Montpelier, Vt. (AP) — Almost three dozen cannabis plants have been found growing in the flower beds in front of the Vermont Statehouse, police said Friday. A visitor to the Statehouse alerted police to what turned out to be 34 plants found by officers this week among the cultivated flowers that line the walkway in front of the building in Montpelier. Workers for the branch of state government responsible for the gardens might have found more plants, said Capitol Police Chief Matthew Romei. The chief said that he didn’t know whether the immature plants were marijuana or hemp and that he doesn’t intend to have the plants tested to see because he foresees no criminal case. In Vermont, possession of small amounts of marijuana for recreational use is legal, but it remains illegal to grow it in public. Farmers can plant hemp as a cash crop. “The only way we can make a criminal case is if someone comes down and claims it,” Romei said Friday. Officials have made similar discoveries in the Statehouse flower gardens in previous years, Romei said, but it was the first instance in the two years he has been chief. “This was a humorous thing to come back to off from vacation,” Romei said of Monday’s discovery.
Man accused of forging police report as late for work excuse
Lisbon, N.H. (AP) — A man accused of forging a police report to back up his bogus story that he used as an excuse to his boss is facing real charges in New Hampshire. The Caledonian-Record reports that 51-year-old Paul Neilson was charged last week with forgery, a felony punishable by up to seven years in prison. Police say the Lisbon man told his boss he was late to work at a construction company March 11 because a Lisbon officer gave him a warning about his expired car registration. When his boss got suspicious, police say Neilson gave him a report purportedly from the officer with a detailed description of their interaction. The boss contacted police, who said they had not had any contact with Neilson that day nor written the report. A phone number for Neilson could not be found.
Chug chug! Moxie, the polarizing soda, is being celebrated
Lisbon, Maine (AP) — One Maine town is showing its moxie this weekend. The Moxie Festival dedicated to the quirky soda gets underway in earnest Saturday with a parade, music and a chugging contest in Lisbon. The creator of the quirky beverage was a Maine native, Dr. Augustin Thompson, whose brew was originally marketed “Moxie Nerve Foods” in Lowell, Massachusetts. It’s now the official beverage of Maine. The polarizing soda is an acquired taste. The late Frank Anicetti said people may want to spit it out on the first try but that those who stick with it are rewarded “the true flavor of Moxie.”
Toxic lake in Russia’s Siberia becomes selfie sensation
Moscow (AP) — Residents of a city in Siberia don’t need to fly off to tropical locales for picturesque selfies taken by pristine turquoise waters. Thousands of Novosibirsk residents — ranging from scantily clad women to newlyweds — have been busy instagramming near a bright blue lake nicknamed the “Siberian Maldives.” The lake is blue, however, due to a chemical reaction between toxic waste elements from a local power station. Environmentalists are warning people against coming into contact with the water. “We can compare it only with photos of the Maldives,” said Sergey Griva, a local who visited the lake, adding he’s never been to the Maldives and couldn’t find it on a map. Dmitry Shakhov, a Russian environmentalist, warned that the water in the lake can cause allergic reactions or even chemical burns if ingested or touched. “This water is saturated with heavy metals (and) harmful substances,” he said. The Siberian Generating Company said Friday it has deployed guards to keep trespassers at bay, but insists the lake presents no environmental danger.