Originally created 09/21/04

Odds and Ends



NAPOLEON, Ohio - Corey Cook hoped his girlfriend would accept a marriage proposal - no matter how corny it might appear.

So, he paid a northwest Ohio farmer to carve the words, "Michelle, will you marry me?" into his family's cornfield.

A heart surrounded the message, which covered about seven acres - large enough for Michelle See to spot from a small plane, as the couple flew from Columbus to a cabin in northeast Indiana.

"She just started giggling like a little girl on Christmas morning," said Cook, who gave her a ring as they passed over the massive message.

Each letter was about 5 feet wide.

"We hoped it looked right," said Brad Leaders, who was hired to do the job. "You don't know until you see it from the air."

The reply to the proposal, by the way, was a "yes."

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Officials at Rio Grande High School aren't getting a buzz from the school's homecoming memento.

Nearly 100 shot glasses etched with "Dreams Will Come True 2004" were handed out in advance of the celebration last week - until the principal got word of it.

"It's not an appropriate message to send out," Principal Al Sanchez said Thursday after putting a stop to the giveaway. "We'll never do that again."

School activities director James Chavez took the blame - saying the cheapest glass was a $1.32 shot glass. He said he thought they could be used to hold candles or toothpicks, not alcohol.

"We emphasized this is not for drinking," Chavez said.

The school had distributed about 100 of the shot glasses before a teacher questioned the giveaway.

Student Lawrence Chavez said the glasses were "better than a key chain," but knew they would raise eyebrows.

"I didn't think of it as a toothpick holder," he said.

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SANTA CRUZ, Calif. - The weekend cleanup of a popular stretch of beach netted the usual garbage: clothing, beer bottles and rusty nails.

What made the effort at Bonny Doon Beach different from cleanups elsewhere on the California coast were the volunteers: Many were nude.

Members of the Bay Area Naturists club were among those who collected 600 pounds of garbage at one of Northern California's most popular clothing-optional beaches, seven miles north of Santa Cruz.

"The real purpose is not the nakedness, but clearing up the trash," said Jurek Zarzycki, 54, as he scanned for refuse in the buff. "Every piece of garbage we find out here is testimony to somebody being a sloppy jerk."

His group has been helping clean trash from the beach for 17 years. The effort Saturday was part of the 20th annual California Coastal Cleanup Day, during which volunteers removed 750,000 pounds of trash from 700 locations on the state's shorelines.

The nippy weekend weather - it was 60 degrees at Bonny Doons - persuaded some of the naturists to keep their clothes on.

"Too cold," said Bill Todd, 64, a former San Mateo resident who flew out from his home in New York state on business and decided to join old friends in the naturist club. "You don't want the wind going where the wind shouldn't go."

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - And the race is on! Prospective buyers have less than a month to place a bid on eBay for the Sandia Motor Speedway.

The track was listed on the Internet auction site Friday morning and had received a high bid of $3,999,169 early Monday. The race track was appraised at $4.24 million in 2002, said manager Dawn Freeze, one of 52 investor-owners authorizing the sale.

Though no price was listed for the track, the group has the right to pull the speedway off eBay if bids are not high enough, said Anne Apicella, a commercial real estate agent with Grubb & Ellis New Mexico.

The 85-acre race track was developed in the 1990s by a group of investors who also were race enthusiasts.

Apicella said the eBay posting should bring attention to the track, which opened in 2000 and has been for sale for about a year.

"We've tried the traditional avenues without success, so we're hoping this will bring us the exposure we need," she said.

The posting will remain up until Oct. 17.