A Dec. 11 Coast to Coast item about wild parakeets in Connecticut fouling power lines incorrectly said the birds were responsible for power outages eight to 12 times a month. United Illuminating Co., a New Haven power company, said the birds cause outages eight to 12 times a year. (Published 12/13/2005)
Black Sox Volumes
Reach Home Safely
The market in Chicago White Sox memories and memorabilia skyrocketed after the team's unlikely World Series victory in October, its first in 78 years. That's when the University of Illinois discovered that two cherished volumes documenting a darker Sox era were missing from the stacks.
"This is our baseball history, and now it's gone," Karen Schmidt, a university librarian, said in a news release seeking help. "I can't put a price on them because there don't appear to be any available copies out there to purchase."
One of the volumes included rare coverage of what became known as the Chicago Black Sox scandal of 1919, when members of the team threw the World Series to the Cincinnati Reds. Requests from researchers after this year's White Sox victory led librarians to discover the theft of 1920s volumes, which had been shelved in the open.
But the day after Schmidt and the university publicized the apparent theft, someone returned the volumes to a reference table, where a librarian found them while making his rounds.
Campus police said they would not investigate further. For safekeeping, all copies have been moved to closed stacks at the Illinois State Historical Society.
-- Peter Slevin
Friends of Parakeets
Battle Power Company
An infestation of wild parakeets -- yes, wild parakeets -- in Connecticut has triggered a fight between animal rights activists and a utility company, which says the birds must be killed to keep their hivelike nests from fouling power lines.
The monk parakeets are squat with gray, brown and green plumage. They are native to South America. A few were apparently released into the wild in southern Connecticut years ago, and now light poles are festooned with their communal nests, which can exceed a foot and a half in diameter and include spaces for 40 birds.
According to United Illuminating Co., a utility based in New Haven, Conn., about eight to 12 power outages a month have been caused by the birds.
In recent weeks, the utility began using nets to capture birds at 103 nests in West Haven, Milford, Stratford and Bridgeport. The birds were then handed over to the U.S. Department of Agriculture to be killed.
People outraged by the killing tried protests and a boycott of Christmas lights, to deny money to the utility. They even sought a court order. But last week the utility told the court that it was finished for the year, having disposed of more than 200 parakeets.
-- David A. Fahrenthold
'Gone With the Wind'
Tribute Is Debated
The name of the major street that sweeps through Clayton County, Ga., is yet another reminder of the area's Confederate past.
It's called Tara Boulevard, recalling Scarlett O'Hara's plantation in the novel and movie "Gone With the Wind."
But in a county with a growing black population, a new group wants the name gone and replaced with that of civil rights figure Rosa Parks.
The idea has led to a debate about old and new. "So we have the main road in our county representing a plantation," said Bob Hartley, a leader of the group seeking the name change. And "they say I'm playing the race card."
On his Web site, Hartley has invited visitors to weigh in on the idea. Opinion has been split, he said.
-- Peter Whoriskey
Gold Yields Itself
Readily at Mine Site
Workers building a gold mine near Juneau, Alaska, had a "Eureka!" moment recently when a shiny rock at the site turned out to be the tip of a surface vein of gold.
All work was immediately halted to allow an on-site geologist to verify the discovery. After it was determined that all that glittered really was gold, workers sidled over with their lunch pails during their breaks for some old-fashioned prospecting.
The discovery was thought to be a relatively small vein, the Anchorage Daily News reported.
Officials at the Coeur d'Alene Mines Corp., which owns the site, are expecting to mine 100,000 ounces of gold each year from far below the surface after the mine opens in two years. But rarely do precious minerals offer themselves up so easily.
-- Sonya Geis