10 brightest ideas of the week: April 4 

1. Bill O’Reilly

Fox News star pays legal fees for fallen Marine’s dad

The details: Bill O’Reilly announced on his Fox News talk show that he will pay the $16,500 legal costs for a fallen U.S. Marine’s father who sued a controversial church that picketed his son’s funeral. Fred Phelps’ Topeka, Kan., Westboro Baptist Church protests at military funerals to promote their belief that U.S. deaths in Afghanistan and Iraq are punishment for America’s tolerance of homosexuality. A federal appeals court ordered the father to pay the church’s legal fees.

2. Pants off the ground

NY senator campaigns to end sagging pants trend

The details: Perhaps inspired by American Idol rapper Larry Platt, Sen. Eric Adams, D-N.Y., is kicking off a movement to put an end to those low-riding trousers on young men. The fashion was initially inspired by prison couture, but Adams says adults take it too far. He’s raised six billboards and made a video saying, “You can raise your level of respect if you raise your pants.”

3. Help for pet owners

Nonprofit lends struggling animal owners a hand

The details: The Great Recession has left many pet owners temporarily unable to care properly for their animals. With evidence that layoffs, foreclosures, illness and homelessness was leaving people unable to care for their animals, the nonprofit Seer Farms in Jackson, N.J., began providing temporary care for pets until people get back on their feet. Seer Farms charges up to $50 a month per animal, depending on ability to pay. Since opening in 2009, it’s taken in animals from about 65 families, who can visit their pets. If the owners are still unable to care for their pets, they ask that new homes be found for them.

4. Photo op

Company revives Polaroid film

The details: Got an old Polaroid camera? Think twice before you decide it’s completely obsolete. A group under the name of The Impossible Project has re-­engineered the film packs for the 300 million Polaroid cameras out there in basements and on eBay. The project’s creators rescued the analog icon from oblivion and now even those raised on digital cameras can shake it like a Polaroid picture while waiting to see whether a snapshot is going to be brilliant, or just a white blur. The film sells for $22 a pack.

5. Not in Kansas anymore

You say Google, they say Topeka

The details: Since Topeka, Kan., decided to rename their town “Google” for a month in hopes of getting a share of the superfast broadband Internet that will be tested across the country, Google decided to return the favor on April Fools’ Day. Users looking for the popular search engine saw “Topeka” instead of the standard Google logo, along with a story that let everyone know the company was changing its name ... at least for the day.

6. Milestone

City celebrates its first murder-free month in 44 years

The details: Newark, N.J., Mayor Cory Booker has 31 good reasons to celebrate: It’s the town’s first calendar month without a homicide since 1966. Police say Booker’s aggressive anti-crime efforts played a big part in restoring the peace. Not only murders but also shootings, aggravated assaults, robberies and carjacking are down from this time last year. Their next milestone? Forty-three murder-free days would break a record that has stood for 50 years.

7. Refund for iPads

Apple returns shipping charges

The details: Scott McNulty, who writes for Macworld.com, was pleased after he, like many others, mistakenly asked for expedited shipping, costing an extra $12, to have his new iPad delivered. Without being asked, Apple Inc. automatically processed refunds to those who paid the extra $12, saying it wasn’t necessary to ensure delivery.

8. Good deed

Berkeley cafe donates half its profits to charity

The details: Michael Pearce’s Elmwood Cafe in Berkeley opened earlier this month and is predicated on the idea of giving back. When customers make a purchase at his cafe, they will have the ability to choose between three community projects or charities they want their coffee money to go towards, and the one that receives the most votes will get the money. Once Elmwood cafe turns a profit, then the proceeds will start going to the nonprofit of choice.

9. Pigs saved

Court rules lame pigs can’t be turned into meat

The details:  A federal appeals court decided Wednesday that pigs that are sick and injured to the point that they can’t walk can no longer be slaughtered for food products. Legislators passed the law in 2008 after a Humane ­Society video showed lame cows being abused at a California slaughterhouse. Testimony followed declaring that the meat from those animals is more likely to be diseased, prompting lawmakers to ban the sale of the lame animals for consumption, and prohibit mistreatment, including dragging the animals with chains. But a lower court in Fresno barred the enforcement of the law. This week the San Francisco federal appeals court called that ruling “hogwash.” 

10. Great gift

University to give iPads and MacBooks to students

The details: One of the expenses incoming freshmen have is usually a new laptop. If you are attending Seton Hill University in Greensburg, Pa., this fall, you will receive an iPad and MacBook courtesy of the school. The small liberal arts university is aiming to improve the digital literacy among its students. Students will have complete access to iPads during class and for personal use. To top it off, Seton Hill will replace the MacBook after two years with a new laptop so students can take them when they graduate.

 

Bright light of the week

Barry Bonds and Jeff Kent

What: The two former Giants teammates, who were the heart of the team but not exactly the best of friends during their playing days, are coming together next Sunday as part of the 10th anniversary of playing at AT&T Park.

Why: While they are famous for home runs and a dugout scuffle, coming together for a public appearance with the rest of the 2000 National League West championship team will definitely be a great thing for fans. For Bonds, any good publicity can only help his public persona.

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Doug Graham

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