Odds & Ends: Sex ed for minors, drinking on the job and traffic cops in bunny costumes
 Alibi V.19 No.15 • April 15-21, 2010 

Odds & Ends

Odds and Ends

Dateline: Denmark—Warehouse staff at the Carlsberg brewery in Copenhagen staged a series of walkouts last week in protest of a new company policy limiting beer-drinking at work to just lunch breaks. Jens Bekke, a spokesperson for Carlsberg, told England’s Sky News, “We think times have changed and we need an alcohol policy that is accepted by society—93 percent of Danish companies have an alcohol policy.” Last Wednesday, beers were removed from all refrigerators at the brewery. “The only place you can get a beer in future,” said Bekke, “is in the canteen at lunch.” In response, 800 workers walked off the job. By Thursday, at least 250 remained off the job. The Confederation of Danish Industry and trade union 3F agreed the strike was illegal and would impose fines on workers. Although warehouse staff is now on the wagon, drivers for the brewery are still allowed “up to three” beers a day outside of lunch hours. According to Bekke, alcohol locks on Carlsberg’s delivery trucks prevent the drivers from drinking too much and getting behind the wheel.

Dateline: Australia—Stewards on a Qantas flight from Sydney to Singapore were forced to restrain an unruly passenger after he threatened to bring down the plane with the power of his mind. An Australian reporter on the flight said passengers sitting near the unidentified man believed he was under the influence of drugs or alcohol and was having religious delusions. The man’s arms and legs were handcuffed about five hours into the seven-and-a-half-hour flight after he started behaving in what a spokesperson for the airline called a “threatening and disruptive manner.” Police boarded the 747 at Singapore’s Changi airport and arrested the man. The plane continued on to London.

Dateline: Wisconsin—Scott Southworth, the Republican district attorney for rural Juneau County, sent 24 letters last week to top officials in his county’s five school districts warning that teachers who follow the law could be charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor. The letters came in response to a recently passed state law called the Healthy Youth Act. The act, which took effect in March, requires schools to teach students medically accurate, age-appropriate information in sex education classes. That information would include birth control and prevention of sexually transmitted diseases. As with previous laws regarding sex education, parents will be permitted to remove their children from sex-education classes. Schools can also opt out of offering sex education altogether. Nonetheless, Southworth indicated his willingness to prosecute state-mandated sex ed teachers, saying, “Forcing our schools to instruct children on how to utilize contraceptives encourages our children to engage in sexual behavior, whether as a victim or an offender.” Southward says teachers who follow the new law could face punishment ranging from nine months in jail to six years in prison. Rep. Kelda Helen Roys (D-Madison), co-author of the legislation, responded in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, saying, “Using condoms isn’t a crime for anyone. This guy is not a credible legal source on this matter, I’m sorry to say. His purpose is to intimidate and create enough panic in the minds of school administrators that they’ll turn their backs on young people and their families.”

Dateline: California—Police in South Glendale returned to boring old plainclothes duty after a city councilman took them to task for using a bunny costume in a sting operation. On Wednesday, April 7, Glendale police sent one of their own dressed as a bunny rabbit into downtown traffic. Motorists who failed to yield right-of-way to the fuzzy pedestrian were cited and given a rundown of crosswalk safely rules. When he got wind of it, however, City Councilman John Drayman labeled the operation “breathtakingly dangerous” and a poor use of city resources. By Thursday, police were back on the streets but were using a plainclothes officer instead. “I am happy to hear that they modified the sting and agreed that the idea of a giant rabbit—a total anomaly out in the roadway—is not exactly training our drivers to learn really anything,” Drayman told the Glendale News Press. The city is now re-evaluating the use of costumes as decoys. Glendale’s public information officer, Ritch Wells, told the News Press they have been employed in previous pedestrian enforcement campaigns. A total of 27 motorists were cited for failing to yield to the officer in the bunny costume. The next day, when he was dressed in normal clothing, 36 citations were handed out. A cameraman for the city’s public access channel, GTV6, was filming Wednesday’s costume sting. The footage will be used for an upcoming episode of “Behind the Badge,” a live call-in show offering what the station’s website calls “an interactive look at the many faces of the Glendale Police Department.”

Compiled by Devin D. O'Leary. E-mail your weird news to devin@alibi.com.