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Annual Gala Manages Not to Get Anyone Killed
Written by Helen Hamilton   

MILLBANK – After last year’s Satin and Spurs debacle, gala organizer Emma Bartlett vowed to make the 2015 fundraising occasion as inoffensive as possible. “Runaway cattle and dirty hobos are not appropriate at a sophisticated social function,” says Ms. Bartlett. “Not even in Millbank.”

Ms. Bartlett and the other members of the Gala Committee spent months in order to determine what sort of celebration would attract the cream of Millbank society, while not allowing anything to go wrong. “We did months of interviews with members of the social elite,” explains Mandy Mills, vice-chair of the Gala Committee. The results were not exactly heartening, she reports. “We learned that the top five pasttimes of our finest Millbankians were as follows: eating butterscotch pudding, protecting garden ornaments from hooligans, playing ‘Bejeweled’, hitting garage sales and attending community theater performances. It didn’t give us much to build on, I can tell you that much,” said Ms. Mills with a sigh.

It was only once the committee began planning in earnest that the full scope of the challenge hit them. “Okay, if we went with a “serve-yourself-butterscotch-pudding-buffet”, that would be popular, but that might also cause spills, or someone’s insulin would spike, or perhaps even fighting would break out if we ran low. Even something seemingly harmless can turn into a nightmare,” said Ms. Bartlett.

“We needed something that people would attend without riling them up in any way or causing any upsets.” And that is how this year’s gala consisted of handing every attendee a sippy cup of filtered water, then playing the entire box set of “American Pickers” for the assembled guests. The sippy cups were collected at the end of the evening. “No spills!”

“It wasn’t exciting,” admits Ms. Bartlett, “but no one went to the hospital or sued anyone else. Next year, we might even make it simpler and just Skype it all. That way, everyone can just stay home in their jammies.”

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City Hall Employee Finds Mysterious Red Button
Written by Howard Dale Jr.   

MILLBANK – Authorities have found a mysterious red button on the back wall of the boiler room in City Hall, but no one can remember what it is for.

“It sure is tempting to push. It’s so red and shiny,” says Kenny Bowland, 49, facility coordinator for Millbank City Hall. “It looks like it would make a very satisfying click, if you pushed it.” However, Chief Vern Howard of the Millbank Police Department urges City Hall employees and local residents not to push the button at this time. He also urges residents not to panic at the appearance of this unexpected yet alluring device in the bowels of City Hall.

“It could be something as simple as a defunct intercom system or overhead light,” says Chief Howard. “However, the City Hall staff has not yet found any documentation about what the button could be, so we can’t be sure. It would be a real shame if someone pushed the button and it turned off all the electrical power in the region or released a cloud of poison gas into the atmosphere, killing everyone in a smothering, miserable death.”

When asked, the police chief could not give a reason why the city would want to release an airborne toxic event into the town, but he did add, “We can never be sure what people were thinking at the time. I’m sure they had a good reason.”

The red button was revealed when Bowland was putting away the City Hall Christmas decorations and shifted some of the boxes in the back of City Hall storage. “I moved a stack of old file boxes and there the button was, smack dab on the wall in front of me. Right away, my intern Josh grabbed my hand. I would have just pushed that sucker if I had been by myself, but Josh said that it could be the button that started a global nuclear war. That sure made me pause.”

When asked, Bowland hoped that the red button was actually a “call system for aliens, like you push the button, and aliens descend into Ottoman Park. Or, maybe it is the emergency shut-off for the boiler down there?”

For now, the mysterious red button is blocked off with a series of stanchions and plastic cones. Signs around the stanchions read, “Do not push the red button until further notice.” City Hall employees are sifting through old plans of the building and attempting to contact retired staff in order to find the truth.

“I hear it calling to me,” says Bowland. “I won’t push it, though, unless I truly can’t help myself.”

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Metal Detectorists Host Handstand and Cartwheel Festival
Written by Millbank Daily-Weekly   

Handstand and Cartwheel FestivalThe Millbank Treasure Hounds will host the Eighth Annual Handstand and Cartwheel Festival in Ottoman Park on January 17. The event is open to all residents who want to perform either handstands or cartwheels.

The Millbank Treasure Hounds was formed in 1972 by a group of friends who enjoyed using their metal detectors. The club has since expanded to eight members who are often found scanning Ottoman Park and the Fun, But Dangerous, Vacant Lot for coins, buttons, old wires and discarded watches.

President Carl Quist was unclear on why a treasure club hosted the Handstand and Cartwheel Festival, but said it is an entertaining way for the Hounds to “give back to the community.”

The event will feature both competitive and non-competitive categories with the grand prize being a “Twelve-hour metal detecting adventure” for the individual who is able to handstand with the most weight in his or her pockets. Mr. Quist emphasized that weight would be measured before handstands and not after. Other prizes include a two-year-old iPod, several old nails and other metal objects.

“We want the citizens to have fun,” said Quist. “Believe me, just hosting this one day event pays us Hounds back in smiles for a full year. Everyone, young and old, should come out and see how many cartwheels and handstands they can do. With their pockets full.”

Milbank Treasure HoundsLaverne Carlsson was honored as the cartwheel champion last year and said she will be back this year. “I hope to defend my title and maybe even win back my car keys.”

Millbank Treasure Hound members have been busy for the past two weeks tilling and loosening soil in the northwest corner of Ottoman Park where the festival will be held. Members said they want to make sure the ground is very soft, solely for the comfort of participants.  The Hounds remind everyone that, for safety reasons, festival participants must immediately vacate the field after performing their handstands and cartwheels.

Refreshments will not be served.

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Kids' Letters Found in City Recycle Bin
Written by Helen Hamilton   

Every December, area children dream of a jolly red-suited man who grants them  their hearts’ desires. Santa Claus has always been a great favorite in Millbank, even after the Great Flutophone Debacle of 1967. This year, however, the dreams of our youngest residents have been dashed to the ground and then spit upon by cynical and thoughtless Millbank city employees.

Dozens of handwritten letters, many in crayon and embellished with pictures of stick reindeer and pointy pine trees, were found stuffed into a recycling bin in the City Manager’s office on Wednesday. Administrative assistant Samantha Lewis, 32, discovered the crumpled and coffee-stained stash when she fished around in the bin to find some scratch paper. “I was completely shocked and dismayed that this was where the Santa letters ended up. How are they supposed to get to the North Pole from the recycle bin?”

“It’s a darn shame,” said local postmaster Lettie Roe, 39. “The United States Postal Service, while almost superhuman in its capabilities, is powerless in this regard. There’s no way the letters will get to Santa in time now. We’ll just have to cancel Christmas.”

Local reactions ranged from indignation to outrage back to mild annoyance. “They said the letters would get to Santa Claus. The big mailbox said ‘To the North Pole’ on it. I don’t see how it could get much clearer than that,” said Sylvia Trent, 30. “My kids took a lot of care with their letters, and how am I supposed to explain to them that they didn’t make it to Santa? Now I’m going to have to return all those presents and throw out all the cookies I made.”

“There’s no question that this is going to have a negative effect come election time,” proposed resident pundit H.P. Bartlett. “Christmas is big business at local shops such as Lotsa Value Hardware and Super Grocery Mart. Residents demanding refunds for holiday merchandise may cause our local economy to go into a peppermint-scented tailspin. Expect riots in the street, trampled tinsel and fruitcake thrown through windows.”

Despite the dismal predictions from people such as Bartlett, some Millbank citizens are showing the heroic resilience that makes our town a place to live. “Next year, I’ll just text Santa Claus,” said Jilly Trent, 9.

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Drug Bust Mars Festival Reputation
Written by Helen Hamilton   

MILLBANK – Residents were stunned this Friday to learn of the criminal activities occurring right under their noses during the annual Taste of Millbank food festival. Specifically, the crimes were happening on their lips, which are indeed anatomically located under noses. Millbank police confiscated eight boxes of kale lip balm from Water River Organic Beauty’s festival booth.

“It’s true, I have never before craved a lip balm quite so much as I craved this kale lip balm from Water River Organic Beauty, and it seemed local and sustainable, so I never dreamed that I was becoming a drug addict,” admits local resident Sharon Dale. “I guess I should have suspected something was off when I began to see panda bears in Ottoman Park, but I like pandas and was hoping there would be a panda show of some sort.”

“To be honest,” says fellow lip balm enthusiast Samantha Lewis, “I didn’t even know what that stuff was until just five minutes ago, but it sure was great. I know we’re not supposed to use it anymore, but I would pretty much kill to get my hands on another tube. You don’t happen to know where I can get it, do you?”

Dr. Arielle Hartwood, director of the Tri-City Rehabilitation Facility, has heard these sorts of sentiments before. “Addicts never know what depths they’ve sunk to until the drug in question is eliminated from their lives. Once that happens, it is important to beat down the addict and trigger intense feelings of guilt and regret so that they never want to touch the substance again. The best thing Millbank can do for these lip balm losers is lock them in a dark basement until their lips, and they, totally dry out.”

Water River Organic Beauty spokesperson, Olive Pearson, who was manning the festival booth during the festival, has been taken into custody by Millbank police. She had no comment, but the Water River Organic Beauty company issued a statement, “The ingredients in our earth-friendly line of natural cosmetics are things one would find in their own kitchen and bathroom cupboards – beeswax, kale, almond oil and honey. We do not put any dangerous or addictive substance in our lip balm.”

Dr. Hartwood replies, “I can find Dran-O in my cupboard, but that doesn’t mean it belongs in something I rub on my face.

Festival organizers are distraught at this blow to what had been a peaceful Taste of Millbank. “Thank goodness we still have the butterscotch pudding,” says beleaguered festival chair Emma Bartlett. “Life wouldn’t be worth living right now without the pudding.”

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Today in Millbank History

March 2, 1897

A pot of odorous stew in the galley of the Millbank Express train forces the evacuation of dozens of passengers and crew members.  "They said 'twas venison, but that ain't smell like no venison," said one irate passenger afterwards.

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