The Odd Side – November 26, 2013

‘Dolly’ the Wandering Llama Caught in Michigan

HOLLY TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) – A llama spotted wandering for nearly six months in Michigan has been captured and is getting a new home.

Mlive.com reports the llama that Kathy Kuzma calls “Dolly” was found Saturday in Oakland County’s Holly Township, about 40 miles northwest of Detroit.

Kuzma has been on the lookout for the animal, which had been wandering her neighborhood. On Saturday, Lisa Davenport came to Kuzma’s house to get a look at the llama. Davenport has three llamas of her own along with other animals at a Michigan farm.

The women walked into a field to give the llama some food, and Dolly stood still instead of being her usual skittish self. They then coaxed the llama into a barn. Davenport plans to take the llama back to her own farm.

OKC Bomb Squad Says Suspicious Item Was a Burrito

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) – A burrito caused a minor scare at an Oklahoma City police briefing after a man brought the foil-wrapped object in for analysis.

Oklahoma City Police Capt. Dexter Nelson says a man discovered a Thermos-type container in his lawn Thursday afternoon and brought it to a police station. Nelson says the container was heavy and had tinfoil protruding from the lid, so the man considered it suspicious.

Although it was harmless, police aren’t laughing at the incident. Nelson says anyone who finds a suspicious object should call authorities — not bring it to a police station themselves.

Oops: Pro-Boeing Ad in Seattle Uses Airbus Plane

SEATTLE (AP) – There was one thing wrong in a full-page ad in The Seattle Times urging state lawmakers to pass a transportation package aimed at persuading Boeing to build the new 777X in Washington.

The headline Wednesday read “The Future of Washington,” but the photo was of an Airbus jetliner, not a Boeing.

The ad was placed by the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, which is part of the Aerospace Partnership of business, labor and economic development groups. A Chamber spokeswoman, Terri Hiroshima, told The Seattle Times, “It’s an embarrassing, cringe-worthy error.”

Nobody Home: Utah Town Forgets to Hold Election

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) – A tiny Utah town had to skip an election earlier this month because part-time officials forgot to advertise or prepare for it — and it wasn’t the town’s first election flub.

Wallsburg, population 275 in the Wasatch Mountains 40 miles from Salt Lake City, failed to schedule an election two years ago, and city officials had to be appointed then.

They were supposed to go up for election Nov. 5, but once again, Wallsburg forgot to get things going, according to Wasatch County officials. The Salt Lake Tribune first reported on the missed election.

“They didn’t advertise” to draw candidates out of the woodwork and “they just went on without doing anything,” County Clerk Brent Titcomb said Wednesday. “Close to the election day, they called to ask what they should do.”

The leaders of Wallsburg were told by state elections officials to keep serving until an election can be held in two years.

“We will remember them in 2015,” Titcomb said. “They will definitely have an election in 2015.”

Wallsburg’s mayor and four city council members had no hidden agenda in letting the election slide; they just forgot, he said.

Wallsburg is so small it doesn’t have a website or paid staff, and nobody answered the phone at the town’s empty office on Wednesday — which is used only for official meetings.

Titcomb said the town’s mayor is Jay Hortin, who didn’t return phone messages left Wednesday by The Associated Press.

The mayor was described by his father as an electrician who may have been unavailable because he was out working.

Of his son extending his mayoral duties, Frank Hortin said, “Somebody’s got to do it.”

Frank Hortin said he had no clue how town officials forgot to hold an election, adding, “We probably wouldn’t have anybody around to get elected anyway.”

The town empties out on weekdays because “there’s no work around here,” Frank Hortin said. “We have a couple of little shops, but people go out of town for work — I drove to Salt Lake for 20 years.”

Wallsburg is a mile-high town in the Wasatch Mountains 4 miles from Deer Creek Reservoir. In winter, there’s only one way to drive into the town — or out of it. It was incorporated in 1917, according to the Utah League of Cities and Towns.

French Riders Protest Tax, Saying Horses Will Suffer

PARIS (Reuters) – Thousands of horse-lovers paraded their animals through central Paris on Sunday in a protest against a planned sales tax rise they say will put riding centers out of business and send horses to the slaughterhouse.

The protest by riders from across France came a day after unions in the western region of Brittany organized a march for jobs and social protection attended by thousands, one of many in the region in recent weeks.

Anger at taxation, unemployment stuck at 11 percent and sluggish economic growth has sent thousands of people into the streets across the country over the past two months.

On Thursday, farmers blocked roads around Paris with tractors to protest against a so-called “eco-tax” on road freight and the planned sales tax.

Organizers of Sunday’s protest say the EU-mandated rise of France’s VAT to 20 percent as of January 1 — from the 7 percent reduced rate paid by equestrian centers today — will shut down one-fifth of centers across France.

Some 6,000 jobs will be lost, they estimate, and 80,000 horses will have to be sent to slaughter.

“Riders, up in arms!” shouted protesters carrying signs reading “Sales tax at 20 percent — Death of Horses and Ponies.”

“It’s a death blow,” Serge Lecomte, president of the French Horseriding Federation, told Reuters.

“That’s why people are so worried, because they see the end of their activity and the end of a lot of establishments, the jobs and the horses.”

Some ponies sported red bonnets like those worn by protesters in Brittany, and by peasants who rose up against tax increases in the 17th century. Some marchers wore horse masks.

The government has been pushing to maintain the 7 percent reduced sales tax rate for equestrian centers since March 2012, when the EU said the rate was improperly applied and threatened a heavy fine.

As negotiations with the EU continue, the government has said it will prop up the sports sector with additional funds to make up for the higher sales tax, beginning in 2014.