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The skinny

The skinny: Teen put piano on Miami sandbar; gone now

Mystery man

16-year-old put grand piano on Miami sandbar

The baby grand piano that turned up on a Miami sandbar was burned to tatters by New Year's revelers, then brought to its new home by the teenage son of Burn Notice production designer J. Mark Harrington, who said Thursday he hoped the idea might help him get into a prestigious art school. Florida wildlife officials gave the teen and his parents 24 hours to remove it or face felony dumping charges. It has been removed, according to John Nicholson with Biscayne Towing and Salvage. Nicholas Harrington, 16, said he wanted to leave his artistic mark on Miami's seascape as the artist Christo did in the early 1980s when he draped 11 small islands in Biscayne Bay with hot pink fabric. And if it helped the high school junior get into Manhattan's Cooper Union college, that would be okay, too. On Jan. 2, Harrington, older brother Andrew and two neighbors lifted the instrument onto the family's 22-foot boat and took it out on Biscayne Bay. There, they left it on the highest spot along a sandbar.

border crossing

Pot smugglers catapulted to fame

National Guard troops operating a remote surveillance system at the Naco Border Patrol Station filmed drug smugglers using an old invention as a new way to move marijuana across the border from Mexico to Arizona: the catapult. A Mexican army officer says the 3-yard tall catapult, capable of launching 4.4 pounds of marijuana at a time, was found about 20 yards from the U.S. border on a flatbed towed by a sports utility vehicle. Soldiers seized 35 pounds of pot, the vehicle and the catapult.

rare breed

Sumatran tiger is mother of triplets

A rare Sumatran tiger has given birth to three healthy cubs. The Taman Rimbo Zoo in western Indonesia's Jambi province says the big cat also gave birth to one additional cub that died immediately. Sumatran tigers are on the brink of extinction because of rapid deforestation, poaching and clashes with people. The World Wildlife Fund says their numbers have dwindled to about 400, down from about 1,000 in the 1970s. Breeding efforts in captivity usually meet with little success.

family business

Uncle Milton and his ants

The creation of a toy that would become an American classic was triggered in 1956 by a Fourth of July parade of ants at a Los Angeles picnic. While gazing at the industrious insects, novelty-toy entrepreneur Milton Levine was transported back to childhood and his uncle's farm, where he collected ants in jars and watched them "cavort.'' With his brother-in-law, he soon devised what was eventually named Uncle Milton's Ant Farm, an instant hit in the fad-crazy 1950s. More than 20 million of the now-familiar green ant colonies have been sold. Mr. Levine died Jan. 16 at age 97.

Compiled from Times wires.

The skinny: Teen put piano on Miami sandbar; gone now 01/27/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 1, 2011 5:13pm]
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