WEST PALM BEACH, Fla., Dec. 31 (UPI) -- A Florida county is offering $100 rewards to motorists who report drunken drivers to the authorities.
Palm Beach County officials said the Mobile Eyes program, which began in 2001, has experienced a drop in participation, with only 17 rewards handed out this year as compared to the usual 30 or 40 per year. So officials are spreading word of the rewards in an attempt to increase participation, the South Florida Sun Sentinel reported Monday.
The program awards $100 to people who report drunken drivers if the reported motorist is arrested on a driving under the influence charge.
"We thought the holidays was a great time to remind people," said Donna Bryan, spokeswoman for the county's Safety Council. "Just getting one (drunken driver) off the road is a good thing."
Police: Burglar left cellphone at scene
BOYNTON BEACH, Fla., Dec. 31 (UPI) -- Police in Florida said they arrested a man accused of stealing $600 from a nail salon after he allegedly left his cellphone behind at the scene.
Investigators said Kenneth Plummer, 26, broke into a Boynton Beach nail salon and made off with $600 cash, but left his cellphone behind at the scene, the South Florida Sun Sentinel reported Monday.
Plummer was seen counting his money while eating breakfast at the Boynton Diner, next door to the salon.
Police said Plummer was busted later in the day after a homeowner allegedly caught him trying to break into an occupied dwelling.
Plummer was jailed on charges of burglary and grand theft.
Wine industry relies on water-witching
CERES, Calif., Dec. 31 (UPI) -- Marc Mondavi, a California winery operator, has a new vocation, water-witching, and is called upon to find ground water for local wineries, using copper rods.
"You either have it or you don't," Mondavi, 58, says of the skill that takes him to neighboring vineyards in northern California to find places, without the aid of science, to dig industrial-size wells. "If you have it, you have to take time to develop it."
Although no scientific evidence exists to support the practice of using sticks or metal rods to divine the presence of underground water, dowsing, or water witching, has been used since the 15th century, and is still a common practice in rural America, the San Francisco Chronicle said Monday.
"Some water exists under the Earth's surface almost everywhere. This explains why many dowsers are successful," a statement from the U.S. Geological Survey says.
Mondavi, whose late uncle, Robert, made California wine famous and, with his brother Robert Jr., is responsible for day-to-day operation of the Charles Krug Winery, has become the local industry's go-to person for finding water.
After saying, "Find water," to two copper rods he was holding, Mondavi walked down a row of grape vines, until the rods began to move, then crossed over each other, the newspaper said.
"Here," Mondavi said. "Here is where you'll find water."
"I don't know how he does it, and I'm not going to learn," said John Franzia, whose Bronco Wine Co. in Ceres, Calif., has employed Mondavi to find water. "I'm a believer, because I have water."
Man calls deputies, gets arrested
MARATHON, Fla., Dec. 31 (UPI) -- Authorities in Florida said a man who called the sheriff's office to complain about his neighbors was arrested for possession of 3.8 ounces of marijuana.
The Monroe County Sheriff's Office said a deputy visited the home of Michael Csernik, 77, in the Keys RV Park in Marathon Saturday when neighbors complained about a large number of cars coming and going from his home and said they suspected him of selling drugs.
The deputy left when there was no answer at Csernik's door.
However, the deputy returned about an hour later when Csernik called the sheriff's office to complain about his neighbors taking pictures of the cars visiting his home.
When asked about why the cars were stopping at his home, Csernik said he had a lot of friends.
Csernik and his 51-year-old son, who was sitting on the front steps when the deputy arrived, consented to a search of the home and deputies discovered the marijuana in several plastic bags along with a scale.
Csernik, who told deputies his son had no knowledge of the marijuana, was charged with possession of marijuana with intent to sell, possession of a felony amount of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Deputies said they also seized $1,363 in cash suspected to be proceeds from marijuana sales.