Monday, March 19, 2007

Airline Passenger Urinates In Air-Sickness Bag

SALT LAKE CITY -- SkyWest Airlines apologized to a passenger who said he wasn't allowed to use the restroom during a one-hour flight and ended up urinating in an air-sickness bag.

James Whipple said he had two "really big beers" at the Boise, Idaho airport. While on a flight to Salt Lake City on March 7, he drank a soft drink. He then wanted to use the cabin restroom. The captain had declared it off-limits during the short flight because a light wasn't working.

Whipple said he had used the cabin restroom before the plane departed but had to go again and finally reached for the air-sickness bag.

No other passengers noticed Whipple using the bag, but a flight attendant asked him about it and told the captain, who called airport police.

"It was like I had no choice," Whipple told The Salt Lake Tribune, which posted the story on its Web site Friday. "I started to urinate on myself. So, thinking the way I thought, I grabbed one of those vomit bags."

"I didn't think I did anything wrong. I could have relieved myself all over my pants. It was almost like that was what she preferred me to do," he said.

Whipple was questioned and took a taxi home to Sandy, a Salt Lake City suburb.

The airline sent him a letter of apology and a flight voucher, SkyWest spokeswoman Sabrena Suite-Mangum said Friday.

She said SkyWest decided to go ahead with the flight and get the light fixed in Salt Lake City, rather than delaying it or canceling it for repairs.

"For such a short flight, we really felt we were trying to inconvenience the least number of passengers possible by operating that flight," Suite-Mangum said.

Whipple was not happy with the airline's apology.

"I think it's very wrong for them to put a commercial airliner in the air if it's not in complete working order, regardless of whether [the problem] is a lavatory, or a tire, or anything. We are paying customers, and we put our lives in their hands to fly," he told the Salt Lake Tribune.

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75 Get Nude To Save UC Berkeley Stadium Trees

A Bay Area photographer staged a nude photo shoot of about 75 models Saturday among threatened oak trees slated to be removed on the University of California, Berkeley campus to make way for a new stadium.

Jack Gescheidt of San Francisco creates portraits of trees and unclothed people togeher as part of an ongoing series called "The Tree Spirit Project."

"Humans are drawn to trees, they are important to us in ways that can be difficult to describe in words," Gescheidt said. "My work is all about recognizing and capturing the power of that connection."

Media attention to the controversy over replacing the aging Memorial Stadium on the campus drew Gescheidt to try a new composition at the Memorial Oak Grove, he said.

"I am drawn to this grove as a subject because as our cities grow, the small green spaces we have left become more and more precious resources," Gescheidt said. "I think the struggle to preserve these oak trees is a clear result of that."

Activist Doug Buckwald said Berkeley police officers warned the participants that citations and arrests could follow if they carried out the photo shoot. However, no one who participated was arrested, he said.

About six protesters have been living in the trees since Dec. 2, protesting the school's plan to cut down the oak grove and build a $125 million sports training facility.

The protesters have said they'll stay in the trees until they are forcibly removed.

Several groups have sued to stop the construction project, and a judge issued a preliminary injunction last month preventing the university from breaking ground or removing any trees. A trial is expected later this year.

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