There's a very good chance the gigantic flathead catfish caught by Jeffrey Dill at Lake Smith, Virginia will set a new state record! Dill says he was fishing with a buddy when he felt something tugging on the end of his $20 rod from Walmart. After wrestling with the fish for about 15 minutes, he was able to pull it out of the water and said, "I put him on the dock, held him down for a minute. He was so big!" He affectionately named the catch "Big Earle" and the giant fish weighed in at a whopping 68.12 pounds! "It was a monster. It was a true river monster," said Chad Boyce, a fisheries biologist. "It was a big fish that you don't expect to see in this part of the state, especially in Lake Smith. That's definitely a trophy." The current record is listed as a 66.4 pound flathead catfish that was caught on May 6, 1994, by a fisherman at the Occoquan Reservoir in northern Virginia. Boyce says the State Record Fish Committee will review Dill's application and senior leadership will decide whether or not "Big Earle" is the big winner but doesn't anticipate any issues. (WKRN News)
Hate Your HOA? Don't Move to Doraville!
Hilda Brucker went down to the municipal court in her hometown of Doraville, Georgia in October 2016 after receiving a phone call. She hadn't received a formal summons or known of any wrongdoing; instead, she thought she needed to clear a ticket. But when she arrived she was placed before a judge and prosecutor who accused her of violating city code -- because of cracks in her driveway. She was fined $100 and sentenced to six months criminal probation, even though this was the first time she was made aware her driveway was considered a problem. Eventually the charges were dropped, but Brucker said Doraville "went too far" and she's now joined an Institute for Justice (IJ) lawsuit against the town of about 10,000 people just northeast of Atlanta. The lawsuit challenges the constitutionality of Doraville "using its law enforcement and municipal court system for revenue generation." Josh House, an IJ attorney says, "It's unconstitutional because it creates a financial incentive for the city government ... to ticket people." He said people in the town were being "punished" for the condition of their property by having to "fund the Doraville city government." Jeff Thornton was fined $1,000 and threatened with an arrest warrant because he had a "disorganized" pile of wood in his backyard. Just like the Brucker case, the fine and charges against Thornton were also eventually dropped. But the lawsuit said he "lives under the threat of being ticketed again by Doraville code enforcement and law enforcement and convicted by Doraville's municipal court personnel." As does everybody else. (FOX News)
Apparently You Can Have Too Much Pot!
One of the things Oregon was hoping to do by legalizing marijuana was to run out all the illegal pot growers. That meant low barriers for entering the industry that also targeted long-standing medical marijuana growers, whose product is not taxed. As a result, weed production boomed - far more than anyone ever expected. And that's not a good thing. So now Oregon has nearly 1 million pounds of marijuana bud in its inventory, a staggering amount that equates to about a quarter of a pound for every person in the state. State regulators announced they will stop processing new applications for marijuana licenses in two weeks to address the severe backlog and ask state lawmakers to take up the issue next year. In contrast, the state of Washington knew oversupply could draw federal attention and was more conservative about licensing. As the market matured, its regulators eased growing limits, but the state never experienced an oversupply crisis. For now, Oregon's smaller marijuana businesses are just trying to stay afloat. And they all thought they were going to be rich. (News On 6)
How's Your Handwriting?
Over 250,000 kids from all over American participated, but in the end, a 9-year-old boy from New Jersey won this year's Zaner-Bloser National Handwriting Contest! It seems third-grader Edbert Aquino has the best penmanship in the country - and yes, he can write in cursive too. Edbert said, "I really didn't expect it," and his national trophy is almost as tall as he is. His cursive skills are spot-on perfect when compared side-by-side to the examples kids are copying inside Lori Solan's third-grade class at Our Lady of Grace School in Fairview. Ms. Solan said, "He pays very close attention to detail and I think that's what allows his handwriting to look the way it does." Edbert also said the key to success is concentration. He noted, "I ignore all the other things, like if I hear some sort of (noise), I turn my head and come back." As part of the prize he wins $1,000 for his school to put toward education materials, as well as a cash prize of $500 that he got to take home. So what will he do with the money? He says, "I will for now save it because something might come up that my parents might need, I might need, so I'll always have that money in case." Smart kid! (WPIX News)
Hurricane Sandy... Still!
It's been over five years since Hurricane Sandy came ashore, but the big storm is still making headlines. A New Jersey-based real estate agency is now touting itself as a "global" company after one of its signs, blown away during Sandy in 2012, was found on the shores of France. A man named Hannes Frank, from Bordeaux, France, reached out to the New Jersey company -- Diane Turton, Realtors in Point Pleasant -- after finding a damaged Turton sign during a beach walk. The sign was only partially destroyed, with the company's phone number still visible. Ironically, the home displaying the "For Sale" sign survived the powerful storm's destruction, but the sign was washed out into the Atlantic Ocean. In all, it appears to have floated across 3,700 miles in the years since - all the way to Bordeaux, France. (FOX News)
In Arizona, a new law signed by the governor means delivery robots zigzagging across a sidewalk will have the same rights as everyone else. The law allows the so-called personal delivery devises, to operate on sidewalks throughout the state, but the robots have to be courteous and use crosswalks just like everyone else. Previously, motor vehicles, including robots, were forbidden on sidewalks. State Rep. Kelly Townsend said, "You don't want to think of it as a human with rights or something like that, but it causes them to have to obey the laws." The law makes way for delivery robots to become big business in Arizona. The robot would work like this: Customers place a food or coffee order on an app, the eatery inserts the items inside a delivery robot - and the robot goes off, on its own, to make the delivery. The robots use sensors to navigate sidewalks and cross streets. Arizona is the seventh state to pass this type of legislation, paving the way for robots to be a part of people's daily routines. Some believe robots sharing sidewalks with pedestrians could be a common sight soon. "Let's see how it does," Townsend said. "Let's give it a year and a half and see if it can deliver - you know, no pun intended." (FOX News)
Well Of Course You Are!
Police in Clearwater, Florida have arrested 56-year-old James Bundrick after he was found "pleasuring himself" at a bus stop around 11:20 a.m. While officers on the scene said it was obvious what he was doing, when they asked the man said, "I'm scratching myself." After the man was arrested for disorderly conduct, police asked him to identify himself. He then told officers his name was "James Tiberius Kirk," the full name of the fictional character Captain Kirk from Star Trek. Kind of a stupid thing to say because now Bundrick is also facing a charge for providing a false name or identity to law enforcement. (WFLA News)
What the What?
In Yakima, Washington, an argument over dog poop led to three people being shot! Marcie Umphrey says her 19-year-old daughter, Shawna, was shot in her front yard by her neighbor, 62-year-old Henry Castro, and she says it was the most traumatizing experience of her life. Carl Stone was with Shawna and his cousin, Michael Bretches, when Castro approached them outside, accusing them of allowing their dog to defecate on his yard. Things went from bad to worse in a hurry. Stone said, "He hurried up and grabbed my cousin by the neck, and then he pointed the gun towards his neck and he said, ‘Now, you're gonna die.' I was gonna try to do something, and he pointed the gun to me, he said, ‘You do anything, I'm gonna shoot you.'" He says they all tried to run, but Castro shot his cousin and Umphrey, before retreating back to his home. Neighbors called police, and an hours-long stand-off, followed. Eventually the SWAT team was called and entered Castro's home and found him with a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Police say the victims and the suspect are all currently in the hospital. (WJAC News)