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Odds & Ends 11/04

Dentist pays kids for their Halloween candy
    WILLISTON, Vt. — Taking a radical approach toward preventive dentistry, an orthodontist is conducting a Halloween candy buyback.
    Dan Ryan is paying $1 per pound to children and donating a matching amount to a food bank.
    He said his goal is to promote a healthy Halloween and contribute to the community.
    ‘‘Halloween is a fun holiday for kids of all ages, but too much candy can contribute to tooth decay,’’ he said.
    Kids wearing braces are especially at risk from hard or sticky candies.
    Ryan is urging his patients to eat soft candies, such as peanut butter cups, and brush their teeth soon after eating them. ‘‘We understand that kids are gonna have candies,’’ he said.
    Last year, Ryan collected about 200 pounds of candy that were shipped to Tanzania, where it was distributed by a former patient who was a Peace Corps volunteer.
 
Sex offender is arrested after joining MySpace
 
    WHEELING, W.Va. — A man who posted his own sex offender registry photo on the social networking Web site MySpace.com is back behind bars.
    Christian Paul Dutton, 47, was arrested in September for trespassing at an elementary school but was later released. He was arrested again Wednesday on charges of failing to register his MySpace account with State Police.
    Dutton, who served more than six years after a 1984 conviction in Ohio for attempted rape, had registered on the Web site under the name ‘‘Bubba.’’
    He is required to register as a sex offender for life.

Don't grunt in a gym - you may be expelled 

    ALBANY, N.Y. — Some gyms forbid hogging machines or wearing flip-flops. At one gym, grunting is grounds for expulsion.
    Albert Argibay of Beacon, N.Y., was escorted by police officers from a gym this week for grunting, which is against Planet Fitness’ rules for maintaining a non-intimidating atmosphere.
    ‘‘Perhaps I grunted, perhaps I didn’t. It’s open to interpretation,’’ said Argibay, a 40-year-old corrections officer. He said he had his headset on when he was lifting 500 pounds on a squat machine at the gym in Wappingers Falls, about 80 miles north of New York City.
    Planet Fitness, which has 120 locations across the country, markets itself as a place where anyone can feel comfortable in its ‘‘Judgment Free Zone.’’
    Its rules, posted around the gym, state members cannot wear bandanas, grunt or bang weights on the ground. When an offender is spotted, a ‘‘lunk alarm’’ sounds to warn the member.
    There is at least one expulsion every two weeks across the locations, said Mike Grondahl, CEO of Planet Fitness. He said grunting and dropping weights are the most common offenses.
    Argibay emitted the offending grunt Monday evening, a peak time for gyms, said Carol Palazzolo, the gym’s general manager. She said she heard it from across the room, even though ‘‘the place was a zoo.’’
    ‘‘He was looking directly at me and he did it four times,’’ she said. ‘‘I’m not a doctor, but as far as I know, a grunt is a noise that comes out of one’s body that is loud and is intimidating.’’
    An argument ensued when she confronted him, and police were called. Argibay was escorted out, but no charges were filed.
    ‘‘It’s an embarrassing situation to be in, over a grunt,’’ Argibay said.

Man finds that even grass cutting can get you in trouble  

    EDGEWATER PARK, N.J. — Police arrested a man for using a lawn mower to cut a racial slur in the grass in an open field.
    Dennis E. Westphal, 19, turned himself in to police Thursday, a day after authorities issued a warrant for his arrest, according to a statement from the Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office.
    Police were initially alerted to the incident on Aug. 31 when a resident called them, said Jack Smith, a spokesman for the prosecutor’s office.
    The racial slur, which was cut into a field of tall grass on township-owned property, was also spotted by someone in a plane flying overhead who then alerted police.
    Westphal was charged with bias intimidation and harassment and released on his own recognizance pending a court hearing on Nov. 15.
    No telephone listing could be found for him.

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