Thursday's Headlines & Surprises: Times Finds OC!
- Rodman Fouled? Did an unidentified woman who claims Dennis Rodman assaulted her on Sept. 16 punch the ex-NBA star in his chest, demand to see his genitals and give Rodman her telephone number before complaining to police? Yes, according to Darren Prince, Rodman’s manager. He tells Brianna Bailey at the Daily Pilot, “Why would she give him her phone number if he sexually assaulted her? Dennis is really upset.” The woman told sheriff’s deputies that Rodman slapped her ass at Hennessey’s Tavern in Dana Point. The blow allegedly left a “major mark.” Sheriff’s spokesman Jim Amormino says detectives haven’t been able to locate Rodman, who owns homes in Miami and Newport Beach, for an interview. Perhaps he’s hiding on his 50-foot yacht, Sexual Chocolate, which has often been spotted in Newport Harbor.
- High School Mystery: Why did officials paint over a historic, 1972 mural at Los Amigos High School in Fountain Valley? Principal Connie Van Luit tells Cindy Carcamo at the Reg that the students demanded its removal because it was old and ugly. But students are telling a different story, one that casts their principal as a fibber. They say the mural was in fine shape and that Van Luit ordered it painted over before asking for student input. Leston Trueblood, who graduated from the school in 1972, sees a crime. “To me, it’s an act of vandalism.” Students say that without the mural, the school looks like “a prison.”
- Times Finds OC: Call it a tease. Call it a miracle. Call it anything you want. After an embarrassing stint of neglect, the Times finally put Orange County-related articles in its online Orange County news section. Congratulations! We’re crossing our fingers and hoping it wasn’t an accident.
- Game On! Eric Carpenter at the Register writes today about the “growing debate over whether randomly testing public-school student for drugs is an effective deterrent against substance abuse” in the Orange Unified School District. According to Carpenter, the district is one of five local school agencies considering a new program that would allow parents to volunteer their children for drug screening at school. In one plan, a busted student would receive counseling not punishment. The issue has fueled debate over the effectiveness of such testing. Indeed, one expert told Carpenter that he fears some students will view testing as a game and seek to use drugs and alcohol without detection.
- He Leaped to His Death on the I-5: Phillip John Vespia pulled a car over on the 55 freeway ramp and leaped 40 feet onto the southbound I-5 on Sunday morning. The 44-year-old left no note before his body was repeatedly struck by traffic. The suicide blocked traffic for at least three hours. Reporters Greg Hardesty and Ryan Hammill discovered that Vespia, a divorced mechanic and father of an 11-year-old daughter, lived a troubled life that included an addiction to painkillers and a prison stint for manslaughter. Yet, Vespia was liked by his friends, who said they’ll remember him for always stopping to help stranded motorists. Very sad.
- Something to Do Tonight: The Bowers Museum of Cultural Art in Santa Ana is hosting an "Introduction to Japanese Sake" at 7 tonight. Meher McArthur, specialist in the art and culture of East Asia, will explore the history of sake, how and where it is made, drinking etiquette, and its importance in Japanese culture. Learn the difference between regular and premium, unfiltered and unpasteurized, as well as the best ways to drink sake — hot or cold. Space is limited. Prepayment is required. Call (714) 567-3679 for reservations. 2002 N. Main St., Santa Ana, (714) 567-3600; www.bowers.org.
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