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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 jwebster@tampabay.com.

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