December 31, 2015
Oops! UK Astronaut Calls Wrong Number From Space
London (AP) Anyone can dial a wrong number, but it’s not often done from outer space.
British astronaut Tim Peake tweeted an apology on Christmas Day from the International Space Station after calling a wrong number.
He wrote “I’d like to apologize to the lady I just called by mistake saying ‘Hello, is this planet Earth?’ not a prank call just a wrong number!”
The 43-year-old former army helicopter pilot did not say who he was calling.
Millions of Britons have been following his mission closely since he became Britain’s first publicly funded astronaut and the first Briton to visit the space station.
The nation seemed to come to a halt during liftoff Dec. 15 as many stopped what they were doing and nervously watched live coverage of him leaving the earth for outer space.
He is sharing the space station with five other astronauts from Russia and the United States. Peake’s crewmates are NASA’s Scott Kelly and Tim Kopra and Russians Mikhail Kornienko, Yuri Malenchenko and Sergey Volkov.
Kelly and Kornienko are on the first joint U.S.-Russian one-year mission at the space station.
Elephant Seal Repeatedly Tries To Cross California Highway
San Francisco (AP) Wildlife experts and law enforcement officials on Monday worked to keep a determined elephant seal off a Northern California highway that it has repeatedly tried to cross, snarling traffic in the area.
California Highway Patrol spokesman Officer Andrew Barclay said callers first reported the 500-pound mammal was trying to climb the divider wall of Highway 37 near Sears Point in Sonoma.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service crews and CHP officers managed to usher the adult seal back into the San Francisco Bay.
But instead of swimming away, the animal got back on land at least twice, Barclay said.
“Every time we got her in the water, she circled back and tried to climb out again,” he said.
Most of those trying to help the seal left the area Monday evening after she got back in the water and the tide got lower, decreasing her chances of reaching land.
Barclay said some CHP personnel would patrol the area overnight in case the mammal again attempts to reach land.
Marine Mammal Center spokeswoman Laura Sherr said the seal doesn’t seem injured and that she probably got lost and confused after swimming up the wrong waterway.
Man Leaves Chickens In Lobby Of Oregon Tax Office
Eugene, OR (AP) Police say an Oregon man angry with his tax situation left a flock of seven chickens inside the state revenue office.
Police in Eugene said in a news release they responded to a report Wednesday afternoon of chickens left in the lobby of the Oregon Department of Revenue.
Police and an animal welfare officer rounded up the fowl, and they were taken to an animal shelter.
Officers gave 66-year-old Louis Adler, of Creswell, a trespass notice requiring him to stay away from the office or risk a citation.
The Register-Guard reports no people or animals were injured.
Adler couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.
State agency spokesman Derrick Gasperini told the Guard the staff had prior dealings with Adler and he was “frustrated by the outcome.”
Once Again, Giant Yule Goat Burns In Sweden
Stockholm (AP) In what’s become a Christmas tradition to some Swedes, a giant decorative goat made of straw was set ablaze early Sunday and police arrested a 25-year-old man suspected of arson.
The straw goat is a beloved Christmas symbol in the city of Gavle, in central Sweden. However, it’s also become a tradition of sorts to burn it down.
This year’s edition lasted nearly a month on a downtown square before going up in flames.
Police said they arrested a suspect wearing a balaclava and clothes reeking of lighter fluid. His face was covered in soot and his hair damaged by fire.
Police said he would be questioned once he sobered up.
The goat is an ancient Scandinavian Yuletide tradition that preceded Santa Claus as the bringer of gifts.
Oregon Woman Hit By Car Suing For Cost Of Designer Clothes
Portland, OR (AP) A Portland woman struck by a drunken driver in a crosswalk has filed a lawsuit seeking $4,600 for the designer clothes she was wearing at the time, on top of the cost of her medical bills.
The Oregonian reported Tuesday that Susan Layne sued in Multnomah County Circuit Court earlier this month. She says the crash not only left her with bruises, scratches and pain but destroyed a Chanel handbag, Prada boots and Burberry trench coat.
Several Portland attorneys said they have never had a client seek compensation for designer clothes, but it isn’t outside the realm of possibility.
They say a crash victim with high-priced clothing would be entitled to payment much like someone whose car or laptop was damaged.
Ohio Mom Helped By Repo Man Gets Gifts From His Colleagues
Garfield Heights, OH (AP) Two weeks after a man went to repossess a car and instead ended up offering to help cover a woman’s payments, his colleagues showed up with another surprise: stacks of Christmas gifts for her 10-year-old daughter.
A repo man from Relentless Recovery had come for Diana Parks’ car but wept at the story of a single mother diagnosed with a pituitary tumor that gives her seizures and trouble walking. It made her unable to work as a pharmacy technician and forced her to drop out of Cleveland State University.
“I was working so hard so we could do better,” she said. “And then I got sick.”
He offered to give up half his pay until her delinquent car payments were caught up, but the company decided to cover those costs. Then the staff divvied up her daughter’s holiday wish list.
“I am overwhelmed with joy,” Parks told The Plain Dealer on Wednesday as employees brought boxes of Christmas presents to her Garfield Heights home.
The company also established an online fundraising campaign that has generated thousands of dollars for the family.
Parks said the kindness shown by the Relentless Recovery employees has restored her optimism.
“I am floating on a cloud,” she said. “God works in mysterious ways. We are so blessed.”