Don’t let lies land you in the newspaper

Published 8:58 am Thursday, June 14, 2012

Column: Thanks for Listening

I want to give away accolades this week. I have been quite astonished at some of the random news items over the past few weeks and thought that I would award prizes to some of the finest.

The prizes go to:

Email newsletter signup

• Timothy Michael Poe, a former Minnesota National Guard soldier who trained with Albert Lea’s Delta Company.

He appeared on an episode of the NBC show “America’s Got Talent,” claiming he was injured by a grenade in Afghanistan in 2009. Poe won over the crowd and celebrity judges on the talent show with a moving story about how he blocked a grenade blast to save his buddies. He said the blast broke his back and left him with a brain injury.

Problem: The National Guard has said military records show Poe wasn’t injured in combat in Afghanistan.

Other lies:

1. Poe provided a photo to the NBC talent show of a soldier he passed off as himself, though the photo actually shows Staff Sgt. Norman Bone in Afghanistan in 2006.

2. Minnesota National Guard also can confirm that he was not awarded the Purple Heart medal for wounds sustained in combat.

3. A stutter he had on the show.

Poe has since apologized for his lies.

His gift: two tickets to the alternative rock band Liars concert or the first season of “Pretty Little Liars” on DVD.

• Jessica Vega, 25, a New York woman who pretended to have terminal cancer to pay for an extravagant wedding and honeymoon. She has been ordered to give back $13,368.48 she received from sympathetic donors.

She was also sentenced to 300 hours of community service and five years of probation, according to a statement from the New York Attorney General’s Office.

Vega was married in May 2010 after claiming she only had a few months to live. She allegedly “went to Aruba for her honeymoon with expenses paid for by people touched by her story,” according to the indictment.

Other lies:

1. Her fiancé was unaware that she did not have cancer.

2. She shaved her head and wore a wig to the wedding so people thought she had cancer.

Her gift: “Compulsive Liars for Dummies” handbook.

So, please, lets learn a lesson from these two people and just tell the truth.


Father’s Day

This weekend is Father’s Day, so make sure you go buy an ugly tie, grill out some food and tell your dad you love him.

Happy Father’s Day to all the awesome dads in our world.

I love you, Dad.


Tribune Publisher Scott Schmeltzer’s column appears every Thursday.