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K Marx The Spot

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27 December 2008

Dissociated Press

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune has already told the Associated Press that it plans to drop the wire service in 2010, because of a large rate increase.

The Star-Tribune's contract calls for a two-year notice, but I still suggest that the paper tink twice before it runs many AP stories. Apparently the Associated Press considers newspaper readers to be fools. The following story ran in the Star-Tribune earlier this month:

A Murfreesboro [Tennessee] woman says she returned $97,000 she claims to have found in a Cracker Barrel restroom, but police said Tuesday they have no report of the find. Billie Watts, 75, told The Daily News Journal that she discovered the money inside a tapestry bag hanging from a hook on a stall door last Thursday.

But five days later, the money and its anonymous owner remain something of a mystery in the community, where police said that they have no report of the find.

While digging through the bag to figure out its owner, Watts says she found a bundle of neatly stacked $1,000 bills.

Watts said she and her husband took the money home, but later called the restaurant back and asked if there was a lost-and-found department. She was told yes, and left her number.

A woman called about 15 minutes later and verified she was the owner by identifying pictures left in the bag. Watts returned the bag to the owner, whom she described as an elderly woman, but said she does not have the woman's last name or phone number.

I have sympathy for Billie Watts, who seems to be desperate for posituve attention, yet does not seem to be trying to make a buck off of a story she made up.

Her story is not impossible on its face, but there is one thing that makes it nearly impossible. $1,000 bills have been out of circulation since 1969 (and were last printed in 1945). It is very, very, very unlikely that anyone who is not a numismatist has had 97 of these puppies sitting under their mattress for the last four decades.

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Posted by Tim W at 12/27/2008 10:55:00 AM

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