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United Press International

Urine discolors West Virginia courthouse

BECKLEY, W.Va., May 24 (UPI) -- Frustrated courthouse officials in Beckley, W.Va., are looking for a landscaping solution to the problem of homeless people using the building as a urinal.


The Raleigh County, W.Va., commission is seeking bids for landscapers to replace shrubs and greenery that encircle the building, giving people enough privacy to relieve themselves, the Beckley Register-Herald reported.

Commission President John Aliff said there's no guarantee work will be done until the commission reviews the estimated costs.

"It's turning yellow," Aliff said, adding one solution might be plant new shrubs farther from the building, the newspaper said.

"We don't want any more bathroom use there," Aliff added.

Texas school drops God from U.S. coin

KELLER, Texas, May 24 (UPI) -- A Texas elementary school that removed the words "In God We Trust" from the image of a nickel on its yearbook is taking flak from around the country.

Earlier this year, the principal of Liberty Elementary School in Keller, northwest of Dallas, made the decision to alter the image on the cover, but to provide a sticker that could be applied to the coin's picture that put the words back.


However, officials with the school district have been swamped with complaints, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported.

In a letter sent home with students Monday, Principal Janet Travis tried to appease angry Christians.

"Please know that we meant no disrespect to any faith," Travis wrote. "Quite the opposite, we were hoping to ensure that all of our students, no matter their faith, were pleased with the yearbook."

Bad karma expected for Buddha thieves

STUART, Fla., May 24 (UPI) -- Thieves apparently unenlightened on the Buddhist concept of karma have stolen a heavy statue of a smiling rotund Buddha from a Florida restaurant.

The gold-colored sculpture was noticed missing Monday morning from outside the Sakura Restaurant and Steak House of Japan in Stuart, north of West Palm Beach.

"I don't think it's lucky if you stole the Buddha," steakhouse owner Ako Tarallo told the Stuart News

The 3-foot, 6-inch statue had been in front of the restaurant for six years in a simple rock garden atop a fountain.

Police are investigating, as the Buddha cost $1,500 when Tarallo bought it, the report said.

And investigators are certain the thief was not working alone, as the Buddha weighed 600 pounds.

"It's definitely like a three-man work," Tarallo said.


Cat food firm creates feline 'Survivor'

SECAUCUS, N.J., May 24 (UPI) -- A reality show for cats that could be described as a cross between "Survivor" and "Garfield" gets under way next month.

Ten cats supplied by animal shelters across the country will live together in the Meow Mix House from June 13 to June 23. Every day, human watchers of the online show can vote for their favorite cat, with the one getting the fewest votes booted out of the house.

The last cat gets a gig as Meow Mix's feline vice president of research and development, responsible for the taste testing of new lines of cat food. The winning cat also gets adopted by a new family.

The losers, those voted out of the house, also get adoption plus a year's supply of Meow Mix.

The company says that it is in negotiations with several cable networks about airing the show.

"At Meow Mix, we are cat people first and foremost," said CEO Richard Thompson. "We all own cats, we love cats, and we've been making great-tasting cat food for over 30 years. You might say we're the industry leader in understanding cats. If anyone has the insight to explore the reality of cats' lives, it would certainly be us."


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