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The Weird Week in Review

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Dog Elected Mayor of Minnesota Town

Duke is a 7-year-old Great Pyrenees who lives in Cormorant, Minnesota. He was elected mayor of the town by a landslide over his opponent, store owner Richard Sherbrook. The exact vote count was not revealed, but Duke got the vast majority of the town’s twelve votes. Sherbrook even voted for Duke. The tiny town was established in 1874, but has never had a mayor before. The new mayor will be sworn in Saturday. As for his salary, he will be paid in dog food, a year’s supply donated by Tuffy’s Pet Food. 

This Cat’s Hobby is Riding the Bus

Fee Jeanes and her family moved to Bridport, Dorset, UK, 19 months ago, to a home near the bus station. Their 15-year-old cat Dodger quickly made friends with bus drivers and riders, who would even feed the cat occasionally. Jeanes recently found out her cat has been riding around on bus trips in his spare time.

"He is an old boy and is very friendly. At first Dodger kept going to the bus station because people there fed him tit-bits and scraps of food.

"But then he started climbing on board the buses because they are almost like greenhouses when it is sunny.

"Then last week I found out he had travelled to Charmouth and back, which is a 10 mile round trip.

"I hadn't seen him all morning until my daughter Emily told me one of her friends had just seen him on the bus at Charmouth.

The bus drivers know the cat well, and make sure Dodger gets off at his home stop when the day ends. The bus company says they do not encourage the cat to ride, but don’t mind him. As a senior citizen, he is eligible for free rides.

Woman Tries to Stop Plane on Runway

A woman scaled the fence at the airport in Halifax, Nova Scotia, on Sunday to stop a plane from taking off. As she ran across the tarmac, one plane that had just landed had to be diverted. The 37-year-old woman had earlier gone to an airline desk and asked the company to stop a plane from taking off because she believed her partner was leaving on it to go see another woman. After the unnamed woman was caught, she was taken to a hospital with cuts and bruises. The airport fence has three miles of barbed wire for security. The woman’s partner was not on the plane. The RCMP says she will not face charges, but airport officials will review their security measures.

Raccoons Compete in Laundry Contest

Raccoons are famous for washing their food before eating it, so why not put them to work washing clothes? A zoo in Krasnoyarsk, Russia, staged a washing contest between their raccoons, named Masha and Artem. The raccoons were given tiny pieces of clothing to wash and they went to work, but had a tendency to interfere with each other. Zoo visitors judged the two on their quality of work and their enthusiasm, and the contest was declared a draw. You can see a video here

Pilot’s Arm Falls Off While Landing Plane

A UK Air Accidents Investigation Branch report revealed an incident in February in which a pilot was landing a small commuter jet in Belfast when his arm fell off.

The 46-year-old pilot, described byFlybe as among is “most experienced and trusted” pilots, wears a prosthetic limb and said that he believed he had securely fixed the arm in place earlier, but with heavy winds, once he deactivated the Dash 8 aircraft’s autopilot as he prepared to land the plane that’s when the arm troubles began.

Asked why a pilot with only one arm was flying a plane in the first place, Flybe’s safety director, Captain Ian Baston, said that the budget airline had a policy of equal opportunity employment and therefore “in common with most airlines, we do employ staff with reduced physical abilities.”

The pilot lost control of the plane only briefly and still guided it to a safe and bumpy landing using one arm. He promised to secure his arm better in the future.

Man Reports Prostitutes for Charging Too Much

An unnamed 55-year-old man in Sweden called police in Gothenberg to report he had been robbed. When police arrived in Rosenlund, a red light strict, the man admitted that he gave two women money for sex, but they had overcharged him (the equivalent of $436 each for an hour) and he felt cheated. The strange part is that selling sex is not against the law in Sweden, but paying for it is illegal. So the police charged the man who complained, and he faces a fine of 24,500 kronor ($3,561), for reporting his own crime.

5 Strange News Stories From This Week

Welcome to The Weird Week in Review, where we bring you odd news stories from all over.

1. MAN PAYS FINE WITH FIVE WHEELBARROWS OF PENNIES

On January 11, Nick Stafford of Cedar Bluff, Virginia, carted 1600 pounds of pennies into the Lebanon Department of Motor Vehicles to pay taxes on two of his vehicles. It was the end of a saga that began in September, when Stafford tried to find out which of his homes (which are located in two counties) he should use to register his son's new car. When he tried to call his local DMV, he was routed to a larger call center—and so, to get the local number he wanted, he submitted a successful Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. Then he went one step further, filing three lawsuits to get the direct numbers for nine other local DMVs. “If they were going to inconvenience me then I was going to inconvenience them,” Stafford told The Herald Courier.

A judge ultimately dismissed the lawsuits when the state's Attorney General physically handed Stafford the phone numbers in the courtroom. But Stafford still had to pay sales tax on his vehicles, and he got in one last dig at the DMV while doing so: First, he bought five new wheelbarrows. Then, he bought a bunch of rolls of pennies. He hired 11 people to help him unroll the pennies—300,000 in total—and drove them to the DMV, where he put them in the wheelbarrows and, with the help of people he had hired, rolled them in. (“I’m not used to lifting,” Stafford said. “These are heavy.”) The lawsuits, wheelbarrow, and hired help cost Stafford more than $1000 above the amount of the vehicle tax.

2. MOTORIST JAILED OVER KITTY LITTER

When he was pulled over in early December 2016, Ross Lebeau thought it was a routine traffic stop—but Houston sheriff's deputies arrested him on drug charges. In his car, the officers had found a substance in a sock, which, when field tested, was positive for meth. A press release stated that Lebeau had been found with a half pound of meth in his vehicle; the release contained both Lebeau's mugshot and a picture of the substance seized.

Lebeau spent three days in jail, but he was released when lab tests revealed that the substance was not meth after all—it was kitty litter! As WMC Action News 5 reported on January 7:

Lebeau said the substance was cat litter inside a sock.

His father left one in his car and gave the other to his sister for her car. It's supposed to keep the windows from fogging up.

The problem was that two field tests done by deputies came back positive for meth.

The county's forensic lab tested the substance as well, and no drugs were found. The case was then dismissed, but the damage was already done to Lebeau's reputation. "People have been calling me a kingpin or drug lord," Lebeau said, adding that he's lost out on work because of the accusation. “I was wrongly accused, and I'm going to do everything in my power to clear my name."

3. SWISS TOWN DENIES PASSPORT TO "ANNOYING" DUTCH VEGAN

Nancy Holten was born in the Netherlands, but she's lived in Switzerland since she was a child. The outspoken vegan and animal rights activist has campaigned against the cowbells that local livestock wear, saying the tradition is animal abuse, and has complained about loud church bells, hunting, and pig races. Holten, who is seeking Swiss citizenship, as been denied twice. Local residents can approve or deny villagers' requests, and they have deemed Holten too annoying. As Yahoo News UK reported on January 11:

"Tanja Suter, the president of the local Swiss People’s Party, claimed Ms Holten has a 'big mouth' and that residents did not want to grant her citizenship 'if she annoys us and doesn’t respect our traditions.'"

Holten's citizenship case has been transferred to the Cantonal (regional) government body, which can overturn the local decision.

4. MAN FOUND STUCK IN KITCHEN VENT

Gjyste (Julie) Margilaj heard a crashing sound in her first-floor Manhattan apartment kitchen just after midnight on January 10. “I freaked ... out for a couple of minutes, and then I went over to the kitchen and I heard someone panting and breathing like they were in obvious pain. They were freaking out," she told the New York Daily News. “I opened the kitchen vent so he could breathe.” The man, a new resident of the seven-story building, had been on the roof hanging with some friends when, according to the FDNY, he removed the cover of an exhaust fan and slid down into the ductwork. "The shaft was so small that his body took up the entire vent," FDNY Chief Patrick Tansey told Pix 11 News. "So, using power tools was out of the question. We had to expose him by hand." The man—who was wearing just his underwear—only had minor injuries after the ordeal. "He had told the occupant who called us something about a pool in the basement," Tansey said, "but I don't know."

5. GOLFER RUN OVER BY TOILET

This week, Brian Berg filed a lawsuit over an incident that occurred last summer at Fox Run Golf Links in Elk Grove Village, Illinois. The golfer was enjoying a day on the green when he was run over by a portable toilet. An employee of the course was using a forklift to move the toilet but couldn't see where he was going because the toilet obscured his vision. According to CBS Chicago,

"After he was knocked to the ground by the porta-potty’s “initial blow,” it did not stop, hitting him in the face and knocking him unconscious, the suit says. It injured his shoulder, cut his chin, cracked a rib, bruised a bicep and caused 'a large, deep bruise to his leg.'"

Berg is asking $50,000 in damages from the Elk Grove Park District, which runs the golf course, and the forklift driver.

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5 Strange News Stories From This Week
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iStock

Welcome to The Weird Week in Review, where we bring you odd news stories from all over.

1. CALF GETS LASSOED FROM THE HOOD OF A POLICE CAR

When authorities got a call about a calf that was loose on Tennessee's Highway 79N, David Bevill of Paris, Tennessee, volunteered to help local police capture it. Henry County Sheriff Monte Belew drove down the highway with Bevill on the hood, ready to rope in the calf. According to a Facebook post,

Belew said the calf became loose when a man was driving through town and his cattle trailer door broke. “There were actually two that got loose, but Dr. Lyons at Mineral Wells Animal Clinic and his crew were able to get the other one,” Belew said.

“So everybody is happy—we roped one calf, Dr. Lyons got the other one and the guy who was hauling them through town is happy, too,” Belew said.

It's always handy to know a cowboy when you've got a job to do.

2. CAT STUCK IN SUPPORTS OF DOUBLE-DECKER HIGHWAY FOR NINE DAYS

Erin McCutcheon's cat Juno escaped a zippered cat carrier and jumped out of a moving car on the upper deck of I-93 in Boston on Christmas Day. McCutcheon couldn't find her cat, and so distributed posters and put out a call for help on Facebook. On Tuesday, a Local 103 crew of electricians doing maintenance work spotted Juno high above the lower deck, perched on the support girders under the upper deck. Juno had been stuck 80 feet above the highway for nine days! The crew couldn't catch the frightened feline, but eventually lured her out with cans of cat food. Juno, hungry and thirsty, went home with electrician Jay Frazier, and was later reunited with the McCutcheons.

3. MAN CARRIES SCISSORS IN BODY FOR 18 YEARS

Ma Van Nhat underwent surgery at Bac Kan Hospital in Vietnam in 1998 after suffering injuries in a traffic accident. Recently, he complained of pain in his abdomen, which doctors dismissed as a stomachache. But on December 27, during a routine checkup, a doctor determined there was a foreign object there. Last Saturday, surgeons removed a pair of surgical scissors, which had apparently been inside Nhat for 18 years. The scissors had broken and adhered to Nhat's abdominal organs. According to The Huffington Post,

The hospital’s director, Trinh Thi Luong, is now taking great pains to find out who may have left the scissors inside Nhat.

“Even if they are already retired, we will still inform them,” Luong said, according to Reuters. “This is a lesson to all doctors.”

4. MAN OPENS DOOR TO BRICK WALL

An unnamed man in Mainhausen, Germany, woke up Monday morning and got ready for work as usual—but when he opened his front door, he couldn't leave: Someone had built a brick wall over the door opening. The perpetrators had built the wall quickly and quietly during the night. He had to tear out the bricks to leave his house. Police don't know whether the wall was a prank or an act of revenge.

5. NEW SHERIFF GETS ARRESTED

The citizens of Roane County, West Virginia, elected a new sheriff in November. Bo Williams began his new job last Sunday, but on Tuesday, according to the New York Daily News, he was was arrested on charges of grand larceny for stealing meth from an evidence locker at his previous job with the Spencer, West Virginia, police department. Bags of meth with evidence numbers were found in his desk and in his car. Williams had resigned from that job after admitting to drug addiction in December. The Roane County commission removed Williams from office that same day, and asked a former sheriff to step in to run the department. Williams is out of jail on bond and may face up to 10 years in prison.

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