The Odd Side – January 31, 2017

Deer Defense! Man Fights Speeding Ticket With Novel Argument

NEWBURYPORT, Mass. (AP) – A Massachusetts man fighting a speeding ticket in court had a unique explanation — the officer’s radar gun may have picked up a deer.

The Newburyport Daily News reports that Dennis Sayers, of Haverhill, was clocked going 40 mph in 30 mph zone in West Newbury in November. He got a $105 ticket.

He appealed in court on Thursday, asking Officer Royster Johnson if he was 100 percent sure his radar captured Sayers’ speed or the speed of a deer that could have been in the vicinity.

When confronted by the skeptical judge, Sayers replied that anything was possible.

The fine was upheld.

Deer, by the way, can run approximately 30 mph.

Police Say Alleged Ohio Burglar Broke in, Made Self at Home

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (AP) – Police say an Ohio burglar made himself at home in houses he broke into by cooking and showering before leaving.

Authorities in Youngstown say the 33-year-old homeless man brought his own food to cook during break-ins.

The Vindicator reports Saturday the man was charged with burglary and breaking and entering.

Police say the man was arrested after a homeowner arrived home from work about 12:15 a.m. Wednesday and found the kitchen ransacked with food all over and the stove used.

North Texas Leaders Ponder Who Painted Animals on Tunnel

KELLER, Texas (AP) – Leaders of a North Texas city would like to meet the anonymous artist who’s been painting colorful animal figures on a tunnel.

The city of Keller’s social media page on Friday included images of a deer, an armadillo, a bird and a turtle that have shown up this month. The paintings are in the Bear Creek Parkway tunnel near Keller Town Hall.

City parks workers on Jan. 11 noticed the first painting — the doe. An online statement urged the artist to contact city officials to perhaps work on a mural for the tunnel.

A later message encouraged the mystery artist to come forward to discuss options for prepping the wall better for potential future works.

Keller is a city of about 43,000, located 20 miles northeast of Fort Worth.

Tiny Town’s Power Surge Fries Computers, Appliances, Siding

(AP) – The 911 calls started pouring in just after noon in the tiny western Pennsylvania town of Brookville. The electrical meter is on fire. The house siding is burning. My power strip is smoking. The computer is fried. The carpeting is singed. Our light bulb exploded.

A power company says a failed power line component was to blame for an electrical surge Jan. 20 in Brookville, population 4,000. When it was over, 500 to 1,000 residents were affected, said Tracy Zents, the director of Jefferson County’s Department of Emergency Services.

“I’ve been doing this a little over 30 years, and this is definitely a first for me,” Zents said. “We were fortunate that nobody was hurt.”

The volume of calls quickly overwhelmed the local volunteer fire department 70 miles northeast of Pittsburgh, which had to call three other departments for help, Zents said.

Even the police department wasn’t spared. The surge tripped the department’s main office radio, so the initial emergency calls were missed, said Chief Jason Brown.

“Then all of a sudden I hear fire engines, so I turned on my handheld,” Brown said. He quickly learned what happened, as fluorescent lights in the building next door started exploding in their sockets.

He said he doesn’t know anyone on the east side of town who wasn’t affected in some way.

“You go down the street and you see all these blackened meters,” he said.

Scott Surgeoner, a spokesman for electric utility FirstEnergy, said Friday the problem started with a failed insulator on a power line. That failure caused a flash that spread to a feeder line to Brookville, and about 475 customers lost power. It was restored by 5 p.m. the same day, he said.

The cause of the failure isn’t clear, but Surgeoner said it’s not uncommon for insulators to fail after years of weather exposure.

“It’s similar to an alternator in a car. Why does it fail after a few years? Mine might last for 10 years, but yours might last for five,” he said. “Any equipment that is on a pole in the air and is subjected to weather 365 days a year, 24 hours a day is susceptible to failure.”

Any customers who feel FirstEnergy’s local provider, Penelec, was negligent can file a claim with the company, and they will be reviewed on case-by-case basis, Surgeoner said. He’s not sure if any have been received.