The Odd Side – December 9, 2014

Austria Firewood Explodes In Wood Stove

VIENNA (AP) – Austrian police investigating a grenade blast were less puzzled by the explosion and more by where it took place — inside a wood stove that appeared to contain nothing but firewood.

The woman who owned the wood burner also had no clue at first. After all, she only put firewood inside.

Or so she thought.

Police spokeswoman Petra Datscher said Monday a World War II grenade apparently landed on a tree during fighting. It was then enveloped by wood growing around it to the point that it was invisible when the tree was chopped down for firewood and sold to the supermarket where the unidentified 22-year-old woman bought it.

The blast Sunday in the lakeside town of Gmunden shattered the stove’s glass panel, but the sturdy wrought-iron stove prevented injuries.

Overdue Book Returned to Library 65 Years Late

(Reuters) – An overdue book has been returned to a high school library in Washington state, 65 years past its due date, and the grateful school said on Tuesday it was waiving late fees that at 2 cents a day added up to about $475.

The long-overdue book was checked out of the library of the Rogers School in the city of Spokane in 1949, and seemingly disappeared until it was found in Maine by a resident who offered to send it back to the school.

Rogers School Principal Lori Wyborney got wind of the long-overdue library book in October, after Maine resident Wayne Hachey found it in his father’s cellar, with library paperwork still in the cover.

“Not sure how the book ended up on the East Coast,” Hachey wrote in a letter addressed to the school. “I’d be willing to ship the book back if this is the same school.”

Wyborney wrote back, promising to waive late fees. When the book arrived, school officials tried to sleuth out how it had traveled across the country. A slip inside the cover said it was checked out on Jan. 4, 1949.

French Farmers Cry Wolf Over Sheep Killings

PARIS (Reuters) – French farmers, who regularly bring livestock into Paris to punctuate their protests, drove some 250 sheep into the shadow of the Eiffel Tower on Thursday to highlight an unusual concern —that a growing wolf population is killing their flocks.

Wolves were reintroduced to France in the 1990s under an international convention on wildlife conservation in Europe.

There are now an estimated 300 wolves in the country and the number is growing each year. According to the French sheep organization (FNO), the number of animals they kill has risen too — by nearly two thirds since 2011 — and is likely to top 8,000 this year.

“We are asking that wolves be removed from sheep breeding regions because they are incompatible with our work,” Michele Boudoin, secretary general of the French sheep organization (FNO) said.

She stressed that France’s “wolf plan,” which compensates farmers for sheep losses and pays for prevention measures and staff, cost the government nearly 15 million euros ($19 million) in 2012.

“We don’t want the money, we want to do our job in good conditions,” she said as a flock of brown “Noires de Velay” sheep arrived at the meeting point.

The farmers want the right to shoot wolves immediately if their flock is attacked, and are calling for a quota of wolf killings, currently set at 24 annually, to be increased or removed altogether.

Tampa Police Determined To Catch Fleet-Footed Monkey

TAMPA, Fla. (Reuters) – Florida authorities vowed on Friday to capture a monkey last seen running through a Tampa neighborhood that they described as “three-foot tall, brown and fast.”

A resident initially reported seeing a fleet-footed monkey running through a yard in the middle of a sunny Thursday afternoon, Tampa police said.

An hour later, another caller spotted a monkey about a dozen blocks away, near a bridge on a road that is several miles from downtown Tampa.

“There is no probable cause for this monkey’s arrest, however, we will work tirelessly to apprehend him,” Tampa police said in an post.

Both sightings occurred near Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo, whose officials told police that its monkeys were all accounted for.

With some questioning whether the primate was a monkey or a chimpanzee, Tampa police clarified that the exact species was unknown, but that the sightings appeared to be credible.

Texas Carjackers Thwarted By Car’s Stick Shift

HOUSTON (AP) – Authorities say two teenagers attempting to carjack a vehicle in Houston were foiled by a stick shift.

The pair held the motorist last weekend and demanded that he tell them how to drive the vehicle. After the driver provided a few instructions, the teens ordered him out of the vehicle. He then called police.

A brief police chase ensued. Stefan Happ, an officer for the University of Texas at Houston, told station KPRC the teens “had issues operating the vehicle.”

The pair opted to flee on foot and were later apprehended. They were later taken into custody.

Payroll Boss Fired After Vacation Delays Paychecks

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. (AP) – Officials in a northeastern Pennsylvania county say they’ve fired an employee who went on vacation and held up paychecks for about 1,200 government workers.

Budget and policy analyst Jason Parrish was fired Monday after Luzerne County officials say he failed to approve an electronic transfer required for employees to get paid on Black Friday.

Parrish told The Citizens’ Voice newspaper in Wilkes-Barre that the pay lapse was an accident. He declined comment when asked if his dismissal was justified.

County officials say they started correcting the error Friday afternoon, but some employees say they weren’t paid until Monday. County Manager Robert Lawton has apologized.

Union president Paula Schnelly says they’ll file a grievance if officials don’t keep a promise to cover overdraft and other fees caused by the error.