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March 19, 2008 at 6:30 AM
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Police want banks of Loch Lomond bonnie

BALLOCH, Scotland, March 18 (UPI) -- Scottish police plan a crackdown on vandalism and noise to make sure the banks of Loch Lomond remain bonnie.

The Trossachs National Park, which includes the country's most celebrated lake, is visited by more than 2 million people a year. Central Scotland Police say a handful of those visitors could wreck the area for everyone else, The Scotsman reports.

Police have found abandoned campsites, complete with tents, and in one case a car dumped in a wooded area with tires removed and an interior loaded with trash.

Operation Ironworks includes a number of initiatives, some aimed at educating the public about proper behavior and others at penalizing those who break the rules.

"There have been problems with tents, cars, barbecues and bags of rubbish being abandoned," said Sgt. Joyce Greenhorn, who heads the project. "Trees have even been felled in order to have a fire. That is not acceptable, especially when there may be firewood lying nearby."


Curses! Tarot readers busted in curse scam

NAPERVILLE, Ill., March 18 (UPI) -- Two Chicago-area fortunetellers have been jailed for allegedly defrauding people they had convinced were cursed.

Tracy and Eric Tan were arrested last week following a raid on their establishment, Psychic Tarot Card Reading, in Naperville, Ill.

DuPage County investigators told the Chicago Tribune Tuesday the Tans allegedly dealt a bum hand to their clients.

"Tracy Tan would convince the customers that they had a curse on them, and that she was the only one who could fix their problems," police said in a news release. "During this 'counseling,' she would charge her victims thousands of dollars for her services and products, which provided them with a false sense of hope."

The erstwhile mystics will appear in court April 7 to answer eight felony charges of forgery, theft and possession of a false identification.


Woman seeks to collect on Civil War debt

TAMPA, Fla., March 18 (UPI) -- A woman is suing the city of Tampa, Fla., over a $299.58 loan her great-grandfather gave the city during the U.S. Civil War, and she is seeking $22.7 million.

Joan Kennedy Biddle, 77, said a promissory note given to her ancestor, Thomas Pugh Kennedy, on June 21, 1861, documents that Kennedy loaned the money to the city, but she and her family claim the debt was never repaid, the St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times reported Tuesday.

"This thing has been in the family since the date on the note, and it has never been repaid," she said. "My daddy told me, and I certainly believe him."

The suit, which seeks the amount of the loan plus 8 percent annual interest, was filed in the Hillsborough Circuit Court.

Tampa City Attorney David Smith said he believes the claim is not valid, the newspaper reported.


Florida builder plans house raffle

HOWEY-IN-THE-HILLS, Fla., March 18 (UPI) -- A Florida man who had trouble selling the 4,570-square-foot house he built with his sons is trying to find an owner with a different approach -- a raffle.

John Artimovich said he and one of his sons, Michael, started a nonprofit charity called Sons of Toil after they were unable to sell the Howey-in-the-Hills, Fla., mansion, the Orlando (Fla.) Sentinel reported

"Hundreds of people came through here," Artimovich said of prospective buyers who turned the home down. "The market prevails."

He said his new charity is hoping the raffle will raise enough money with $100 ticket contributions to pay for the house and fund several causes, including an apprenticeship program for trade workers.

Artimovich said he hopes to build and raffle at least one house each year in addition to his own construction projects if the initial experiment is a success.

He said tickets for the raffle can be purchased at 2008DreamHome.org.

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