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3 best April Fools' jokes in local news

By Staff Writer
Published On: Apr 01 2014 05:15:49 PM CDT
Updated On: Apr 01 2014 05:16:08 PM CDT
prehistoric trout cropped

Courtesy of Friends of the Teton River

This prehistoric trout roamed the ocean that covered what is now Idaho. At 550 pounds, this beauty would have been the catch of a lifetime -- if it didn't swallow you whole first!

Here are three of the best whoppers in eastern Idaho and western Wyoming on April Fools' Day 2014. Don't believe any of this.

Howdy Pardner loses digit at ribbon cutting

In Tuesday's newsletter, the Jackson Hole Chamber of Commerce showed that when it comes to humor, it means business. Here's the chamber's tongue-in-cheek account of a severed finger:

Long time Howdy Pardner Ambassador Club President Opie Opalson was involved in an unfortunate accident over the weekend. Following the final distribution of mimosas to visitors at the Jackson Hole Airport on Sunday, Opie and a merry, over-served band of Howdies drove straight to the ribbon-cutting ceremonies at the newest chamber member store, Wrecking Balls.

Owned by none other than Miley Cyrus, the store will specialize in off-beat Christmas ornaments. According to eyewitness reports, while Opalson held the ribbon, out-going mayor Mark Barron, who had reportedly just finished his fourth cup of his wife Ruth Ann's newest coffee creation, slammed the golden shears shut unknowing that Opalson's middle finger was severed in the process. Said Barron, "I just thought it was a tough ribbon and I was totally jacked-up on that coffee!"

Cyrus, who was present at the time and fully clothed, recovered the severed digit and pledged to have it fashioned into a Christmas ornament to be auctioned at the benefit to help Opie's medical expenses.

Turns out he just missed by two days the medical coverage under the Affordable Care Act as they claimed it a pre-existing condition. Ruth Ann has pledged all profits to Opie from her newly renamed creation Opie's Bird Brew. Donations can also be made at the chamber until Wednesday, April 2.

Prehistoric 'monster trout' discovered on Teton Canyon rim

Here's a big fish story that was millenia in the making. The Friends of the Teton River sent us this news release with a big catch: a 550-pound trout that allegedly once swam in the waters covering our region. Those of us in the newsroom who took the bait lamented being born a few million years too late for the best fishing of the Cretaceous!

Early last week, local farmer Ken Farfield was walking his ground just north of the Teton Canyon rim, and stumbled over what has now been confirmed as the oldest and largest prehistoric trout species ever found.

Paleontologists from the Museum of the Rockies in Bozeman have confirmed that mostly intact remains of the 550-pound fish are from the beginning of the Cretaceous Period, when a great ocean stretched across this part of Idaho, about 100 million years ago. The species has been named Oncorhynchus monstrum, or what scientists have dubbed the "monster trout." This find rivals the recently discovered "chicken from hell" from Montana and the Dakotas, a 500-pound ostrich-like dinosaur has been dated to the end of the Cretaceous (68 to 66 million years ago).

Farfield literally tripped over what was later identified as the posterior vertebrae of the massive trout. "There are so many stones that pop up out of these agricultural fields, I didn’t think anything of it at first," Farfield said, "but it was unlike any stone I ever seen before."

The vertebrae measured about 14 inches long, weighing in at 2.8 pounds. He gave the Soil Conservation District a call about the object he unearthed, and they directed him to the Paleontology Lab associated with Montana State University in Bozeman.

Lab Director Dr. Randolph Reily was dubious about the find at first, but upon further investigation, and a bit of digging, "I could tell we were dealing with a very special creature here," Dr. Reily said of the nearly intact 18-foot-long salmonid. "We have never had a prehistoric discovery of this magnitude in Idaho, but it makes sense."

He explained that this area was part of the Western Interior Seaway, a gigantic ocean over 2,000 miles long and 600 miles wide, which stretched from the eastern edge of the Idaho Panhandle down to the Gulf of Mexico. This would have been the same ocean that formed the fossil beds at Grand Targhee.

County to charge ‘Subaru tax’

Tired of seeing Subarus everywhere? There's a tax for that.

The Teton Valley News wrote an article on how Teton County, Idaho, will tax Subarus in the county. Details on the top-secret meeting – and what's next to be taxed – here.

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