The Odd Side – January 6, 2014

Wild Ride for Arizona Bobcat Stuck in Car Grille

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) – An Arizona bobcat may have used up one of its nine lives after it survived getting stuck inside an oncoming car.

Arizona Game and Fish Department spokeswoman Lynda Lambert said that the bobcat appears to have escaped any serious injuries and is awaiting evaluation by a veterinarian at an animal sanctuary in Scottsdale.

Officials say a couple driving in Scottsdale on Friday night hit the bobcat after it darted into their path.

Upon reaching their destination, the man inspected his Mazda sedan and saw the very much alive animal trapped in the plastic grille.

Game and Fish employees sedated the 7-pound animal and removed it.

Lambert says the bobcat will be released back into the wild.

Officials say its survival is a miracle.

Officials Tell Family to Scale Back Luxe Treehouse

GRANITE BAY, Calif. (AP) – Northern California authorities are telling a Placer County couple to prune back their deluxe treehouse.

Mike and Pat Splinter’s 500-square-foot treehouse features a full kitchen, a bathroom and all the plumbing.

But Placer County deputy planning director E.J. Ivaldi tells the Sacramento Bee that the family already has a full guest cottage on their property. Because of that, authorities say the treehouse’s full kitchen and mattress must go.

“They can use it for entertaining,” Ivaldi said. “What the county approved was a residential accessory structure.

A noted national treehouse designer, Pete Nelson, built the Placer County masterpiece for more than $60,000. The treehouse’s owners have not yet commented on the county’s order.

51 Years After Wreck, 7-Inch Car Part Found in Arm

CREVE COEUR, Mo. (AP) – Fifty-one years ago, Arthur Lampitt of Granite City, Illinois, smashed his 1963 Thunderbird into a truck. This week during surgery in suburban St. Louis, a 7-inch turn signal lever from that T-Bird was removed from his left arm.

Dr. Timothy Lang removed the lever Wednesday during a 45-minute operation. Lampitt, now 75, is recovering at home.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the accident broke Lampitt’s hip, drawing attention away from the arm, which healed.

A decade or so ago, his arm set off a metal detector at a courthouse. An X-ray showed a slender object the length of a pencil, but since it caused no pain or hardship, Lampitt was told to let it be.

He was moving concrete blocks a few weeks ago when the arm began to hurt for the first time.

“Everything was fine until it started to get bigger,” Lampitt’s wife, Betty, said. “The arm started bulging.”

Lampitt decided to have surgery. He initially wasn’t sure what was in the arm. He wondered if perhaps a medical instrument had been left during the emergency room visit in 1963.

He unearthed a collection of old photos of the mangled Thunderbird taken by a friend at the scene. He noticed the metal blinker lever was missing from the left side of the steering column. He figured that was it, and surgery at City Place Surgery Center in Creve Coeur, Missouri, confirmed it.

Lang said a protective pocket grew around the lever.

“We see all kinds of foreign objects like nails or pellets, but usually not this large, usually not a turn signal from a 1963 T-Bird,” Lang said. “Something this large often gets infected.”

Lampitt wasn’t sure what he’d do with the lever — maybe make a keychain out of it.

“We’ll figure out something, I am sure,” he said.

Alaska to Offer Grizzly License Plates

FAIRBANKS, Alaska – Alaska drivers will have the choice of a retro look when they obtain new license plates next spring.

The state is bringing back plates that feature red lettering on white plates and a grizzly bear standing on its hind legs.

It’s a reconfigured version of an Alaska license plate last issued in 1976, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported.

Drivers can also choose the current style: yellow-gold plates with blue lettering that reflect colors of the Alaska flag.

The Alaska Legislature last session approved bringing back the bear plates in a bill sponsored by Rep. Rep. Peggy Wilson (R-Wrangell). House Bill 293 passed unanimously in the final days of the session.

Department of Motor Vehicles director Amy Erickson on Dec. 29 had a sample in hand of the new license plate. The makeover has added new colors.

The old grizzly plates had beige mountains and a brown bear. The new version features a darker bear, a silhouette of the Alaska Range, a gold sun between mountains and a blue sky.

“I like it,” Erikson, noting that the final version may be tweaked.

“I also am not absolutely certain that I approve of the colors, because they didn’t come out just like our artist rendered them, but they look very nice,” she said.

The previous version was not without critics.

During the legislative session, an Anchorage resident emailed a picture of a standing woodchuck and urged the designers to modify the bear image so there was less resemblance.

Erickson said there’s no mistaking the image on the new license.

“It’s still very much the bear,” Erickson said. “And it looks more like a bear from a distance.”

Minnesota Sets Record for Largest Ball of Paper

PAUL, Minn. – A state agency in Minnesota is claiming the world record for largest ball of paper.

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency says the ball measures 9 feet 7 inches tall and 32.2 feet around. The 426-pound ball was displayed at the Minnesota State Fair to show how much recyclable paper state residents throw away every 30 seconds.

But anyone who missed seeing the ball at the fair is out of luck: The agency recycled it, turning it into cardboard for cereal boxes.

A spokeswoman said that the agency got confirmation last week from Guinness World Records. There wasn’t a previous record.

The ball was built around a cardboard frame and held together with paper netting. In keeping with Guinness guidelines, no adhesives or tape was used.