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The skinny

The skinny: Prisoners get counseling from the other side

Tortured souls

Prisoners get counseling from the other side

Prisons in the Netherlands are hiring psychics to help prisoners contact dead relatives. "I tell them that dead relatives are doing well and that they love them. That brings them peace," Paul van Bree told De Tijd magazine, without indicating whether he has ever talked to any dead relatives that weren't doing so well. Van Bree is a clairvoyant, and his mission is to teach prisoners how to love themselves. "My work can be compared to mental health care," he said, but mental health professionals probably don't. It also might make for more interesting reading if any of the prisoners' victims came through to chat, but van Bree didn't mention that happening, either. Weird.

Public assistance

This principle costs principal

Washington Township in Indiana rejected Layana Cooper's request for emergency aid in December 2008. Cooper had asked for $758.27 to pay her rent and water bills, reports the Indianapolis Star. Cooper sued, and township trustee Frank Short stood his ground. So far, standing his ground has cost the township about $20,000 in legal fees. Short says that a verdict in favor of his side could be cost effective if it helps them in future cases. Opponents say he is trying to make a very expensive point. "Sometimes when people sue, they just want to say that you're wrong," board member Don Barr told the Star in support of Short. "You have to spend the money to make the point to the world that we were right."

Animal kingdom

Opossum wasn't playing opossum

It isn't necessarily a sign of inebriation if you are seen trying to revive a road-kill opossum. But it doesn't look good, either. So when police in Oliver Township, Pa., saw Donald Wolfe, 55, taking heroic measures to resuscitate the deceased rodent along Route 36 near Punxatawney, they decided it was a good call to take a closer look, and charged him with public drunkenness. Police did not indicate how Wolfe was attempting to save the animal, but let's assume chest compressions and not mouth-to-snout. And you have to wonder how this would have played out if it had been a groundhog that Wolfe was trying to save.

Dog who ate tires released from jail

A judge in Chattanooga, Tenn., released Winston, a pit bull mix, from incarceration this week. Winston had been in lockup since a March 14 incident in which he attacked four cars, including a police car that was left with flat tires and a dislocated bumper. Judge Sherry Paty found Winston to be a bad, bad dog in handing down a sentence of time served and obedience school. Charges against his owner will be dropped if the classes are completed successfully. "He'd been a model pet up until that Sunday," said Michael Emerling.

Compiled from Times wire services and other sources by staff writer Jim Webster, who can be reached at

The skinny: Prisoners get counseling from the other side 03/26/10 [Last modified: Friday, March 26, 2010 10:32pm]
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