child Protective Services.

When authorities went to the house to question Harris about the incident, they found six children living in “deplorable conditions,” according to court documents.

Eric Harris is charged with child neglect creating risk of injury, and child abuse resulting in injury.

He’s in the North Central Regional Jail and her bail is $20,000.

Katherine Harris is charged with child neglect creating risk of injury. Her bail is $10,000.

Swift is charged with child neglect creating risk of injury.

She is in the North Central Regional Jail and her bail is $10,000.

Ore. woman faces charges in home circumcision

Posted in News, Parents Behaving Badly with tags , on April 14, 2011 by punauni


A woman accused of attempting to circumcise her baby at home using a box cutter and a pair of pliers faces assault and criminal mistreatment charges.

Keemonta Peterson, 29, of Portland, told police she decided to circumcise her baby at home after reading the Bible. She said she watched some YouTube videos about circumcisions before making the attempt in October, according to The Oregonian.

After the 3-month-old boy suffered two hours of uncontrolled bleeding, she called 911 and the baby was rushed to a hospital where he was initially listed in critical condition. The boy appeared to have recovered with no permanent injury.

According to the prosecutor, a doctor described the baby’s condition upon arrival at the hospital as life-threatening, and the pain as immense.

The details emerged in a memorandum Deputy district attorney John Casalino filed this week in Multnomah County Circuit Court and obtained by The Oregonian. The document was filed to oppose Peterson’s attempt to be released from Multnomah County jail.

Peterson had been locked up since her arrest March 8 and held on $550,000 bail. At a hearing Tuesday, the prosecutor tried to persuade a judge not to make it easier for Peterson to get out of jail pending trial.

But Peterson’s attorney, Scott Raivio, argued her bail should be reduced. His arguments were supported by a Close Street Supervision deputy, who noted Peterson has strong family support and had been attending mental-health counseling three times a week before she was booked in jail.

Judge David Rees lowered Peterson’s bail to $5,000. She posted $500 – the required 10 percent – and was released Wednesday to the supervision of the deputy.

She has been allowed to see her four children, who are staying with family members, during supervised visits. A trial was tentatively scheduled for June.

Obese Ohio Man Found Fused to Chair He Sat in for 2 Years

Posted in News, Sad on April 12, 2011 by punauni

A morbidly obese Ohio man was in the hospital Tuesday after police found him fused to a chair he had not moved from in two years and were forced to cut a hole in the wall of his house just to get him out.

The unnamed man lived with two able-bodied roommates — including his girlfriend, who officials said fed him since he never got up — in a home in Bellaire, Ohio. The roommates called police upon finding the man unresponsive on Sunday.

Officers who responded to the scene said that the man’s skin was fused to the fabric of chair and that he was sitting in his own feces and urine with maggots visible.

One officer said it was the worst thing he had ever responded to. Another told the local TV station he had to throw away his uniform after helping remove the man from the chair.

“The living room where the man lived in his chair was very filthy, very deplorable. It’s unbelievable that somebody lives in conditions like that,” Jim Chase, a local city code enforcer, told WTRF.

“I instructed the landlord this [Monday] morning and the two people, the tenants at the house, they had to get it cleaned, there’s no way they can live in something like that, and so they are working on it,” he added.

The landlord told WTRF that the man used to be an active person and said she had no idea how bad his condition was since he covered himself with a blanket every time she came to visit.

Spammers target Facebook

Posted in News with tags , on April 12, 2011 by punauni

Interested in a free iPad like the one your Facebook friend got by filling out a survey?

Curious about that “friend” request from someone you don’t know?

Want to see that video a friend recommended on your Facebook news feed that shows a whale hitting a building in Japan’s tsunami?

Don’t bite — or click. They’re spam, or worse.

Such attacks have long been common with email. Now social media are the new targets, and Facebook — with 500 million users — is the biggest target of them all.

“It’s a spammer’s dream,” said Kurt Roemer, chief security strategist for Citrix Systems. “You have all your friends, business connections, who you do banking with, who you travel with — all kinds of aspects of your life. Facebook has a great reputation, but this one thing’s dragging them down.”

Facebook says fighting spam is “a top priority” and has a large team of investigators working on it. The company has sued spammers successfully, winning $2 billion in judgments, and has added new security features, along with advice for users on how to protect against spam.

“It’s an arms race,” said Pedram Keyani, leader of a Facebook Site Integrity team. “We are constantly adapting our strategy to handle changes in their tactics.”

The spammers make money by driving people to sites that pay them for clicks. “Ninety-nine percent of this is financially driven,” Keyani said.


The assaults on Facebook users have a common denominator, said Kevin Haley of Symantec, a major Internet security company. “It really begins with tricking a user into helping. The relationships are what they’re counting on to help spread things. If I can get you, then I can get all your friends, and then I can get all their friends.”

Phishing uses fake messages to direct users to sites for knockoff products, or to pages that can capture your computer and turn it into a automaton that floods your friends with spam. Users can also be tricked into downloading malware onto their computer. The malware is activated when a user innocently clicks on a button on a scam Web page. Then it sends friends of the user messages, directing them to a website that infects their computer.

A technique called “likejacking” tricks users into “liking” a page when they visit it. The “Like” button on Facebook lets a user share content with friends. When users click the button, the content shows up on their home page and can show up on friends’ news feeds.

“Fill out the survey to win the iPad, and you end up subscribing to the joke of the day for $5 a joke, charged to your cell phone,” said Chester Wisniewski of, an online security company.

If you click on the alleged video of the whale hitting the building, you instantly spam all your friends, said Jeremy Gin, chief executive officer of, a San Francisco online consumer protection site.

One Internet worm hijacks your Facebook account, sends messages to your friends and harvests their accounts and passwords.

Carol Hoover, executive director of the Eyak Preservation Council in Alaska, may have been a victim.

“Somehow they became a friend of mine, stole my profile, my picture, emailed a lot of my friends in waves,” she said. The fake Carol Hoover would chat with her friends, saying things like —‰’Did you win your $50,000 dollars yet?’ ‘Have you heard from the Obama administration?’ Their English is bad, they drop words,” Hoover said.

She complained, and the imposter was removed. “There’s an aspect of it that’s frightening,” she said. “But I really enjoy Facebook. It’s a huge social networking tool.”

While the amount of spam has grown, Facebook’s Keyani said the number of actual attacks in which a Facebook account or computer is taken over by spammers is less than one percent of the social network’s 500 million users. That’s still a lot of users — 1 percent would be five million of them.

Keyani said he’s “really proud” of the fact that there is far less spam and danger of malicious attack on Facebook than on Internet email. “Our response time to a threat is very fast, within minutes,” he said.

Facebook has developed a couple of spam and malware detection systems to protect users. One, called “linkshim,” evaluates websites associated with spam attacks. A user who is about to click on one is directed to a warning page. Another, called “roadblock,” looks for unusual activity from users, like massive email blasts. If a malware infection is detected, McAfee security software cleans up their account and logs them back on.

Julien Sobrier, senior security researcher for Zscaler, a Web 2.0 security provider, said he would like to see more protection against unapproved widgets that can be downloaded from the Internet and used with Facebook. Facebook might limit the number of people who can click on one until it is proven to be a trusted item, similar to what Facebook does with approved applications, he said.

But the best anti-spam tool is user awareness.

“First review privacy settings,” said Roemer of Citrix. “If you let anybody find you, anybody’s going to find you. When it gets into friends of friends, anything can happen.”

Beyond that, be careful what you download, and check out Facebook’s security pages.

“Education on what you should and shouldn’t install on your machine solves 99 percent of this,” Keyani said.