Monday, May 04, 2015

Story time

Man saves ungrateful moose

James Boseley rescued this young moose that had become tangled in a barbed wire fence. Afterwards, the moose wasn't exactly overflowing with gratitude.

YouTube link.

Man who fled after car crash found hiding 50 feet up tree

A police K-9 team tracked a man from Gray in Cumberland County, Maine, who had fled from police, to his hiding spot 50 feet up in a tree early on Wednesday morning.

Police charged Weston Wing, 30, of Gray with eluding an officer, leaving the scene of an accident and driving with a suspended licence for being a habitual offender.

Police officer Jim Cook spotted a car going 65 mph in a 50 mph zone toward Gray on Route 202 at 12:11am. The driver refused to pull over, turned onto Route 115, then crashed near an intersection. The driver ran a short distance into the woods but Cook got a description of his clothing.

A police dog with Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office was used to track the driver and he was found hiding high up in the branches of a tree. Wing has an extensive history of driving violations including about 20 licence suspensions over the past 10 years, said Windham Lt. Jim Boudreau.

Woman crashed stolen school bus into police car before trying to swim to Canada

A woman drove a school bus stolen in Stanwood, Washington, 70 miles to Blaine, where she rammed the bus into a police car and crashed again in a marina park on Friday. She then tried to swim to Canada while screaming, “God will save me!” according to police and witnesses. The short yellow school bus, with no students aboard, had been taken from the Stanwood-Camano Island School District’s bus barn at around 1:45p., according to the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office. Snohomish County had asked the public to be on the lookout for a bus with Washington license plate 86934C.

A short yellow bus was reported weaving north on Interstate 5 at around 3:45 p.m. in Ferndale, and within about a quarter-hour, a police officer spotted it in Blaine. The bus rammed the officer’s patrol car and went speeding down Marine Drive, a dead-end harbor road, said Blaine Police Chief Mike Haslip. Another driver, Katherine McCall, 72, of Blaine, said the bus passed her at 60 mph. “Boy, that school bus sure is driving fast,” McCall recalled thinking. “I hope there aren’t any kids aboard.” The bus crashed into a log parking-lot barrier, dragged the log, and came to a stop, high-centred, a few feet short of a tall solitary tree in the middle of the park, about 100 feet short of Boundary Bay.

The bus theft suspect, a middle-aged woman, ran from the bus and shouted, “God will save me! God will save me!” as she waded into the shallow water on the north end of the park. Police jumped aboard the Blaine harbormaster’s powerboat and tried to convince the woman, who swam about 150 yards out, to surrender, Haslip said. She would not. After about 20 minutes, officers pulled the woman, showing signs of hypothermia, into the boat. She swam about half the distance from the park to the 49th parallel that marks Canadian waters, Haslip said. The water there is shallow: 3 to 6 feet deep in parts. North Whatcom firefighters took her by ambulance to St. Joseph hospital to treat her for hypothermia.

YouTube link.

“She’s wet and very cold,” Haslip said. She’s expected to be evaluated for mental health issues, too. The woman gave officers a name, but police didn’t feel confident enough that she was telling the truth to release it, Haslip said. She's accused of vehicle theft, felony assault on an officer and felony eluding of law enforcement. By Friday night a woman facing those charges had been booked into Whatcom County Jail under the name Elizabeth Winter. She’s believed to be about 54 years old. No details have been released about a possible motive. Keys to the bus, No. 71, were still in the ignition while police examined the scene. All of the Stanwood-Camano school district’s drivers and personnel were accounted for, and officers were trying to figure out how the woman got the keys.

Cow issued with admit card for professional entrance examination

Red-faced officials of a panel in Jammu and Kashmir, northern India, that issued an admit card to a cow for an entrance test to a professional course said on Sunday they would file a formal complaint to the police to trace the prankster behind the incident. The Jammu and Kashmir Board of Professional Entrance Examinations became the butt of jokes when it emerged that it had issued an admit card to “Kachir Gaw” (brown cow in the Kashmiri language) for a test on May 10 to select candidates for a polytechnic diploma course.

The card said the applicant was the daughter of Gur Dand (bull). By Sunday afternoon, embarrassed officials of the board had traced the internet protocol (IP) address of the person who submitted the application on behalf of the cow. "This person has the turned the respectable institution of Board of Professional Entrance Examinations into a laughing stock. We have traced the IP address, which apparently is from south Kashmir's Anantnag district,” Farooq Ahmad Mir, the controller of examinations of the board, said.

“It will be followed up by a formal First Information Report in the next two days since Monday is a holiday," Mir said. The lapse became public when Junaid Azeem Mattu, a spokesman for the opposition National Conference, tweeted images of the admit card, complete with a photo of a brown cow. Mir said that the admit cards were issued through an automated process. Though the process included image recognition software, it could not differentiate between a human’s face and an animal’s picture, he said.

"We want strict action against the person. Tomorrow, someone can play bigger mischief and hack our website. We have to create an example. We cannot afford to let him go without punishment. We are receiving mails and SMSs from people asking for action. We want people's faith in the institution to remain intact," Mir said. Mir, the board’s chairman and the law secretary worked through Sunday to address the issue. Education minister Nayeem Akhtar sought an explanation from the board. "Tomorrow we will conduct examinations for medical and other professional courses. We will be lynched if we don't establish our credentials as competent gatekeepers to hold such examinations," said Mir.

There's a news video in Hindi here.

Hunt on for police search dog that has gone missing

The hunt is on for missing three-year-old police search dog Thames, who is lost in the Tararua Ranges in Wairarapa, New Zealand.

Police are urging ramblers, outdoor enthusiasts and local farmers to keep their eyes open for Thames who was separated from his handler in the Mt Holdsworth area near Carterton on Sunday afternoon. Thames is a sable coloured German Shepherd who went missing in the Totara Creek-Red Creek area.

He was walking out with his handler and other Wairarapa Search and Rescue squad members and civilian volunteers at the end of an annual day-long training exercise. After failing to find the dog using voice calls and searching the main tracks, squad members have decided to stay in the bush overnight.

Police hope Thames, who is more used to tracking and finding people rather than being the subject of a search, is making his way down the mountain and is following stream beds to safety. Local farmers and others living near the Mt Holdsworth access roads have also been asked to keep an eye out for him.

Italian army growing cannabis to slash end user prices

The Italian army has unveiled its first cannabis farm, set up to try to lower the cost of medical marijuana in the country. The army's foray into cannabis production was first announced by the government in September, and its first crop is said to be "coming along nicely," according to officials.

The plants are being grown in a secure room at a military-run pharmaceutical plant just outside Florence, and the army expects to produce 100kg (220lb) of the drug annually. The site also houses drying and packing facilities. "The aim of this operation is to make available to a growing number of patients a medical product which isn't always readily available on the market, at a much better price for the user," Col Antonio Medica says.

Medical marijuana is considered beneficial to treat a variety of conditions, particularly for managing chronic pain. While Italian doctors can legally prescribe the drug, the cost isn't covered by the state. It is often prohibitively expensive for patients to buy it legally at pharmacies, something ministers want to change. At the moment medical marijuana is imported from abroad - primarily from the Netherlands - and costs up to 35 euros per gram.

"We're aiming to lower the price to under 15 euros, maybe even around 5 euros per gram," says Col Medica. Private cannabis cultivation remains illegal in Italy, and selling the drug is also against the law. The army laboratory was chosen for the project because it already had the necessary facilities and could guarantee security thanks to its surveillance system,

Firestarting tortoises rescued from blazing house

Two tortoises had a lucky escape when they were rescued from a house fire, which one of them in believed to have started, in Fordingbridge, Hampshire.

A crew from Fordingbridge Fire Station were called to the scene last Sunday at about 12.50pm after a fire broke out in a room, which had to be extinguished by firefighters wearing breathing apparatus due to the smoke. The tortoises Toby and Dinky are said to be recovering well.

Their owners who wish not to be named, were unhurt in the fire, and said Toby has been in the family since the 1950's and they have had Dinky for more than 25 years. Fordingbridge Fire Station manager Pete White said: “The whole house was full of smoke and there was a reasonable fire going in the room.”

Speaking about the rescue he added: "It is a first for the crew. We have never had to deal with tortoises before. I popped back round to see them and the owners have taken them to the vets and say they are all fine." It is believed the fire broke out after one of the tortoises knocked over a heating lamp.

Judge shuts down placenta smoothie business over health fears

A woman has been banned from providing prepared placentas for new mothers to eat after a judge deemed the health risks are too great. Swindon Council applied for the second time for a hygiene emergency prohibition order on Thursday which was granted until 41-year-old Kathryn Beale can prove the safety of her business, Optimum Doula. Ms Beale produces smoothies from human placenta, blended with berries and banana, for new mothers, who supply her with their own placenta. She insists the smoothies are safe and argues that eating placentas has many health benefits. Ms Beale said she makes each smoothie by blending an 8cm-long piece of placenta with some sliced banana, a punnet of organic berries and 150ml of water.

The remaining placenta is dehydrated, ground into powder and turned into pills. Ms Beale has been running her placenta business for two years and typically has two customers a month. Environmental health officers are concerned about the presence of staphylococcus aureus in human placenta, a pathogen considered to be the most critical because it can’t be destroyed by heat. When swallowed it can cause vomiting and diarrhoea. While not all placentas carry the bug, those that do have a particularly high level. The case against Kathryn has so far cost Swindon Council in the region of £2,000. Phil Wirth, prosecuting at Swindon Magistrates Court, said: “Evidence comes from Professor Pennington. He is considered one of the leading experts.

“The order will remain in place until Ms Beale can satisfy us she can provide this food in a safe manner, because she is a food business operator. She does have other products which are not placenta-based. The difficulty is the issue that staphylococcus aureus is resistant to heat, which is the way the placenta is produced.” District Judge Simon Cooper, presiding, said: “I have never quite appreciated the range and ingenuity of the human mind which will place cases such as this before me. Having held a food hygiene certificate myself in the past, I am well aware of the risk of staphylococcus, and it is exceptionally high. It isn’t going to be dealt with by heat, and there could be an epidemic if the stuff is passed around or sold on the internet. It is the contamination issue which seems to me to be particularly serious. She doesn’t want a full examination of the evidence, so on that basis, the order is made.”

Ms Beale said she was unable to contest the application due to the costs involved. After the hearing, she said: “Growth of staphylococcus aureus on the placental surface is unlikely. The organisms transferred to the surface of the placenta are protective, not hazardous, and will prevent the growth of staphylococcus aureus because of competition, the low pH due to lactic acid and to other antibacterial compounds produced. It is not passed around or sold on the internet. I meet with each mum in person when she books my services and she receives only her own placenta. Her placenta will not be given to anyone else and she will not be given anyone else’s placenta. I did want a full examination of the evidence, but due to the risk of losing being financially crippling, - having to pay not only any court costs incurred, but also all of Swindon Council’s costs, in relation to the case - I felt I had no choice but to accept the order.”

'Puppy room' set up for stressed out students

Exam and deadline season may be looming large, but the lucky students at the University of Central Lancashire will have the perfect way of de-stressing with their very own puppy room. Organised by the students' union as part of the 'SOS (Stressed Out Students) campaign', stressed students will get to cuddle puppies in a dedicated room.

Coordinated in partnership with the Guide Dogs charity (who will be providing the puppies), the event will be held for one day on 7 May. Places have to be booked in advance, in order to limit the number of people in the room at any one time so that the puppies don't get stressed out.

Unsurprisingly the puppy room is already fully-booked, and the reservation list is also at maximum capacity. The Union is keen to stress that the welfare of the puppies will be a top priority. According to the event page on Facebook, "the puppies will have regular breaks throughout the 3 hours and be with their handlers at all times."

A separate 'chill out' room will also be set up for the puppies "if they need it". Attendees will be asked to pay a donation of £1.50, which will go towards the Guide Dogs charity. The occasion will apparently also be a great opportunity for the guide dogs-in-training to get used to being around people.

Sunday, May 03, 2015

How much is that doggie in the window?

Bear and dog have a friendly wrestle

Millie, a year old Syrian Brown Bear and her dog King wrestle and play on a cool spring morning at GarLyn Zoo in Mackinac County, Michigan.

YouTube lnk.

Dog crashed couple’s truck into swimming pool

Caroline, a black labrador, is in the doghouse after she crashed a 1988 Dodge Ram into a swimming pool. Michael and Ruth Smith took Caroline along for a ride on Friday as they stopped to pick up some groceries from a store in Erwin, North Carolina. Michael Smith said that’s when the dog got spooked by something.

"When she gets scared she will go down on the floorboard of the truck," he said. Ruth Smith was driving when the 90 pound dog stepped on her foot. Her husband said he tried to pull Caroline off. "Before I could we were wide open," he said. "We were probably going 50 to 55 miles per hour." Ruth Smith said she knew she had to keep the truck straight and aimed for a wooden fence.

"I didn't know what else to do," she said. The truck ploughed through the fence and splashed into a backyard pool. "We hit the water and I'm going 'where in the name of God is this water coming from,'" Michael Smith said. The pool owner, John McNamara, said he was in the kitchen with his wife at the time of the crash and told his wife there was a truck in the pool.

"She just laughed at me and said, 'what are you doing, smoking or something?,'" he said. Michael Smith had a few cuts on his hands, otherwise everyone made it out OK. "I hate that it happened to (McNamara's) pool, but I think that it might have saved our lives," he said. Michael Smith also doesn’t blame Caroline for the crash. "It is just one of those off accidents that you read about in the newspaper or see on the news," he said. Authorities say no charges are expected to be filed.

With news video.

Authorities removed shirtless man stuck in basketball hoop

Police and fire crews used a ladder to rescue a shirtless man hanging upside down by his foot from a basketball hoop at around 6:30pm on Friday in Cal Anderson Park on Capitol Hill in Seattle.

The hammer-wielding man somehow climbed up the hoop and became stuck. As nearly a dozen police officers looked on, the man then began thrashing around.

At times he was dangling just by his stuck foot, other times with his head stuck inside the rim, all in an apparent attempt to free his foot. Twice as the man dangled by just his foot upside down, police officers attempted to get him free, to no avail.

YouTube link.

It took a ladder from a Seattle Fire truck and two firefighters to climb up and cut down the net and free the man. Seattle Police say they're still deciding whether to cite the unidentified man for any wrongdoing.

Ungrateful mugger stole jewellery then returned to victim complaining that it was fake

A man accused of snatching jewellery from a tourist in Miami Beach, Florida, then becoming angry over the quality of the merchandise has been arrested.

Daniel Sion Palmer, 26, has been charged with armed robbery, fleeing and eluding, reckless driving and possession of a suspended licence, police said.

The incident happened on South Beach at about 3am on Thursday when Palmer allegedly pointed a gun at a man from New York, grabbed his gold chain and then took off. Police say Palmer apparently was not satisfied with his freshly stolen jewellery, and so he approached the victim again a block away just so he could tell him the jewellery was fake.

"That was a brazen move and because of that he was able to be apprehended," Det. Ernesto Rodriguez said. The victim was able to flag police down and point out Palmer, who was now driving a Mercedes. Investigators say he sped away, disregarding the police officers who had turned on their lights and sirens. He was caught shortly after.

With news video.

Fisherman caught cow after it jumped into harbour

A fisherman from Darwin in Australia's Northern Territory caught more than he was probably expecting after assisting with the rescue of a brahman cow that had jumped from a nearby wharf. Jonathan Brandenburg and his wife helped two stockmen catch the animal, which had jumped into Darwin Harbour while being readied for loading onto a live export ship last Saturday.

"My wife and I started flicking for some queenies [queenfish] and this guy starting yelling at us from the wharf and he asked us if we would help him out," he said. "So two of them jump in the tinny and one gets his rope out, wrangles it around the animal's neck and pulls it against the boat. The boat's going all over the place and me and my wife were freaking out, but it was all good. We just cruised two kilometres back to the East Arm boat ramp. It took about an hour to an hour and a half."

Tony Eggington, interim executive officer of the Northern Territory Livestock Exporters Association, thanked Mr Brandenburg and his wife for their efforts. "We owe them a vote of thanks because they came to our assistance quickly and readily to help the animal," he said. Mr Eggington said cattle rarely escaped. "The live exporters have around 450,000 cattle exported from the Port of Darwin each year and we do get two or three animals escape from those loadings and shipments," he said.

YouTube link.

He said there were always animal welfare officers present to monitor loading. "Livestock exporters have an escaped animal management plan at East Arm Wharf approved by Department of Agriculture and the Darwin Port Authority," Mr Eggington said. "We were able to tie this animal down, restrain its head and take its weight around its girth and then swim it to shore, where it was hoisted up into a truck and taken back to the yards. The animal was a bit stressed from having an evening swim, but has been looked after and has undergone a full recovery."

Council tells man that the gaps between the slats on his fence are too narrow

Rowan Macdonald has been served an abatement notice by the Nelson City Council in New Zealand, saying that the gaps between the slats of his new fence are too small. The gap must be 25mm, the council says. Macdonald's counter is that spacing of that width would not only invade his privacy but also create a biting hazard for children who might put their fingers through the gaps to pet his three big dogs. He says the natural shrinkage of the slats as the timber dries will widen the spacing to 10mm and that you can already see through the gaps. But he's still faced with an abatement notice - and says he'll fight the council in the Environment Court rather than give in to a ruling he maintains is simply wrong. At Thursday night's Rules Reduction Taskforce meeting in Nelson he got support from the housing minister, Nelson MP Nick Smith, who already knew all about it.

"When Rowan told me the story I was a bit gobsmacked and went down and had a look," Smith said. "It is a perfectly respectable fence and if he'd like to build the same fence on my property I'd be pleased to have it." Macdonald, one of a series of speakers who told the government taskforce members of problems encountered through the Resource Management Act and Building Act as applied by councils, said he'd been told by council representatives that his fence breached the RMA, which aimed to promote safer communities by ensuring that people could see out of their sections into the street, and vice versa. He said the council had provided him with three different "official" requirements for the gap: a thumb's width, 20mm and 25mm, finding the latter, he believed, having "sat around a room and measured their thumbs and come up with an average measurement".

A gap that wide would invade his privacy, he said. "I'm disgusted by that. My house is on three levels, the living area is on the second level and I have a bedroom on the third level. They look over the frickin' fence anyway." A council officer had told him he could apply for an exemption at a cost of $1000, he said, but had also indicated the council would look forward to seeing its ruling tested in court. He would be filing papers with the Environment Court on Monday. "The Act says that fences have to be visually permeable. You can see through my fence. If it was a straight iron fence or a straight concrete fence you couldn't see through it. I'm dismayed at this rule and having to defend myself in court for a measurement that doesn't even exist." Taskforce member, Far North mayor and former MP John Carter said Macdonald's case involved a local rule resulting from the Act.

"That's when it becomes complicated. That's the stuff that Nick's trying to fix so that we can get on to some of this dopey stuff and get it changed." Nelson Mayor Rachel Reese, also a taskforce member, said the fence was a very good example of what the taskforce was looking for as it prepared to write a report on how to weed out pedantic and frustrating rules around property and housing. "The trouble is, once the rule's been made, it's very difficult and slow to get rid of it." Council strategy and environment group manager Clare Barton said the new fence rules had been in place since July 2012 and aimed to create more streetscape openness and a better sense of safety. Fences constructed before then could be replaced like with like. Barton said council officers assessed each case on its own merits to determine if anyone walking down the street could see through the fence into the property. Macdonald had been advised that his fence was in breach. He could apply for a resource consent for the fence as it stands, or alter it. He'd elected to do neither, she said.

Man pays €500 to court for squirting tomato ketchup and mustard at fish and chip shop staff

Gardaí were called to a fish and chip in Sneem, Co Kerry, Ireland, after a customer squirted sauce to such an extent it put staff in fear, Kenmare District Court was told. Mindaugas Knyz, 37, who works as a chef, went to the Hungry Knight fast food restaurant, North Square, Sneem, at about 2am on September 20th, 2014, Supt Flor Murphy told the court.

“He was causing problems. He was throwing chips and red sauce around,” Supt Murphy said. The episode went on for 15 minutes, the court was told. Knyza, of Sneem, pleaded guilty to engaging in offensive conduct by squirting tomato ketchup and mustard sauce over the counter in a fast food outlet, putting employees in fear, contrary to the Public Order Act, 2008.

“I ordered chips, I don’t know what happened,” Knyza, who works as a chef at the Sneem Hotel, told the court . He appeared to be “blas√©” about the charge, Judge James O’Connor noted. Judge O’Connor warned Knyza he should consider making a contribution to the court poor box to avoid a conviction.

“Nobody wants to hire a chef with a conviction - especially for squirting tomato and mustard sauce all over the place,” the judge warned. The judge adjourned the matter briefly and Knyza decided to consult with solicitor Padraig O’Connell. He then offered €500 (£370, $560) to the court poor box and this was accepted. The judge gave him until next October to pay.

Police helicopter scrambled after reports of woman wearing pyjamas on street

The police helicopter was called after reports of a woman in pyjamas in the street in Wigan, Greater Manchester..

NPAS Barton were called to assist officers in the area in the early hours of Friday morning.

However when the helicopter arrived the woman could not be found and the search was called off.

It is not known what initially sparked the police search.

Surprise for residents as rogue emu spotted running down Devon street

Motorists in the sleepy town of Torrington, north Devon, were stopped in their tracks as an emu ran down the street. The police were called, who in disbelief started searching the town for a wild emu.

Plenty of onlookers tried to trap the bird, for its own safety, and after a long chase one concerned onlooker managed to corner it in a field. The owner of the emu, who reportedly keeps two as pets, collected the escaped bird and took it home.

Nikita Miles, 24, who filmed the runaway animal, said: "We were out driving in town, we had just popped out to buy some milk. I had never seen one before; I thought 'what the hell's that' . Everyone was stood around in shock, watching this thing run past.

YouTube link.

"The police turned up, and one of the offices said, 'are you sure you haven't been on drugs or something'. It was caught eventually; a friend of mine chased it all the way to the dump field. Then the owner turned up and put it in a van, apparently he keeps them in his back garden, I heard he has two."