The Odd Side – November 4, 2014

Dozens of Bats Invade Utah Courthouse

ST. GEORGE, Utah (AP) — Order is being restored to the courthouse in St. George with the removal of dozens of bats from the building.

The Brazilian free-tailed bats were discovered when employees arrived for work Thursday at the 5th Judicial District Courthouse.

More than 50 bats were removed Thursday and Friday from the attic and other areas of the building, said Eric Palmer of Southwest Exterminators.

Zac Weiland, a Washington County deputy prosecutor, said he heard scratching noises when he walked into court Friday morning. Bats were in the ceiling, hallways, stairwells and even inside courtrooms.

“I don’t like bats. I saw (one) crawling, and it’s stuck in a little lamp, and I’m like, ‘I’m done, I want out,’” he told KSL.

Court officials said while the bats caused minimal disruptions in court operations, some proceedings had to be moved from one courtroom to another.

Suspected entry points opened up during a recent renovation project were sealed to keep bats out of the building, said Nancy Volmer, Utah state courts spokeswoman.

“We are investigating to find all entries so we can prevent this from happening again,” Volmer told The Spectrum of St. George. “There may be other ways they could have gotten in.”

Because Brazilian free-tailed bats are a species of special concern in Utah, the state Division of Wildlife Resources took the lead in removing them with the help of Southwest Exterminators. The bats were being released back into the wild.

Officials hope to have all bats out of the building by the time court proceedings resume on Monday. It was unclear how many others remain.

“It’s unusual, there’s no doubt about that. This is a first, I think, for the courts,” Volmer said.

Drivers Scramble for Flying Cash On Md. Highway

URBANA, Md. (AP) — Drivers scrambled to grab money flying around a Maryland highway after an armored truck’s door burst open.

Maryland State Police say a lock on the truck seems to have malfunctioned, causing the door to open Friday morning. A bag of cash fell onto Interstate 270 near Urbana and the bills flew in the air.

Police say a number of drivers stopped on the interstate and grabbed what cash they could before a fire department vehicle arrived and turned on its emergency lights.

Responding troopers were able to help the truck’s driver recover about $200. It’s not known how much cash was lost.

Police urge the drivers who took the cash to return it to the state police barracks in Frederick, or else face charges of theft if they’re found.

Parachutist Rescued From Missouri Radio Tower

(Reuters) – A man’s plan to leap from a Missouri radio tower south of St. Louis went awry when his parachute got stuck on a supporting wire, leaving him suspended 155 feet above the ground, a fire official said on Friday.

The parachutist, Timothy Church, 27, and a second man, Brandon Travis, 26, were arrested for trespassing on private property, St. Louis County Police spokesman Brian Schellman said. Travis helped Church gain access to the tower, he said.

Church was rescued by a firefighter trained in high-suspension rescues who climbed the tower and got a rope and pulley to the man. He was then secured and lowered to the ground just before midnight Thursday, said Brian Hendricks, chief of the Mehlville Fire Protection District.

“It appears he climbed the tower, jumped, deployed his parachute and as he was coming to the ground he became entangled in the guy wire,” Hendricks said in an interview.

Church was stuck on the wire about 20 feet from the tower for two hours, Hendricks said.

“He was in a significant amount of stress due to suspension trauma, hanging in the harness for that long. But, all-in-all when we got him on the ground he was able to walk,” Hendricks told St. Louis station KMOV.

Hendricks said Church was taken to a hospital for treatment of injuries that were not believed to be serious.

Mouse Hunt Delays Norwegian Flight to New York

OSLO (Reuters) – Norwegian Air Shuttle, already plagued by costly flight delays on its long-haul routes, was forced to delay a flight to New York by five hours on Tuesday because of a hunt for a mouse in the cockpit.

“The pilots discovered a mouse on flight deck,” spokeswoman Charlotte Holmbergh said on Wednesday. “We had to make sure that no cables or wires had been chewed.

“This does not happen very often, but it does happen from time to time.”

Norwegian became the only European budget carrier last year to fly long-haul routes, but a string of technical troubles with its new Boeing 787 Dreamliners delayed many of its flights, leaving passengers stranded at airports from Bangkok to Florida.

The airline has since improved its reliability, but it runs its Dreamliners 18 hours a day, five to six hours more than traditional carriers, so even small delays can cause significant schedule disruptions.

“At least the mouse was caught,” Holmbergh added.

Oops: UN head means Austria, Thanks Australia

VIENNA (AP) — It was clearly a slip of the tongue, but many Austrians will not be amused because they hear it all too often: Expressing his gratitude for the hosting of a major conference in Vienna, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon offered his thanks to — Australia.

Ban recovered Monday about 20 minutes into his news conference on the sidelines of the meeting focused on landlocked developing countries. Tipped off by aides, he apologized, noting he knows full well that there are “no kangaroos in Austria.”

Ban was addressing a pet Austrian peeve: Tourists often say Australia when they mean Austria. Cashing in on the mistake, most Vienna souvenir shops stack t-shirts with a crossed-out picture of the bouncy marsupial and the slogan “There are no kangaroos in Austria.”