CLINTONVILLE, Wis., March 23 (UPI) -- Officials in a Wisconsin town said they will spend $7,000 investigating the cause of loud booms and vibrations that have bothered residents for days.
Geophysicists said late Thursday the source likely can be traced back to an earthquake that measured 1.5 Tuesday evening.
Clintonville City Administrator Lisa Kuss said the city will shell out the sum to engineering firm Ruekert & Mielke to have four seismometers attempt to pinpoint the epicenter of the booming, which Kuss said is believed to be a couple hundred feet under the surface, The (Appleton) Post-Crescent reported Thursday.
"It's possible we'll never have a definitive answer," Kuss said at a public hearing Wednesday.
Officials said calls have come in from all over the city about mysterious booming sounds and vibrations, which began Sunday night. Kuss said the phenomenon seems to be waning, with fewer booms reported each night.
The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake struck at 5:15 p.m. Tuesday 30 miles northwest of Appleton, 37 miles west-northwest of Green Bay and 40 miles east of Stevens Point about 3.1 miles below the earth's surface. The continuing booms could be so-called microquakes that can be felt only nearby, Gannett newspapers reported.
Texas city manager lays himself off
KELLER, Texas, March 23 (UPI) -- The city manager of Keller, Texas, declaring municipal management positions needed to be trimmed, announced his own layoff.
Dan O'Leary told the City Council of his decision Tuesday and the public Wednesday, saying, "It's a little unusual for a city our size to have three managers," a reference to his two assistant city managers, Steve Polasek and Chris Fuller.
Keller is a northern suburb of Fort Worth with a population of about 40,000. A replacement will be chosen by the City Council.
O'Leary said his last performance review was positive and there are no issues forcing his self-removal. He is leaving ahead of city elections in May before an annual budget process gets under way and after last week's auditor's report was submitted.
"This was the best time," he said.
His last day on the job will be April 20. No other staff reductions are planned, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported Thursday.
Man fights to keep his 360 snakes
COON RAPIDS, Minn., March 23 (UPI) -- A Minnesota man is trying to change the minds of city officials who say his collection of 360 snakes and 60 lizards makes his home unfit for humans.
Scott Nellis of Coon Rapids said he began collecting the animals as pets and inventory to be sold at Midwestern reptile expos in 1996 and his menagerie dramatically increased in size in 2004, the St. Paul Pioneer-Press reported Thursday.
City officials found out about Nellis' reptiles, as well as the 250 rodents and two tubs of cockroaches he keeps as a food source for the snakes and lizards, when a neighbor complained about the smell coming from discarded wood shavings in his back yard in October.
Inspectors said Nellis' home had been rendered unfit for human habitation and ordered him to get rid of the reptiles.
However, he said he is hoping to change their minds at Friday's city council meeting.
"This is my private life we're talking about," Nellis said. "It's my contention the city has no business whatsoever trying to dictate what I do legally inside my house."
City Attorney Stoney Hiljus said hazards in the home include fire risks from extension cords and hallways made narrow by drawers full of reptiles. He said the air quality in the home contains excess amounts of ammonia, which is created by animal waste.
"Now that we're aware of these code violations, we have no choice but to get involved," Hiljus said.
Porn stars banned from school's prom
OAKDALE, Minn., March 23 (UPI) -- A Minnesota school district superintendent said a high school senior will not be allowed to bring porn stars as his prom dates.
Mike Stone, 18, of Oakdale, said he sent Twitter messages to about 600 celebrities in January and February to find a date for the Tartan High School prom and he received affirmative responses from Internet porn stars Megan Piper and Emy Reyes, the St. Paul Pioneer-Press reported Thursday.
Stone said he is attempting to raise funds via Twitter to fly the porn stars into town for the prom.
However, Patty Phillips, superintendent of the North St. Paul-Maplewood-Oakdale district, said all non-students wishing to attend the prom need to be approved by officials and the porn stars would not be allowed to attend.