The Odd Side – January 3, 2017

Cat Rescue? No, This Time Firefighters Save Drone From Tree

BASALT, Colo. (AP) – Firefighters in the western Colorado town of Basalt say they’ve rescued cats from trees before, but this time they saved a drone that a 9-year-old boy had just received for Christmas.

The Aspen Times reports firefighters used a ladder truck to extract the drone on Monday after gusty winds pushed it into the branches.

Family members had tried knocking it loose with a football, and somebody tried climbing the tree; but nothing worked.

The boy’s grandmother then called police for ideas. Police called a fire station, and since the crew wasn’t busy, they rolled to the rescue.

Fire Chief Scott Thompson says that dispatching firefighters might have kept someone from getting hurt trying to retrieve the drone.

Police say the drone still worked.

The boy and his family weren’t identified.

Can I Come In? Wandering Cow Found in Window Well

LONG LAKE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) – A 700-pound bull found a temporary pen in northern Michigan: the window well of a home under construction.

Tucker got away from a farm in Grand Traverse County when strong winds opened a gate on Monday night. The Traverse City Record-Eagle says he was found Tuesday in a large window well but couldn’t get out.

Owner Gary Jurkovich says the cow was guided through the window, into the unfinished home’s basement and up the stairs. Tucker wasn’t injured — and he even knew how to get home.

Driver Boasts Cruising Through 240 Consecutive Green Lights

NEW YORK (AP) – A New York City Uber driver is boasting that he drove through 240 green traffic lights before hitting a red light.

Noah Forman says he achieved the feat during a 27-minute drive through Manhattan at around 3:30 a.m. on Dec. 6.

Forman recorded his late-night accomplishment on video and posted it online. Two years ago, he says he hit 186 green lights in a row.

His latest drive began in Harlem and ended on the Lower East Side when he hit his first red light.

The city Department of Transportation didn’t immediately respond to a query about the viability of his claim.

Headaches, Insects and Yachts; Excuses For Not Filing British Tax Returns

(Reuters) – “My tax return was on my yacht … which caught fire” — just one of the dozens of unusual excuses the British government’s tax collector said it receives each year from customers who fail to complete their returns on time.

“A wasp in my car caused me to have an accident and my tax return, which was inside, was destroyed,” was another, while several blamed children, partners or colleagues for inadvertently destroying their forms.

“It’s easy to see that some excuses for not completing a tax return on time can be more questionable than others,” said Ruth Owen, HMRC Director General of Customer Services. “But there will always be help and support available for those who have a genuine excuse for not submitting their return on time,” she added in a statement.

Generally, taxpayers who self-assess must meet a deadline on Jan. 31 each year to complete their forms and pay outstanding sums.

Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs office (HMRC) said it expects to receive around 11 million self-assessment return forms this year.

“My wife helps me with my tax return, but she had a headache for ten days” was one unsuccessful appeal against the HMRC’s penalty for late filing, which starts at 100 pounds ($124). Others, however, were more simple in their approach: “The postman doesn’t deliver to my house.”

Sheep’s Head, Prosthetic Leg And London House Among Most Unusual UK Charity Donations

LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – British shoppers may want try their luck at charity stores after a 19th century vase and a rare military medal were named among the most unusual gifts donated to good causes. Animals were also popular, with a sheep’s head, two canaries and a live ferret among gifts given to charities, according to the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF).

“It is fascinating to see all the surprising and strange items which have been donated to charities either via charity shops or bequeathed as legacies,” said Joanna Walker, who oversees private donations at CAF.

CAF said a 19th century vase valued at $2,950 was spotted in an Oxfam charity shop. Other donations included a prosthetic leg and a Victoria Cross Medal which honors acts of bravery in war. Perhaps the most extravagant gifts were properties bequeathed by private donors, including a central London townhouse and countryside cottage.

There are around 10,500 charity shops across Britain, generating about 300 million pounds ($369 million) a year, CAF said.