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I bet you often look for escapes from the negative grind of the daily news, be it in your newspaper, online or delivered via cellphone.

And I bet I'm just like you and do the same thing.

Therefore, I lackadaisically bring you a few fun -- and odd -- nuggets of news.

Restaurant sign approved after concerns it was offensive

KEENE, N.H. (AP) -- Officials in a New Hampshire city have approved a restaurant sign that initially was removed over concerns that it sounded like profanity.

The name of the Vietnamese restaurant in a public building next to City Hall in Keene is a play on words. It calls itself by the name of a soup, which is spelled P-H-O, but is pronounced "fuh," followed by the words "Keene Great." It's scheduled to open March 1.

City Manager Elizabeth Dragon said in an email the sign was approved Friday and is in compliance. She said no one had submitted written permission to put up any sign until Jan. 4.

Dragon said officials decided to let the community "decide what they think of the sign and how they interpret it."


Commuter's 'delay scarf' bought by German train company

BERLIN (AP)-- Germany's biggest rail company, under fire for its unpunctual service, is trying to mollify one disgruntled commuter by buying her "delay scarf."

Deutsche Bahn, which last week announced plans to hire 22,000 more staff, bought the hand-made scarf in an online auction for 7,550 euros ($8,600). The money is being donated to a charity for the homeless.

According to her daughter, Sara Weber, the Munich commuter had knitted the grey, pink and red scarf last year, with each color reflecting the amount of time her journey had been delayed. Weber's social media post about the scarf drew widespread attention this month, reflecting Deutsche Bahn customers' frustration at the company's persistent delays.

Less than three quarters of Deutsche Bahn's long-distance trains arrived on time last year, debunking cultural assumptions about German punctuality.


Connecticut soda maker pays tribute to government shutdown

NEW BRITAIN, Conn. (AP) -- A Connecticut soft drink maker known for its whimsical soda names is trying to make the bitter federal government shutdown a little sweeter.

New Britain-based Avery's Beverages on Monday introduced its newest concoction, Shutdown Swill, and offered a free bottle to federal employees who stop by the plant.

Owner Rob Metz tells WTIC-TV the drink is a mix of blue raspberry and orange, making it green, the color of money. He added citric acid for more bitterness. The label features a caricature of President Donald Trump.

Avery's, founded in 1904, is known for its election year sodas, including Make America Grape Again and Hillary Hooch in 2016 and Barack O'Berry and Cream de Mitt in 2012.

It also has a "totally gross" lineup of sodas, including Dog Drool and Monster Mucus.


Coyote in the bathroom! Critter runs into convention center

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- A coyote sprinted past a security checkpoint and into a Nashville convention center where a boat show was packing up Jan. 13.

According to the Music City Center, at around 10:20 p.m. the coyote entered through a loading area and ran into an exhibit hall before staff trapped it in a bathroom.

Police and animal control officers used a catch pole to capture the animal, which was released in a wooded area.

Metro Animal Care and Control Director Lauren Bluestone said coyote encounters are becoming more common in Nashville as the city expands.

Bluestone said, "I don't want to say coyotes in bathrooms are going to become the norm, but because of intrusion into their habitat, it's going to be close living."


2 men, dog rescued from overturned boat in Gulf off Florida

CLEARWATER, Fla. (AP) -- The U.S. Coast Guard came to the aid of two men and a dog whose boat flipped over in the Gulf of Mexico off Florida's Big Bend.

In a statement Tuesday, the Coast Guard said a helicopter crew hoisted the men and the dog to safety about 5 miles (8 kilometers) south of Rock Island.

The statement said the men and dog were found wearing life jackets and clinging to the hull of the overturned vessel. They showed mild, hypothermia-like symptoms and were met at Tallahassee International Airport by emergency responders.


Parrot rescued after nearly 3 nights in storm drain

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- An African Grey parrot is home after being trapped for nearly three nights in a storm drain in Los Angeles.

Arturo Vasquez tells KABC-TV he turned to YouTube parrot advocate Marlene Mc'Cohen when no one would help him try to free his 10-year-old parrot Milly.

Mc'Cohen says she rounded up a group of volunteers, who improvised using cameras, piping and remote control vehicles. At one point, the parrot got spooked. But they eventually coaxed Milly out of the drain.


Biologists say seal that spent weekend on beach was resting

NEWPORT, R.I. (AP) — Officials from Mystic Aquarium in Connecticut say a juvenile harp seal who spent the weekend on a Rhode Island beach apparently was just resting.

Sarah Callan, assistant manager of the animal rescue program at Mystic, says officials had been monitoring the seal after it was spotted Saturday on Easton's beach.

She tells the Newport Daily News the seal spent the weekend out of the water, but was not on the beach when a monitor returned on Monday.

She says it's not unusual to see harp seals this time of year as they move down the coast from Canada.

She says the seals don't need to feed every day and sometimes after a particularly long journey, they will haul themselves onto a beach to sleep.


Firefighters free horse trapped in muddy swamp

NORTH SMITHFIELD, R.I. (AP) — It was an unusual rescue effort for some Rhode Island firefighters after a horse became stuck in a muddy swamp.

Authorities in North Smithfield say the horse, named Fiona, ran off from the Phoenix Rising Horse Farm on Saturday after being startled by something, and wound up in the swamp.

WPRI-TV reports that workers at the farm were able to coax Fiona back closer to dry land, but as they did the horse got stuck in the mud and began to sink.

Firefighters responded and managed to tie a section of a fire hose to the horse's midsection. They then used an excavator to hoist the animal out of the mud and get it to safety.

The owner of the farm says Fiona is doing well despite her ordeal.


By the way, I did travel last weekend -- despite the horrid forecast -- and managed to go and return at times when the roads were all clear. Carefully watching the forecast paid off.

For my next adventure, I might go outside when it's cold wearing only tennis shoes, jeans and a sweatshirt -- no coat. Anything could happen now.

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Penny Weaver is the general manager and editor of the JG-TC. Her columns include her own opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views, opinion or editorial position of the JG-TC. Contact her at or 217-238-6863, and follow her on Twitter @PennyWeaver.


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