Originally created 06/16/04

Odds and Ends



DURANGO, Colo. -- Two National Guard soldiers tied the knot while gazing in each others' eyes - yet separated by thousands of miles.

Staff Sgt. Shadow Evans, 30, said "I do," from her post in Iraq to Sgt. Rick Everton, 29, at a motel in Durango. The marriage was made possible using videoconferencing.

"It was amazing," said Everton. "I could actually see her and look into her eyes."

La Plata County Judge Martha Minot officiated at the Friday night event. The couple had planned to marry in August but Everton was told he would be soon assigned to Iraq. The couple decided they should get married quickly so they could be together if either is wounded.

Before the videoconference, they hadn't seen each other for seven months.

The couple, both members of the Massachusetts Army National Guard, selected Durango for the wedding because Colorado is one of three states that permit weddings with one person standing in for one party to the marriage with a power of attorney.

The other two states, Texas and Montana, are farther from the Los Angeles home of Evans' parents.

Fellow troops found Evans a white blouse and bouquet. Rings will be exchanged in person later.

The high-quality telecommunications line required for two-way video was set up by an organization called Freedom Calls Foundation of New York.

On the Net: http://www.freedomcalls.org

* * * *

FITZGERALD, Ga. -- Leaders of this south Georgia town are in the midst of a simmering debate as divisive as any in the town's history - wild chickens.

The birds are believed to have descended from red junglefowl that were brought from Southeastern Asia in the 1960s in a failed attempt to provide a pheasant-like game bird for the South. Over the past six years, the population has exploded - well into the hundreds.

Anti-birders want elected leaders to do something about it. Fans of the fowl say the town shouldn't trap chickens but embrace them, maybe even passing an ordinance protecting them.

Both sides presented petitions to the town council Monday night. Cam Jordan, the community development director, said there were 517 signatures on the anti-chicken petition and 1,025 on the pro side.

City manager Henry Tyson said council members would study the matter.

"The mayor gave both sides of the issue an equal opportunity to speak to the issue and assured them that in time, when all parties have met and consulted and had dialogue, they would look at recommendations," Tyson said.

* * * *

SALT LAKE CITY -- Being able to apologize is a virtue. But for one alleged thief, it became the quickest way to jail.

Police say Peter Shelley, 24, punched a convenience store clerk and stole a pack of cigarettes on June 6 after he refused to show the clerk his identification.

But last Saturday, police say Shelley returned to the gas station and apologized to the clerk - twice.

The clerk called police, who caught Shelley in his car near the gas station and arrested him.

Shelley was arrested and faces felony strong-armed robbery charges.

* * * *

OSHKOSH, Wis. -- A foul robber has made off with a fowl haul.

Nine birds - including a screech owl that is blind in one eye, three ring-necked pheasants and five quail - were snatched by someone who broke into a local zoo's Wisconsin Native Bird Aviary.

Terry Steele, enrichment coordinator with the Oshkosh Zoological Society, said children he was teaching in a class noticed a hole cut in the wire screening at the aviary Monday morning.

"It's sad that anyone would do such a thing. It just seems malicious to me," Steele said.

Two vultures in the aviary were not taken.

It should cost less than $200 to make repairs and replace the birds, except for the screech owl, said Carrie Hill, a zoo specialist. "It may be awhile before we get another screech owl. We just don't get them from the wild."

Oshkosh resident Charles Schmidt, who was at the zoo with his two children, was dismayed someone would take the birds.

"It's terrible," Schmidt said. "You bring the kids to see wildlife they normally wouldn't see and it was gone today."



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