The Odd Side – February 10, 2015

Zero Turnout in School Election

ROSWELL, N.M. (AP) – The rural southeastern New Mexico town of Hagerman held an uncontested election for three school board seats, but nobody voted. Now what?

The Roswell Daily Record reports that’s what officials are trying to determine.

Chaves County Clerk Dave Kunko said the three candidates needed at least one vote each to be elected.

Kunko said he’s received legal advice to have the current school board appoint the three candidates for the positions that were up for election.

Williams said the school board will consider the matter Feb. 23 during its next meeting.

Alaska Man Takes 46-Mile Stroll In -35 Temperatures

FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) – An Alaska man who attempted to walk 50 miles between two villages at 35 below zero was found in good shape four miles from his goal by searchers called by his family.

Lawrence James, 52, wore heavy winter gear and carried water and a .22-caliber rifle. He walked nonstop for 15 hours and told searchers he didn’t get cold on the long stroll between Birch Creek and Fort Yukon, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported.

James left Birch Creek at about 7:00 p.m. Monday and spoke to Fort Yukon Police Officer Michael Ivie on Tuesday when he was found.

“When I asked him why he did it, he said that a cousin of his did it a few years back and he thought he’d try to see if he could do it,” Ivie said.

The cold temperatures clinched the decision to search, Ivie said.

“Our issue is that it was minus-30 or below, and he was by himself, and he was only carrying a little .22 rifle,” Ivie said. “There were all sorts of possibilities that might have happened. He could have been trampled by a moose or [attacked by] wolves.”

The rifle would not be effective against a moose or predator, Ivey said, but said James “could have shot a couple of ptarmigans to eat.”

James felt fine during his walk, he told Ivie, but acknowledged his legs were hurting after 15 hours.

“That’s understandable; he’d just walked 50 miles,” Ivie said.

Man Who Lived Modestly Leaves Millions in Surprise Donations

BRATTLEBORO, Vt. (AP) – A man who sometimes held his coat together with safety pins and had a long-time habit of foraging for firewood also had a knack for picking stocks — a talent that became public after his death when he bequeathed $6 million to his local library and hospital.

The investments made by Ronald Read, a former gas station employee and janitor who died in June at age 92, “grew substantially” over the years, said his attorney Laurie Rowell.

The bequest of $4.8 million to the Brattleboro Memorial Hospital and $1.2 million to the town’s Brooks Memorial Library were the largest each institution has ever received. Read also made a number of smaller bequests.

“It’s pretty incredible. This is not something that happens on a regular basis,” said the hospital’s development director, Gina Pattison.

Besides cash, Read had an antique Edison phonograph with dozens of recording drums that he left to the Dummerston Historical Society, Rowell said.

“It’s really a beautiful machine,” said the society’s president, Muriel Taylor.

Not Just Monopoly Money: Game In France Will Have Real Thing

PARIS (AP) – You can pass go, get out of jail free and collect real money.

The French version of Monopoly is celebrating its 80th year by slipping cash into 80 boxes of the game.

One box will have the full complement in real money — 20,580 euros ($23,600) — as well as the Monopoly money needed to actually play the game, one of the most popular in France. Another 79 boxes will have smaller amounts, according to Hasbro.

The promotional offer runs from Feb. 2-March 30.

The Paris version lets players buy the Champs Elysees, four railroad stations and other famous avenues of the French capital.

Detroit Man Walks 21 Miles To, From Work

DETROIT (AP) – Hundreds of people have contributed to help a Detroit man who says he typically walks 21 miles to get to and from work.

The Detroit Free Press reports that James Robertson rides buses part of the way to and from his factory job in suburban Rochester Hills, but because they don’t cover the whole route, he ends up walking about eight miles before his shift starts at 2:00 p.m. and 13 more when it’s over at 10:00. Lately, he’s been getting occasional rides from a banker who passed him walking every day and finally asked what he was doing.

After the newspaper wrote about the 56-year-old’s situation over the weekend, multiple people started crowdfunding efforts to help him buy a car and pay for insurance. Some have offered to drive him for free and others have offered to buy or give him cars.

Robertson began making the daily trek to the factory where he molds parts after his car stopped working 10 years ago and bus service was cut back. He’s had perfect attendance for more than 12 years.

“I set our attendance standard by this man,” said Todd Wilson, plant manager at Schain Mold & Engineering. “I say, if this man can get here, walking all those miles through snow and rain, well I’ll tell you, I have people in Pontiac 10 minutes away and they say they can’t get here.”

Robertson said he was flattered by the attention and amazed strangers would step in to help.

Asked about a federal program newly available that might pick him up at home and drop him off at his job, Robertson said, “I’d rather they spent that money on a 24-hour bus system, not on some little bus for me. This city needs buses going 24/7. You can tell the City Council and mayor I said that.”

Australian Wins Race Up Empire State Building

NEW YORK (AP) — An Australian woman won the annual race up the Empire State Building’s stairs for the sixth time, a record for the women’s event.

Suzy Walsham dashed up 1,576 steps to the 86th-floor observatory in the Empire State Building Run-Up on Wednesday night in 12 minutes and 30 seconds. The men’s race was won by German runner Christian Riedel, who came in at 10 minutes and 16 seconds.

The 38th annual tower climb was organized by NYCRUNS.