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May 25, 2012 at 6:30 AM
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Man fights to keep tomato plant structure

NEWTON, Mass., May 25 (UPI) -- A Massachusetts man said he is fighting with city officials for the right to keep a wooden structure filled with 34 upside-down tomato plants in his yard.

Eli Katzoff of Newton said he wanted to grow the tomatoes for donation to local food pantries and decided to put the wooden structure -- which measures 13 feet high, 32 feet long and 16 feet wide -- in his front yard because his back yard doesn't get enough sun, WBZ-TV, Boston, reported Thursday.

Katzoff said he spoke with a woman in the city zoning office who explained "over and over" that his plans were well within regulations, but city officers arrived at his home the day after the structure was completed and told him it violated city rules against structures in front yards.

However, Katzoff said he has spoken with officials and they told him Tuesday he can apply for a zoning variance to allow the structure to remain in place.

"If it's unsafe he could be directed to take it down immediately. If it's not unsafe he can keep it up until the process takes its course," said Bob Rooney, the city's chief operating officer.

Katzoff said he is hoping officials will see his garden and its structure are harmless.

"We hope they're going to come around to the idea as well, and they'll realize there are much bigger problems in Newton to deal with than a tomato plant garden in the front yard," he said.


Door falls from plane to golf course

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla., May 25 (UPI) -- Officials with a southern Florida airport said the main cabin door fell from a plane and landed on a golf course shortly after takeoff.

The officials said the jet took off Wednesday from the Opa-Locka Executive Airport and soon lost its main cabin door, which plunged to the golf course near the Westin Diplomat Hotel & Spa in Hallandale Beach, WSVN-TV, Miami, reported Thursday.

None of the jets passengers was injured and the plane landed safely a few minutes after losing the door at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.

Golf course officials said there was no one in the door's path, as the course had been closed for the day for maintenance.

The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating the incident.


Man faces fine for honking horn at cop

ESLOV, Sweden, May 25 (UPI) -- Swedish authorities said a 68-year-old man faces a fine for continuously honking his horn at a police officer dealing with a robbery.

Police said the man was driving down a central street in Eslov when he spotted a double-parked car with the motorist inside talking on the phone, The Local.se reported Thursday.

The man had enough room to get past, but instead honked his horn repeatedly in an attempt to get the vehicle to move, police said. The man did not stop when the car's occupant held a badge out of his window to prove his police identity and was also not satisfied when the officer, who was in plain clothes, exited his vehicle and showed the 68-year-old his badge up close.

Police said the man was not satisfied until uniformed officers arrived at the scene and vouched for the officer's identity. Police said the honking went on for more than a minute.

The man said he had a hard time believing the plain clothes officer, who had been dealing with an ongoing robbery situation, because "so many bad things happen in our society."

The man is now facing a charge of willfully honking his horn longer than deemed necessary. Prosecutors said he could face a $70 fine if he admits the offense in court.


Rats ruin fountain in Pied Piper's town

HAMLIN, Germany, May 25 (UPI) -- Officials in Hamlin, the German hometown of the Pied Piper, said modern-day rats have taken revenge on the city by chewing through a cable powering a fountain.

Thomas Wahmes, spokesman for the Hamlin town council, said the rats gnawed through an electric cable powering the fountain near the city's transport station, The Local.de reported Thursday.

Wahmes told the newsapaer Suddeutsche Zeitung the rats were likely attracted to the area by food people have scattered for birds near the fountain.

The Brothers Grimm tale tells the story of how the Pied Piper used his music to lead all of the rats out of the city in 1284 and took the town's children when residents refused to pay.

The city still employs an official rat catcher, but his position is mostly ceremonial and is more focused on piping than pest removal, The Local.de said.

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