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Homepage Archives Open in new window Index (04/2011) Headlines (02/2011) Headlines (06/2011)   Vol. 45 April 2011 
Treasure In The Headlines
As seen in the April 2011 edition of W&ET Magazine


A south-central Idaho couple working on a home renovation project dug up a plastic tube filled with 18 silver bars worth nearly $47,000, then tracked down the previous homeowner now living in Utah and split the treasure.

James and Brytten Sievers of Rupert said they found the container recently while digging on the property.

"When I got down about 4 feet my shovel hit something that went crunch," James Sievers said. He dug up the tube and inside found bars of Johnson-Matthey silver worth about $2,600 apiece.

"I was out there doing the chicken dance in my yard," James said.

"But then he started wondering who buried the silver.

The container had a 1982 date, as did newspapers wrapped around the silver. Some sleuthing found that Clint Nelson had built the home and was living in it in 1982, but had moved to Utah. James Sievers called him.

"I said, ‘I found something in the backyard when I was digging around and I think it's yours,'" Sievers said.

The couple said that when Nelson realized they wanted to return the bars to him, Nelson said his faith in humanity had been restored. He also told them to keep the silver, they didn't owe him anything.

"So I'm doing the chicken dance again," Sievers said. "But 30 minutes later I knew what I wanted to do. I wanted to split it with him."

So last weekend the Sieverses packed all the silver- in case Nelson decided he wanted it all- and drove to Utah.

"What a decision to be faced with," James Sievers said. "I could have just kept my mouth shut."

But Nelson accepted only half.

"Clint was a businessman and he said someone had paid him in silver," James Sievers said. "Apparently the bottom had fallen out of silver and he buried it because he was tired of looking at it. He said at one time there were five tubes buried back there and that one just got left behind."

Instead of reburying the silver, the Sieverses said they opted for a safety-deposit box.

From The Associated Press, submitted by Cheryl Fealy, Las Vegas, NV.


A Montana woman received a big surprise for her 80th birthday- the wedding ring she lost eight years ago.

Norma Welker of Shelby tells the Great Falls Tribune she took the ring off while she was arranging flowers cut from her garden. A phone call distracted her while she cleaned up, and she didn't realize the ring was missing until after her trash had been hauled away. She searched the compost pile with no luck and figured the ring was gone forever.

This spring, she decided her garden was too difficult to keep up and asked her grandson to till it so she could plant grass.

Nick Welker was tilling the area when he spotted what he thought was a pop top. He bent down to pick it up and found what looked like his grandmother's lost wedding ring.

His grandfather is deceased, and he showed the ring to his parents, who confirmed his suspicion. Together they decided to surprise Norma Welker with the cleaned up ring for her 80th birthday.

"I really couldn't believe it," Norma said. "It just seemed like it was so impossible. I asked him where on Earth did you get this?"

Norma Welker points out that if her grandson hadn't found the ring it likely would have been lost forever after the area was planted with grass.

As surprising as the find was, it wasn't the first time Nick Welker recovered a lost wedding ring.

As a senior at Shelby High School in 2004, a shiny object caught his eye in the school parking lot. It was a $15,000 wedding ring that belonged to a teacher.

Nick Welker returned it and refused the substantial reward she offered, Norma Welker said.

From The Gaston Gazette, submitted by Warren Kimsey, Gastonia, NC, and Bob Bolek, Hometown, IL.


In 1948, Elyria High School sophomore Kathleen "Kay" Miller was more interested in boys and cheerleading than a lost wallet.

However, 62 years later, the green alligator leather print coin purse/wallet and its contents are part of her history, a history unearthed in the remains of a demolished building on the school's Elyria, Ohio, campus, about 20 miles west of Cleveland.

"When I was told about it, I was quite excited," Miller, 78, said recently. She moved to Port Orange with her husband Jack, EHS Class of 1945 and now deceased, in 1986. "I did not remember losing my wallet."

She didn't even recall having such an accessory, but its contents brought back a lot of memories. Especially poignant was the love note from her high school sweetheart, Duke Gatchell, reminding her of a date and written on the back of a piece of notebook paper.

"How could it have had all this stuff in it?" Miller wondered, looking over the bits of paper and photographs that covered half her kitchen table. The collection included everything from football game tickets and class absence excuses to photos of family visits to the Daytona Beach area from the 1940s.

A technician from a firm working with the school's demolition contractor found the wallet recently in a pile of debris while doing some inspections on the site of an old gymnasium and locker room.

"It looked like an old textbook," said Nicholas Dominguez, but when he nudged it with his foot, it obviously wasn't. "I figured whomever it belonged to might want it. I was sure it meant something to someone."

Using the enclosed driver's license, Dominguez said he looked on the internet to find information about Kathleen Sexton- Miller's maiden name.

When that wasn't successful, he turned the property over to school officials.

That is how the wallet ended up in Amy Higgins' hands. The director of communications for Elyria City Schools first tried to find Miller by going through alumni association records- unsuccessfully. She then contacted some of Miller's schoolmates, one of whom provided information on the Class of 1950 graduate's phone number and Port Orange residence.

"When I told her we found something she had lost in 1948, her first response was, ‘My boyfriend?'" said Higgins.

Not exactly, although she said it did contain Miller's driver's license, Social Security card and photographs. There were also papers with cheers the former high school cheerleader wrote for her squad as well as a list of people who owed her money.

"The papers were in remarkable shape for being buried in the dirt," Higgins said.

The discovery came as Elyria High School is undergoing a transformation. Originally chartered in 1830, the campus is being rebuilt, the school spokeswoman said. All the old buildings, except for one constructed in 1984, are being replaced in phases.

Miller's lost wallet was not the only thing that surfaced during the demolition process. Higgins said workers have found lots of unidentifiable trinkets, in addition to a pair of dog tags and combat boots.

"We turned those over to the ROTC lieutenant who is trying to track (their owner down)," Higgins said.

That surprised Miller, a retired office manager for a trucking firm, who said she will likely keep her bits of history if for no other reason than to give it to her grandsons.

"I keep everything," she said.

And the publicity the find has generated might even help this widow of just over a year find Duke, her former flame.

"I heard he might be living in Hawaii," Miller said. "He is a lawyer now."

From The Daytona Beach News-Journal, submitted by Zoueva Grossmann, Palm Coast, FL.


Archaeologists have uncovered an ancient Roman landscape beneath a park in London, finding a Roman road, evidence of a settlement and unusual burials.

They say the find- at the site of a planned luxury hotel- provides valuable insight into daily life at an agricultural village.

Dating back nearly 2,000 years, experts say, the village would have supplied the ancient Roman city of Londinium and also offered shelter to travelers.

"It helps us build a picture of the Roman landscape and shows how the busy metropolis of Londinium connected with the rest of Roman Britain," said Jo Lyon, a senior archaeologist at the Museum of London Archaeology, which carried out the dig.

The Museum of London made the discovery while doing excavations in August 2008, ahead of the hotel's construction.

Everything was under roughly 18 inches of soil, and the finds were kept quiet until recently, after the fieldwork ended.

Some of the finds will be displayed at the new Waldorf Astoria hotel, which is scheduled to open in 2011.

The site had a section of one of the era's most important roads, linking Londinium with the town of Silchester, farther west.

"That's one of the key national roads, (a) very, very busy road, and we don't really find fragments of the actual roads themselves very often in London," Lyon said.

The dig also revealed evidence of a rural settlement and an ancient tributary of the Thames River.

The site would have been an attractive place for a settlement because it lay between the road and the Thames itself, the museum said. The land was easy to cultivate and the presence of the road would have given the community a source of income from travelers wanting refreshment and lodging.

Thousands of Roman artifacts also were recovered, including hundreds of coins, two shale armlets and fragments of a lava quern stone, used for grinding grains. Archaeologists also found a fragment of a gold bracelet dating back more than 2,700 years.

"All of the coins came from the Roman road," Lyon said. "That road was in use for 400 years across the Roman period, and people have just dropped coins over those hundreds of years."

One of them is made of copper alloy and features a V, which Lyon said could refer to Vespasian, who was Roman emperor from A.D. 69 to 79. Researchers also found skeletons of those found who may have lived at the settlement. They were found unusually buried in ditches, on their sides without possessions, which the museum called "particularly curious."

Lyon said she initially thought they were Iron Age burials because the style was so "casual." It could be that the method was a local one adopted by the Romans who lived there, she said.

The dig also showed that the British landscape changed considerably under Roman influence, with the establishment of towns connected by roads, the museum said.

Londinium, the ancient name of London, was founded in A.D. 48, and its strategic position on the Thames helped it rapidly become the most important and largest commercial town in the province.

From The Chicago Tribune, submitted by Bob Bolek, Hometown, IL.

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