Stimulus funding for fursuits
That's right, a hefty $51,500 of US federal stimulus funding is going to buy... fursuits. (Characters include "Bobber the Water Safety Dog" and are intended to teach childeren about swimming safety.)
Original article from CNN/Money:
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has spent $51,500 of stimulus money on nine mascot costumes and robots, including Bobber the Water Safety Dog, Coastie the Water Safety Education Seaboat and Seamoor the Sea Serpent Robot.
They'll be used in parks in Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana and Utah to teach children about safe boating and swimming.
It seems a little strange, but the project manager at one location that got a Bobber costume says the mascot has been a wild success.
"Those children love Bobber," said George Williams, Army Corps of Engineers project manager at Green River Lake, near Campbellsville, Ky. "If we teach and mentor these children about water safety, they're going to carry that into adulthood, and we're going to reduce the number of drownings and fatalities."
Williams said there have been 36 drownings at the site since 1969, so the park was very pleased to get Recovery Act funding for the Bobber costume. Park rangers will often dress up as Bobber and put on skits for the 23,000 school-age children that come to the lake each year.