Odd Side – July 24, 2018

Florida Family Allowed to Keep ‘Starry Night’ House Mural

(Reuters) – A Florida couple has won a nearly year-long legal battle for their right to cover their house and wall with a mural of Vincent van Gogh’s famed “The Starry Night” painting, after being told the unusual decoration violated city code.

The city council of Mount Dora finalized a settlement with Nancy Nemhauser and Lubomir Jastrzebski, who were told in July 2017 that the painting, which now spans the outside of their home and wall, was not in line with signage rules.

As part of the ruling they will receive $15,000 from the city, about 30 miles northwest of Orlando. Mount Dora will also ‘grandfather’ their home, granting it exemption from further ordinances.

The couple had commissioned the mural to serve as a landmark for their autistic son, whose favorite work of art is “The Starry Night.” In the event he got lost, “he would be able to at least mention the Van Gogh house and people would be able to help and hopefully bring him home,” Nemhauser told Reuters by phone on Wednesday.

The original “The Starry Night,” which hangs at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, is one of van Gogh’s most recognizable works. The Dutch artist painted it in 1889

Bicyclist Versus Lift Bridge. What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

KENASHA, Wis. (AP) – Police say a bicyclist who weaved past the gates blocking access to a bridge over a river in eastern Wisconsin escaped serious injury after falling into the gap that was created when the bridge started to rise.

Wisconsin Department of Transportation surveillance video shot July Fourth shows the woman ignoring the barrier and red flashing lights at the bridge in Menasha, and apparently not noticing that it was already cranking into action.

The woman and her bike then drop into the gap and she disappears.

In the following minutes, onlookers rush to her aid and the bridge operator stalls the bridge until the woman and her bicycle are extracted.

Police say the 37-year-old woman was taken to a hospital in Neenah where she was treated for facial injuries.

Hungry Headache: German City Seeks to Evict Big Catfish

BERLIN (AP) – A German city is looking for a way to get rid of a giant catfish that is believed to have developed a taste for ducklings after eating all of its fellow fish in the municipal pond.

The roughly 4.9-foot fish has been making waves in Offenbach, near Frankfurt. News agency dpa reported that the city government said Monday that it has found a professional angler to catch the fish, first seen about a year ago, but a formal contract has yet to be signed.

The city plans to have its unwelcome guest caught alive and taken to a private pond somewhere, but officials will first have to be satisfied that it can’t escape into flowing water and that its new home is suitable for a catfish.

Queen Elizabeth Owns How Many Swans? Annual Count Gets Underway

CHERTSEY, England (Reuters) – An 800-year-old tradition of counting the swans owned by Britain’s Queen Elizabeth started on Monday, an annual ceremony of “swan upping” that in modern times has become a means of wildlife conservation.

The upping sees three teams — one representing the queen and the others the old trade associations of the Vintners and Dyers — patrol the River Thames in south England over five days to capture, tag and release any families of swans with young.

The upping dates back to the 12th century when the English crown first claimed ownership of all mute swans, then considered a delicacy that would be served at royal banquets.

Britons no longer eat swans and the birds are protected by law.

Last year’s count showed there were 132 new cygnets on the Thames, reversing a declining trend in previous uppings.