Mad Minute stories from Friday, December 25th - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Mad Minute stories from Friday, December 25th

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LONDON (AP) -- Anyone can dial a wrong number, but it's not often done from outer space.
British astronaut Tim Peake tweeted an apology on Christmas Day from the International Space Station after calling a wrong number.
He wrote "I'd like to apologize to the lady I just called by mistake saying 'Hello, is this planet Earth?' - not a prank call - just a wrong number!"
The 43-year-old former army helicopter pilot did not say who he was calling.
Millions of Britons have been following his mission closely since he became Britain's first publicly funded astronaut and the first Briton to visit the space station.
The nation seemed to come to a halt during liftoff Dec. 15 as many stopped what they were doing and nervously watched live coverage of him leaving the earth for outer space.
An astronomer told Britons they might have a chance to view the space station as it transits above the earth on Christmas Day.
Robin Scagell of the Society for Popular Astronomy said the station would be flying relatively low when it passes over London and would be "the brightest star in the sky, moving rapidly from west to east."
Peake plans to conduct experiments on how the human body reacts in space and - in a British twist on space exploration - try out a new tea-making process geared toward zero gravity.
He is sharing the space station with five other astronauts from Russia and the United States. Peake's crewmates are NASA's Scott Kelly and Tim Kopra and Russians Mikhail Kornienko, Yuri Malenchenko and Sergey Volkov.
Kelly and Kornienko are on the first joint U.S.-Russian one-year mission at the space station.

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- A stranded Santa Claus whose car caught fire Christmas morning is sure to put one northern Utah fire department on his nice list next year.
Steven Macey, a Santa-for-hire dressed in a red suit and beard, was on his way to deliver presents at a home when his car overheated and caught fire around 6:30 a.m. Friday, according to Lone Peak Fire Battalion Chief Joseph McRae.
Macey, 66, was not injured.
He has been portraying Santa for decades. After making appearances at Christmas Eve parties until 1 a.m., he headed to an early Christmas morning appointment at a home in Alpine, a city about 30 miles south of Salt Lake City.
Macey said his older car began smoking after he climbed a snowy hill. He got out of the car and retrieved his St. Nick coat, belt and bells before moving away and calling 911.
A passing driver stopped and let him wait in their vehicle until firefighters arrived.
"They were stunned when I came walking down the road - a Santa," Macey said. "They all wanted pictures."
Fire crews extinguished the blaze, but the car was destroyed.
"He's going to have to go back to using his sleigh," McRae said.
The battalion chief gave Macey a ride to the nearby home so he could make his appointment.
"You can't leave Santa stranded on the side of the road," McRae said.
After the Santa suit-clad Macey delivered presents to the child, the family at the Alpine home offered to let Macey borrow one of their vehicles, which had been left at a friends' house.
Someone gave him a ride and he borrowed the car to get home.
Macey said he was touched by all the kindness, including that of the firefighters.
"It's not a disastrous Christmas for me. As a matter of fact, it's probably the greatest Christmas I've ever had in my entire life - to see people care and put their arms around me.
McRae said he's worked many holidays but has never had the chance to rescue a Santa Claus.
"It kind of makes it a little more enjoyable to do something like this," he said. "We're just glad that he could get out and make the call and then continue on his last little trip there."

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MT. ARLINGTON, N.J. (AP) -- A New Jersey convenience store executive has fulfilled his Christmas tradition of working in one of the company's stores for the 40th consecutive year.
QuickChek Senior Vice President Mike Murphy worked Friday at a store in Mount Arlington.
Murphy says he's always felt he should work the holiday since many of the employees have to. According to the company's website, it has 140 stores in New York and New Jersey.
He served coffee and cleaned inside and outside the store during his five-hour shift. The store is run by one of his sons.
Murphy says coffee and batteries are the top two products for customers to pick up on Christmas morning.

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SAN DIEGO (AP) -- San Diego police say they arrested a woman described as weighing about 400 pounds with a beard in the stabbing of a man who asked for a cigarette.
Police late Thursday night arrested the woman they say stabbed the man in the neck on Wednesday.
Police Officer Robert Heims tells the San Diego Union-Tribune that the 39-year-old man had walked up to a woman and a group of others and asked them for a cigarette in the city's East Village.
They say the woman then told the man to get away from her things before stabbing him and running away. They say the heavyset woman with facial hair was wearing a white shirt and jeans.
The man was hospitalized, but he is expected to survive.

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CANANDAIGUA, N.Y. (AP) _ Darth Vader is a tattooed 43-year-old former Marine who owns a gym and is raising funds online for a bone marrow transplant.
The Democrat and Chronicle of Rochester reports that a western New York man legally changed his name last year to match the villain in the "Star Wars" films.
The former Eric Welch, of Canandaigua (kan-un-DAY'-gwuh), says he grew up in foster homes and didn't have strong family ties to his name.
The "Star Wars" fan says he chose Darth Vader for his new name because the character carries an aura of leadership and toughness.
He tests his own toughness by competing in half-marathons and endurance events. He was diagnosed with leukemia in 2002.
A spokeswoman for the Department of Motor Vehicles confirms that Darth Vader is his legal name.

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A pop up pawn shop in Queen Street West, Toronto has a solution for unwanted Christmas gifts. 
Instead of regifting them, the "Skittles Holiday Pawn Shop" lets you trade them in for their value in Skittles. 
The shop is open from Saturday to Wednesday, but if you can't make it to the actual store, you can go to the store's website, which is also appraising unwanted gifts. 
The online appraisals take less than a minute, or about as long as it takes to post a photo. 
While it's a little bizarre, it's all for a good cause though. Everything that gets traded in (as long as it's in good condition) will be donated to a Goodwill center.
The site isn't accepting drugs, weapons, garbage, or inappropriate items. 

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A thief in Russia was easily busted by police after hanging around the crime scene too long.
Literally, hanging around.
This would-be criminal found himself in a tight spot in the Russian town of Krasnoyarsk after he attempted to break in a store that sells alcohol.
Police officers arrived at the scene after an alarm went off and found a pair of legs dangling from the ceiling.
According to police report, the 40-year old suspect, whose name was not given, tried to get into the shop through a hole in the roof but got stuck. 
The man told the police he was not the first to climb into the shop. 
No word on the whereabouts of any other suspects who allegedly decided to not "hang around."

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A man in Florida had an interesting way of trying to avoid getting arrested. 
When Charlotte County Sheriff's Deputies caught him drunkenly boating in a manatee zone, deputies say he pooped in the water and threw his marijuana overboard. 
Deputies pepper sprayed and arrested 60-year-old James Christian Bates, even though he threatened to beat up the officer.
When the deputy started to climb onto Bate's boat, that's when he reportedly went number two over the side of the ship. 
Deputies say they found 3 marijuana blunts in the water -- apparently they float. 
He's now facing charges of tampering with evidence, dumping raw human waste, boating under the influence, marijuana possession, drug paraphernalia possession, resisting arrest and interfering with a wildlife officer.

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CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (AP)  X-ray vision -- a comic book fantasy for decades -- is becoming a reality in a lab at MIT.
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology has developed software that uses variations in radio signals to recognize human silhouettes through walls and track their movements.
Researchers say the technology will be able to help health care providers and families keep closer tabs on the young or elderly. They say it could be a new strategic tool for law enforcement and the military.
The device displays the signal on a screen, where the person's movements can be tracked in real time. It depicts the target as a red dot moving around the room, occupying a chair and speeding up or slowing down.
The developers plan to market the technology early in 2017.
 

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