Originally created 02/28/04

Odds and Ends



MORGAN LAKE, N.M. -- If you caught a toothy fish from the Amazon in Morgan Lake, who'd eat whom?

Not to worry, fish folks say, unless you bait your hook with fruit.

The fish, called a red pacu, has a mouth full of teeth, but they're molar-like and not particularly sharp. The fish is a vegetarian, and Amazonian anglers have been known to use fruit for bait. The fish is known to swim inland during floods to eat fruit that has fallen from trees.

A solitary pacu was believed to have been found Feb. 14 in the channel near the Four Corners Power Plant, which adjoins the lake, said Nathan Tohtsoni, plant spokesman. Morgan Lake water cools the coal-fired units of the power plant.

The same fish also may have been spotted in 2000, he said.

"We can guess it's been there at least four years," Tohtsoni said.

The specimen is about 20 inches long and about 10 inches thick.

Theories vary on how it got into the lake - maybe from a dumped aquarium, or just maybe from the agency that regularly provides the fish for the Navajo Nation Fish and Wildlife Department to stock the lake.

That would be a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service hatchery in Texas that breeds bass - but also where red pacu are known to live.

So far no bass have been munched by their dentate pond mates.

"We know this particular species of fish eats vegetation and insects," Tohtsoni said. "We don't believe it's harming anything else."

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PHILADELPHIA -- Talk about turning tricks and tools of the trade.

A prostitution suspect managed to flee in a stolen police van Thursday night, despite being handcuffed at the time, police said.

Philadelphia police fasten handcuffs behind suspects' backs, Detective Debra Kelly said, and it was not immediately clear how the woman managed to get her hands in front. It is possible that she got her hands low enough that she could step over them, Kelly said. The suspect then managed to steal the unmarked Dodge Caravan that police were going to use to take her to the station, police said.

The woman abandoned the stolen van and remained at large late Thursday.

The officers who arrested her after she allegedly solicited them were looking at mug shots in an attempt to identify her. Women arrested for prostitution often give many addresses, making it difficult to find them, Kelly said.

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FLINT, Mich. -- Mayor Don Williamson publicly renewed his campaign pledge to plug the city's deficit - currently at $14 million - with money from his own pocket and accused the state of failing to take him up on it.

But state Treasurer Jay Rising said the state did not refuse the offer, which he called "extremely generous."

"We haven't seen anything in writing, we don't know any details," Rising said. "We haven't been negotiating on it at all."

Since 2002, Flint's finances have been overseen by a financial manager appointed by then-Gov. John Engler. With about 125,000 residents, it is the largest city in Michigan to face a state takeover.

Williamson, who was elected in November and is believed to have amassed hundreds of millions of dollars in the auto parts industry, told Flint television station WSMH that he had been trying to work behind the scenes to pay the city's debt.

"If you keep your business real close to your vest, sometimes you can accomplish more," he told the station, according to a Thursday story in The Flint Journal. "But last Friday afternoon we had a lot of people in the conference call and it went an hour 45 minutes, two hours, and we couldn't accomplish nothing."

Rising said Williamson was referring to a call with financial manager Ed Kurtz and Rising's staff in which Williamson referred to the offer but did not give details.

Williamson pledged during his campaign to pay off the deficit.

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BERLIN -- A student in central Germany is accused of stealing electricity - less than a penny's worth.

Police busted the student after he plugged his laptop computer into an outlet at a train station.

German prosecutors say they're investigating the student for pilfering less than a cent's worth of electricity.

Police originally suspected the laptop was stolen. But after the student proved he owned the computer, prosecutors opened the theft of power investigation.

A prosecutor said if there's a suspicion of a crime, they have no choice but to investigate. However, officials said the charges will likely be dropped.