The Odd Side – January 24, 2017

Raccoons Recover at California Zoo After Cross-Country Ride

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) – Baby raccoons that inadvertently hitched a cross-country ride to Northern California are recovering at the Oakland Zoo.

Animal care authorities said that in September a man had unknowingly transported the raccoons from Florida to Marin County in a moving truck.

The truck had been burglarized while in Florida, allowing a female raccoon to enter through a broken window and give birth.

The man discovered the raccoons while unloading his truck. Five of six baby raccoons survived but were near death after being without food or water for days.

Wildlife education center WildCare nursed the raccoons to health, but found they could not release the animals into the wild.

The Oakland Zoo is caring for the raccoons until they can be placed at a sanctuary or another zoo.

Czech Bubble Artist Surrounds 275 Students With Soap ‘Screen’ to Claim Record

(Reuters) – A Czech performer of bubble art surrounded 275 high school students and a car with a single soap-bubble screen, breaking the national record.

Matej Kodes raised the screen around a rectangular 12-yard-by-8.2 yard area, enclosing those inside for a few seconds. Participants had to be taller than five feet, one inch to fulfill the conditions for the event, which was supervised by a representative from the Czech Book of Records, who declared it a new record.

Kodes, who has performed since 2008, achieved a Guinness World Record in 2014 for “most people inside a soap bubble,” which at that time stood at 214.

New Zealand Choppers Save Cherries For China in New Year Rush

(Reuters) – New Zealand cherry producers are flying helicopters low over their orchards to dry off raindrops and protect thousands of metric tons of their product headed to Asia to feed rapidly growing demand from Chinese New Year revelers.

China has grown to become the second largest destination for New Zealand cherries after Taiwan in the past seven years. Together they take about 60 percent of cherry exports, which were worth about $31 million last year.

Last week New Zealand exported 900 metric tons of cherries, the largest amount recorded in a one-week period.

“The demand is phenomenal,” said Tracey Burns, who handles international cherry sales at produce exporter Freshmax.

Singapore Airlines said it is redirecting four cargo flights to pick up 300 metric tons of cherries to be shipped on to cities in mainland China, Hong Kong and Taipei by Thursday.

Exporters and growers said they received constant requests for as much as fruit they could grow during Chinese New Year.

“I had a woman recently calling me up from China wanting 500 metric tons. We only do probably 50 metric tons in our orchard maximum, so I think she was dreaming a little bit,” said Martin Milne, a grower in the town of Cromwell.

Growers in mountainous Central Otago are paying thousands of dollars an hour to fly helicopters over trees to stop rainfall from cracking fruit.

To ensure the good quality sought by Asian buyers, the choppers have been flying just three feet above the trees, operating like fans to blow away moisture left by recent rain.

“It’s a bit of a worry but at the end of the day the weather is what it is and you can’t do much about it except getting helicopters out,” said Milne.

Trucker Loses Trailer of 38,000 Pounds Of Marbles on I-465

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – A trucker has lost his marbles in the Indianapolis area.

State police tell station WXIN that a truck carrying 38,000 pounds of marbles lost its trailer Saturday on southbound Interstate 465, near Pendleton Pike. The marbles were on the shoulder and in the median.

There were no injuries, but a lane of traffic in that area was affected by the cleanup during much of the day.