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On The Light Side

June 23, 1988

WATERTOWN, Conn. (AP) _ They came to curry Caesar, not craze him.

Caesar, an African gray parrot that’s been the Briere family pet for 11 years, took his first-ever flight Sunday afternoon while his cage was being moved outside and spent two days as a free bird.

The parrot, who eschews the traditional cracker in favor of provolone cheese and bolgona, perched atop a tall tree across the street from his home after he flew the coop. Caesar remained free until Tuesday.

The fire department on Sunday responded by sending Chief Charles ″Buddy″ Judd up in a ladder truck bucket. Judd said as soon as he got close, Caesar just squealed and flew away.

The bird’s quest for freedom kept family members, friends and neighbors busy as they took shifts throughout the day and night keeping track of the parrot, according a family member.

Jeannine Briere said she spent the days sitting in the back yard, whistling and calling the bird until her voice started tiring. She then made a tape recording of her calls and played it over and over.

Her husband, Fern, said he told her at one point that the parrot was trying to come home, but didn’t know how to land.

On Tuesday, the Brieres bought a large fishing net and attached it to a 10- foot pole.

After tracking Caesar to a neighbor’s tree, they reached up and after a couple of tries, bagged the bird.

Briere, with gloves on, grabbed the bird from the net. Caesar’s first word was ″Hello.″


MIAMI (AP) - A falafel vendor is claiming victory in a food fight against hot dogs.

The ruckus started when David Bonan, who has sold falafel at South Florida street festivals for nine years, moved his sidewalk cart to a busy downtown street where hot-dog carts have long had a monopoly.

The hot dog vendors complained, and Dade County health inspectors ordered Bonan to close the business March 9. Florida’s health code limits mobile food units to ″frankfurters only,″ they said.

That’s because hot dogs are covered with ″a membrane that prevents pathogenic organisms from entering the food.″

Bonan claimed the code was unconstitutional, sued the state in federal court and refused to budge. Earlier this month, a health inspector and three police officers confiscated $100 of falafel, doused it with liquid bleach and threatened to arrest Bonan if he didn’t stop.

An emergency hearing was held Friday and U.S Magistrate Samuel Smargon ruled in Bonan’s favor.

″Just standing up for my rights through the legal system,″ said Bonan, who vows to add two carts selling the mashed chick-pea mixture on city streets by next week.

The state has 10 days to appeal. Al Ros, assistant county director of environmental health, said he is worried that the falafel case will open the streets to everything from tacos to chicken wings.

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