Mad Minute stories from Monday, December 14th - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Mad Minute stories from Monday, December 14th

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LIMERICK, Maine (AP) -- Deputies paid a visit to a southern Maine home after its owner's raunchy anti-terrorist Christmas light display was misconstrued as support for the Islamic State group.
The Portland Press Herald reports the homeowner, who wasn't identified, used lights to spell out the word "ISIS" on a board below the deck of the home in Limerick.
York County Sheriff William King says that was all a concerned resident saw when he notified the office of a potential "ISIS sympathizer."
What he didn't see, however, was the illuminated plastic Santa Claus placed atop the deck that appeared to be urinating on the word ISIS via a strand of white lights.
King says no laws were broken and the homeowner will rearrange the lights to "clear up any doubts about his message."

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SOUTH JORDAN, Utah (AP) -- A man in one Utah community says his neighbors have begun placing decoy packages on front porches in an effort to thwart holiday delivery thieves.
Rocks, old clothes and junk televisions are among items that resident Kroger Menzer says residents in the Daybreak neighborhood of South Jordan have been putting in shipping boxes. People are also using surveillance video.
"The goal isn't to catch them in the act, that's for the police," Menzer told KSL-TV. "The goal is to make it confusing and frustrating. So they come and steal a box, and they get home and it's a bunch of rocks, there's a good chance that they're probably not going to come back to steal another box."
Menzer said one of his neighbors came up with the idea and posted it to the Daybreak community Facebook page.
"This is a very tight-knit community," said Menzer, a real estate agent. "Even though there are 4,000 homes and 15,000 people living here, we all get to know each other pretty well."
Lt. John Barker, of the Unified Police Department, said it can take just seconds for a thief to jump out of a car, grab a package and run.
He said police don't want residents putting themselves in danger by confronting thieves. They recommend using surveillance video instead.
"If it's a good system, they can get some very good pictures," Barker said. "If you can get the car, and especially the license plate, that's very helpful in tracking these individuals down."
Barker also recommended picking up packages at delivery service locations.

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BOSTON (AP) -- Pamela Paquin's source for fashion is either "tres chic" or will make you shriek.
She creates neck muffs, leg warmers, hats, purses and more from roadkill, or "accidental fur," as she prefers to call it.
As owner of Petite Mort Furs, a 2-year-old Boston-area company, she said she's offering the fur industry an alternative to wild fur trapping and large-scale fur farms.
"All this fur is being thrown away," Paquin said. "If we can pick that up, we never have to kill another fur-bearing animal again."
Keith Kaplan, head of the Fur Information Council of America, said his trade group considers all North American furs to already be ethically and environmentally responsible.
"Production of fur in North America is highly regulated with guidelines set through years and years (and millions of dollars) of scientific study," he said via email, declining to comment on Paquin's company or the general idea of using roadkill for fur. "In fact, the populations of every species used by the industry today are as abundant, or more abundant, than they were a century ago."
Animal rights groups also have mixed feelings about roadkill fur.
"We'd just say it's in very poor taste," said Kara Holmquist at the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, declining to elaborate.
Lisa Lange, a senior vice president at People for the Ethical Treatment for Animals, or PETA, said that there's "never an excuse" to wear fur, but that it's "far better" to wear roadkill than farmed fur.
Others worry her products could only serve to prolong the industry they've spent decades trying to defeat.
"A business that promotes wearing real fur as fashionable and acceptable may well create more demand for fur from all sources, and could give all fur wearers a shield from legitimate criticism," said Virginia Fuller, of the Boston-area Citizens to End Animal Suffering and Exploitation, or CEASE.
Paquin counters that the stigma around fur has eroded in recent years.
Greater spending power in China, Russia and elsewhere, as well as greater use of fake fur trimmings on clothes and accessories, has revived its popularity.
That demand, she said, is part of the reason she chose to jump into the industry despite having no background in fashion or design, and after working mostly office jobs for environmental and sustainability organizations.
The Fur Information Council of America said the U.S. alone recorded $1.5 billion in fur sales in 2014. Globally, it's part of an over $35 billion industry.
"Clearly advocacy had failed," Paquin said. "Alternatives must be found. Making use of animals that would otherwise be thrown away is sensible."
Heidi Forbes Öste, a San Francisco-area resident who purchased a fox fur neck muff from Petit Mort last summer, said she's surprised at the pushback from animal rights groups.
"They're being short-sighted," she said. "We should be encouraging people to buy sustainable fur. These are animals that are already dead."
Products by Petit Mort, which means "the little death" in French and also describes the sensation of orgasm, are decidedly high-end, ranging from $800 to $2,000, depending on the product and type of fur used. They can be found online and on Boston's fashionable Newbury Street, where the company rents display space in a handmade goods market.
"The value that these products have is that they're handmade, local and last a lifetime," Paquin explains. "That's not just couture and high end, but that's also sustainable."
Each piece comes with a personal note explaining where and when the animal was found.
Paquin works with animal control specialists to gather the carcasses, but skins many of them herself. She considers the process almost sacred and doesn't care much for the "roadkill" label.
"It's a turnoff," Paquin said. "It cheapens my product."

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HIGHLAND TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) -- Authorities say three suburban Detroit teachers got sick after eating marijuana-laced brownies put out in a school lounge.
Oakland County sheriff's officials said Friday that deputies were called Wednesday to Spring Mills Elementary School in Highland Township on a tainted food complaint. A teacher became ill the day before and later tested positive for marijuana at a hospital.
Police say two other teachers felt sick but didn't seek medical treatment.
The deputies recovered the remaining brownies. Tests revealed they contained the active ingredient in marijuana.
Huron Valley Schools officials say they are working with law enforcement to determine who brought the brownies to school. District officials say they don't know whether they were put out intentionally or brought by mistake.

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BEIJING (AP) - When crew members of a passenger plane reported sparks coming from an engine while taxiing at an airport in southern China, eight fire trucks responded within minutes. Then they covered the wrong plane with white foam.
The mistake at the Fuzhou city airport Thursday was quickly amended and the firefighters turned their attention to the correct plane, but the other one - with passengers aboard - was delayed 10 hours and the entire incident delayed 30 flights, the airport said in a statement.
The Air China flight had reported the problems in a right-side engine of a Boeing 737-800 for a flight headed to Beijing. By the time firefighters arrived four minutes later, engines were switched off. However, a Fuzhou Airlines plane of the same make had exhaust fumes coming from its tail.
The firefighters sprayed the Fuzhou Airlines plane with foam until the airport's control center alerted them to the mistake, and then they sprayed the right plane, the airport said.
Fuzhou Airlines said its plane was covered with white foam and had to be towed away to check its engines. It took off about 10 hours later.
The airport apologized for the inconvenience.

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NEW YORK (AP) -- What to get the loved one who has everything? Steven Rabinowitz wracked his brain before settling on (spoiler alert, relatives!) a raccoon skull.
"We'll see how it goes," Rabinowitz, 31, said as he revealed his purchase near a crowded display of animal skulls, antique medical instruments - and a bowl full of human teeth.
The bizarre bazaar that drew Rabinowitz and other curious clientele Sunday was the Morbid Anatomy Museum Holiday Flea Market - offering gifts both frightful and festive.
In the dim light of a pair of golden chandeliers, about a dozen vendors displayed their horrific wares: pieces of human skulls, a wide variety of taxidermy and earrings made from muskrat jaws. One vendor, Divya Anantharaman, stood by her display of two-headed taxidermied birds - complete with Santa hats.
Joanna Ebenstein helped open the museum in 2014 as an extension of an art project on anatomical history and artifacts. Initially, Ebenstein said she had to hide her odd obsession from her co-workers at a children's book publishing company.
"I didn't want them to know I was into all this scary death stuff," she said.
The museum hosts a wide range of events like taxidermy classes, lecture series and film screenings. But Ebenstein said the flea markets are the most successful.
"People like me don't want to buy normal Christmas stuff," she said.
The flea markets have proven so popular they had to be moved from the museum's basement to a larger space around the corner after the wait to get in reached 2 1/2 hours last spring.
Sunday's was the third of the year. The line stretched around the block.
"For some reason right now it's captured the public imagination," Ebenstein said.
Anantharaman, who was hawking the two-headed birds, quit her day job two years ago to turn her taxidermy hobby into a full-time career.
The holidays are her busiest time of year, when consumers yearn for that special something that sets their gift apart from the pack - or flock.
"It's the same reason they want to buy anything handmade," she said.

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CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) - A Chattanooga physician says he painted a house he owns lime green to get his neighbors' attention after they opposed a zoning change.
The Chattanooga Times Free Press reports James Newby told Chattanooga City Council members considering his zoning request he wanted the garish color to show his neighbors there were worse things that could happen to the property than having an engineering firm locate there.
"I can do things within the law that might make the neighborhood look a lot less attractive," he said.
Among those options, Newby said, is enrolling in the federal low-income housing program called Housing Choice.
Newby, his son and some friends painted the house, but they didn't finish the job. The tops of most of the walls and the chimney are still the original red-brick color.
Councilman Yusuf Hakeem said, "I don't think he has the best interests of the community at heart."
After much back and forth Newby said he did not plan to "leave the house as a spectacle" and would probably repaint it gray.
"We had a little bit of fun with it and ruffled some feathers," he said.
The council voted unanimously to deny the zoning change request.

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Quite the mad dash in Jackson, Mississippi on Friday, when an 18-wheeler carrying 100 cows lost control and flipped over on the freeway.
Within minutes, all the cows were on on the lam. Cattle escaped through openings in the rig, and of course this all happened in the dark around 3 a.m. Westbound traffic had to shut down and the morning commute was backed up for miles.
Remarkably, the only injury was one cow who got hit by a car and broke its leg. Several had close calls though -- running across the highway and falling in front of traffic. 
After several officers helped free the cows that were stuck inside the truck, they spent hours rounding up the cattle and cleaning up the accident. 
Still no word what caused the crash.

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NEW YORK (AP) - Police say a New York City man shoved a candy bar in the face of another man and then repeatedly punched him in an apparently random attack.
Court papers show Eliexer Reyes has been charged with misdemeanor assault following his arrest in the Times Square subway station Tuesday night.
Artist Ian Sklarsky tells Gothamist the 35-year-old Reyes was unprovoked when he shoved a Snickers bar in his face and mouth.
After police say the 33-year-old Sklarsky asked Reyes what was wrong with him, Reyes then repeatedly punched him in the face during a scuffle.
They say Sklarsky suffered pain, a cut lip and a bruised nose.
Reyes' attorney didn't immediately comment on the charges.

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MIDDLETOWN, N.J. (AP) - An alert New Jersey State Police sergeant saved the day for a couple on the way to the hospital to have a baby.
Sgt. Sean Boag was driving home Friday on the Garden State Parkway when he heard on his radio that a woman was going into labor on the side of the highway near Middletown.
Boag arrived in a few minutes and helped deliver a baby girl.
The baby was crowning when he got there, Boag told reporters Saturday. She was delivered four minutes after he arrived, according to state police.
"I told her to push," Boag said. "A couple more pushes, we were able to pull the baby all the way out and once I cleaned her mouth, I got the mother and wrapped her up in a blanket and placed (the baby) on the mother's chest and that was it. We waited for first aid to arrive."
The couple from Lakewood was driving to a hospital in New Brunswick when they realized they weren't going to make it in time. Their names haven't been released.
Boag told The Asbury Park Press that he'd never done a delivery before, but that state police are well-trained for many emergency situations.

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