UPI NewsTrack Quirks in the News

March 28, 2013 at 5:04 PM
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Squirrels crash Easter egg hunt

RICHFIELD, Minn., March 28 (UPI) -- Organizers of an Easter egg hunt in a Minnesota park said squirrels decided to get in on the action and stole some of the candy-filled plastic eggs.

Nick Thompson, a recreation supervisor in Richfield, said Saturday's event at Augsburg Park involved about 1,500 plastic eggs, 120 children and an unknown number of thieving squirrels, the Star Tribune newspaper in Minneapolis reported Thursday.

"We tried to cover all our bases but we weren't ready for the squirrels," Thompson said. "We noticed them... taking our eggs away."

Recreation supervisor Ann Hoffer said she saw a squirrel scale a tree with a plastic egg in its mouth.

"I think they just saw brightly colored objects and thought they'd go for it," she said. "They smelled the candy inside."

Workers said the squirrels only seemed interested in the candy-filled eggs, ignoring those filled with toys and other inedible prizes.

School district bans dodge ball

WINDHAM, N.H., March 28 (UPI) -- A New Hampshire school district has banned dodge ball from gym classes after parents complained about their children being bullied during the games.

The Windham School board voted 4-1 to end dodge ball and similar "human target" games after parents complained children were being bullied and targeted by other students during the ball-throwing game, WBZ-TV, Boston, reported Thursday.

A special committee formed by the district to study the issue recommended such games be eliminated.

"It's almost turning into a nanny state," said school board member Dennis Senibaldi, who cast the single vote against the ban. "What happens when they replace that game with something different that another group doesn't want to play, do we eliminate that group of games?"

Superintendent Henry LaBranche said the school district is trying to teach students to respect one another, and dodge ball and similar games "create conditions inconsistent with that message."

Woman spends 28 years waiting for housing

STOCKHOLM, Sweden, March 28 (UPI) -- A 64-year-old Swedish woman got an apartment in Stockholm after waiting 28 years in a housing queue -- a wait that experts say is becoming common.

The woman, who joined the housing queue in 1985, will soon be living in an apartment on Strandvagen, one of the most posh streets in Stockholm, The Local.se reported Thursday.

Experts say long waits for rentals in Stockholm are becoming very common.

"Well, 28 years is a very long time indeed, and these kinds of stories underline that there is a problem in Stockholm," Anders Konradsson of the Swedish Union of Tenants told The Local. "If you want an apartment in Stockholm, especially on a street like Strandvagen, you're in for a wait. The problem is that there simply aren't enough apartments here."

There are currently 400,000 people waiting on Stockholm's housing lists, 15,000 of whom have joined since the start of this year.

Konradsson offered some advice to people looking to get housing sooner rather than later: "If you want a nice apartment in Sweden you have to be prepared to either pay a lot or wait. But if you're in a hurry for some reason and want something reasonably priced, get talking to landlords and try to rent something second hand. Write to them, talk to them, and don't forget to check sites like [Swedish buy/sell site] Blocket."

"It's quite tough, but I can't see any other way," Konradsson said.

Man develops GPS for wandering cat

MARLBOROUGH, England, March 28 (UPI) -- A British man who grew frustrated with trying to locate his wandering cat has developed a GPS tracking device for pets.

Dave Evans, 41, of Marlborough, England, who has worked in marketing for SatNav devices, said he fitted an ultra light Global Positioning System device to the collar of his cat, Yollo, when he noticed the feline was putting on weight during his trips outside, The Sun reported Thursday.

"My cat was getting fat even though I was feeding him less and I needed to know what was going on," Evans said. "Now I know he travels a couple of miles a day, where he goes at night and who's feeding him. I know he also enjoys chasing chickens at 6 a.m. every morning and can see his favorite hang-outs."

Evans said he is now marketing his collar-mounted device as G-Paws for $75 per unit.

The father of two said he is developing a social network for G-Paws users, which he hopes to have completed by the summer.

"It will enable users to see where their pets have been as well as share photos, videos and other information," Evans said. "For too long we have been kept in the dark about the secret lives of our pets. At last we will know what they get up to."

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