Bright & Brief
BELLEVILLE, Ill. (AP) _ An international exchange program on the ins and outs of sweeping chimneys took place here before 22 visiting Swedes and their American hosts went on to a national convention Tuesday in San Diego.
Belleville sweep Hugh Maine borrowed his neighbor’s chimney as the Swedish sweeps and industry representatives learned to clean, American-style.
The Swedes then gave the Americans their version of cleaning out soot.
Swedish sweeps use feathery, stainless-steel brushes.
″We have better equipment to brush and sweep chimneys,″ Maine said. ″Instead of rods, they use ropes and weights to carry brushes down the flue.″
Maine said the Swedish government allows the master sweeps to wear its coat of arms - a distinction only shared by the nation’s police - and the sweeps are government employees responsible for chimney-related fires.
Lars-Gunnar Borjesson, vice president of the Swedish Master Sweep Association, said each region or city in Sweden has one master chimney sweep.
With the help of other chimney sweeps, journeymen and apprentices, the master chimney sweep is responsible for making sure all chimneys are inspected.
″In Sweden, master sweepers are only allowed to inspect chimneys,″ Borjesson said. ″This is done two times a year if oil or fuel is used for central heating, every eight weeks if wood is used for heating purposes.″
STERLING HEIGHTS, Mich. (AP) - Boa constrictors, anacondas and pythons are not uncommon pets, according to a resident who is suing to hang on to 16 of his household snakes that the city says are banned from dwellings.
Eric Larson, 26, says his snakes, the biggest of which is a 13-foot-long, green anaconda named Annie, never slither out of his apartment.
City officials were tipped about the snakes by an anonymous caller in February, said Lori Finazzo, an assistant city attorney.
″This is a multiresidential area, and we’re not talking about some small garter snakes,″ she said. ″We have some serious pythons here.″
Officials contend Larson is violating an ordinance that prohibits keeping ″uncommon pets″ within 300 feet of a dwelling. Common pets include cats, dogs and gerbils. ″Our ordinance is quite clear, and he’s in violation of it,″ Finazzo said.
Macomb Circuit Judge Raymond Cashen issued a temporary restraining order against the city last week and set a hearing for April 24 on Larson’s suit.
Larson, who has kept snakes since he was a child, defended his pets as quiet.
″It’s not as bad as a kitty litter box,″ he said. Larson’s lawyer, Charles Langton, says he knows one pet shop owner who sells 300 to 400 boa constrictors and pythons each year.
″And that’s just one store, so that puts (the big snakes) into the realm of common pets,″ Langton said. ″There’s a lot of snakes out there. People may not know it, but they’re out there.″