Watercooler Stories

Sept. 19, 2012 at 6:30 AM
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Woman going to court to keep chicken

BLUFFTON, S.C., Sept. 18 (UPI) -- A South Carolina woman said she will argue in court her family should be able to keep a chicken because it is a pet, not a farm animal banned by city ordinance.

Stephanie Stewart, 41, of Bluffton admitted she did not have permission from the city or from her homeowner's association when her family adopted Smartie the chicken, but she plans to argue in Bluffton Municipal Court that the foul is a family pet, not a banned livestock animal, The Hilton Head (S.C.) Island Packet reported Tuesday.

"Growing up in Indiana ... I think of cows and horses as livestock," Stewart said. "I am not looking to farm, and I'm not going to build an ugly coop in my yard. [Smartie] sleeps in a dog crate in the garage. She mostly stays in my flower beds underneath plants I have out there. She scratches around, and if it's getting dark, she will peck on the door to come in."

Stewart said her family adopted Smartie in June and her 3-year-old daughter, Shaelyn, is particularly fond of the bird.

Town Manager Anthony Barrett said police cited Stewart Aug. 30 after receiving a complaint about the ordinance violation.

"I will assure you the police department was not just riding through the neighborhood and saw a chicken and issued a citation. A complaint was filed, and the police department responded," he said.

Neiman Marcus targets thrift store's name

COLOMBIA, S.C., Sept. 18 (UPI) -- A South Carolina thrift shop supporting a women's shelter said retailer Neiman Marcus is trying to get it to change the store's name.

Debbie McDaniel, who opened the thrift store Revente's Last Call two years ago in Colombia, and donates 100 percent of the shop's profits to the local Women's Shelter, said she received a letter Friday from Neiman Marcus officials saying they want the name changed because it could be confused with Last Call by Neiman Marcus, the company's clearance store, The State, Colombia, reported Tuesday.

Neiman Marcus, which operates its nearest Last Call store more than 220 miles away in Lawrenceville, Ga., said it has owned the trademark on "Last Call" for clothing sales since 1993 and McDaniel must change the name of her thrift shop.

"I'm just sad that something that was started strictly for good has come under fire," McDaniel said.

Ginger Reeder, a spokeswoman for the Dallas-based Neiman Marcus, said the company wants an "amicable resolution." She said the company can't pick and choose when to protect its trademarks.

"We're not trying to shut them down. We're not trying to get in the way of their good work," she said. "What we do need to protect is our trademark. We have to be consistent."

Man agrees to pay broom-hitting fine

MAISACH, Germany, Sept. 18 (UPI) -- An 88-year-old German man has dropped his appeal and agreed to pay a $2,610 fine for hitting his 65-year-old son with a broom.

The men, who share a house in Maisach, appeared in court Monday before Judge Michaela Welnhofer, who twice had to shout at the pair to stop them from quarrelling in the courtroom, The Local.de reported Tuesday.

The older man, who was convicted of criminal assault and ordered to pay the fine in December, said in his appeal he had not struck his son, but had rather pushed him with the broom in self-defense to keep from being strangled.

However, the man eventually decided in the courtroom to drop the appeal and pay the fine.

"I'd be ashamed of coming to court with this nonsense," Welnhofer told the men.

Helicopter used to ask girl to dance

NOKESVILLE, Va., Sept. 18 (UPI) -- Students at a Virginia school are abuzz after a boy employed the use of a U.S. Customs and Border Protection helicopter to ask a female classmate to a dance.

Victoria Burress, 17, said her friend, whose father works as a senior official in air operations at the agency, had the helicopter fly low over the grounds at Patriot High School in Nokesville shortly after the end of school Wednesday and parachuted a stuffed bulldog down to the football field with a note attached asking her to the Fall Fest dance, The Washington Post reported Tuesday.

The Post said the boy's name was not released because he and his parents declined to comment.

"He knew it was my senior year, and I've been asked some pretty creative ways before this," Burress said. "Everyone thinks that we like each other, but it's not like that at all. It's just unusual to be that close with a guy and to have him still do something nice for you."

CBP officials said an investigation has been opened into the incident.

"We are aware of reports that a locally based CBP helicopter was used improperly by local CBP personnel Sept. 12," officials said in a statement. "CBP management is looking into the matter and the pilot in command of the aircraft has been relieved and reassigned to administrative duties pending completion of the review of the incident."

Irene Cromer, a Prince William County Public Schools spokeswoman, said the school's principal was made aware of the stunt ahead of time and gave approval.

"It was completely authorized," Cromer said. "They did ask for permission. They were granted permission."

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