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News of the Weird

Wednesday April 10, 2002

Wedding invitation causes anthrax scare 


BELLA VISTA, Ark. — Cheryl Haas thought her wedding invitations were quite romantic. Postal service inspectors, the fire department and sheriff’s deputies did not. 

The post office was closed Monday for about an hour while investigators determined the white grains that escaped from one of Haas’ envelopes were harmless. 

The invitation was for a wedding on a Wyoming beach. 

Haas, 37, of Broomfield, Colo., said she never meant for her letters to cause alarm. The closing was the third time one of the invitations to the June 29 wedding at Glendo Reservoir has raised concerns the white sand might be anthrax spores. 

Haas said she got the sand from a Home Depot store and she thought it would be OK to send it in the invitations. She said the envelope was clear, included confetti and had a return address. 


Deaf, blind man has a green thumb 


DETROIT — Roderick Gordon may not be able to see or hear, but that hasn’t stopped him developing his green thumb. 

Gordon, the first blind and deaf person to enroll in the Michigan State University master gardener program, recently finished the 12-week course. 

He was one of 34 students in the class, which met for four hours weekly. The master gardener course is open to all who can complete it, plus the required 40 hours of volunteer work. 

At each class session, two interpreters assisted Gordon. While lecturers described the details of plant diseases or lawn maintenance, the interpreters moved their fingers and palms against Gordon’s, translating spoken words into information he understands. 

Gordon, 50, who had tumors that cost him his vision at age 27 and his hearing at 35, grew up in Jamaica where he worked as a machinist until his sight became impaired. 

Interviewed through interpreters, Gordon said he is considered totally blind and profoundly deaf but “I still have what God wants me to have.” 

The master gardener program “was a very remarkable course. I would recommend it to anyone in Michigan,” said Gordon, who plans to grow vegetables, herbs and flowers on his balcony this year. 


DENVER (AP) — Coors Field, home of the Colorado Rockies, is known around the league as a baseball hitter’s heaven. Vegetarians say it doesn’t strike out either. 

A survey by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals ranks Coors Field the No. 2 vegetarian-friendly ball park in the nation, behind Tropicana Field, home of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. 

“The Rockies’ mile-high ball park has gone the extra mile for vegetarians,” PETA said, citing the stadium’s offerings of chef salad, veggie wraps, bean burritos and veggie subs. 

Tropicana Field was cited for its gardenburger, French fries, fruit smoothies, garlic knots, peanut butter-and-jelly sandwiches, black beans and rice, vegetable stir-fry and pasta. 

The SkyDome, home of the Toronto Blue Jays, and Network Associates Coliseum, home to the Oakland A’s, rounds out the top four parks. 

“It’s time for all ball parks to step up to the plate and offer veggie dogs and other veggie fare,” PETA said on its Web site this week.