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Spirit Lake Official Faces 2 Charges

Item: Fight, folly lead to charges: Spirit Lake official allegedly hit man, exposed himself/David Cole, Coeur d'Alene Press

More Info: Spirit Lake City Councilman Jimmy K. Brown Jr. has been charged with misdemeanor battery and indecent exposure. Brown's charges stem from an incident in mid-June when he allegedly got into a fight and exposed his penis behind Jo's Hole Saloon on Maine Street. The criminal complaint filed in Kootenai County court said Brown, 56, allegedly hit a Spirit Lake man named Eric D. Vangemert, 44, several times in the face on June 16. Court documents show Brown was served on Sept. 23. He didn't return a call Friday seeking comment. The indecent exposure charge stems from the alleged exposure of Brown's penis in front of Vangemert and his wife, Randi M. Vangemert, 43, in the alley behind Jo's saloon.


“It’s a brick” - Tesla’s batteries under question

A titillating story emerged this week with solid evidence that Tesla electric cars can turn to “bricks” if their batteries reach a zero charge. Tesla has since released a statement downplaying the issue, but the juiciest facts are clear. Michael DeGusta of The Understatement broke the news: 

“A Tesla Roadster that is simply parked without being plugged in will eventually become a ‘brick'. The parasitic load from the car’s always-on subsystems continually drains the battery and if the battery’s charge is ever totally depleted, it is essentially destroyed.” (1)

That’s exactly what happened to Tesla Roadster owner Max Drucker. As described in DeGusta’s article, Drucker’s car turned to a brick after he left it unplugged in his garage for two months. 

“It wouldn’t do anything,” Drucker said. “It wouldn’t even unlock. It took four guys two hours to get the car out of my garage and onto a flatbed truck. The car wouldn’t even roll.” (1)

But that wasn’t the worst of Drucker’s experience. When the $100,000 Roadster was towed to a Tesla service center a technician informed him his car was a “brick” and the battery would have to be replaced at a cost of $40,000 – far more expensive than any battery sold at Midas. 

The worst part - Tesla does not offer any form of insurance or warranty for a “bricked” car. 
Drucker sent an angry letter to Tesla CEO Elon Musk and vented about his terrible experience to DeGusta, who just happened to be one of nearly 500 people that had dropped a $5,000 reservation on the upcoming Tesla Model X. 

DeGusta published a scathing story describing Drucker’s experience as but one example of a “devastating design problem”, not only for the Roadster but for all Tesla electric cars. (2) More to the point, he perpetuated Drucker’s charge that Tesla fails to do an adequate job of properly disclosing their vehicles can transform to useless bricks if not properly maintained. 

“With such a large price tag for a bricked vehicle, it would be reasonable to expect Tesla to go to great lengths to ensure their customers were fully aware of the severity of battery discharge,” he wrote. (2) 

In fact, Tesla does have buyers sign a Disclosures and Acknowledgements” form that specifically states:

“Note, your Roadster warranty as it relates to the battery does not cover damage caused by exposing an unplugged vehicle to ambient temperatures above 120 degrees Fahrenheit for over 24 hours, storing an unplugged vehicle in temperatures below -40 degrees Fahrenheit for over seven days or leaving your vehicle unplugged where it discharges that battery to at or near zero state of charge.” (1) 

Drucker felt this warning was vague at best. 

“It doesn’t say that if you don’t leave the car plugged in your battery will be dead and you’ll be out $40,000,” he said. “I am not an idiot. If I had ever heard that, I would not have allowed this to happen.” (1)

When DeGusta's article on Drucker’s $40,000 battery replacement began to grab Google headlines Tesla was quick to release a statement reminding people that “All automobiles require some level of owner care. For example, combustion vehicles require regular oil changes or the engine will be destroyed. Electric vehicles should be plugged in and charging when not in use for maximum performance. All batteries are subject to damage if the charge is kept at zero for long periods of time.” (3)

There’s plenty of truth to those comparisons. Then again, when I returned from a week-long winter vacation to find the battery in my Subaru dead I didn’t get shafted to the tune of $40,000 - I called Triple A and got a jumpstart. 

Whether or not Tesla is doing enough to clearly inform their customers of the brick issue is up for debate. What’s clear is that Tesla is well aware of the issue and has gone to great lengths to prevent their cars from ever reaching critically low charges.

Tesla stated that, “Owners of Roadster 2.0 and all subsequent Tesla products can request that their vehicle alert Tesla if SOC (state of charge) falls to a low level. All Tesla vehicles emit various visual and audible warnings if the battery pack falls below 5 percent SOC.” (3)

A Tesla service team member reportedly told DeGusta that in certain cases Tesla staff has gone so far as to remotely activate a dying vehicle's onboard GPS after failing to reach the driver. Once the vehicle is located Tesla has sent maintenance workers to service the vehicle. (3)

If Drucker was aware of or signed up for these services it’s likely his Roadster never would have been bricked. Still, being asked to fork over $40,000 to replace a dead battery isn’t going to seem like a reasonable proposition to many consumers should all the preventive measures fail. 

Having said that, it's important to keep in mind we’re going to have to grant electric cars certain concessions while the technology behind them evolves to the point where they can be mass-produced.

For Tesla, “brick” could soon become a forgotten dirty word of their early history. 

But I wouldn't say that to Mr. Drucker. 

Read DeGusta’s full article here: http://tinyurl.com/6nfl87c

(1) http://www.wired.com/autopia/2012/02/bricked-tesla-roadsters/
(2) http://theunderstatement.com/post/18030062041/its-a-brick-tesla-motors-devastating-design?utm_source=Jalopnik+Newsletter&utm_campaign=b6b671aaaf-UA-142218-9&utm_medium=email#fnref:1
(3) http://www.foxnews.com/leisure/2012/02/22/tesla-motors-downplays-threat-brick-problem/?vgnextrefresh=1?test=latestnews#ixzz1nFDfMY7Y 

Rex Rammell Now ‘De Jure’ Citizen

Claiming Magistrate Judge Jeff P. Payne has no jurisdiction over him, former gubernatorial candidate Rex F. Rammell pleaded innocent to a misdemeanor charge of battery Tuesday. Rammell told Payne that he is a “de jure” citizen and invoked his ninth constitutional amendment rights, which makes him exempt from the laws of the corporate state. Rammell said after the hearing he filed a Ninth Amendment affidavit claiming such rights in Boise earlier this year. “I am no longer a member of the corporate state of Idaho,” Rammell explained. “It doesn't mean that we don't follow the law and rules - it means that we're not part of the corporate system.” Even so, Rammell is scheduled for a pretrial hearing in the case Oct. 11 at 10:30 a.m. Payne, who ignored the part about being a “de jure” citizen, told Rammell he faces a possible $1,000 fine, six months in jail and two years probation/Kathy Hedberg, Lewiston Tribune. More here. (Lewiston Tribune photo of Rex Rammell)

Question: Why are we Idahoans so fascinated by the ever curiouser and curiouser life & times of Rex Rammell? Or are you?

Victim’s Mom Calls Bus Attack Criminal

The mother of a Kellogg High School student who was allegedly stripped by other girls during a bus ride earlier this month said she’s angry that her daughter’s assailants might not be adequately punished. Heidi Hershly of Rapid City, S.D., said the Kootenai County Prosecutor’s Office told her Wednesday that her daughter’s case would be heard by a “diversion board” Tuesday. “They’re going to determine whether it’s suitable for diversion,” said Hershly, who drove 1,000 miles from South Dakota Tuesday night so she could be in Kellogg Wednesday for a school board meeting at which she said the incident would be discussed. “I don’t want diversion,” Hershly said. “I want a message sent loud and clear to everybody. What they did to my daughter was criminal. It was assault. It was battery”/Alison Boggs, SR. More here. (KXLY photo, of Heidi Hershly)

Question: Would you support a diversion program for the girls who assaulted Heidi Hershly's daughter?

Driver soon regrets drunken pick-up

An Athol man quickly regretted picking up a drunk man who was laying in the middle of a downtown Coeur d'Alene street last weekend.

According to police, Micah A. Wulff, 25, allowed the man into his truck just before 3 a.m. on Saturday but kicked the man out while northbound on Ramsey Road.

The angry man struck Wulff's truck, then swung at Wulff with a metal baton when confronted, according to the Kootenai County Sheriff's Department.

The man then “racked” the slide of a pistol and pointed it at Wulff. Wulff drove away and called police.

An Idaho State Police trooper arrested suspect Mason D. Brown, 22, in the 2400 block of West Dakota Avenue.

Brown had a handgun and said he was from Spokane Valley, according to a news release. He was booked into jail on charges of attempted aggravated battery, aggravated assault and intoxicated person with a firearm.

Man Claims Attack By Vandal Players

A 20-year-old Lapwai man alleges he was the victim of an unprovoked attack by University of Idaho football players. Lamont Phillips told the Lewiston Tribune the attack over the weekend landed him in the hospital for nearly a day with a concussion, a fractured orbital bone around his eye, seven stitches next to his eye and bruises on his head and body from being kicked and punched. The alleged attack occurred at a Moscow apartment party on North Polk Street where people were celebrating the end of the football season, Phillips said/Joel Mills, Lewiston Tribune. More here.

Question: Does this incident sour your appreciation of the improving Idaho Vandal football team?

Biker shoots to stop driver; driver arrested

An alleged road rage incident between a driver and motorcyclist Sunday in North Idaho led to the arrest of a 44-year-old Athol man after the biker fire a shot at him.

Keith W. Williams is charged with battery and aggravated assault after a man identified in court documents as Thomas Helton told police he had to fire a small handgun at Williams’ front car tire to stop an attack about 4 p.m.

Witnesses in the area of U.S Highway 95 and Neider Avenue told police that Williams punched Helton in the head as they were stopped at a light, then drove northbound toward Helton and his motorcycle, police said.

Helton fired one round into Williams’ car’s front tire. Williams is charged with aggravated assault for allegedly using his vehicle as a weapon. He’s out of Kootenai County Jail on bond.

Witnesses to the incident are asked to call Coeur d’Alene police at (208) 769-2320.