Rare spider puts halt to pipeline project
SAN ANTONIO, Feb. 26 (UPI) -- Construction of a Texas water pipeline was halted due to the discovery of the same spider that halted a highway project.
The San Antonio Water System said construction of the six-mile pipeline was halted with less than 1,500 feet to go when a Texas Department of Transportation crew working on a different project uncovered a cave containing the endangered Braken Bat Cave meshweaver spider, a federally protected species, the San Antonio Express-News reported Tuesday.
SAWS spokeswoman Anne Hayden said the spider, which also caused construction at Loop 1604 and Texas 151 to be halted, has left the future of the water pipeline uncertain.
"All of this is still up in the air," Hayden said.
Josh Donat, spokesman for the Department of Transportation's San Antonio office, said officials are redesigning the underpass project to allow it to continue.
However, SAWS officials said it could take years for the pipeline project to get back on track since obtaining a permit to carry out construction in an area inhabited by an endangered species could take two years.
Chardonnay spills after semitrailer crash
PLATTEKILL, N.Y., Feb. 26 (UPI) -- A semitrailer hauling wine overturned on an interstate highway in New York's Hudson Valley Tuesday, spilling chardonnay and blocking traffic, state police said.
The Freightliner tractor-trailer blocked both northbound lanes of the New York State Thruway after the 10:36 a.m. accident, police spokesman Sgt. John Antonelli told United Press International.
The trailer had separated from the tractor unit, rolled over and skidded on its side, spilling bottles of the white wine onto the limited-access highway, he said.
Broken green bottles were "all over the roadway" in Plattekill, about 70 miles north of New York City, Antonelli said
The chardonnay was being hauled to Coxsackie, N.Y., 60 miles north, near Albany, from Jersey City, N.J., across the Hudson River from New York City.
The semitrailer, driven by Klever Gordillo, 33, of Elizabeth, N.J., had been rear-ended after it blew a left-rear tire on the trailer and slowed down, Antonelli said.
The other 18-wheeler, driven by Minard Dibble, 60, Voorheesville, N.Y., was empty and veered off to the right shoulder, going down a small embankment and stopping in a ditch, Antonelli said.
No other vehicles were involved in the crash.
Cat found nearly 3 weeks after fire
CHAPEL HILL, N.C., Feb. 26 (UPI) -- A North Carolina woman said she and her partner were reunited with their cat nearly three weeks after she disappeared during a fire.
Emily Bunner, 30, and her partner, Kory Stuemke, 24, said they could not find the cat, Milagra, when they fled their Chapel Hill condo with their two other cats during a fire Jan. 27 and they have since been searching for the feline ever since, The Raleigh News and Observer reported Tuesday.
Bunner said there were "many false alerts" until she received a call Feb. 15 from an emergency construction worker who discovered a cat hiding out in the burnt remains of the couple's condo. The feline has burns on the backs of her legs and had lost about half her body weight, but Bunner said the cat was definitely their missing Milagra.
The couple said the worker who found the cat refused a $200 reward, saying finding the cat would make a good story for his children.
Bunner said Milagra hasn't stopped eating since arriving at the family's new apartment.
"It took a lot of time and daily effort to cover all the possible ways of searching and spreading the word, but she may not have made it much longer if she hadn't been recognized," she said.
Probation for burglar who called 911
BEDFORD, Texas, Feb. 26 (UPI) -- A Texas man who called 911 when an armed homeowner interrupted his burglary was sentenced to seven years of probation and 200 hours of community service.
State District Judge Craig Towson also sentenced Christopher Moore, 41, of Bedford, to pay a $2,000 fine Monday after he pleaded guilty to burglary of a habitation, the Fort Worth (Texas) Star-Telegram reported Tuesday.
Moore was accused of breaking into a Springtown home around 12:30 a.m. Dec. 4 and the 38-year-old homeowner said he and his wife awoke to find a man standing in their bedroom.
The homeowner grabbed his gun and chased the man out of his home. The burglar got into his pickup truck, but complied with the man's orders for him to drop his keys.
Moore called 911 from inside his pickup truck, but the homeowner had already called 911.