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The skinny

Secret Santa has successor in Kansas City

Holiday spirit

Secret santa has successor in Kansas City

Kansas City has a new Secret Santa who already has handed out about $14,000 to unsuspecting recipients citywide. The Secret Santa is carrying on the legacy of Larry Stewart. Stewart spent years anonymously handing out $100 bills around Christmastime. He died in 2007 after giving away about $1.3 million over more than two decades. Stewart remained anonymous until shortly before his death. The new Secret Santa hopes keep his identity secret as well. He's also picked about 20 others who are handing out money nationwide, including in Phoenix; Charlotte, N.C.; Detroit; Ventura, Calif.; and Tulsa, Okla. Altogether, they expect to give out between $250,000 and $300,000 this year. "But we don't really work with a budget," Kansas City's Secret Santa said. "We work from the heart."

Gross-country trip

Traffic diversion a bloody mess

Commuters on New Zealand's State Highway 2 between Woodville and Dannevirke were asked to take a 10-minute detour Tuesday after a report that a car slid and crashed on the road. Or more accurately, the reason for the crash: A mess of blood, fat and discarded pieces of butchered animals spread some 10 miles and was up to a foot deep in parts after a tailgate opened on a truck. New Zealand Transport Agency contractors on the job said it was a "pretty bloody awful" scene, with animal heads and carcasses among the mess. "It's not really a good day for my boys," a spokesman said. "Offal spills have a huge amount of fat in them and that poses a risk to the public so we closed the road." Police were warning road users to wash their vehicle thoroughly to avoid infection.

Shiny streets

Drivers not down with glass on roads

In Prescott, Ariz., the sparkling appearance of a number of city streets this week is the aftermath of snow-removal efforts that took place during this week's snowstorm, says a city official. Prescott field operations manager Chad McDowell reported Wednesday that the glass-like appearance on the shoulders and gutters of about 10 city streets was caused by, well, glass. The city is trying a new mix to treat icy and snowy streets, incorporating pulverized glass from the recycled bottles that it collects at its transfer station. The mix was supposed to be tried out at the station, but in the middle of Monday night, a worker accidentally filled some of the snow-removal trucks with the material that contained crushed glass. McDowell said the glass product works well because of the reflection from the sun. But residents weren't buying it. McDowell said the material likely won't be used in future storms.

Compiled from Times wire services and other sources.

Secret Santa has successor in Kansas City 11/30/09 [Last modified: Friday, December 11, 2009 1:01am]
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