Odd Side – December 18, 2018

Beloved Gift Shop Turtle Celebrates 50th Birthday Party

BRISTOL, N.H. (AP) — A turtle given to a bedridden little boy in New Hampshire back in 1968 has celebrated her 50th birthday with party hats, a sheet cake with the right number of candles and many well-wishers.

Diane the Turtle was given to Jim Tonner when he was 12 and being treated for hip arthritis at his home in Braintree, Massachusetts. Years later, Jim, and his twin brother, Brad Tonner, opened a gift shop in Bristol, New Hampshire, which became Diane’s home. Her tank is surrounded by photos of store visitors.

The store was crowded with visitors singing “Happy Birthday” to Diane, who wore a tiny party hat.

The brothers have written and illustrated books about Diane and set up a turtle webcam in their shop.

Sleeping Pilot Overflies Australian Island Destination

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — A commercial pilot is under investigation after falling asleep in the cockpit of a freight plane and overflying his Australian island destination by 29 miles, officials said.

The pilot, who has not been identified, was the only person aboard the twin-propeller Piper PA-31 Navajo Chieftain and was flying on autopilot during the early morning flight on Nov. 8 from Devonport city on Tasmania 155 miles northwest to King Island in Bass Strait, his employer, Vortex Air, said in a statement.

The pilot “unintentionally fell asleep while in command of the aircraft,” the Melbourne-based airline said.

“The issue became apparent when air traffic control was unable to contact the pilot in-flight, and the aircraft traveled past the intended destination point while operating on autopilot,” the statement said.

Air traffic control recordings showed several radio calls were made to the unresponsive pilot, The Australian newspaper reported.

The pilot landed safely on King Island, Vortex Air said.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau, a crash and risk investigator, and the Civil Aviation Safety Authority, the aviation industry regulator, are investigating the incident and the company’s management of pilot fatigue.

Stranger Returns Lost Wallet and Adds Extra Cash

BRANDON, S.D. (AP) — A South Dakota man has his lost wallet back with some extra cash, thanks to a stranger.

Hunter Shamatt thought he’d never see the wallet again when he lost it on a flight to Las Vegas for his sister’s wedding. Inside was $60 cash and a check for about $40.

Shamatt tells KSFY he received a package a few days later along with the wallet and a letter. The stranger wrote he found the wallet wedged between a seat and a wall on a flight from Omaha, Nebraska, to Denver. He added $40 so Shamatt would have “an even $100” to celebrate the wallet’s return. The stranger only signed the letter with initials.

Shamatt’s was able to thank the man after tracking down his return address in Omaha.

Driver: ‘I Wasn’t on My Phone, I Was Eating a Hash Brown’

WESTPORT, Conn. (AP) — A Connecticut man who says he was wrongly cited for distracted driving, after police mistook a restaurant’s hash brown for a cellphone, is continuing his legal fight.

The Hour reports that Westport police gave Jason Stiber a $300 distracted-driving ticket in April. The Westport man challenged the charge and lost in court.

He was granted a retrial that was scheduled to start Dec. 7.

Stiber says the officer thought a hash brown he was eating while driving was a cellphone. Stiber says phone records show he didn’t make any calls around the time he was pulled over, plus he has Bluetooth so has no reason to hold a phone while driving.

Lt. Jillian Cabana says the department stands by its story, but couldn’t comment further due to pending litigation.