Watercooler Stories

By United Press International  |  Dec. 21, 2006 at 6:00 AM
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Frosty mugged; investigation snowballs

COLERAIN TOWNSHIP, Ohio, Dec. 21 (UPI) -- A Colerain Township, Ohio, man has fought back against vandals who assaulted his inflatable snowman by turning video of the crime over to police.

Matt Williquette said he put a digital video recorder in a tree after his 12-foot inflatable snowman was stabbed with a screwdriver twice in as many weeks, the Cincinnati Enquirer reported Wednesday.

The camera captured two men stabbing the snowman a third time. Using the recording, police arrested Robert Snell and Nathan Ayers and charged them with criminal damage.

"I'm very relieved," Williquette said. "People can finally sleep better around here."

Williquette said he used white tape to bandage Frosty's gut wounds.

"The question I have is: 'Why me? And why Frosty?'" Williquette asked. "I had more (decorations) to put out there, but with Frosty going down, I wasn't going to chance it."

"The investigation continues to snowball; any future developments will be reported," the sheriff's office said.

Baby Jesus returns with a story to tell

BUFFALO, N.Y., Dec. 21 (UPI) -- A Buffalo, N.Y., family whose baby Jesus statue disappeared last Dec. 23 said the plastic figure returned home with quite a story to tell.

John and Joan Leising said when baby Jesus disappeared, there was a note in the manger claiming the statue was needed elsewhere and would be returned in three days. However, it was late August before Jesus reappeared on the family's doorstep with another note, the Buffalo News reported Wednesday.

The new note was accompanied with photographs of baby Jesus at various locations around the state of New York, including the Rochester Institute of Technology, the Hobart and William Smith Colleges and thruway signs in Binghamton, Rochester, Albany and Poughkeepsie.

"Please read this letter in its entirety before passing judgment on the actions and events that have taken place," the letter said. "We are simply a group of young adults who wished to show the baby Jesus a better life than he would have seen cooped up in an attic crawl space. He has traveled over counties and states, met people and animals alike. We have done our best to show the baby Jesus the many glorious aspects of our world."

"The real Jesus Christ would have forgiven them for that," John Leising said. "And we do, too."

Christmas home not right without 24 trees

BURLINGTON, Vt., Dec. 21 (UPI) -- Owners of a Burlington, Vt., home have outdone their previous record for Christmas decorating, with 24 indoor trees and thousands of ornaments.

Bob Driver and Dalton Flint have built their tradition of "going over the top" with decorations for seven years. This year, after six weeks of decorating, they have created a veritable forest of 24 trees in their historic home.

"No matter where you are in the house, you can see a tree," Driver told WCAX-TV, Burlington.

Only one tree is real, and decorated with ornaments from the men's childhood, while the other 23 trees are themed. The tree in the bathroom has a snowman theme, while another features 80 flamingos with 350 umbrellas and colored lights.

The men said they buy ornaments year-round, looking for sales. They said they've lost count of how many decorations they have now, although it takes 47 large storage crates to store them all in the attic, the report said.

Chechnya PM wants tourists

GROZNY, Russia, Dec. 21 (UPI) -- The prime minister of Chechnya has announced plans to develop events and attractions to bring tourists to the region.

Prime Minister Ramzan Kadyrov, a former warlord, said he wants to develop sporting events, restore national monuments, and establish camping and hotel accommodations "to create interest for tourist visits," the BBC reported Wednesday.

However, the British government has warned against any travel to Chechnya, despite a 38 percent drop in killings and disappearances in the country over the past year. Britain's foreign office has said danger persists in the region where the leaders have been accused of abduction, torture and extra-judicial killings.

Most visitors to the country are currently housed in government compounds, but Kadyrov said he hopes new accommodations and bus links with Germany and Belgium can draw more visitors to the country's cities.

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