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The Nooz: Child gets a ride — on the roof

A roundup of odd news stories as reported by NBC and its local affiliates across the nation:  A woman is charged for letting her 4-year-old granddaughter ride on the roof of her car, a debate coach goes nuts and more.
/ Source: NBC News and

MARATHON, Fla. — A Lake Worth woman was arrested last week after she drove around a grocery store parking lot with her 4-year-old granddaughter on the roof of the car.

The woman, Brenda Bouschet, 54, told Monroe County deputies that she didn’t understand why she was wrong to put the girl on the roof of the car and drive her white 2006 Lexus around the parking lot of a Publix store in Marathon. She said she was just giving the child some air and letting her have fun.

Numerous onlookers called sheriff’s dispatchers because they were afraid the child would fall off the roof of the car. Deputies explained the dangers of such behavior and reminded Bouschet that the child was supposed to be restrained in a car seat inside the car when it was traveling, not on the roof.

Bouschet was charged with felony child abuse and was free on bail. The girl was returned to her mother.

Bouschet said the incident was a misunderstanding.

“They made it sound like I had her crawling around on the luggage rack. Anybody that knows me knows that I’m far smarter than that,” Bouschet said.

“It wasn’t even registering on the speedometer. I was just crawling. I could walk as fast as I was moving,” she said. “She’s my only granddaughter, and I adore her. She adores me. She wanted to sit up there. I didn’t see any harm in it.”

— WPTV, West Palm Beach, Fla.

Debate coach goes ballistic
HAYS, Kan. — Officials at Fort Hays State University were reviewing a video posted on YouTube in which the school’s debate coach can be seen in a heated argument with the coach of another college that includes his pulling down his pants and mooning the audience.

Provost Larry Gould said he was unaware of the incident, which occurred in March, until this month, when a colleague at another school e-mailed him about the video featuring Bill Shanahan, an assistant professor of communications studies and director of forensics at the university.

The blow-up came after a cross-examination debate on race. In the video, the rival coach, Shanara Reid-Brinkley of the University of Pittsburgh, who is black, criticizes Shanahan, who is white, for his “body language” during the debate.

Shanahan, barefoot and wearing a T-shirt and shorts, reacts by springing to his feet and confronting Reid-Brinkley in a profanity-laced fit of screaming. “I am an a--hole,” he shouts at one point before the confrontation is broken up by onlookers. “I embrace being an a--hole.”

Gould said the school didn’t condone Shanahan’s video, but he said he wanted to know more about what led up to the argument.

Gould described Shanahan as a good teacher and said the video didn’t represent how he handled himself in the classroom. He acknowledged, however, that Shanahan, who could not be reached for comment, had a reputation as a maverick with a “nonconformist” style.

— and KSNW, Wichita, Kan.

Long time, no see — 62 years, to be exact
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — It’s said that the best things are worth waiting for. For a California woman, that meant waiting 62 years to find her siblings.

Darlene Wheelock always knew she was adopted. “I just knew I had a brother, and at 13, I wondered about the parents and my brothers. Yes, I did,” Wheelock said

What she didn’t know just wouldn’t clear up through all the years she spent searching for him. “I didn’t get too far with that. Nobody was doing any talking,” Wheelock said.

But just as she was busy searching, her brother was looking for her, too.

“I called adoption agencies, I got in the phone book, got information, got a list of numbers after numbers. Well, it was really weird, because I had cold chills over all over my whole body, and we had been searching for her for years. And we found her on the computer,” said Wheelock’s brother, Don Alfred.

Out of the blue in June, Wheelock got a call from Alfred, who wanted to meet his younger sister, Darlene, and invite her to Amarillo, Texas, where he lived.

“And I’ll tell you what. That’s a heck of a feeling. Man, after all these years,” Wheelock said.

And Alfred had some news for Darlene. She has two biological sisters, who were raised by their biological grandparents, and they, too, were living in Texas.

“They had a banner out saying, ‘Welcome home, Darlene.’ I didn’t even notice that. I was just looking for my brother, so I knew him right off the bat. I mean, that was great, so we both cried,” Wheelock said.

Wheelock’s brother and sister plan to visit Bakersfield to meet the rest of her family soon.

— KGET, Bakersfield, Calif.