Watercooler Stories

April 28, 2009 at 6:30 AM

Students suspended for making slingshots

PITTSBURGH, April 28 (UPI) -- A Pittsburgh elementary school said five fourth-graders were suspended on weapons charges for making slingshots from pencils, rubber bands and paper clips.

Principal Kathi Shirey of Fawn Elementary School said a teacher and three students were hit by paper clips launched from the slingshots, created by the children from their school supplies, WPXI-TV, Pittsburgh, reported. The teacher and students were not injured.

"Everyone uses pencils while in school, but you would never think someone would use them to create a weapon, but that's exactly how the district sees it," Shirey said. "It's an object that could have caused serious injury."

The principal said the school district could have expelled the students for an entire school year, but due to their ages, they were only suspended for one day and one of their scheduled field trips was taken away.

However, Melanie Chelko, mother of one of the suspended students, said the punishment was still too harsh.

"This was not a weapon to them. This was a toy," she said.

Chelko said her son "came home and cried for three hours on the couch because he was suspended. That was torment enough for him."


Wife: Bank told hubby about account

NEW YORK, April 28 (UPI) -- A New York woman has sued her bank for letting slip to her husband that she had $800,000 in an account in her own name.

Nazita Aminpour, a dentist, says in legal papers that the Chase bank branch in Kew Gardens, Queens, violated federal privacy laws, the New York Post reports. She said her husband, David Shamash, nagged her about the money until she gave him $155,000 in March 2008 to save her marriage.

The couple had a joint account at the branch along with custodial accounts for their children. But Shamash was not aware that Aminpour had a large account in her own name until a bank employee called him and suggested that the money be moved out of a low-interest account to something with a higher return.

Aminpour wants Chase to reimburse the $155,000 and to pay her legal bills. A bank statement included in the lawsuit filing shows she now has more than $1 million in the account, the report said.


Rattlesnake Derby 'wholesome'

MAGNUM, Okla., April 28 (UPI) -- Organizers of the 44th annual Mangum Rattlesnake Derby in Oklahoma said the event was aimed at educating people about the venomous snakes.

The organizers said the three-day derby, which ended Sunday, annually draws an estimated 35,000 visitors to Magnum to catch, kill and learn about Western diamondback rattlesnakes, USA Today reported.

Kerry Kendall, co-director of the event, said every attraction is "something you can bring your 4-year-old to."

"It's a wholesome, clean weekend," Kendall said. "We call (the Butcher Shop) the only strip show in Greer County."

The derby's Butcher Shop featured snakes being beheaded, gutted and skinned for onlookers while Robert Ray, 57, and Corry Kendall, 24, talked about the dangers even a dead snake can pose to humans when its post-mortem reflexes cause its fangs to bite down.

Visitor Joann Delbosque said she brought her 6-year-old daughter, Samantha, to the event to learn how to be safe around rattlesnakes.

"She has to see it in order to believe it," Delbosque said. "I want her to know that only professionals play with these snakes."


'Photo shoot' jets cause worry in N.Y.

NEW YORK, April 28 (UPI) -- A White House official has apologized for the confusion caused by military aircraft flying over New York as part of a Department of Defense photo shoot.

Residents and workers reported seeing the aircraft -- which the Federal Aviation Administration said included two F-16s and a Boeing 747 that resembles Air Force One -- flying at low altitudes Monday over the Statue of Liberty and portions of the city's Manhattan borough, WCBS-TV, New York, reported.

Louis Caldera, director of the White House Military Office, apologized for the confusion and panic caused by the planes.

"Last week, I approved a mission over New York," Caldera said in a statement released late Monday. "I take responsibility for that decision. While federal authorities took the proper steps to notify state and local authorities in New York and New Jersey, it's clear that the mission created confusion and disruption. I apologize and take responsibility for any distress that flight caused."

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