Odds and ends: Hometown celebrates with beard-growing contest

By The Associated Press

DELAWARE, Ohio – Gentlemen, start your beards.

Men have begun a beard-growing competition that’s partly a presidential look-alike contest as this central Ohio city celebrates its 200th birthday.

The current, clean-shaven resident of the White House isn’t the inspiration. Instead, it’s the nation’s 19th president, Rutherford B. Hayes, born in Delaware in 1822 and typically pictured with long, wiry whiskers.

The competitors all started Sunday with clean slates. They were photographed with shaved chins and obtained permits to register in the contest, to be judged July 5.

Ray Blinn, 60, is growing his very first beard for the contest.

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    “Too bad they don’t have the scruffy, mountain-man category, because that’s probably going to be what I look like,” Blinn said. There will not only be a prize for the best resemblance to Hayes, but also others in categories including longest, neatest and most unusual beards.

    Fifty chickens run loose through Philly high school

    PHILADELPHIA – Monday mornings are hard enough. Imagine finding 50 chickens running loose in your high school.

    Workers arriving about 5:30 a.m. to open Northeast High School in Philadelphia found dozens of hens and roosters wandering around the hallways. The birds were brought to the school sometime over the weekend, said school district spokesman Fernando Gallard.

    “We don’t know where the chickens came from or who they belong to,” Gallard said. “I’m pretty sure there is a very upset poultry farmer somewhere who wants them back.”

    The floors were covered with droppings and chicken feed. Most of the school’s 3,600 students were sent home for the day because the school required cleanup, he said.

    A farmer was called to round up the birds and bring them to Fox Chase Farm, the district’s agricultural school, Gallard said.

    Police are checking surveillance tapes to see if they can determine the perpetrator of the fowl prank. The culprit will have to pay a hefty fine, said Gallard.

    “It’s not going to be chicken scratch,” he said.