Time for Plan B – News – seacoastonline.com

Inspired by the success of the bicycle-sharing business, Zhao Shupeng recently founded a similar business with umbrellas — rentable for a $2.79 deposit plus 7 cents per hour — at strategic locations in 11 cities in China. Good news: The public loved the service. The bad: They failed to return nearly 300,000 umbrellas, costing the business about $2.65 million. The intrepid Mr. Zhao hasn’t given up, but he is retooling his return policy. (Time for Plan B.)

Slow down: Kelly Tufts, obviously tired of cars speeding past his house in Lakeville, Massachusetts, put a life-sized wood-and-aluminum cutout of a Crown Vic’ police cruiser in his yard. He told reporters at WFXT-TV in Boston that it’s working…at least with first-time passersby. Others, he said, have occasionally offered offensive hand gestures (sometimes referred to jocularly as the Hawaiian good-luck sign).

The clerk in a convenience store in Myrtle Beach realized her worst fears last week when a man entered the store around 1 a.m., pulled out a knife and demanded money. Reportedly “unfazed,” she told him she wouldn’t give him any money and sternly told him to leave. The man put the knife back in his pocket and, apologizing profusely, left. (We assume her compelling countenance was a major factor.)

Answering: Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin has come up with an interesting response to his critics. He used his Twitter account to post a photo of two of his state’s best-known products — a beer and a serving of cheese — accompanied by a message: Chill out and have a cold one. (A lesson in civility more politicians should learn?)

Professional Kenyan marathoner Morinda Marube was recently out on a training run near Auburn when he was confronted by two bears that apparently didn’t appreciate his intrusion into their neck of the woods. They charged. He ran. They chased him to a nearby vacant house, where he took cover on a screened porch, which apparently looked deceptively formidable to the animals. (Extra training payoff.)

This week’s highway spill: On Interstate 35 near San Antonio, a van flipped after a blowout and released 30 venomous snakes — copperheads, rattlers, one very large diamondback and several water moccasins…plus one alligator. Lytle County Animal Control and Texas Game Warden officers responded and recaptured 23 of ‘em…not including the ‘gator. No injuries, and no unpleasant encounters with the escapees reported…yet. (Keep your boots on.)

Thievery: Lisa Stubblefield, who sells clothing from a mobile structure that she moves from place to place in and around Joplin, Missouri, got a shock last week when somebody stole not just her entire inventory, but the structure housing it, which looks for all the world like a small house, complete with a covered farmer’s porch. Police found it abandoned in Pittsburg, Kansas, about 90 miles to the west. (No plumbing?)

More: A man stole a street sweeper in Paterson, New Jersey, when the operator left it momentarily to empty its bag, and enjoyed a half-mile joy ride before crashing into several parked vehicles. And police in Atlanta arrested Marcus Stephens last week and charged him with stealing a golf cart used by the Atlanta Braves. Stephens, too, almost made a clean getaway, but crashed into a metal pole around 1:40 a.m. (Grand theft, golf cart.)

A renovation project at the Liberty Hall Museum at Kean University in Union, New Jersey, recently yielded a surprise: three wooden crates containing 50 bottles of 200-plus-year-old Madeira wine hiding behind a basement wall. Museum officials knew there had once been a wine cellar there, but had no idea what they’d find. The Madeira, described by wine experts as “almost indestructible,” is not only still drinkable, but worth as much as $20,000…per bottle. (Cheers.)

Remember – treat everyone with kindness – not because they are kind, but because you are. JEC

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