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Treasure Hunters Seek Legendary Millbank Gold
Written by Helen Hamilton   

MILLBANK – “The first explorers in this part of the country were searching for signs of a lost ancient city and its treasure,” claims Duncan Fairey, adjunct professor of speculative history at Tri-City Community College. “The legend says that gold, gems and sacred magical texts were kept inside vast subterranean chambers, guarded by fierce spirits. What the explorers actually found? Starvation, frostbite and existential misery, but that doesn’t mean the treasure isn’t out there.”

This week, Millbank has been abuzz with treasure talk. Residents have upended trash cans, dug up rosebushes and even ventured into the Out of Bounds, looking for valuable loot. What spurred this sudden enthusiasm for buried treasure was a recent posting on social media site Twitter by local hardware store owner, Jeffrey Lotsa. The tweet read, “To find your life’s treasure get the right tools #springtoolsale.”

When asked to comment upon the town-wide mania that his tweet inspired, Mr. Lotsa said, “I was only trying to promote our big Spring Tool Sale with a cute saying. I did not say anything about the possible presence or absence of ancient alien treasure. This time of year, everyone is coming in to get their shovels and pruners. It’s gardening season, for heaven’s sake.”

He then added, “But, if you are going to dig stuff up, and I’m not saying you should, you should probably come by the store and buy some work gloves. Digging can be murder on your hands.”

“We just want to lay these crazy rumors to rest,” explains Carl Quist, current president of the Millbank Treasure Hounds. “There has been a lot of talk lately about a trove of ancient coins and a secret map that will reveal the fountain of youth, but it’s all just that, talk. We all know that the Vikings took most of their gold back to Switzerland.”

“But there’s still plenty of treasure in this town. All you have to do is take the time to scan the lawn around the memorial gazebo in Ottoman Park with a TX-500 Master Prospector Deluxe metal detector, and you’ll find treasure. Nails, pennies and buttons beyond your wildest dreams.”

“Just stop digging stuff up,” pleaded Police Chief Vern Howard. “It’s unsightly and it could be dangerous if you hit an electrical line. My wife turned her ankle when she stumbled into a hole some treasure-seeker left behind.”

Upon hearing of the concern of town authorities, Professor Fairey responded with this thought, “The police won’t be able to stop the treasure madness. It’s the leprechauns who are responsible.”

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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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Today in Millbank History

April 20, 1956

Helen Hamilton becomes a crusading cub reporter at the Millbank Daily-Weekly.

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