It took less than 24 hours for a little blue balloon to lift off in Illinois, float 600 miles and land in a New Windsor cornfield.
Popcorn, a 5-year-old Labrador retriever, found the balloon in the cornfield near her owner's home early Wednesday morning.
"She saw it, and took great interest in it," said Popcorn's owner, Jerry Purcell.
"I just thought it was a silly balloon, probably left over from some kid's trip to the circus."
But at the end of a string, Mr. Purcell found the message the balloon had carried over at least five states: "Hi Balloon Finder. Today was grandparent's day at our school. The fourth-graders along with their grandparents launched balloons.
"Please put this message along with your name, address and telephone number, and the city and state at which you found my message and send it to Coal City Grade School, Coal City, Ill."
Mr. Purcell wrote to Pat Loomis, the fourth-grader who sent the balloon from the northern Illinois school.
Pat was one of almost 300 fourth-graders who launched balloons from the Coal City elementary school at a luncheon Tuesday afternoon.
* Taneytown: A resident of Thurmont told state police someone stole his 1984 Ford pickup truck from the 3800 block of Old Taneytown Road. The theft was discovered at 4:20 p.m. and the truck was valued at $4,000.
* Union Bridge: Union Bridge responded for wires down on Hoff Road at 4:32 p.m. Friday. Units were out for one hour.
Union Bridge, New Windsor and Taneytown responded for a chimney fire on Stem Road at 6:49 a.m. Friday. Units were out for 30 minutes.