Beaver bourbon, runaway peacocks: A wild 2018 in New England


By William J. Kole - Associated Press



BOSTON (AP) — Things got a little wild in New England in 2018 — as in actual animals weaseling their way into the headlines.

A Vermont family’s pet peacock ran off with a flock of turkeys. A black bear trashed a car in Connecticut after locking itself inside. Beavers flavored bourbon at a distillery in New Hampshire. And so many crows descended on one corner of Massachusetts, it took a cannon to shoo them away.

There was no shortage of antics from the naked apes at the top of the food chain, either.

A sampling of some of the region’s weirder stories from the past 12 months:

Are you my mother?

Pea the peacock must have been lonely, or maybe he was just confused. For whatever reason, Rene and Brian Johnson’s unusual family pet took off, lured by birds of a different feather: a flock of wild turkeys. After trying unsuccessfully to get close enough to scoop it up with a net, the couple from Springfield, Vermont, posted this plea on Facebook: “My peacock has run off with the turkeys. Do you have any suggestions on how to catch the little twerp?”

Unbearable damage

Things got hairy very quickly for a Connecticut woman whose car was shredded by an adult bear that somehow got inside and couldn’t get out. Linda Morad was house-sitting in Canton when she noticed her car lights on and heard strange noises. She called police, who found the bear frantically clawing up the interior. Officers opened a door and dashed to the other side of the vehicle as the bear scampered away. Morad said she thinks the bear was drawn by the smell of garbage she had hauled to the dump earlier in the day.

Counting crows

It took the boom of cannon fire to chase off hundreds of crows that decided to roost at an electrical substation in North Adams, Massachusetts. National Grid deployed a propane cannon that doesn’t shoot projectiles to disperse the crows, which it said could short out equipment and trigger a power outage and damage gear with their corrosive droppings. The utility said no birds were harmed — just annoyed by the noise.

Clothing optional

Dressing for success at this job interview might be a little risky — or risque. A nudist campground in Rhode Island that offers swimming, hiking, volleyball and a sauna for people who aren’t afraid to bare it all advertised for a lifeguard. Required: “excellent communication skills” and the ability to “work as part of a team.” Clothing? Not so much. Dyer Woods Nudist Campgrounds president Jim Johnson said the successful applicant would have the option of wearing a swimsuit or a birthday suit.

His ‘phone’ was delicious

A man insisted he was wrongly ticketed for distracted driving by a police officer who mistook his McDonald’s hash brown for a cellphone in Connecticut. Westport police issued Jason Stiber a $300 citation, but he challenged it in court, saying the only thing he was guilty of was the munchies. Stiber said phone records prove he didn’t make any calls around the time he was pulled over. A judge found him guilty, but he’s appealing.

Perps need not apply

If you’ve got a rap sheet, maybe don’t apply for a job at the county jail? That happened in New Hampshire, where Kristina Hoefs applied in person for a position at the Hillsborough County Department of Corrections. Workers there ran a routine background check and realized she was wanted on a theft-related charge in Maine. Hoefs was promptly taken into custody and taken to Manchester police headquarters.

Town flipped off

Take that, town hall. A Vermont man erected a sculpture of a giant middle finger after officials in Westford refused to let him move his truck repair and recycling business to his property. Ted Pelkey mounted the huge upraised digit on a 16-foot (4.8-meter) pole with lights so his inelegant salute can be seen from a nearby state highway. “I wasn’t trying to get fame out of it at all … I’m just mad,” he said.

This G.O.A.T. Is here to stay

Tom Brady has a lot of fans, but few as zealous as Megan Uhrynowski. After the New England Patriots’ star quarterback signed the Connecticut college student’s arm, she decided to make the ink permanent and had TB12’s scrawl turned into a tattoo on the inside of her wrist. Many people regret their tattoos; not Uhrynowski, who called hers “the coolest thing.”

Beaver bourbon

Rich leathery notes with a hint of vanilla and an undertone of … beaver musk? So says New Hampshire-based Tamworth Distilling, which produced bourbon flavored partly by secretions from a beaver’s castor sacs. The distillery, which dubbed its new whiskey Eau De Musc, said beaver secretions long have been used as flavoring because of their “bright fruit qualities.”

By William J. Kole

Associated Press

Follow Bill Kole on Twitter at https://twitter.com/billkole .

Follow Bill Kole on Twitter at https://twitter.com/billkole .