“Murder victim’s fiance left with lease” – story on Consumerist

15 04 2008

The Consumerist picked up a recent Madison story about the Zimmerman death.

It was reported in a lot of news outlets that Brittany Zimmerman’s fiancé, Jordan Gonnering, was going to be forced by his property management company to keep the apartment that he and his fiancée shared. That part of the story unraveled Friday, but by Monday afternoon, Wisconsin Management Company had cleared the whole bit up, maybe after doing the wrong thing, and have put out a press release (pdf).

My comment @ Consumerist:

The back story here makes me believe [Jordan] is in the right. I’m a UW student, and Zimmerman was murdered almost two weeks ago now. He would have moved out right away for CSI and such. But I suspect he would NEVER go back there. I wouldn’t. The right thing for the property management company to do is say, “We’re really sorry. You can have out of your lease now and rent one of our empty apartments. Your lease for next year is off, too.”

As a student and BS graduate, I can attest that there are a lot of crooked “property management” companies downtown who will fleece people by charging high rents and keeping security deposits. This company actually probably owns fewer than the average downtown properties relative to others. We only recently (and finally) had a Student Tenant group start up, and they were the ones threatening what would have been the first renter’s boycott in 30 years (according to our district’s Alderman). What we need is for the university to offer legal help to tenants with real problems. I believe Minnesota does so, especially after one really bad house fire.

We have one house fire death, several student rapes/assaults and two very recent, possibly related stabbing deaths in the last two years. I think we not only deserve better housing but a better crime task force… but that’s a WHOLE different story.

Zimmerman was found on April 2 stabbed to death in her apartment, and the case has been typical, as of late. It’s to the point where I’m surprised when the police find a perpetrator of a major crime, as happened with an abduction/rape on campus last year.

There’s a lot to this case that we don’t know so far, but what is known has caused enough of a ruckus. The police suspect someone described as looking “homeless”, and a lot of homeless folks in Madison are up-in-arms over the increased scrutiny and profiling that has occurred as a result. I think that, to some degree, it had to happen, since the person is likely on the move. Still, such things often lead to police overstepping their boundaries.

A man named Joel Marino was found nearly dead in an alley behind his house earlier in the winter less than a mile away. Because the investigations are in two districts, there are two separate investigations. According to some recent reports, the police are sharing tips with each other because the cases are starting to overlap. Still, there’s no official word yet as to whether they actually believe the murders are linked.

Another murder happened in nearby Fitchburg over the summer. The woman, Kelly Nolan, was young and was last seen downtown. That murder went entirely unsolved, and I’m starting to be sickened by the number of high profile crimes that police can’t seem to figure out.

Now, I understand that we don’t live in Murderapolis (God bless Minnesota), Baltimore, D.C. or Milwaukee. The number (and rate per capita) of murders, rapes, etc., is a very positive one in light of what it could be, but these crimes are happening in campus neighborhoods where we should feel reasonably safe. I don’t expect  or care for the “safety” of the suburbs, but come one, let’s keep our own safe.

I’m riled now, but I’ll have to rant more later. I need to sleep.





Frank Warren Speaks!

22 10 2007

Tonight I went to see Frank Warren of PostSecret speak. He was really inspiring.

He spoke about how he got started with the project, what the secrets mean to him and what he hopes to accomplish. He told a lot of good stories, some funny, some sad and many hopeful. He read some fresh secrets that he had never read before and even opened an envelope with some secrets that had been handed to him at his last speaking engagement.

At first, when he spoke, Frank came off as a little cheesy. His talk of the secrets and how they help him learn and grow reminded me of pastors and teachers speaking to us during high school devotion. In school it felt insincere, but Frank’s talk slowly pulled me in, and I felt myself following with what he said.

He spoke about the first big media exposure he got after the initial bit from the site. It was a video for an All American Rejects song called Dirty Little Secret (which I can’t link to. Thanks, YouTube, for making my version of Flash incompatible with half of your videos.) Frank was offered $1,000 to use his secrets in the video. Instead, he requested that they donate $2000 to Hopeline, a suicide hotline at 1-800-SUICIDE.

The sentiment of his that I felt most in tune with was that he felt he does not censor the cards of others. I felt like sometimes he might have wanted to, but he said he only takes down cards by request. His feeling was that so much of art, be it music, photography, painting or otherwise, is chosen to be displayed in boardrooms. This is raw, though. This is created by people and shot directly to Frank’s mailbox. He’s absolutely right not to censor it. I was fortunate to go to the talk.

By the way, he shared a secret with us. It’s in the first Post Secret book.





RIP Herbert F. Kornfeld

1 05 2007

 Herb, you were my accounts receivable gangsta. Rest in Peace.





Generation Y’s Most Trusted Brands

27 04 2007

From Marketing Daily:

“Talkin’ ’bout my generation…”

So, Outlaw Consulting performed research to find the top 100 most trusted brands by Gen Y (now the 21-27 demo).

The Top 15:

  1. Apple
  2. Trader Joe’s
  3. Jet Blue
  4. In-N-Out Burger
  5. Ben & Jerry’s
  6. Whole Foods
  7. Adidas
  8. American Apparel
  9. Target
  10. H & M clothing stores
  11. Levi’s
  12. Volkswagen
  13. Converse
  14. Vitamin Water
  15. Red Stripe Jamaican beer

According to the article,

“According to an Outlaw Consulting newsletter, the preference for simplification, lean-and-clean styling and all-in-one convenience could be motivated by environmental concerns. In other words, as the “green lifestyle” is something more and more people aspire to, the notion of excess has fallen into disfavor, notes Brickley, who wrote the report.”

Interesting factoid from the story: In-N-Out burger starts employees at $10 an hour. Craaaazy!





Forbes Top 25 Web Celebrities

25 04 2007

Everyone loves a Forbes list, right? I just found the list of the Top 25 Web Celebrities. I’m glad to see that my favorites, Ze Frank and Amanda Congdon, made it in. It threw me off that they called Ze by his real name, Hosea. I’m glad to see that Frank Warren of postsecret.com was in there, too.

I don’t know if lonelygirl15 deserved to be one of them, but she was a phenomenon. I got turned on to Youtube right before she was outed as an actress, so I missed that crazy wave.





911 Operator and Supervisor biff it… horrible results

12 04 2007

This is the worst case of ignorance among health workers that I’ve ever heard… as someone who’s considering a career in health care, I worry about people like this:

A 911 dispatcher in Florida couldn’t tell a man how to perform the Heimlich maneuver on his girlfriend. When the supervisor took the call, he also could not (or chose not t0) tell him how to perform the technique. The desperation in the man’s voice is horrible, and it sounds as if the supervisor had no remorse, calling the caller hysterical then making a joke about the dead woman’s choking problem.

I found this story from this WCBD-TV news report.





RIAA boycott and (yikes!)

23 03 2007

Gizmodo has an RIAA boycott in effect. Try it out! I rarely buy CDs, but I’ll start being more conscious. Anyone who reads this, let me know if you’re going to do it!

Also, looking at digg, I found a story about how a woman is allergic to electromagnetic waves. holycrapcheckitout. She gets skin rashes and her eyelids swell to three times their normal size. Now you see why … (yikes!)