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Quick Takes

Illustration by Rachel Beatty

Quick Takes
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Busting with buzzards

Residents of one Florida town say federally protected turkey vultures have taken over the neighborhood. According to Judy Oliveri of Westchase, Fla., outside of Tampa, the massive scavenger birds began showing up three years ago but have become a real nuisance recently. “We could have 20 to 25 vultures on our roofs,” she told WFLA. “They land on our screens, their under feathers are all over the roof, their droppings are all over the place.” The vultures, which have a 6-foot wingspan, are protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, leaving residents helpless to defend their property from the animals. Residents said the United States Department of Agriculture has promised to help, but noted that bureaucrats have promised them no timetable.

Invalid excuse

A small-town police chief in Maine lost his badge after faking a police report to escape a meeting with city officials. The Maine Criminal Justice Academy voted to strip former Fryeburg Police Chief Joshua Potvin of his license after an investigation concluded he faked a suspicious person report last year to give himself a reason to ditch a public meeting of the Fryeburg Board of Selectmen. Although the agency revoked Potvin’s license in February, the report only became public information in May.

Eight lives to spare

Firefighters in Chicago were stunned to watch a cat survive a fifth-floor jump out a window to escape an apartment fire. According to Chicago Fire Department officials who were videoing the blaze, the black cat appeared in a fifth-story window of the burning building, tested its footing with its front paws, then leapt for life. The cat landed on all four legs, bounced once off the grass, then sped away. City officials say no one was injured or killed in the conflagration.

Road rebel

California Highway Patrol officers on May 10 arrested a 25-year-old California man for riding in the backseat of his Tesla Model 3 without anyone in the driver’s seat. Officers spotted Param Sharma riding in the back of the vehicle with the Tesla’s autonomous driving feature engaged. Sharma, who was booked and charged for two counts of reckless driving, had been cited by the California Highway Patrol for a similar incident in April. In an interview with KTVU, Sharma said he had no plans to stop riding in the back of his car without a driver. “I feel safer back here than I do up there,” he told a reporter, adding that he simply purchased a new Tesla after authorities impounded his previous vehicle. “I’m very rich.”

A tooth to remember

After a six-year effort, an Australian man has won the right to keep a tooth from a shark that nearly took his life. An 18-foot great white shark attacked surfer Chris Blowes off the Australian coast in 2015 in a traumatic incident that cost Blowes his leg. Police turned Blowes’ surfboard over to local wildlife officials because the board contained one of the shark’s teeth, and local law makes it illegal to possess any part of a great white. After recovering, Blowes, now 32, began petitioning for an exemption that would allow him to have the tooth. Finally, local authorities this year granted Blowes the exemption. The shark attack survivor said he plans to mount the tooth in a case and use it as a display piece for motivational speeches. “It’s a good souvenir to show my grandchildren,” he told the BBC.

Rat cats

For nine years a Chicagoland animal shelter has taken a creative approach to the area’s rat problem. Workers at the Tree House Humane Society release 10 to 15 cats every month onto Chicago streets to help control neighborhood rodent populations. Over the course of the program, shelter officials say they’ve released more than 1,000 feral cats back into the city. But before releasing any felines, shelter officials say they spay or neuter the animals and work with local residents and businesses to find the best spots. Judging from pest control company Orkin’s yearly rat infestation rankings, the program has had limited impact: In October, Chicago topped Orkin’s rankings as America’s most rat-infested city for the sixth consecutive year.

Cruising for trouble

Police in Miami busted a 28-year-old woman on May 10 for trespassing at a local high school, where she had apparently been trying to promote cruise trips. According to Miami police, school security caught the Carnival Cruise Line saleswoman posing as a student and asking students to follow her on the social media website Instagram. Police said security footage showed the woman handing out flyers with her social media handle to students. Police arrested the woman and charged her with burglary, trespass, and resisting arrest.

Game delay

Traffic on the Bay Bridge kept Los Angeles Angels star pitcher Shohei Ohtani from making a start against the Oakland Athletics on May 27. According to Angels officials, Ohtani fell behind schedule when a team bus got stuck in a traffic jam on the bridge linking San Francisco and Oakland. Ohtani eventually made it back to the team hotel and then attempted to get to the Oakland Coliseum via public transportation. After having trouble with a transfer on the Bay Area Rapid Transit network, Ohtani informed Angels manager Joe Maddon he’d be about an hour later than his planned 4 p.m. arrival at the stadium. Citing Ohtani’s need for pregame routine, Maddon elected to allow another Angel to pitch and used Ohtani as his designated hitter.

Dairy was his downfall

Authorities in the United Kingdom jailed a Liverpool man for drug offenses on May 21 thanks to a photo of the man holding a block of fine cheese. Using photo editing software, authorities analyzed the fingerprints of the hand in the picture and matched them to 39-year-old Carl Stewart. Investigators found the picture last year when British authorities hacked into EncroChat, an encrypted messaging service used by European drug traffickers and other criminals. Police say Stewart used the account to coordinate drug transactions. But it was his love of cheese—and his desire to show off the block of mature blue Stilton to one of his associates—that led to his undoing.


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Dear Westchase, FL-Your friends in Perry, GA, feel your buzzard pain. Can't shoot 'em. Can't shoo 'em. So we named 'em Bob and made 'em famous. https://www.13wmaz.com/article/news/local/everything-you-need-to-know-about-the-perry-buzzard-drop/93-ee43ab2c-738d-484b-8fe9-86ead02922de