September 27, 2007

This just makes me sick.

I've been posting a lot of news articles lately, which is unintentional, but I just read this and felt sick to my stomach to wonder what kind of monster would do something like this.

M.C. puppy set on fire put to sleep

Police investigate 'heinous crime.'

Tribune Correspondent

MICHIGAN CITY -- Andrea Davis said she woke up to police knocking on her door. Then she spotted her smoldering pit bull on the front porch.

Snoopy, her puppy, was set ablaze, possibly with gasoline, and had to be put to sleep.

Police were given a vague description of a possible culprit but had not made any arrests Wednesday.

"Obviously, we're very concerned. It's a heinous crime committed by someone who has a lot of problems," said Michigan City Assistant Police Chief John Kintzele.

Just before 1 a.m. Wednesday, a woman said she was smoking a cigarette on her front porch in the 300 block of Dewey Street and observed what appeared to be a dog on fire running across the street, according to police.

She also heard what sounded like a dog crying.

The woman called police, and officers located the badly burned 4 1/2-month-old animal coming out of some bushes.

According to police, Snoopy was not on a leash.

But, prior to being set ablaze, Davis said, her dog was on a leash tied to a stake in her fenced backyard.

The stake had been pulled out of the ground.

"I thought this was a nice neighborhood," said Davis, who just moved there about two months ago.

"I don't want another dog if I can't keep him in the backyard," she said.

Davis, 22, said her father took Snoopy to the animal clinic at Purdue University North Central near Westville, but the injuries were too severe.

She got the dog for her sons, ages 1 and 3, just before the start of summer.

"He was a real good dog. I wouldn't have traded him for the world," Davis said.

According to police, a search of the area led officers to a shed just a few doors away.

The doors were open and inside the shed was a gasoline can.

Police, hoping to determine if there was a link, knocked on the door and telephoned the residence but received no answer.

A male, possibly a juvenile, was seen by the witness as she spotted the dog on fire.

And police investigating the scene noticed a similar-looking male possibly on a bicycle.

"It's nothing we can make an arrest on. The investigation is just beginning," Kintzele said.

Davis said she had no idea why this occurred, but someone in the neighborhood reported the dog was regularly kept on a leash outside and barked and cried during all hours of the night, police said.

September 21, 2007

If only

I just got off the phone with a friend of mine who lives in the neighborhood where this explosion occured last night.

Explosion levels house Extent of damage astonishes authorities

Tribune Staff Writers

SOUTH BEND -- John Ohime was sitting in his Arbor Pointe subdivision home Thursday night when his walls began shaking, and pictures began flying off the wall.

"I thought it was an airplane, so I came outside," Ohime said.

He saw that his quiet neighborhood had been turned upside down.
Tree branches, leaves and debris were scattered across a 100-foot radius. And the house four doors down was completely gone.

"I ran down there to see if we could do anything, but the house was just leveled," Ohime said.

"It was pretty scary. Too close for comfort."

Multiple rescue agencies in St. Joseph County responded to the explosion north of the city.

Rescue units were dispatched to the scene at 22530 Arbor Pointe Drive around 8:15 p.m.

At least one occupant of the house was injured and taken to a local hospital, according to Dave Cherrone, Clay Fire Territory fire marshal. He could not give a condition of the occupant. Cherrone said a neighbor may have pulled him from the home.

The victim was a retired police officer, neighbors told WSBT-TV. The man was flown to a burn center in Kalamazoo. He was not identified as of press deadline.

When units arrived at the scene, Cherrone said the house was "totally demolished." Only a basement remained.

Cherrone said he was shocked by what he saw.

"I haven't seen anything," he added, "that caused this much damage. Our two concerns were containing the hazard and making sure people in the area were safe."

Cherrone said the explosion caused major damage to at least eight nearby houses.

The house to the left of the explosion was missing about half of its garage, while the home across the street also received heavy damage, especially to its garage.

The street in front of the explosion was covered with leaves and debris.

The Arbor Pointe subdivision is just south of the state line and between Portage and Mayflower roads.

Ohime said he saw massive flames when we walked outside.

The blast could reportedly be heard in Niles and Edwardsburg.

When firefighters arrived on the scene, heavy smoke was billowing into the night sky.

While there was initial speculation that the explosion was a result of a gas leak, neither Cherrone nor a NIPSCO spokesman on the scene would confirm that claim late Thursday night.

It was unclear how many houses were evacuated as a result of the explosion, but some residents near the explosion were being allowed back to their homes at 10:15 p.m.

Cherrone said some of the houses would not be livable for at least the near future.

The Red Cross was on the scene to assist with housing for families affected by the explosion.

Tommie Lee lives two houses from the explosion on the same side of the street.

"My entire house shook," Lee said. "I thought a truck had hit the house."

When he walked outside, he said all he saw was fire and smoke.

As he got closer, he was amazed.

"There was no house," he said.

St. Joseph County police spokeswoman Jaimee Thirion was in awe of the damage.

"This is the worst thing I've been out to in four years that wasn't a natural disaster," she said.

Cherrone said rescue units checked multiple houses near the explosion for casualties. He expects units to be on the scene all night.

As tragic as this is, I'm more concerned about my friend right now because she is blaming herself for not calling the gas company when she smelled gas earlier in the day. I tried to tell her she can't blame herself over this, but how do you really get a message like that through to a person who feels that level of guilt. It's because she knows the man who was injured and she thinks she could have prevented the explosion if she just would have picked up the phone. Other people in the neighborhood smelled gas, too, but none of them called either. Still, I guess I'm asking all of you to say a little prayer that a woman you don't know can find some peace in her heart.

September 20, 2007

I must get on Tim Gunn's new show.

I just finished watching Tim Gunn's new show on Bravo and I think I will live in a dark wasteland of despair if I don't manage to get on it somehow. He and this other lady whose name I don't know come in and basically go through your entire wardrobe and throw out anything that doesn't look good on you, then they basically tell you what does look good on you and then send you out to get those things. They also give you a makeover. I'd do it just for the makeover. And that's exactly what I need: someone to just tell me what looks good on me. I don't buy clothes often. Mainly because I always think there's something more important to spend the money on, but I do love clothes. Even though it's probably hard to guess by just looking at me walking down the street. If I had the money to get the kind of clothes I'd really like to have, then I would, but I don't, so I rarely buy clothes. It's really a very simple equation once you get down to it. The girl I just watched them fix got a bunch of new underwear. I probably just do it for the underwear, too. I really don't know if I'm wearing the right bra size. I'd like to get a bra that fits me exactly the way it should. I just don't have faith that someone who really knows their stuff about bras lives in South Bend. But I have to say they really made this chick look good and just once in my life, I'd like to walk out of the house knowing I look the best that I can.

September 18, 2007

Podcast #21

Sometimes, boys do stupid things like telling a gal they'll call and then never doing it. Brenna and I discuss the problems this leads to when I a boy flat out lies like this. Listen and learn.

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Padded bras suck

I bought a couple of new bras the other day and inadvertently got a padded one. I just didn't read closely enough and when I got home, I realized my mistake. I've never worn a padded bra before, even though there are some who would suggest that I should (mainly my mother). I've just never felt the need to enhance the size of my breasts. Anyway, since I bought it, I figured I'd give it a try and I really don't like it. It's odd knowing something's touched my boob, but then not actually feeling it on my boob. It feels like I've got a pillow on my chest. I don't know why anyone would wear one of these things on a regular basis. So, that's one bra that will end up dwelling in the far, dark recesses of my underwear drawer.

September 15, 2007

Weird dream

I had the weirdest dream last night. I dreamt I was Helen Keller as played by Melissa Gilbert, but I was still me. I was at some school, but as an adult. I wasn't girl Helen Keller, I was woman Helen Keller. And I was trying to comfort this guy I knew who was suffering from cancer; although, his symptoms were more consistent with TB than cancer. And even though I was Helen Keller, I seemed to get around pretty well. Like the guy (who, strangely, was played by an old high school boyfriend) showed me the bloody sputum he'd coughed out on a handkerchief and I could see it. I started crying when I saw it because I realized he was trying to tell me he had cancer through this revelation. And then he started crying and the only thing I could do was hold him while he cried. And then Anne Sullivan showed up at the school and I was desperate to see her and I was fighting with people who were trying to hold me back from seeing her, and when I did finally get to her, she was quite cold towards me. She treated me like someone she was accustomed to ordering around without question. I can't really remember more than that, but if anyone wants to take a stab at analyzing that one, go for it. I'm all ears.

September 14, 2007

I think South Bend has a serial murderer.

Something like the fifth or sixth dead woman has turned up in South Bend under mysterious circumstances. Here's the story.

Woman found dead in South Bend park

Tribune Staff Writer

SOUTH BEND -- A pregnant 35-year-old woman found killed in a city park had been strangled, a coroner said.

Melissa Marie Shields' body was discovered just before midnight Wednesday in Ravina Park on the city's southeast side.

Deputy coroner Charles Hurley said after an autopsy Thursday afternoon that he is unsure whether a weapon was used in the crime.

Rhonda Riley of Mishawaka, Shields' mother, said Shields was seven months pregnant with a baby boy. She said Shields had three teenage children: a son and daughter who live with Riley and another son who lives with a different relative.

They had not seen Shields recently, a distraught Riley said Thursday, because of Shields' involvement with illegal drugs and other criminal behavior.

Although Shields' latest arrest records listed Riley's Mishawaka address as hers, Riley said her daughter had been living on Indiana Avenue in South Bend. Riley said she didn't approve of the man with whom Shields was living, and that is partly why she had grown estranged from her daughter.

Riley said she had never heard any reports that the boyfriend, whose full name she did not know, had ever abused Shields.

"He might have cheated on her," Riley said, "but he never hit her, that I know of."

Riley was upset and crying at the news of her daughter's death and said Shields' children are taking it hard. They are uncertain how they are going to pay for funeral expenses, she said.

Police released few details about the case Thursday.

Although Riley said she was told that her daughter was nude when found, authorities would not confirm that.

Hurley said the victim's body had been identified initially by officers who knew her. She had a lengthy arrest record, including arrests for prostitution.

Shields has been a frequent occupant of the county jail, with 70 arrests going back to 1990.

South Bend police arrested her most recently on Aug. 16 in the 2900 block of South Michigan Street. She was charged in that case with theft, possession of cocaine, possession of paraphernalia, and two counts of auto theft.

Court records indicate a man had picked her up on Indiana Avenue and took her to his trailer in Mishawaka. At some point, he told police, he realized Shields had left, taking his car. He also reported that $5,400 was missing from his trailer.

Police arrested her about an hour later after seeing her park the car at a grocery on Michigan Street. She told them she had permission to use the car and that the Mishawaka man had given her money to buy narcotics. Police found drugs and drug paraphernalia in the car.

Shields was free on $1,000 bond at the time of her death.

Past arrests included drug offenses, prostitution, criminal trespass, driving without a license, criminal conversion, carjacking and failure to use a seat belt.

According to Indiana Department of Correction records, Shields also has served three sentences in state prison, for auto theft, receiving stolen auto parts, carrying a handgun without a license, and possession of cocaine.

Neighbors were clearly disturbed by the homicide, which happened in Ravina Park, a small park in the 900 block of East Indiana Avenue, along the bank of Bowman Creek.

"This freaks me out," said Sara Lenardson, who lives across the street from the park. She said she has lived on Indiana Avenue for about a year and has never had any serious problems.

Jimmy Scales, who has lived for 40 years along the east side of the park, said the 900 and 1000 blocks of Indiana Avenue are fairly stable, with longtime residents.

He described the occupants further west as transients who move in and out of the neighborhood with frequency. A lot of people just wander the streets all day, he said.

Ravina Park has a curfew, he said, "but people are out here at 3 in the morning. What good is a curfew if they don't enforce it?"

The small neighborhood park has only a few pieces of playground equipment, including a swingset, sliding board and monkey bars. The victim's body was found under the monkey bars.

Police went to the park late Wednesday in response to reports of a woman screaming.

Scales said screaming is not unusual in the park, "but it's play screaming," kids making noise as they have fun.

He said police have done a good job of cleaning up the southeast side, particularly in getting rid of the Dawg Life gang.

"It really worked," he said, "and I was glad to see it."
In addition to this murder, several other women have been found dead since the beginning of the year. The body of one was discovered in an alley. Another woman was found dead in a garage. Several women have been pulled from the St. Joe river. And the killer or killers have not been found. It's all pretty fishy to me. And I know it's starting to freak me out a bit. I definitely think it's a serial killer.

September 12, 2007

Sing it from the mountain top.

I cannot take credit for this little gem. My friend Beth posted it on her blog, and it's just so touching, I had to share it with all of you. Don't be afraid to let the spirit move you.

September 10, 2007

Podcast, episode 20

The girls and I talk about several different things. It's pretty interesting. I'd listen if I were you.

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September 09, 2007

Woo Hoo

So my Nittany Lions won this weekend, which is good because I would have been very upset if I drove eight hours to watch a game where they lost. Needless to say, I am pleased with the outcome. The only thing I wish is that I would have had time to actually go around town some. We only ended up being able to do the tailgating thing and then a quick trip to the bookstore. But I'll take what I can get. And it always makes me happy to see Charlie Weis lose a game because a rat bastard like him doesn't deserve to win. And he really is a rat bastard, if the rat were mutantly large due to radioactive exposure. Anyway, we just got home a couple of hours ago and I'm really not sleepy because I slept a lot during the drive home. But I do feel fatigued, which is weird. The one good thing about being home is that I can eat my normal food. I ate so much junk between traveling and tailgating that I feel pretty bloated and bogged down.

My daughter took me on a spin in a golf cart she learned to drive over the weekend. It was fine except she hasn't quite mastered stopping a golf cart as much as moving one. I'm pretty sure we squealed out when she finally put on the brakes and we were driving on grass, so in some ways it's pretty impressive, too.

September 02, 2007

I cannot sleep.

I'm awake because I can't sleep. I want to sleep, I just can't. Anyway, I figured I'd do a post and maybe that will do the trick. So what's been going on lately? Hmmm, well, the most interesting thing filling my days lately is trying to shill stuff for my daughter's school. Every year they make the kids (read parents) sell wrapping paper as a fundraiser. It's pretty good wrapping paper, but it's not really an item most people are busting through the doors to buy. The particular company they sell through is called Innisbrook, which apparently only exists to haunt every parent of a school-aged child. I hate selling stuff because no one wants to be bothered with this. I have to say, though, that you can purchase items online which makes the selling a lot easier for me. I just have to send out an email with a link and let people buy if they want. I think that works out well all the way around because then friends and family don't have to tell me no to my face. I think it relieves a lot of stress for everyone.

Next weekend we will be traveling to good old State College to watch the ND/Penn State game. I'm pretty stoked because vengeance will be ours. ND lost today and Penn State won which bodes well for my Nittany Lions. It's been a few years since we've been to State College, so it would be fun even if we didn't have the entire football thing going on. I guess the only really bad part of the entire trip is that we will miss the Popcorn Festival held in Valparaiso, IN, birthplace of Orville Reddenbacher. Damn. Ah, screw it, sticky buns beat popcorn any day of the week. I don't have anything to complain about.

September 01, 2007

What my Facebook horoscope told me today.

Beware of your unstable humor which may complicate your relationships.