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Curses, Foiled AgainPolice in Ogden, Utah, charged Martin Canchola Serratos, 34, with killing his live-in girlfriend, Maria Cuvillas, 39, after her body was found in the trunk of his 1986 Mercury. The Salt Lake Tribune reported that two days after the woman's death, Serratos's car began overheating in Levan, so he drove to a convenience store and asked clerk Betty Steggel if he could leave his car in the parking lot. Steggel said he attracted attention because "he sat there for four hours. We thought it was odd the whole time he was here because he walked away four or five times, then turned around and came back." Finally, Serratos drove off, but when his car again overheated, he parked in a residential neighborhood, where a suspicious meter reader who saw Serratos hanging around called police. Officers decided to have the car towed when Serratos couldn't produce a driver's license. While taking an inventory before towing the car, they noticed a smell coming from the trunk and found the body.When Samuel Richard Bauer, 51, had his car stolen in San Jose, Costa Rica, he notified the police. They ran a routine check and discovered that Bauer was a U.S. fugitive, wanted since 1995 in Oregon, and promptly arrested him.Firing-Range FolliesTwelve homes and three vehicles in a Fairfax County, Va., neighborhood were hit by submachine gun bullets from police who were practicing at the wrong rifle range a mile away. No one was injured, but one round crashed through a dining-room window, narrowly missing a man and his 8-month-old daughter. Police officials explained that training instructor Sgt. Henry Rorie, 49, took the eight officers to a range intended for shotguns, not high-powered weapons, after finding their scheduled range at the facility was being used. When the officers opened fire, the bullets "launched like rockets" in the direction of the neighborhood.Richard Gable Stevens, 21, rented a semi-automatic rifle for target practice at the National Shooting Club in Santa Clara, Calif., but after several minutes on the firing range, he returned to the club's gun store and shot at the ceiling. According to police Sgt. Anton Morec, Stevens then herded three employees into an alley and said he intended to kill them. One of the employees was carrying a concealed .45-caliber pistol, however, and when Stevens momentarily looked away, the worker shot him several times in the chest. Noting that Stevens had accumulated more than 100 rounds of ammunition for the rented rifle, Morec said a suicide note found in Stevens's vehicle indicated "he intended to go out in a blaze of glory."When Guns Are OutlawedSan Diego police arrested two men in June in separate assaults involving tuna. In the first incident, they accused Anthony Scott Tucker, 37, a worker on a fishing boat, of hitting a 43-year-old fisherman with a 20-pound tuna while they were counting and sorting their catch. In the second case, police said Nicholas Anthony Vitalich, 24, argued with his girlfriend in a supermarket, then followed her to the parking lot and repeatedly hit her with a 10-pound tuna he had just bought. "People will use whatever weapon they have available," Lt. Jim Barker of the police domestic-violence unit said. "In this case it was a fish."Animal TestingResearchers at Clemson University announced success reducing the odor at some South Carolina chicken farms by adding garlic to the birds' diet. "It makes the poultry house smell like a pizzeria," Professor Glenn Birrenkott explained, "instead of manure."Some New York City pet owners have begun having their animals' fur dyed non-natural colors, mostly pink and aqua. Eric Gonzalez, owner of Urban Pets, told the New York Times that most of his clients who ask for pet-dipping are models, but not all. "A woman brought her white dog in and asked me to make it look like a cow for trick-or-treating," he said, explaining that the vegetable-dye process, which costs $45 to $85, works best on light-colored animals and doesn't wash out easily, "though the hot pink fades to a nice cotton-candy color."Fish-farming, once touted as the way to feed people without plundering the seas, may actually do more harm to the marine environment than good, according to a group of scientists, economists and conservationists. As wild-fish populations have declined, farmed fish have increased to the point where they now account for more than a quarter of the seafood consumed by humans. But, the researchers reported in the journal Science, some farmed species, chiefly salmon and shrimp, are fed wild-caught fish. Two to four pounds of wild-caught fish are necessary to produce one pound of salmon or shrimp. Another problem is that aquaculture has grown so big in some coastal areas that it has become a major source of marine pollution, which endangers native fish populations.Hoping to boost Maryland's economy, the federal government imported nutria, a South American rodent that has been laying waste to the marshes of Louisiana and Mississippi for the past half-century, to start fur farms. Instead, over the past few years, the fast-breeding, voracious-feeding nutria have destroyed thousands of acres of wetlands around the Chesapeake Bay. USA Today reported that Maryland is trying to figure out how to eradicate the nutria, but state and federal lawmakers have yet to provide money to fund such a program.Making Hay While the Sun ShinesWhen London's Royal Geographical Society announced that the first rays of sunlight for the year 2000 will fall on Hapeka Hill on Pitt Island, the second-largest of the Chatham Islands. New Zealand representatives offered the Chatham Islanders $75,000 for exclusive rights to broadcast the "first light" of the new year. The islanders turned them down. "We're holding out for a better deal," Chatham Islands farmer Ken Lanauze said, acknowledging that the broadcasters may not get their money's worth since there's a good chance that Pitt Island will be shrouded in mist on Jan. 1.Compiled by Roland Sweet from the nation's press. Send clippings, citing source and date, to POB 8130, Alexandria VA 22306.

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