Watercooler Stories

Feb. 18, 2013 at 6:30 AM
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13,000 boxes of Girl Scout cookies wasted

RIVERSIDE, Calif., Feb. 18 (UPI) -- Officials in Riverside, Calif., said they were disappointed to find out more than 13,000 boxes of unsold Girl Scout cookies were thrown away instead of donated.

A video of a tractor trashing the cookies before they were sent to a landfill was posted online in May, CBS Los Angeles reported. In the video, a worker can be heard laughing and saying "Goodbye, Girl Scout cookies!"

Pastor Cathy Purden of the Rock of the Valley Church in Van Nuys saw the video and said: "That's something those children could have had, cookies.

"You stop and think about how many little children would be excited if you gave them a box of Girl Scout cookies. I would be excited. I buy them," Purden said.

Bruce Rankin of the Westside Food Bank said he hates to see food wasted.

"We would have gladly accepted the cookies and they would probably disappear as fast as any product we have in here," Rankin said.

A representative for the Girl Scouts of America headquarters in New York there is no national policy on what to do with unsold cookies, adding that "it's a shame" what happened in Riverside.

San Gorgonio Council of the Girl Scouts head Chuck MacKinnon said he didn't know how unsold cookies were being disposed of.

"Is it the Girl Scout way? No. Did it happen? Yes. Will it happen again? No," MacKinnon said.

Vultures creeping out N.C. town

SHELBY, N.C., Feb. 18 (UPI) -- A swarm of turkey vultures has been making residents of Shelby, N.C., uneasy, as the birds have not migrated south due to a mild winter.

The birds normally pass through the town every year as they head south.

They decided to stick around this year, ABCNews.com reported.

"We are just not getting cold enough to push them along," Kristen Duren, an intern with the North Carolina Cooperative Extension, the state agriculture service. "What used to be five to 10 birds is going up to 150 birds."

Residents say the sight of the birds is make them nervous, WSOC-TV, Charlotte, N.C., reported.

"Just circling in like big, big packs and they are like big, big birds," said resident Jordan Walker.

"It makes me feel kind of creepy," said neighbor Ann McEntire.

State law forbids shooting the birds, but officials said scarecrows made to look like a dead bird could chase the vultures away.

Pillow fights costs city $5,000

SAN FRANCISCO, Feb. 18 (UPI) -- Cleaning up an annual Valentine's Day pillow fight cost the city of San Francisco about $5,000, officials said.

The eighth annual "Great San Francisco Pillow Fight" started at 6 p.m. Thursday and ended with the Justin Herman Plaza being covered in feathers, synthetic pillow stuffing and other debris, Bay City News reported. Hundreds of people participated in the event.

At about 10 p.m. Thursday, a cleaning crew moved into the plaza to sweep up feathers and used steamer machines -- a job that cost the city between $4,000 and $5,000, Department of Public Works spokeswoman Rachel Gordon estimated.

"It's messy but becoming a regular San Francisco Valentine's Day experience," Gordon said.

The cleanup process has become easier over the years as the department becomes more experienced in clearing out the feathers, Gordon said.

Florida's python challenge bags 68 snakes

MIAMI, Feb. 18 (UPI) -- Florida's first snake bounty hunt resulted in the killing of 68 invasive snakes, far fewer than some hunters hoped, officials said.

The South Florida Sun-Sentinel said nearly 1,600 hunters took part in the monthlong hunt for the invasive species of Burmese pythons in the Everglades, which closed Saturday.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, which sponsored the event, said it was a success, and the agency will likely hold another hunt in the future.

Those who killed the most snakes received cash awards at Zoo Miami Saturday, the Sentinel reported, but many spent more on the expedition than they won.

Ruben Ramirez, of Miami, won the python permit holders competition by killing 18 pythons, The Miami Herald said. He, along with his team, hunted for 27 of the 31 competition days.

Organizers initially said Ramirez also won for capturing the longest python but University of Miami wildfire Professor Frank Mazzotti said Sunday that award should have gone to Blake Russ, 24, and Devin Belliston, 26, who caught an 11 foot, 1 inch Burmese python -- 6 inches longer than the one Ramirez snagged.

Mazzotti -- who collaborated with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to design the competition -- told the Herald about the mistake in an email Sunday.

He apologized to Russ and Belliston, who did not kill their snake but released it after capture.

"I am the one who made the mistake that prevented Blake and Devin from getting the recognition they deserved," Mazzotti wrote. "I know how important, and rightfully so, the recognition of who got the longest was."

Officials will now determine whether the hunt was an effective way of getting rid of the pythons.

Some criticized the hunt and said it could have resulted in serious injuries, but only one incident occurred when two men suffered a heat stroke.

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