Last Days: The Week in Review
MONDAY, JUNE 4 Hot on the heels of Moms 'n' Bombs (that's the weeks of Mother's-Day-and-Memorial-Day-commemorating we all just survived) comes another fake rhyming season: Dads 'n' Grads, the stretch of weeks featuring both Father's Day and a million and one graduation ceremonies. We'll deal with dads when Father's Day rolls around. Today we're concerned only with grads—specifically, the 2012 graduating class of Cincinnati's Mount Healthy High School, whose recent graduation ceremony was repeatedly disrupted by inappropriate applause. Details come from WCPO News, which identifies the source of the most inappropriate applause as the family of Anthony Cornist, a senior whose journey across the graduation stage drove his family to such prolonged cheering and clapping that he's been denied his diploma. "I will be holding your diploma in the main office, due to the excessive cheering your guests displayed during the roll call," reads a letter principal Marlon Styles Jr. had handy for just such interruptions, and which he handed to Cornist in lieu of his diploma on the graduation stage. The school now requires Cornist to complete 20 hours of community service before it will hand over the diploma—though it will allow those hours to be split between him and his family or performed by him alone. Tomorrow, Mount Healthy City Schools superintendent Lori Handler will defend the high-drama punishment. "In years past, we have had students whose families got over-exuberant and the child behind them's name could not be heard when they were called," said Handler to WCPO, adding that the problem with the cheering wasn't the volume, but the duration. "So I feel very strongly that we will stop graduation because every child's name will be heard and every family will be able to celebrate appropriately."
TUESDAY, JUNE 5 In worse news, the week continues with a parade of alleged, accused, and deceased sex offenders, in that order. The alleged: Jerry Sandusky, the former Penn State assistant football coach charged with 52 counts of child molestation. Today brought an update on Sandusky's impending trial from ABC News, which learned that "Sandusky allegedly wrote 'creepy' love letters to his victims, eight of whom are set to testify against him. The letters, which were allegedly written in Sandusky's own handwriting, are expected to corroborate the testimony of the man known as Victim 4." Sandusky's criminal trial is set to begin next Monday. As for the accused: They are numerous old monks at New Jersey's elite Roman Catholic boys academy the Delbarton School. In that case, two former students have joined a lawsuit alleging sexual abuse by the school's Benedictine monks in the late 1970s and early 1980s, according to Reuters. "The lawsuit was first filed in March by Tom Crane and Bill Crane Jr., now in their 40s, the twin sons of a former teacher and administrator at Delbarton," Reuters reports. And now the deceased: 28-year-old Gary Blanton and 56-year-old Jerry Ray, a couple of level two sex offenders living on the Olympic Peninsula until they were fatally shot this past weekend. Reportedly taking credit for the shootings: 34-year-old Clallam County man Patrick Drum. "In an interview with detectives, Drum said he shot and killed Blanton and Ray because they were sex offenders," says Reuters. "Drum also stated that he had intended on driving to Jefferson County where another sex offender lived, with the intent to kill him, too." According to probable cause papers filed in Clallam County Superior Court, Drum told investigators he planned to keep killing sex offenders until someone stopped him. Drum faces two counts of murder and has been ordered held without bail.
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 6 The week continues in Philadelphia, where early this morning an 18-year-old male was engaged in a webcam chat during which one of his chatting partners challenged his manhood. According to the Philadelphia Daily News, the 18-year-old male responded by pointing what he believed was an unloaded gun at himself and pulling the trigger. The gun was loaded, the guy was shot, and he remains hospitalized in "extremely critical condition."
THURSDAY, JUNE 7 In better news, the week continues in Seattle, where today Leonard Meuse, the Cafe Racer cook and sole survivor of the Cafe Racer shootings, was up and walking around the seventh floor at Harborview Medical Center. Details on Meuse's miraculous recovery (which involved two surgeries for gunshots to his abdomen and jaw) come from his father, Raymond Meuse, who today told KING 5: "He could sit up yesterday and talk, but it was kind of slurred. Today it was normal talk, that much of a difference, and he was eating—well enough to complain about the food. It's a good sign!" By early next week, Leonard Meuse will be out of the hospital, back home, and telling the media of his plans to get back to work at Cafe Racer as soon as possible. "I have to," the 46-year-old Meuse will tell KIRO, "because there is still community left, and we need to heal." Donations for his hospital bills and for the families of the other victims may be made at www.caferacerlove.org.
FRIDAY, JUNE 8 In fluffier news, the week continues with one of the 21st century's most beguiling kooks: Lauryn Hill, the monumentally talented hiphop performer who spent the 1990s snatching Grammys with her gorgeous art before devoting the aughts to apparently going bonkers. (Favorite trick: leaving audiences waiting—and bands stranded alone onstage—for literally hours. Greatest crazy hit: 2002's MTV Unplugged No. 2.0, a 106-minute babble-rant with acoustic guitar that some enterprising drag performer will eventually re-create in full onstage; it is the 21st-century version of the Judy Garland tapes.) Anyway, today Hill's troubles made the leap from kooky to potentially criminal, as federal prosecutors in New Jersey charged the 37-year-old Hill with three counts of "knowingly and willfully fail[ing] to make an income tax return to the IRS," for which she could face up to a year in prison and/or $300,000 in fines. Details come from ABC News, which reports today's charges concern the years 2005–2007, when Hill made more than $1.8 million and allegedly failed to pay any income tax. Meanwhile, Hill got on Tumblr to defend herself, saying she's not a tax cheat, she simply went "underground." As ABC reports, "Hill said she withdrew to heal and grow away from the forces that had oppressed and manipulated her in the past. She didn't name any names." As Hill explained on Tumblr: "It was critically important that I find a suitable pathway within which to exist, without being distorted or economically strong-armed. Failure to create a non toxic, non exploitative environment was not an option... Obviously, the danger I faced was not accepted as reasonable grounds for deferring my tax payments, as authorities, who despite being told all of this, still chose to pursue action against me, as opposed to finding an alternative solution." Hill is scheduled to appear in court on June 29. (Dear Lauryn Hill: Please get this settled soon. We need you out here in the world.)
SATURDAY, JUNE 9 Nothing happened today, unless you count the birthday of Aaron Sorkin (born on this day in 1961) or the death-day of the Teotihuacán ruler Spearthrower Owl (who died on this day in 439).
SUNDAY, JUNE 10 Nothing happened today either, unless you count the avalanche of recognition given to Megan Griffiths's entirely deserving Eden at today's SIFF Awards brunch.
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