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The skinny

The skinny

Oregon can't get consensus on state berry


Oregon can't get consensus on state berry

It is so hard to be a state legislator. New Jersey can't pick a state song. Montana ran into trouble trying to pick a state pancake. Now Oregon has hit gridlock trying to name a state berry. The Raspberry and Blackberry Commission — oh yeah, they have a Raspberry and Blackberry Commission — wanted to honor the marion­berry (no relation to the former mayor of Washington, D.C.), which is actually a variety of blackberry grown in Marion County. The raspberry lobby was okay with it. The blueberry lobby too. The strawberry lobby did not complain. Then the backers of another strain of blackberry chimed in, and the whole process ground to a halt, according to the Oregonian. "I'm not going to bat over internal disputes in the berry community," said Rep. Vicki Berger, who yanked her resolution.

Rookie mistake

Smuggler surprised he smuggled drugs

Paul Makin insists that no one was more surprised than he was when officials found 52 pounds of cocaine as he made his way home to Liverpool, England, from a vacation in Venezuela. But he had a perfectly legitimate explanation to clear everything up: He thought he was illegally smuggling diamonds, not drugs. Just a little mixup. He says his contact swore the false-bottomed suitcases had diamonds in them, but apparently he was a less-than-reputable smuggler. To make it all better, Makin was travelling with his ex-wife and four kids. She is charged also and faces more prison time than Makin because he pleaded guilty; the kids await pickup by relatives.

Domestic disturbance

Inspection missed guy in chimney

It is not unusual to find stuff in a house that was left by the former owner. It is unusual, though, to find a skeleton in the chimney. The new owners of a home in Fontana, Calif., were doing some remodeling because the house had been vacant for three years and in foreclosure. CSI: Fontana says it was a man, probably 50, about 5-8, and had been there at least a year. And he probably wasn't a crime victim. "We have no evidence to lead us to believe he was the victim of anything other than being stuck in a chimney," Sgt. Jeff Decker told the Press-Enterprise of Riverside.

Shooting TV is illegal in Missouri

The conversion to digital broadcast did not go smoothly for Walter Hoover of St. Louis. He got his new converter box but couldn't make it operate correctly, according to KSDK-TV. So he shot the television. And technically, it wasn't even the television's fault. Hoover, 70, was arrested on charges of unlawful use of a firearm. His wife told police alcohol may have been involved.

Compiled from Times wire services and other sources by staff writer Jim Webster, who can be reached at

Oregon can't get consensus on state berry

02/24/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 1, 2011 4:59pm]
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