Odds and ends for February 27


Man can whistle, but not in one spot

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — A man charged with disorderly conduct for his loud whistling in downtown Portland has reached a deal with the city — he can whistle, but he can’t linger in one spot.

Robert Smith of Westbrook has been cited by police twice in the past year after businesses complained. He pleaded guilty last summer and reached a deal with the city in which he can keep whistling as long as he’s moving.

Smith maintains that his whistling — audible a block away — is protected free speech and usually brings smiles.

“God is showing me what I’m doing is OK,” he said. “He shows me every day with laughter.”

But downtown businesses have complained about the 32-year-old Smith’s never-ending noise-making.

Janis Beitzer of the Portland Downtown District understands why some business owners are upset.

“Just like if somebody plays an instrument in front of your business or has the radio on constantly, it’s irritating,” Beitzer said.

Smith said he works a construction job during the summer, but when he’s not working he usually takes a bus into Portland and walks downtown streets from about 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., wearing a baseball cap, wrap-around sunglasses and a backpack while listening to classic rock and oldies through his headphones.

As he walks the streets, some people laugh and smile. But others scowl or roll their eyes in disgust, making rude comments after passing by.

In a plea agreement last summer, Smith pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct and agreed to no longer whistle while standing in one place. As long as he’s walking while he whistles, authorities agreed not to bother him.

The prosecutor, Trish McAllister, disagreed that Smith’s whistling is protected by the First Amendment. A Portland city ordinance says whistling, hooting and other unnecessary noises that “annoy, disturb or injure the health, peace or safety of others” are forms of disorderly conduct.

“The judge and I viewed this as a behavioral issue,” she said. “(Smith) was aggressive. He would follow people who gave him a wrong look.”

One and done at Oscars for MacFarlane

NEW YORK (AP) — It looks like it’s one and done at the Oscars for Seth MacFarlane.

The “Family Guy” creator was asked on his Twitter account whether he’d consider hosting the Academy Awards again and he replied: “No way. Lotta fun to have done it, though.”

MacFarlane’s edgy comedy proved a polarizing force on Sunday’s Academy Awards, with jokes about domestic violence, women’s bodies and Jews in Hollywood that offended some viewers. The Oscars did get their biggest audience in three years, however, with particular growth among young viewers.

MacFarlane’s spokeswoman said Tuesday she had nothing to add to the tweet.

Zoo’s bald eagle captured after 3 days on the lam

PALO ALTO, Calif. (AP) — A radio transmitter and then a feast of quail and mouse led to the capture of a California zoo’s bald eagle after three days on the lam.

The Palo Alto Junior Museum and Zoo’s tame 24-year-old bald eagle Sequoia was enjoying her daily exercise Saturday at a park when strong winds spooked her.

Instead of returning to handlers, she flew north and roosted in Menlo Park.

The San Jose Mercury News reports Sequoia was tracked Monday to a Redwood City tree.

The famished bird finally dropped from her perch to the arm of trainer John Flynn, who rewarded her with a quail and mouse feast.

Sequoia ventured out on her own eight times while at the San Francisco Zoo. She joined the Palo Alto zoo last year.

 

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