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The skinny

Furloughs cut into new year's spontaneity

Budget cuts

Dec. 31 is traditionally the second-most popular day of the year for weddings at the Anne Arundel County Circuit Courthouse in Annapolis, Md. Probably so people guarantee themselves of having someone to kiss later that night. But it was unusually quiet at the courthouse on Thursday, and they ended up performing exactly zero weddings. Mostly because the courthouse was closed, due to furloughs instituted to combat the state's $2 billion budget deficit. Officials suspect that there will be a big run on weddings on Monday for people who didn't know the courthouse would be closed. Then again, maybe the feeling will have passed. If you hadn't guessed, Feb. 14 is traditionally the court's busiest wedding day.

Police reports

Carjacker awaits shovelers, then acts

Sometimes it's better to just leave your car buried in the snow. A couple in Omaha, Neb., were clearing their driveway so they could drive their 2002 Suzuki Grand Vitara to the street. Omaha police say that as soon as the couple cleared a path, a man approached them and claimed he was armed. In Nebraska, when it's snowing, people are wearing so many clothes that you have to believe they could have anything under there. The man told the couple to back away from the car unless they wanted to get shot. The sensible type, they did not. Then he drove off in their car, through the path that they had just shoveled.

Home cooking

In Italy, kids stay in the nest longer

Istat, the national statistics bureau of Italy, reports that 48 percent of the country's under-40 population still lives with their parents. A closer inspection shows that 53 percent of men in the age group were living with their folks, and 42 percent of women. But there's no real problem with that, right? "The prolonged cohabitation of children with their parents is among the chief problems facing the nation," Istat officials said. Oh, didn't know. They said the statistics were found in a study to determine the cause of low national birthrates and other economic woes.

DNA

Duo should get an A after discovery

That baking soda volcano doesn't cut it in today's science fair. Brenda Tan and Matt Cost of Trinity School in New York ran DNA tests on more than 200 things and found a roach that was 4 percent different than previously listed roaches. Which means they may have found a new roach. Of course, they found it in a New York City apartment, so they had a bit of an advantage. Other things they learned: Sheep's milk they bought in a store was actually cow's milk, and something labeled as dried shark meat was actually Nile perch. But the big news was the roach. They are looking for a cockroach specialist to examine their results.

Compiled from Times wire services and other sources by staff writer Jim Webster, who can be reached at jwebster@sptimes.com.

Furloughs cut into new year's spontaneity 01/01/10 [Last modified: Friday, January 1, 2010 10:50pm]
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