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Report From Florida: Frankly, My Dear, I'd Rather Be In Bay City, Michigan

Gators, Mammoths, Big Foot Foot Among Oddities That Tickle Columnist's Nose

February 18, 2007       Leave a Comment
By: Dave Rogers

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The Bear Archery Company of Grayling moved to Florida in 1978. Pictured is Fred Bear who formed Bear Archery in 1947. Bear died in 1988.

Florida's OK, but:

  • I'd rather be in Bay City, Michigan, where at this time of year you know it's always going to be cold.

  • Florida, on the other hand, is cold one day and sweltering the next; you never know.

    The Tampa area has some real interesting aspects:

    Farmers in nearby Plant City spray water on strawberries to form ice to keep them from freezing; don't ask me how this works, but it does.

    A guy wearing a wet suit diving for golf balls in a pond was attacked by an alligator; he fought the beast off by gouging its eyes and was finally rescued by a 68-year-old man.

    High school kids poking around an old riverbed uncovered a mammoth tooth -- just 30,000 years old; the mammoth is estimated to have been 12 feet tall and weigh six tons.

    A 15-year-old girl down here made the front page of the college newspaper at the University of South Florida for her unusual malady --she hiccups 50 times a minute. Nothing has worked so far, including drinking pickle juice, sugar, peanut butter, blowing into a paper bag, etc.

    They found what may be a foot from a Big Foot in a landfill in Virginia; the eight-inch foot with long toes has created a mystery and the story made the papers here. Scientists are trying to discover if it is a bear's foot or from a baby Big Foot; it's not human, they have determined.

    The Pasco County Fair is on now and here's some of the events on the schedule: Heifer and bull show, steer show, dairy show, hog show and sale, dairy goat show, sheep show, plant show, and ... celebrity milk off. Celebrity Milk Off???? No further details are given. Ya gotta wonder!

    Michigan folks are a special group down here: If you're from Hillsdale or Branch counties, Michigan, bring a dish to share at the Lions Club on Dean Dairy Road at 10:30 Wednesday. BTW, the Long Island Club will have coffee and cake at the same time at St. Stephen's Episcopal Church.

    If you have a good memory, recall the Bear Archery Company of Grayling. It has been thriving down here in Gainesville since 1978, but the once world famous Fred Bear Museum is gone. Fred set up the plant in Grayling in 1947 and sold it to Victor Comptometer in 1968, The Bear plant was moved to Florida after a strike. It was sold to the Bass Pro Shop that still operates it. Fred died in 1988 at age 86.

    Things are bad all over department: A 26-year-old real estate agent was arrested for growing 102 marijuana plants in several rooms of his home in Land O' Lakes. Police confiscated an elaborate irrigation system, large grow lights, timers, air conditioning units and a variety of liquid fertilizers.

    Speaking of real estate, the wave of hurricanes and tornadoes in recent years has caused real problems in Florida. We heard of a Michigan man who sold his farm for about $200,000 after years of agonizing, plunged all his money into a 30-acre parcel complete with manufactured home. Guess where? In Lady Lake, Florida. He could get only $30,000 insurance, and, you guessed it, the place was destroyed in recent tornadoes that hit the area around The Villages. Put that in your golf cart and ride around in it.

    Lots of folks who have moved down here are leaving because of the lack of insurance coverage; word is many are moving to Georgia or North Carolina; they call them "halfbacks." The term comes from the fact they came all the way down and now are going half-way back.

    Now, perhaps strangest of all: In case you can't stand the thought of cremation, some enterprising funeral home is offering burials at sea. Call Port Richey 727-819-1754 for pre-arrangements.###

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    Dave Rogers

    Dave Rogers is a former editorial writer for the Bay City Times and a widely read,
    respected journalist/writer in and around Bay City.
    (Contact Dave Via Email at

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