March 13, 2014
Gettysburg Wax Museum Selling Historical Figures
Gettysburg, PA (AP) A life-sized animatronic Abe Lincoln is among the historical figures and tableau scenes from a Gettysburg wax museum set to hit the auction block just months after the town celebrated the 150th anniversary of his “Gettysburg Address.”
The American Civil War Wax Museum has occupied a prime spot near the center of the battlefield for more than half a century. But it recently underwent an extensive renovation and wants to take a new approach to history. As part of those changes, it is preparing to unload dozens of its historical figures most made of vinyl, not wax, in what the auctioneer calls a once-in-a-lifetime sale.
The March 15 auction will also feature diorama contents, tapestries, furniture and books. The items include soldiers, a Southern plantation scene and the Lincoln-Douglas debates’ stop in 1858 at Knox College.
When the wax museum reopens later this year as the Gettysburg Heritage Center, its focus will have shifted to the experience of town residents before, during and after the July 1863 battle between the Confederates under Gen. Robert E. Lee and the federal troops commanded by Gen. George Gordon Meade.
The company estimates 9 million people have walked through the wax museum since it opened in 1962, shortly before the centennial of the battle.
Man Admits Trading Nightclub For Cocaine
Gulfport, MN (AP) A 33-year-old Gulfport man has pleaded guilty to a drug distribution charge involving his agreement to trade a nightclub for 12 kilos of cocaine.
The Sun Herald reports Victor Darnell Williams faces 10 years to life in prison when he is sentenced June 5 in U.S. District Court.
Williams pleaded guilty Thursday to a charge of attempt to possess cocaine with intent to distribute. Judge Sul Ozerden ordered Williams held for federal marshals. He had been free on a $25,000 bond.
Federal drug agents arrested Williams after he signed papers Aug. 30 to transfer ownership of a building to a person identified only as a confidential source.
The deal reportedly was worth about $336,000 in cocaine.
California Gold Discovery Spurs Rush Of Theories
Los Angeles (AP) Word last week that a Northern California couple found $10 million in gold coins while walking their dog has set off a Gold Rush of theories over who left behind all that loot.
One is that Jesse James’ gang deposited it in hopes of someday financing a second Civil War. Another postulates that the gold originally belonged to gentleman robber Black Bart, who wrote poetry when he wasn’t sticking up stagecoaches.
But the theory gaining the most traction this week is that the hoard is made up of most of the $30,000 in gold coins that Walter Dimmick stole from the U.S. Mint in San Francisco in 1901. The coins were never recovered.
That theory, from fishing guide and amateur coin historian Jack Trout, set off a flurry of calls to the U.S. Mint after it was reported by the San Francisco Chronicle on Monday.
The Northern California couple’s coins are called the Saddle Ridge Hoard after the area of the couple’s land where they were discovered.
``We do not have any information linking the Saddle Ridge Hoard coins to any thefts at any United States Mint facility,’’ mint officials said in a statement issued Tuesday.
Don Kagin is a rare coin dealer who represents the couple who stumbled upon the coins, which have a face value of about $28,000. He said the San Francisco Mint heist was one of the first possibilities he and his staff checked out.
As for some of the other theories: The Jesse James one fails to account for the fact the Missouri outlaw died 12 years before the last coin was struck and was born the year the first one was.
Black Bart robbed stages only between 1877 and 1883, when he was caught and sent to prison.
The finders, who have chosen to remain anonymous, have their own theory.
They’ve done some research, Kagin said, and believe their property in California’s Gold Rush country was occupied at the time by someone in the mining industry. That person must have squirreled away the coins over time.
Why the owner never came back for the coins, well, that’s another mystery.
LaughFest Organizers Claim New Sunglasses Record
Grand Rapids, MI (AP) There appears to be another arcane world record in Grand Rapids, this time for the most people wearing sunglasses at night.
Gilda’s LaughFest organizers in the past three years have overseen record-setting attempts for donning false mustaches, wearing chicken beaks and tossing rubber chickens.
The fourth annual festival of laughter kicked off Thursday with an effort to break the sunglasses record. Participants received official bright yellow LaughFest sunglasses.
Guinness World Records says the current mark was set in July 2012 by 1,642 people at Chicago’s Wrigley Field. LaughFest spokesman Tyler Lecceadone said the group’s count shows that 1,675 people wore sunglasses Thursday night.
“We had a seriously fun time at this year’s world record attempt,” said Wendy Wigger, president of LaughFest and of Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids. “It was great to see the growing community support and excitement surrounding the fourth year of LaughFest. It was the perfect to kick off the 2014 festival. We thank all of the participants who came out and donned sunglasses to help us break the world record. “
In 2013, 1,532 people at LaughFest put on false mustaches to set the Guinness World Record for the most people wearing fake mustaches at a single venue.
Gilda’s LaughFest runs through March 16. It honors the memory of comedian Gilda Radner, who died of ovarian cancer in 1989.
Wolf Encounter Leaves Cows With Post-Trauma Stress
Corvallis, OR (AP) Cows that survive a wolf encounter reportedly suffer symptoms similar to post-traumatic stress disorder.
A study by Oregon State University found the stress decreases pregnancy rates and increases the number of lighter calves and the likelihood of getting sick. Weight loss translates into a financial loss for ranchers. KPTV reports researchers induced wolf stress by putting cows in a pen scented with wolf urine while playing recorded wolf howls on a stereo.
The study was conducted by Oregon State University animal scientists Reinaldo Cooke and David Bohnert. The study was funded by the Oregon Beef Council and published in the Journal of Animal Science.
Wake Up And Smell The
Bacon....With A Bacon App
Madison, WI (AP) Want to wake up to the sound of bacon sizzling on the stove with its aroma drawing you out of bed? There’s an app for that. Oscar Mayer says it has created a bacon-scented app for the iPhone, developed by the Madison-based company’s Institute for the Advancement of Bacon.
The company says that to emit a small puff reminiscent of bacon, the user needs an external device that plugs into the headphone jack. The app itself produces the sound of bacon sizzling in a pan. Oscar Mayer says the aroma-producing device won’t be sold in stores and that quantities are limited.
The company is giving away 4,700 devices beginning Thursday. Oscar Mayer is part of Kraft Foods Group Inc., based in Glenview, Ill.
NY Times Prints Northup
Correction 161 Years Later
New York (AP) The New York Times has printed a correction for misspelling 161 years ago the name of a black man who was sold into slavery and whose memoirs were turned into the Oscar-winning movie “12 Years a Slave.”
In a Jan. 20, 1853, article, the Times misspelled Solomon Northup’s surname as Northrop and as Northrup.
The Times corrected Northup’s name on Tuesday, after the errors were pointed out by someone looking at its archives.
The correction said the article about Northup had “misspelled his surname as Northrop. And the headline misspelled it as Northrup.”
Northup was born in New York and was kidnapped and sold as a slave in 1841. He spent the next dozen years in Louisiana before regaining his freedom.
“12 Years a Slave” won the Oscar for best picture at the Academy Awards on Sunday. It starred Chiwetel Ejiofor as Northup and Lupita Nyong’o as Patsey, another slave. Nyong’o won the Oscar for best actress in a supporting role.