ROCHESTER, Minn., March 29 (UPI) -- A Minnesota man believed to be the tallest in the United States said donations to his Web site will allow him to buy a new pair of special shoes and then some.
Igor Vovkivinskiy of Rochester, a college student who stands at 7 feet, 8 inches tall, said the 15 foot surgeries he has had in the past three years make it difficult for him to walk without shoes offering proper support. He said he was told by officials at Reebok a pair of size 26 shoes would cost $15,000 to have specially made, WCCO-TV, Minneapolis, reported Wednesday.
Vovkivinskiy, who came to the United States from Ukraine as a child, said his friends recommended he start a Web page to solicit donations to go toward the special shoes and he received more than $25,000 since WCCO-TV aired a story about his plight Monday.
"Thank you so much kind people of Minnesota! Thank you people for your kindness, generosity, outpouring of support," Vovkivinskiy wrote in an online post.
Boy, 12, holds 'thief' sign on corner
DENVER, March 29 (UPI) -- A Colorado father said he made his 12-year-old son carry a sign labeling him a "thief" because he stole $100 from his cousin's wallet.
Joseph Gonzalez said his son, Jose, is spending a large chunk of his spring break holding the sign on the corner of 22nd and Larimer streets in Denver after he took money from his cousin's wallet at the family's Aurora home, The Denver Post reported Wednesday.
"I am a thief. I took money from a family member," the sign reads.
"He's a good kid," Gonzalez said. "This is the first time he's done something like this. I hope it will be the last."
Gonzalez said he is able to supervise his son and keep him fed during his punishment because the corner is located across from his pawn shop.
The father said he is not worried about his son's reputation.
"Nah, he's only 12 years old," he said. "Everybody makes mistakes at that time in their life. It's about being corrected."
Starbucks confirms insect product in drink
SEATTLE, March 29 (UPI) -- A vegetarian Web site is lashing out against U.S. coffee chain Starbucks for using ground-up insects in strawberries-and-creme Frappuccinos.
The Web site, thisdishisvegetarian.com, said a vegan barista who works at a Starbucks sent them a picture of the ingredients list for the strawberry sauce used in the beverages and revealed it contained cochineal extract, a food coloring made from the bodies of ground-up insects indigenous to Latin America, The Seattle Times reported Wednesday.
"We are very, very unhappy to now report that the Strawberries & Creme Frappuccino as well as the Strawberry Smoothies (both made with soy milk) are not vegan," the Web site said.
The barista who sent the picture in said the recipe for the formerly vegan beverage must have been changed a few weeks ago.
A spokesman for Starbucks, based in Seattle, confirmed the use of cochineal extract in the beverages.
"The strawberry base for our Strawberries & Creme Frappuccino does contain cochineal extract, a common natural dye that is used in the food industry, and it helps us move away from artificial ingredients," spokesman Jim Olson said.
Message to thief irks neighbors
SAN ANTONIO, March 29 (UPI) -- Neighbors say they're upset with a San Antonio man who spray-painted a profane message on his garage after someone stole his truck.
Daryl McClain said he spray-painted the message, "To the [expletive] that stole my truck. You are a dead man," on the doors of his garage after his truck was stolen from his home earlier this month, KENS-TV, San Antonio, reported Wednesday.
The message also said, "2K NQA," which McClain said means there is a $2,000 reward for information with no questions asked.
"I speak my mind," McClain said. "Most people keep it in."
McClain's message has yielded complaints from neighbors but police say McClain did not break any laws because it is not a specific threat to an individual and the profane word was not spelled out completely.
McClain said he has not yet received any leads on his stolen truck.
Tallest man in U.S. gets $25,000 for shoes