Thirteen years after a diamond ring that a Minnesota woman’s husband gave her for their anniversary was accidentally flushed down the toilet, it resurfaced (literally) at a wastewater treatment plant. The Washington Post reports that Mary Strand of Rogers, Minnesota, dropped the gold ring in the toilet in 2010 but couldn’t retrieve it before it was sucked down.
As it happens, her husband, David, ran a sewer and drain-cleaning business, giving them a chance to retrieve the ring. But even after taking apart the toilet and running a camera 200 feet into the sewer, they couldn’t find it.
That was that, until March of this year. Workers in a wastewater treatment plant a quarter-mile from the Stands’ home found the ring while clearing muck out of a piece of equipment.
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The local government launched a publicity campaign on social media seeking the owner, inviting anyone to make a claim by describing the ring. That’s how it finally made its way back to Mary Strand — but only after officials fielded hundreds of calls from others seeking long-flushed, er, -lost rings.
Skin care to de-stress after a mass shooting
This new trend by consumer-product manufacturers relying on social media influencers to help them reach niche markets has gotten downright silly and self-destructive. Just ask Budweiser how its influencer campaign with Dylan Mulvaney went. Now skin-care product maker Bioré has had to apologize after one of its young brand influencers went on Tik Tok with a bizarre approach to an endorsement.
Michigan State University graduate Cecilee Max-Brown posted a video talking about the stresses of a campus shooting earlier this year in which three students were killed and five others wounded. She then pivoted to a narrative about how Bioré products help relieve her anxieties.
“Life has thrown countless obstacles at me this year — from a school shooting to having no idea what life is going to look like after college,” she said in the video. “In support of mental health awareness month, I’m partnering with Bioré Skincare to strip away the stigma of anxiety.”
“We want you to get it all out. Not only what’s in your pores but most importantly what’s on your mind too,” she added.
It’s definitely time for companies to revert to professionally designed ad campaigns and stop being surprised by unwanted endorsement improvisations.
Don’t second-guess witch trials?
Roughly 370 years after a big witch trial in Connecticut that resulted in 12 convictions and 11 executions of people for witchcraft, the state Senate decided in a 33-to-1 vote to commemorate what it called a “miscarriage of justice” with a resolution to exonerate all 12. Yes, one senator actually wanted to uphold the convictions.
Republican state Sen. Rob Sampson cast the lone No vote Thursday, arguing that focusing on negative history makes America look bad. “I don’t want to see bills that rightfully or wrongfully attempt to paint America as a bad place with a bad history. … I don’t want to see anyone try and put a stain on the country that I love.”
The show must go on
At long last, two companies disputing ownership of the Fabulous Fox Theatre have reached an agreement that will ensure it stays open and continues to offer the same eye-dazzling performances as in the past. It was likely that no matter how the ownership dispute played out, someone was going to find a way to keep the stage alive and busy with performances, but the two sides had significantly different visions of what the future looked like.
Fox Associates bought the theater building in 1981 and then spent $10 million to restore the building. But most of the land that the theater sits on is owned by Foxland Inc., which invoked a 99-year lease that Fox Associates inherited when it bought the building. The lease was set to expire in 2025.
An agreement reached in St. Louis Circuit Court will allow Fox Associates to take full ownership of the building and land. The dispute has been going on for the past two decades, and a big fear in the theater community was that a failure to reach an agreement could cause the theater to go dark. That’s how such cherished facilities can fall into disrepair, which is exactly what happened to the theater before the 1981 renovation.
Family values, part two
It turns out former Missouri House Speaker John Diehl’s misconduct was about more than just inappropriate conversations with a 19-year-old legislative intern while he was in office. He was also inappropriate with his campaign money after resigning in disgrace in 2015, according to a newly released consent decree with the Missouri Ethics Commission in which Diehl effectively admits to the violations.
Diehl, a conservative Des Peres Republican who touted traditional family values, was among Missouri’s most powerful politicians in mid-2015, when The Kansas City Star published screenshots it had obtained of sexually charged texts between Diehl — then a 49-year-old married father of three — and the college freshman.
Diehl publicly apologized without specifying what, if anything, occurred beyond texting. He resigned shortly afterward. Missouri Southern State University responded by ending its Capitol internship program more than a month prematurely.
For the alleged misuse of campaign funds, Diehl has been fined more than $47,000, though he will actually have to pay less than $10,000, provided he refrains from violating campaign finance regulations for at least 10 years.