Mad Minute

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — Almost three dozen cannabis plants have been found growing in the flower beds in front of the Vermont Statehouse, police said Friday.

A visitor to the Statehouse alerted police to what turned out to be 34 plants found by officers this week among the cultivated flowers that line the walkway in front of the building in Montpelier.

Workers for the branch of state government responsible for the gardens might have found more plants, said Capitol Police Chief Matthew Romei.

The chief said that he didn’t know whether the immature plants were marijuana or hemp and that he doesn’t intend to have the plants tested to see because he foresees no criminal case.

In Vermont, possession of small amounts of marijuana for recreational use is legal, but it remains illegal to grow it in public. Farmers can plant hemp as a cash crop.

“The only way we can make a criminal case is if someone comes down and claims it,” Romei said Friday.

Officials have made similar discoveries in the Statehouse flower gardens in previous years, Romei said, but it was the first instance in the two years he has been chief.

“This was a humorous thing to come back to off from vacation,” Romei said of Monday’s discovery.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Doughnuts with a side of syringes have been nixed from the Minnesota State Fair after the offering was roundly criticized.

Last month fair officials announced the new foods that would be available at this year's event, including doughnut holes that came with three syringes of do-it-yourself fillings — Bavarian cream, chocolate custard and lingonberry jam.

But, the optics of drug-like syringes littering the fair grounds and the impact of single-use plastics drew complaints. The Star Tribune says an online petition against the syringes has generated more than 3,000 signatures. Jason Holtz, who launched the petition, says that with the opioid crisis, the message should not be sent that tasty things come from syringes.

The Wingwalker Donut Flight will instead be served with a compostable tray so customers can dunk the doughnuts instead.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) — Reports of a fawn running back and forth across an interstate highway in Ohio led police on a pursuit to rescue the fawn and prevent any potential traffic accidents.

Police body-cam video shows three Toledo police officers chasing after the fawn as it wandered too close to I-475 Wednesday.

The video posted to the police department's Facebook page shows one officer running into the grassy median, grabbing the fawn and picking it up by its legs.

The deer referred to on the Facebook page as "Bambi" was then put in a police cruiser and driven to a nearby wooded area where it was released.

Police say it was scared, but unharmed.

Toledo Police spokesman Lt. Kevan Toney says the department hopes the deer will survive on its own.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

A flyer tried to travel to new heights as hilarious video showed her climbing onto a luggage conveyor belt at a Turkish airport, reportedly thinking it would take her to the plane.

The first-time flyer checked in her bags at Istanbul Aiport, but instead of heading to her terminal, she proceeded to climb onto the conveyor belt as terminal attendants and other passengers looked on.

The woman stepped onto the belt and promptly fell onto her backside as it rolled forward.

Confused airport staff jumped up to help her before she ended up in a pile of checked luggage aboard the cargo carrier, but the woman said she thought the conveyor belt would conveniently transport her to the aircraft, according to reports by The Sun.

The viral video garnered lots of jokes from viewers. One person asked, "Is this a shortcut to the plane?"

"I think traveling with the cargo is cheaper," another quipped.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

(CNN)A marijuana-themed cake made this family's day in Milledgeville, Georgia -- mainly because it was a mistake.

Kensli Davis, whose favorite movie is Disney's animated tale "Moana," wanted a movie-themed cake to celebrate her 25th birthday. But when her mom called the local Dairy Queen with the order, the shop heard "marijuana" instead.

And boy, did it deliver.

Davis posted on Facebook about the twist to her special day. "My mama called and ordered me a cake telling them how much I loved Moana. (Because really I do) Well needless to say these people thought she said marijuana. That ice cream cake was still good though," she wrote.

Dairy Queen had no comment on the mixup.

Davis told CNN that her mom's reaction was priceless: "She was hysterically laughing.

"The whole family thought it was the funniest thing ever and said it would definitely be a birthday to remember."

As for the baker who made the mistake?

"The lady who made my cake was apologetic and offered to make another one. But the first one was so good we weren't worried about it," Davis said.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

A 38-year-old man in upstate New York was convicted for illegally trafficking and selling Sandbar sharks, which are a protected species, according to prosecutors.

Attorney General Letitia James and Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos announced Friday that Joshua Seguine will be sentenced Sept. 12.

The Dutchess County man pleaded guilty to Illegal Commercialization of Fish, Shellfish, Crustaceans, and Wildlife for the illegal possession with intent to sell seven Sandbar Sharks, a protected species under New York law.

According to the felony complaint, Seguine came to the attention of DEC Law Enforcement in July of 2017, after he was found in possession of five undersized sharks in the back of his truck in Georgia. According to authorities, Seguine admitted that he was transporting the sharks to New York State, where he intended to sell them, and that he possessed additional live sharks at his house in New York.

Subsequently, investigators discovered that Seguine was conducting business under the name Aquatic Apex Life LLC, which had offered sharks for sale as recently as June 29, 2017 on the website MonsterFishKeepers.com.

DEC police obtained a warrant to search Seguine's house in LaGrangeville. DEC officers, accompanied by biologists from the Long Island Aquarium located in Riverhead, New York, and the Wildlife Conservation Society's New York Aquarium located in Coney Island, discovered an above-ground 18-foot pool at Seguine's house that contained seven live sharks, prosecutors say.

The sharks were identified as Sandbar Sharks, the possession of which is prohibited by New York law without a special license. The cost to legally acquire a Sandbar Shark is approximately $11,500, according to authorities.

The search also uncovered two dead Leopard Sharks, one dead Hammerhead Shark, and the snout of a Smalltooth Sawfish, an endangered species, prosecutors say.

Biologists eventually transferred the sharks to Long Island Aquarium after tagging them and making sure they were OK.

The sharks were then moved to the New York Aquarium in Coney Island, where they are on display as part of the "Ocean Wonders: Sharks!" exhibit.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — "It's on!"

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham says she's ready for a culinary duel with her neighbors to the north after the governor of Colorado proclaimed on social media that chile grown in his state is the best and will be stocked in grocery stores across four Western states.

Gov. Jared Polis fueled the fiery debate when he said stores in Lujan Grisham's state would be supplied with inferior chile from New Mexico.

"If Colorado wants to go chile to chile, no question that New Mexico can bring the heat — Hatch chile is, has always been and will always be the greatest in the world," Lujan Grisham proclaimed in a tweet.

New Mexico's chile peppers have woven their way into the state's cultural identity over centuries, and their distinct flavor has been adopted more recently by palates as far away as Korea.

The state in 2014 even adopted its own trademark and certification program to protect the reputation and integrity of its signature crop, much like Idaho has capitalized on potatoes, Maine has its lobsters and Florida has its fresh fruits and juices.

New Mexico's chile experts contend there's no mistaking its hot peppers. Once a person tastes them or smells them roasting at farmers markets and grocery stores, the craving begins, they say.

And there's some science involved, as researchers at New Mexico State University say soil conditions, warmer temperatures, the right amount of water and a longer growing season result in a unique flavor.

According to the university's Chile Pepper Institute, the cultivation of chile peppers likely began 15,000 years ago when the first humans arrived in the Western Hemisphere. People would select them for various traits and new varieties also are easily developed since the plants are good at cross-pollinating.

While the acreage of chile planted in New Mexico is half of what it once was because of labor and irrigation pressures, federal agricultural statistics show the 2018 crop increased 4% from the previous year to 8,400 acres. Value also jumped to nearly $54 million.

In the valleys of southern Colorado, chile has been grown for more than a century, with the elevation and shifts in weather affecting how the peppers taste. Some say they're hotter than New Mexico's varieties.

In 2015, officials in Pueblo County received a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture so farmers could form a growers association to better promote their peppers. Since then, Whole Foods opted to go with Pueblo chile for its stores in Colorado and elsewhere in the Rocky Mountain region.

Colorado and New Mexico also both have chile-themed license plates and the towns of Pueblo and Hatch — the rural community in southern New Mexico dubbed the "Chile Capital of the World" — have been hosting annual festivals dedicated to the spicy fruits for decades.

Battles like this between states are not uncommon. Tourism promoters in Arizona and Vermont skirmished in 2013 over which state's fall colors were more impressive.

And Lujan Grisham on Thursday threatened to rile anglers when she tweeted about efforts to boost the outdoor recreation economy in northwestern New Mexico. She claimed Montana had nothing on New Mexico's quality fishing waters.

That tweet followed another in which Lujan Grisham posted a photo of a cheesy plate of enchiladas, aiming to set the chile record straight.

"Eat your heart out!" she said.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — A 9-week-old kitten survived a 30-mile (48-kilometer) trip trapped in the frame of a car.

Auto repair shop owner Scott Bourne says the driver heard a noise coming from under his car when he left Lexington on Wednesday morning but didn't know what it was. Later that day, the driver stopped at a Hardee's in Frankfort and found the kitten.

Bourne's repair shop, Midas of Frankfort, is next door to the Hardee's. Bourne says technicians had to drop out the subframe, and took about 20 minutes using soap to free the kitten.

He named her Marigold, a variation of the name given to King Midas' daughter in a book by Nathaniel Hawthorne.

A veterinarian says Marigold is healthy. A longtime customer of Bourne's has volunteered to adopt her.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

July 12 (UPI) -- A Colorado veterinarian said dogs in the Aspen area are being brought in with marijuana toxicity after getting high from eating human poop at trails and campgrounds.

Dr. Scott Dolginow, owner of Valley Emergency Pet Care in Basalt, said between three and 10 dogs are brought in each week with marijuana toxicity, and 70 to 80 percent of the dog owners said they do not know where the pets found cannabis.

"But they say they were out on a trail or camping," Dolginow told The Aspen Times. "I can't believe that the owners are lying."

He said the canines could be getting their highs from eating human poop tainted with THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. The veterinarian said the human feces can contain enough of the chemical to get a dog high.

"Most dogs will eat human feces given the opportunity," Dolginow said.

Dolginow said he has personally seen human feces abandoned next to trails on multiple occasions at Hunter Creek.

Marijuana toxicity in dogs has been on the rise since states began legalizing recreational use of the plant, with the Pet Poison Helpline reporting a 448 percent increase in cases over the past six years.

Veterinarians said dogs suffering from the condition typically suffer nausea and disorientation. Dolginow said the treatment is typically to keep the dog calm and hydrated until the THC naturally passes through the canine's system.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

July 12 (UPI) -- Firefighters at a Wisconsin station were left scratching their heads when an Amazon package that arrived with no sender information turned out to contain a piece of lingerie.

The Menomonie Professional Firefighters Union said in a Facebook post that an Amazon package arrived at the Menomonie Fire Department's station this week without any sender information or a receipt inside.

The package turned out to contain some white lingerie.

"While we appreciate the gesture, to whomever sent the fire department this package, we unfortunately cannot accept it," the post said. "On one hand we are unable to accept gratuities, and on the other it most likely will not fit any of our personnel."

Firefighters said anyone who may have sent their erotic undergarments to the wrong address can pick them up at the station.