Mad Minute stories from Thursday, December 24th - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Mad Minute stories from Thursday, December 24th

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GARFIELD HEIGHTS, Ohio (AP) -- Two weeks after a man went to repossess a car and instead ended up offering to help cover a woman's payments, his colleagues showed up with another surprise: stacks of Christmas gifts for her 10-year-old daughter.
A repo man from Relentless Recovery had come for Diana Parks' car but wept at the story of a single mother diagnosed with a pituitary tumor that gives her seizures and trouble walking. It made her unable to work as a pharmacy technician and forced her to drop out of Cleveland State University.
"I was working so hard so we could do better," she said. "And then I got sick."
He offered to give up half his pay until her delinquent car payments were caught up, but the company decided to cover those costs. Then the staff divvied up her daughter's holiday wish list.
"I am overwhelmed with joy," Parks told The Plain Dealer on Wednesday as employees brought boxes of Christmas presents to her Garfield Heights home.
The company also established an online fundraising campaign that has generated thousands of dollars for the family.
Parks said the kindness shown by the Relentless Recovery employees has restored her optimism.
"I am floating on a cloud," she said. "God works in mysterious ways. We are so blessed."

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BEND, Ore. (AP) -- The FBI says a 28-year-old man faces federal and state charges after he robbed a credit union in Bend, then went on a shopping spree that included buying a Christmas tree he later used to try and hide from police.
The Oregonian reports that the FBI says Brett Gillispie-Comstock went into a Selco Community Credit Union twice on Dec. 16 before he walked to a teller, told her he was ready to open an account and handed her a note demanding $5,000.
He left with $1,373 in an envelope. The newspaper reports that Bend police officers found Gillispie-Comstock nearby about 40 minutes after the robbery and arrested him.
Authorities say Gillespie-Comstock told investigators that he and his mother had lost $400 gambling and that they needed money for rent, Christmas presents and a Christmas tree.
The Oregonian reports that authorities say he used some of the money to buy a Christmas tree. The FBI says he had been trying to use the tree to hide his face when police stopped him.

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BETHLEHEM, N.Y. (AP) -- Holiday signs have been banned at an intersection in the little town of Bethlehem, New York.
Officials in the suburban town just south of Albany prohibited a sign saying "Merry Christmas" from being placed at the busy intersection. They had a "Happy Hanukkah" sign removed from the same corner.
The Times Union of Albany reports the town allowed a public display of a Christmas tree and a Menorah, but officials banned religious holiday signs so they wouldn't violate any laws or distract drivers.
About 10 people holding "Merry Christmas" and "Little Town of Bethlehem" signs turned out Wednesday night at the intersection to protest the town board's decision.
The upstate town named after the birthplace of Jesus Christ has a population of about 33,000.

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- A Yorkshire terrier that disappeared out a doggy door at an Ohio home three years ago has been reunited with its owner after being found about 200 miles away, near Detroit.
Ta'Shina Green tells The Columbus Dispatch the male dog, named Rexxn, was 2 1/2 years old when he went missing. Where he's been since then and how he wound up in Romulus, Michigan, isn't clear, though the fleas and matted fur he had indicated he might have had a bit of a rough time.
The Columbus woman says someone found him in Romulus and took him to an animal shelter, and a microchip in the dog helped workers track down the owner.
Green says the dog has been doing well since he returned home in mid-December.

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DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) -- Des Moines police say an officer accidentally fired his gun while practicing his "quick draw."
A police report says Officer Brady Pratt "unknowingly" had his finger on the trigger when he drew his gun from his holster, and he fired a round Wednesday inside an office at the Des Moines airport. The bullet hit a ceiling tile above a door before it landed in a ceiling tile in the hallway. No one was hurt.
The 23-year-old officer reported the incident to his supervisor. Sgt. Paul Parizek, a spokesman for the department, says the incident will be reviewed and discipline is possible.
The Des Moines Register reports Pratt joined the department in 2013.

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EUGENE, Ore. (AP) -- Police say an Oregon man angry with his tax situation left a flock of seven chickens inside the state revenue office.
Police in Eugene said in a news release they responded to a report Wednesday afternoon of chickens left in the lobby of the Oregon Department of Revenue.
Police and an animal welfare officer rounded up the fowl, and they were taken to an animal shelter.
Officers gave 66-year-old Louis Adler, of Creswell, a trespass notice requiring him to stay away from the office or risk a citation.
The Register-Guard reports no people or animals were injured.
Adler couldn't immediately be reached for comment.
State agency spokesman Derrick Gasperini told the Guard the staff had prior dealings with Adler and he was "frustrated by the outcome."

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DETROIT (AP) -- The son of a Detroit Police Department lieutenant got to boss around his old man - and his old man's boss - for a day.
Seven-year-old Carter Widmer was sworn in Wednesday as "Chief for the Day" by the department's official chief, James Craig. He flew into headquarters via helicopter, slapped some handcuffs on his father, Lt. John Widmer, and spent time with a police dog.
That part was particularly gratifying, since Carter donated $250 of his Christmas money to the Detroit Police K-9 Unit.
Carter says he wants to follow his father into law enforcement. The elder Widmer says his son's temporary promotion was a surprise, but exciting for the family.
The uniformed Carter was by-the-book and just-the-facts when asked what he thought about being chief: "Really cool."

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FRESNO, Calif. (AP) -- A black bear crawled inside a trash compactor and took the ride of its life on a garbage truck, traveling about 65 miles to a dump in central California where it briefly ran free.
Fresno officers went to a disposal site Tuesday after getting a report of a large bear running loose. The bear got into a trash compactor that was picked up by a disposal truck in the Hume Lake area earlier in the day.
The driver wasn't aware that the bear was inside the compactor. Officials say it was either sleeping there or rifling through the trash.
Police and California Department of Fish and Wildlife employees eventually captured the animal after tranquilizing it. Neither the bear nor any people were injured.
The bear is being returned to Hume Lake.

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PENSACOLA, Fla. - Three businesses are moving to new offices after a car attempting to time travel drove through two of them, police said.
A Dodge Challenger plowed through Advanced Tax Services, taking out a wall connecting to Pensacola Caskets. Both offices have been closed since the crash.
"It looked like a bomb went off," said general manager Emanuel Mores.
Mores said office chairs and debris were scattered everywhere.
On Monday, contractors boarded up the businesses. Mores said the tax and casket offices were empty when the car smashed through the building.
Police said the driver told them he was trying to "travel through time."
"I was mad, then eventually I was happy no one was hurt. You know, that was my biggest concern 'cause, you know, if anyone was hurt, anybody could have died or whatever," Mores said.
Mores said the tax office will move next door to 3844 Alcaniz St. and the casket business will move to 3842. Both businesses said they hope to be open after Christmas.
Pensacola police said the driver has been issued a citation for reckless driving and is in the hospital for evaluation.

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MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (AP) - A coyote made its way into Myrtle Beach International Airport but was trapped and removed before it could come into contact with passengers or employees.
Airport spokesman Kirk Lovell says an Horry County animal control officer cornered and trapped the coyote Tuesday morning near the only federal security checkpoint on the ground floor. Lovell says no flights were delayed or canceled, but the checkpoint was briefly closed.
Horry Police Lt. Raul Denis says that an initial report indicates that an officer had tried to trap the animal outside the building but that it may have entered through a baggage portal.
Capt. Robert McCullough of the Department of Natural Resources says the coyote was euthanized, following the policy for handling nuisance animals.

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