Mad Minute stories from Thursday, December 10th - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Mad Minute stories from Thursday, December 10th

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CINCINNATI (AP) -- A "zombie nativity" that spurred complaints and zoning violation notices last year is on display again in a suburban Cincinnati yard, with a change to avoid fines.
Officials have concluded Jasen Dixon's display complies with local zoning laws because he has removed its roof. Sycamore Township zoning administrator Harry Holbert says the issue was always about the structure and zoning rules, not the zombie figures.
The scene includes a sharp-toothed, grayish figure with black-ringed eyes sitting in the manger where the baby Jesus would be in traditional Christmas nativities.
Dixon was threatened with fines last year when officials said the display violated rules on size and placement of yard structures. WCPO-TV reports he removed it before being cited and didn't have to pay fines.

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PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- An Angora goat apparently sickened from eating toxic vegetation has been cleared for duty at this weekend's Army-Navy Game in Philadelphia.
Bill 36 began Naval Academy mascot training this season. A month ago, it looked like he might not make it to the big game with his twin brother and two older goats nearing retirement.
Bill 36 was nauseated and struggling to breathe. He was rushed from Annapolis, Maryland, to the nearest large-animal hospital, the New Bolton Center outside Philadelphia.
Tests showed he might have eaten an azalea bush, which is toxic to goats. A University of Pennsylvania veterinarian put a tube down his throat and gave him medicine to absorb the toxins. He soon recovered.
Having been lucky himself, Bill 36 will head to Lincoln Financial Field on Saturday to bring the midshipmen good luck.

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HEMET, Calif. (AP) -- Federal officials say a Southern California couple has been arrested on suspicion of smuggling more than 900 endangered and threatened sea turtle eggs into the U.S. from Mexico.
The U.S. Justice Department said this week that Hemet residents Olga and Jose Jimenez have been charged in a four-count indictment. Each faces a maximum sentence of 50 years in prison and $1 million in fines if convicted of all charges.
Officials say the eggs are considered a delicacy in Asia and believed to have aphrodisiac properties. A Sea Turtle Conservancy spokeswoman told The Riverside Press-Enterprise reported the eggs typically bring between $3 and $5 each on the black market.
It wasn't immediately known if the defendants have attorneys who could comment on the indictments.

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NEWTON, Kan. (AP) -- Kansas authorities say an Oregon man was urged to head home after he was spotted taking pictures of a wheat field wearing nothing "but a hat and a smile."
The Harvey County sheriff's office in Central Kansas says the man was first spotted Wednesday afternoon.
Sheriff T. Walton says authorities found the man four hours later - wearing boxers.
Walton said on the office's Facebook page that an officer told the man and his friend that "Kansas is not as liberal as Oregon" and "suggested they continue their travels" back home.
Walton says it's technically not illegal to be publicly naked in the county, as long as one is not trying to arouse oneself or others.
Walton added, "You know folks, you just can't make this stuff up!"

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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- Smoke from burnt sweet potatoes wafting around the town of Farmville has nothing to do with holiday baking.
A silo full of dehydrated sweet potatoes has been smoldering in the town an hour east of Raleigh since at least the week of Thanksgiving, said Farmville town manager David Hodgkins.
Firefighters and other town personnel have been at the scene around the clock since Nov. 27, when Hodgkins said the fire became apparent. At least 25 million gallons of water has been sprayed, but it's not clear when it might be extinguished.
He says the fire doesn't pose a health threat to the town of nearly 5,000 people, but some residents complained about the smoke. He expects the company called Natural Blend to pay firefighting costs, which include water purchased from nearby Greenville.
Natural Blend Vegetable Dehydration opened in 2014 and dehydrates sweet potatoes used primarily in pet food, according to a release from the NCEast Alliance. It employed about 30 people at the time. North Carolina produces more sweet potatoes than any other state.
Bobby Ham, a manager listed in state filings, didn't immediately return a message seeking comment.
It's not clear when or how the fire started. Some dehydrated sweet potatoes in the silo got wet over the summer before drying and solidifying, and the company tried drilling holes to dislodge the hardened mass - which may have created a spark, Hodgkins said.
"It's been described as harder than concrete," he said.
At first, firefighters used a machine to continuously spray water from the side, but they've switched to periodic 10,000- gallon sprays into the top of the silo, he said. Farmville sought advice from experts on fighting oil well fires, and state forestry officials used a helicopter to take infrared images.
"What they're trying to do is allow the silo to burn itself out," he said.

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MOSCOW (AP) -- As part of their campaign to bring Wi-Fi to crowded public spots in the Russian capital, Moscow authorities are connecting up an unlikely new location: cemeteries.
The Moscow city hall said in a statement Thursday that free Wi-Fi will be available at the city's three main cemeteries starting next year.
Artyom Yekimov from a state-owned funeral directors company did not mention the permanent residents of the cemeteries but said Wi-Fi will attract more visitors to the city's' historic cemeteries where many illustrious Russians have found a resting place.
Internet connection will also help visitors to "unwind" at specially designated places in the cemeteries, Yekimov said.
Some 120,000 people are buried in Moscow every year, with a further, smaller number cremated.

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EDGEWATER, Fla. (AP) -- A man who authorities say was growing marijuana in a central Florida storage unit panicked when he heard a police helicopter hovering nearby and called 911 to surrender.
The problem? Edgewater police officers were in the neighborhood Wednesday afternoon to investigate an unrelated suspicious death.
It was shortly after 12:30 p.m. when 47-year-old Jasper Harrison told the dispatcher he was "the guy" they were looking for, adding he wanted to come out without being shot.
Harrison told the dispatcher he wanted police to contact him.
An officer called and got directions to his storage unit. Police found 150 grams of cultivated marijuana and nine plants inside. Harrison faces charges of growing marijuana within 1,000 feet of a school and intent to sell. It's not known if he has a lawyer.

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Paducah, Kentucky - Just about everybody has something that they enjoy doing or collecting during their lifetime. But the problem can come when that person passes away, and leaves all of that stuff to someone else.
So you can imagine the dilemma when four grown men inherit 30,000 dolls from their mother.
"We're boys. We don't play with dolls," said Greg Lahndorff, who inherited the collection. 
Boys or not, he and his three brothers now own thousands of dolls. Little dolls, big dolls, baby dolls and Barbie dolls. All passed down from their mother, Colleen Hobgood.
"Why in the world would you have left all this stuff for us," said Lahndorff's brother, Bob Hobgood.
That question has been on his mind for many months now. 
He says his mom bought her first doll in the late 1960s and her collection grew from there.
"She just loved dolls. She collected them. Worked on them, made them, painted some for other people," said Lahndorff.
In April, Colleen died at 89-years-old. She passed her collection on to her four boys asking them to sell the dolls and split the money.
Lahndorff says they spent a week going through the boxes. 
"Sometimes it's exciting, really," Hobgood said. "If you go through there and pick out maybe something that's worth a lot of money."
But they have to go through all the boxes first. 
"When this is over if I never see another doll, I'll be happy," Lahndorff said.
The four brothers haven't even finished going through all of the boxes of dolls. They're slowing sorting and selling them off.

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Tempers flew at town meeting in Hymera Indiana Tuesday night, and so did fists.
It was over the firing of the town marshal.
The board voted to hire a new town marshal, and arguments followed about the new hire. That's when a fight erupted between the new and the old town marshal, who had been fired in October.
"I didn't really expect it to be that way," said Daryl McCullough, the new town marshal. "But it got sort of out of hand and when they started yelling at what I said and I didn't say what they said I said this other gal started to step in and screaming and yelling and she don't know nothing and I told her to shut up. Then here they come there was three of them attacking me." 
Indiana State Police are investigating the incident.

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A 3-year-old filly named Ruby Queen had never won a race until she appeared to blow past the field as a 110-1 longshot at an Ohio horse track.
But it turns out that she was really a he.
Track stewards suspended three people and fined another after determining there was no intentional wrongdoing in a chain of mistakes that allowed the wrong horse to run under a different name last month at Hollywood Gaming's Mahoning Valley Race Course near Youngstown.
An investigation found that a stable worker went into the wrong stall on Nov. 4 and brought out a male horse named Leathers Slappin instead of Ruby Queen, who was in a neighboring stall, said William Crawford, executive director of the Ohio State Racing Commission.
A track employee, known as an identifier, then failed to properly check the horse before what was supposed to be an all-female race, he said. The identifier's job is to verify each horse by looking at the numbers on its lip tattoo.
"It's unfortunate that it happened," Crawford said earlier this week.
Such a mix-up is rare, but not unheard of, he said.
A review of the wagering revealed nothing unusual, leading the commission to determine that the horses weren't switched to affect the race's outcome, he said.
The horse that won by nearly eight lengths was disqualified, but the error wasn't discovered until after the bets were paid out.
A $2 wager on Ruby Queen to win paid off $220. Anybody who did win kept their money, while those who had placed bets on the next three finishers were able to cash in if they still had their ticket, said Bob Tenenbaum, a spokesman for track owner Penn National Gaming Inc.
The company, which operates casinos and race tracks in 16 states, did its own review of what happened. The employee who was the identifier is no longer employed by Penn National, he said.
"This was a very unusual circumstance," Tenenbaum said. "It was simply a series of errors."
The stewards suspended the identifier 60 days and fined him $500. The stable worker was suspended 30 days and fined $500. The horse's owner was suspended 30 days and fined $500. A substitute trainer was fined $200.
A new layer of post-race checks will be added at all of Ohio's thoroughbred tracks to prevent a repeat, the racing commission director said.
 

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