The Odd Side – March 10, 2015

Beaver Problem in Beaverton In Beaver State 

BEAVERTON, Ore. (AP) – Beaver dams are causing a problem in Beaverton, Oregon, the beaver state.

Busy beavers built a dam over the winter that is flooding Greenway Park.

Beavers have always lived in the park, but the newest dam floods a park trail.

The Tualatin Hills Park and Recreation District knows better than to dismantle the dam, because the animals would just build it right back up again.

The district will take public advice at a meeting next month on options that include building a new trail around the floodwater, building a bridge over it, or just making it a wildlife viewing area.

Massive Octopus in Seattle Nearly Crawls Out of Aquarium Display

(Reuters) – A giant male octopus caught on cellphone video scaling his glass display tank at the Seattle Aquarium and reaching several tentacles over its open top has sparked speculation that the massive mollusk was trying to mount an escape bid.

But aquarium officials say the octopus, named Ink, was not attempting a jailbreak in the video, but simply learning to embrace his new home with all eight arms.

“It was not an escape attempt,” aquarium spokesman Tim Kuniholm said of the video, in which Ink inched his way up the cylindrical glass tank to squeals from onlookers. “It’s a new exhibit and the animal was exploring his boundaries.”

A Seattle aquarium employee later put Ink’s arms back inside the case, and a so-called “evening cap” was fastened on top to help keep the curious fellow in place, Kuniholm said.

“Octopuses are very inquisitive by nature, and in this case … Ink is an overachiever,” he said.

Ink is one of two new giant Pacific octopuses on display at the aquarium. Found in Puget Sound, they are the world’s largest species of octopuses, weighing on average about 90 pounds and measuring 20 feet across.

In the next year, Ink will be released back into the wild as part of an ongoing education and conservation program for the species, the aquarium said.

U.S. Man Rescued Trying to Walk From Detroit on Frozen Lake to Canada

(Reuters) – A 25-year-old American man was rescued by the U.S. Coast Guard after he tried to walk from Detroit to Canada across a frozen lake, officials said on Friday.

The man was found on Thursday on Lake St. Clair, which borders the United States and Canada, about 1.5 miles from shore by a lookout assigned to the Coast Guard Cutter Neah Bay, a 140-foot ice-breaking tug, the Coast Guard said.

“He was suffering from hypothermia and disoriented,” said Chief Petty Officer Lauren Jorgensen, a Coast Guard spokeswoman.

The man, who was not named, appeared to be carrying only personal goods and told those who rescued him he was trying to walk to Toronto, about 200 miles from Detroit and 175 miles from the eastern edge of the lake.

He was taken to a hospital for care.

It was the first rescue of a person conducted by an ice-rescue team deployed from a Great Lakes cutter in more than four years, the Coast Guard said.

Baroda Owes Dead-End Downtown to Abandoned Railroad

BARODA, Mich. (AP) – Ever wonder how downtown Baroda ended up being built along a dead-end street? What’s up with that?

Local history buff and author Kathleen Shafer has the answer. Shafer wrote the 1992 book Baroda: The Story of a Small Place.

Shafer explained that the town was built around a rail line in the late 1800s. Michael Houser, often considered the founder of Baroda, owned the land and cut a deal with the Indiana and Lake Michigan Railway Company to build a train station on his land. The railroad ran between South Bend and St. Joseph.

The railroad offered a means to ship goods and workers in and out of the area, Shafer said. According to Shafer, farmers would ship their crops along the railway to the St. Joseph port, then across Lake Michigan to Chicago to be sold in markets.

“I don’t think it’s that odd the town is built around a dead-end road,” Shafer told The Herald-Palladium. “A lot of towns grew up with crossroads. This one just grew up with a railroad.”

The community earned village status in 1907.

Bob Myers, curator of the History Center at Courthouse Square in Berrien Springs, shared his speculation of the town’s founding.

“I would suppose since Baroda was built around the railroad, and a fair distance from other towns, no one really cared much about the road because they used the rail to get in and out of town,” Myers said. “They would be much more interested in how to easily access the railroad.”

Unfortunately, the Indiana and Lake Michigan Railway did not last that long. With the invention of the automobile, ridership on the line rapidly decreased and eventually it was abandoned. Portions of the line’s steel track were sold to the government in the 1940s as part of the war effort.

Incidentally, the village’s unique name also has ties to the railroad.

In 2008 a newspaper, The Times of India, did a story on the U.S. version of Baroda, as Baroda also is the name of a thriving city in India. Here is how Baroda, Michigan, native Neal Nitz, who was then the 78th district state representative, described the name selection in the article:

“It was earlier going to be named Pomona, but another village in Manistee County had already been given that name. So, [founder Michael Houser] asked people for suggestions. C.H. Pindar, a conductor on the railroad, suggested Baroda as a name, as he was born in the Indian Baroda.”

So Baroda owes much of what it is to the railroad — which ceased to exist long ago.