Santa gets the pink slip at NY county store

Santa’s gotten the pink slip. Officials on New York’s Long Island say there is no money in the budget to pay a man $660 for playing Santa at a general store run by Suffolk County.

A spokesman for the county executive tells Newsday that officials already are considering layoffs for 750 employees to help close an estimated $135 million budget gap. They are looking for volunteers to replace 83-year-old David McKell. He has been playing Santa for nine years. County Executive Steve Levy and his top aide have offered to take a shift playing the jolly elf at the store.

Built in 1857, the St. James General Store is on the National Register of Historic Places. It was operated privately for decades until Suffolk took it over in 1990.

Man pays off mother’s 1954 parking ticket

A parking ticket issued 57 years ago in southeast Nebraska has finally been paid off. The fine: a dime. York Police Chief Don Klug says a man walked into the station Tuesday with the ticket and payment — mounted and framed. Klug tells the York News-Times that the man said he found the ticket among his mother’s things and wanted to settle the debt.

The ticket was issued on July 13, 1954, to a vehicle licensed in Oklahoma. The man told Klug that he believed his mother had been visiting York at the time and probably lost track of the citation.

Klug says he plans to hang the framed ticket on the wall of his office in York, about 50 miles west of Lincoln.

Truck hauling doughnuts overturns on NY highway

Authorities say one of the southbound lanes of an upstate New York interstate has reopened after a tractor-trailer hauling doughnuts overturned, spilling the baked goods across the highway.

Broome County Sheriff’s Sgt. Tom Sienko says the driver fell asleep, causing the truck to hit a guardrail and roll over around 2:30 a.m. Friday in the town of Chenango (sheh-NAYNE’-goh), just north of Binghamton. Police say the driver suffered minor injuries.

Sienko says “a lot of doughnuts” spilled when boxes split open, scattering the breakfast treats across the lanes of Interstate 81 and into the median. He says the southbound lanes were closed for less than an hour. The left lane remains closed as highway crews repair the guardrail and remove the doughnuts and rig from the scene.

UK may consider time zone switch

LONDON (AP) — Britain’s government may reconsider long-touted proposals for the U.K. to switch to Central European Time, a move which advocates insisted Saturday would bring lighter evenings and possibly offer the country’s sluggish economy a boost.

Campaigners claim a lawmaker’s proposal made earlier this year to permanently switch Britain’s clocks 60 minutes ahead of current settings would extend the tourism season, cut road deaths and help promote outdoor activities.

Debate over the change, which would see British clocks synchronized with those in continental Europe, has rumbled for years and seen repeated attempts by legislators to press forward the case for reform.

However, opponents insist that northern regions would be badly affected, with darker mornings across northern England and Scotland. Some critics say that the sunrise in Scotland could come as late as 10 a.m. during some winter months.

British Prime Minister David Cameron, speaking during a visit to Australia, said he continued to be interested in the idea of changing the country’s time zone — but stressed that semiautonomous authorities in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland would need to agree.

from The San Jose Mercury News