Dateline Florida

Published May 2, 2007


A substitute teacher in Orlando took a handgun to school and used it to scratch his head, authorities say. Stupidity isn't illegal, but taking a gun onto school property is. Orange County sheriff's deputies pulled Joshua Cummings out of class at University High School on Monday morning after they found a 9mm pistol and ammo in his car, the Associated Press reports. Cummings told the Orlando Sentinel he did not scratch his head with the gun but declined further comment. He wasn't arrested, but deputies recommended prosecutors charge him with possession of a weapon on school grounds.

Courthouse must be so proud

Broward County's chief criminal judge wants to be reassigned because of a derogatory remark he made after a criminal trial, the Miami Herald reports. Criminal Administrative Chief Judge Charles Greene made the request a day after Public Defender Howard Finkelstein demanded he be removed for using the acronym "NHI, " which Finkelstein said stands for "no humans involved." It's a pejorative courthouse phrase used to explain why some crimes are not pursued as vigorously as those involving whites. He was presiding over a case involving black victims, a black defendant and a black witness. Finkelstein called it deeply offensive, though Greene said he was referring to witness credibility, not race. He wants to be reassigned because the controversy is a distraction. He's the latest Broward judge in hot water. Judge Lawrence Korda was caught smoking pot in a public park.

A tidier way to kill those pesky bugs

Build a better mousetrap, and the world will beat a path to your door. But what if you build a better bug zapper? Six University of Florida engineering students teamed up to design a bug trap they say is cleaner and better for the environment. Conventional bug zappers blow up bugs into millions of tiny particles that contain harmful bacteria and can hang around in the air for four days. The new trap uses flashing lights at different frequencies to attract flies, who make their way through slots and get stuck on a glue strip. The new trap lacks the gruesome but emotionally satisfying "zzzzzzzzzzap!"