The Odd Side – June 23, 2015

Wisconsin City Bars Use of Kangaroos as Service Animals

BEAVER DAM, Wis. (AP) – Officials have changed a southeastern Wisconsin city’s rules on service animals after a woman took a baby kangaroo into a fast-food restaurant.

The Beaver Dam Daily Citizen reports the city’s Common Council voted 14-0 Monday night to define a service animal as a dog or miniature horse, but not a kangaroo. Police can cite people who try to use other animals.

Beaver Dam police say the woman wrapped the baby kangaroo in a blanket and tucked it in an infant car seat, then took it inside a fast-food restaurant in February. The woman said the kangaroo is a therapy animal to help her cope with emotional distress.

City Attorney Maryann Schacht says the changes comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Cops: Do-Gooder Helps, Then Makes Things Worse

GENESEE FALLS, N.Y. (AP) – Authorities say someone trying to help a western New York man in distress turned out to be a heap of trouble.

The Wyoming County Sheriff’s Office says a 58-year-old man’s foot got stuck under his mower last week as he mowed a sloped lawn near an embankment in the town of Genesee Falls.

Deputies say his cries for help were heard by 31-year-old Christopher Ratcliffe, who had stopped at a nearby gas station while driving back to Pennsylvania.

Police say Ratcliffe tied a rope from his vehicle to the mower. But instead of backing up, Ratcliffe went forward, causing the trapped man, the mower and Ratcliff’s vehicle to go over the 12-foot-high embankment.

The mower landed on the man but he escaped with minor injuries.

Ratcliffe was ticketed for driving a vehicle that was uninsured, uninspected and unregistered.

Illegal-Dumping Suspect Nabbed At Trash Collection Event

KINGMAN, Ariz. (AP) — Arizona detectives holding a free trash collection event got more than just garbage. They also got their man.

The Kingman Daily Miner reports Sunday that detectives working at the June 6 event in Kingman spotted a familiar vehicle in line.

Authorities say they saw the same vehicle five days earlier at the home of 20-year-old Trenton Drake White, who is suspected of illegal dumping.

They say White allegedly dumped 600 pounds of construction and household trash in the desert.

Detectives approached White. They said he admitted dumping the items.

He was arrested on two unrelated misdemeanor warrants for failure to pay fines and driving on a suspended license.

But he now also faces a felony charge of illegal dumping.

The Mohave County Attorney’s Office will review the case.

Utah School Creates ‘Texting Lane’ for Phone-Focused Walkers

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — One Utah university is giving students glued to their cellphones a place to call their own: a designated lane for texting while walking.

Utah Valley University spokeswoman Melinda Colton said the bright green lane painted on the stairs to the gym was intended as a lighthearted way to brighten up the space and get students’ attention.

Twenty-two-year-old student Chelsea Meza says the idea touches on a cultural reality in an age of ubiquitous cellphones. She says some texting students have used it.

Property managers in the Chinese city of Chongqing did something similar last year with a designated sidewalk lane for smartphone users.

Utah Valley University has 31,000-students and is about 40 miles south of Salt Lake City.

Woman Abandons Attempt To Cross Pacific Ocean Solo In Rowboat

MILWAUKEE, Wisc. (Reuters) An American woman has ended her attempt to become the first female to cross the Pacific Ocean by herself in a rowboat after running into rough weather and a piece of steering equipment failed off the coast of Japan, her team said on Sunday.

Sonya Baumstein, 30, was rescued by the Japan Coast Guard a week after she began the four-to-six month odyssey to San Francisco, according to her support team’s website.

During her first seven days on the water, Baumstein lost her drogue, a critical steering system device, and battled strong headwinds while dealing with the prospect of rough weather in the forecast, the journey’s operations manager, Andrew Cull, said in a statement.

“Sonya and some team members felt that things weren’t going right. While we couldn’t put our finger on it, something felt wrong,” he said.

Despite 16 attempted solo rows across the Pacific, no women and only two men have successfully completed the journey: Frenchmen Gerard d’Aboville in 1991 and Emmanuel Coindre in 2005, according to Ocean Rowing Society records.

Baumstein was traveling in a custom-made 23-foot, 660-pound boat without a motor or sail. Baumstein’s boat had an electric water maker that desalinates seawater for drinking.

The only other woman to attempt to row from Japan to San Francisco was Briton Sarah Outen. But she was blown northward and after 149 days ended her 2013 journey in the Aleutian Islands.

Baumstein has not decided when or if she will attempt the trip again, Cull said.