The Odd Side – February 23, 2016

Hungry Mice Thwart Fix for Brussels’ Traffic Chaos

BRUSSELS, Belgium (REUTERS) – As if the European Union does not have crises enough, now traffic chaos in its congested capital Brussels is being blamed on… hungry mice.

EU leaders gathering for a summit on Thursday to deal with the refugee crisis and British threats to quit the bloc find a city struggling to cope with repeated closures of key road tunnels caused by crumbling concrete and years of decay.

Now the Belgian capital’s regional parliament has been told that repairs are being held up because original construction plans have been destroyed — apparently eaten by rodents.

The tunnels provide vital arteries across what is often described as Europe’s most traffic-congested city. But for decades the plans for their construction were stored in the pillars under a motorway bridge, for want of space elsewhere.

“They may have been eaten by mice,” the former head of the city’s infrastructure agency told city lawmakers on Wednesday.

The state of the roads in the city of 1.2 million, home to the European Union and NATO headquarters, has become a hot political issue in Belgium, with an estimated bill of some 1 billion euros ($1.1 billion) to repair all the tunnels.

Twin Sisters in California Share $6 Million Lottery Jackpot

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – Twin sisters in California will share a $6 million lottery jackpot after one of them lucked out with a winning ticket.

Lisa Toton says she purchased several tickets after spotting a yellow ladybug, which she had never seen before. When she learned she had a winning scratcher, she contacted her sister Laura Poorman to join her at the lottery’s San Francisco-area office to jointly claim the prize.

“Jackpot Scratcher, come home. $6 million, I’m shaking!” Toton wrote to Poorman in a text.

The fraternal sisters with identical voices have been buying lottery tickets since they were 18. They declined to give their age to lottery officials, but did share what they’d like to do with the money.

Toton said she may purchase a vacation home and a black GMC Vandura cargo van. Her sister wants to pay off student loans and buy a house.

The sisters have 60 days to decide whether they want to take the prize in a lump sum or spread out into monthly payments.

Longtime Librarian Puts 60 Years on the Books

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — When Carrie Ingle started working at the downtown Columbus library in March 1956, she used a manual typewriter to prepare each catalog card and meticulously glued protective jackets to new books before they were shelved.

Sixty years have come and gone, and the 77-year-old Ingle still is working full time behind the scenes, surrounded each day by stacks of brand-new books in what is now one of the country’s busiest big-city library systems. The card catalog cabinets are long gone, and patrons can now log in to the library’s online system.

When Ingle was hired as a high school senior for $75 a week, Dwight D. Eisenhower was president; and the downtown library didn’t have air conditioning but did had a baby grand piano that anyone could walk in and play.

Ingle is one of probably fewer than 25 people who have worked at U.S. libraries for more than a half-century and is among the longest-tenured ever, according to Julie Todaro, president-elect of the American Library Association. That Ingle is still working and adapting to today’s technology makes her longevity, in Todaro’s words, “incredible.”

These days she still deals with vendors and cataloging of new books on computer in a cubicle plastered with photos of her great-great grandnieces and nephews. Other than some brief time off for surgery, she’s called in sick only twice. She’s never wanted to do any other job in the library than this one.

A widow, Ingle devotes much of her energy away from her workplace to her role as a lay minister trained to instruct caregivers how to give comfort to people who must deal with a dying or addicted loved one.

She’s passionate about both jobs. She doesn’t even talk about retirement.

“I’d rather,” she said, “have my life very busy.”

81-Year-Old Woman Chases Fleeing Robbers, Rams Their Car

MOUNT POCONO, Pa. (AP) — Police say an 81-year-old Pennsylvania woman chased down robbers who stole her purse, ramming their car with hers and leaving damage that helped officers apprehend them.

The woman was sitting her car in her Mount Pocono driveway on Tuesday when she was approached by a man and woman. As she talked to them through an open window, one grabbed her purse and they fled in a car.

Pocono Mountain Regional police say the woman took off after them and hit their car, but the duo drove off.

Officers found their damaged car in a grocery store parking lot. The man and woman were arrested and arraigned Wednesday on robbery and other charges. Police say the suspects targeted the woman after seeing her handling cash at a local pharmacy.