Watercooler Stories

By United Press International   |   May 3, 2007 at 6:30 AM
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Man charged with bothering whale

SYDNEY, May 2 (UPI) -- An Australian man is charged with harassing a rare humpback whale by buzzing past him with a friend's speedboat.

Ned O'Neil pleaded guilty to "zig-zagging around and pursuing the whale" last July in Rose Bay, the Sydney Morning Herald said Wednesday. He was fined $12,000.

O'Neil said he was only trying to get a closer look at the whale.

"My only previous experience with whales had been on a charter boat in Mexico and I think the rules were a bit different over there," he said. "I never intended to interfere with them in any way -- I understand now that those restrictions are there to protect the whales."

O'Neil's father, Denis, is trying to gain support for plans to put 174 luxury boats in Rose Bay, the newspaper said.

Milwaukee schools remove handcuffs

MILWAUKEE, May 2 (UPI) -- School board officials in Milwaukee have changed their minds about a plan to use plastic handcuffs on out-of-control students.

The plan, approved two weeks ago, was abandoned after a loud outcry from parents and the local chapter of the NAACP at a Tuesday night meeting of the Milwaukee School Board, local TV station WTMJ said Wednesday.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel said a letter calling for the handcuff proposal to be repealed was signed by two state senators and seven state representatives.

"The use of flexicuffs to restrain students adds a criminal stigma to what may in most cases be an emotional loss of control," they said in the letter.

The board voted 5-4 to repeal the decision and called on school board President Peter Blewett to appoint a task force on safety and violence, the newspaper said.

Baby treated after drinking gin and juice

FORT WORTH, Texas, May 2 (UPI) -- A 1-year-old Texas girl was treated at a Fort Worth hospital after her grandmother accidently gave her orange juice spiked with gin.

Police said the baby's blood-alcohol level was more than twice the legal driving limit for adults, The Fort Worth (Texas) Star Telegram reported Wednesday.

Police Lt. Dean Sullivan said it appears to have been a "terrible mistake that could have had potentially devastating and tragic results."

The grandmother said she was making breakfast for the girl Monday morning and gave her juice from an individually sized bottle she found in the refrigerator.

When the infant began acting disoriented, she contacted her son. He told her he had mixed gin with the orange juice, Sullivan said.

Graffiti comes with a smile in Chicago

CHICAGO, May 2 (UPI) -- Several cars in Chicago's Printer's Row neighborhood received impromptu makeovers recently when vandals spray-painted large smiley faces on them.

Among the victims of the vandalism was Red Clark, who found his Chevy Lumina's hood adorned with a giant smiley face and decorative zig-zag patterns, The Chicago Tribune reported Wednesday.

"The whole side of my car is covered in yellow zigzags and there's paint on the windows," Clark said of Tuesday's vandalism. "It looks like they kind of went to the front and then the sides."

The happy faces undoubtedly prompted vastly different facial expressions on the vehicles' owners and police said if the perpetrators are caught the related charges would be no laughing matter.

"There are a number of charges the taggers could face, including criminal damage to property or criminal defacement," police news affairs Officer John Henry told the Tribune.

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