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A variation on the Cinderella story

City officials in Damariscotta, Maine, say an unidentified woman who is flushing her underwear down her toilet is costing the city $4,500 a year in sewer repair bills. The city tried sending letters to citizens detailing the problem. "But we're now considering a house-to-house search," said Mary Smith, the local water district superintendent. "The panties are on the small side with cute little patterns, so we think it's a teen or a pre-teen."

In memory of Frank Zappa

A Japanese man who sparked a huge dispute by trying to name his son "Devil" has now opted to call the baby "God" instead, a Tokyo tabloid reported recently.

Aren't they supposed to use laundry trucks?

A prisoner in Immokalee who apparently escaped in a garbage truck was found crushed to death in a landfill recently. Prison officials discovered the inmate, who was serving a life sentence for attempted kidnapping, missing about 45 minutes after a garbage truck left the prison. Guards found his body at a landfill, a victim of the truck's compactor.

Honoring the Third Rye Hike

A white supremacist from Fort Lauderdale asked recently for permission to wear a Ku Klux Klan robe at his murder trial and for his name to be changed on all court documents to "the honorable and respected name of Hi Hitler." The man, who is accused of strangling a prostitute, thought Adolf Hitler's followers said "Hi Hitler" rather than "Heil Hitler."

Well, it WAS sort of a human service.

A Texas state employee was charged recently with running a prostitution ring on the job, allegedly using state computers to keep a client list that included several state legislators. Austin police said the man, a 23-year veteran of the Texas Department of Human Services, allegedly maintained records on his office computer for an escort business he acquired two years ago.

Guess she can kiss that Student of the Week award goodbye, too.

A 13-year-old girl from a youth home in Titusville attacked and threatened to kill a bus attendant after the woman refused to give her a good behavior stamp.

Funny, but she had this strange smile on her face . . .

According to police, Jonathan Lamas and a companion burglarized two Houston homes last November and fled in a stolen pickup truck. Then they drove through a radar checkpoint and were pursued by officers before running off the road and fleeing on foot.

The companion ran into a home and was chased off by an 87-year-old man who fired several shots at him. Lamas ran into a back yard and jumped over a fence in the dark. He landed in the sty of Mona, a 200-pound pig. When officers arrived, Mona had Lamas pinned with her snout.

Lamas pleaded guilty recently to car theft, burglary and drug possession.

We have a long distance call from a Ms. Lazer.

"Dear Ms. Lazer: In case you didn't know it already, you're dead. You died Aug. 30, 1990, and have no survivors," read a letter sent recently by the city of Allentown, Pa. to Diane Lazer.

The letter explained to Lazer _ who died at age 44 when a gas explosion leveled her house _ that it was closing her employment claim against Lehigh County Prison. She had made a complaint in 1988, the year she left her job as a prison guard.

The letter went on to remind her that she still can sue the county, advised her to seek an attorney's help, and said that if she has questions, she can call City Hall.

Nicholas Butterfield, the human relations officer who wrote the letter, said he hadn't heard from Lazer yet.

"To be honest with you," he said, "I don't expect a reply."

Home Alone, Part 3

Police in New Orleans thought they had a criminal case of child abandonment recently when a 3-year-old boy was found alone at a pizza restaurant at closing time.

Until they learned the boy's mother and grandmother took seven children to Chuck E Cheese's Restaurant for supper. Afterward, they herded the kids into their cars and drove to their separate homes.

In the morning, the woman called her mother to say she was coming over to pick up her 3-year-old son. The mother replied, "Wasn't he with you?" The boy had spent the night in police custody after the restaurant staff found him.

Investigators believe the mother's story is legitimate.