Worth a shot
State bird, state flower, state firearm?
Virtually all states have a state bird, a state flower and a state motto. But Utah soon could be among the first to have an official state firearm — the Browning model 1911 .45-caliber handgun, designed by Utah gunmaker John Moses Browning. State GOP Rep. Carl Wimmer, a former police officer, a life member of the National Rifle Association and an instructor for concealed weapons classes, wants to create that designation when the Legislature convenes next month. "It would be very appropriate going into 2011 because it is the 100-year anniversary of the Browning model 1911," Wimmer said. "It has a rich history. It was in every war from World War I to World War II, Korea, Vietnam and all the recent wars. It is still used by some military units and many police agencies."
Catastrophe? Not for this pet owner
Five years after wandering away in Hurricane Katrina's aftermath, a gray and white cat named Scrub has been reunited with his Mississippi family. The Humane Society of South Mississippi says Scrub was identified by an implanted microchip. The 7-year-old cat was brought to the shelter by a Gulfport woman who had fed him as a stray the past couple of months but worried about his safety during a cold snap. Scrub's owner, Jennifer Noble, told the Sun Herald she was skeptical when she received a call from the shelter. But by the end of the first night back, Scrub had snuggled in bed with one of her boys. The woman who had been feeding him lives about 15 miles away.
Indiana's red kettles strike gold
The Salvation Army red kettles are coming up golden in Indiana. The South Bend Tribune reported a 1-ounce U.S. gold coin worth $1,400 was dropped in a kettle outside a Sam's Club in Mishawaka. It was wrapped in a $100 bill and a small note thanking the organization for "doing God's work." The Kokomo Tribune reported the donation of a South African Krugerrand worth more than $1,400 at Markland Mall in Kokomo. The Salvation Army also has received four gold coins in Chicago and surrounding suburbs.
Czechs make TSA look tame
The Czech government rejected EU criticism of its use of a test of the credibility of gay asylum seekers. The Vienna-based European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights said the Czech Republic is the only known EU country to use so-called "phallometric testing." The method tests whether men seeking asylum on the grounds of homosexuality are sexually aroused by heterosexual pornographic material. The Czech Interior Ministry said the testing is conducted only after written consent.
Compiled from Times wires.