Odds and Ends – March 9, 2018 – March 15, 2018

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Massachusetts transit bosses
under fire for $100K bathroom

Boston (AP) – Massachusetts transportation officials are under fire for authorizing a no-bid contract for a tiny, $100,000 bathroom inside a state office building. WCVB-TV reports that the 115-square-foot bathroom and adjoining kitchenette was installed last year at the State Transportation Building inside the new state Transportation Department and MBTA board room. The project was fast-tracked and not put out to bid, which is usually done for state projects to make contractors compete for the work and keep costs down. Greg Sullivan, a former state inspector general who’s now research director at the Pioneer Institute, called the cost “outrageous.” The bathroom is about 40 steps from a spacious public bathroom on the same floor. A spokesman for the Transportation Department says board members are sometimes followed to that bathroom by reporters during public meetings.

11-year-old Pennsylvania
Boy Scout called for jury duty

West Chester, Pa. (AP) – One Pennsylvania resident has been called to perform his civic duty a few years earlier than expected. Jeanette Fox says her son came running to her with a summons from the Chester County court to appear for jury duty in March. Her son, Luke, is only 11 years old. Fox says she tried to go online to request an exemption, but there was no option to select for those too young to serve. She says she made multiple phone calls, and a person who answered said the county had recently changed companies that pull the list for people who receive summonses. The error was eventually fixed, but Fox says her son was excited to go. Luke is a Boy Scout, and he toured the Chester County Courthouse last year.

Lobster emoji gets 2 more legs following design complaints

(Emojipedia)
(Emojipedia)

Augusta, Maine (AP) – After an outcry, the organization that controls the release of emojis has added two more legs to the forthcoming lobster emoji to make it correct. The Portland Press Herald reports soon after the Unicode Consortium released proposed images of 157 new emojis to be made available this year, Maine residents took umbrage at the lobster emoji’s eight legs instead of the correct 10. Emojipedia Chief Emoji Officer Jeremy Burge wrote Monday the consortium had heard people’s complaints and is releasing updated designs for the lobster emoji, alongside updates for a skateboard and DNA emoji. The lobster emoji is expected to be available later this year.

Runaway cow defends its
freedom in Poland

Warsaw, Poland (AP) – A local governor in Poland says a cow that escaped while being taken to a slaughterhouse is still avoiding capture even though the order to kill it has been canceled. The red Limousin beef cow that fled last month has gained celebrity status as it defends its life and freedom, roaming a lake-filled region near Nysa, in the southwest of the country. Governor Czeslaw Bilobran said Wednesday the cow is “cunning and clever and uses the difficult terrain to trick the search group,” swimming from island to island. When caught, it will be put in a local animal reserve. “It is so brave and strong-headed that we decided to keep it,” Bilobran told The Associated Press.

Student calls 911 from school,
says he was sleepwalking

Greensburg, Pa. (AP) – A Pennsylvania middle school canceled classes after a student who said he was sleepwalking was found inside the building. State police say the seventh-grade student called 911 around 2:30 a.m. Wednesday to report he was inside Wendover Middle School in Hempfield Township. The student told authorities he had been sleepwalking and woke up inside the school. Police say the student entered the school through a window and wandered around for about 15 minutes. Police say the student lives about 4 miles from the school. The Hempfield Area School District canceled classes Wednesday due to security concerns, and police swept the building. The district says Wednesday’s incident is not connected to another student’s arrest earlier this week for threatening to shoot a female student. Classes were scheduled to resume Thursday.