By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Odds & Ends 1/11
Placeholder Image
Eagle rescued by gun shot
DES MOINES, Iowa — A bald eagle owes its freedom to the sharpshooting skills of an Iowa conservation officer.
    Jason Sandholdt used a single bullet last weekend to free the bird from a branch that hung over a cliff at Lake Red Rock.
    Sandholdt, who works for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, was among those who responded Saturday after a kayaker spotted the eagle hanging about 60 feet above the lake southeast of Des Moines.
    With binoculars, state and county officials saw that the bird appeared to have caught a single talon in a knothole in the branch when it landed.
    Because the eagle was hanging over a cliff and high in the air, ropes and ladders seemed unlikely rescue tools, Sandholdt said. Many in the group thought a mercy killing was the best option.
    Sandholdt said he asked for a chance to free the bird with his rifle, figuring at best the bird would fall into the lake and have to be rescued for rehabilitation at a clinic.
    ‘‘It’s safe to say no one had any confidence that I could do that,’’ Sandholdt said of his proposed sharpshooting. ‘‘My buddies were waiting for a poof of feathers.’’
    The bullet traveled 60 to 70 feet, cleanly through the edge of the knothole. Sandholdt figures he hit the talon, too.
    The eagle flew away and disappeared over the horizon.

$200 snow for Christmas? 

    LOVELAND, Colo. — Three snowballs from Loveland have sold on the eBay Internet auction site for $200.
    Chris Hansen, a firefighter from Milford, Conn., said he bought the snow for his daughters, ages 12, 14, and 16.
    With the East experiencing unseasonably warm weather, Hansen said his daughters got everything they wanted for Christmas except snow.
    Hansen went online and found the listing by Mary Walker of Loveland, who auctioned off snow from two monster storms that dumped more than 4 feet along the Front Range.
    Hansen said he plans to freeze the snowballs until his family decides what to do with them.
    Walker, who said her listing was meant as a joke, initially refused to accept Hansen’s money, but he insisted. Hansen was a winner among 100 people following three days of bidding.
    Now Walker is trying to figure out how to ship the snowballs 2,000 miles to Connecticut, without melting.
    Walker said the money will help buy a snowblower.

Escape artist goes too far
    KEY WEST, Fla. — An escape artist whose dive into choppy waters prompted a two-day search-and-rescue mission now has to watch his money disappear.
    A Key West judge on Tuesday ordered Michael Patrick, who performs as ‘‘Patrick the Escape Artist,’’ to pay $60,000 restitution to the Coast Guard, the city’s fire and police departments and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission for their search following his Oct. 31 back-flip into Key West Harbor.
    Police found him the next day at a Key West house with his girlfriend, planning, they told The Miami Herald, a ‘‘big ta-da.’’
    The judge found Patrick, who has already served 60-days in jail, guilty of culpable negligence, a second-degree misdemeanor.
    Patrick’s escape act for the past 15 years at Mallory Square’s Sunset Celebration included hanging upside down while freeing himself from chains and a straitjacket.
    He changed his routine on Halloween, back-flipping into 35-foot-deep waters. Several audience members dived in when he didn’t immediately resurface.
    Patrick has been banned from performing at the Sunset Celebration.

Newest addition to university requirements - chopsticks
      TOKYO — Students need not apply to one Japanese high school unless they can demonstrate dexterity with a pair of chopsticks.
    Successful applicants to the Hisatagakuen Sasebo Girls’ High School in south Japan must be able to transfer marbles, beads and beans from one plate to another using just a pair of chopsticks, Kyodo News agency reported, citing the school’s principal Junko Hisata.
    New entrance requirements judge applicants’ lifestyle habits through their handling of chopsticks. The exam must be taken by all applicants — aged 15 or 16 years — starting with those wishing to enroll in April, the start of Japan’s academic year, the report said.
    The high school caters to female students aged 16-18 years.
    The move comes amid concerns that Japanese youth are losing touch with their traditional culinary culture and table manners.
    Flower arrangement and a traditional Japanese tea ceremony are also part of the required curriculum at Hisatagakuen, founded in 1902 and known for its emphasis on discipline.
Sign up for the Herald's free e-newsletter