MONDAY, FEBRUARY 6 Hello! The week kicks off in Puerto Rico, where authorities have devised an ambitious plan to battle the plague of iguanas that has wreaked havoc on the US territory for years. As the Associated Press reports, the ever-more-invasive iguanas "have cost [Puerto Rico] hundreds of thousands of dollars of damage annually by sunbathing on San Juan's airport runways and disrupting traffic, causing power outages by building nests near power plants, and wrecking building foundations by burrowing holes underneath them." Which brings us to Puerto Rico's hot new iguana eradication project, which will curb the iguana invasion while bolstering the local economy by exporting the reptiles' meat for as much as $6 a pound. "The Department of Health approved [the] plan to train volunteers to capture live iguanas and bring them to a processing center where they can be killed and prepared for export," reports the AP. "The complete plan is expected to be finalized by May."
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 7 The week continues with a fascinating day for marriage in America, starting in California, where a federal appeals court reconfirmed the unconstitutionality of Proposition 8, the voter-approved ballot measure that outlawed same-sex marriage in the state. "In a split decision, a three-judge panel of the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals found the state's Proposition 8 'works a meaningful harm to gays and lesbians' by denying their right to civil marriage in violation of the 14th Amendment," reports CNN. "A stay halting same-sex marriages remains in place as the appeals continue."
•• Meanwhile in Florida, today brought a beguiling tale of heterosexual marriage, the legally binding union of one man and one woman. (What's next? Shoes marrying socks?) Today's setting: a court hearing in Broward County, where 47-year-old Joseph Bray was brought after being accused of domestic violence. At issue: a Monday scuffle between Bray and his wife, with the former allegedly pushing the latter on the couch, grabbing her neck, and raising his fist as if to strike her but not striking her. "A woman who identified herself as Bray's wife attended [today's] hearing and explained that the couple's argument started on Monday after her husband didn't acknowledge her birthday," reports the Sun Sentinel. When Judge John "Jay" Hurley asked Mrs. Bray if the shoving and fist-threats had left her hurt or in any fear of her husband, she said no, after which Judge Hurley applied himself to sentencing. "Do you have something you like to go to?" the judge asked Mrs. Bray. "Is there a restaurant you like to go to?" Mrs. Bray answered that she enjoyed bowling and eating at Red Lobster, and the judge announced the conditions of Joseph Bray's release. "He's going to stop by somewhere and he's going to get some flowers. And then he's going to go home, pick up his wife, get dressed, take her to Red Lobster. And then after they have Red Lobster, they're going to go bowling," announced Judge Hurley. "The court would not normally do that if the court felt there was some violence, but this is very, very minor and the court felt that that was a better resolution than other alternatives." He also ordered the Brays to commence marriage counseling.
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 8 The week continues with hundreds of barfing cheerleaders, thanks to the collision of a gastrointestinal bug and a statewide cheerleading competition held last Saturday at Everett's Comcast Arena. Details come from Seattlepi.com, which reports the competition drew more than a thousand cheerleaders from around the state, with vomiting and diarrhea reported among 19 of the 52 participating cheer, dance, and drill teams. Department of Health investigators are surveying the hundreds of sickened squad members and collecting samples. Condolences to all.
•• Speaking of barf: Today brought the arrest of Lakewood police officer Skeeter Timothy Manos, who was charged with embezzling more than $100,000 from a slain officers' fund, set up to raise money for the families of the four police officers fatally shot by Maurice Clemmons in 2009. "The federal complaint alleges Manos used some of the money to take his wife to Las Vegas, where he withdrew $1,000 from ATMs and spent about $1,200 on rooms at the Bellagio hotel and tickets to a Cirque du Soleil performance," reports the Seattle Times. "He also spent more than $7,000 at Home Depot and about $1,700 on snowboarding and other outdoor gear at REI, the complaint alleges."
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 9 The week continues with an update on the gnarliest story of last week, starring the California elementary school teacher accused of feeding blindfolded students spoonfuls of his semen and then putting big weird cockroaches on their face. Last week's bust of the alleged semen-spooner was followed by the bust of another teacher at the same school, a 49-year-old who's been teaching at Miramonte Elementary for 26 years and who was arrested on charges of committing lewd acts on a second-grade girl. This week brought yet another allegation of misconduct, this one involving a teacher's aide accused of sending love letters to a fourth grader. The mother of the now-11-year-old boy told the Los Angeles Times that the aide, a woman the mother said appeared to be in her 50s, sent at least three letters to her son in 2009, including one that read: "When you get close to me, even if you give me the chills I like that. Don't tell nobody about this!" Which brings us to today, when the Los Angeles unified school district announced the replacement of the entire staff and faculty of Miramonte Elementary. Again, condolences to everyone (including the dozens of punished Miramonte educators who assiduously avoided fondling/wooing/bukkake-ing students.)
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 10 Nothing happened today.
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 11 The week continues with a memory-searing moment shared by countless shoppers at the Capitol Hill Value Village, where late this afternoon the somber voice of a Value Village employee intoned over the intercom, "It is with a heavy heart that I tell you that Whitney Houston has died." (Thank you, Hot Tipper Wizard Sleeve.)
•• Also today, Whitney Houston died. The famously drug-addled superstar was found permanently unresponsive in the bathtub of a Beverly Hills hotel.
SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 12 The week ends with the Grammy Awards, where Adele won everything and charmed everyone, Jennifer Hudson performed a lovely tribute to Whitney Houston, and the guy who beat up Rihanna was treated like a hero superstar.
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