The Odd Side – June 30, 2015

Disney Bans Selfie Sticks At Theme Parks Over Safety Concerns

ORLANDO, Fla. (Reuters) – Walt Disney Co. will ban selfie sticks starting next week at its theme parks around the world, the company said on Friday, joining a growing list of attractions that restrict the camera accessories for safety reasons.

Beginning Tuesday, the company will not allow selfie sticks at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Forida, or Disneyland in Anaheim, California. The ban will begin on Wednesday at parks in Hong Kong and Paris.

“We strive to provide a great experience for the entire family, and unfortunately selfie sticks have become a growing safety concern for both our guests and cast,” Disney spokeswoman Kim Prunty said in a statement.

Disney tried allowing selfie sticks in the park but not on rides, according to Prunty. But violators were forcing park staff to stop rides for extended periods of time, including on Wednesday when a roller coaster was shut down at Disneyland, frustrating other guests.

Starting next week, security personnel will ask Disney guests who arrive with selfie sticks at the parks to stow them at a storage facility or return the sticks to their hotels or cars, the company said.

Major museums worldwide, including those in the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, have banned the sticks. Other major tourist destinations, such as the Palace of Versailles outside of Paris and the Coliseum in Rome, as well as music festivals, have also prohibited them.

Oregon Men Hospitalized, Recovering After Rare Beaver Attack

PORTLAND, Ore. (Reuters) – Two Oregon hikers who were assaulted by a beaver after they climbed onto its dam have been hospitalized for injuries incurred during the rare attack, law enforcement officials said on Friday.

Clayton Mitchell, 23, told the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office that he and a friend had been hiking along a river near his central Oregon home on Thursday when they climbed onto a beaver dam.

A resident beaver emerged from the dam, knocking Mitchell into the Deschutes River and trapping his friend, 31-year-old John Bailey, in a tangle of submerged logs, according to the sheriff’s department incident report.

After Miller contacted the sheriff’s department for help, deputies called upon search and rescue volunteers to locate Bailey.

Searchers heard the trapped man call for help, but he freed himself and climbed out of the river just as deputies discovered his location, the report said of the incident, which is virtually unprecedented in central Oregon.

“I was just getting off shift when the report came in, and I didn’t believe it,” Deschutes County Sheriff’s Department Lieutenant Joe Deluca said.

“I’m a city boy from the East Coast, and every day in Deschutes County I learn something new,” Deluca added. “This time, I learned, don’t mess with a beaver.”

Mitchell and Bailey were both treated for non-life threatening injuries and are expected to recover. There was no information available on the status of the beaver, the sheriff’s office said.

Court Rails Against Judge Who Didn’t Show for Jury Duty 

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A federal judge won’t punish a Kansas judge who didn’t show up for jury duty in federal court.

Sedgwick County District Judge Michael Hoelscher failed to appear for jury duty June 15.

U.S. District Judge Eric Melgren wrote in an order Friday that he believes judges and other public officials should comply with laws with which they expect others to comply. He noted federal judges in Kansas have shown up for jury service in state courts.

But Melgren withdrew his earlier order requiring Hoelscher to show cause for not appearing.

The turnabout came after Hoelscher’s attorney argued that sitting state judges are barred by U.S. law from serving on federal juries. An email with the court filing also documented Hoelscher’s efforts to comply with directions from the court’s automated system.

German Robbers Chased Away By Shopkeeper Wielding Vacuum Cleaner

BERLIN (Reuters) – A German shop assistant in a late-night convenience store chased away two armed robbers demanding money with the hose of a vacuum cleaner she was using to clean her shop in Berlin’s Neukoelln district, police said on Wednesday.

One of the two would-be robbers was brandishing a pistol and demanded she turn over the money from her cash register in the attempted robbery just after midnight on Tuesday.

But police said the woman, 59, stormed toward the duo and aimed the hose attachment of her switched-on vacuum cleaner at them.

“They then fled without the loot,” Berlin police said in a statement.

Something’s Rotten: Stench From Fridge Sends 11 to Hospital 

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — Officials say a smelly refrigerator at the University of Kentucky sent nearly a dozen people to the hospital.

Multiple news outlets report that workers smelled a strong odor coming from the fridge when they came to work Wednesday at the Dimock Animal Pathology building. They opened the fridge to an overpowering smell.

University officials say movers had brought the fridge there from another campus building Tuesday evening but didn’t detect anything amiss.

Fire battalion chief Joe Best says people reported minor irritation to the skin or eyes and some nausea. Eleven were taken to the hospital. Firefighters evacuated the building and kept people away as a precaution.

University spokeswoman Kathy Jones says officials believe the odor was caused by a chemical residue left by something that had been inside the refrigerator. The building was reopened Wednesday afternoon.