Watercooler Stories

April 18, 2012 at 6:30 AM
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Lottery winner charged with welfare fraud

LANSING, Mich., April 18 (UPI) -- A Michigan woman has been charged with welfare fraud for allegedly failing to report her $1 million lottery jackpot and staying on public assistance.

Amanda Clayton, 25, of Lincoln Park won the $1 million Sept. 12 in the Michigan Lottery's "Make Me Rich" game show, but did not report the income and continued collecting food and medical assistance benefits, state officials said in a release.

She also did not report income from employment while receiving public assistance, as the law requires, officials said.

Clayton, who is charged with two felony counts of welfare fraud, allegedly collected about $5,475 worth of food and medical assistance benefits from August to March for which she was ineligible.

"It's simply common sense that million-dollar lottery winners forfeit their right to public assistance," Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette said in the release. "We will continue to work with local, state and federal authorities to uphold state laws intended to ensure wise stewardship of taxpayer dollars."

The Space Needle painted for anniversary

SEATTLE, April 18 (UPI) -- Seattle's iconic Space Needle has gotten something of a tan to celebrate its 50th anniversary, officials say.

The Space Needle will adopt a hue of "Galaxy Gold," called thus by designers, as a callback to its 1962 debut when it last wore the sienna shade, the Seattle-Post Intelligencer reported.

The Space Needle Facebook page Monday enthusiastically announced, "The Space Needle is going RETRO tomorrow afternoon in preparation for our 50th Anniversary on Saturday, April 21!"

The color, scorned by Prince Charles in 1962 as "the protective paint used on bridges," didn't receive an all-together positive reception at the World's Fair.

Knute Berger, writer in residence at The Space Needle, said 50 years later, the needle is like a time capsule.

"If you come on a busy day to the observation deck or the restaurant it's just like 1962," Berger told KING-TV, Seattle. "The elevator ride up, the food, the crowds of people speaking different languages -- it's a real World's Fair experience."

The needle cropped up in little over a year, which sent excitement through the city.

"It was about 400 days of construction," Berger said. "They called it the 400-day wonder."

Police arrest 'Facebook fugitive'

PORT ANGELES, Wash., April 18 (UPI) -- A Washington state fugitive who described his escape from police on Facebook is now in custody.

In the end, Travis Nicolaysen decided to go quietly. Port Angeles police surrounded a house there Monday after getting a tip he was in the basement, the Peninsula Daily News reported.

"He basically came up from the basement and surrendered," Deputy Police Chief Brian Smith said.

Nicolaysen's Facebook posts after he escaped from police April 4 in two chases on foot became international news. He had exchanges on the site with people who urged him to surrender and those who warned him police were on his trail.

Nicolaysen was being sought for parole violations and police say he is also suspected of assaulting his girlfriend in late March. After his April 4 escape, he changed his relationship status to single.

Police arrest 6-year-old for tantrum

MILLEDGEVILLE, Ga., April 18 (UPI) -- Police say they needed to handcuff a 6-year-old Milledgeville, Ga., girl for allegedly throwing a tantrum that injured a school principal.

Kindergartener Salecia Johnson allegedly tore items from walls, threw furniture and knocked over a bookshelf that injured the principal of Creekside Elementary School.

When police arrived, Salecia was in tears in the principal's office. They said they tried to reason with Salecia but she wouldn't hear it. So they cuffed her.

Police Chief Dray Swicord said he takes a hard line on suspects, regardless of whether they've had nap time.

"Our policy is that any detainee transported to our station in a patrol vehicle is to be handcuffed in the back," Swicord told WMAZ-TV, Macon, Ga. "There's no age discrimination on that rule."

Salecia was taken down to the station and booked on charges of simple assault and damage to property. She will not have to appear in court, but there's no word on whether or not her milk money will cover bail. She was suspended from school until August.

"She has mood swings some days, which all of us have mood swings some days," said Constance Johnson, the girl's mother. "I guess that was just one of her bad days that day."

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