Mad Minute stories from Wednesday, December 16th - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Mad Minute stories from Wednesday, December 16th

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Here are the extended versions of the KHQ Local News 11 at 11 Mad Minute stories from Wednesday December 16th:

KITTEN RECOVERED FROM CONVEYOR BELT

GALT, Calif. (AP) -- A worker at a Northern California recycling center saved a tiny kitten from certain death when he spotted the animal heading down a conveyor belt.

Tony Miranda tells television station KCRA that he was sorting recyclables Tuesday when he found the pink-nosed, white-pawed cat between the debris and scooped it up.

It's not clear how the kitten got in with the trash, but it may have survived a ride in a dump truck before a tractor pushed it onto one of two conveyer belts.

A call went out to employees of Cal-Waste Recovery Systems that a baby cat had been discovered at the facility in Galt, a city about 90 miles northeast of San Francisco.

Another worker decided to adopt the kitten and named it Murphy.


TV STATION LIVE ON BANK ROBBERY

ROCHESTER, Minn. (AP) -- A television reporter was doing a live update on a Minnesota bank robbery when police say the suspect returned to rob it a second time.

Adam Sallet, a reporter for Mason City, Iowa-based KIMT-TV, was standing outside the Sterling State Bank in Rochester on Tuesday when a bank employee ran out and pointed at the robbery suspect who was leaving the scene.

"That's the robber," Sallet said on the air. "This is live TV folks. That's the robber (who) just went by, according to the bank employee. I got to go here and call 911."

The station returned to anchor Tyler Mickelson, who told the viewers, "I can assure you that was not set up."

Sallet told The Associated Press that with a split second decision before him, he knew he had to dump out of the live shot.

"Once I saw him, I didn't know what to do," Sallet told the AP. "... I decided I'd better be a good citizen and call 911."

Police were able to determine the suspect had left in a vehicle, heading north on U.S. Highway 52. A Rochester police officer and troopers with the Minnesota State Patrol spotted the vehicle, pulled the suspect over and arrested him.

Sallet's interrupted live shot attracted thousands of views on YouTube.


Donor pays off $106K in shoppers' layaways at 2 Ohio stores

CLEVELAND (AP) -- A man has paid off more than $106,000 in shoppers' layaways at two Wal-Mart stores in northeast Ohio.

WEWS-TV in Cleveland reports that the man told Wal-Mart employees that he liked to do something special on his birthday every year. They say he insisted on remaining anonymous.

The donor paid off a total of nearly $70,000 for the layaway items at the Steelyard Commons store in Cleveland and about $36,000 for items in Lorain. Items on layaway included toys, 70-inch televisions and even a pair of socks.

Tara Neal said she had paid $10 on a bed for her 3-year-old daughter at one of the stores when she was told Tuesday that the remaining balance of more than $80 was paid. She said it was "like Santa."


HOUSTON MAN FACES JAIL TIME AFTER PROPOSING ON HIGHWAY.

HOUSTON (AP) -- A Houston man risks a jail term after he stopped traffic on a busy freeway to propose marriage to his girlfriend.

Vidal Valladares was charged Tuesday with obstructing a roadway, a Class B misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $2,000.

A video of the Sunday stunt posted online shows Valladares on one knee in the middle of Interstate 45, proposing to Michelle Wycoff amid a cacophony of angry shouts and truck and car horns. (She said yes.)

Valladares does not have a published telephone number and couldn't be reached for comment.


RUNNING FROM THE LAW

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- An armed robbery suspect who fled a courtroom during trial and escaped the grasp of deputies is back in custody after lawyers tackled him in the courthouse hallway.

Surveillance cameras at the Oklahoma County courthouse captured candid video of Israel Pointer's attempt to flee.

KWTV-TV reports that the 19-year-old Pointer had just learned his bond was revoked and that he was heading back to jail when he bolted from the courtroom.

Cameras show Pointer grappling with and twice escaping jail deputies.

Footage from another camera then shows him encountering Oklahoma County district attorney David Prater and several other attorneys, who tackled the young man and pinned him to the ground.

Prater equated working in the courthouse with "being in the Wild West."


SWIMMING SANTAS

This Christmas season, Santa Claus has taken the plunge, swimming with schools of fish in South Korea.

At the Coex Aquarium in Seoul, divers clad in Santa costumes are delighting patrons as they frolic in their suits of red with shoals of sardines, feeding the fish as they pose and perform for eager visitors and their snapping cameras.

The aquarium, which aims to further marine education and oceanographic research in Korea and beyond, organizes feeding sessions of sardines, manatees and even sharks that are open to the public.

The Christmas-themed feeding sessions will continue almost every day for another two weeks, according to the aquarium's website.

South Korea isn't the only place where Santa is taking a swim.

For the rest of the month, Scuba Santa can be found underwater at the Newport Aquarium in Kentucky, where he's feeding rays, sharks and other underwater creatures; while in Tokyo, Santa costume-clad divers are swimming with dolphins, the


100 PIECES OF BREAD

So much bread, so little time.

Competitive eater and YouTuber Yuka Kinoshita uploaded a video of her eating 100 slices of bread in under six minutes.

Thanks to a little jam, honey, and mayo, Kinoshita is even enjoying the process. But at about 50 slices in, the carbo-load starts to get to her. 

Yuka Kinoshita / YouTube

"My jaw is starting to get tired..." she says in the video at the halfway mark, "usually my jaw gets tired before I get full or tired of eating the same food," she explains.

Still, she finished what she started with grace, even noting that this challenge was pretty tasty.

Despite taking bread to the face like a champ, Kinoshita is not to be confused with Bread Face, an up-and-coming internet celebrity known for smashing her face into bread.


Washington psychadelic church

WASHINGTON  - The Supreme Court ruled unanimously Tuesday that a small congregation in New Mexico may use hallucinogenic tea as part of a four-hour ritual intended to connect with God.

Justices, in their first religious freedom decision under Chief Justice John Roberts, moved decisively to keep the government out of a church's religious practice. Federal drug agents should have been barred from confiscating the hoasca tea of the Brazil-based church, Roberts wrote in the decision.

The tea, which contains an illegal drug known as DMT, is considered sacred to members of O Centro Espirita Beneficiente Uniao do Vegetal, which has a blend of Christian beliefs and South American traditions. Members believe they can understand God only by drinking the tea, which is consumed twice a month at four-hour ceremonies.

New Justice Samuel Alito did not take part in the case, which was argued last fall before Justice Sandra Day O'Connor before her retirement. Alito was on the bench for the first time on Tuesday.

Roberts said that the Bush administration had not met its burden under a federal religious freedom law to show that it could ban "the sect's sincere religious practice."

The chief justice had also been skeptical of the government's position in the case last fall, suggesting that the administration was demanding too much, a "zero tolerance approach."

The Bush administration had argued that the drug in the tea not only violates a federal narcotics law, but a treaty in which the United States promised to block the importation of drugs including dimethyltryptamine, also known as DMT.

"The government did not even submit evidence addressing the international consequences of granting an exemption for the (church)," Roberts wrote.

The justices sent the case back to a federal appeals court, which could consider more evidence.

Roberts, writing his second opinion since joining the court, said that religious freedom cases can be difficult "but Congress has determined that courts should strike sensible balances."

The case is Gonzales v. O Centro Espirita Beneficiente Uniao Do Vegetal, 04-1084.


Man cheating benefits caught stripping

    A benefits cheat who pocketed £5,000 in disability handouts while claiming he was too ill to get out of bed was filmed performing as a male burlesque dancer called 'Ian Kognito'.

Mark Hetherington had tried to disguise himself with a mask as he performed his routines at clubs, festivals and at private parties across the UK, describing himself as 'the stripping ninja'.

But the 51-year-old from Blackpool, was caught out after investigators discovered he was working as a dancer and nude art class model while claiming Disability Living Allowance, and compiled a dossier of videos of his performances.

Mark Hetherington, 51, had tried to disguise himself with a mask as he performed his routines at clubs, festivals and at private parties across the UK, describing himself as 'the stripping ninja'

Hetherington, from Blackpool, was caught out after investigators discovered he was working as a dancer and nude art class model while claiming Disability Living Allowance

Hetherington admitted committing benefit fraud between May 2012 and August 2014, during which time he was overpaid £5,018.80 in handouts after he failed to disclose an improvement in his medical condition to the Department of Work and Pensions.

Malcolm Isherwood, prosecuting, told magistrates in Blackpool that Hetherington had claimed he could not get out of bed without assistance, could not cook for himself and needed assistance and support if he ever managed to leave his home.


Man drives car into jail, says he wanted to visit his friends

A deputy narrowly escaped injury when a man high on flakka crashed his car into a building at the Indian River County Jail, according to the sheriff’s office.

Glass shattered when 24-year-old Patrick Rempe rammed his Toyota in to the front doors of Building C overnight, the sheriff’s office said.

According to investigators, Rempe then smashed into a fence outside of building E, climbed the fence and got stuck in the razor wire.

They say as he was removed for treatment he spit on a deputy.

Deputies say Rempe later admitted that he was high on flakka and just wanted to visit friends who were in the jail.

"This is what drugs do to you. Flakka is poisoning our youth. Fortunately, none of our deputies were injured and our facility wasn't compromised," Indian River County Sheriff Deryl Loar said in a news release.

Rempe faces several charges including aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer, battery on a law enforcement officer, three counts of felony criminal mischief, leaving the scene of a crash with property damage and driving under the influence.

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