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'OZ' - The 'Other' Side of the Rainbow: Gossip From Around The Water Cooler

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Monday, August 23, 2004

Gossip From Around The Water Cooler


Gossip from around the water cooler

The Robbery

(Collierville, Tennessee) A mustached man donning a green sun dress made off with $4,000 from a Collierville, Tennessee bank, but he didn't make the best-dressed list.

Witnesses say the bank robber could have used a little fashion help.

But his get-up was successful in helping him get away.

Police are searching for the man who robbed the bank while wearing the dress and a woman's wig.

"It was a leaf design, but muted," a woman who witnessed the holdup said of the robber's frock.

"He looked a mess," said another witness.

The witnesses said the robber was obviously male, given away by his muscular legs -- and the mustache.

Police Capt. Tommy McCaskill said the robber threatened a teller at a branch bank in a Kroger store in this Memphis suburb but did not show a weapon. No one was hurt.

As the robber fled, he tried to cover the mustache with one hand while grasping what police said was $4,000 in the other.

Woman Finds Finger In Salad

Court Papers Claim Kitchen Worker Cut His Finger

NEW YORK (AP) A Manhattan woman reportedly has filed a $3 million lawsuit against a midtown Manhattan restaurant after she found a finger tip and nail in her salad.

The New York Post reports the lawsuit filed in Manhattan State Supreme Court says the incident happened August 19th, when the woman was eating a beet salad that had been taken out of Rue 57 Brasserie.

The newspaper says the restaurant did not return a call for comment.

The lawsuit says Marina Andriynannikova was eating the salad in her apartment when she bit down on something hard. Andriynannikova says the manager of the restaurant went to the apartment.

Her court papers say the restaurant learned later that a kitchen worker had cut his finger.

Tying The Knot At Wal-Mart

BOISE, Idaho (AP) Somewhere between the junk food aisle and the automotive department, Pat Byrd and Bill Hughes fell in love.

So it was only natural that they should marry where the magic happened -- Wal-Mart.

"It never dawned on me to have it anyplace else," said the 55-year-old bride.

Neither bride nor groom work at the discount store. Still, they spend more time there than many employees do, wandering the aisles and visiting friends for up to six hours a day, nearly every day since the store opened two years ago.

"I talk to people and walk around for exercise, and we always buy a soda or a sandwich or something," 51-year-old Hughes said. "If we're not here, the store people worry about us. They're our family."

Both Pat Byrd and Bill Hughes are disabled. They met nine years ago, when Bill was a patient at a North Idaho hospital and so was Pat's sister.

"He became a good friend, and when my sister died, we kept him in the family," she said. "He doesn't drive, and any time he went to Wal-Mart, I'd take him."

They celebrated their blooming love with a ceremony Friday in Wal-Mart's garden center. The store manager was a groomsman, and a fabric department employee was matron of honor.

A garden center employee, Chuck Foruria, walked alongside Pat as she rode her motorized shopping cart down the makeshift aisle, her oxygen tank in the basket.

"Who gives this woman in marriage?" asked Stacey Garza of the Free Will Church.

"Her friends and family at Wal-Mart," Foruria replied.

Couple Wins The Baby Lottery

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) Allyssa and Grant Kuseske joke that they've won the baby lottery. The winning numbers must have been 2-2.

On Thursday, Allyssa Kuseske gave birth to their second set of twins in a year.

"We are kind of on the accelerated plan," Allyssa laughed as she cradled her new son Caleb on Saturday.

Doctors at United Hospital in St. Paul say they've never seen two sets of twins from the same parents in a year's time. The likelihood of having two sets of twins over the course of a woman's childbearing years is less than 2 percent, doctors say.

The couple said the first set was born with a little help from medical science, while the latest pair was an "oops."

Identical twins Caleb and Daniel arrived Thursday one minute apart, weighing 5 pounds 4 ounces and 5 pounds 11 ounces, respectively.

Their big brother and sister, Samuel and Olivia, turn 1 on Aug. 30.

Mom and Dad have already begun preparations, like trading in the pickup for an SUV. They've also been tracking down cribs, high chairs and a stroller to tote the four tots. They figure they'll be changing 36 diapers a day.

"Invest in Huggies," Allyssa said.

Watermelon Raider Caught

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (AP) Not even loud rock 'n' roll music could discourage a 350-pound bear that repeatedly raided plums and watermelons from a couple's garden.

Eldon and Gerry Nihues hung a radio from the plum tree, tuned it into a rock station and turned it up loud in hopes of scaring off the bear, which helped itself to about 50 watermelons, including 11 in one night.

"It was this crazy rock stuff that was playing, but it didn't bother him," Gerry Nihues said. "He'd eat the plums right out from under where the thing was playing."

The state Division of Wildlife set out a trap, and the bear walked into it Wednesday night. Wildlife officers tranquilized the bear, tagged it and released it in a remote area.

Eight bears have been relocated from the area in the past three weeks, Division of Wildlife spokesman Randy Hampton said. More encounters are expected as bears try to fatten up before hibernating for the winter.

Jenny Gets Her Number

867-5309SCHAUMBURG, Ill. (AP) It all started with a phone number.

A seemingly random combination of digits that inspired an early '80s pop song is now the license plate number for Schaumburg resident Jennifer Fletcher's Jeep Cherokee.

But the endless efforts of mathematicians to calculate the digits of the geometric formula Pi almost pale in comparison to Fletcher's persistent pursuit of her preferred permutation.

"867-5309/Jenny" was Tommy Tutone's catchy 1982 hit about the possibility of true love found in a girl's phone number written on a wall.

Although Fletcher shares the name of the song's celebrated heroine, the thought of making the number her license plate didn't occur to her until last year. Idling in traffic, she noticed that the new random Illinois license plate numbers featured all numerals. As the numbers started getting higher in sequence, the thought of getting that number got too good to pass up.

"I've been inquiring to the secretary of state's office for over a year with phone numbers, e-mails, everything," Fletcher said.

The answer she heard most often: The numbers are only released in sequence, and the sequence hadn't reached the number she wanted. Furthermore, all-digit combinations aren't recognized as vanity plates and can't be specially requested.

Still, no one ever told her it was impossible.

Finally she was sent to the voicemail of the woman who would ultimately help her. When they first spoke, the woman couldn't understand what the attraction of the number was. Then Fletcher told her to read it again as if it were a phone number.

"She said, 'Oh my God, it's the "Jenny, I've got your number" song, and you're Jenny!'"

Though the woman seemed sympathetic to Fletcher's cause, she said the department would still be unable to break the sequence of the numbers.

Fletcher asked that she at least be given info about whomever the plates were issued to in order to negotiate a swap. But even that was unlikely, she was told.

Then, in late July, she got a phone call from the woman at the secretary of state's office.

"When she called, she shouted, 'Jenny, I've got your number!'" Fletcher recalled, laughing.

Only because the number was part of the next batch and only because Fletcher had expressed so much interest did she get her wish.

It was really a combination of both factors, rather than the state changing its policy on requests, she said. In other words, it's still next to impossible to request the license plate you want unless you shell out the money for a vanity plate.

"Vanity plates and personal plates are defined by statute," said Randy Nehrt, spokesman for the secretary of state's office. Anything outside of that definition is a standard plate.

Plates are produced and stored in bulk as an economical measure for the state and its taxpayers. To start breaking up the pre-produced sets before their regular release would be costly effort and isn't permitted, Nehrt said.

"That's definitely a coincidence that that worked out that way for that individual," he said of Fletcher's story.

During the week Fletcher's plates were waiting on a desk at the secretary of state's office, nearly everyone who walked by started singing the song, she was told.

Now that the plates are on her vehicle, Fletcher said her two teenage sons see the whole thing as embarrassingly retro. For 17-year-old Dan, borrowing the Jeep has definitely lost its appeal in the last week, she said without a trace of regret.

"But everyone who grew up then and remembers the music from the '80s has said, 'That's cool!'"

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