An arbitrator ruled in March that Pensacola, Fla., middle-school teacher Robert K. Sites III, 37, was wrongly fired for showing up at work in a cocaine-distracted state (later measured at 50 times the level regarded as a "positive" test). The school has a "zero-tolerance" policy on drugs, but it applies only to students. The arbitrator ruled that Sites is entitled to back pay and benefits, and must be given drug counseling and a chance to get clean.
This mortal coitus
The head of a Dutch hospital's department of psychiatry and neurosexology told reporters in April that he has found a "post-orgasmic illness syndrome" after having had five patients who suffered flu-like symptoms (sweating, extreme fatigue, eye-irritation) for several days after sex. Dr. Marcel Waldinger of Leyenburg Hospital in The Hague guessed that the cause might have been an allergic reaction to the hormones released with orgasm and said his write-up would appear in an upcoming issue of the U.S. Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy.
In control of their faculties
Because of what they called a "history of unacceptable professional conduct," administrators at Lawrence Technological University in Southfield, Mich., have ordered tenured engineering professor Sayed A. Nassar to remain inside his faculty office from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. weekdays (so that they can "monitor" him), except when he goes to class or has specific permission to leave. And he cannot go off campus during that time unless he is accompanied by the dean or his representative. According to faculty members interviewed for a May Chronicle of Higher Education story, the charges against Nassar boil down to the fact that he argues with the administration a lot.
Two 16-year-old girls who won prizes at a Paterson, N.J., teen fair for their essays touting abstinence over condom use in sex education were revealed in May to be pregnant. One's essay described having sex, even with a condom, as being "like playing Russian roulette with your life."
Fuel for thought
In January, environmental officials in Denver denied Bromwell Elementary School a permit to burn its homemade prairie-grass garden (which was planned as a demonstration of the cycle of nature), citing the air pollution the fire would cause. The officials suggested instead that the 300 students take a field trip to the prairie-grass exhibit at the Denver Botanical Garden. However, according to Colorado Air Pollution Control Division estimates, one fume-spewing school bus on a field trip produces more pollution than would the entire controlled burn.
At a training seminar in January sponsored by the Minnesota Department of Health (which is the agency responsible for enforcing food-handling rules), at least 15 of the 150 participants came down with food poisoning, most likely from the catered box lunches or in-class treats.
Pharmacist Corey Penner, 29, pleaded guilty in March in Newton, Kan., to 16 counts of misdemeanor battery for his compulsion to trick strangers on the street into letting him draw their blood. Penner's lawyer told the court that Penner had no explanation for his behavior but that he had engaged in it for 11 years, telling people falsely that he was doing research, and in some cases giving people up to $20 to let him take the blood.
Floodgates of criticism
In preparation for the founding meeting of a new political group (the Anambra Peoples' Forum) in Lagos, Nigeria, in March, officials concerned about being rained out hired a professional rain doctor, Mr. Chief Nothing Pass God, for about $47 (and a bottle of gin) to keep the skies clear. Before the doctor was finished with his incantations, a rare March downpour completely washed out the event. Said the Chief, "I have not failed. What caused the disappointment was that [this job] came unexpected[ly]," allowing him insufficient time to prepare.
Chakra to the system
The London yoga center Triyoga came under strenuous neighborhood protest in March over the increasing noise level at its relaxation institute, according to a Reuters report. Mellow music played at high volume, clients' chanting and group-breathing exercises (guttural sounds) were named as the major nuisances.
And in February in Geraldton, Western Australia, under a 12-month pilot project, criminals were spared jail terms if they agreed to a program of Transcendental Meditation as practiced by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.