Area Father Urges Reopening Of 1998 Missing-Rake Case

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After Birth

Parents Of Crying Child Must Not Be Any Good

WOODBURY, MN—Noting how the pair’s failure to promptly resolve the situation was a clear indication of their inability to raise or care for another human being, sources confirmed Friday that the parents of a crying infant must not be any good.

Conductor Fatigue Blamed In Massive Model Train Crash

BLOOMINGTON, IN—After surveying the dozen railcars and cargo of Lincoln Logs strewn haphazardly across the grass mat, investigators concluded Friday that a massive model train derailment was the result of conductor fatigue.

The Pros And Cons Of Co-Sleeping

The act of co-sleeping, where babies and toddlers share a “family bed” with their parents, is a rising trend in the United States, though the practice is contested by those who doubt its purported benefits. Here are the pros and cons of co-sleeping with your child

The Onion’s Guide To Trick-Or-Treating

Halloween gives revelers a chance to receive candy all over the neighborhood. Here are some tips to make sure you get the most out of your experience and take home a big haul.

How To Talk To Your Child About Sex

It’s not easy to decide when and how to have a discussion with children about sex, and many parents wonder how explicit they should be or where to establish boundaries. Here are The Onion’s tips for having “the talk” with your kids:

Child’s Loose Grasp On Balloon Only Thing Between Peace And Anarchy At Restaurant

JACKSONVILLE, FL—Eating their meals and conversing pleasantly without paying any heed to how loosely the string was wrapped around the young child’s finger, diners at a local Panera Bread reportedly went about their lunch Wednesday completely unaware that 2-year-old Nate Pollen’s tenuous grasp on a red helium balloon was the only thing standing between peace and total anarchy.

Childish 12-Year-Old Still Believes In Father

HARTFORD, CT—Saying she just assumed he would have figured it out by now, local mother Kathleen Rivers expressed concern to reporters Tuesday that her 12-year-old son, Dylan, still believes in his father.

How U.S. Schools Can Improve Math Education

With U.S. students regularly placing behind 20 to 25 other nations in mathematics test scores, many education experts are wondering what the sources of the problem are and how we can take steps to fix them. Here’s a look at how American schools can improve their math curricula and help struggling students:

Mom Keeping Tabs On Coyote Situation

WAYZATA, MN—Regularly updating her husband and children on the frequency and location of sightings around the neighborhood, local mother Dana Salisbury continued to keep close tabs on the coyote situation this week, sources confirmed.

Obamas Decide To Stay In White House Until Daughters Finish High School

‘We Don’t Want To Uproot Them Just For Our Jobs,’ Say Parents

WASHINGTON—Saying it wouldn’t be fair to disrupt their lives after seven years in the same school district, Barack and Michelle Obama this week announced their plans to stay in the White House until their daughters graduate high school.

How To Talk To Your Child About Death

When your family has experienced a loss, it can be a difficult concept for young children to process. The Onion breaks down the best ways to converse with your child about the realities of death

Single, Unemployed Mother Leeching Off Government

WASHINGTON—Taking advantage of the system and giving nothing back in return, local unemployed, single mother Mei Xiang reportedly gave birth to two more children out of wedlock this week and continued to pathetically leech off the government.

Area Dad Informs Busboy He’s Ready To Order

NASHUA, NH—Raising his arm into the air while leaning outward from the table in a bid to command attention from the other side of the restaurant, area father Walter Bierko called over a busboy at DiCapri’s Italian Eatery to inform him that he was ready to order, sources reported Wednesday.

How New Parents Can Stay Healthy

Having a baby changes everything, and the resulting lack of sleep and general stress can contribute to a decline in overall wellness. Here are some ways new parents can prevent bad habits and maintain good health

Single Woman With 3 Young Children Unaware She Subject Of 984 Judgments Today

LINCOLN, NE—Oblivious to the thoughts and looks directed toward her as she shopped for groceries, stopped by the post office, and ran several other errands with her three young children, single mother Karen Nichols, 29, was reportedly completely unaware that she was the focus of 984 separate judgments by strangers this afternoon.

Tips For Traveling With Young Children

Family vacations can be a time for bonding and building lasting memories, but when young children are involved, trips can also be stressful to plan and execute. Here are The Onion’s tips for traveling with kids

Good News Kept From Parents Out Of Fear Of Proving Them Right

DANBURY, CT—Saying she wants no part of the conversation that would inevitably result if she broke the good news, local medical billing technician Jenny Comers reported Friday that she’s keeping word of her recent pay raise from her parents out of fear of proving them right.

Parents Formally Announce Transfer Of Expectations To Second Child

GRAND JUNCTION, CO—Explaining that the adjustment made the most practical sense for all parties involved, local parents Beth and Ryan Morgan held a press conference Friday morning to announce the official transfer of expectations from their oldest child, Jeremy, to his younger sibling, Angie.

North American Children Begin Summer Migration To Dad’s

NEW YORK—With the increasingly warm weather signaling the commencement of their age-old journey, millions of children across the North American continent began their annual summer migration to their fathers’ homes this week, sources confirmed.

Parents Worried Children Old Enough To Remember Family Vacation

YOUNGSTOWN, OH—Fearing that their kids’ impressions of the experience could quite possibly remain with them for the rest of their lives, parents Joel and Bethany Weyandt told reporters Tuesday they are worried their children are old enough to remember the details of their recent family vacation.

Report: Dad Wants To Show You Where Fuse Box Is

YOUR LOCATION—Noting that it’s important to be prepared in case of emergencies but it’s also a good thing to know in general, your dad announced today that he wants to show you where the fuse box is.

Kids Love When Mom Sad Enough To Just Order Pizza

FORT WORTH, TX—Saying they get their hopes up anytime they notice her looking particularly downhearted, siblings Paulo and Marisa Hernandez told reporters Wednesday they love it when their mother is sad enough to just order pizza.

Baby-Naming Tips For New Moms

Mothershould’s Grace Manning-Devlin breaks down some of the hottest baby names of the year, such as Cooper, Tanner, Milkman, and Serf.

Pros And Cons Of Standardized Testing

As the American education system continues to place more emphasis on standardized testing to measure academic achievement, critics have argued that it can be more harmful than helpful to students’ development in the long run. Here are some of the pros and cons of standardized testing:

Being Older Than Daughter Babysitter’s Only Qualification

UTICA, NY—Possessing no particular proficiencies or training whatsoever, local 12-year-old Jessica Radloff was reportedly hired to babysit Hayley Carden, 7, this week based solely on her qualification of being older than the child she was asked to watch.

Total Weirdo Spends Mother’s Day At Cemetery

ST. MARYS, OH—Apparently content to hang around dead people rather than celebrate like a normal person, area weirdo John Mills spent most of Mother’s Day at a local cemetery, creeped-out sources confirmed.

Child Visiting Ellis Island Sees Where Grandparents Once Toured

ELLIS ISLAND, NY—Pausing to imagine the throngs of people who must have arrived with them that day back in 1994, 12-year-old Max Bertrand reportedly spent his visit to Ellis Island this afternoon walking around the same immigrant station his grandparents once toured.

Email From Mom Sent At 5:32 A.M.

DENVER—After waking up and finding the message waiting on his computer, local man Drew Swanson confirmed to reporters Thursday that his mother had sent him an email at 5:32 a.m.

Blog Post Read By Mother To Shape Child’s Next 18 Years

PAOLI, PA—Poised to inform future parenting decisions on medical care, dietary restrictions, and everyday well-being, the blog post “Fluoride Drops For Kids—Good Idea?” which was read by local mother Laurie Miller earlier today, will reportedly shape the next 18 years of her young child’s life.

Little League Pitcher Just Getting Fucking Shelled

RED BANK, NJ—After watching the 11-year-old give up the fourth straight double that inning, sources confirmed Sunday afternoon that local Little League pitcher Dustin Bauer is getting absolutely fucking shelled out there.

Pros And Cons Of Screen Time For Kids

As technology becomes more of a staple in everyday family life, parents are making choices about how much screen time to allow their children—and asking questions about how computers, phones, and TVs might help or hinder a child’s development.

Oh God, Teacher Arranged Desks In Giant Circle

OVERLAND PARK, KS—Appearing stunned and unsettled as they entered her classroom Wednesday, students from Ms. Frederickson’s fourth-period social studies class were reportedly overcome with panic 

Kids Teary-Eyed After Helping Dad Move Into First Apartment

BOWLING GREEN, OH—With their father marking the start of an important new phase in his life, the children of local man Barry Hunt told reporters they got a bit teary-eyed after helping the 49-year-old move into his first apartment Thursday. Teenager...
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Area Father Urges Reopening Of 1998 Missing-Rake Case

EDINA, MN—Local resident Marsh Lufler, 51, urged family members to re-open a long-discontinued investigation into the disappearance of a lawn rake Monday. The rake, a Lawn-Grum brand spring-braced sweep rake with steel tines and a hardwood handle, has been missing from the Lufler home since 1998.

Lufler and a rake (inset) of the variety that mysteriously disappeared from his garage in 1998.

"Although it has been six years since anyone in this family has seen that rake, I've never given up hope that someday I might find it," Lufler said. "I believe that the rake is still in our neighborhood, probably within a quarter-mile of our home."

Added Lufler: "It's a rake, dammit. It couldn't just sprout legs and walk away."

Lufler's rake was first reported missing in October 1998. A massive, four-day search of the Lufler property and intensive questioning of friends and neighbors yielded no leads. Although most of the Lufler clan long ago abandoned hope of the rake's recovery, Lufler has refused to accept the loss.

"Why would a rake just disappear?" Lufler said. "A sock, sure. But a rake is large and conspicuous, and this one hadn't been used since before the first snowfall in December of '97. How could it just vanish?"

The reopening of the rake case was prompted in part by the recent solving of another Lufler-household mystery. The good-serving-dish case, closed in late 2002 after months of fruitless investigation, was all but forgotten until last month, when friend and neighbor Mary Cobb returned a porcelain tray, which she'd found while cleaning out her cupboards.

"I should definitely question everyone again," Lufler said. "All the principal suspects are still alive, and almost all of them still live in the neighborhood. Maybe enough time has passed that it will be easier for someone to admit something they didn't want to say before."

Added Lufler: "Anything could have happened in that gap between the first snow and the discovery that the rake was missing. Maybe the rake was lent out without my knowledge, or maybe someone just 'helped himself' to it. You know, I'd like to quiz that Norquist kid down the block. Well, he's not even a kid anymore, but I heard he used to break into people's houses and watch television. I wouldn't put rake-snatching past him."

Lufler also spoke of a recurring psychic dream he had.

"I dreamed of the tail end of a black car—a car trunk," Lufler said. "When I put my hand on the trunk, it turned into a heap of neatly piled leaves. Then I woke up. But I don't own a black car, and when I searched my trunk for a rake, I didn't find one. I don't hold much stock in the paranormal, but what does it hurt to pursue all avenues?"

Lufler said that most of his neighbors prefer leaf-blowers to rakes. Considering this, he said he recently spotted what could be an important clue: a neatly raked pile of grass clippings in an unknown neighbor's yard, two blocks from his home.

"This was not the work of a leaf-blower, I assure you," Lufler said, producing grainy photographs of a mass of grass shot from several different angles. "Clearly, the grass was raked with a fan-style rake. Look at the angle at which the clippings are piled. Observe the 'combed' appearance of the surrounding lawn."

The most damning clue in the photos is a large tool with a wooden handle, leaning against the garage, its bottom obscured by a black trash bag. Lufler said he did not notice the implement until after he had gotten the developed photos back from the Rite Aid. When he returned to the scene, the wooden-handled tool was gone.

"I cannot say with complete certainty that the lawn tool in the picture was a sweep rake," Lufler said. "It could have been a hoe, a shovel, or a broom. But I am convinced that a rake was used to gather those grass clippings."

Lufler said improvements in technology since 1998 may give him an edge in his search that he previously lacked.

"In 2002, I purchased a large Maglite," Lufler said. "It casts a far longer and stronger beam than my old lantern flashlight, and could aid us in a search of dense underbrush."

Wanting to question the occupants of the home, Lufler attempted to persuade his wife to reopen the rake case. However, a resolute Evie Lufler demanded that the matter be finally put to rest.

"I told Marsh he's gotta move on," Evie said. "It took him nearly a year to give up looking for that missing rake and buy a new one. Now that he has, it's time he forgot about the old rake. Why would anyone need two rakes?"

In spite of his family's resistance, Lufler continues to press for the reopening of the case.

"It's been six years since the rake went missing," Lufler said. "That rake was a real beauty. I've never owned a rake that worked so well. Even if I can't recover the rake, I want to go to my grave knowing that, in my search for it, I left no leaf unturned."

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