Jack Pollock
Like a modern-day Bonnie and Clyde (if Bonnie was actually Lolita), last summer Andrew Garver, a 38-year-old Beaverton High School softball coach, disappeared with Mimi Smith, one of his 15-year-old players. For nine months, the May-September couple had flown underneath the FBI's radar. Some hinted that Garver may have kidnapped the teen; others took a more live-and-let-love attitude.

But last Wednesday, the wayward escapade came to an abrupt end in Knoxville, Tennessee, when a car hydroplaned on a wet road, slamming into Garver's SUV. Garver immediately confessed his identity. At the time, Garver was still driving the SUV he bought with a bad check the day before fleeing Oregon.

The story started nearly three years ago, when Smith was 13 years old. According to police and court records, Smith's home life had been marred with domestic violence and drug use. In an attempt to find some stability, with permission from Garver's wife, the young girl moved into the couple's home. Apparently, Garver's parental concerns soon turned more romantic.

Last August, Garver's wife kicked him and the teenager out of the house. A month later, Garver and Smith flew the coop without a trace. The FBI had received hundreds of tips, but none indicated that the two were in Tennessee.

At press time, Garver was waiting to be extradited back to Oregon. PB

With only a few days remaining to gather signatures, an anti-gay group seems to be stumbling toward the finish line. In Defense of Marriage, an offshoot of the rabidly conservative Christian Coalition, needs 100,000 signatures by Friday in order to place an initiative on the November ballot that would constitutionally ban same-sex marriages. But in their heated desire to stymie civil rights, it seems the group may be hop scotching past a few basic election laws. On Monday, Basic Rights Oregon filed a complaint alleging several misdeeds by the signature gatherers. Apparently, signature gatherers at food banks threatened to withhold emergency food distribution to low-income families unless they signed a petition. In another instance, a pastor allegedly coerced all attending registered voters to sign the petition. The Secretary of State will begin an investigation. PB