Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

The skinny

The skinny: If Santa gets stuck, here's who to call

Unconventional entry

If Santa gets stuck, here's who to call

It seemed like such a seasonal solution to a problem. George Herrera, 18, broke his curfew in returning home in Stockton, Calif., this week and tried to figure out how to cover up the infraction. That's when he looked at the chimney. Works for Santa, right? So he made his way down the opening until, despite a physique leaner than that of the jolly old elf, he got stuck. He was in there about 90 minutes before fire officials responded and got him out. "We're not specifically trained to rescue people from chimneys," Art Ray of Stockton's fire department told the Record, "but we are trained to pull people from confined spaces."

Animal transport

Venison and booze don't go together

Police say Andrew Caswell, 29, made a commendable effort to help an injured deer. He was driving with three companions in suburban Rochester, N.Y., when he accidentally hit the animal. After the group argued as to their next move, Caswell decided that the only thing they could do was load the deer into the car and take it to the hospital. It was a hospital for people, but it was the thought that counts. Before Caswell got to the hospital, police stopped the car and noticed two things: First, there was a deer in the trunk and it was, by then, dead. Second, one of the reasons Caswell hit the deer was because, police say, his blood-alcohol level was 0.16, twice the legal limit.

Stowaway found before its too late

The story of Eclipse the cat also involves an animal in an unconventional mode of transportation, but with a way happier ending for everyone. A man driving across Ohio stopped at a rest area after traveling 200 miles. He thought he smelled something weird, so he lifted the hood to check it out and found a cat in the engine compartment. The smell was from burns, but a vet checked him out and said he'd be fine. The SPCA is trying to find the owner of the big black and white cat, but until they do, they're calling him Eclipse, after the make of the car he traveled in.

Spirit of giving

Customer has big tip for diner staff

Glenn Ludwig of Aberdeen, Wash., was a pretty big fan of the town's America's Diner and felt terrible for the dozen employees when it went out of business in November. The employees hadn't been paid for some time when the restaurant closed, and that upset Ludwig enough to start a "Grinch fund," in which he collected money to cover their back wages, KXRO-AM reports. He figured he needed $16,000 to bring them current. So far, he has raised more than $17,000. He says any extra money he raises will go to a local charity.

Compiled from wire services and other sources by staff writer Jim Webster, who can be reached at

The skinny: If Santa gets stuck, here's who to call 12/22/11 [Last modified: Thursday, December 22, 2011 8:41pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Hernando commissioners question sheriff's accounting of federal inmate dollars

    Local Government

    BROOKSVILLE — As Hernando County Sheriff Al Nienhuis and his staff presented his proposed 2017-18 budget earlier this month, county Commissioner Steve Champion threw out an unexpected question.

    Sheriff Al Nienhuis and the county fought over his department’s budget last year.
  2. Unused county property in Pasco could soon sprout community gardens

    Local Government

    NEW PORT RICHEY — Unused property in Pasco County may soon sprout community gardens that beautify neighborhoods and promote healthier lifestyles among residents, thanks to an ordinance passed unanimously Tuesday by the County Commission.

    A new Pasco ordinance allows the public to build community gardens and farms on county-owned property and also provides design, operations and maintenance standards for them.
  3. Treasure Island city manager search to start from scratch

    Local Government

    TREASURE ISLAND — City commissioners, disappointed with the number and quality of applicants for city manager, decided Tuesday to start over and hire an executive search firm.

    Treasure Island Commissioner Ken Keys thought adding former Madeira Beach city manager Shane Crawford to the pool would "bring a little too much drama.''
  4. Family escapes fire that destroys New Tampa home


    A family is safe after an overnight fire destroyed a single-story home in New Tampa on Thursday, according to Tampa Fire Rescue.

    An overnight house fire destroyed a home at 10265 Estuary Dr in New Tampa on Thursday. The family's smoke detectors helped everyone get out of the house safely, fire officials said. [Tampa Fire Rescue]
  5. Forecast: Hot, humid conditions across Tampa Bay with less rain in wake of Tropical Storm Cindy


    Drier air will push into the Tampa Bay area in the wake of Tropical Storm Cindy, providing a little relief from the rain — but not the heat and humidity.

    Tampa Bay's 7 day forecast. [WTSP]