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Village employees here have a reason to

December 22, 1997

JONESVILLE, Mich. (AP) _ Village employees here have a reason to believe in Santa Claus.

An anonymous donor left a gift-wrapped envelope on the front seat of the village finance manager’s car with the instructions that every village employee, police officer, volunteer firefighter, committee or council member be in on a drawing for the prize.

At the village Christmas party, 10-year volunteer firefighter Greg Lonk became the recipient of a five-day trip for two to Acapulco contained in the envelope.

``We’ve never had anything like this happen before,″ village manager Chris Kukulski said. ``When I was doing this at the party, I think some people thought I was pulling their leg.″

Along with the gift was a note which read, in part: ``The enclosed gift has been donated in honor of all those that serve their community.″

The note was signed ``the real Santa Claus.″

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) _ A brief exposure is going to cost attorney Nathan Dinitz about $500.

Dinitz was convicted of intentionally pushing down his pants and exposing his undershorts after Volusia County courthouse guards told him to remove his belt so he could pass through a metal detector.

``They were baggy, like boxers. And they looked old _ old and dirty,″ sheriff’s Sgt. Tim Quigley testified.

The 5-foot-5, 240-pound Dinitz, 51, tried to explain to jurors that his belt helps secure his pants.

``I don’t have to push the pants down. They just fall,″ Dinitz said.

Jurors deliberated 40 minutes Wednesday before finding Dinitz guilty of disorderly conduct. He was ordered to pay $350 in fines and $150 in costs, and write apologies to the security officers and the chief circuit judge.

Dinitz said he’ll appeal.

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CIRCLEVILLE, Ohio (AP) _ Angele Daniel Nichole deserved to win the unusual pet contest. Now the state says the gray squirrel is not only an unusual pet, she’s an illegal pet.

Mary Jane Clifton rescued Angele from the street when she was a baby. She has hand-crocheted winter outfits for the 19-month-old squirrel and created a special area for her to sleep in a linen closet, though Angele has even slept with Ms. Clifton and her husband.

After a picture of Ms. Clifton and Angele appeared in a newspaper for winning the contest, officials with the Ohio Division of Wildlife ordered her to turn over the animal. When she refused, she was charged with possession of wild game for not having a permit to keep the animal.

During a municipal court hearing Thursday, wildlife supervisor James Lehman said state law provides no method for taking a squirrel from the wild alive. Lehman said the only legal way to have a live squirrel in Ohio is to obtain it from a licensed breeder.

The state wants to put Angele with someone who specializes in returning animals to the wild. But Ms. Clifton said experts she has talked to say there is no chance the squirrel could be returned to the wild and that chances are that she would be shot.

``If it comes down to that, I will ask them to let me shoot her myself so I could bury her on our own land,″ Ms. Clifton said.

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COLUMBUS, Miss. (AP) _ When offering plates were passed around for a second time during a recent service, members of Broadacres United Methodist Church found themselves on the other end of the exchange.

As elders passed the plates, Pastor J.W. Chatham made an unusual request of his congregation: ``Take one of the white envelopes from the plate and pass it on.″

Each envelope contained a $10 bill.

Chatham told his flock Dec. 7 that the money was what they had given to the church for God’s work, and God was giving it back to them so individually they could do His work.

Instead of the church selecting a traditional Christmas mission, he admonished them to find a need and apply the $10 to that need.

``There was just an expression of wonderment on their faces,″ said Chatham. ``I could see them thinking, `What in the world does this really mean.‴

Chatham said church members will have the opportunity to tell each other what they did with the money on the Sunday after Christmas.

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