Originally created 09/08/01

Odds and ends



LAKE SHORE, Minn. -- A retired Honeywell engineer expected to receive a federal tax rebate of $600, but his check from the IRS was a penny short.

Days after Philip Gallion got a check for $599.99, he received a four-page letter from the IRS explaining that his rebate had been reduced to cover interest he owed on an underpayment of his 2000 taxes.

"I thought maybe I had misread the stories about the refund," he said. "Maybe there was a sliding scale. But a penny?"

Gallion, 67, called a telephone number provided in the letter.

"It was the longest recorded message I've ever listened to," he said. "I ate my whole breakfast waiting for a person to talk to."

When a person finally came on the line, she confirmed Gallion's identity, then looked up his account records.

"She said I made a calculation error of 46 cents," he said. "She said they wrote it off, but the computer can't write it off, so it generated a letter."

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POWELL, Wyo. -- A New York City artist wants to say cheese in Wyoming in a big way.

Cosimo Cavallaro plans to coat a vacant house in this town in tons of cheese. But he's going have to postpone the project for a couple of weeks.

Mayor Jim Milburn said the need for a $1 million liability insurance policy will delay Cheesefest from Sept. 15 until Oct. 1.

A Wisconsin company is donating five tons of cheddar, Swiss and other varieties that were destined for the dump. Cavallaro is still looking for a cheap way to move all that cheese to Wyoming.

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CLARKSBURG, W.Va. -- It's been four years since his visit - and months since he left office - but only now are the signs welcoming President Clinton to Clarksburg coming down.

The Parking Authority decided Wednesday to remove two signs on the city parking garage, public works Superintendent Anthony Bellote said.

To avoid waste, Bellote hopes to recycle at least part of the messages, removing only Clinton's name and the reference to his visit.

"What I'll do is come up with a couple of different scenarios of slogans we might use, get a cost estimate and take that back to the Parking Authority," he said. "They may decide to put them back up or not."

The signs are on the side of the building that faces U.S. Route 50.

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SALEM, Ore. -- Most inmates try to break out of prison, but authorities say 26-year-old Joel Damen Montoya tried to do the opposite.

Hours after he was released from the Oregon State Correctional Institution, Montoya tried to force his way back in Wednesday night by cutting a razor-wire fence, corrections officials said.

It wasn't immediately clear why Montoya was trying to return to the prison but corrections department spokeswoman Perrin Damon said he may have been trying to help another prisoner escape.

Montoya, who had just completed a year in prison for sex abuse, was put in the custody of the Oregon State Police.