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Weird National Briefs (05/12/2021)

May 11, 2021
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Fashion smuggler

ATLANTA (AP) — A Georgia woman was caught trying to smuggle $40,000 worth of cocaine in multiple pairs of shoes through the Atlanta airport, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Customs officers stopped the 21-year-old on Sunday after she arrived on a flight from Jamaica, the agency said in a statement Monday. Her bags were inspected, and seven pairs of shoes were found to have a powdery white substance concealed in their bottoms.

The substance tested positive for cocaine, according to the agency. About 3 pounds (1.3 kilograms) of the drug were recovered.

“Smugglers go through great lengths to conceal drugs from our officers,” Paula Rivera, the agency’s Atlanta port director, said in the statement. “Narcotics interdiction remains a priority CBP enforcement mission, one that we take very seriously.”

The officers turned the unidentified woman over to Clayton County Police Department for state prosecution.

Customs and Border Protection says it seizes an average of nearly 3,700 pounds (1,700 kilograms) of drugs daily.

TME – We assume they were high heels.

Operation Zebra

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Law enforcement officials helped capture a loose zebra in middle Tennessee after it escaped from an exotic livestock auction.

According to news outlets, Cookeville Police Department and Putnam County Sherriff’s office assisted Triple W employees capture the “agitated” zebra early Friday morning. Cookeville is about 80 miles (128 kilometers) east of Nashville.

The zebra ran onto Highway 111, but was not hurt due to the lack of traffic. Multiple methods were used to attempt to regain control of the animal. At one point, two police officers made “unsuccessful attempts” to deploy stun guns to redirect or capture the animal.

It took nearly three hours to corner and direct the zebra onto a transport trailer.

A nearby elementary school alerted parents in a Facebook post that “There is a zebra on the loose in the Prescott area. It escaped a truck, was tased, and is mad. Do not approach. (Yes, really.)”

Prescott South Middle School teacher Ashley Danielle Francis told WSMV-TV that she noticed the zebra while driving to work, calling it the “craziest thing I ever think I’ve ever seen in this town.

TME – Talk about earning your stripes.

What the shell?

They’re lean, they’re mean and they’re green. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles? Not exactly, but hundreds of diamondback terrapin hatchlings have been rescued from subterranean storm drains along the Jersey Shore.

According to a Stockton University Facebook post, the turtles were hiding from the cold temperatures over the winter and surviving off yolk sacks in drains in Margate, Ventnor and Ocean City.

Volunteers who rescued 826 of the animals turned them over to Stockton University’s “Head Start” program, where staff will care for and rehabilitate the creatures for about a year before placing them back in the wild, NJ Advance Media reported.

There are 1,108 terrapins receiving care from the program, which has reached capacity.

If you find a hatchling, Stockton recommends placing the animal in room-temperature water up to the shell with a rock it can climb on. Healthy turtles can be released at dusk into a tidal creek or bay area.

TME – It’s turtles all the way down.

Pros and condors

TEHACHAPI, Calif. (AP) — Giant California condors are rare — but not at Cinda Mickols’ home.

About 15 to 20 of the giant endangered birds have recently taken a liking to the house in the city of Tehachapi and made quite a mess.

Mickols’ daughter, Seana Quintero of San Francisco, began posting photos of the rowdy guests on Twitter.

She told the San Francisco Chronicle the birds showed up at her mother’s home sometime last weekend.

The birds have trashed the deck — ruining a spa cover, decorative flags and lawn ornaments. Plants have been knocked over, railings scratched and there’s poop everywhere.

“She’s definitely frustrated but also is in awe of this and knows what an unusual experience this is,” Quintero said of her mother.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which runs a program to save the species from extinction, responded on Twitter. The agency noted that the house is in historic condor habitat, and suggested that Mickols try harmless hazing like shouting and clapping or spraying water.

“It is not unusual to see large congregations of condors in certain high use areas like the region where this incident occurred,” especially when feeding, Fish and Wildlife spokeswoman Pam Bierce said in an email. “Unfortunately, they sometimes perceive houses and decks as suitable perch locations.”

California condors almost vanished in the 1980s before the few remaining birds were captured and placed in zoos for captive breeding. A few hundred birds are now in the wild. As condors re-colonize parts of their historical range, people could increasingly find themselves interacting with the “curious, intelligent, social” birds, Bierce said.

TME – Smells like fowl play.

Pizza parking

DETROIT (AP) — A Detroit pizzeria owner who was upset over people getting $150 tickets for unwittingly parking in a handicap zone got a bucket of blue paint and marked the street himself.

“People come to Detroit, try to support our city and walk away with a $150 ticket, and they feel like they were tricked into it and they kind of were tricked into it,” said Tony Sacco, co-owner of Mootz Pizzeria and Bar.

The last straw: A woman and her children getting ice cream found a ticket on their car across the street from Sacco’s pizzeria.

“I was talking to my buddy sitting with me and I said, ‘We’re going to go buy some blue paint.’ And we did,” Sacco told WDIV-TV.

There is a single sign along the Library Street curb indicating that parking is reserved for drivers with a handicap tag. But Sacco said it’s confusing because parking enforcers consider the street space reserved for as many as four vehicles. He wants drivers to be warned.

“I mentioned it to the people writing the tickets. I said, ‘People don’t understand this is handicapped,’ and they said, ‘That’s their problem. They should read the sign,’” Sacco said. “That was the attitude.”

The TV coverage and the blue paint got the city’s attention Wednesday. Public works director Ron Brundidge apologized for any confusion and acknowledged that the “signage could have been more clear.” He said sign changes would be made.

The paint, meanwhile, was power-washed away by a city crew.

City traffic engineer Prasad Nannapaneni earlier met Sacco on the street.

“I did the right thing,” Sacco said, standing next to the bright pavement.

“I’m not sure of that part,” the engineer replied.

TME – There are many kinds of heroes.

Last modified on Tuesday, 11 May 2021 09:35

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