The Odd Side – May 1, 2018

Penn State Says Wilderness Too Risky for Outdoors Clubs

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP)– A near-century-old outdoor recreation club will now refrain from going outside because it is too dangerous out in the wilderness, according to officials at Penn State University.

The Penn State Outing Club, originally founded in 1920, announced last week that the university will no longer allow the club to organize outdoor, student-led trips starting next semester. The hiking, camping and other outdoors-focused activities the student-led club has long engaged in are too risky, the university’s offices of Student Affairs and Risk Management determined.

Richard Waltz, the Outing Club’s current president, said that the decision was made by an office that never consulted them.

The decision was based on a two-month review that didn’t include consultation with student leaders at any of the clubs deemed too risky, according to students.

Two other outdoor recreation clubs: the spelunking Nittany Grotto Caving Club and the Nittany Divers SCUBA Club, also have been directed to end trip offerings.

“Safety is a legitimate concern, but it wasn’t an open dialogue,” Waltz said.

Penn State conducted a “proactive risk assessment” not based on any previous participant injuries, according to university spokeswoman Lisa Powers. She said Outing Club activities were rated high risk because they take place in remote environments with poor cell service and distance from emergency services.

Penn State still will offer a university-operated outdoors trip program, Powers said. The university-run program also costs much more for students, Waltz contended.

Powers said Penn State staff members are meeting with student leaders about the transition and how the university might still support each group’s goals.

Bus Leaves Cleveland for New York, Ends Up in Toledo

CLEVELAND (AP) – Greyhound says it is investigating how a bus meant to take passengers from Cleveland to New York ended up in Toledo.

WEWS reports that the bus left Cleveland several hours late on Thursday and was headed east through Pennsylvania when it started experiencing problems. The company says the driver was instructed to head back to Cleveland and get a new bus, but instead drove about two hours past it, to Toledo. The driver then turned around and went back to Cleveland.

Passenger Morgan Staley says they spent about seven hours “just going in a circle.”

The company says passengers interested in a refund can contact customer service.

Officials Say Postal Worker Hoarded Over 17K Pieces Of Mail

NEW YORK (AP) – A postal worker whom prosecutors say hoarded more than 17,000 pieces of undelivered mail in New York City allegedly told investigators he was overwhelmed by the amount of mail he had to deliver.

But officials say Aleksey Germash told them he “made sure to deliver the important mail.”

Germash was charged Thursday in Brooklyn with delaying or detaining mail. He declined to comment as he left the federal courthouse.

Federal officials say they arrested the 16-year employee after receiving a tip about a car owned by Germash that contained 20 full mail bags.

Authorities say they found 10,000 pieces of mail in his car, 6,000 pieces in his apartment and 1,000 in his work locker.

Mom: Preschool’s Ban of the Term ‘Best Friend’ Is Silly

GEORGETOWN, Mass. (AP) – A Massachusetts family is looking for a new preschool for their 4-year-old daughter, because her current school has barred use of the term “best friend.”

Christine Hartwell says her daughter, Julia, appeared sad recently when she came home from the Pentucket Workshop Preschool in Georgetown.

The little girl told her mother she was upset because her teacher told her she couldn’t call one of her classmates her “best friend.”

School officials did not comment. But, in a letter to the Hartwells they said, it had been their experience that the use of the term “best friend,” even when used in a loving way, can lead to some children feeling excluded.

Hartwell called the ban “outrageous” and “silly.” She says children should be allowed to speak from their heart.