A New Jersey man has seriously failed to impress his new neighbors.
Craig Rieck bought a lovely 1929 faux-colonial four-bedroom white brick house in Chatham Township, N.J., for $1.17 million. But he didn't like where it was; he preferred a more secluded spot 500 feet down the road.
So Rieck hired professional house movers to truck the 150-ton, 40-foot high building and got all the necessary permits, reports the Newark Star-Ledger.
The movers came last Monday morning and jacked the house up onto a huge 32-wheeled dolly. Then things started to go wrong.
"The house was too wide. It was too tall. There were too many obstacles. Trees. Power lines," police Lt. George Peterson told the newspaper last Tuesday.
By 4:30 p.m., an hour before the job was meant to have been done, the house had moved just 50 feet. That's when the crew took matters into its own hands.
Neighbors were aghast as poles carrying electricity and telephone service to their homes — and Chatham's town hall — were taken down, ancient trees sitting on their front lawns were felled and giant floodlights lit up the entire road, which had been closed to traffic all day.
"It was a disaster, a nightmare," said neighbor Susan Schneider. "They were taking down, chopping huge old trees ... My street is no longer what it was."
Twelve hours later, the house had almost gotten to where it was supposed to be — and the dolly's axle broke.
Then it rained, leaving the whole mess sitting in a pool of mud in the middle of the road.
By the end of the day Thursday, the axle had been replaced, the street had dried out and three trucks had managed to move the house onto its new lot.
The road was reopened and power and telephone service were restored to 150 people, many of whom immediately called their lawyers.
Rieck, who has already paid $15,000 for police overtime, and had taken out a $2 million insurance policy for the move, may be sued by the town for work lost while the town hall sat dark and empty Tuesday.
He also said he had a permit to take down any tree within 25 feet of the center of the road, but Morris County (search) isn't so sure.
"We did not give them permission to cut those trees," Patric Hyland, director of the county Shade Tree Division. "Our policy is not to take down healthy trees."
Another official is more sympathetic to Rieck, who lives with his family in another town but plans to move into the house once its new foundation has been completed.
"I feel bad for him because everything went wrong," said Steve Beecher, senior Morris County road inspector. "People right now are not too thrilled with him, but people have short memories."
Dale Aungst, owner of the house-moving company, who may be facing some serious liability himself, was more succinct.
"I've been in this business since 1975," said Aungst, "and this job takes the cake."
— Thanks to Out There reader Melissa T.
CLEVELAND (AP) — An edgy new advertising campaign to promote organ donation hints that police officers should cut speeders who are organ donors some slack.
"Hey policeman," a Cleveland billboard calls out, an arrow pointing to a donor insignia on a young man's license, "give this guy a break."
The advertisements by LifeBanc (search), the Cleveland-based organ procurement agency for 20 counties in northeast Ohio, are meant to attract attention, a spokeswoman said.
"We wanted to get people thinking," said the agency's Monica Heath, noting that 1,300 people in northeast Ohio are waiting for organs.
Councilman Matthew Zone wasn't laughing. "I think it sends the wrong message to the average Joe citizen," said Zone.
"Just because you participate in a unique program as precious as donating an organ doesn't mean [you] should be given preferential treatment," he said.
Lt. Wayne Drummond, a Cleveland police spokesman, said he had no problem with the billboard, but people shouldn't get the wrong idea.
While patrol officers have discretion in ticket writing, "in my experience, it's not typical to give someone a break because they're an organ donor," he said.
ERIE, Pa. (AP) — A man who soiled his underwear and tried to dispose of the evidence by tossing it over the fence of the city's largest reservoir has been fined $5,000.
The city bomb squad and hazardous materials crew responded after an Erie Water Works (search) employee spotted a black bag near the 33-million gallon Sigsbee Reservoir last month.
The reservoir was shut down for several hours while the bomb squad X-rayed the bag and hazardous materials crews waited to test it.
Police tracked down Troy Musil, 18, of Erie. He told police he'd been ill and soiled his underwear. He changed at a friend's house, then climbed over two barbed-wire-topped fences to ditch the skivvies.
Musil pleaded guilty last week to defiant trespass. The judge gave Musil a 90-day suspended jail sentence and ordered him to pay $500 a month for 10 months to the emergency agencies that responded.
If he doesn't pay, the judge said Musil would be jailed. A telephone number for Musil couldn't be found.
BELLOWS FALLS, Vt. (AP) — Since they were installed in 1922, they've offered welcome relief to many a passing traveler.
So when the town renovates its historic train station, there's expected to be some debate over whether the three men's room urinals really have to go.
Project manager Susan McMahon told a public meeting last week that it wasn't clear whether the fixtures would fit in the new design.
Although bathrooms are not considered in federal historic preservation rules, McMahon said planners want to preserve them because, "we think it is the right thing to do."
She said if they can't be accommodated in the newly designed men's room, the town may donate them to the American Sanitary Plumbing Museum (search) in Worcester, Mass.
The transit station project is flush with expertise on the topic. Paula Sagerman, a historic preservation consultant working with the town, did her master's thesis at the University of Pennsylvania on 19th century bathroom fixtures.
"They are actually pretty rare," Sagerman said of the Bellows Falls stalls. "Not a lot of people involved with historic preservation appreciate plumbing fixtures and they end up at the dump."
SALINAS, Calif. (AP) — A costly fire in an embarrassing location has led to a battle in court.
Officials here say an illuminated nature scene sparked a blaze that caused $2 million in damage in a building that lacked sprinklers, fire alarms and smoke detectors — even though it served as headquarters for Salinas' chief fire-prevention officer.
The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (search) concluded that faulty electrical components in the backlit picture of a waterfall, a gift to the fire marshal from his wife, caused the August 2002 fire. The picture was kept on top of a wooden cabinet.
The city is suing the owners of the store where the gift was purchased; Los Angeles-based Telstar Trading Co., which city lawyers claim is the product's wholesaler or distributor; and New Continental International Corp. of Ontario, Calif., identified in court papers as the manufacturer or distributor.
Sue Chang, manager of Telstar Trading, said the products her company distributes are laboratory tested and safety certified.
SINGAPORE (AP) — Technology-obsessed Singapore may have claimed a fresh world record Monday for punching in the fastest mobile phone text message after a competition that demanded a flair for dexterity, and considerable geekiness.
Student Kimberly Yeo, 23, managed to type a fiendishly complicated 26-word message on her phone in 43.66 seconds, organizer Singapore Telecommunications (search) said in a statement Monday.
Her effort — in heats held at the weekend — could beat by a wide margin the existing text message record of 67 seconds, set last year by Briton James Trusler in Sydney, Australia, it said.
The new record bid will be submitted to Guinness World Records, the international arbiter of all record-setting feats, the company said.
Contestants had to type: "The razor-toothed piranhas of the genera Serrasalmus and Pygocentrus are the most ferocious freshwater fish in the world. In reality they seldom attack a human."
Using the phone's predictive text function — that guesses words as letters are typed in — was not allowed, and the target phrase's punctuation needed to be spot on, too.
Like many of her compatriots, Yeo is an avid sender of text messages, sending about 50 a day, or 1,500 a month, Singapore Telecommunications said.
Mobile phones are now commonplace in the Southeast Asian city-state, especially among teenagers and young adults. Four out of five people in Singapore already have a cell phone, among the highest densities anywhere.
Singapore Telecommunications, which runs Singapore's most extensive phone network, said its system now handles 9 million text messages a day, up from 3.5 million to 4 million in 2001-02.
Compiled by Foxnews.com's Paul Wagenseil.
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