Reporter’s notebook

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‘God told me to,’ the book

Gerald Polley has interesting company.

He’s in a new book with people who say God told them to open a sex shop, direct traffic topless and build a life-size Jesus out of toothpicks.

Polley is the Lewiston native featured in the Sun Journal’s Weird Wicked Weird series when he ran for president in 2008 because God told him to. God also wanted Laura Bush to be vice president on the ticket, according to Polley, whose campaign never took off.

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He came to Marc Hartzman’s attention in “God Made Me Do It: True Stories of the Worst Advice the Lord Has Ever Given His Followers,” out this month from Sourcebooks.

Hartzman said this week that Polley’s chapter is titled “Our First Lady of no mercy.” He found his material, more than 150 examples, researching newspaper archives and Google news, where the SJ story popped up.

The juggling evangelist who showed up outside Terri Schiavo’s door because God told him to was an early discovery.

“He traveled 400 miles,” said Hartzman, who lives in New York City. “That’s good stuff.”

Each story gets up to two pages and Hartzman said he used first names to protect people’s anonymity unless they were a public figure.

“It’s definitely been a pretty good scapegoat for a long time,” he said. “I think in some cases people really believe it.”

— Kathryn Skelton

Reimers misses baking medal

François Brandt of the Netherlands won first place this week for artistic bread design at the new Bakery Masters in Paris. Dara Reimers, owner of The Bread Shack in Auburn, entered the event baking a six-foot tall sculptural bread nod to the Fourth of July.

Twenty-four people from 17 countries competed, although only seven others were in her category.

On her Facebook page, Reimers kept customers updated on results and said she was off to unwind in London:

“Thank you again for your support to allow me to practice & participate in such an event. Although I won’t bring home the trophy I helped create an exciting competition of which the outcome was unclear until the final announcement. All the best and see you in the shop. Signing off for now, Dara”

— Kathryn Skelton

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