The weird, wild, and wonderful stories you might have missed this year


There is always room for more good news.


As we look back on 2022, we wanted to share some of our favorite joyful moments from the year to bring a little hope, whimsy, and humor to our end-of-year celebrations.

Here’s some weird, wild, and wonderful news for you to enjoy across NPR’s network of newsrooms!

So the statue that I got at Goodwill was actually looted from the museum. What now?


/ Photo Courtesy of the San Antonio Museum of Art / Michael Menassi / Illustration by KUT


Image courtesy of the San Antonio Museum of Art/Michael Menassi/KUT Photo Illustration

In 2018, Laura Young was at Austin Goodwill when she found a marble statue hidden under a table for $34.99. I bought it and brought it home. But after doing some Google searches, I discovered that her sculpture was actually a portrait bust that had previously been on display in a German museum in the 1920s and 1930s.

How did you get to Texas? Here’s what KUT’s Matt Larry found out.

Louisiana’s newest legal sport: Noodling

Rett Blake catches a blue catfish.

Kezia Setiawan/WWNO




Macaroni, which is when one catches catfish with their hands, became legal in Louisiana in August. Not like this has stopped anyone before.

WWNO’s Kezia Setiawan Explain.

This fall, the Swinomish tribe built the first modern “oyster garden” in the United States, reviving an ancient practice

A handmade rock wall of a clam garden takes shape on Kikit Island, on the Swinomish Reservation in Washington state, on August 12.

It is believed that a clam garden – a traditional Aboriginal way of promoting shellfish production – has not been built in the United States for nearly 200 years. A few dozen people wearing work gloves and rubber boots gathered on that tiny island about 50 miles north of Seattle during one of the lowest tides of the year, and brought the practice up again.

What they built long ago disappeared under the waves, but like This is exactly how it was meant to be, explains KUOW’s John Ryan.

The Kansas City pinball scene comes out of the dark, and it’s down to the basement

Amanda Hembre and her son, Charlie, 9, have been playing pinball lately at Solid State Pinball Supply.  The arcade contains the largest public collection of pinball machines in Kansas City.

Carlos Moreno/KCUR 89.3


KCUR 89.3

A wave of post-pandemic nostalgia has brought back the pinball machine, an arcade game usually seen in bars and malls and now in basements.

From competitions to the resurgence of pinball repair companies and a growing number of collectors, KCUR’s Carlos Moreno discusses how this game represents “Last Cut Americana”.

3D printing affordable housing for the University of Maine

The roof, walls and floor of this home were made using a University of Maine 3D printer.

Nicole Ogresco/Main Public


Who is the audience?

The house was printed using a material known as wood flour. It’s basically waste left over from the sawmill – mixed with a binder made from corn.

Nicole Ogresco of Maine Public is falling apart What this house means “… vital things” to the country’s housing crisis.

A town in Missouri almost forgot that it invented the greatest thing ever: sliced ​​bread

Susan Hogan/KCUR 89.3


KCUR 89.3

In 2001 Katherine Sturtz Ripley found an old newspaper headline claiming that Chillicothe was the first place to make sliced ​​bread. Since then, this rural Missouri town of 10,000 has reclaimed its name fame and declared July 7 as Sliced ​​Bread Day, a public holiday.

Susan Hogan of KCUR describes how this innovation has not only changed America, But how did it reshape the identity of this city.

The rock gods are concerned with attitude, not perfection

The Lazy Susans Left to Right: Imge Ceranoglu, Leila Mitchell, Joanna Weiss, Martha Kennedy and Heather Shaw, at Milton Porchfest, 2022.

Robin Lubbock/WBUR



No one expects a group of women in their 40s and 50s to start a rock band – especially if most of them have never played music before. But then, no one expected a pandemic. Enter: Lazy Susan.

WBUR’s Joanna Weiss shares a story How this parent group learned to rock.

How Honolulu Got to the United States Championship in the Little League World Series

Daley Watson #12 of the Western District team from Honolulu, Hawaii heats up in the bullpen during the third inning of the Little League Championship game against the Caribbean team from Willemstad, Curacao at Little League International Complex on August 28, 2022 in South Williamsport, Pennsylvania.

Joshua Besix/Getty Images


Getty Images

Earlier this year, the Honolulu team captured the Little League World Series title, but high hits and runs aren’t the only impressive accomplishments for the Hawaiians. Their personality on and off the field attracted the attention of others.

explains Sabrina Boden of Hawaii Public Radio.

A baby dolphin caught in an illegal net is freed with the help of a local marine patrol

Miami-Dade Marine Patrol Officer Nelson Silva captured one of his proudest moments: freeing a baby dolphin caught in an illegal barbecue net.

Jenny Stalitovich from WLRN It breaks the stressful memorization.

Build with bubble wrap, plastic grocery bags, and food containers

The machines use a combination of steam and pressure to create the blocks, which they say have an insulating R-value equal to concrete blocks.

Troy Opie/Boise State Public Radio


Boise State Public Radio

A new company wants to turn plastic scraps into building materials. ByFusion’s machines use a combination of steam and pressure to create the blocks, which they say have an insulating R-value equal to concrete blocks, but a much better K-value, meaning the blocks don’t absorb and radiate heat like concrete. .

As Troy Opie of Boise State Public Radio explains, Each is a kaleidoscope of single-use plastic.

The club finds a new home

Members of the Capital Pool Checkers Association.

Colin Grablick/Together/DCist



For more than 40 years, players of the Capital Pool Checkers Association met at their clubhouse in Shaw, until the spring of 2021, when the property owner decided to sell the building, causing the group to look for a new hangout. It was no easy task given the capital’s soaring rent prices, and the group’s finances – they fund themselves solely from dues from members, whose numbers have dwindled in recent years.

Fortunately, as WAMU/DCist’s Colin Grablick explains, the world-famous crew has it I finally found a new club.

This piece was produced by NPR’s Analise Ober with assistance from Arielle Retting and Emily Alfin Johnson. KUT’s Andy Gekko, KUOW’s Juan Pablo Chiquiza, and Megan P. Contribute to this story

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