Quirks in the News for Thursday, September 24, 2009

Woman allegedly smuggled live fish

ATLANTA, Sept. 24 (UPI) — Authorities said a woman was arrested in Georgia for allegedly trying to smuggle live endangered fish from Vietnam in bottles of fish sauce.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said inspectors at the Atlanta Jackson Hartsfield International Airport searched the boxes being carried by Bich Phuong Truong Phan of Charlotte, N.C., on her return trip to Charlotte from Vietnam and discovered two bottles appearing to contain fermented fish in fish sauce or paste each also held a live Asian bonytongue fish protected by plastic bags, the Charlotte Observer reported Thursday.

Phan, who told authorities the bottles were a gift from her mother-in-law and she did not know about the live fish, was charged with a violation of the Endangered Species Act after the fish were confiscated July 18.

Authorities said the Asian bonytongue fish can sell for $1,000 to $3,000 in the United States. She could face up to 20 years in prison if convicted.

Virginia police seek urinal vandal

FREDERICKSBURG, Va., Sept. 24 (UPI) — Police in Virginia say they are searching for a vandal who damaged urinals and posed as a plumber in at least seven Fredericksburg restaurants.

Natatia Bledsoe, a police spokeswoman, said the man damaged urinals in at least seven restaurants in the Central Park area Friday and posed as a plumber in an attempt to get the eateries to pay him to fix the toilets, The Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star reported Thursday.

Bledsoe said only one restaurant, Carlos O’Kellys, paid the man between $250 and $300 to fix a urinal, but the work was later found to be faulty.

The spokeswoman said police are searching for suspect Timothy Banks, 39, of Fort Washington, Md., who was identified through pictures obtained after a witness took down his license plate number. She said Banks has been charged with similar offenses in Virginia’s Prince William and Fairfax counties.

Vulture flock messy guests in Florida

BAYTREE, Fla., Sept. 24 (UPI) — A Florida trapper said a flock of vultures returning to Brevard County for the winter tore up a pool cover, allowing one of the birds to take a dip.

Chris Gangraw of The Critterman trapping service in Rockledge, Fla., said vultures are rapidly appearing in the area in great numbers, and he was called to catch a group of the scavengers holding an unauthorized pool party Monday in Baytree, Florida Today reported Thursday.

He said the birds were captured and set free away from the pool.

Gangraw and other experts said the large birds, which typically return to the area in September and October, are causing messes all over the county by damaging property and covering clay roof tiles with their excrement.

“They’re everywhere,” Gangraw said. “They’re all over Viera, Suntree, Merritt Island.”

Mass. considers official food proposals

BOSTON, Sept. 24 (UPI) — Massachusetts lawmakers said they are weighing proposals to give official state status to the Fluffernutter, Necco Wafers and the Charleston Chew.

Members of the Joint Committee on State Administration and Regulatory Oversight said Friday’s hearing will discuss whether the Fluffernutter, a sandwich made from peanut butter and Marshmallow Fluff, which is made in Lynn, Mass., is worthy to become the official sandwich of Massachusetts, the Boston Globe reported Thursday.

The committee will also consider a bid to make Necco Wafers the official state candy and a push for the Charleston Chew to become the official state candy bar.

“A lot of these bills are filed by school groups,” said Lainey Titus, chief of staff for committee chairman Rep. Steven Walsh, D-Lynn. “In general, a couple of these sometimes go through every year.”

The committee is also slated to hear proposals for the elephant to be named official state mammal, Red Sox-themed romantic comedy “Fever Pitch” to be named official state movie and “6″ to be named the state’s official number.

Categorized | Birds, Fish, Other
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