The Odd Side – October 13, 2015

Former Middle School Students Look for Missing Time Capsule

INDIALANTIC, Fla. (AP) – Former students of a central Florida middle school were hoping to crack open a buried time capsule to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Hoover Middle School.

The problem is no one remembers where it was buried.

Florida Today reports teacher Jack Deppner filmed students in 1976. He also collected mementos to bury in the time capsule.

Students reconnected online and raised the idea of opening the capsule. But no one knew where it was buried. Deppner died a few years ago, but had searched for years and never found the spot.

Former student Dawn Atkinson-Spaccio says they’re planning on using metal detectors and ground penetrating radar to scour the campus. If they pinpoint a location, they’ll seek permission from the school to start digging.

Wisconsin Refutes Hoax That Lawn Ornaments Counted in State Deer Tally

MILWAUKEE, Wisc. (Reuters) –Wisconsin wildlife officials have taken to social media to refute a hoax letter that suggested they had mistakenly added deer lawn ornaments to the last two annual statewide deer tallies.

The state’s Department of Natural Resources said online that several residents recently received a letter telling them to remove concrete deer ornaments from their yards by Nov. 1 so they are not counted again this year.

“This letter is a fake. It was not crafted, nor distributed by [the Department of Natural Resources],” the post on Tuesday said.

It was not immediately clear who wrote the letter, which directs residents to “Act NOW!” but the culprit used the department’s letterhead and signed it as department’s deputy secretary, Kurt Thiede.

Dozens of people responded in jest to the posting, with one saying: “However, the pink flamingos are another story.”

The department said that deer and other lawn ornaments could stay.

Missing Emu Recognizes Farm Worker, Is Sent Home

BOW, N.H. (AP) – An emu famous for running wild through New Hampshire for more than a week has been returned home safely to Vermont in the back of a Toyota Prius.

The Concord Monitor reports Taft Hill Farm curator Kermit Blackwood figured it was a long shot that the emu loose in New Hampshire was Beatrice, an emu from the farm. It wasn’t until the Townshend, Vermont, resident traveled roughly 80 miles to the Henniker-based wildlife rehabilitation center Wings of the Dawn that he knew for sure.

Wings of the Dawn manager Maria Colby said she knew the emu recognized Blackwood as soon as they were reintroduced.

The emu moved closer to Blackwood and rolled its neck toward him, possibly recognizing him by the jacket he was wearing, Colby said.

Getting Beatrice ready to go home wasn’t easy. Blackwood and a farm worker struggled a bit to put her into the trunk of their Prius, with the back seats folded down for extra space.

The 90-minute ride back to the farm went smoothly, after they removed a sock from the emu’s head, Blackwood said.

“Everything is well,” he said. “Beatrice is home.”

Watching Paint Dry Leads to Guinness World Record in Rural Indiana

INDIANAPOLIS, IN (Reuters) –Mike Carmichael simply wanted to do something strange when he and his 3-year-old son slapped a coat of blue paint on a baseball in 1977.

The Indiana resident stuck with painting the ball, which grew large enough to make it into the 2004 Guinness Book of World Records.

At that time, it was 9 feet across, and the record was an estimated 18,000 layers of paint.

Now Carmichael, 68, figures he is at close to 25,000, although he never set out to break records.

The ball now measures 14 feet after Carmichael, his family, friends and even visitors added more coats of paint over the decades. At its last weigh-in two years ago, the sphere was about 5,000 pounds.

“I was always doing something weird, so I wanted something different to do,” said the soft-spoken, self-employed painter. “We had no idea it was going to get this big, this popular or this heavy.”

Carmichael keeps the ball in a custom-built structure on his property in Alexandria, a town of about 5,000 people about 40 miles northeast of Indianapolis.

The roadside spectacle attracts about 1,200 visitors a year. Some just want to gawk, while others call ahead and schedule an appointment, grab a paint brush and get to work so they can claim a hand in the ongoing record.

Everyone who paints gets a certificate; every donor receives a paint chip from the project.

The ball, which now looks like a giant gourd, hangs from the ceiling with heavy chains and an industrial hook. A mirror beneath it ensures the painter does not miss a spot.

A photo hanging in the ball house shows Carmichael’s son, Mike Jr., during the first paint job almost four decades ago. Now 42, he lives nearby and still pitches in with color makeovers.

Carmichael Sr. and others paint every day, although his wife, Glenda, resigned when the ball got larger. “It’s a job now,” she said with a smile.

At one point, Carmichael considered cutting the ball in half to see all the layers of color, but given its size, he dropped that idea.

Red is a popular color with visiting painters, and the job can be done in eight minutes or less, depending on how many participate.

As for how long Carmichael plans to keep going, he is not sure. The current set-up can hold 11,500 pounds, he said, so he has some time before the ball will drop.

California Contest Dubs 1,969-Pound Pumpkin the Plumpest

HALF MOON BAY, Calif. (AP) – Growers gathered to try to break the world pumpkin record of 2,323 pounds, set by a Swiss grower during a competition in Germany last year.

It didn’t happen.

Steve Daletas of Pleasant Hill, Oregon, won $12,000 for the lumpy, 1,969-pound gourd he grew.

“It’s been a good year,” he said after the contest. “I’ve never grown an official 1,900-pound pumpkin before.”

Forklifts and special harnesses carefully placed the massive pumpkins on an industrial-strength digital scale as officials kept close watch.

Second place went to Ron and Karen Root of Citrus Heights, California, for their 1,806-pound entry. A $500 prize was awarded to the “most beautiful” pumpkin.