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Jan. 29, 2013 at 6:00 AM
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$185K paid for 19-foot cigar

WESTCHASE, Fla., Jan. 28 (UPI) -- A Florida cigar dealer said he sold a nearly 19-foot long Gran Habano #5 El Gigante cigar for $185,000.

Juan Panesso, who runs in Westchase, said he located the El Gigante for an unidentified buyer who was seeking a number of rare varieties of cigar for his private collection and he was able to get the buyer a discount from the usual $200,000 price tag for an El Gigante, The Tampa (Fla.) Tribune reported Monday.

Panesso said the cigar, which he had shipped out of the country to the unidentified buyer, comes with its own 900-pound wooden carrying case. He said the stogie measures nearly 19 feet long and is more than 3 feet thick.

The dealer said the 1,600-pound cigar contains enough tobacco to make 25,000 average-sized cigars.

"We pride ourselves on finding the hard-to-find cigars," he said. "This shows we are able to fill all our orders."

Pony rescued from well

CARY FITZPAINE, England, Jan. 28 (UPI) -- British firefighters said they used a winch to lift a pony to safety after it fell 8 feet down an old well.

Grace Hilliar, 47, of Cary Fitzpaine, England, said she called authorities after discovering her 5-year-old pony, Nova, had fallen into the well and was chest deep in water, The Sun reported Monday.

"It was lucky she landed on her feet and not her back," Hilliar said. "Luckily Nova is a very calm creature and was very well-behaved."

A spokesman for the fire service said it took 6 hours to lift the pony out of the well using a winch.

"Crews removed a quantity of overgrown shrubs using handsaws and debris from around the well to assist access," the spokesman said. "Then they erected a tripod and shoring equipment and lifted the pony from the well."

Nova was not injured, Hilliar said.

Women drive away robber with 'Jesus'

LAKE CITY, Fla., Jan. 28 (UPI) -- Florida police said an armed robber who interrupted a jewelry party left empty-handed when the homeowner started a chant of "Jesus."

Jacquie Hagler of Lake City said she was hosting a group of 14 women at her house Friday for a jewelry party when the gunman, who had a bandana across his face, entered the home and ordered the women to hand over their money and phones, WJXT-TV, Jacksonville, Fla., reported Monday.

Police said one woman believed the incident to be a gag and said the weapon was a "water gun," leading the robber to put the gun to her head and threaten to "shoot someone."

Hagler said she decided her faith was the answer.

"When I realized what was going on, I stood up and said, 'In the name of Jesus, get out of my house now.' And he said, 'I'm going to shoot someone.' And I said it again, real boldly," Hagler said. "Everybody started chanting, 'Jesus, Jesus, Jesus,' and he did a quick scan of the room, and ran out the door as fast as he could go."

Police said they arrested Derek Lee, 24, on suspicion of home invasion robbery. He was being held in lieu of $200,000 bond.

Investigators said they are investigating whether Lee was also involved in an attempted robbery at a nearby ATM moments prior to the incident at Hagler's home.

Neighbors feud for nearly a decade

LOVELAND, Ohio, Jan. 28 (UPI) -- A pair of Ohio neighbors who have been feuding for nearly a decade are headed to court on allegations one of them killed a 100-year-old tree.

Chris Bucher, who purchased a Loveland home in 2003, is accusing neighbor Judith West of killing a 100-year-old tree on his property, the Cincinnati Enquirer reported Monday.

The neighbors, whose back yards are adjoining, are due in court in March.

"He's very vindictive. The word vindictive is not strong enough. I need to find a meaner word," West said of Bucher.

Bucher, who moved out of the home after several years and now rents it out, said he was not the instigator in the long-running dispute.

"It's not a neighbor feud," Bucher said. "I moved in with good intentions and got abused by the wacky lady."

West and her live-in boyfriend have won three stalking orders against Bucher since he purchased the home in 2003, and she alleges he sprayed her with a water hose while he was supposed remain at least 50 feet away from her.

West alleges Bucher urinates in her yard, pours motor oil on her lawn and calls her profane names.

Bucher alleges West aimed floodlights at his house to pose a nuisance.

The neighbors both said the dispute began shortly after Bucher moved to the neighborhood. Bucher claims West threw leaves and debris over the fence into his yard while she makes an identical claim against him.

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