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Odds & Ends 11/30
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Identity theft victim flips out at IHOP
QUINCY, Mass. — John Russo says he has been a victim of identity theft. So when he was asked to fork over a photo ID just to be seated at an IHOP pancake restaurant, he flipped.
    ‘‘’You want my license? I’m going for pancakes, I’m not buying the Hope diamond,’ and they refused to seat us,’’ Russo said, recounting his experience this week at the Quincy IHOP.
    The restaurant now has agreed to reverse the policy of requiring customers to turn over their driver’s licenses before they can order — a rule that was enacted to discourage ‘‘dine and dash’’ thefts.
    WCVB-TV in Boston reported the Quincy restaurant’s policy had been enacted without corporate approval.
    IHOP Corp., based in Glendale, Calif., released a statement Monday night to WCVB that said an employee felt the policy could eliminate the problem of people leaving without paying.
    ‘‘This was done without the knowledge or approval of management. ... We apologize to any guest who was inconvenienced,’’ the statement said.
    Russo said a security guard at the restaurant had ‘‘at least 40’’ licenses in hand when he arrived to eat.
    ‘‘Identity theft is rampant. I wouldn’t want to give my license, with my address or Social Security number to anyone that I’m not familiar with,’’ Russo said. ‘‘I’m going just for breakfast.’’

Turtle parade
    CHARLESTON, S.C. — First came cows and palmetto trees — as well as deer, moose, dinosaurs and cod. Now come the turtles.
    This spring, dozens of decorated turtles will be sunning themselves along Charleston’s streets as part of ‘‘Turtles on Parade.’’ The loggerheads will be the work of artists using life-size molds of 3-foot-long, 300-pound loggerheads.
    It’s the latest in the folk art craze that started with ‘‘Cows on Parade’’ in Chicago in the late 1990s. Six years ago, the Palmetto Tree Project featured dozens of colorful statues of palmetto trees scattered around Columbia.
    Other cities have seen everything from deer and dinosaurs to caribou and cod and, in Myrtle Beach, there were carousel horses.
    The turtle project, which will be on display as part of the Piccolo Spoleto, was the idea of Robin Asbury, who, while working for the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, helped create a pride of lions.
    He expects as many as 75 turtles to be part of the exhibit with the money raised going to sea turtle rescue and other conservation work at the South Carolina aquarium.
    Business sponsors support the project and pick proposals from artists, who get a $1,000 stipend. The statues will remain on display through the summer when they will be auctioned as part of a final fundraiser.
    ‘‘It’s innovative. It’s educational. It’s whimsical. It’s fun. It’s great public art,’’ said Ellen Dressler Moryl of Piccolo Spoleto.

Poisonous fish sends man to the hospital
    EAST ROCKAWAY, N.Y. — A man was taken to a hospital after tangling with a venomous fish in his home aquarium, police said.
    A one spot foxface rabbitfish bit the 19-year-old aquarist Tuesday night while he was working on his fish tank in East Rockaway, said Nassau County Police Officer Thomas Brussell.
    The species, known by the scientific name Siganus unimaculatus, has venomous spines on its back, according to, an electronic database maintained by researchers. Also called the blotched foxface rabbitfish, the fish is found in tropical seas off western Australia, the Philippines and other parts of the western Pacific Ocean.
    Brussell said East Rockaway firefighters took the young man to a local hospital with a bite to his left index finger around 9:25 p.m., but information on his injuries and condition wasn’t available early Wednesday.
    Police would not release the man’s name.

Curiosity nearly killed the...squirrel? 

   TWO RIVERS, Wis. — A squirrel got a fiery surprise when it apparently got curious about a chimney.
    The squirrel fell down a chimney at a Two Rivers home and landed in a fire in a fireplace Monday night, said Two Rivers Assistant Fire Chief Gary Shavlik.
    The squirrel escaped the fire and ran around the house, Shavlik said.
    Firefighters later caught it and called Wildlife of Wisconsin, an agency that helps wild animals. The squirrel suffered from bloody paws.
    The squirrel is alive and there was no fire damage, Shavlik said.
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