Governments' Lighter Side

Court order: Whistle while you walk, buddy

Man is hauled into court for loud whistling

You can whistle, but keep it moving. That’s the unusual deal authorities in Portland, Maine reached with a man charged with disorderly conduct for  “loud whistling” in the city’s downtown, according to the Portland Press Herald.

The man has been cited by police twice in the past year – including being arrested and taken to court -- after downtown businesses complained about his whistling. Business owners say the man’s incessant, literally 9 to 5, whistling is audible a block away.

The man is a sometime construction worker who, on his days off, likes to head downtown and spend the day walking and whistling to classic rock and oldies playing on his headphones.  He’s become something of a sensation in downtown Portland, showing up in blogs and videos.  “God is showing me what I’m doing is OK,” he told the Press Herald. “He shows me every day with laughter.”

Some folks, though, aren’t laughing, particularly business owners who worry that the happy whistler is irritating potential customers. After pleading guilty to disorderly conduct – loud whistling violates a city ordinance -- the whistler and city authorities reached a sort of consent agreement.

They agree that he can whistle. He agrees to do it on the move, and not settle in front of any one spot or business.

The whistler doesn’t understand what the fuss is about. He’s just trying to spread a little cheer. "I'm not out here to be the best whistler in the world," he told the newspaper. "I'm just trying to make people smile."

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It is an irreverent take on local and state government news.

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Derek Prall

Derek Prall is a professional journalist who has held numerous positions with a variety of print and online publications including the New Jersey Herald. He is a 2008 graduate of Furman University...
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