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^PYTHONS-FLORIDA

Florida trappers step up efforts, catch 3,600 pythons

MIAMI (AP) — More than 3,600 Burmese pythons have been captured in Florida under an effort to control the invasive species that wildlife officials say is choking the delicate Everglades ecosystem.

Gov. Ron DeSantis said Monday the Python Action Team had removed 1,000 pythons from the wild. That’s on top of the 2,600 removed by the state’s python elimination program, which recruits hunters from around the state. Both programs began in 2017.

Last month, a trapper on the action team caught a record-setting python. The 18-foot, 4-inch-long) female weighed 98 pounds and 10 ounces. Wildlife officials say it was the largest ever captured at the Big Cypress National Preserve.

Experts say pythons have eliminated 99% of the native Everglades mammals including rabbits, bobcats and foxes, decimating food sources for native panthers and alligators.

^WINE IN SPACE

Wine cellar in space: 12 bottles arrive for year of aging

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — A dozen bottles of fine French wine arrived at the space station Monday, not for the astronauts, but for science.

The red Bordeaux wine will age for a year up there before returning to Earth. Researchers will study how weightlessness and space radiation affect the aging process. The goal is to develop new flavors and properties for the food industry. Universities in Bordeaux, France, and Bavaria, Germany, are taking part in the experiment from Space Cargo Unlimited, a Luxembourg startup.

As for high-flying wine cellars, this isn’t the first. A French astronaut took along a bottle of wine aboard shuttle Discovery in 1985. The bottle remained corked in orbit.

Budweiser has already sent barley seeds to the station, with an eye to becoming the beverage of choice on Mars.

^CVS-PUERTO RICO ID

Student: CVS workers rejected Puerto Rico ID, asked for visa

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) — CVS is apologizing after employees at an Indiana pharmacy refused to accept a Purdue University student’s Puerto Rico driver’s license as valid identification and questioned his immigration status.

José Guzmán Payano said he was in “shock” when employees at the CVS store in West Lafayette wouldn’t sell him cold medicine even after he presented his U.S. passport. He says they demanded to see a visa. He says a cashier and shift supervisor cited corporate policy that requires customers to show valid ID issued by the U.S., Canada or Mexico.

Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory, and Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens. A CVS spokeswoman says employees at the store have been reminded that identification from Puerto Rico is considered valid.

VAPING PENS-HEROIN

WVa police: Confiscated vaping pen contaminated with heroin

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) — Police in West Virginia say they have identified a source of suspected heroin-laced vaping solutions while investigating overdoses that sickened two high school students.

Morgantown Police Chief Ed Preston says an underage high school student has been identified as a suspect.

Preston says detectives obtained a search warrant that resulted in the recovery of more than 100 charged vaping solutions, packaging materials, marijuana and empty vaping cartridges that were being filled with the suspected solution. Preston says one of the vaping pens was confirmed to be contaminated with heroin and other dangerous chemicals.

Two local students remain hospitalized after being sickened last week by vaping pens.

Associated Press

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