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Weird National Briefs (04/21/2021)

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Caffeinated criminality

LAKE VIEW, N.Y. (AP) — An upstate New York couple may have finally solved the mystery of who’s been tossing used coffee cups in their front yard for nearly three years.

Edward and Cheryl Patton told The Buffalo News they tried mounting a camera in a tree in front of their home in Lake View to catch the phantom litterer. But it wasn’t until some neighbors got involved recently and followed a minivan and jotted down its license plate number that there was a break in the case.

After Edward Patton called police, they waited and pulled over a vehicle driven by 76-year-old Larry Pope, who Cheryl Patton said had once worked with her and had had disagreements with her over union issues.

Pope was charged with harassment and ticketed for throwing refuse onto a roadway.

“I found it very hard to believe that someone I knew would do something like that, especially at his age,” Cheryl Patton told The News.

The Pattons said the littering has stopped since Pope was pulled over.

A message was left at a phone number listed for Pope on Sunday.

TME – We begrudgingly admire the commitment to the bit.

Meanwhile, in Vermont…

BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) — Vermont’s largest city is banning the use of loud, gas-powered leaf blowers.

The City Council passed a phased-in ban this week, the Burlington Free Press reported. It mandates moving to quieter electric-powered leaf blowers, which will be required for all municipal departments in August.

All businesses and Burlington residents will be required to comply by the end of May 2022.

Gas-powered blowers operate at 90 decibels, which can cause hearing damage after two hours of exposure, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And gas engines contribute to air pollution in residential neighborhoods.

The ordinance restricts the noise of electric leaf blowers to 65 decibels, which, according to the CDC, is about as loud as a typical washing machine, the newspaper reported.

The restrictions for businesses or landowners that service 10 or more city properties go into effect on Sept. 6. The rules take effect on Dec. 31 for smaller businesses.

TME – Despite what you’ve heard, Vermont doesn’t blow.

Snake salad

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Alex White thought he was watching a huge worm writhing in plastic-wrapped lettuce he’d just brought home from a Sydney supermarket — until a snake tongue flicked.

“I kind of completely freaked out when I saw this little tongue come out of its mouth and start flicking around and realized it was a snake because worms don’t have tongues,” White said on Thursday.

“I definitely kind of panicked a bit,” he added.

It was a venomous pale-headed snake that authorities say made an 870-kilometer (540-mile) journey to Sydney from a packing plant in the Australian city of Toowoomba wrapped in plastic with two heads of cos lettuce.

The refrigerated supermarket supply chain likely lulled the cold-blooded juvenile into a stupor until White bought the lettuce at an ALDI supermarket on Monday evening and rode his bicycle home with salad and snake in his backpack.

White and his partner Amelia Neate spotted the snake moving as soon as the lettuce was unpacked onto the kitchen table.

They also noticed the plastic wrapping was torn and that the snake could escape, so they quickly stuffed the reptile with the lettuce into a plastic food storage container.

White phoned the WIRES rescue organization and a snake handler took the snake away that night.

Before the handler arrived, White said WIRES had explained to him: “If you get bitten, you’ve got to go to hospital really quickly.”

ALDI is investigating how a snake could have found its way into a supermarket.

TME – In Australia, even the lettuce can kill you.

Naked lawmaking

OTTAWA, Ontario (AP) — A Canadian Parliament member was caught stark naked in a virtual meeting of the House of Commons.

William Amos, who has represented the Quebec district of Pontiac since 2015, appeared on the screens of his fellow lawmakers completely naked Wednesday. The pandemic has meant many Canadian lawmakers participate in sessions via video conference instead of in person.

A screenshot obtained by The Canadian Press shows Amos standing behind a desk between the Quebec and Canadian flags, his private parts hidden by what appears to be a mobile phone in one hand.

“This was an unfortunate error,″ Amos said in a statement sent by email. ”`My video was accidentally turned on as I was changing into my work clothes after going for a jog. I sincerely apologize to my colleagues in the House of Commons for this unintentional distraction. Obviously, it was an honest mistake and it won’t happen again.”

Claude DeBellefeuille, a legislator for the opposition Bloc Quebecois party, raised the incident in a point of order after question period, suggesting that parliamentary decorum requires male Parliament members to wear a jacket and tie — and a shirt, underwear and trousers.

Speaker Anthony Rota later thanked DeBellefeuille for her “observations” and clarified that while he had not seen anything, he checked with technicians and confirmed they saw something. He reminded lawmakers to always be vigilant when they are near a camera and microphone.

Amos, the parliamentary secretary to Industry Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne, was visible only to Parliament members and staffers on an internal video conference feed. Because he was not speaking, his image did not show up on the public feed.

Liberal Party colleague Mark Holland said Amos was “utterly mortified.” Holland said he was satisfied with the explanation from his colleague.

“I don’t think there was any ill intent. It’s certainly an unfortunate circumstance,″ Holland said.

“This is a warning to everybody,” Holland added. “You’ve got to really always assume that camera is on and be very careful any time you wander anywhere near that camera that you’re dressed appropriately.″

Asked if he will be issuing a warning to all Liberal lawmakers to that effect, Holland said: ``Oh, big time.″

TME – Someone wildly misunderstood what “government transparency” means.

Big bunny burglary

LONDON (AP) — Police say one of the world’s biggest bunnies has been stolen from its home in central England.

Darius, a Continental Giant rabbit, disappeared from his enclosure in a backyard in the village of Stoulton over the weekend, the West Mercia Police force said. They did not elaborate on why they thought it was a theft instead of an escape.

The force appealed for any information about or sightings of Darius, who is gray-brown and 129 centimeters (4 feet, 3 inches) long at full stretch. He holds the Guinness World Records citation for the world’s longest rabbit. Rabbits of his type are known to weigh about 15 to 20 pounds (7 to 9 kilograms).

Owner Annette Edwards, a large-rabbit breeder and model, urged the culprit or culprits to return Darius to his home 160 kilometers (100 miles) northwest of London, saying it was a “very sad day.”

She initially offered a 1,000 pound ($1,370) reward, but tweeted Tuesday: “Please Please I am so upset Can you bring my Darius back I am putting the reward up to 2,000 pounds ($2,748).”

TMe – We’re hopping mad about this.

Last modified on Tuesday, 20 April 2021 08:54

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