By Bruce Stambaugh
Sometimes the truth is stranger than fiction. Stories that flew under the radar notably proved that maxim. Here are just a few factoids that escaped the 2017 headlines.
January 10 – Crested Butte Mountain ski resort in Colorado was forced to close because of too much snow.
January 13 – A report from the U.S. Dept. of Energy showed that solar energy employed more people than all of the gas, oil, and coal companies combined in 2016.
February 3 – March Tian Boedihardjo, an 18-year-old math prodigy, completed his Ph. D. and was hired as an associate professor at UCLA.
February 4 – A survey of 13,000 newlyweds who married in 2016 revealed the average cost of their wedding was $35,329.
March 9 – A report covering the years 1992 – 2012 showed that 84 percent of wildfires in the U.S. were human-caused.
March 21 – The rusty-patched bumblebee became the first bee species to be placed on the endangered species list.
April 6 – Scientists in Boston said in a study that the area’s cod population was at a historic low, 80 percent less than a decade ago.
April 9 – An eight-year-old East Palestine, Ohio boy drove his four-year-old sister to McDonald’s in their father’s work van because they both craved a cheeseburger.
April 22 – Police near the Australian mining town of Broken Hill stopped a sports utility vehicle driven by a 12-year-old boy who had been driving alone for 800 miles.
April 26 – Gift Ngoepe became the first player from Africa to play in a Major League Baseball game, and he singled in his first at-bat.
May 28 – After posting photos on the social media Snapchat, two men in Ridgeland, South Carolina were arrested for forcing a baby alligator to drink a can of beer.
May 30 – Though ranked 12th in U.S. population, Virginia drivers claim 10 percent of the nation’s vanity license plates with more than 1.2 million personalized tags.
June 14 – A Eureka, California man was arrested after he used a flare gun to shoot another man with a shotgun shell stuffed with Rice Krispies.
June 25 – Ohio Highway Patrol Sgt. C.O. Smith halted a 10-mile chase of a driverless runaway Amish buggy by running alongside the horse and grabbing and pulling the dangling reins.
July 7 – Ray and Wilma Yoder of Goshen, Indiana, cut the ribbon of the new Cracker Barrel Restaurant in Lavonia, Georgia, giving them only one more location to visit of the chain’s 645 restaurants.
July 12 – A contractor working on an ATM machine in Corpus Christi, Texas became stuck in the device and was rescued after he passed a handwritten note through the receipt slot to a customer.
August 29 – Akron, Ohio’s Emily Mueller, who was due with her fourth child and is known as the Bee Whisperer, posed for photos with 20,000 honey bees swarming on her abdomen.
August 30 – A 24-year old Kenosha County, Wisconsin man was critically injured when he fell 25 feet onto an interstate highway after he had fled his crashed car in an attempt to elude police.
September 12 – The U.S. Census Bureau reported that the medium U.S. income reached a record $59,039 in 2016.
September 12 – A copperhead snake bit a woman customer in the foot as she sat down to eat dinner in a Longhorn Steakhouse in Fredericksburg, Virginia.
September 13 – A homeless man in Nashville, Tennessee was shot twice after he asked the driver of a Porsche SUV to move the vehicle so he could sleep on the sidewalk.
September 19 – Topless ladies from a Yuba County, California strip club raised $2,560 at a carwash for two sheriff’s deputies who were injured in a shooting at a marijuana farm.
October 23 – A Portsmouth, New Hampshire Salvation Army thrift store received a bronze urn donation that contained cremated remains.
October 25 – The City of Honolulu, Hawaii instituted a new law that banned texting while walking.
November 3 – A seven-month-old border collie in training herded nine sheep into its farmer’s home in Devon, England.
November 7 – As they left, robbers of a Houston, Texas donut shop handed out stolen donuts to terrified customers.
November 11 – To raise money for wounded veterans, Rob Jones, a 32-year-old Marine Corp vet who lost both legs in a landmine explosion in Afghanistan, completed his 31st marathon in 31 days in 31 different cities.
December 6 – A service dog belonging to an audience member attending the Broadway play, “Cats,” in New York City chased one of the actors dressed as a cat off stage during the opening musical number.
December 10 – A California cannabis grower teamed with a Los Angles-based florist to offer a Christmas wreath made with an ounce of sun-grown, artisanal marijuana.
December 17 – While watching “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” five-year-old TyLon Pittman of Byram, Mississippi, called 911 to alert police to be on the lookout for “that little Grinch.”
Despite the 2017 shenanigans and light-hearted news notes, let’s hope 2018 is a better year for everyone. Happy New Year!
© Bruce Stambaugh 2017