The Odd Side – October 22, 2013

Pa. Mayor Asks Residents: Please Don’t Vote for Me

PORT MATILDA, Pa. (AP) – A small-town mayor in central Pennsylvania has an unusual campaign message: Don’t vote for me.

Bob Wiser is running unopposed for a second term as mayor of Port Matilda, a community near Penn State University.

But the 70-year-old resident recently decided he’d rather leave the post. Yet, he missed the August deadline for taking his name off the ballot.

Wiser tells the Centre Daily Times that he’s asking voters to write in a qualified alternative candidate.

Wiser says he’s enjoyed his time in office. But he says he’s lost interest and is tired of butting heads with the borough council.

If Wiser is re-elected Nov. 5, he could retire before his new term starts. Should that happen, election officials say the council will appoint an interim mayor.

Philly Mayor Rappels 31 Stories To Raise Money

PHILADELPHIA (AP) – The mayor of Philadelphia has gone to extreme lengths to support a program for local youths.

Mayor Michael Nutter rappelled down a 31-story building on Friday to raise money for Outward Bound.

Nutter and state Sen. Vincent Hughes were among dozens of participants who used ropes to descend the facade of the downtown skyscraper.

Each agreed to raise $2,000 for Outward Bound. The national organization offers adventure-based education to students.

Nutter says some people working in the building “definitely did not expect to see some guy in their window.”

The mayor rappelled down a 21-story building last year for the same cause. Philadelphia school officials recently used the program to bring together teens from rival high schools.

Runner in KC Marathon Sets Knitting Record

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) – A University of Central Missouri graphic design professor has knitted his way into the record books while running the Kansas City Marathon.

The Kansas City Star reports that David Babcock finished the marathon in 5 hours, 48 minutes and 27 seconds. Knitting experts measured the scarf he created along the route at just more than 12 feet long.

The Guinness scarf-knitting-while-running-a-marathon record was previously held by Susie Hewer, who runs to raise money for Alzheimer’s disease research. She knitted a 6-foot, 9-inch scarf at the London Marathon in April.

Like Hewer, the 41-year-old Babcock hopes that people will donate to the Alzheimer’s Association. Babcock began running and knitting as separate activities about three years ago. He decided to combine them to keep things interesting.

6-foot Gator Makes Appearance at Fla. Wal-Mart

APOPKA, Fl. (AP) – A 6-foot alligator made an unwelcome appearance at the front door of a central Florida Wal-Mart.

The incident happened Sunday morning in Apopka, outside Orlando. The gator stopped in the entryway, causing the automatic doors to open and close until employees locked them.

Orlando media station WKMG reports Apopka police officers tried to lure the gator away as customers gathered to watch.

The gator took off toward the nearby woods. Officers searched the area but couldn’t find it.

No one was injured.

New 14-foot ‘Sea Serpent’ Found in Southern Calif.

OCEANSIDE, Ca. (AP) – For the second time in less than a week, a ‘sea serpent’ attracted gawkers on a Southern California beach.

This time the rare, snakelike oarfish washed up Friday afternoon in Oceanside.

U-T San Diego reported it measured nearly 14 feet long and drew a crowd of up to 75 people.

Oceanside police contacted SeaWorld San Diego, The Scripps Research Institute and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Someone from NOAA retrieved the carcass, which was cut into sections for later study.

While it’s unusual to find the deep-water fish near shore, on Sunday a snorkeler off Catalina Island found an 18-foot-long oarfish and dragged it onto the beach with the help of others.

According to the Catalina Island Marine Institute, oarfish can grow to more than 50 feet.

Endangered Israeli Eagle Falls Prey to Hizbullah

TEL AVIV, Israel (AP) – Israeli eagles dangerously endangered by pesticides, electrical wires and poachers now apparently face a new threat: Lebanese Hizbullah terrorists.

Hizbullah ’s Al-Manar website recently boasted of capturing an eagle that carried an Israel-labeled transmission device on its back and claimed the bird was an Israeli spy. It said hunters in central Lebanon shot down the bird and found devices on it as well as a copper ring on its leg that reads “Israel” in English followed by letters that refer to Tel Aviv University. The fate of the eagle remains unclear.

Israeli ornithologist Yossi Leshem said Thursday he was tracking the bird for research and was “incredibly frustrated” it was harmed. Leshem, a Tel Aviv university professor, has specialized in the Bonelli’s Eagle for decades and said they are in great peril with just nine pairs of mating age remaining in Israel.

“The whole field of conservation is based on regional cooperation and not this nonsense,” said Leshem, who collaborates on several projects with Palestinian and Jordanian scientists. “It’s not enough that they kill people, now they are killing birds too.”

Leshem said Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Turkey all have targeted migrating birds from Israel in the past and made similar unfounded espionage accusations.

Egyptian authorities, for instance, recently detained a stork that was tagged with a tracking device and claimed it was spying for Israel. Previously, Egypt has accused Israel’s Mossad spy agency of training sharks to reach the Sinai Peninsula to harm tourism there.

“Every time a migrating bird from Israel, carrying a satellite transmitter or a ring, is captured by one of the neighboring countries, it is immediately thought to be the instrument of a sophisticated spy work by the Israeli Mossad,” Leshem wrote in a recent essay after an Israeli common kestrel was captured and investigated by Turkey. “All the countries mentioned employ the same methods of research and use the same electronic devices in tracking birds and mammals in their studies, and yet the paranoia persists in the Middle East.”