Watercooler Stories

By United Press International  |  Dec. 7, 2005 at 6:30 AM
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Warrants out for smoking bingo scofflaws

KANSAS CITY, Mo., Dec. 7 (UPI) -- Three Kansas City bingo players who turned up in court to face charges of smoking while playing were fined $5, but two no-shows are facing arrest warrants.

The players and the building manager of the Southside Optimist hall were found guilty of violating the city's anti-smoking ordinance that went into effect May 31.

The law bans smoking in most workplaces, except restaurants, bars, casinos and bowling alleys, the Kansas City Star reported.

In his own defense, the building manager said he thought the bingo group was exempt since they served food. Regardless, his fine was set at $100.

When the two players who skipped court are located, their fines will likely be substantially higher, if convicted.

N.Y. adds 5 new subway rules

NEW YORK, Dec. 7 (UPI) -- New York's subways have new rules -- including a ban on moving between cars and putting bags on empty seats -- that have left some straphangers grumbling.

The five new rules imposed Monday joined 13 oft-ignored rules that can mean fines up to $100 and even arrest.

Commuter Renigio Suzene said he supports the new rules.

Straphangers "think they can do anything at the expense of other people and their property," Suzene told the New York Post.

Cassandra Warren objected to the ban on moves between cars.

"It smells sometimes, especially if there's a homeless person in the car and after a long day at work, or if you have your family with you, you don't want to have to stay in that car for a long journey," Warren said.

Commuter Kevin Kelly called the rules "nonsensical" as he sipped his coffee through a small hole in the lid.

"Is this a closed container or an open container?" Kelly asked in noting the definition of "open container" was murky. Open containers are banned.

Pa. town considers disbanding police force

FORTY FORT, Pa., Dec. 7 (UPI) -- The northeast Pennsylvania town of Forty Fort is considering disbanding its police department unless officers agree to contract concessions, a report said.

The Forty Fort, Pa., council voted 5-2 Monday to prepare an ordinance eliminating the police department that includes a police chief and 10 officers effective Dec. 19 and have state police respond to incidents.

About 40 residents attended a meeting filled with angry exchanges, the Wilkes-Barre (Pa.) Times Leader reported.

"You have no idea what's going on," resident Becky Zavada told the council.

"We're all against you getting rid of the police department," said Zavada, whose brother is a firefighter and whose husband is mayor.

The council, with the mayor abstaining, balked at a police contract costing $275,000, but the Fraternal Order of Police said it would propose terms resulting in a $200,000 budget.

The sticking point has been health benefits in the community that gained its name from a violent 1778 dispute between settlers from Pennsylvania and 40 settlers from Connecticut.

'Lotto tree' removed from Oklahoma Capitol

OKLAHOMA CITY, Dec. 7 (UPI) -- Officials have removed a small Christmas tree decorated with losing lottery tickets from an annual holiday display in Oklahoma's Capitol.

Some lawmakers objected to the presence of the tree as part of a display of trees decorated by students around the state. While most of the trees are traditional, some use different themes, such as one with Oklahoma ornaments, the Oklahoman newspaper reported.

Officials at Westwood Elementary School in Oklahoma City asked the governor's office to take down their 'Lotto Tree' because of the controversy it was causing in the media.

"I certainly think it inappropriately twists the meaning and spirit of Christmas," state Rep. Randy Terrill, a lottery opponent, told KOCO-TV, Oklahoma City.

School officials said the 5th graders and their teacher did not think the offbeat tree would offend anyone.

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