The Odd Side – May 9, 2016

Town Ousts Resident Living in Tiny House Built in College

HADLEY, Mass. (AP) – A Massachusetts resident who has been living in a tiny house built as a college student is leaving town after voters rejected a proposal that would have made the dwelling legal.

The Republican of Springfield reports voters at a town meeting in Hadley on Thursday decided not to legalize backyard cottages.

The person has been living in the 190-square-foot home for the last year on a parcel owned by someone else.

Some residents had objected to the tiny house because the owner-builder failed to go through the required permitting process.

The resident, who was given a day to move out, is looking for another location for the house.

Police: Boy, 12, Commandeered School Bus, Was Stopped By Passer-By

BANGOR, Maine (AP) — Police in Maine say a 12-year-old boy got hold of a school bus and went on a brief joy ride before being stopped by a man who followed the vehicle and took control of it.

Bangor police say John St. Germain and his friend saw the bus being driven by someone who appeared to be too young to have a license. They began following the bus and called police.

They say that when the bus stopped at an intersection, St. Germain got out of his car and onto the bus, taking control of it.

The Bangor Police Department gave St. Germain an award on Wednesday. Sgt. Tim Cotton says he probably saved much property damage and even injury or death to the boy.

The Fireman’s Pole Is History at Least in Vienna

VIENNA, Austria (AP) – The fireman’s pole is history — at least in Vienna.

Firefighter spokesman Lukas Schauer says the last fire pole in the Vienna, Austria, was removed recently, marking the end of a spectacular — but potentially dangerous — fixture in fire stations around the world.

Schauer told state broadcaster ORF Wednesday that the poles are no longer needed because new or renovated stations are laid out in a way that they would not result in time saved in getting to a fire.

He says the only remaining pole remains in Vienna’s firefighters’ museum, adding: “Stairs are safer.”

Maine’s Governor, Veto Record-Holder, Names New Dog Veto

LEWISTON, Maine (AP) — Gov. Paul LePage, Maine’s all-time veto champion, has named his new dog Veto.

LePage, who has earned renown for exercising his veto pen on bills he didn’t like, adopted a Jack Russell terrier mix from a shelter. His family’s previous dog, an 11-year-old Jack Russell named Baxter, died in March.

The governor stopped by the Greater Androscoggin Humane Society on Tuesday to see what dogs were available for adoption and was happy to find the brown and white dog from Louisiana, shelter operations manager Zachary Black said.

The pet’s name might raise a few eyebrows.

LePage has vetoed hundreds of bills, more than any other Maine governor.

LePage chose the name Veto because his pet “is the mascot of good public policy, defender of the Maine people and protector of hardworking taxpayers from bad legislation,” his spokesman Peter Steele said.

Steele joked that the governor is going to train the dog to deliver vetoes from his office to legislative leaders.

Baxter once posted online that the governor has a soft spot for rescue dogs because he was homeless as a boy: “Someone very kind took him in, gave him shelter and love. And guess what? That’s just what governor LePage did for me.”

Russian Firm Milks Chilly U.S.-Kremlin Ties With ‘Little Obama’ Ice Cream

(Reuters) – A Russian company is trying to cash in on chilly relations between Moscow and Washington by releasing an ice cream called “Little Obama.”

The product, called “Obamka” in Russian, is glazed with chocolate and its wrapping features an image of a smiling young African boy, wearing an ear ring and holding an ice cream.

With relations at a post-Cold War low, Russian state media and pro-Kremlin activists have often berated and mocked President Obama in terms that U.S. officials have described as racist and insulting.

The company that makes the ice cream, Slavitsa, said in a statement that it was part of a range aimed at children featuring “cheerful” characters.

“With different flavors and glazes, the ice cream symbolizes the main races of people on our planet,” it said, adding that the picture of the boy had been inspired by a Soviet film.

“Ice cream names need to be memorable. For those with a rich imagination, various associations might arise, but this product is for children and is a long way from politics.”

Slavitsa is based in Krasnoyarsk, a Siberian city that hit the headlines last month after a cafe dedicated to Vladimir Putin opened there, attracting visitors with dozens of pictures of the Russian president.

Selfie Gone Wrong Fells 126-Year-Old Statue of Portuguese King

(Reuters) – A young man’s attempt to take a selfie snapshot with the statue of a 16th-century Portuguese king ended badly when the 126-year-old statue crashed to the ground and shattered, police said on Wednesday.

The man, whom police did not identify, accidentally toppled Dom Sebastiao’s statue after climbing up to its pedestal outside the ornate Rossio railway station in central Lisbon just before midnight Tuesday.

He tried to flee the scene, but police caught him. He will appear before a judge at a later date.

The child-sized statue of the sad-eyed, sword-wielding king stood in a niche between two horseshoe-shaped arches at the entrance to the station. Completed in 1890, the station is a protected monument.

Dom Sebastiao, who ruled between 1557 and 1578, died in battle at the age of 24 during a crusade in Morocco.

His body was never properly identified, giving rise to a legend that the king would one day return to claim his throne and save Portugal in times of trouble.