Watercooler Stories

Nov. 15, 2007 at 6:30 AM
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Tenn. city divided over porch furniture

MURFREESBORO, Tenn., Nov. 14 (UPI) -- Officials in Murfreesboro, Tenn., are considering kicking residents off their couches -- if the furniture is sitting on their porches.

Apparently driven by the growing number of dilapidated sofas and recliners on local porches, the Murfreesboro City Council is eyeing a new ordinance that would keep indoor furniture inside homes, The Daily News Journal newspaper in Murfreesboro said Wednesday.

The measure has already passed one council vote and only two more passages are needed to make it law.

While local officials maintain the measure is not unique and comes in response to a plethora of constituent complaints, some people still want to recline out in the fresh air.

"I figure if you own the property, you ought to be able to do what you want to do where you want to do it," resident Martha Hart told the newspaper. "It ain't hurting nobody, and it's a comfortable place to sit."

Food theft charges lead to costly probe

LONDON, Nov. 14 (UPI) -- British taxpayers are shelling out $20,000 for an investigation into allegations that a Legal Services Commission employee did not pay for breakfast.

Denis Breading said he was suspended by the commission while it conducts a prove into whether he "misused public funds" when he allegedly tried to avoid paying a $3.29 breakfast bill at the office canteen, The Daily Mail reported Wednesday.

Breading claims no canteen staff were on hand to take his money when he went for breakfast and he was still eating inside the facility when he was accused of "thieving."

"They suspended me because I sat down without paying for my breakfast and reported me for theft," he said.

Breading said the investigation could cost a further $30,000 if a special arbitrator is hired for the case.

Beloved squirrel remembered by OSU

COLUMBUS, Ohio, Nov. 14 (UPI) -- Ohio State University students are struggling with the recent violent loss of a familiar face on their campus: a beloved albino squirrel known as Whitey.

Freshman biology major James Greenebaum said the unusual appearance of a hawk on campus last week was at first exciting, but then he recognized the bird's unfortunate prey, The Columbus Dispatch reported Wednesday.

"I thought it was really cool until I saw that pure white fur," the 18-year-old said. "I screamed, 'Oh my God, it's Whitey!'"

Horrified witnesses then got a front row seat to the hawk's culinary habits at the expense of the familiar campus rodent.

While more than 800 people joined Whitey's online Facebook page to eulogize their fallen four-legged, furry friend, OSU biology professor Steve Rissing attempted to put a positive spin on last Friday's food-chain tragedy.

"Yes, it is tragic that the favored squirrel has died, but think of what the students have learned," Rissing told the Dispatch. "I've been bird-watching all my life, and I've only seen a hawk eat its prey fewer times than I can count on one hand."

Deputies chase escaping cows

WEST HAVEN, Utah, Nov. 14 (UPI) -- Sheriff's deputies in Weber County, Utah, needed to do a bit of wrangling when eight cows escaped from a trailer at a McDonald's restaurant.

Lt. Kevin Burns said the truck hit a large bump as it pulled up to the fast food restaurant and the trailer's rear gate swung open, allowing the cows to make a play for freedom, The Ogden (Utah) Standard-Examiner reported Wednesday.

Burns joked that the cows were fleeing McDonald's because "they didn't like their future."

"I was sitting in my truck watching it because I thought my eyes were lying," said trucker Wayne Sanders, who watched the scene from a truck stop across the street. "I don't know where they came from, but I'd say they'd have to weigh 800 pounds apiece ... and they were on a pretty good trot."

Sheriff's deputies spent two hours executing the plan they dubbed "Operation Hamburger Helper" to round up the stray cattle from a nearby lot.

The owner said the animals were destined for slaughter in Taylor, Utah, after "60 more days to fatten up."

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