Watercooler Stories

By United Press International  |  June 20, 2006 at 6:30 AM
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Couples tie knot at Dells Bells

WISCONSIN DELLS, Wis., June 20 (UPI) -- A Wisconsin couple who experienced the joys of tying the knot in an uncomplicated Las Vegas wedding chapel wanted to bring that experience to the Dells.

Scott and Tara Joles operate the Dells Bells Wedding Chapel in a former taxicab dispatch center across the street from the Torture Museum in this Midwest tourist mecca, which attracts some 2.9 million visitors a year.

The Wisconsin State Journal reports Dells Bells offers one-stop shopping wedding packages, including the I-deserve-it-all package, which includes silk flowers, pictures, a unity candle, cake for 14 and the minister's fee for $500. There's no organ music.

Tara Joles is an ordained Universal Life Church minister. She said she has married 34 couples and 43 weddings are already booked for this year.

"I really thought it would be a step up from a courthouse wedding -- a little classier option," she told the Journal. "We thought we would cater to the second- and third-marriage couples, but we're getting a lot of first-time weddings, too."

NYC to waterproof subway with plywood

NEW YORK, June 20 (UPI) -- A citizens' group in New York is less than enthused about low-tech plans to reduce flooding in a busy subway line with plastic and plywood.

The issue came to a head June 2 when heavy rains flooded a tunnel that handles four train lines that run through the borough of Queens, the New York Post reported.

The Metropolitan Transit Authority announced plans to cover sidewalk gratings over the tunnel with plastic and sheets of plywood, but Queens Borough President Helen Marshall said she had safety concerns.

"What if there is a fire on the tracks? Won't this just keep the smoke in?" she asked.

However, MTA and fire department officials say enough redundancies had been built into the system for ventilation so that covering the grates wouldn't be a problem, the Post said.

"I guess Queens gets only the latest and best technology," Marshall told the newspapers.

California beaches become smoke-free

LOS ANGELES, June 20 (UPI) -- Smoking bans that began in public buildings and restaurants have made their way to the famous beaches of Southern California.

Beginning next month, smokers in Los Angeles County will have only three beaches to choose from if they want to enjoy the sunset with a cigarette in hand, the Los Angeles Times reported Monday.

They can go to Redondo Beach, Leo Carrillo State Park in Malibu or a small beach in Palos Verdes Estates that is reached by a steep trail.

Though most state beaches allow smoking, in less than three years, 19 cities in four Southern California counties have quietly outlawed beach smoking.

The last two to jump on the bandwagon are Torrance and Hermosa Beach which become smoke-free in July.

Following California's lead, Cocoa Beach may become Florida's first city to ban beach smoking.

Wash. school district may ban flip-flops

FEDERAL WAY, Wash., June 20 (UPI) -- Students in Federal Way, Wash., likely will have to forgo their flip-flops next year as part of a proposed change to the high school dress code.

"That's really stupid," freshman Alisha Bowen told the Tacoma News Tribune. "I wear flip-flops almost every day -- even when it's raining. I'll probably still wear them if they're banned. It depends on how much trouble you get in."

The school board is expected to take up the issue next week because the footwear is considered dangerous in school laboratories and when walking in crowded hallways.

Evelyn Castellar, the president of the school board, disagrees with fellow board members.

"I don't think administrators are in agreement with the board members. I wore flip-flops to my work-study in protest," Castellar said.

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