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Six apartments evacuated after proposal flops

AMSTERDAM — A Dutchman’s attempt at a romantic wedding proposal was simply smashing.

The unidentified lover in the central town of Ijsselstein rented a crane, planning to descend in front of his girlfriend’s bedroom window first thing Saturday morning, play her a song and then pop the question. Instead the crane toppled over, smashing a large hole in the neighbors’ roof.

The man clambered to safety and no one was injured.

According to the Algemeen Dagblad newspaper, the girlfriend said “yes” anyway. After speaking with police, the pair traveled to Paris to celebrate.

Then the crane fell again during attempts to right it with a larger crane, bashing in the rest of the neighbors’ roof. Six apartments were evacuated.

Would-be thieves leave stick shift car they can't drive

OCALA, Fla. — Police in Florida say two would-be carjackers almost got away with a vehicle in Ocala but didn’t know how to drive a stick shift.

The Ocala Star-Banner reported the owner of a 2014 Toyota Corolla told police he was sitting in his car talking on his cell phone when a man with a gun tapped the window. Another man was by the passenger side window.

Police say the gunman demanded the man get out of the car and demanded his keys. He gave them the keys, they got in the car and he walked away. The man stopped another motorist who called police.

But the carjackers couldn’t move the car because it was a stick shift. The duo ran before police arrived, leaving the keys in the ignition.

Brr-fresco: Maine city approves winter outdoor dining

BANGOR, Maine — Fork? Check. Spoon? Yep. Parka? Good call.

The city of Bangor, the gateway to northern Maine and one of the coldest cities on the East Coast, has approved year-round outdoor dining.

“I’ve certainly enjoyed a hot cup of coffee outside, when it’s sunny, it’s winter and there’s snow everywhere,” said Caitlin Brook, Bangor’s downtown coordinator. “There’s really nothing better than that.”

The average high temperature in January is 27 degrees.

The City Council on Monday approved a process for restaurants to get permits for dining spaces on city sidewalks and other outdoor public places. Brook said she anticipates most restaurant owners will wait until spring, but the option for winter dining is available.

One permit would allow alfresco dining from April to October while the other would run year-round, Brook said. Permits will be free in 2015 and fees will kick in the following year, she said.

Bangor, the farthest north of East Coast cities with a population of more than 30,000 people, has seen a resurgence of its West Market Square business area. Brook said the city could emulate the success cold weather cities such as Quebec City have had with winter outdoor dining.

The restaurants will be able to serve alcohol in the outdoor areas if they pay an added fee, opening the door for alfresco hot toddies and Irish coffee — as long as diners bundle up.

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