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Here are the stories as seen in This is True newsletters — the part in (parentheses) shows Randy’s source for the story; all stories are re-written to get to the point quicker and to be in True’s style, and then there’s a tagline (comment in italics) at the end:

#1: True!

Zero Tolerance, Babysitter Division:

Lisa Snyder lives near a school bus stop in Middleville, Mich. A couple of neighbors need to head for work before the bus arrives, so Snyder said she would be happy to keep an eye on their kids until the bus arrives. But when the Michigan Department of Human Services heard about it, they ordered her to stop: watching someone else’s kids makes her home an “unlicensed daycare facility” in the state’s eyes. To comply with its rules, she must apply for a license to watch the kids — even though she doesn’t charge anything. “It’s crazy,” Snyder said. “I’m just helping out a couple of friends.” She asked State Rep. Brian Calley for help, but when he called DHS they told him to bug off. He has promised legislation to deal with the problem. (Kalamazoo Gazette) …Hopefully he’ll make it retroactive to help the hundreds of 16-year-olds who are already doing hard time.

#2: True!

At Least It’s Proved You Can Get Out of This with a 9 Iron

Bruce Burger, 50, of Lenoir City, Tenn., was vacationing in Florida and went out for a round on the Lake Venice Golf Course. On the sixth hole he ended up in a water hazard, and reached in to retrieve his ball when something reached back from the water. “Help! Help! I’ve been bitten by a gator!” he screamed, witnesses say. Sure enough, an 11-footer had clamped on to his right arm and was pulling him in. He beat the beast with his free hand and escaped. The pond at the sixth hole even has a “Beware of Alligator” sign. “If your ball goes down there, you let it go,” said a regular at the course. “Unfortunately, that’s part of Florida,” said golf course Manager Rod Parry. (Sarasota Herald Tribune) …“Unfortunately”? Most vacation destinations would love a tourist-eating monster!

#3: Fake!

Woman sways election by stealing mail-in ballots: totally made up.

#4: True!

Big City Envy

The city of Boulder, Colo., averages just 1.8 murders per year. The still-unsolved killing of child beauty queen JonBenet Ramsey was the city’s only murder of 1996. But that high-profile case was just the first of several killings to shake up the relatively small town a half-hour outside Denver. When news of another recent murder reached Stanley Bingham, deputy director of the Boulder Chamber of Commerce, he viewed it as an opportunity. “If there’s any justice, this news will zip the lips of our friends in Denver who would have you believe Boulder is some kind of commune for peace-and-love kooks and do-nothing trustfunders,” he said. “We’re a vital, growing metropolitan area, and nobody can argue with our violent crime statistics.” (Boulder Weekly) …Once the new smog generators are installed, the city’s hellhole conversion process will be complete.

#5: True!

Who’s Calling?

The Better Business Bureau of North Alabama was flooded with calls from suspicious consumers who received recorded phone messages urging them to go to a particular web site to “update” their bank account records. The BBB confirmed the calls and sites were involved in “phishing” — attempts to steal identities and bank accounts. What led to the consumer suspicion? The victims noticed that the Caller ID on their phones during the calls read “THIS IS A SCAM”. (Athens News Courier) …Dumb: the scammers. Dumber: the people who still fell for the scam.

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