Drugs found stashed in bathroom vanity

June 14 – Two 50-pound bricks of marijuana were found wrapped within a
bathroom vanity purchased at a Home Depot store in Tewksbury, Mass., according to the Tewksbury Police Department.

The marijuana had a street value of about $145,000 and was discovered by a contractor.

In a separate incident reported on Monday, a plumber found 3 kilograms of cocaine and 40 pounds of marijuana in a vanity purchased at a “local hardware store,” Southwick police officials said. The drugs had street value of $250,000.

Local police, along with the federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), are investigating both cases. All of the merchandise originated from a Texas location and was then distributed through a Massachusetts warehouse, police said.

In a written statement, Home Depot said, “The company is cooperating with authorities as they investigate this matter, and we will support law enforcement in any way possible to help bring those responsible to justice.”

Chapel Hill Public Art Contextual Plan

from Councilmember Mark Kleinschmidt’s blog:

The Council did something else that is worthy of being called extraordinary last night. The Council took the first steps at creating the nation’s first Public Art plan to be integrated into a community’s comprehensive planning process. Chapel Hill’s Public Arts Commission presented to the Council a Public Art Contextual plan that will make our community the first in the country (at least the first known to our consultant, Gail Goldman) to fully integrate public art programming into our basic town planning. The plan consolidates the many master plans (Park and Rec, Bicycle and Pedistrian, Transportation, land use, etc.) that have been adopted by the Council over the last several years and identifies appropriate intersections of those plans with our public art goals. Integral to the program are the incorporation of triggering devices that will require consideration of public art at almost every turn. As I said last night, the Council has learned many things during our own development project — the redevelopment of our downtown parking lots. Among the things we have learned is the value of early integration of public art in the design of the buildings and the public space. We have long given lip-service to our interest in creating a unique community that recognizes the increased value to our quality of life that artists bring to our community, and now we are about to turn that interest into a well thought-out policy that will allow for that value to be added to one of our most basic town functions — Town planning and development approval.

The plan calls for many things that will certainly spark interesting conversations. It contemplates eventually increasing our percent for art program to a 2 percent for art program, and it proposes that we extend application of public art into the private development sphere. Already, private developers in our community make art a priority in many of their developments, either in the choice of basic design elements or in placement of significant art work within their development. The Conceptual Plan will make our interest in this common practice an official town policy.

I look forward to the conversation our community is embarking on. This truly is one of the most exciting things I have participated in during my Council tenure. I serve because I love Chapel Hill and want to make sure it retains a high quality of life, yet doesn’t settle for doing things the same old way. This new plan holds promise for ensuring both.

A postcard from Germany

from the San Francisco Chronicle:

The Gelsenkirchen soccer stadium has two other names, but to me, it is the Homer Dome, after the patron saint of beer enjoyment, Herr Simpson.

The stadium is the site of two breathtaking marvels of German engineering: the playing pitch and the beer-circulation system.

For World Cup play, the city’s 53,000-seat stadium is Arena Aufschalke, because it is home of the Shalke ’04 pro team. During regular Bundesliga play, the place reverts to its beer-sponsor name, Veltins-Arena.

The grass is phenomenal, as green and precisely clipped as that of Wimbledon or Augusta National. The stadium is partially roofed, not healthy for grass, but the entire field slides out the back of the stadium on rails, like a 2-acre cookie tin sliding out of the oven, so the grass can photosynthesize to its heart’s content.

But here’s the coolest part:

There are four gigantic beer vats under the grandstands, each holding and cooling about 13,000 liters of fresh brewski. Snaking from the tanks to the concession-stand taps and luxury suites is a 5-kilometer network of insulated pipes, rushing cold, fresh Veltins beer to the thirsty coal-miner fans.

Alas, World Cup cups here in Gelsenkirchen will not runneth over with sweet Veltins. The system is shut down because the Cup’s official beer is Budweiser.

The eighth wonder of the world will not be in operation this month. A moment of silence, please.

Trip to Wisconsin

I just got back from my first business trip in my new job. I went to a sales meeting (as part of the marketing team) in Rice Lake and Hayward, Wisconsin. I flew into Minneapolis and drove through a very rural part of Northwest Wisconsin. Several of the towns I drove through had populations of 500.

Since it was lunchtime and I was looking for something to eat, it seemed like a town needed a population of at least 2000 before it had anything resembling commerce (gas station, restaurant). I stopped at a Cheese Shop (there are many of these in Wisconsin) that was also an Italian Deli for a sandwich of Italian meats and cheese. I sat and ate my lunch outside and watched several red-winged blackbirds fly around the pond.

I made it to the meeting at the tail end of Tuesday’s presentations, but I was in time for the pontoon boat scavenger hunt. We had to find a lily pad, catch a fish, identify drinks at two of the lakeside bars, dance in a Conga line, as well as many other things. The boat I was on won by 10 points. We all got T-shirts at the restaurant we ate dinner at, the original Famous Dave’s BBQ.

The next day, we had more meetings, we drove back to the client’s facility and stopped off at Miller’s Cheese Shop for some 2 year aged Cheddar before heading back to Minneapolis. I flew out the next morning.

Children’s Domain Names

On the same day that Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie had their baby (this past Saturday), Jolie’s lawyers registered the baby’s “official” domain name: shilohnouveljoliepitt.com. This made me want to check the availability of domain names for my kids. Both full names dot com are available. I guess I should snap them up. They are only 6.95/year on GoDaddy (with the code Hash3 from a podcast GoDaddy sponsors).

Breakfast Al Fresco

This morning I made french toast (or is it Freedom Toast) for breakfast and we ate outside on the deck. There is a brief period when the temperature is just right to eat outside, the sun is behind the trees and the bugs haven’t come out yet. At the start of breakfast, we were in that sweet spot. As we ate our french toast (the best in the world, but not according to Grace), it started to get warmer and we went inside.

Meg wants to get an oscillating fan so we can have a breeze when we sit on the deck.

My Writing Professor Publishes New Book

My writing professor from Duke, Elizabeth Cox, has a new book out this summer, The Slow Moon, published by Random House. This is her fourth published novel. It is a story about a violent incident in the life of a young couple and how the town responds. It will probably have some extra resonance in the wake of the Duke Lacrosse incident.
Here’s the page on the Random House site
Here’s an old interview
Here’s her outdated web site
Here’s her course page at Bennington, where she teaches a graduate course
Here’s a Boston Globe article from Wofford College’s site, where she teaches now.