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Scam Fails, Judge Nails Big Bail

Say what? It was a toss-up between confusion and comedy at last week's arraignment of Richard Lewis and Joan Bowman, the "common law" devotees accused of trying to scam eight vehicles out of a Cadillac dealership in August. The anarchic twosome signed in as "secured individuals" and refused to stand when Common Pleas Judge Thomas Curran entered the courtroom. When Curran called Lewis's name, he responded by saying, "I accept that for value." Nor would Lewis answer any of the judge's questions, except with non sequiturs like, "Do you have a claim against me?" Finally Curran declared he would have to treat Lewis as if he weren't speaking at all. Bowman ran the same routine, even asking the bailiffs if they had a claim against her as they were hauling her away. The courtroom dissolved in laughter upon their exit, but Bowman and Lewis probably weren't laughing about their bail -- $25,000 each.

'Tis the season to be randy! The office party season has barely begun, and already sexual mischief is astir. Longtime Johnny's Downtown regular Big Kathy has been permanently banned from that fine establishment, reportedly for being caught in flagrante with two (count 'em!) gentlemen in the ladies room. And what of that missing weatherman from one of the network affiliates in town? Just a couple weeks ago he was stumbling about on the set, doing a smashing imitation of a drunk slurring his way through the newscast. Then he was suspended, though apparently not for quaffing the wassail. Word around the station is that he was caught in flagrante with a comely production assistant -- atop an office desk! Ah, for the lost art of discretion.

For Sale: The posh digs of urban pioneer Michael Balas, whose renovated townhouse at West 110th and Detroit is part of the ambitious but troubled Schilling Square project. The crack-house-turned-dream-home, valued at about $200,000, is now decorated with For Sale by Owner signs. Balas is mum on reasons for the move. "With all due respect, I don't want to comment to Scene," he says, citing the paper's earlier critical coverage of Schilling Square. Does this mean we won't be invited to the going-away party in his rooftop hot tub?

Searching for a bit of the true holiday spirit? Take a ride this Sunday to charming Lowellville, Ohio, where the 14th annual Deer Hunter's Rendezvous will offer a "sensory safari" for the kids, raffles, and several hundred freshly killed deer on display. The Rendezvous is sponsored by Safari Club International, an organization that promotes the pleasures of hunting, especially to young children. "That's the main reason we put it on -- all the young kids that come," says George Smith, president of the East Ohio-Northwest Pennsylvania chapter. "We can show them the quality of nature that's available if they put forth the effort to find it." Hunters come from hundreds of miles around bearing their bit of nature -- a trophy buck, field dressed and tagged. The best deer wins a shotgun, the Salvation Army gets a ton of free meat, and everybody goes home happy. "The kids just love it," enthuses Smith. "You should see the look in their eyes when they see these huge deer." Sweet dreams, kiddies.

Venison and hot tips to

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