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Thursday, January 10, 2008   


Lansing Town Talk: Lansing man shares his UFO tale

Jerome E. Hass and his wife Joan (Jo) Hass of Route 34B in Lansing has been a longtime friend of our family, starting way back when he and his family moved from Dryden to a short mile away from us, which in Lansing makes them nearby neighbors. One of our first memorable moments occurred when he roared into our driveway shouting that he had seen Canada goose (geese?) hunters who had downed at least two geese and didn't pick them up. By then the daylight had turned to dusk. He asked if I would like a goose, and trying to be a good neighbor, I told him that I would be delighted to cook the supposedly downed goose and was grateful for his kindness.

So ol' Jerry hopped into his wee blue mini station wagon and proceeded to drive down the recently chopped corn field across from our home on Fenner Road, whacking each and every stubborn corn stalk along the way and causing his mini vehicle to bump and thump, headlights scattering brightly to the north, searching relentlessly for the geese. He never did find any sign of the downed birds and returned to our home, exhausted from his efforts. I am sharing this experience to set the stage for yet another incident with you, my faithful readers.

On Monday morning of this week, I was at the Hass House when Jerry told me that he had had an amazing experience the previous night. We decided that it would be a most worthwhile public service bulletin for the readers of The Ithaca Journal who too may encounter such a happening. His exact story, word for word, is as follows:

“My first encounter with a UFO occurred more than 50 years ago, while lying in the grass next to a Minnesota lake, watching the stars come out. I spotted a white object moving rapidly across the sky and pointed it out to my (geek) friend who told me it was a satellite. While I have since enjoyed spotting many satellites just as dark appears, last night was something completely different.

“I was taking my customary (when the weather permits) nightly walk up highway 34B when I spotted an orange light floating above me. Heavy clouds provided a dark background that made it difficult to judge its size or distance. It landed in a muddy field next to the road. I quickly returned home, grabbed my new crank-powered LED flashlight (with radio), put on my mud-boots, and told my wife I was going to explore a UFO, to which she replied ‘Uh-huh,' with eyes and ears glued to a new episode of ‘Desperate Housewives.' I jumped in my pickup and headed up the road, parking as close to the faintly glowing object as possible. Practicing my D-E-C-C-G** (in case I had to communicate) and cranking fiercely, I slogged across the muddy field. The glow was emanating from what appeared to be a glow-stick, tied to a stout string, which was draped across a shallow depression in which water was flowing. At my feet was a small container (about 6 inches tall and 4 inches square) that read, ‘This is not a dangerous object.' My pulse began to return to normal.

“My UFO proved to be a radiosonde, released by the National Weather Service at 6:30 p.m. (almost three hours earlier) from Buffalo. I could not cross the running water, so I pulled on the string and reeled in a plastic parachute and then the remains of a rubber balloon. The container gave instructions to use the enclosed prepaid package to return the device to NWS for reuse. Today I followed the directions and also read the interesting details on Wikipedia. My UFO had been attached to a 6-foot wide helium balloon that had risen 1,000 feet a minute and traveled perhaps as high as 115,000 feet into the atmosphere to send pressure, temperature and humidity data back to Buffalo and was tracked to provide wind speed and direction data.

“I am ready for my next encounter. Beam me up Scotty!”

** Professor Hass is referring to “Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” an old movie he and Jo had watched about aliens and the means to communicate with them.

Relay for Life dinner, show

There will be a “Vive La Cage Aux Folles” dinner and show to benefit the Cancer Society Relay for Life on Saturday evening, Jan. 19 at the Common Ground, at 1230 Danby Road, Ithaca. Cocktails, hors d'oeuvres and social hour will commence at 5:30 p.m., dinner at 6:30 p.m. and a cabaret show at 9 p.m., followed by dancing to the music of D.J. Rundle. Advance tickets are $25, and reservations are requested by Saturday, Jan. 12. Choice of seat location and entree must be made at time of purchase.

For more information, call 273-1505or visit http://www.ithacacommonground.com/.

Pancake breakfast

A reminder that the Lansing Youth Guatemala Mission Pancake Breakfast will be from 8-10 a.m. Sunday, Jan. 13 at Applebee's. Tickets are $5. The menu will include pancakes, bacon, coffee, tea, milk and juice. Applebee's provides the food while the Youth Mission Volunteers will greet, seat, serve and clean up. Call Debby Cretney at 275-0655for more information.

Blood drive

The Lansing Community Blood drive at All Saints Parish Center is scheduled for 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 19. This is open to the community. Please come and help the Red Cross reach its goal. Call (315) 497-1271to make an appointment.

Closing comment

“Much of the vitality in a friendship lies on the honoring of differences, not simply in the enjoyment of similarities.”

— author James L. Fredericks

Contact: lmontague@aol.com

Originally published January 10, 2008

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Lansing Town Talk

Lansing Town Talk appears every Thursday. Submit items to Carolyn Montague, 33 Fenner Road, Lansing, NY 14882; 533-7571.

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