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2 shot at FLA movie theater over cell phone use

WESLEY CHAPEL, Fla. — Authorities say a man has been arrested on suspicion of shooting two people — one fatally — after an argument over cell phone use at a Florida theater.

Pasco County Sheriff’s spokesman Doug Tobin said two couples had been watching “Lone Survivor” Monday at a movie theater in Wesley Chapel, north of Tampa, when the suspect and his wife apparently took issue with the couple in front of them over use of the phones.

Tobin said the argument led to the shooting. Both victims were airlifted to a Tampa-area hospital. The man later died, but the female victim’s injuries weren’t considered life-threatening.

The sheriff’s office says a bystander detained the suspect until deputies arrived. Authorities didn’t immediately identify the suspect.

No charges have been reported.

Sad story. Put your darn phone away. Your life may depend on it. Where have you enountered the most obnoxious cell phone users?

Washington: We’re No. 2…in cell phone taxes

From this morning's paper:

    The next time you change the ring tone on your cellphone, consider choosing the sound of a cash register ringing. Or maybe The Beatles’ song “Taxman.”
   Washington cellphone users have the dubious distinction of paying the second-highest taxes in the country. Nebraska has the highest cellphone taxes.
   It’s something you may have suspected the last time you checked your cellphone bill – if you were able to decipher it.. . 

To read the rest of this story click here.

Texting driver crashes into parked sheriff’s patrol car north of Rigby

Here's a news item from the Associated Press: RIGBY, Idaho (AP) ― Police say a 22-year-old eastern Idaho driver was looking at a text message on his phone when he hit a sheriff deputy's parked patrol car. Brian J. Anderson, of Idaho Falls, was treated Tuesday for non-life threatening injuries. Idaho State Police say Anderson was traveling on U.S. Route 20 north of Rigby when the accident occurred. Police say Anderson was looking at a text message on his phone when he drove into the back of a patrol car parked on the side of the road. The Idaho State Journal reports (http://bit.ly/KRgTqo) that the Jefferson County sheriff's deputy was not in the patrol car at the time. The vehicle's lights were flashing to alert drivers to a fire in the median of the road. Anderson was cited for inattentive driving.

Idaho lawmakers this year made Idaho the 39th state to ban texting while driving, but the law doesn't take effect until July 1.

Noon: Golfer Mickelson Goes Ballistic

You can't make this stuff up. PGA pro Phil Mickelson withdrew from the Memorial Tournament in Ohio over the weekend, citing “mental fatigue”. Really, what pushed him over the edge were cell phones. Mickelson said, and according to ESPN, Bubba Watson and Rickie Fowler backed him up, that cell phones were the issue. Rather, there were too many fans taking pictures of him with their mobile devices, causing too much of a distraction. Okay. Here is the ironic part of the story. Mickelson reportedly texted the PGA commissioner about the problem. From his cell phone. While on the golf course/Jared Frank, KHQ/SWXRightNow.com. More here. (AP photo)

Question (from friends at KHQ/SWX): Cell phones on golf courses: yea or nay?

ITD to hold off a year on trucker texting ban

The Idaho Transportation Department had been working on legislation to propose in January to ban texting by commercial truck drivers, to comply with a recently enacted federal rule, but now the proposed legislation is being withdrawn. The reason: Another new federal rule has come out, banning all use of handheld cell phones by interstate commercial truck and bus drivers while operating their vehicles.

Idaho has to comply with the first rule by Oct. 20, 2013; it has three years to comply with the new one on cell phones. Rather than move ahead with just the first part, ITD's staff is recommending holding off until the 2013 legislative session, and developing legislation to bring the state into compliance with both rules. The ITD board, which is meeting today, is expected to approve its staff's recommendation to hold off until next year to come up with more comprehensive legislation, to “avoid confusion on the part of vehicle operators and law enforcement.”

Meanwhile, Idaho lawmakers have been debating texting-while-driving bans for all drivers for several years, without ever reaching agreement on any particular proposal; some Idaho cities, including Twin Falls and Meridian, have passed their own bans since state lawmakers haven't acted.
  

From the Boy on Top of the World

   It takes some getting used to when your children grow up and leave home. After years of living according to their schedules, from 2 a.m. feedings to a 2 a.m. curfew, even when they’ve been on their own for a while, it still feels odd on occasion to realize days have gone by and you haven’t heard from them.


    I have four children and two are out of the nest and settled into their own lives and homes. The third is only home when she’s not in school and the “baby” is edging closer to the door. I think of each of my children every day. Something - a song, the sound of the back door, the sight of outgrown boots on a shelf in the garage or a glance at the photos hanging on the wall - will bring them to mind. Other times, the best times, are when they reach out to me.


    I heard the chime indicating a text message on my phone the other day and I picked it up expecting to see a note from my husband to pick up cat food on the way home, or a message from the dentist reminding me of an appointment.
    Instead, in the palm of my hand, was the image of my son on top of the world. He was standing in the snow on the summit of Oregon's Mt. Hood at daybreak and the sun was just rising, tinting the sky. A friend had snapped a photo capturing the moment.


    I gazed at it for a long time, trying to reconcile the tall slender man in the photo with the memory of the sturdy toddler I carried on my hip. The boy with a headful of curls and the habit of wrinkling his nose and tipping back his head whenever he laughed.  Where have the years gone?


    Looking at the photo on my phone, imagining him standing at that elevation, exhilarated after the before-dawn climb, I could hear the familiar sound of his voice. I could see the energy in his stance, the pride in his smile. He was there, I am here, but he’d found a way to bridge the distance and include me in his happiness.


    Too often we complain about the way our phones and computers enslave us. They interrupt our thoughts and fracture our ability to concentrate. But there are times the tools that torment us turn about. They soothe and comfort us. They bring us closer to the ones we love.


    I send my son photos of home. He takes me to the top of the mountain. And love, unspoken, travels on invisible waves between the two.


Cheryl-Anne Millsap writes for The Spokesman-Review and is the editor of Spokane Metro Magazine. Her essays can be heard on Spokane Public Radio and on public radio stations across the country. She is the author of “Home Planet: A Life in Four Seasons” and can be reached at catmillsap@gmail.com

Bennett: Can You Hear Me Now?

Clay Bennett/Chattanooga Times Free Press

St. Maries Student Accused Of Sexting

A St. Maries High School student could be facing felony charges. In the past two years there have been two “sexting” incidents at the school. “I don’t have a term for it really,” St. Maries High School principal John Cordell said. “They are sending nude photos back and forth through messaging on their cell phones. It’s becoming more and more common, which is scary.” Both incidents were discovered after students’ phones were confiscated because they were being used during class time. Afterwards a student came into the office to inform administrators that there were inappropriate photos of another student on the phone that were being shown during class/Mary Orr, St. Maries Gazette-Record. More here.

WHO: Cell Phones Could Cause Big C

Radiation from cell phones can possibly cause cancer, according to the World Health Organization. The agency now lists mobile phone use in the same “carcinogenic hazard” category as lead, engine exhaust and chloroform. Before its announcement Tuesday, WHO had assured consumers that no adverse health effects had been established. A team of 31 scientists from 14 countries, including the United States, made the decision after reviewing peer-reviewed studies on cell phone safety. The team found enough evidence to categorize personal exposure as “possibly carcinogenic to humans/CNN. More here.

Question: What would you do if you knew for sure that cell phone usage would increase your cancer risks?

Cell ‘pocket dials’ 911, leading to arrest

CLAY, N.Y. (AP) — An ill-timed, inadvertent 911 call led police to three larceny suspects overheard planning break-ins in upstate New York.

Onondaga County Sheriff Kevin Walsh says police already looking for a suspicious person got the unlikely assist when one of the men “pocket dialed” his cellphone's emergency number while driving near the scene of an earlier heist.

As a dispatcher relayed the conversation to deputies, the men discussed their plans, described their surroundings and even commented, “there go the cops now.”

Walsh says that was enough for a deputy to turn around and stop the Kia Sportage full of tools stolen from a business in the Syracuse suburb of Clay.

The dispatcher then heard the driver being asked for his license and registration. The men arrested April 26 face grand larceny and stolen property charges.

GPS app cracks Sandpoint phone caper

SANDPOINT, Idaho (AP) — Recovering a stolen cell phone? There's an app for that.

The Bonner County Daily Bee reports 22-year-old Sean B. Mahoney of Sandpoint pleaded guilty to misdemeanor theft and possession of drug paraphernalia on Wednesday in a case that was cracked by the owner of a stolen cell phone. Mahoney was sentenced to 30 days in jail.

A Sandpoint resident reported a cell phone, snowboard and goggles were taken from his sport utility vehicle on Dec. 18.

The GPS-enabled phone contained a software application that can be activated when the device is stolen. The owner used the app and a laptop to track the handset to a house where the items were recovered, along with two other stolen snowboards, several holiday checks apparently taken from neighborhood mailboxes, drug pipes and marijuana seeds and stems.

Cell phone call leads to juror’s dismissal

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — One of the jurors has been dismissed at the aggravated murder trial in Spokane of a man accused of killing five people at a Pasco auto body shop 23 years ago.

The Tri-City Herald reports the juror was excused Tuesday because he was making a cell phone call in a hallway and may have seen the defendant in the custody of guards. The court has taken care not to show Vicente Ruiz in custody to avoid the implication of guilt.

Two alternates remain on the jury.

The trial of the 46-year-old was moved to Spokane from Franklin County after two mistrials.

Prosecutors are wrapping up their case and the defense may start calling witnesses on Friday.

Read a longer story from the Tri-City Herald by clicking the link below.

Past coverage:

Dec. 7: Spokane medical examiner is ‘87 Pasco murder witness

Ringtone about breasts interrupts court

There are inappropriate ringtones, and then there are epicly inappropriate ringtones that blare during a quiet court proceeding.

A spectator attending first appearances in Judge Michael Price’s courtroom Tuesday had the latter.

The man’s cell phone rang for several seconds in the midst of a suspect’s appearance on a felony arrest, eliciting uncomfortable murmurs from the courtroom and a scolding from Price.

The song?

“I Love Tits!” apparently by an artist named Dr. Sausage. The lyrics are probably how you might imagine them: not quite appropriate for a courtroom.

The man sent the call to voicemail, but the phone blared again when the message went through a few seconds later.

He told Price he’d silenced the phone, but the damage was done: Price instructed him to go out in the hallway. The man left without seeing his buddy’s court appearance. No word on who he was there to see.

Dennis: Giving Up Our Land-line

Susan and I did it. We FINALLY got rid of our land-line, effective Sept 9th…and we’re livin’ ONLY in the world of her cell and my iPhone. … Not a big deal to a lot of people, but we’ve had that number for almost 20 years. Kid’s grew up memorizing it, school nurses had it, all our family members had it. I used it when I called EVERYBODY about the birth of our little “surprise guy” (Colin). When I was too steeped in grief, my daughter, Meg, used it to cal all our family and friends, telling them of the death of her other brother, Nate. My first grandson, Cole, called me on it to talk to “his Grand-Pop”. … It’s the line of our life….but not the line of the future. And we decided that we were done/Dennis Mansfield. More here.

Question (for those who have given up their land line): Do you miss the land line?

Hi-Noon: Dealing w/Cell Phone Spiels

Recently, when the numbers on my cell phone keypad grew so worn I could no longer read them, I reluctantly decided to get a new phone. The world of cell phone technology has changed since my last purchase. My once cutting-edge, sleek flip-phone is now considered a quaint antique. The fast-talking lady at the phone kiosk showed me an array of phones that apparently can do everything from defrost chicken to launch an air assault over Cuba. She showed me a phone with a cute little slide out keyboard. “You don’t even need your computer to get and send e-mail!” she enthused. “But I can’t type on one of those,” I said. “There’s not enough room for my fingers”/Cindy Hval, Washington Voices. More here.

Question: Do you enjoy going to Verizon or some other cell phone dispenser for a new phone? Or does the spiel fed you by glib clerks turn you off?

HBO Poll: Toughen Cell Phone Law

  • Thursday Poll: I was surprised that a solid majority of you Merry Hucksters want Idaho to make driving-while-cell-phoning a primary offense w/$124 tickets like Washington has. 118 of 192 respondents (61%) want Idaho to adopt a similar law. 73 of 192 (38%) don’t. Only one person was undecided in the poll.
  • Today’s Question: Are you excited that Walmart will have 3 stores in Kootenai County by mid-September?

Cell Phone Tickets $124 Today

Item: Hands off the cell; tickets are $124: Beginning today, if you are seen by police using your cell phone without a hands-free device while you drive you can be issued a ticket/Spokesman-Review

More Info: For two years, talking or text messaging on a cell phone while driving has been illegal in Washington, but not enough to warrant a stop by police unless another crime or violation was suspected. That changes today, when a law takes effect that moves the use of wireless devices while driving from a secondary to a primary offense, authorizing law enforcement to slap motorists with a $124 ticket.

Question: How much would you use your cell phone while driving in Idaho, if you faced a $124 ticket for being caught doing so?

Oprah, Idaho: Hang Up, Drive

Oprah Winfrey and Idaho traffic safety officials are asking drivers to make a commitment today to hang up and drive. The day, dubbed the “No Phone Zone Day,” is an awareness campaign about texting and driving. Digital message signs along Idaho highways will carry the safety message, “Driving/texting? Hang up. Arrive alive,” according to the Idaho Transportation Department. Idaho does not yet have a law against driving and texting/Spokesman-Review. More here.

DFO: I did something I’ve never done before, Thursday: I carried on a cell-phone conversation from the office after work all the way home and beyond. I rarely talk on a cell phone while driving. I wanted to see how distracted I’d be. I tried to be extra alert. But I wasn’t as alert as I usually am while driving. I won’t do it often.

Question: How often do you talk on the cell phone while driving? Have you ever had any close calls, driving-wise, as a result?

Juror’s cell-phone surfing prompts mistrial

A juror caused a mistrial in a recent Stevens County drug case after he used a cell phone to look up legal information.

Betty Torres will be retried after a judge granted her lawyer’s mistrial motion last week because a juror accessed the Internet from his phone in the jury room to “answer some question about the charge,” according to the Stevens County Prosecutor’s Office.

Torres is accused of helping exchange heroin for pills manufactured to look like OxyContin pills.

The trial began Monday. Jurors were preparing to deliberate Tuesday afternoon when the court learned of the juror’s Internet use, Rasmussen said.

“All the effort by the parties and the court and the jury was wasted, as well as the 30 or so persons who had been summoned and from which the jury was chosen,” Rasmussen said.

Rasmussen wrote about this in his weekly column. Read the column by clicking the link below.

Would you notice a clown on a unicycle if you were texting? Maybe not

OLYMPIA — Texting or talking on a cell phone is so distracting that someone doing either likely won’t notice a unicycling clown passing in front of them, a university professor said.

Ira Hyman, a professor of psychology at Western Washington University, was one of a series of people urging the Legislature to make sending a text message or talking on a cell phone while driving a primary offense which can get a driver a ticket all by itself. Right now in Washington, it’s a secondary offense, meaning driver only gets a ticket if he or she has broken some other traffic law.

Hyman said a study at WWU tested how distracted a person texting or talking on a cell phone can be. A significant number of students failed to notice a clown on a unicycle passing in front of them on campus while texting or talking.

“If you can miss a clown on a unicycle, what else can you miss?” Hyman asked the Senate Transportation Committee.

To read the rest of this story, Click Here.

Do you walk and talk?

Apparently that’s dangerous:

SAN FRANCISCO - On the day of the collision last December, visibility was good. The sidewalk was not under repair. As she walked, Tiffany Briggs, 25, was talking to her grandmother on her cellphone, lost in conversation.

Very lost.

“I ran into a truck,’’ Briggs said.

It was parked in a driveway.

Distracted driving has gained much attention lately because of the inflated crash risk posed by drivers using cellphones to talk and text.

But there is another growing problem caused by lower-stakes multitasking - distracted walking - which combines a pedestrian, an electronic device, and an unseen crack in the sidewalk, the pole of a stop sign, a toy left on the living room floor, or a parked (or sometimes moving) car. Read more.

Bipartisan bill bans texting while driving

Idaho’s got bipartisan legislation in the works to ban texting while driving, a move roughly two dozen states already have made. Sen. Les Bock, D-Boise, proposed similar legislation this year, but now he’s got a high-profile co-sponsor on board: House Transportation Chairwoman JoAn Wood, R-Rigby. “I’ve ben thinking about it for quite some time,” Wood told Eye on Boise. “Maybe it’s because I’m not very good at it anyway - there’s no way that I could do that and drive. I see kids coming out of the high school and doing it, and it really bothers me that they’re on the road and doing it.”

“This issue was a bit under the radar when we brought it up last winter,” Bock said. “But clearly, the time has come to enact legislation that will help drivers realize that it’s neither safe nor smart to text while driving.” He added, “Public awareness of the dangers of texting while driving has increased exponentially this summer. We now know that the longer we wait to act, the more lives will be lost.”

Bock’s other co-sponsors for the bill so far include Assistant Senate Minority Leader Elliot Werk, D-Boise; and Reps. Liz Chavez, D-Lewiston; Elfreda Higgins, D-Garden City, and Anne Pasley-Stuart, D-Boise. Bock also has legislation in the works to require use of a hands-free device while talking on cell phones while driving, something that’s already the law in Washington. Wood said she hasn’t signed on as a co-sponsor on that one at this point; she plans to look into the issue and confer with other members of the House Transportation Committee.

Spokane Schools Ban Cell Phones

Item: District bars cell phones: Spokane students can carry them, but policy limits use to lunch breaks/Jody Lawrence-Turner, SR

More Info: Spokane Public Schools joined a long list of districts nationwide Wednesday when the school board voted to ban cell-phone use in grades K-12 except during lunch breaks. The policy came after parents, teachers and school administrators expressed concern last year about cell phones disrupting education.

Question: Do you support this action by Spokane Public Schools?

Can You Hear Me Now?

Awhile back we talked about kids and cell phones.  But what about parents? What do you use your cell phone for— is it your business phone, your primary number, or only used for emergencies?

I’ve found my kids don’t have a real grasp on what emergency use is: http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2009/jan/15/when-you-have-a-family-your-cell-phone-needs-a/

SR: Why Drivers Ignore Cell Law

Two things have become clear since Washington state lawmakers passed a law banning the use of hand-held cell phones while driving:1. Many drivers are still unaware of the law. 2. Many drivers are unconcerned about being ticketed because it is a secondary offense, meaning officers cannot issue tickets unless the driver was pulled over for something else. Even with the dangerous road conditions, many motorists can’t resist yakking on the phone. The problem with the law is that its authors didn’t take the offense seriously enough to begin with/SR Editorial Board.

Question: Should Idaho ban the use of hand-held cell phones while driving and/or should such an offense be a primary rather than secondary one?

Washington Ignores Cell Phone Ban

Item: Washington drivers ignore cell-phone/AP

More Info: Then cellphone use started creeping back up, said Sgt. Freddy Williams of the State Patrol, who has carried on his own informal off-duty study of driving-and-talking. He can’t think of another law that’s been flouted quite like this one. “I’ve seen people walk out of their house and before they put their car in gear, they’re talking on the cellphone,” he said.

Question: How often do you talk on your cell phone while driving?