This week in Odd News: Baby hippo photo-bomb, a pumpkin police line-up & a surf board made of cigs

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A HIPPOPOTAMUS SPOTTED US: FIONA THE HIPPO WATCHES AS COUPLE GET ENGAGED

CINCINNATI (AP) – The Cincinnati Zoo’s popular baby hippo, Fiona, has drawn a lot of love but perhaps none quite like this moment: From her exhibit, she got a front-row seat to a wedding proposal between two of her fans.

A snapshot shared on Instagram shows the hippo underwater with her face near the glass, watching as Nick Kelble got down on one knee in front of her with a ring box for his smiling girlfriend, Hayley Roll.

Roll accepted the proposal and shared the photos earlier this month, noting that she and her fiance are glad the hippo was part of their special day.

Fiona was born premature in January, weighing only about 29 pounds. She overcame early health scares and now weighs more than 500 pounds.WOMAN WINS HEARTS WITH WEIRD VOICE-TO-TEXT COMMENT ON SITE

BOSTON (AP) – A Massachusetts woman is generating online buzz for accidentally sharing more than she intended on The New York Times’ website.

Christine McMorrow says she was using her iPhone’s voice-to-text function to leave a comment on a political story Thursday when she was interrupted by a friend’s visit.

She says the phone continued transcribing parts of their conversation and posted it online.

It starts out, “Zero optimism that the Democrats can ever regain,” before shifting to a rambling run-on sentence with references to hard-boiled eggs, a visit to Cape Cod and a knee that needed to be iced.

The comment was shared thousands of times online, with New York Magazine calling it the “single best comment of the year.”

McMorrow told The Boston Globe it was “embarrassing” and “very weird.”

‘LOW SEALINGS:’ A 450-POUND SEAL DECIDES TO LOUNGE ON AIRPORT RUNWAY

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) – In Alaska, it’s not uncommon for wildlife like polar bears to wander onto an airport’s runway, but a lounging seal is far more unusual.

But that’s what workers found at the airport in the nation’s northernmost city on Monday. A seal estimated to weigh 450 pounds (204 kilograms) was removed from the runway at the airport at Utqiagvik by way of sled, KTVA reported .

A photo and video of the bearded seal lounging on the runway in the town formerly known as Barrow was shared by Scott Babcock on Facebook .

The state Department of Transportation got in on the fun by warning pilots of “low sealings” at the airport.

Meadow Bailey, the department’s communications director, said Utqiagvik, an Arctic Ocean coastal community on Alaska’s North Slope, experienced heavy storms Monday. Staff found the seal while clearing the runway.

The department’s staff members are not allowed to handle marine mammals, so the seal was removed by North Slope Animal Control.

The workers have seen birds, caribou, polar bears and musk ox on the runway, but the seal sighting was a first, Bailey said.

“Wildlife strikes to aircraft pose a significant safety hazard and cost the aviation industry hundreds of millions of dollars each year,” Bailey said. “Birds make up over 90 percent of strikes in the US, while mammal strikes are rare.”

POLICE POST ‘PUMPKIN LINEUP’ AFTER RECOVERING STOLEN SQUASH

MARYLAND HEIGHTS, Mo. (AP) – Police who caught three teenagers orange-handed with 48 stolen pumpkins – and one gourd – are asking residents of a St. Louis suburb to view a “pumpkin lineup” online to see if their Halloween squash are among those recovered.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that pumpkins began vanishing last week from subdivisions of Maryland Heights. Police quickly tracked down the boys and their pumpkin-crammed SUV that Capt. Scott Will says was “top-to-bottom orange.”

The next day, officers snapped a picture of the abducted decor and posted it to Facebook . Will says police have been “inundated” with people coming to track down their Halloween pumpkins. About a dozen remained unclaimed Tuesday. None are carved.

Two 18-year-olds are charged with misdemeanor stealing, while a 16-year-old has been referred to juvenile court.

CALIFORNIA SURFER MAKES BOARD USING 10,000 CIGARETTE BUTTS

SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO, Calif. (AP) – A California surfer has won a recycled surfboard contest with an entry covered with 10,000 cigarette butts.

“This is the most polluted item picked up on the beach,” creator Taylor Lane told the Orange County Register. “And no one thinks twice that you can do anything with it.”

Lane, 24, from Santa Cruz had the top entry amid an assortment of boards made from potato sacks, used packaging and stuff picked up from Dumpster dives. An Australian entry was made from an old bathroom door.

The entries were for the third annual “Creators & Innovators Upcycle Contest,” hosted by the Vissla surfing gear brand and the nonprofit Surfrider Foundation.

A dozen entries were displayed last Friday at the Ecology Center in San Juan Capistrano.

“Who would have thought cigarette butts would have been beautiful?” said visitor Karyn Buky of Rancho Santa Margarita, California. “It gives you an awkward feeling, that something so pretty is so icky at the same time. It’s amazing.”

Lane and his friend, Ben Judkins, spent the summer plucking butts from the sand, beach parking lots and local paths in Santa Cruz. The board also uses Styrofoam from fish markets.

“It’s visually disgusting – but awesome in how gross it is,” Judkins said. “It just ties together surfing and something we care about – the environment, the ocean and the health of the ocean.”

Contestants had three months to make their surfboards.

Last year’s winner, Francois Jaubert of France, came in second with a board made with wood from a box that once held carrots. His entry last year was made from scrounged cardboard.

“I did this with garbage. We can have a little bit of thinking, a little bit of creativity,” Jaubert said. “And it’s way more fun to give a new life to a dead material. This used to hold carrots. Now, it’s surfing.”

“We should be smart enough to use what society gives us for free,” he said.

Vissla founder Paul Naude said the contest was designed to encourage creative thinking about sustainability. “This new culture is asking questions today. What are we doing to the environment?” Naude said.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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