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Kerfuffle over Fugging name

Posted by Paul Makishima, Globe Assistant Sunday Editor  April 19, 2012 07:49 AM

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On Tuesday, the British tabloid The Sun reported that the 104 residents of an Austrian town whose name sounds like Foo-king but is spelled in a more vulgar manner were preparing to vote on changing the town's name.

The reason? Residents and officials in the upper Austrian burg reportedly had gotten fed up with the leering jokes, prank calls, the occasional half-dressed woman or amorous couple posing for a photo under a town sign, and the theft of more than a dozen of the aforementioned signs (which cost as much as $400 apiece, some of which were welded onto steel posts and cemented into the ground).

“I always wanted the name to stay but it’s just got too much now,'' Mayor Franz Meindl told the Sun. "The only problem is that we need all of the [town's] residents to agree to the name change. Everyone needs to agree for it to happen.
“As you can imagine there are heated discussions about the name change.”

The name apparently was derived from Focko, a 6th century Bavarian nobleman, and the modern spelling was adopted in the 18th century, according to a report in The Telegraph.

The village's fame was spread by American GIs stationed in the area after World War II. Since then increasing numbers of tourists have made forays to the town, mostly it seems for photo ops.

On Wednesday, the Mirror reported that the town voted to change its name to Fugging but it would not be able to do so because there was already a town in lower Austria, who initially shared the name with its northern neighbor but beat them to the name-change by a few centuries.

Here's where the plot thickens. Also Wednesday, Reuters reported that Mayor Meindl -- who was quoted in stories and a television interview --
dismissed the stories about the vote.

"I don't know where this comes from in the international press," an annoyed-sounding Meindl said by telephone on Wednesday from the Upper Austrian town near the German border.

"This was discussed a few years ago but nothing came of it. It is certainly not under discussion now."

So what is the truth here? Hard to say. So how much are flights to Austria?


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