Mad Minute stories from Tuesday, October 13th - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Mad Minute stories from Tuesday, October 13th

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BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (AP) -- A Connecticut jury on Tuesday rejected a woman's bid to sue her 12-year-old nephew for injuries she says she suffered from his exuberant greeting at his birthday party four years ago.
New York City resident Jennifer Connell claimed the Westport boy acted unreasonably when he jumped into her arms at his 8th-birthday party, causing her to fall and break her wrist. She sued in Bridgeport Superior Court for $127,000.
The Connecticut Post reports that the six-member jury found that the boy was not liable. The newspaper reported that she ignored shouted requests for comment as she passed reporters outside the courthouse.
Connell, a 54-year-old human resources manager, had testified that she loves her nephew but thinks he should be held accountable. She said when the child jumped she tumbled to the ground as she tried to catch him.
"I remember him shouting, 'Auntie Jen I love you,' and there he was flying at me," she testified.
Connell argued that her injuries severely disrupted her life in Manhattan. She told jurors last week that she was at a party recently, and "it was difficult to hold my hors d'oeuvre plate," the Post reported.
Her lawsuit said: "The injuries, losses and harms to the plaintiff were caused by the negligence and carelessness of the minor defendant in that a reasonable 8-year-old under those circumstances would know or should have known that a forceful greeting such as the one delivered by the defendant to the plaintiff could cause the harms and losses suffered by the plaintiff."
The boy, the only defendant, appeared in court with his father, Michael Tarala. A listed phone number couldn't be found for Tarala. The boy's mother died last year.

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MILFORD, Conn. (AP) -- A Connecticut city's school system that canceled Halloween costume parades at its elementary schools has reversed its decision following an outcry from parents.
Milford Superintendent Elizabeth Feser wrote in a letter Monday the controversy over the annual parades was becoming a distraction.
She says the goal in canceling the parades had been to create a substitute Halloween celebration for families that would be inclusive of all children, including those who might not take part in the parades for religious or cultural reasons.
An online petition had been started asking the school district to restore the parades.
Victoria Johannsen is the mother of a third-grader at Live Oaks School. She tells Connecticut Post the decision to cancel was unfair to students who cherish the parades.

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DANBURY, N.H. (AP) -- A New Hampshire police department that recently pulled up some marijuana plants has offered the pot grower counseling in a Facebook post.
Monday's post on the Danbury Police Department's site says if the pot grower gets home, goes for a walk in the woods, finds the summer's "horticulture project" gone and wants to talk about it he or she should call.
It says, "We will offer you some counseling to get through your loss." It says a business card was left.
Accompanying the Facebook post was a photo of marijuana plants on the hood of a police car.
The town of about 1,200 residents is about 30 miles northwest of Concord.

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PICKERINGTON, Ohio (AP) -- An Ohio church congregation ordered a pizza from Domino's during a service, then tipped the driver more than $1,000 that had been collected for the offering.
The driver brought the $5.99 pizza to Sycamore Creek Church in Pickerington in suburban Columbus on Oct. 4. The Rev. Steve Markle brought her onstage and asked her the biggest tip she'd ever received. She said about $10.
That's when Markle told her the teaching at the church had been about generosity so the congregation had taken up an offering for the driver. She broke into tears.
The Columbus Dispatch reports that the congregation was wrapping up a sermon series on "I was Broke. Now I'm Not." The church draws about 500 to 600 people each week.

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A restaurant in New York is offering a 10% stake in the company, if customers can eat a gigantic burrito and drink a margarita in less than an hour. 
Is sounds easy, but "The Grand Chingon Challenge" is not. It's a 30-pound burrito, stuffed with steak, chicken, pork, rice, cheese, beans and salsa. The margarita has an extra kick too-- it's made with a ghost pepper. 
To take part, you have to pay $150, and you don't get that money back if you don't finish. If you take a bathroom break or throw up during the challenge, you'll be disqualified. 

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Citing limited budgets and a need for additional funding, Los Angeles Unified public schools have embraced Hollywood dollars.
To those in the entertainment industry, LAUSD properties offer a premium convenience: beautiful elementary, middle and high school campuses that can be dressed up as any school in America, as they have for films like "Drillbit Taylor" and "Mother's Day".
But after six months fighting for access to public records, reviewing thousands of pages of emails, permits and receipts from LA public schools, NBC4 has learned the millions of production-company dollars made each year by California's largest public school district may come at the cost of education.
Documents we obtained indicate school officials operating without much oversight into the type of content allowed on campus - or the interruptions to teachers and students.
Superintendent Ramon Cortines refused to interview with NBC4 on the topic, and later told investigative reporter Jenna Susko that is because the district's Office of Inspector General is now investigating. The district would not confirm whether any investigation was taking place at this time.
Raunchy jokes laced with obscenities from films such as "Bad Teacher" and television series such as HBO's "Shameless" are common at LA public schools. Records show much of the edgy content found on premium-cable shows such as HBO's "Big Love" and Showtime's "Masters of Sex" is filmed at schools.
And schools also rent to music video production crews, like the one that produced YouTube personality Trisha Paytas' "Hot for Teacher" video, which suggests a teacher having sex with a student in a bathroom stall, and a hit single "Break the Rules" from breakout singer CharliXCX, which glorifies "getting high and getting wrecked."
At Hollywood High School, the cast members of Glee posed for racy pictures, dressed as underage students, in the school's locker room.
The R-rated "Bad Teacher", which starred Cameron Diaz, Justin Timberlake and Jason Segal, filmed numerous scenes at two LAUSD middle schools, a scene depicting marijuana use on the drug-free campus and Diaz performing a suggestive carwash dance to pay for breast implants - both of those scenes at Burroughs Middle School.
"It's pathetic," said Tim Winter, the president of the Parents Television Council. "We're willing to throw our kids under the bus for the sake of a production shoot."
And with hundreds of film shoots every year at L.A. public schools, internal emails reveal some school officials may not be able to keep track of all of the film crews on campus.
At University High School in West Los Angeles, emails show a teacher discovered a man in his "underwear" with his hands tied behind his back, a "ball and gag" in his mouth. The teacher claimed it was in a classroom in front of students.
That film shoot was never approved by school officials or the school district. NBC4 was unable to determine which production company was involved.
"Do you do just let people walk in off the street?" said Jon Coupal, president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association. "Are they going to start letting drug dealers off the street?"
"That strikes us as just being an abject lack of control over the facility," he said.
Schools officials allowed CBS News cameras inside University High School in 2010 to document the benefits of filming, but the principal refused to interview with NBC4.
Maybe it's because NBC4 found some crews have caused major problems while students are in class.
Documents show crews have caused thousands of dollars in damage, were "rude and frequently used profanities," blocked doors to offices, disrupted the bell schedule with an "explosion" for a CBS crime drama series, and even left athletic teams unable to practice.
Teachers complained they are often left with no place to park.
"This is ridiculous," one teacher complained to the LAUSD administration. "I understand we need the money but the kids are suffering and this is totally unfair to the teachers."
NBC4 requested interviews with the principals of Birmingham Community Charter School, Burroughs Middle School, University High School and Marshall High School, but all refused.
When NBC4 contacted LAUSD's board members for comment, all seven refused to interview.
Superintendent Ramon Cortines also declined to talk on camera, so our cameras met him at a back-to-school event put on by LAUSD.
Susko: "Superintendent, I'm Jenna Susko with NBC4. We want to know why you won't talk to us about filming at schools."
Cortines: "The IG is doing an investigation. That's my statement."
Susko: "Into what?"
Cortines: "That is my statement, ma'am."
Cortines later told NBC4, while leaving the building, to "talk to the IG."
But the Inspector General at LAUSD refused to even confirm whether any such investigation was taking place.
"It's very troubling, the fact that people don't want to talk about this," Coupal said. "People in government are very reticent to answer simple questions."
"I think there needs to be more oversight," Coupal said.
And that racy content being filmed at schools?
Cortines' spokeswoman at the district sent NBC4 a statement saying they "ensure that the filming activity is appropriate."
"The content we're talking about is age-inappropriate," said Winter. "Basically looking at the welfare of children as collateral damage to bringing in a few extra bucks."
NBC4 is continuing its investigation into the filming taking place at LAUSD schools with a second part to this investigation Thursday on the NBC4 News at 6.
Full statement from LAUSD Superintendent Ramon Cortines:
The Los Angeles Unified School District is located in what is known as the "Entertainment Capital of the World," and the opportunity to use our campuses as filming locations is a win-win for both the entertainment industry and the District.
Schools provide ready-made sets for production companies, in locations that are close to studios. Filming fees charged by the District directly benefit our schools.
Over the last five years, the District has received nearly $10 million in filming revenue, which has enabled our schools to fund programs and much-needed resources to improve the educational experience of their students. The District has strict policies to ensure money is spent appropriately.
To access the entertainment industry, the District has a contract with the nonprofit FilmL.A., which oversees and coordinates permits and filming activities.
When filming at our schools, production crews must adhere to District policies, as well as state and local laws and regulations. FilmL.A. works with District staff to ensure that the filming activity is appropriate, and determines whether additional safety precautions or personnel are needed. School principals are responsible for notifying parents and staff about planned filming activity.
Our first priority is to educate our students and to provide a safe and conducive learning environment. We are pleased with the partnership that the District has built and sustained with the filming industry, and the respect they have shown to our schools.

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LAKELAND, Fla. (AP) - Authorities say 911 calls from concerned viewers led to the arrest of a Florida woman who was streaming live video of herself while driving drunk.
Lakeland police report 23-year-old Whitney Beall was using the social media app Periscope as she was driving Saturday. The video shows her saying several times that she was drunk. She also said she had a flat tire and didn't know where she was.
Other users messaged her urging her to stop driving before she caused a crash. Some called the police.
An officer logged onto the service and located Beall's car, and officers pulled her over.
A news release says Beall failed a field sobriety test and refused to take a breath test. She was arrested and charged with driving under the influence. She was later released on $500 bail. Jail records didn't list at attorney. Lakeland is about 35 miles east of Tampa.

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A woman in Gastonia, North Carolina was trying to show off, but ended up in jail. 
She was doing doughnuts in her car at an intersection, waving her arm out the window, when she rammed two regular cars, and two patrol cars. 
It was caught on camera, and in the video, you see a woman stop for an officer, but when she backs away and starts going in circles, you see her clip multiple vehicles. 
She finally stopped when she hit a fire hydrant and rolled down an embankment. Police had to pull her from the car. 
No one was hurt, but the woman is facing charges of assault with a deadly weapon
While arresting her, officers say the woman told them her name was "Faith, Hope and Love."

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Some workers at a Walmart in Florence, Alabama apparently weren't too familiar with a certain sexual lubricant. 
A shopper found "Gun Oil," which is popular among gay men, in the store's gun department, for sale at the gun counter. 
It says it's a water based lubricant, but the shopper knew that would rust a gun. When they took a closer look, they discovered it also said "for topical use, apply desired amount to genital areas." Turns out the product was definitely NOT for a gun. 

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HALF MOON BAY, Calif. (AP) -- A rippled white whopper weighing in at 1,969 pounds took the title Monday for plumpest pumpkin at an annual San Francisco Bay Area contest.
Growers gathered with their gargantuan offerings to try to break the world record of 2,323 pounds, which was set by a Swiss grower during a competition in Germany last year.
It didn't happen.
But the winning entry at the Safeway World Championship Pumpkin Weigh-off in Half Moon Bay, south of San Francisco, was no small feat. Steve Daletas of Pleasant Hill, Oregon, won $12,000 for his lumpy, 1,969-pound pumpkin.
"It's been a good year," he said after the contest. "I've never grown an official 1,900-pound pumpkin before."
Forklifts and special harnesses carefully placed the massive pumpkins on an industrial-strength digital scale with a capacity of 5 tons as officials from the county agricultural commissioner's Office of Weights, Sealers, and Measures kept close watch.
Second place went to Ron and Karen Root of Citrus Heights, California, for their 1,806-pound entry. A $500 prize also was awarded to the "most beautiful" pumpkin based on color, shape and size.
With California in its fourth year of drought, some said the dry soil deflated their pumpkin-growing dreams.
"No doubt about it," Gary Miller of Napa, the 2013 winner, told Bay Area news station KNTV. He entered a 1,303-pound pumpkin.
Last year, grower John Hawkley set a North American record with a 2,058-pound entry. He returned to defend his title, but his pumpkin registered 1,447 pounds.
Organizer Tim Beeman said the contest kicks off the Half Moon Bay Art & Pumpkin Festival this weekend.

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