At a Glance

Court: Communities can’t raise tobacco  sales age to 21

FLINT (AP) — The Michigan Court of Appeals has struck down a Genesee County ban on tobacco sales and related products to people under 21.

The county can't adopt a regulation that is stricter than state law, which allows tobacco sales to anyone who is at least 18, the appeals court said Tuesday.

In a 3-0 opinion, the court affirmed a decision by a Flint-area judge.

The ordinance was approved by county commissioners in 2017 but hasn't been enforced because of a lawsuit.

Supporters of the ordinance said it was intended to discourage young people from smoking.

The ordinance didn't ban young adults from using tobacco products in Genesee County.

University of Michigan researchers say raising the age to buy tobacco could save thousands of lives.

Ruling: Sleeping  judge not automatic reason for retrial

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Supreme Court says a guilty ruling against a man accused of firearms charges shouldn’t be automatically reversed because the judge fell asleep during the first day of trial.

The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that the high court recently rejected a legal interpretation by the lower Kansas Court of Appeals that granted a new trial to Daquantrius Johnson.

Justice Caleb Stegall wrote in the court’s opinion that there is no state precedent to justify a finding of structural error simply because a judge catnapped during the proceedings.

District Judge Benjamin Burgess acknowledged to the jury that he fell asleep but noted that no objections from attorneys were raised while he was out of commission.

The Supreme Court concluded that the trial judge’s slumber amounted to regrettable misconduct.

Shocked? Electric eel powers aquarium’s Christmas lights

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) — Visitors to the Tennessee Aquarium may be shocked to learn that an electric eel named Miguel Wattson is lighting up a Christmas tree.

A special system connected to Miguel’s tank enables his shocks to power strands of lights on a nearby tree, according to a news release.

Miguel releases low-voltage blips of electricity when he is trying to find food, aquarist Kimberly Hurt said. That translates to a rapid, dim blinking of the Christmas lights. When he is eating or excited he emits higher voltage shocks which cause bigger flashes.

Wattson has his own Twitter account where he shares tweets generated by his sparky self, courtesy of coding by Tennessee Tech University's iCube center.

“They combined electrical engineering and emerging business communication to give the eel a voice,” center director Kevin Liska previously said in a aquarium statement.

In between Miguel's tweets boasting statements like “SHAZAM!!!!” and “ka-BLAMEROO!!!!!," a video posted to the account shows Miguel shaking in his tank as lights on the nearby tree sputter on and off.

The aquarium hopes the Christmas tree will spark love and appreciation for the unusual freshwater fish.

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