Man Loses Home to Katrina, Wins Powerball

News worth an honorable mention, including the Louisiana construction foreman who won $97 million but kept working to finish his contracts.

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RACHEL MARTIN, host:

Hey, welcome back to the Bryant Park Project from NPR News. We're online all the time at npr.org/bryantpark. I've got to tell you, Mike, I've got the Friday fever. We talked about the big stuff, the top-of-the-fold news stories, but I'm feeling this itch to talk the other stuff, the bizarre the inane, the curious and spectacular. Let's get ready to Ramble.

(Soundbite of music)

MARTIN: You go first.

MIKE PESCA, host:

Well, Rachel, it turns out that itch may be of another cause.

(Soundbite of laughter)

PESCA: There's a bit of a bedbug epidemic here in New York City, not just for flophouses anymore. They've been seen in homes, maternity wards, movie theaters and reportedly inside the chambers of a federal judge. And now, apparently, the problem has spread to the subway.

MARTIN: Bedbugs in the subway?

PESCA: How're they going to get to these other places, right?

MARTIN: Ahh.

PESCA: Give them a metro card, they're on their way. It makes sense, because bedbugs go where human blood is, and they feed on human blood. A city bedbug educator says he's seen the bugs on wooden benches in subway stations.

MARTIN: Wait. There's city bedbug educator?

PESCA: Ah, yes, I was confused at first. His job is to educate the public about bedbugs, not to educate the bedbugs.

MARTIN: OK. Good.

PESCA: You know, although, the don't-bite-the-nice-people policy hasn't seemed to have taken hold within the bedbug community. We read in the New York Post a bastion of bedbug coverage. There was a quote in the article. "Sharis Lugo, 20, of Brooklyn, leaped off a bench at the Union Square station when she heard the news, saying, 'Ewww! That's nasty... They've got to take these benches out of here!'" which makes us think the reporter just stood on the platform waking up people sitting on benches. He yelled, there's bedbugs there! And we have yet to confirm that MTA officials will be changing their safety slogan from "If you see something, say something" to "Don't let the bedbugs bite."

MARTIN: Nicely done. Bad luck turns good, a man who lost two homes in Hurricane Katrina has claimed the 97-million-dollar Powerball prize. Seventy-three-year-old Carl Hunter became the largest Powerball winner in Louisiana's history in January, but he waited 'til now to pick up the giant check. Hunter opted for the lump sum that will amount to...

PESCA: Smart move.

MARTIN: Yeah, exactly, 33.9 million after taxes. That's a whole lot of money. No big plans for what he's going to do with it, other than retirement, and he wants to rebuild some of what he lost in the storm. After Katrina he and his wife moved to a home in nearby Metairie, near the gas station where he bought the winning ticket. Hunter apparently was an avid lottery player, and this isn't the first time that he won. He took in five grand on a ticket a few years ago, so it does pay to play.

PESCA: Well, they never tell you how many tickets he bought that didn't win.

MARTIN: That's true.

PESCA: Or how many times someone bought a ticket that didn't get a big lump sum.

MARTIN: Fine, rain on my parade, rain on my parade.

PESCA: Drugs mess with your head and subsequently the heads of people who are long dead. Three Texas teens have been arrested after digging up a grave, removing a skull and turning it into a bong. You might call them "budding" archeologists. I wouldn't, but one of our producers who thought that was funny would. Two of the three were held on misdemeanor charges of abuse of a corpse and a third was referred to the juvenile system.

Police had been questioning one of thieves about use of stolen debit cards when he volunteered the story about the bone bong. That's why he 'fessed up, Houston police said, we can always speculate as to what goes on inside the criminal mind. Police believed the grave belonged a - so sad, an eleven-year-old boy who died in 1921.

MARTIN: OK. A worker at a Tim Horton's doughnut shop in...

PESCA: In Canada.

MARTIN: Ontario, exactly. Fired, this person was fired for giving a toddler a treat worth 16 cents. She got her job back yesterday. Video cameras captured the worker, Nicole Lilliman, giving a toddler a deep fried timbit, and she was fired for that. But after the story got widespread media coverage and Tim Horton's received many complaints, the Canadian doughnut chain acknowledged giving her the axe, maybe it was a mistake. A company spokeswoman says the firing was the unfortunate action of one manager, who unfortunately made an overzealous decision.

PESCA: And Houston police said we can always speculate as to what goes on inside the criminal mind.

MARTIN: A timbit, you're wondering, what the heck is a timbit? We looked it up, Tim Horton's version of a munchkin. I don't even know what that is either.

PESCA: Dunkin' Donuts.

MARTIN: Maybe it's a small person? Oh, it's a doughnut holder.

PESCA: You talking doughnuts calling the munchkins.

MARTIN: Ah, doughnut holders, sold in boxes of 10, 20, or 40.

PESCA: The operative word being "sold," not given away.

MARTIN: Yeah, you can't just walk in there with 16 cents and get one.

(Soundbite of laughter)

PESCA: Right. So, when they say it's worth 16 cents, someone had to do the division on that. Probably took more than 16-cents worth of their time dividing 10 by however much that box of 10 sells for.

MARTIN: You're right. Exactly, that's the point.

PESCA: All right, OK.

MARTIN: And that's your Ramble, folks. See more stories on our website npr.org/bryantpark.

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