Women hit back against street harassment
Whistles, catcalls and lewd come-ons from strangers are all too familiar, women told a New York City Council committee Thursday. They complained men regularly follow them, yell at them and make them feel unsafe and uncomfortable. Advocates told stories of preteens and teenagers being hounded by adult men outside city schools. Now, women in New York and elsewhere are pushing back. Volunteer activists in Cairo are planning to launch a website, Harrasmap, where women can report cases of leering, groping and other sexual threats. New York-based group Hollaback told council members it is planning a smart phone app that allows women to do the same.
Family's stand is out of its gourds
A tax agency's threat to close their pumpkin stand boosted sales for an Idaho family. Jacob Charais, 6, and sibling Sami-Lou, 4, were selling the squash from their porch when the tax man came down heavily on their little enterprise. An Idaho State Tax Commission spokesman said the agency did not mean to be the bad guy, just to tell the family that they needed permits and had to pay the state's 6 percent sales tax. The publicity worked like a charm. Some people made donations and others drove a couple of hours to grab a gourd. Kami Charais, the kids' mom, told the Lewiston Tribune they made three times as much money as expected, bringing in $600 to pay for wrestling and dance lessons for the kids. The state will get its cut: $36 in sales tax.
Pumpkin tradition slides to a stop
Safety concerns have cut short an annual pumpkin smash-and-slide staged by students at Chagrin Falls High School in Ohio. Since 1969, juniors and seniors from the school near Cleveland have taken pumpkins to the top of a hilly street, smashed them on the pavement and used the mess to slide down on sleds or trash can lids. The pumpkin roll began Thursday just after midnight, but was brought to an end by police 45 minutes later. Officers said there were too many collisions and minor injuries this year.
'Rent' candidate inspires doll
The New York gubernatorial candidate from the Rent Is Too Damn High Party now has a plastic "hero" doll that repeats his catch phrase. Herobuilders.com is selling a $49.99 doll of governor wannabe Jimmy McMillan that says "The rent is Too. Damn. High," the words that made him a political sensation during a debate in which he wore black gloves and mutton chops. A few hundred of the 12-inch figures had sold by Wednesday. The company also makes plastic dolls of Sarah Palin, Barack and Michelle Obama and other personalities.
Compiled from Times wire services and other sources.