The Odd Side – November 19, 2013

Cops: Pa. Man Stole Backhoe, Drove Miles to Philly

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A Pennsylvania man has been jailed on charges he stole a $125,000 backhoe from a suburban construction site, then drove it about 30 miles to a scrapyard in Philadelphia where he intended to sell it.

Police estimate it would have taken 33-year-old William Michael Pusey about 2 1/2 hours to make the trip to Philadelphia from Shainline Excavating of Phoenixville, where the backhoe was stolen Sunday.

State police say the backhoe’s owner was able to locate it because of a global-positioning device in it. Police say Pusey was arrested in Philadelphia where he had heard someone wanted to buy a backhoe.

Court records don’t list an attorney for Pusey, of Columbia, who has been returned to the Lancaster County Prison because he faces an outstanding unrelated arrest warrant for theft there.

Pet Kangaroo Gets Loose, Causes Stir in West Texas

MIDLAND, Texas (AP) — Officers in West Texas who answered calls about a kangaroo hopping along a road helped capture the pet and return the animal to its owner.

Midland County Sheriff Gary Painter says deputies thought dispatchers were crazy when calls came in Tuesday night from people who said they saw a kangaroo. Patrol car video shows some of the chase along a rural highway near Midland.

Deputies helped corner the four-foot-tall kangaroo as the owner offered a treat to the animal, then grabbed the pet.

Painter said Wednesday that Midland County has an exotic animals ordinance and owners must notify the sheriff’s office. Authorities are checking to see if a pet kangaroo falls under that category.

Japanese Man Runs on Arms And Legs to New Record

TOKYO (AP) — A Japanese man who runs on his arms and legs broke his own Guinness world record for the 100-meter dash on Thursday.

Kenichi Ito finished in 16.87 seconds, shaving more than half a second off his 2012 run of 17.47 seconds.

The 30-year-old Japanese has been training for a decade. He studies how primates move using books, videos and zoo visits, and even tries to move on all fours in his everyday life.

Ito hopes racing on four limbs will one day become an official track and field event.

Carlos Martinez, an official adjudicator for Guinness World Records, was on hand to witness the attempt and announced afterward that Ito had set a record.

Pianist Could Face Jail for Practicing

MADRID (AP) — To most people, noise pollution is a jet engine roaring over their head. For one Spanish woman, it was a neighbor playing the piano more softly than a spoken conversation.

The woman has taken her neighbors in the apartment below — a 27-year-old pianist and her parents — to court. Now prosecutors want to send all three to jail for more than seven years on charges of psychological damage and noise pollution.

In a country known for its exuberant noisiness, the case has raised eyebrows. Neighbors often complain about street and bar noise in Spain, but prosecutors seeking jail time for someone practicing the piano is unheard of — especially since that musician is now a professional concert pianist.

At the trial in the northeastern city of Gerona, the woman claimed she suffered noise pollution from 2003 to 2007 due to the five-day-a-week, eight-hour practice sessions of Laia Martin, who lived below her in the northeastern town of Puigcerda.

Martin, 27, denies that she played at home that often, saying she took regular classes in other towns. She claims she mostly practiced at home on the weekends.

On Monday, the first day of the trial, the El Pais newspaper reported that the plaintiff told the court she now hates pianos so much she can’t even stand to see them in a film.

The prosecution claims that years of hearing constant playing has caused the plaintiff “psychological injury.” Medical reports showed she suffered from a variety of problems, including insomnia, anxiety, panic attacks and gynecological problems.

The plaintiff and her family moved in 2007 and she says she has had to take time off work, reportedly due to her problems.

The prosecutor said tests by local authorities found that the sound levels made by the piano were repeatedly up to 10 decibels greater than the 30-decibel limit laid down for musical instruments in the town. City authorities asked the family several times to either stop the piano playing or soundproof the room.

The family told the court they carried out soundproofing work twice but the complaints continued, the newspaper reported.

Nuria Blanes, an environmental scientist at the Autonomous University of Barcelona, said noise around 40 decibels “is not very much.” A normal conversation produces 55-60 decibels, with noise in a bar reaching 65-70 decibels and an airplane in flight producing 110-120 decibels, she said.

However, she also noted that some studies have established links to health problems such as sleep disturbances and cardiovascular disease if someone faces a constant noise level of over 40 decibels during the night.

“The norm is for 30 decibels as a nighttime limit inside a house, but some authorities are widening it to daytime, which is surprising,” said Fernando Simon Yarza, a constitutional law professor at Navarra University. He said that may be due to the high fines that courts have forced some towns to pay for not taking action against excessive noise levels.

“Protection against noise and environmental quality is considered a human right,” he told The Associated Press.

The prosecutors have asked for all three defendants to be sentenced to six years in jail for noise pollution and an additional one-and-a-half years for psychological damage. They have also demanded that all three be prohibited from playing the piano professionally for four years.

A Catalonia Justice Tribunal spokeswoman said the trial will end Nov. 15.