State news in brief

Customs finds 70 finches in hair rollers

NEW YORK (AP) — Customs officials at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City say they found 70 live finches hidden inside hair rollers.

Authorities say the passenger carrying the songbirds arrived Saturday from Guyana.

The New York Times reports officials believe the birds were brought to the U.S. to participate in underground singing contests.

Customs officials say people bet on how many times the finches chirp, and a winning male finch can sell for up to $10,000.

The birds found Saturday were turned over to veterinarians with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the passenger was sent back to Guyana.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection says bird smuggling could threaten agriculture through the possible spread of diseases such as bird flu.

Confirmed measles case in Erie County

BUFFALO (AP) — Health officials in western New York say they’ve confirmed a case of measles.

Now they’re warning people who may have been exposed at several Buffalo-area locations over the past week to be aware of symptoms.

The Erie County Health Department says a recent immigrant was recently diagnosed with the highly contagious virus at Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital. The patient visited several venues between Dec. 4 and 11, including Catholic Charities and a county health clinic in Buffalo, Sweet Home High School in Amherst, and several stores in and around Buffalo.

Authorities say the virus remains alive in the air and on surfaces for up to two hours.

People who haven’t been vaccinated should see a doctor if they develop a fever, watery eyes and a rash.

Man charged with threatening senator

NEW YORK (AP) — Federal authorities say a Brooklyn man threatened to murder a U.S. senator for criticizing President Donald Trump and supporting reproductive rights.

Prosecutors said Wednesday that Michael Brogan was charged with threatening to kill a federal official.

Authorities did not identify the senator.

Brogan’s defense attorney declined to comment.

Brogan was released from custody on $50,000 bail with home detention and ordered to wear an ankle monitor as he awaits trial.

A criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court says Brogan called the senator’s office in Washington, D.C., earlier this month and threatened to “put a bullet in ya.”

The complaint says Capitol Police traced the call to Brogan’s Brooklyn residence.

State news in brief