The Odd Side – March 4, 2014

Maine bridge proves tougher than expected to demo

NEW SHARON, Maine (AP) – A century-old Maine bridge in danger of collapsing proved tougher than expected when the state tried to demolish it.

The bridge across the Sandy River in New Sharon was built in 1916 but hasn’t been used since the 1990s. The Maine Department of Transportation told New Sharon officials in November that it was in danger of collapsing and that the state would pay to remove it.

An initial blast of explosives failed to bring the structure down as planned Thursday afternoon, because there were steel beams in the abutments that officials weren’t aware of, the Morning Sentinel reports.

“It’s an old bridge and there just wasn’t a lot of information available about its construction,” said project manager Andy McPherson of CPM Constructors.

The bridge eventually came down about three hours after the blast, and an excavator finished the job. The bridge will be cut into pieces before removal.

“It just collapsed perfectly,” McPherson said. “It went straight down so we can actually use the bridge itself to get into the water.”

Mass. man’s speeding excuse? I won the lottery!

HINGHAM, Mass. (AP) – A Massachusetts man busted for speeding had a pretty good excuse when he was pulled over: He had just won a big lottery prize and was on his way to collect his cash.

It turns out Thursday was 22-year-old Scott Lowe’s lucky day in more ways than one. The officer who pulled him over in Hingham (HING’-um) issued a verbal warning and urged him to drive safely.

Lowe, of Rockland, told the officer he was speeding because he had won $50,000 on a scratch-off ticket and was on his way to Massachusetts State Lottery headquarters in Braintree to collect his winnings.

WCVB reports that police say Lowe was shaking, and showed the officer his winning ticket.

After the warning, he went on his way and claimed his prize.

Chaos as thousands are called to Stockholm job office by mistake

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) – Police dispersed an angry crowd of job-seekers outside an employment office in Stockholm on Wednesday after it called 61,000 people for a recruitment meeting by mistake.

“Something has gone wrong with the mailing list … it set off a very messy situation at the city office,” said Clas Olsson, acting director of the employment office.

An email call for a recruitment meeting that should have gone out to about 1,000 job-seekers went out to a lot more people, about 61,000 — apparently all the registered job seekers in Stockholm, police said.

Hundreds of people expecting to attend crowded into the alley where the labor office is located and spilled into the adjacent street, a main thoroughfare running through downtown Stockholm.

Emotions ran high and office staff sounded the alarm, bringing police to the scene.

“When we got there it was very crowded and there were some upset feelings,” Police Inspector Ulf Lindgren told Reuters.

Sweden’s total unemployment was 8.6 percent in January.

Norwegian 10-year-old drives off with second car in two weeks

OSLO (Reuters) – A 10-year-old Norwegian boy who took his parents’ car for a joyride last week, claiming he was a dwarf who forgot his driver’s license, has hit the road again.

This time he took off in the car of a relative the family was visiting and managed to drive about 30 km (19 miles) before stopping, local police said on Thursday.

When the parents realized what happened, they phoned police who sent out messages over traffic radio asking the public for help. The boy eventually stopped and a bystander took his keys away, police said.

The boy caused a stir last week in Dokka, his hometown about 110 km north of Oslo, when he loaded his 18-month-old sister in the family car and drove off to visit their grandparents 60 km away, only to drive into a snowy ditch after 10 km.

Police had considered the case closed. But they were not so forgiving about the second incident and have reported the family to child services.

“Nobody was injured, but that was more due to luck than anything else,” Baard Christiansen, a spokesman for the Vest Oppland police, told Reuters. “The adults around the boy must take responsibility now before a tragedy occurs.

“It is scary and very sad that he is allowed to keep going on like this,” he said.

Doughnut shop in Mass. YMCA won’t sell doughnuts

QUINCY, Mass. (AP) – A doughnut shop chain won’t be selling doughnuts at a new location.

Quincy’s licensing board this week approved a plan for Honey Dew Donuts to open a shop inside the city’s new $30 million YMCA.

A spokeswoman for the Y tells The Patriot Ledger that because of the organization’s emphasis on physical fitness, no doughnuts will be sold. The shop will sell coffee, low-fat muffins, salads, sandwiches, yogurt, fruit cups and smoothies. All menu items must be approved by the Y.

According to Honey Dew’s website, its low-fat muffins contain more calories and sugar than many of its doughnuts.