Odd News Roundup
June 06, 2013 04:15 PM | 504 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Los Angeles' Echo Park lotuses will bloom again thanks to theft



LOS ANGELES (AP) — When Echo Park reopens following a makeover, its lake's famous lotus flowers will bloom again thanks to an act of thievery by a prudent Los Angeles horticulturist.

The Los Angeles Times reports Randy McDonald furtively — and illegally — snipped a tendril of the aquatic plant during the annual Lotus Festival in 2005.

By 2008 the lotuses had mysteriously died off. Since then the park was shut and the lake was drained during renovations.

When it was time to refill it, there were questions about whether the beloved cream-colored flowers would return.

Rumors of McDonald's lotus larceny circulated for years and he admitted to it when contacted by a desperate city-contracted landscape architect.

The plants, grown in his Reseda hothouse, are thriving once again in their Echo Park habitat.

Information from: Los Angeles Times, http://www.latimes.com

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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Giant head found floating in New York river is missing 

POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. (AP) — The giant floating head is missing.

Officials at Marist College in Poughkeepsie say the 300-pound Styrofoam and fiberglass replica of a man's head found floating in the Hudson River in late April disappeared sometime last week.

The Marist men's crew team spotted the strange object while practicing on the river. They towed it back to the team's dock, where a Marist spokesman says the 7-foot-tall head was kept for a time in the college's boathouse. It was moved outside because it took up too much space.

It's still not clear where the object came from or how it ended up in the Hudson. It reportedly was part of a store display in New York City before being placed on a hill outside Oneonta by a couple who owned property in the area.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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Maine-made jam heading to space

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — A special order of Maine-made blueberry jam is heading to space.

NASA spokesman Bill Jeffs says several containers of Stonewall Kitchen Wild Maine Blueberry Jam will be flown to the International Space Station in August.

NASA wouldn't confirm which astronaut requested the jam, but flight engineer Christopher Cassidy seems to be the logical choice. Cassidy, a member of the space station crew, went to high school in York, the same town where Stonewall Kitchen is headquartered.

To create space-appropriate packaging, the company made a polypropylene container to replace its standard glass jar.

Jeffs told the Portland Press Herald that NASA has been flying special food orders into space for years to fill special requests from crew members.

Information from: Portland Press Herald, http://www.pressherald.com

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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Nude revelers greet popular Colorado tourist train 

DURANGO, Colo. (AP) — Passengers on a recent run of a popular historic railroad in southwest Colorado got a bit more scenery than they paid for: More than a dozen revelers partying on a nearby beach doffed their clothes to greet the train.

Their antics on the May 25 run of the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad drew warnings, but no charges, from police in Durango.

A photograph taken by James Slavin, a Phoenix tourist on the train, shows beer-holding — and nude — men and women whooping as the train pulled into town, The Durango Herald reported Thursday.

"I thought they were mooning the train, and I didn't think it was going to be that bad," said Slavin, 77. "I guess I didn't realize how bad it was until I looked at the pictures and zoomed in on them."

Train personnel have reported similar incidents previously to Durango police, but it's difficult to patrol.

"We can't stop the train. If we do report them, by the time anybody's able to respond, then whoever was responsible is usually gone," said the railroad's general manager, Paul Schranck.

Jack Llewellyn, executive director of the Durango Chamber of Commerce, urged residents to be considerate to tourists, who are critical to the city's economy.

"There are people enjoying their vacation, and to see that — they don't want to see that," Llewellyn said.

Built in the 1880s to service area mines, the steam-powered Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad takes thousands of tourists each year on a scenic 45-mile journey between Durango and Silverton, Colo.

Information from: Durango Herald, http://www.durangoherald.com

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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Doctor, guide rescue baby moose from Montana river 

MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) — A Pennsylvania doctor on a guided fishing trip in southwestern Montana went home with an amazing tale of hauling in a 25-pound lunker — a baby moose she helped rescue from rushing waters.

Karen Sciascia of Red Hill, Pa., and a guide were fishing the Big Hole River on Saturday when they spotted a cow moose with a calf trying to cross the river.

"We were watching this adult female struggling back and forth, and we didn't see a baby until we got close," Sciascia told the Missoulian (http://bit.ly/18RzCfb) for a story published Thursday. "Mom kept pushing — the current was pretty swift. The mother bolted and took off across the river. She was trying to get across the main portion of the channel, and even she struggled."

When the calf stepped off the gravel bar into the water to follow its mother, it was swept downstream.

"It was small, and the river was swift," Sciascia said. "We lost sight of the baby. It was hurtling downstream and was being pushed by the river. It was too small to ever fight the current."

Sciascia and guide Seth McLean with Four Rivers Fishing Co. in Twin Bridges followed downriver, finally spotting the tiny moose's nose just above the water.

"We got up alongside it, and I just grabbed the little bugger. I scooped it up from the river under its front legs," Sciascia said.

"I tried to hold it out, not wanting to get my scent all over it, but it was basically limp," she said. "It was breathing, and with my hand on its chest, I could feel its heart beating real fast."

McLean rowed the raft upstream and snapped a photo before they dropped off the calf at the side of the river.

The mother had disappeared into the woods but returned to the river after hearing the crying of her young calf. It sounded like a puppy, Sciascia said.

"When we last saw her, we were heading downstream," she said. "The mother was heading toward it. She had come out of the woods and was heading toward her baby."

Four Rivers Fishing posted the story, titled "Of Moose and Men," on its Facebook page Wednesday.

"It was cool to be in the right place at the right time," Sciascia said.

Information from: Missoulian, http://www.missoulian.com

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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Made-up names appear in New York high school's yearbook

SCHAGHTICOKE, N.Y. (AP) — Officials at a small school district in upstate New York say an "honest mistake" led to students being identified in the yearbook as "Creepy smile kid" and "Some tall guy."

The labels appear in photo captions of the high school yearbook at Hoosic Valley, a rural district 20 miles northeast of Albany.

Acting Superintendent Amy Goodell tells the Troy Record a "non-intentional, honest mistake" resulted in some members of the track and field team being labeled with made-up names such as "Isolation kid." Several students were identified simply as "Someone."

Goodell says corrections are being made and the parents of students whose names weren't published correctly have been contacted.

The high school has about 380 students, with a graduating class of fewer than 100.

Information from: The Record, http://www.troyrecord.com

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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