OUT THERE!

OUT THERE! down2basics: City Fines Woman for Hitting Potholes

AKRON, Ohio (AP)   A motorist near Akron received a $134 ticket after she hit two potholes and her van swerved into a creek bed that swallowed the vehicle.

Cuyahoga Falls police said the ticket given last week to Melissa Thomas for failing to control her vehicle was appropriate, despite the potholes. They estimated that she was going five miles over the 35 mph limit.

Cuyahoga Falls said it has filled 10,000 potholes this winter.

The family of five was treated for bumps and bruises at the emergency room.
Re:OUT THERE! down2basics: Robber Fended Off With French Fries

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands (AP)   A Dutch cafeteria owner used piping hot french fries to fend off a gun-wielding would-be robber, police in the southern city of Helmond said Friday.

Fries, or "frites," are a national snack in Holland and Belgium, where they are deep-fried in oil and then salted and eaten with mayonnaise and chopped onions.

It was not known if the culprit, whose age was estimated at 16, was burned. He had threatened the owner and his wife with a handgun Thursday night, police said.

"He wanted money," a police report said. "But once he had hot frites coming his way, he decided he had had enough."

The fries were cooling in a pot when the owner threw them at the intruder.

Police described the youth, who is still at large, as "thin, white, and with a plump nose."
 Re:OUT THERE! down2basics: 'Cookie Angel' Helps N.Y. Girl Scout
Monday, March 14, 2005

NEW YORK   A "cookie angel" has bought 1,000 boxes of a Long Island Girl Scout's (search) goodies in hopes of sweetening her recent unpleasant encounter with the New York Police Department.

"Gracemarie Louis seems like a really nice girl who got caught in a situation," said Manhattan investment banker Ernie Dahlman, 35, of Dahlman Rose & Co. (search)

He's donating the $3,500 worth of cookies to the Island Harvest food program   on behalf of New York's Finest.

On March 5, Gracemarie's dad, Hoi Louis, was ticketed by a police officer on a Brooklyn street because he was helping his daughter sell cookies.

"A police car pulled up and a cop screamed, 'Get over here! Police!'" recalled 13-year-old Gracemarie from Troop 3019 in Hicksville, L.I.

"I was afraid because I didn't think it was the police," she said, recalling recent news reports of violent criminals posing as law-enforcers.

But the forgiving girl later said she had no hard feelings. "I think it was a misunderstanding," she said.

Dahlman reasoned that the police officer who ticketed Gracemarie's dad was just doing his job.

"There is no cop out there who says, 'I'm going to bust this guy for selling Girl Scout cookies,'" he said. "If I can show support of the cops and of a nice girl, that's great."

"That's amazing!" said a stunned Gracemarie when given the good news Sunday while delivering yet more cookies in her Bethpage neighborhood.

"That beats all my records."

She had already sold 600 boxes by the time of the incident in her old neighborhood of Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

New York Post readers bought another 200 from her last week.

Dahlman's generosity brought her total to 1,800.

He's making a lot of kids happy, Gracemarie said, noting that her troop hopes to sell enough for a group trip to Disney World.

The lesson, she added, "is that there are still a lot of people who care   and this guy really cares."

Her grandma agreed.

"He's not a cookie monster," Grace Taras said. "He's a cookie angel."
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