High Five: January 2011

News and notes from around the Blue Ridge

1. Big on Bigfoot – Troy, N.C.

People willing to ignore the critics, and shell out $300, will get the chance of a lifetime: to wander around the North Carolina woods at night with a 70-year-old searching for…Bigfoot. Michael Greene has heard Bigfoot in the woods surrounding his home, caught his likeness with a thermal imager, and even bravely tempted him into his camp with a jar of Skippy. Greene, now an “expert,” will lead a sold out, four-day hunt through the woods just south of Uwharrie National Forest.

2. Pooper Scoop – Fairfax, Va.

Dog walkers, rejoice! A Virginia jury has found Kimberly Zakrzewski not guilty of violating a pooper scooper law in Fairfax, Va. Neighbor Virginia Cornell dialed the police claiming Zakrzewski neglected to clean up the business left behind by the Westie-bichon frise mix she was looking after. Following a review of photos of the alleged “violation,” the jury heard from the dog’s owner, who stated the doodoo in question was much too large to belong to her “wittle sweetie pie Baxter-Waxter.” After 20 minutes of deliberation, the jury agreed.

3. Tire Pyre – Columbia, S.C.

Authorities discovered a mass dump of used car tires in South Carolina so big it is visible from space. The pile of nearly 250,000 tires covers 50 acres in rural Calhoun County, S.C. The maximum penalty the guilty party could incur locally is a $475 littering ticket. Luckily, due to the extreme environmental hazard of the pile—including mosquitoes in festering rain water—the case was taken up by the Department of Health and Environmental Control, which can levy hefty fines and jail time. They recently issued indictments against George Brown of Easley, and the tires are set to be recycled by a Florida company (hopefully into 250,000 tire swings for the kiddos.)

4. Teach a Man to Fish… – Richland, PA

Limestone Springs Preserve faced a slippery situation when their inventory went out with the wash, literally. Flooding in eastern Pennsylvania caused the preserve’s quarry to overflow, sending their stock of rainbow trout into nearby rivers. Workers in wetsuits also flooded the rivers attempting to bait the freed fish and scoop them up with nets. Limestone estimates that $400,000 worth of trout (that’s a lotta fish!) made a break for it during the flooding, which also caused millions of dollars in damage. Unfortunately for the preserve, word of the jailbreak spread quickly. Fishermen from around the region flocked to the area in their own attempt to “rescue” the fish—right into the frying pan.

5. Bird Battle – Elkins, W.Va.

Nearly 500 migratory songbirds were found dead at a wind turbine farm, but their demise was not caused by the spinning blades of the windmills. No, it was because someone left the lights on. The birds became disoriented in heavy fog by the lights left on overnight at the facility and circled like moths to the flame until they became exhausted and perished or flew into the building. This is not the first incident involving migratory birds, foggy conditions, and overnight lights; a similar incident was reported at a high school down the road in 2010. The benefits of renewable energy are undeniable, and the solutions are in the works, but in the meantime, can someone please hit the lights on the way out?

Beyond the Blue Ridge

Baby on Board

27-year-old Amber Miller crossed the finish line of the Chicago Marathon in 6:25, then gave birth a few hours later to a baby girl named June. This was actually June’s second 26.2 mile finish, as mommy also ran the Wisconsin Marathon while pregnant in May, giving baby June bragging rights over one-year-old brother Caleb, who only got one marathon under his umbilical.

Distance Persistence

100-year-old Fauja Singh, known as the Turbaned Tornado, completed the Toronto Waterfront Marathon, in just over 8 hours, rocking a “Sikhs in the City” shirt and an impressive white beard.

East Rock Bottom

Two Yale University students were charged with second-degree reckless endangerment and violating a city ordinance when they attempted to free-climb East Rock in New Haven, Conn. Without rope, helmets or climbing shoes, Peter Kaufman and Sarah Maslin attempted to scale the wall, but Maslin got stuck half way and had to be rescued by firefighters.

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