When I was in Government last semester, my teacher was a conservative retired from the military. He was the kind of guy who had a story for every single term we learned and it kinda made it hard to get through each lesson. However, there was this one story I don’t think I’ll ever forget…
My teacher was in college and was a member of a fraternity. He and another member were enjoying their days off when suddenly, his friend told him that there were two men in suits sitting outside a vacant house that once belonged their old neighbors.
Here’s the thing, though: his old neighbors was a single mother and her 16 year old daughter, who just so happened to deal drugs. Granted, my teacher steered her away from that and helped her and her mother get a new start elsewhere, but that’s not really important.
So, when he saw these guys sitting out in a car, not so conspicuously looking around for suspicious behavior, my teacher gets an idea. He tells his friend to go out and get some zigzag paper (AKA, the paper used for blunts and cigarettes). Meanwhile, he goes out back and starts picking up some old cigarette butts. Then, he starts squeezing out the nicotine and putting it into a plastic bag. By the time his friend gets back, he has a full ziploc bag full of it.
He grabs his friend and takes the zigzag paper and the Ziploc bag of nicotine onto the front porch. The men in the car see this and start looking at them. He starts lining up nicotine onto the paper, rolling them and licking them close. The men continue to stare, shocked into disbelief.
Finally, he takes a finished “cigaratte” and says to his friends, “Blaze it.”
These guys come FLYING out of their car and over to the porch, shouting obscenities about drug use and whatnot. My teacher holds up his “cigarette” and says, “It’s real sad when you have to use old cigarette butts, huh?”
One of the men says, “Oh, you think that’s funny don’t you?”
“I think it’s hysterical,” replies my teacher.
They demand to search the premises. My teacher declines and tells them to return with a warrant and their superior. After some time passes, the men return with their superior and search the place with a warrant. When they don’t find anything, they apologize and leave.
Cut to a couple days later; my teacher and his friends are hanging out when someone calls them into the kitchen. They all go in and find that there’s a secret panel in the wall. They start working to pry it open, thinking it might have some historical significance or maybe a hidden treasure left by the previous owners.
Boy, were they wrong.
Instead of finding a pile of letters or a treasure chest, like they were hoping, they find a ziploc bag holding several kilos of ecstasy.
My teacher PANICS and starts to flush them down the toilet. His friends keep trying to stop him and tell him to quit.
“Do you have any idea how much that’s worth?” they all cried.
“YEAH, ABOUT 20 TO LIFE,” my teacher exclaimed.
tl;dr My dual credit teacher wanted to teach us about search and seizure, so he told us about a time he made cops think he was blazing it up with his friend and narrowly escaped being arrested for drug possession only to find that there actually was drugs in his house left by his old neighbor.
Baltimore trying to tackle vacants one house at a time
Vacant homes can be a haven for crime, not to mention what they do to property values. Philadelphia, Cleveland, Buffalo, Detroit and Baltimore are just some of the cities wracked by blight so bad, it’s like a flesh-eating wound that continues to grow. In these cities, getting rid of the abandoned housing stock is a hard job to tackle.
A vacant home in Greenwood has been trashed and set on fire during an out-of-control party on Saturday night.
The wild party is the latest in a string of incidents across Perth’s northern suburbs where teenagers target vacant houses and host ‘open-house’ parties inside them without the owner’s knowledge.
ARSON Squad detectives are investigating a fire that started during an unauthorised house party at a vacant Greenwood property on Saturday night. http://ift.tt/2a4wLoC
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A vacant Perth house has been destroyed by a fire started during a large party that was illegally held by people with no rights to the property, police say.
The incident on Saturday night comes two days after WA police charged four people who organised and collected entrance fees at two recent large parties that 1000 people attended at other vacant houses without the owners’ permission.
One event resulted in officers being assaulted.
Firefighters were unable to save the vacant house in Crossandra Way, Greenwood that was set on fire.
Neighbours contacted police to complain about a large party and the property was ablaze and youths were fleeing when they arrived shortly before 10pm.
ORLEANS — A fire that destroyed a home Thursday on Tides End Lane was due to an electrical issue, a fire official said Saturday.A passer-by reported seeing smoke at 12:30 p.m. at 64 Tides End Lane, Orleans Deputy Fire Chief Geof Derring said Thursday.The house was vacant at the time of the fire, and no one was injured, Derring said.The property is valued at nearly $1.7 million, according to Orleans assessor’s records.
The Japanese land ministry has decided to set up a program to allow vacant homes across Japan to be rented out to older people and low-income child-rearing families, informed sources said Friday. (Jiji Press) http://ift.tt/2aheyHF
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Coalinga City Council Votes to Turn Vacant California Prison into Marijuana Production Facility
The Coalinga City Council voted 4-1 Wednesday to turn the abandoned San Joaquin Valley Prison into a marijuana cultivation and cannabis oil production facility.
Coalinga is located in California’s Central Valley and once thrived on the jobs and income brought by the now-vacant prison….
Don’t let her make a home out of you. Once she leaves you’ll feel a lot like a vacant house. All you’ll miss is the music she used to blast and the paintings she used to hang up with in your four walls.
The real-estate market is about to either take off or collapse
(A vacant and blighted house next to a well-kept occupied house in a once thriving east-side neighborhood in Detroit seen in 2013.Rebecca Cook/Reuters) The real-estate market is one of the most important parts of the American economy.
And there’s a lot of disagreement about where it’s going next.
Housing is one of the largest sources of wealth for Americans, it drives other parts of the economy such as consumer spending, and the credit given out for mortgages keeps many financial institutions profitable.
Given the housing market’s importance, economists and analysts spend quite a bit of time trying to figure out where the market is and what will happen next. As it stands, however, there appears to be no consensus on the matter.
On the one hand, some economists think the market is only just now entering its full-throated recovery from the housing crisis. In its latest “Macro Insights,” the Goldman Sachs Asset Management team said the housing market was still early in its cycle.
“We think the US real-estate market remains firmly in the expansionary phase of the cycle, with the commercial property market running somewhat ahead of the residential market,” the note from GSAM said.
The GSAM note points to the low vacancy rate in commercial real estate, the early-in-the-cycle-looking number of single-family housing starts, and the still relatively loose lending standards for banks as indicators that real estate still has room to run.
(Goldman Sachs Asset Management)
Others, however, are not as encouraged.
For instance, in its second-quarter earnings, PulteGroup, one of the largest homebuilders in the US, said it was planning for a slowdown in the future because “homebuilding is a cyclical business.”
“After four years during which our investment in new land grew significantly, we plan to slow the rate of growth in our new investment in 2017 and beyond,” CEO Richard Dugas said during the company’s second-quarter earnings conference call.
Scaling back investment in new property, which in turn takes a few years to develop, would indicate that the company believes that the housing cycle is headed toward completion rather than just beginning.
But on the commercial-real-estate side, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency released a report that seemed to indicate that the sector was looking bubbly, which usually ends with a pop.
“While leveraged lending and auto lending remain concerns, CRE lending and concentration risk management has become an area of emphasis for regulators,” Thomas Curry, the head of the OCC, said in remarks accompanying the report.
Both of these statements suggest a mid- to late part of the housing cycle and certainly would indicate a shorter time frame for the housing recovery’s end.
So, who’s right?
There are arguments to be made on both sides. You could be a believer in the housing market: Intention to buy a home is at record highs, and wages are increasing and the labor market is strong, allowing people to afford homes.
And while saying that both sides have a point may not be the most satisfying way to resolve the question, there simply isn’t a definitive answer. It all depends on how you weight the various economic factors.
And for now we all have to watch the frequent housing data — permits, starts, the home price index, and the like — and see what they tell us about the real-estate market.
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The house isn’t on a hill. I think
that’s it. Part of it. But I don’t know. One by one, everyone
just moved away toward the cities. I hear news, though I’m still
not sure how it works anymore. But my solitude no longer contains
silence, even if no one has been here in at least ten years. The
house sits vacant, and nothing else was developed in the valley. The
orchard was going to become lots, but everyone moved away. I don’t
think it was my fault, but I don’t know. Some things are hazy.
Distant, like the memories of a stranger I once was.
Sometimes I don’t recognize myself in
mirrors. I’ve learned to cope. I’ve even learned to drown out the
sounds of the world, the signals in the air just background noises
like the ocean grinding against the shore. Which is why I don’t
notice him until he comes inside. The boy is alone with a glowing
phone in one hand, wearing shoes meant for hiking. I know of cell
phones, though until now I’d never seen one. He cleans off glasses.
It is raining outside. I hadn’t noticed.
says, his voice trying to be loud. “Is anyone here? My name is
Damien, but everyone calls me Dami. I’m just here to find a
I manifest. I don’t normally, but it
has been years and he came without the machines and incense and
crystals the others came with long ago. And the deepest parts of me
like to see them run.
Dami stares at me. I don’t know what
I look like to the living. I have had some run screaming. Some weep.
A few faint. This boy just looks offended. “You’re a gastly?”
My voice is the cold wind between
Dami pales visibly at it, but
stands his ground. “You’re a gastly, aren’t you? Haunters are
“I know you’re a Gengar. And a
Haunter is better than a Gengar any day. Do I need to level you up?”
“… what?” My voice is strange
even to my ears. Even the insane would break and run by now, but
there is something within him resisting me.
“Wait, the app update doesn’t
mention –.” I have no idea what the boy is talking about, but I
see the moment when he flatters, realizing I am real. Humans like to
pretend ghosts exist, but they don’t truly like to encounter us and
have realize the world they built their lives around isn’t how they
understood it to be at all.
“My name is Rebeca.” I think it was
that, at least once.
“You’re not a haunter? I really
need one for my pokedex.”
“I am the spirit that haunts this
“I know that,”
Dami says. “But I really need to find a haunter.” And he turns
his phone toward me, showing an image I don’t understand at all. I
do hear the phone. Noises coming from it, into it. This is how the
world speaks to me though I am here. In energies passing between
phones and other places.
not sure what to make of this. “I am the only ghost in his valley.”
certain of that much. I think there were others, once. But there is
only me left.
you play pokemon?” he asks.
have no idea what you are talking about.”
grins. He grins at that, in delight. Delight.
“Mom and Dad won’t come
looking for me for hours. They generally take a long time to anyway,”
he says, dusting off one of the couches to sit down on it. “I can
teach you how to play it, if you want? You could help me capture a
lot of pokemon, Rebeca.”
been dead for a long time, and a ghost for perhaps even longer. I
draw my nature about me. I can kill, with the cold between places. I
can pull a human into the darkness and leave nothing behind. I have
done this before. The memory of doing it hovers about me, whispers in
voices I almost know.
he says. “There aren’t any other pokemon here and teaching
someone new will help me remember things too.”
are shadows in his eyes he doesn’t own. Darkness he somehow
sidesteps, and this – this pokemon is the why of it, the how and
the means. It is not a power I know or understand, but he stands in
the house of hauntings, and I swear I feel smaller. Not in a way that
hurts, but still smaller in directions I can feel but not name.
been so long since a human came here. So long since my hunger was
sated. But he offers his faith as a meal without knowing, and it has
no end that I can feel at all.
me,” I say, and he begins to explain pokemon, and has to explain
his phone, and television, and he talks for so long and so fast I am
almost wondering if he is going to talk until he keels over and
becomes a ghost as well when he gets a message on his phone.
I didn’t get a new achievement, but Mom and Dad are looking for
me.” He bounces to his feet. “I should find them before they try
and take my phone away.”
before they get worried. Not before they get scared. He understands
his parents even if he does not understand them at all. “They are
not good pokemon trainers, then?” I say, using the words he has
But I think I can be, for you. If you want to learn more?” he asks,
not certain who is more surprised when I say yes.
leaves, and is not a reflection I carry with my in the mirrors. I
walk the house. I float. I try and haunt, in the manner of the
haunters in pokemon, but his faith is not the kind to change another.
I dust the house, for the first time in many years. I remember
everything he has taught me. I think of questions to ask Damien the
next time we meet. And I wait.