HOT SPOT: YELLOWSTONE ROAD MELTS, SITES CLOSED: CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — The ever-changing thermal geology of Yellowstone National Park has created a hot spot that melted an asphalt road and closed access to popular geysers and other attractions at the height of tourist season, officials said Thursday.
As they examined possible fixes, park officials warned visitors not to hike into the affected area, where the danger of stepping through solid-looking soil into boiling-hot water was high.
“There are plenty of other great places to see thermal features in the park,” Yellowstone spokesman Al Nash said. “I wouldn’t risk personal injury to see these during this temporary closure.”
Naturally changing thermal features often damage Yellowstone’s roads and boardwalks. Steaming potholes in asphalt roads and parking lots — marked off by traffic cones — are fairly common curiosities.
However, the damage to Firehole Lake Drive is unusually severe and could take several days to fix. The 3.3-mile loop six miles north of Old Faithful takes visitors past Great Fountain Geyser, White Dome Geyser and Firehole Lake.
Unusually warm weather for Yellowstone — with high temperatures in the mid-80s — has contributed to turning the road into a hot, sticky mess.
“We’ve got some ideas. We’re going to try them. Our maintenance staff has really looked at the issue,” Nash said.
3 SKULLS DONATED TO SEATTLE-AREA THRIFT STORE: SEATTLE (AP) — Officials in Washington state are searching for the person who donated three human skulls to a thrift store in a Seattle suburb.
The King County medical examiner said in a statement on Wednesday that two of the skulls were from adults and appeared to have been used in a medical clinic or for instruction.
The third is very old and appears to have belonged to a Native American child.
State law requires the Native American skull be returned to its tribe. The medical examiner is asking whoever donated the skulls to provide some details, without penalty, so that can happen.
Spokesman Keith Seinfeld said Thursday there had been only one call so far and it wasn’t helpful.
The skulls were donated last month to the Goodwill store in Bellevue.
PIG THREATENS CHILDREN WALKING THROUGH MAINE WOODS: OAKLAND, Maine (AP) — Police in the Maine town of Oakland are looking for a pig that threatened two children walking through the woods.
Capt. Rick Stubbert tells the Morning Sentinel that the children were walking along a trail in the wooded area between the local middle school and the high school at about 1:45 p.m. Tuesday when the pig confronted them “screaming at the kids and chasing them.”
The children were so frightened they flagged down a police officer. Police did not disclose the children’s age.
Officers, including animal control, responded to the scene, and although they found tracks that confirmed the pig was real, they didn’t find the animal.
Stubbert says he doesn’t know where the pig came from or why it might have been acting aggressively.
GREAT FALL TOO MUCH ; HUMPTY DUMPTY TO BE REBUILT: SALEM, Ore. (AP) — The nursery rhyme proved right: Humpty Dumpty couldn’t be put together again.
But the owner of an Oregon tourist attraction vows to build Humpty anew.
Last weekend, two men planning a photograph jumped on the wall where the statue of rebar, cement, sand and plaster had sat for 40 years.
And, you know how it goes: Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
Sculptor Roger Tofte tells the Salem Statesman Journal Humpty was in too many pieces to fix, but the two men offered to pay for a new one. He says it will take a month to build.
The 84-year-old Tofte has been running the Enchanted Forest along Interstate 5 south of Salem since 1971. It’s 20 acres of rides and sculptures based on fairy tales and nursery rhymes.
POLICE ARREST MAN ACCUSED OF KICKING POLICE HORSE: PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Police in Portland, Oregon, say they have arrested a 29-year-old man accused of running up to a police horse, uttering a “karate-like battle cry” and delivering what a spokesman calls “a jumping, double kick” to the horse’s right thigh.
Police say the horse named Olin was unfazed and unhurt Wednesday. A police spokesman notes Olin outweighed his attacker by about 1,000 pounds.
Olin and his human partner took Joseph Cruz into custody for investigation of interfering with a law enforcement animal. The man was also wanted on an unrelated arrest warrant.
JUMPING JACK TO BECOME OFFICIAL MISSOURI EXERCISE: JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Arms up! Legs out!
The jumping jack is about to become Missouri’s official state exercise.
Gov. Jay Nixon signed legislation Thursday adding the jumping jack to a list of more than two dozen official symbols and things.
The jumping jack was championed as the official state exercise by students from Pershing Elementary School in St. Joseph. They lobbied for it as a way to honor Gen. John J. Pershing.
The Missouri-born general led U.S. forces in World War I. He’s credited with inventing the jumping jack as a training drill for cadets when he taught at West Point in the late 1800s.
Nixon’s signature means the measure becomes state law on Aug. 28.
WENDY DAVIS: OBAMA SHOULD MAKE TEXAS BORDER TRIP: AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Democrat Wendy Davis says President Barack Obama should visit the Texas border to witness firsthand the crisis of tens of thousands of young migrants entering the U.S.
Her comments Thursday made Davis the most high-profile Texas Democrat yet to urge Obama to make the trip. She is the Democratic nominee for Texas governor and has garnered nationwide support.
The White House has insisted there was little the president could learn from a border visit that he didn’t already know.
She addressed reporters in Austin just blocks from where Obama was to later speak about the economy. Davis says it’s one thing to follow the crisis “in the abstract,” but seeing it up close provides meaning.
U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, a Texas Democrat, has also criticized Obama for skipping the border.
BEANIE BABIES CREATOR DEFENDS PROBATION SENTENCE: CHICAGO (AP) — Lawyers for the billionaire creator of Beanie Babies say a federal judge didn’t let him off too easily by giving him probation and no prison time for hiding at least $25 million from U.S. tax authorities in Swiss banks.
In a 57-page filing Thursday with the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, Ty Warner denies the judge in Chicago sent a message that there’s a different standard for the wealthy.
That’s the prosecutors’ argument in their recent appeal asking for a do-over of Warner’s sentencing. They want Warner to spend at least some time behind bars.
In sentencing him to two years of probation in January, Judge Charles Kocoras heaped praise on Warner for his charitable giving. Tuesday’s filing echoes that, calling Warner “a self-made man with a generous heart.”