Stateline Story

WORTH NOTING: Former Gov Saw 'UFO'

  • March 30, 2007
  • By Daniel Vock

Former Arizona Gov. Fife Symington (R) is making out-of-this-world claims a decade after leaving office: He says he saw aliens over Phoenix in 1997. Symington, then governor, publicly dismissed reports of UFO sightings at the time and even staged a press conference with his top aide dressed as an alien to make light of the situation. But now he insists the UFOs were real, CNN reports. "In your gut, you could tell it was unworldly," Symington said. A pilot who investigated the sightings told the Arizona Daily Star the "UFOs" were actually formations of Air National Guard planes. The pilot said Symington "is not a trained observer, and what he feels in his gut doesn't make any difference."

 A Michigan lawmaker busted by the Detroit Free Press for driving on a suspended license says he's clear to drive again. That's quite an accomplishment for state Rep. Bert Johnson (D), who, at age 33, has had his license suspended for all but three months since he was 16. Johnson's rap sheet also includes a conviction for armed robbery that landed him behind bars for eight months in 1994. The Free Press caught Johnson leaving the Capitol in a Jaguar. When confronted, he said he had "no excuse."

Turtles can frolic in the sun together, but human couples will have a harder time going for a quick romp in the woods at a Wisconsin nude beach, reports The (Madison) Capital Times . State officials cut a stand of willow trees, despite scant evidence of misdeeds and no arrests last year of people caught in flagrante delicto . "When you have two people naked and they quickly separate, it's hard to get the visual evidence you need to make those types of cases," said one official.

Motorcycle wheelies could be banned on Tennessee roads, if a Republican lawmaker gets his way, The (Nashville) Tennessean reports. State Rep. Vince Dean (R) wants to give police explicit authority to cite wheelie-poppers for reckless driving. But the bill does not address maneuvers, called "stoppies" or "endos," to lift the back end of a bike in the air.

North Dakota dog owners might want to buy some muzzles. The state Supreme Court upheld a city ordinance prohibiting "excessive, continuous or untimely" dog barking, The Associated Press' Bismarck bureau notes. The man who brought the challenge got a $20 ticket for violating the ordinance while he was off helping Hurricane Katrina victims in Mississippi.

Maybe they should call it the Robert Brown Memorial Act. The Georgia Senate approved a bill designed to prevent the state from naming anything after Senate Minority Leader Robert Brown (D) once he retires, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution . Brown sponsored the measure. It took some tweaking to get it through, so now the Peach State will have a do-not-name registry that officials must consult before naming public property.

Sex offenders in Wisconsin say they're underpaid by the state, and now they've filed grievances to earn at least the state's $6.50-an-hour minimum wage, the AP's Madison bureau reports. Although not technically prisoners, the offenders are being held against their will at a state facility, where they earn wages performing maintenance.

Looking forward: The South Carolina Senate could be without a female member for the first time since 1979 when Sen. Linda Short (D) retires next year, The (Columbia) State points out. The situation could be averted if a woman is chosen for a current vacancy. … Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter (R) plans to visit Cuba next month, after Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman (R) this week returned from his third visit to the island country.