Boston Yeti, turbine monk topped 2015 New England oddities

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BOSTON >> In some pretty hilarious ways, the news in New England in 2015 read like the setup to a joke:

— A man in a Yeti costume walks around in a blizzard ...

— A Benedictine monk climbs a 175-foot wind turbine ...

— A guy shows up for jury duty wearing a black-and-white jail jumpsuit ...

Here's your guide to some of the region's goofiest stories from the past 12 months.

BOSTON YETI

Smiles were in short supply as a series of blizzards dumped 9 feet of snow on Boston. Enter a mysterious do-gooder in an abominable snowman costume who ran around mugging for cameras and digging out stranded drivers. The Boston Yeti — who recently unmasked himself as John Campopiano, a 30-year-old suburban archivist — gained a huge following on social media and instant folk-hero status among winter-weary Bostonians.

CHAINED TO WATERSLIDE

When his New Hampshire waterpark faced foreclosure, Kevin Dumont wasn't one to let it slide: He chained himself to the top of a waterslide tower in a desperate attempt to raise awareness of its financial straits. Dumont insisted he wasn't looking for a handout, just an angel investor to help him rescue Liquid Planet. The park wound up auctioned off for $950,000.

WHACK AND CHEESE

University of Connecticut freshman Luke Gatti wanted macaroni and cheese with bacon and jalapenos, and he wanted it badly. When a campus food court manager refused service because the 19-year-old was carrying an open container of alcohol, Gatti's profanity-laced tirade and ensuing scuffle was captured in a 9-minute video that earned him national notoriety. Gatti apologized but was criminally charged.

LOBSTER BEER

Maine's Oxbow Brewing Co. put a unique twist on a time-honored New England pairing — beer and lobster — by creating suds actually brewed with live lobsters and a dash of sea salt. Brewmaster Tim Adams said the crustaceans, placed in a mesh bag in the kettle during the brewing process, added a subtle brininess and sweetness. The lobsters used in the recipe were gleefully devoured afterward.

HIGH-ALTITUDE MONK

You'd think that scaling a 175-foot wind turbine might get you a little solitude. You'd be wrong. Brother Joseph Byron, a Benedictine monk, caused a stir by climbing atop a turbine owned by the Portsmouth Abbey School in Rhode Island. A drone operated by a vacationing Californian captured Byron on video sprawled across the deck. Byron said he occasionally climbs the turbine to enjoy the view.

JURY DUTY JAILSUIT

A Vermont man trying to get out of jury duty dressed for success by showing up in court wearing a black-and-white striped prisoner jumpsuit. A judge dismissed James Lowe, of Barnet, from jury selection after lecturing him that he could have been found in contempt because of his garb. Lowe said he was happy he wasn't empaneled because of his work and family obligations.

STUBBORN SNOW PILE

The last of a filthy, six-story pile of snow dumped in a Boston lot during the blizzards didn't melt away until July 15. By then, the mucky mound had Bostonians shivering with disgust instead of cold. Gray and gross, it slowly laid bare more than 80 tons of rotting garbage that plows unwittingly scooped up in snowstorms that hit on trash day.

TANKS A LOT

Connecticut's governor was upstaged by a whale during a tourism news conference at Mystic Aquarium. Dannel P. Malloy was standing in front of a tank when the curious beluga whale named Juno swam over to watch. The whale hovered over the governor's shoulder and pressed its head to the glass as photographers recorded its antics.

BACON LOTTERY TICKET

Lottery players dreaming of bringing home the bacon big time in New Hampshire got a chance to savor its smell as well. The state lottery released its first scratch-n-sniff "I Heart Bacon" ticket, which features a $1,000 grand prize. To promote it, the lottery drove around a "bacon truck" dispensing free tickets — and samples of applewood smoked bacon.

Follow Bill Kole on Twitter at https://twitter.com/billkole


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