Today’s news:

Somebody should’ve kept balloon boy on a short leash

You’ve got to pick up every stitch, must be the season of the witch -

Cool air, smell of wet leaves, and pumpkins abounding -it’s witches, scary movies and hoaxes too!

It has been determined that the Heenes, of Falcon in the hot air balloon fame, planned the entire event as a publicity stunt, from taking off from the roof to landing 50 miles away. Little Falcon was never in greater danger of anything stranger than maybe a spider bite or two from being in the garage attic. The stunt had the entire country, along with NORAD, the airforce, and local police holding their collective breath waiting for this flying saucer balloon to land and hoping that the little tyke was okay -- only to find the basket empty.

The parents,Richard andMayumi, put on an Oscar-winning performance for Most Realistic - Worried Parents in a Publicity Stunt.I actually believed their concern.

The fact that six-year-old Falcon was found safe and sound jarred my memory of the time that I lost Briana when she was three years old. We had gone to visitcousins Marla and Phil at theirhouse in Staten Island. While we were enjoying a leisurely lunch, Briana was safe, or so I thought, in the closed in porch playing with their grandson PG. When I happened to see him outside engrossed in a game of catch, I just assumed that Bri was with him. After a while when I went to check, I found, to my horror, that Bri was not with him. I frantically looked around the perimeter of the property, then went inside and ran up to the top floor quickly looking in all the bedrooms calling out her name, then down to the middle floor and finally the basement. In those twenty minutes or so, all I could think of was that she had somehow wandered outside and someone hadkidnapped her.

Imagining the worst, I was about to call the police when my Aunt Mary, who has always been the calm in the storm, found her -- my little darling -- hiding in an upstairs bedroom sitting under the dust ruffle. She washappily dialing long-distance numbers on their house phone. My aunt called out the window, that she was safe and we all went inside.When she was askedwhy she didn’t answer - she replied, “I was too busy with the phone Tzi Tzi to worry about Mommy.”

Glad that she was safe I didn’t know whether to cry, lock her in a room for the next 20 years or laugh. After we left their house that day, I immediately visited Toys R Us and bought a ‘Tot Leash.’ It was one of the best purchases I ever made.

Not for nuthin’, but the Heenes should have had a tot leash on their hot air balloon. It would have saved the taxpayers a lot of money and the Heenes from a lot of fines. JDelBuono@cnglocal.com

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