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Ellsworth second grader finds weather data balloon

Something unrecognizable flying low overhead is likely to draw attention.

Coincidentally, seven-year-old Johnny Schwan spotted just such an item above his family's Ellsworth residence on July 29, the opening day of the UFO Days celebration in nearby Elmwood. But whether he was thinking about Unidentified Flying Objects or not, it intrigued the second grader at Hillcrest Elementary School enough for him to run after the airborne item and bring it home when it landed in a neighbor's yard.

"It startled us," Schwan's father, Eric, said Thursday, describing how low the object was when he and his son first saw it while standing in front of the shop behind their home on the village's near south side. "It just about hit the house," he added.

There wasn't any need to worry about a related danger from beyond, however. Once they examined the package attached to an already deflated small parachute, they learned it's a weather data balloon which had been sent aloft by a government agency.

Read more in the print version of the Herald Aug. 10.

Bill Kirk

Bill Kirk was editor of the Pierce County Herald in Ellsworth, from 1988 to February, 2015 and is now on staff as a reporter. He holds a bachelors degree in journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. He previously worked in the media distribution department at the University of Minnesota's Minneapolis campus and is past editor of The Tri-County News in Osseo, Wisconsin.

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