The Odd Side – January 26, 2021

Dog and Goat Serving as Mayor Raise Money for Playground

FAIR HAVEN, Vt. (AP) — A goat and a dog who were each elected mayor have helped raise money to renovate a Vermont community playground.

The oddball idea of pet mayor elections to raise money to rehabilitate the playground and to help get local kids civically involved came from a local town manager.

In 2018, Fair Haven residents elected Lincoln the goat as its honorary mayor. Lincoln helped raise about $10,000 while the current mayor, Murfee, a Cavalier King Charles spaniel, has raised $20,000, Town Manager Joe Gunter told the Rutland Herald. The town chipped in another $20,000.

Murfee’s owner, Linda Barker, said that when she was talked into having Murfee get involved in politics, she thought it would be easy to raise money through T-shirts. Then the pandemic struck.

So she shifted to masks. She’s made nearly 1,000 of them and is still going strong. She raised more than $5,000 from the masks and a similar amount from basket raffles.

The town was also recently awarded a $50,000 grant from the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund, she said.

Ironically, the honorary mayor is not welcome on the playground. Barker said there’s a “no dogs allowed” sign.

“Murfee is going to take that up with the town,” Barker said Sunday with a chuckle. “He’s going to contest that.”


Police: Thief Berated Mom for Leaving Kid in Car He Stole

BEAVERTON, Ore. (AP) — A car thief who found a toddler in the backseat of a stolen vehicle drove back and chastised the mother for leaving the child unattended before taking off again, police in Oregon said.

The woman went into a grocery store about 15 feet (5 yards) from the car Saturday, leaving her 4-year-old child inside with the engine running and the vehicle unlocked, said Beaverton police spokesman Officer Matt Henderson.

A store employee told authorities the woman was in the market for a few minutes before someone began driving away with the SUV.

Once the thief realized the toddler was in the backseat, he drove back, berated the woman for leaving her child unattended, told the woman to take the child and drove away in the stolen vehicle.

“He actually lectured the mother for leaving the child in the car and threatened to call the police on her,” Henderson said.

Henderson said the woman did nothing wrong and was within sight and sound of the child. He said the incident served as a “good reminder to take extra precaution” with children.

“Obviously, we’re thankful he brought the little one back and had the decency to do that,” Henderson said.

The vehicle was found a few hours later in Portland but police are still searching for the thief. The suspect was said to be in his 20s or 30s with dark brown or black braided hair and a multi-colored face mask.

Police said anyone with information on the theft should contact the department.