Don't mess with Monterey; it plays hardball. For the next 15 years, no cruise ship from Crystal Cruises will be allowed to enter the California city's harbor. What's more, if one city official had his way, the company would be banned "forever" - because one of the cruise line's ships, the Crystal Harmony, dumped 36,000 gallons of wastewater into the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. The company also covered up the offense for four months, reports the San Jose Mercury News. The cruise line blamed an inexperienced officer for the dumping - which violated an agreement between the city and the company - but said it didn't reveal the incident immediately because no laws were broken. Carl Anderson, Monterey's director of public facilities, lambasted Crystal Cruises for its "cavalier attitude" and suggest the company sail out of Monterey for good. In unanimously approving its ban, Monterey's city council also voted to set up strict reporting requirements for all cruise lines.
Someday, historians will look back in wonder at
the proliferation of bottled waters, and ask: "What were they
thinking?" For now, hundreds of specialty waters crowd the market,
with the latest bottled by the city of San Francisco and called
Hetch Hetchy Mountain Water. Though Mayor Willie Brown hopes to
make a few bucks on the new product, he might be disappointed. The
San Francisco Chronicle conducted an informal taste test of Hetch
Hetchy, pitting it against eight other bottled waters, and the
result was not encouraging. Comments by tasters included "dull,"
"flat," "slight rubber aftertaste," and "it tasted like distilled
water; you should put it in your iron." Favorite brands were
Arrowhead, from Southern California, and Acqua Panna, from Italy's
San Pellegrino region, because both reminded tasters of the
mountains. Ranking last was Evian. That Evian hails from France was
not the problem - it was said to have a chemical aftertaste.
In Arizona, there is hope of a new
life after a federal jury convicts you of bank fraud and
shady real estate deals. Former Republican Gov. Fife Symington
found this to be true, even though he had to hastily resign as
governor in 1997, and hire lawyers to fight his conviction. His
appeal succeeded, and Symington told The Associated Press recently
that he's "very happy doing what I'm doing now," which is working
as a pastry chef. His specialties include a
liqueur-and-coffee-soaked tiramisu and chocolate mousse cake; both
are served at Franco's Italian Cafe, the Phoenix restaurant he
When an official at Los
Angeles Airport asked Robert Cusack if animals might be
concealed in his clothes, he answered, "Yes, I've got monkeys in my
pants." That wasn't all he'd brought from Thailand, says Audubon
magazine; when his suitcase was opened for inspection, a bird of
paradise flew out. Besides the two endangered pygmy monkeys, Cusack
was caught smuggling 50 protected orchids and four endangered birds
of paradise. He was sentenced to 57 days in jail and must donate
$1,500 to a facility for primates.
Taylor, who lives in semi-arid Kennewick, Wash., was awakened at
1:30 a.m. recently by a thumping noise. When he went out
to his porch to investigate, he found a 40-pound beaver ensconced
in a chair. "He gave the beaver an apple. It took one bite and left
the rest," reports the AP. Taylor went back to bed, only to be
awakened again by a thud: This time the beaver was sitting on its
haunches, baring its big teeth and growling. Taylor found his bed
again, figuring the animal would waddle off during the night.
Instead, it waddled into his garage, whereupon Taylor called animal
control in the nearby town of Pasco. The visitor was trapped and
later released to a pond.
"wonderfully whimsical" lava lamp, 60 feet tall and
placed in downtown Soap Lake, Wash., would act as a sure-fire
tourist-magnet, says the town's mayor, Ken Lee. Soap Lake, pop.
1,700, could use an economic jolt: 68 percent of its residents live
in subsidized low-income housing, reports Governing magazine. A
century ago, Soap Lake was a spa destination for tourists from
Seattle and Portland, who came by train to take the mineral-rich
water. But the town hasn't attracted many visitors lately. Is the
mayor serious? Merely floating the idea, he says, has brought Soap
Lake a flurry of attention.
horse with such a dramatic swayback that passersby did
doubletakes at the sight of her, died in Ridgway, Colo., recently.
She was 38, or 152 in human years, reports the Ouray County
Plaindealer. The horse lived in a pasture by the side of the road,
and was a familiar sight to drivers in Western Colorado. Owner
Julia Olin said Penny had given birth to seven foals over the
years, which might have helped drop her middle section. While folks
may not have known it, Penny was related to a famous horse: She was
the great-great-granddaughter of the bold and handsome Trigger,
ridden by Roy Rogers.