Odds and Ends: Indian officials to shame employees who spit in halls

By The Associated Press

MUMBAI, India – Mumbai’s top civic agency is trying public shame in hopes of keeping its employees from spitting in the halls and stairways at work.

Offenders will find their photographs, names and titles posted on bulletin boards at the headquarters of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, the body responsible for sanitation standards and the upkeep of roads and buildings.

They will also be fined 200 rupees ($5), an agency official, R.A. Rajeev, said Wednesday.

One worker already has become “Spit Employee of Today” since the campaign started Monday, Rajeev said.

“People spit and litter if they think no one is watching. When we put up these photographs, everyone will know,” Rajeev said.

R.I. man extorts his mother, ransoming cat for $20,000

NORTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. – A man has been charged with extorting more than $20,000 from his elderly mother by repeatedly threatening to kidnap her beloved cat and demanding ransom, police said.

Garry Lamar, 47, was arrested Friday and released on $200 bail. He has been ordered to stay away from his 78-year-old mother, Mary Lamar Grancher.

He started threatening to kidnap his the cat just over a year ago, after his mother kicked him out of her home, accusing him of abuse, North Kingstown Police Sgt. Daniel Ormond said.

“This isn’t just a family cat,” Ormond said. “She actually called this cat her companion since she lived alone.”

During the past year, Lamar allegedly kidnapped the cat once and made kidnapping threats on an almost weekly basis, Ormond said. Police don’t believe the cat was harmed but are continuing to investigate.

Grancher made at least two dozen payments totaling more than $20,000 in cash and checks to her son. Authorities are still sorting through her financial records to determine the precise amount.