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Dec. 25, 2012 at 6:00 AM
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Woman collects 500 black Santas

POMPANO BACH, Fla., Dec. 24 (UPI) -- A Florida woman who has been collecting black Santas for more than 40 years said she has more than 500 objects depicting dark-skinned St. Nicks.

Connie McKinley, 68, a retired teacher from Pompano Beach, said her collection includes 5-foot-tall dancing dolls, small figurines, tree ornaments, and toys depicting Santa doing a myriad of activities, including firefighting, cooking and creating art, the South Florida Sun Sentinel reported Monday.

"There are Santas doing everything," McKinley said.

McKinley said she bought her first black Santa about 1970, when she saw it in a catalog.

"I kept thinking, I want to show my daughter a Santa that looked like her," McKinley said. "So I bought a black Santa."

McKinley's daughter, Jackie McKinley, 43, said she didn't really appreciate the meaning of the black Santas until she reached adulthood.

"A Santa that looks like me, that's deep for a kid," she said. "I just thought they were cool. ... I start to think about it now, though, and I go into stores and I'm like, 'Why doesn't this store have a black Santa? Come on!'"

German prince bringing bison back

BAD BERLEBURG, Germany, Dec. 24 (UPI) -- A forest-owning German prince said he is bringing European bison to live in the wilds of Germany for the first time since the 18th century.

Prince Richard of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg, 78, said a heard of eight European bison, known as wisent, are being introduced to his 32,124-acre forest surrounding the town of Bad Berleburg after the state Environment Ministry in Dusseldorf issued its approval for the animals to be released from the acclimation enclosure they have occupied since 2010, Der Spiegel reported Monday.

The prince said the bison will be the first of their species to occupy the wild in Germany since 1746. He said the scheme is nearly a decade in the making.

Johannes Rohl, 54, manager of the prince's forest, said the herd will initially be limited to 25 head.

He said the herd is unlikely to be dangerous to humans.

"You have to have respect for the animals, of course," Rohl said. "If the wisent wants to kill you, he can do it."

Debauchery 'king' arrested at party

ST. CLOUD, Fla., Dec. 24 (UPI) -- A Florida man who dubbed himself the "King of Rock and Roll Debauchery" threw a wild party at his home and wound up in jail, authorities said.

The Osceola County Sheriff's Office said Michael Ward, 31, who goes by the name Mike Busey, was arrested early Saturday after an undercover investigator crashed "Mike Busey's End of the World Sexy Santa Holiday B-Day" party and discovered laws being broken, the Orlando Sentinel reported.

The sheriff's office said the party at Ward's St. Cloud home, which he calls the Sausage Castle, involved an unlicensed bar selling alcoholic beverages and many revelers smoking marijuana.

Ward, who posted a photo online of himself in the back of the patrol car, was arrested and charged with selling alcohol without a liquor license. Investigators said further charges were likely.

Woman trying to addle cop drives into home

RED HOOK, N.Y., Dec. 24 (UPI) -- A New York state woman whose car crashed through the front door of a house, nearly hitting a woman watching TV, was trying to distract police, police said.

Lynn Sarnowski, 47, of Elizaville, N.Y., was charged with misdemeanor drunken driving and reckless endangerment after she drove past a Red Hook, N.Y., police officer on a winding country road at nearly 100 mph, lost control and smashed through the door of the house, narrowly missing homeowner June Lawson, Red Hook town police said.

Sarnowski started driving at the high speed to distract the town officer who had pulled over a friend of hers for possible drunken driving, police said.

Red Hook is in the Hudson Valley about 100 miles north of New York City.

Sarnowski, who had to be extricated from her car, was taken to a Poughkeepsie, N.Y., hospital, where she was charged and issued a misdemeanor drunken-driving ticket to appear in Red Hook Town Court, police said.

She was later arrested and charged with two counts of reckless endangerment, the Poughkeepsie Journal reported.

At the Red Hook home, Jason Lawson, who was on the second floor when the accident occurred, was injured when he fell down the stairs, not realizing they had been taken out by the car running into the house, the Kingston Daily Freeman reported.

Both Lawsons declined medical attention.

The operator of the vehicle originally stopped by police, Gary A. Dodge, 57, of Elizaville, was charged with two counts of felony drunken driving. He was arraigned in town court and released on his own recognizance.

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