Warren Moser has the fire hydrant presented to Steve Martin in 1986 on the lawn of his North Shore home. He rescued it from a campground in Harrison Hot Springs.

Year in review: The strangest stories of 2014

From lost hunks of metal to a grotesque immortalized in a novel, here’s a look at some of the more peculiar stories of the past year.

1) Steve Martin’s fire hydrant: Actor Steve Martin forgot something when he filmed Roxanne in Nelson in 1986.

The fire department presented him with a parting gift of his own hydrant, which he joked his dog would enjoy. However, there didn’t appear to be room in his suitcase for the 400-pound piece of metal. Somehow it ended up in the hands of a junk dealer, who sold it to a campground in Harrison Hot Springs, where it sat until North Shore resident Warren Moser found it.

When the campground was redeveloped a few years ago, Moser spared it from the scrapyard and turned it into a lawn ornament. Its hand-painted inscription reads: “Presented to Steve Martin by the Nelson Fire Dept 28 Aug ’86.”

2) Lost curling trophy comes home: Speaking of mysterious metal objects, a Nelson curling trophy that vanished nearly 70 years ago was returned to the local club this year after turning up in a California flea market.

The Imperial Corectal Trophy, donated by Imperial Optical Co., was supposed to be handed out annually during the Midsummer Bonspiel, but was only awarded twice, most recently to an Oshawa rink in 1946.

What happened to it after that is unknown. A collector of old sports trophies found it at the Santa Monica Antique Mart in 2012 and inspired by the Olympics this year, offered to send it back to Nelson at his own expense.

It’s now in the curling club’s trophy cabinet.

3) Nuclear waste for Salmo: Would the old Jersey Emerald mine property near Salmo be a good place to store nuclear waste? A semi-retired physicist-engineer from Ontario thinks so.

Dr. Charles Rhodes of Xylene Power Ltd. wrote on his company’s website that from a geophysical perspective, it would be “by far the best nuclear waste storage location in Canada.”

However, regional director Hans Cunningham, in whose area the mine falls, reacted with amusement. “It just doesn’t make sense. It’s a wonderful rumor, but it’s really worth laughing at.”

4) Wrong Isis: The owner of Isis Essentials and Erotica Shop on Ward Street in Nelson was astonished over backlash against her business name — thanks to the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, otherwise known as Isis, which was linked to a series of grisly crimes.

As far as Valentina Fierro is concerned, however, Isis is the first mother goddess.

“She’s the goddess of health and fertility and mothering. Of course I will not change my [store] name. It’s absolutely ridiculous. It’s an acronym that was claimed by the US media for an organization that I doubt calls themselves Isis, especially not in Arabic.”

5) Star(sicle) wars: A Nelson businesswoman found herself with an unexpected fight over her frozen treat company.

Unilever, the maker of Popsicles, threatened to oppose her Canadian trademark application for the name Starcicles. Too similar, they said, claiming exclusive rights to the suffix “sicle.”

Rain Shields wasn’t interested in changing the name of her product, however. She and partner Daniel Carlson launched a protest website which included a song called Mr. Big Brand Bully.

6) Dorkmyer the grotesque: That’s the name of the man-sized chimera and quintessential Nelson icon perched on the roof of a Front Street home.

Owner Mike Hames enlisted sculptor John McKinnon to create Dorkmyer a few years ago, in keeping with his electric home, which is filled with secret chambers, shelves built of of crutches, self-portraits made of wine corks, and a vast rock art collection.

Dorkmyer was recently immortalized in Padma Viswantathan’s novel The Ever After of Ashwin Rao, which is set in a town based on Nelson.

7) The grizzly and the camera: Kootenay wildlife photographer Jim Lawrence has created some amazing images but the one he captured near Revelstoke this year of a grizzly peering through his tripod-mounted camera truly takes the prize.

“He approached the camera cautiously, sniffing deeply, then stood up for a closer inspection,” Lawrence said.

“For the longest time he studied the screen and buttons then with a huge long-nailed paw gently tugged on the strap.” The weight of the lens caused the camera to pivot, which startled the bear, “at which point he kind of shrugged and went back fishing.”

Lawrence posted his image of the moment on Facebook and it immediately went viral.

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