CHICAGO (AP) — It’s an alleged bid to harness the luck of the Irish or, at least, the luck of an Irish name. A watchdog says a Chicago-area lawyer changed his name from Phillip Spiwak to Shannon P. O’Malley, to sound Irish to improve his odds of winning election as a Cook County judge. He lost a similar race in 2010 neighboring county. The Illinois Civil Justice League is releasing its judicial candidate ratings Monday, citing O’Malley’s name change for giving him a “not-recommended” rating. Chicago celebrates its large Irish communities, and political experts say data indicates some voters are more likely to vote for judicial candidates with Irish names. O’Malley told NBC News the change honored a mentor. But League president called it “a cynical attempt to game the electoral process.”
PARADE KISSING BAN
The Army wants to halt a St. Patrick’s Day tradition in Savannah, Georgia, that for decades has left marching soldiers with lipstick-smeared cheeks. Roughly 200 soldiers from nearby Fort Stewart are expected to march in the coastal Georgia city’s sprawling St Patrick’s Day parade on March 17. Traditionally, women wearing bright lipstick dart from the crowd to plant kisses on the faces of passing troops. A Fort Stewart spokesman and the parade’s chief organizer said the Army wants the soldier smooching stopped. Kevin Larson said the marching soldiers “need to look professional” and “red lipstick is not part of the uniform”.
CAMBRIDGESHIRE, England (AP) — Villagers in Cambridgeshire, England have taken a messy problem into their ow2n hands — so to speak. They’ve come up with an interactive”poop-shaming map” in hopes of getting people to clean up after their dogs. They have created a social media-based “poopfolio”, where locals report sightings of dog mess. The idea, called “Doodoowatch” when it was conceived on social media less than a week ago, has already seen a marked reduction in the amount of poop peppering parks, pathways and pavements. The map works as a deterrent by having local people post sightings of the mess sometimes accompanied by images. The page administrators then update the map with a brown poop icon, warning walkers about the danger zones. The icon changes to pink when the mess has been cleared up.
CAT CALLS OUT FIRE
MCKEESPORT, Pa. (AP) — Fire officials in Pennsylvania are crediting a cat with saving the lives of its owners. They were sound asleep when a fire broke — apparently in the attic of their home in McKeesport, near Pittsburgh. The deputy fire chief tells WTAE-TV there were no smoke alarms in the house, but the cat was on the prowl and made sure to wake up the couple. He says “fortunately the cat was on top of his game” and it potentially saved their lives.
WHALE OF A HOME
SAN ANTONIO, Texas (AP) — An endangered beluga whale calf rescued off Alaska’s coast is now swimming in his new home at a SeaWorld theme park. The five-month-old whale named Tyonek made a 4,000-mile journey to SeaWorld San Antonio. Tyonek was less than a month old when he became stranded in Alaska’s Cook Inlet last autumn.
LARGE LIZARD ON LOOSE
SAN DIEGO (AP) — Residents near San Diego are warned to watch out for a four-legged fugitive: a five- foot monitor lizard that wriggled out of its cage. Mike Estevez said that a 35-pound reptile named Bubbles probably managed to escape through a tiny crevice at the bottom of a cage at Mike’s Pets in Spring Valley.