Watertown, Mass., recently installed new parking meters with updated technology that make payment easier. But the city is fielding complaints from residents who say the meters are too tall to use. “I’m 5 foot, 7 inches, and I have to do a little tiptoe reach,” said driver Marianne Iagco. The meters are 5 feet, 6 inches high. Assistant Town Manager Steve Magoon said public works employees will be lowering the meters to 48 inches in the weeks to come. “It’s actually sort of refreshing to have a problem of slightly shorter stature than unemployment, COVID-19, no food and no money,” said resident Ken Pershing.
A couple in Sherbrooke, Quebec, was fined $1,500 each when police spotted the pair walking outside an hour after the city’s 8 pm curfew. The husband was wearing a leash. The city’s curfew allows for dog walking after 8 pm. But police rejected the couple’s claim that the man with the leash was the equivalent of a dog. It was the first weekend the area was under the new province-wide restrictions imposed by Premier Francois Legault. Officers throughout Quebec handed out more than 750 tickets.
When Seniors Go Wild
Authorities in Essex County, England, went to the Freemasons’ Saxon Hall, expecting to put an end to the illegal rave reported to be happening there. But instead of loud music and wild teenagers, officers found old people lining up to get their COVID-19 vaccines. “Grumpy old men and grumpy old women were in abundance,” confirmed Dennis Baum, chairman of the hall. They had “wheelchairs, Zimmer frames and walking sticks.” Baum said things got testy when the vaccine was late in arriving: “It was absolute chaos … The car park became chock a block with 80-year-old-plus drivers.” Police remained to offer their assistance with the traffic.
Roger Broadstone was at home in Twining, Mich., when state police arrived to investigate allegations that he had purchased $1,500 worth of merchandise with a stolen credit card. He refused to let them in without a search warrant. When the troopers returned with the warrant, they found the illegally purchased items inside the house. They also found that Broadstone had barricaded himself inside the domicile. He claimed he had set a booby trap that would harm the officers. Broadstone was charged with two counts related to the credit card transaction and 16 counts related to the confrontation with authorities, including five counts of attempted murder and four counts of resisting police. He was being held on a $1.125 million bond.
Dogs Have Emotions Too
The South Korean startup Petpuls Lab has announced that it has developed an AI dog collar that can help owners discern what emotions their pets are feeling based on how the dogs bark. “This device gives a dog a voice so that humans can understand,” the company’s director of global marketing, Andrew Gil, told Reuters. The collar detects five emotions. Owners can find out through a smartphone app if their pets are happy, relaxed, anxious, angry or sad. Seoul National University tested the device and declared it has a 90 percent average accuracy rate. The collar sells for $99.
Lost And Found
In January, retired Navy meteorologist Paul Grisham, of San Carlos, Calif., was reunited with a leather wallet he left behind 53 years earlier when his 13-month tour in Antarctica ended. The wallet had been found behind a locker during renovations at McMurdo Station. It made its way back to him through the weeks-long efforts of a group of amateur detectives who worked to track him down. “I was just blown away,” Grisham said. The billfold still contained Grisham’s Navy ID, driver’s license and an assortment of other items, including a recipe for homemade Kahlua, money order receipts from his poker winnings and a set of instructions on what to do in case of an attack. It did not contain any money because there had been nothing to buy at the station.
Here, Have Some Mealworms
The European Food Safety Agency recently approved yellow grubs, AKA mealworms, as its first insect “novel food,” which will be used whole and dried in curries and as flour to make pastas and breads. Mealworms are rich in protein, fat and fiber, according to agency food scientist Ermolaos Ververis, who said, “there is great interest … in the edible insect sector.” But sociologist Giovanni Sogari points out that “the ‘yuck factor’ may make the thought of eating insects repellent to many Europeans. With time and exposure, such attitudes can change,” he added.
Police in the Japanese community of Funabashi City arrested Ryusei Takada for stealing more than a dozen toilets from houses under construction. The thefts began in October, 2020. Local media dubbed the elusive thief the God of Toilets. Then Takata flushed himself out by selling a brand-new fixture to a secondhand store in the city. Takada, a construction company office worker, admitted to the thefts and said he did it “to cover my living expenses.”
It Wasn’t Really About The Cats
An armed man wearing camouflage tactical gear approached a 23-year-old worker as she was leaving the Cranbourne West Lost Dogs Home in Melbourne, Australia, at 11:30 pm. He demanded she turn over her cellphone. Victoria police said the man pointed his gun at the woman, then took her inside the shelter, tied her up and “asked where the cats were.” Then he “left the room and didn’t return.” The woman freed herself and called for help. Police are still looking for the man and a motive.
When You Care Enough to Send the Very Best
Romney Christopher Ellis was sentenced to four years and 10 months in prison by a federal court in Tampa, Fla., after waging a four-year-long campaign to harass and threaten his ex-wife. At one point he sent a package with a dead rat and a black rose to her home, according to court records. He also threatened to decapitate her and set her on fire. Postal inspectors searched Ellis’ home in February and uncovered the necessary evidence. He pled guilty in April.
Oh, That Old Thing?
Italian police arrested a 36-year-old man in Naples on suspicion of receiving stolen goods. They found a 500-year-old copy of Leonardo da Vinci’s painting Salvatore Mundi. When they brought the painting to the museum it belonged to, museum officials were surprised, as they had no idea the art work had been missing. The painting is part of the Doma Museum collection at the San Domenico Maggiore church in Naples, where the room it had hung in had, apparently, not been open for three months. The copy in the church was made by painter Giacomo Alibrandi in the early 1500s. Da Vinci’s original painting sold in 2017 for $450 million at auction and hasn’t been seen in public since.
Wrong Place, Wrong Time
Veronica Gutierrez was arrested in Palm Springs, Calif., after allegedly carjacking an SUV in Rosemead. The carjacking was complicated by the fact that the car owner’s 84-year-old mother was in the passenger seat at the time. Police Sgt. Richard Lewis said the owner had left the SUV’s motor running with the heater on for her mother. The suspect commandeered the vehicle and drove off, eventually letting the mother go in Desert Hot Springs, more than 100 miles away. The mother was unharmed. Gutierrez was being held on suspicion of kidnapping for carjacking.