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Nov. 29, 2012 at 6:30 AM   |   Comments

Gold boosts slow Salvation Army season

HOUSTON, Nov. 28 (UPI) -- The first gold coin dropped into a Houston-area Salvation Army kettle this season has been a morale booster in a slow year, officials said.

Juan Alanis, spokesman for the Salvation Army in the Houston area, said anonymous donors have been dropping gold coins into the collection kettles for years and the first coin of the year was found in a bottle Tuesday, the Houston Chronicle reported Wednesday.

"Even though it is a significant monetary donation, it's so much more significant in the motivation it gives our kettle workers," said Juan Alanis, Salvation Army spokesman for the Houston area. "It lets them know that what they're doing is for a purpose and people actually believe in what they're doing out there every day."

Alanis said the coin, which was wrapped in a dollar bill with a note reading "A child is born, Jesus," came amid a slow start to the season.


Drag queens join Philadelphia parade

PHILADELPHIA, Nov. 28 (UPI) -- A Philadelphia drag queen said his hand-picked squad of 10 performers will grace the Mummers Parade in Philadelphia.

Ian Morrison, who performs under the name Brittany Lynn, said he and his nine colleagues in women's clothing will wear costumes matching the theme of a Fancy Brigade during the traditional New Year's Day parade in Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Daily News reported Wednesday.

Morrison said each member of his "Drag Brigade" will perform for 2 minutes at the Convention Center before the competition performance.


Man gets DWI after DWI hearing

MINEOLA, N.Y., Nov. 28 (UPI) -- Authorities in New York state say a man was arrested for driving while intoxicated while trying to drive from a hearing for an identical charge.

Michael Nolan, 59, of Freeport appeared Tuesday in Nassau County court in Mineola on an aggravated-DWI charge from August and court officers noticed he smelled of alcohol and seemed unsteady during the status conference, the New York Post reported Wednesday.

The district attorney asked a police officer to follow Nolan when he left the courthouse and he was pulled over after climbing into his 2008 Toyota Tacoma and driving a few feet down the road.

Nolan was arrested on a DWI charge.


City beats 'Hoarders' to the punch

SUN CITY SUMMERLIN, Nev., Nov. 28 (UPI) -- A lawyer for a Nevada man being charged $95,553.08 for the cleanup of his home said the fee could have been avoided if the city waited for TV show "Hoarders."

Sun City Summerlin is charging Kenneth Epstein, 55, the fee for removing the trash as well as live and dead cats from his home following his Oct. 12 arrest on charges of failure to register a pistol, unjustifiable injury to animals, failure to have a cat fanciers license, violating the fire code and two counts of public nuisance, the Las Vegas Sun reported Wednesday.

Epstein pleaded no contest and was sentenced to 358 days in jail suspended in favor of continued therapy and paying the cleaning bill. Epstein's lawyer, Kristina Wildeveld, said she is going over the bill to ensure her client isn't being overcharged.

Wildeveld said she had contacted TV show "Hoarders" about doing an episode about her client, and they would have cleaned the home for free, but the city had already begun work on the property.

Crews removed at least 41 tons of material from the property. They also removed 55 cats, including 15 dead cats and 19 that later had to be euthanized.

© 2012 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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