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Watercooler Stories

Maine woman due in court for opposing book

LEWISTON, Maine, Oct. 31 (UPI) -- A Lewiston, Maine, woman has a court date later this year to answer for refusing on moral grounds to return a library book.

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A court summons was ordered for JoAnn Karkos after she failed to return "It's Perfectly Normal: Changing Bodies, Growing Up, Sex and Sexual Health" to her local library. She claims the sex education book was pornographic, Maine's WMTW-TV, Auburn, said Wednesday.

Karkos has admitted keeping the Lewiston Public Library book beyond its due date.

The American Library Association named "Changing Bodies" the most frequently challenged book in 2005. The book features nudity as well as discussion of abortion and homosexuality.

Karkos has checked out the book from the public library in Auburn, Maine, too.


Disabled child's swing stolen in Colorado

THORNTON, Colo., Oct. 31 (UPI) -- A swing set that typically gives hours of enjoyment to a disabled boy in Thornton, Colo., has been stolen for the second time this year.

Thornton resident Cindy DeSplinter said the most recent disappearance of her son's swing from their yard comes three months after a similar incident left her 5-year-old without one of his favorite pastimes, The Rocky Mountain News reported Wednesday.

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"I said, 'You've got to be kidding.' It's almost scary. This is almost purposeful," the concerned mother said. "Why would they do it to a little kid? It makes no sense."

Following the initial theft in July, the family of little Micah DeSplinter built a security fence around his replacement swing set to ensure its safety.

But earlier this month, the specialized swing set that cost the family nearly $500 was stolen and police have no suspects in custody.

"We are now going to have to complete our yard in privacy fences," she said. "All of this so our 5-year-old son can swing in his own backyard."


Geo-challenged ID thieves charged

NEW YORK, Oct. 31 (UPI) -- Two New York men accused of identity theft say they were getting a measure of revenge for the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, officials said Wednesday.

However, Marconian Sockwell and Joseph Ogueri, accused of scamming about $400,000 from a dozen people, victimized 11 people from Bangladesh and one from Nepal, the New York Post said.

Admitting they are targeting any ethnic group exposes the pair to additional hate crime penalties, prosecutors said. The two face up to 25 years in prison if convicted of grand larceny as a hate crime, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said.

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The 88-count criminal complaint said Sockwell and Ogueri posed as employees of a credit-reporting agency to get their victims to reveal personal financial information over the telephone, including credit card account numbers, the complaint said.

Sockwell and Ogueri then would add their names to the credit cards and charge thousands of dollars worth of mail-order diamonds.


EPA backs off toxic squirrel advisory

RINGWOOD, N.J., Oct. 31 (UPI) -- U.S. environmental officials have withdrawn a warning that squirrels in an area of New Jersey were toxic, an announcement that had thrown hunters for a loop.

Never mind what we said earlier, the Environmental Protection Agency said this week, it's OK to shoot and eat squirrels from the Ringwood area, The New York Post reported Thursday. At fist it appeared the critters were toxic because of a nearby Superfund site, but samples from the tested squirrels were botched, the agency said.

However, state Department of Health officials were reviewing the latest EPA advisory and will decide whether they'll lift the wild-animal consumption warning issued in January, said spokesman Tom Slater.

Roger DeGroat, a New Jersey squirrel hunter, says he may be a little more hesitant about eating squirrel because of the mixed messages. But he likes squirrel -- and says it doesn't taste like chicken.

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"I can't say it tastes like chicken. I can't say it tastes like turkey," DeGroat said. "It tastes a lot like squirrel."

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