twitterbillboardjpg-f0a73ba7320f7f3e_largeAdding a live Twitter news feed to a digital billboard proved not such a good idea for WPMI-TV  in Mobile, Alabama.   When the headline “3 Accused of Gang Rape in Monroeville” flashed on the board on I-10, there beside it were the smiling faces of the station’s two anchors and the weather guy.

Compounding the techno-gaffe was the fact that the incident occurred just as a motorist with a camera was passing.  According to the Press-Register, the photo almost immediately showed up on the The Palmetto Scoop blog in South Carolina and on  the social media site Mashable before going viral in e-mails and other blog posts, including a website in Britain.

Up in non-smoke: Virginia barflies were getting in their last puffs Monday night before the state’s ban on smoking in bars and restaurants took effect December 1.  Virginia joins 23 states that ban smoking in restaurants. Owners and diners who violate the ban will face a $25 fine.  Food and drink establishments can have rooms for smokers, if the rooms have separate ventilation systems.

disney.embedded.prod_affiliate.56Segway this: Myron Rosner, a paraplegic who is mayor of North Miami Beach, Florida,  says he’ll sue after Disney World ticket-takers questioned his use of a special two-wheeled wheelchair.  A Disney employee told the mayor the park did not allow Segways, the two-wheeled contraptions for upright riding on city streets.  Rosner tried to explain that his $30,000 iBOT 4000 — a four-wheeled vehicle capable of balancing and moving on only two wheels — was no Segway.  Rosner says he was harassed and that his wife broke into tears.  A Disney World spokesman told the Miami Herald that Rosner simply “was provided with conflicting guidance.”

2009 hurricane season ends: It was the quietest hurricane season in three years, with nine named storms, including three hurricanes. Only two tropical storms — Claudette in August and Ida in November — made landfall in the U.S. (Read Tom Poland’s recent reflections for us on chasing Hurricane David back in 1979 in “Hurricanes:  The Hunter & The Hunted.”)

Dew Droplets: West Palm Beach, Florida, is setting up a public safety radio system that links police with bar bouncers … Mississippi has ceased mailing state income tax forms and will urge taxpayers to go instead to a website for instructions … Sheriff’s deputies in Greenville County, South Carolina arrested four people for blocking  movement of the 1.5-million-pound generator bound for Duke Energy’s Cliffside coal plant in North Carolina … A quarrel over turkey stuffing Thanksgiving Day in Hudson, Florida, led to a brawl involving a woman, her husband and her in-laws … Two Knoxville , Tennessee, men were injured when the lamp oil in a saucepan they hoped would provide light during a power outage instead flashed flames when ignited … Michael Vick gave one of his anti-dogfighting talks to students at his old middle school in Newport News, VirginiaFlorida legislators agreed to begin a special session this week that could pave the way for a high-speed rail line connecting Tampa, Orlando and Miami.

Check out our News and Opinion Feeds for a lot more Southern happenings.

Ron Taylor

Ron Taylor

Ron Taylor was born and raised in Georgia and worked more than 40 years at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution as a reporter and editor and as an online producer for and AccessAtlanta. He served for a time as the newspaper's regional editor, overseeing coverage of the South. He is co-author, with Dr. Leonard Ray Teel, of Into the Newsroom:  An Introduction to Journalism and has conducted workshops in the Middle East on feature writing.