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Weird National Briefs (12/23/2020)

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Reproducing rodents

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The Oregon Humane Society in Portland has taken in 250 guinea pigs from an overwhelmed pet owner.

It’s not known exactly how the unidentified person in Lane County became inundated with the furry little rodents, Oregon Public Broadcasting reported. But experts say it can be difficult to determine a guinea pig’s gender — and they’re best kept in pairs — because they keep each other company.

Oregon Humane Society spokeswoman, Laura Klink, said an adoption timeline will be determined in the next several days. “We certainly would love to see some of these guys go home in pairs, whether it’s two males or females. But obviously, we’re going to be giving a lot of counseling on how quickly they can reproduce if you’ve got a male and a female together,” said Klink.

The Oregon Humane Society’s Cat and Kitten Intake Center has been closed because of the coronavirus pandemic, so it could accommodate all of the guinea pigs. Because there are so many, the society is also working with the Greenhill Humane Society and Lane County Animal Services in Eugene.

There will be a special process for people hoping to adopt the guinea pigs and officials said its small-animal specialists will work with potential adopters to ensure a good fit.

TME – It’s like a math lesson AND sex ed.

Wastewater winery

RAINSVILLE, Ala. (AP) — Sheriff’s officials say they’ve busted an illegal winery that was operating at a municipal sewage plant in a small north Alabama town.

The DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement it received an anonymous tip about an alcohol operation at a municipal building in the town of Rainsville on Thursday. Investigators then uncovered what’s described as a large illegal winery inside the Rainsville Waste Water Treatment Plant.

Photos released by investigators show glass containers, buckets, a fermenting rack and other equipment often used by people who make wine at home.

The agency says officers seized a lot of illegal alcohol and arrested Allen Maurice Stiefel, 62, of Fyffe. He faces a felony charge of use of official position for personal gain and a misdemeanor charge of unlawful possession of an illegally manufactured alcoholic beverage.

Rainsville Mayor Rodger Lingerfelt said Stiefel has been suspended without pay, according to WHNT-TV. Stiefel has been a city employee for 15 years, the mayor said.

“I want to thank the mayor for his cooperation and willingness to allow law enforcement to do our job and shut something like this down,” Sheriff Nick Welden said in a statement. “This is definitely one of the biggest operations we’ve seen in our county and possibly our state.”

The town of about 5,100 people is 100 miles (160 kilometers) northeast of Birmingham.

It’s legal to make limited amounts of wine at home in Alabama, but it’s illegal to have more than 15 gallons of homemade wine or beer at a time. Police photos show multiple fermenting vessels filled with what appears to be more than 100 gallons of white and red liquid.

TME – Who makes toilet wine outside of prison?

Porn scorned and mourned

GRAND HAVEN, Mich. (AP) — A man who sued his parents for getting rid of his pornography collection has won a lawsuit in western Michigan and can seek compensation.

U.S. District Judge Paul Maloney ruled in favor of David Werking, who said his parents had no right to throw out his collection. He lived at their Grand Haven home for 10 months after a divorce before moving to Muncie, Indiana.

Werking said boxes of films and magazines worth an estimated $29,000 were missing.

“There is no question that the destroyed property was David’s property,” Maloney said Monday. “Defendants repeatedly admitted that they destroyed the property.”

Werking’s parents said they had a right to act as his landlords.

“Defendants do not cite to any statute or caselaw to support their assertion that landlords can destroy property that they dislike,” the judge said.

Maloney told both sides to file briefs on the financial value of the collection.

“The court does not intend to hold an evidentiary hearing,” he said.

TME – In this situation, is anyone really a winner?

The tooth of crime

MILWAUKEE (AP) — A Wisconsin dentist is accused of damaging his patients’ teeth so that he could bill insurance companies for crown procedures.

Scott Charmoli, 60, of Grafton, was charged Tuesday in federal court with eight counts of health care fraud and two counts of false statements. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Charmoli is accused of falsely telling patients that they needed crowns and then using his drill to break off parts their teeth during the procedure. Charmoli submitted X-rays and photographs of the chipped teeth to insurance companies to obtain coverage for the crowns, the indictment says.

Authorities say Charmoli performed more than $2 million worth of crown procedures between January 2018 and August 2019.

Charmoli’s attorney, Nila Robinson, did not immediately respond to an email message left Thursday by The Associated Press.

An arraignment and plea hearing are scheduled for Dec. 30.

“The Justice Department focuses on prosecuting health care fraud not only to protect health care funds but also to protect patients who entrust their well-being to providers,” U.S. Attorney Matthew Krueger said in a statement.

TME – Heavy is the head that wears the crown.

Christmas crash

RIO LINDA, Calif. (AP) — Santa found himself a little more tied up than usual this time of year.

A Northern California man impersonating Santa Claus and flying on a powered parachute was rescued Sunday after he became entangled in power lines, authorities said.

The incident happened shortly after the man took off near a school in Rio Linda to deliver candy canes to children in his community. He flew into a maze of power lines and wound up suspended in them, a Federal Aviation Administration spokesman told KCRA-TV.

The man, who wasn’t identified, was not injured.

Video from the rescue shows the red-white-and-blue aircraft dangling overhead as Santa sat fastened to the pilot seat.

Neighbors watched from the ground as crews worked.

Colleen Bousliman, who lives nearby, said the pilot flies overhead often.

“He flies just around so people can see and flies around people’s houses,” she said. “This was the first time he was in his Santa suit.”

Power was shut off during the rescue to about 200 customers in the Rio Linda area, according to Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District spokesman Chris Vestal.

“It’s unfortunate, but we all need to remember that there’s still a lot of good out in the world, there are people doing good things and to look at the brightness of the holiday season,” Vestal said.

He said it didn’t take long to rescue the costumed pilot and lower him to safety.

“W/o a scratch & full of good cheer we made sure Old St. Nick will use his reindeer when he sees you later this year,” the fire department said in a tweet after the incident.

TME – Santa probably dropped a Yule log of his own.

Last modified on Wednesday, 23 December 2020 07:20

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