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THE SKINNY

Operation Smoke

Iraqi donkey has new home in Nebraska

Smoke the donkey is now at his new home in an eastern Nebraska pasture after a more than 6,000-mile journey. Smoke became a friend and mascot to a group of U.S. Marines in Iraq's Anbar province nearly three years ago. Smoke, named for his grayish-tan color, became such a part of the unit that he received his own care packages and cards. Retired Marine Col. John Folsom said Smoke "was a battle buddy, and you don't leave your battle buddy behind." So the Marines worked with the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals International to bring Smoke to the United States. He arrived Wednesday and will live out the rest of his life as a therapy animal at Miracle Hills Ranch.

Budget, shmudget

Bill allows Texans to noodle in peace

Texans who want to catch catfish using only their bare hands would be able to do so legally under legislation approved by the state Senate. While budget negotiations were teetering on the brink of collapse Thursday, state senators voted to legalize hand fishing, or noodling, as it is also called. The fine for noodling is currently $500. The legislation would require noodlers to have a fishing license and freshwater fishing stamp. The measure was already passed by the House and is headed for Gov. Rick Perry's desk, where his signature would make it law.

Here comes the bride

Woman dons dress she wore in 1938

A Muskegon, Mich., woman has strolled down the aisle in her wedding dress for a second time. The first time was 73 years ago. Agnes Anderson wore the dress in 1938 when she married college sweetheart Delmar Anderson in Youngstown, Ohio. The Andersons' marriage lasted more than 50 years until Delmar's death in 1989. Her second trip down the aisle came last week at a vintage bridal gown fashion show at a church. Anderson, 98, said the dress was in mint condition when she retrieved it from a storage box.

Tolkien alert

'Lord of the Rings' is storm warning

Hungary's disaster management agency is testing the country's emergency broadcast system with warnings of severe storms in Middle-earth, the fictional setting of J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings. Messages broadcast Wednesday on state radio and television warned Hungarians about floods and catastrophic weather in Gondor, Rohan, Rivendell, Helm's Deep and other locations inhabited by hobbits, orcs, elves, Ents and dwarves. Officials said they chose Tolkien's fantasy world because they don't want to alarm people by mentioning real locations.

Compiled from Times wires

THIS JUST IN

"I mention Newt Gingrich is running for president, nothing. I mention Donald Trump is not running, you go crazy. Think a minute. Which campaign would have made you happier?"

David Letterman, CBS's Late Show with David Letterman

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