LAST CALL: Is PR man putting Bigfoot in his mouth?

Most small towns have their quirks, but PR man Neil Mortine wants

to turn his into a major tourist draw.

Mortine, president and COO of Lord, Sullivan & Yoder Public Relations in

Columbus, OH, grew up in idyllic Newcomerstown, OH, population about

4,000. It's an average middle American town, except for one thing,

Mortine says: "It has become an epicenter for Eastern US Bigfoot

sightings." Over the past 25 years, the town has even cultivated its own

Bigfoot expert who's more than willing to discuss the hairy beast with

all comers.

Mortine sees it as an opportunity. "Festivals in Ohio are so big, I want

to have a Bigfoot Festival here." An annual event could draw thousands

to Newcomerstown and give a nice boost to the local economy.

Mortine hasn't gone much beyond the blue-sky phase of his plan, so

locals aren't reacting just yet. All that is except for his father. "My

dad says 'don't do that to our little town,'" Mortine recounts. Hmmm.

Maybe this is one time when father knows best.

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