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Rancher gets prized dog back for $10,000

SAN ANTONIO, Dec. 26 (UPI) -- A Texas rancher is still missing his pickup and trailer, but considers it well worth paying a $10,000 reward to have his dog back.

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Chris Cooley's truck disappeared from a parking lot Tuesday, along with six cattle gates, financial papers and his golden retriever, Jim Bowie, the San Antonio Express-News reported.

When Nathan Ramos of San Antonio called him on Christmas Eve and said he'd found Jim Bowie while walking his own dog, Cooley handed over the $10,000 he had posted for a reward.

Ramos had seen Cooley's offer on television, but he was shocked when he actually wrote him the check, said Cooley, of Cotulla, Texas.

Ramos did not return messages, but Cooley said he told him the $10,000 would go to relieve debts for his late father's liver transplant, the newspaper reported.

Cooley had feared his dog was being taken to Mexico.

J.B. is among a long line of champion golden retrievers bred by Cooley for friends and family. He keeps Jim Bowie's mother, father, and brother at his house.


Lawmaker: Utah state flag is wrong

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SALT LAKE CITY, Dec. 26 (UPI) -- A Utah lawmaker says the time has come to fix an 88-year-old mistake in the state flag perpetuated since the first hand-embroidered version was made.

State Rep. Julie Fisher says the design does to not adhere to the law regarding the original design of the flag, The Salt Lake Tribune reported Saturday.

"Back in 1922, a woman (Dolly McMonegal) made a finely embroidered copy of the flag for the state," at a time when most flags were handmade, Fisher says.

But McMonegal either made the shield on it too small or the word "Utah" within it too big, leaving no room in the shield for "1847" (the year Mormon pioneers arrived in the Salt Lake Valley) as the law mandated, she says.

"The '1847' is supposed to be inside the shield. If you look at the state seal -- which the flag is based on -- it is inside the shield there," she says.

Fisher has introduced a resolution asking flag makers to correct the design.

"My resolution would allow people to use the flags they have today as long as they want," she says. "Then when they replace them with a new flag, it would follow the actual statute."

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Salvation Army gets gold nugget donation

MIAMI, Dec. 26 (UPI) -- A Florida Salvation Army bell ringer says an anonymous donor placed "a family keepsake" gold nugget worth thousands of dollars into her hands.

Lorraine Momberger, a 37-year-old single mother who had moved from the Panama City are to South Florida looking for new opportunities, was ringing her bell outside a Publix supermarket Dec. 22 when a woman dropped some change on the ground.

After offering to retrieve the change, Momberger felt another person push something into her hand, The Miami Herald reported Sunday.

By the time Momberger stood up, the person was gone and in her hand was a small plastic sandwich bag containing the nugget with a note: "'This Gold nugget is a family keepsake. Please use its value to help those in need with The Salvation Army.' A Friend."

Momberger called a supervisor immediately to report what happened, the Herald said.

An anonymous caller rang the Salvation Army's Miami office about the same time saying she had just dropped off a gold nugget at the same location, said Judith Mori, director of development for the Miami-Dade Salvation Army.

Salvation Army Capt. Bruce Williams, who overseas the area had the nugget appraised at $2,800, the newspaper said.

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"We're really glad that we got that donation. We really needed it this year,'" Momberger said.


Christmas texting drops in Sweden

STOCKHOLM, Sweden, Dec. 26 (UPI) -- The number of Christmas text messages is declining as other methods of communicating become more popular, observers in Sweden said.

The Swedish news agency TT said it determined the number of text messages sent through four major telephone networks decreased by 4 million messages this year.

"Seven or eight years ago people started texting their Christmas greetings, instead of calling to wish a merry Christmas. My guess is that in a year or two people will send Christmas greetings via Facebook, Twitter, or the like," said Erik Hornfeldt, from the telephone operator Tre.

Even though the number of text messages sent through Tre and Tele2 declined, Telia and Telenor set new records for the number of text messages sent Christmas Eve.

The trend toward fewer Christmas text messages is also reflected in some neighboring countries, the report said.

In Denmark, the number of text messages sent through Telia dropped by 1 million, while data traffic increased by 36 percent. Norway's Telenor said its text messaging traffic has dropped by 5 million over the past two Christmas holidays.

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"We're convinced that several of those who have sent text messages with Christmas greetings in the past now increasingly communicate through Facebook and other social media," said Per Aril Meling, Telenor's information officer.

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