Mad Minute stories from Monday, December 28th - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Mad Minute stories from Monday, December 28th

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HACKETTSTOWN, N.J. (AP) -- A northern New Jersey man faces drug charges after handing police officers who asked for his identification a wallet containing marijuana.
Santos Vasques-Hernandez, of Hackettstown, faces drug possession and disorderly conduct charges after the Christmas Day incident.
Hackettstown police say it happened about 8 p.m. on Main Street when officers were called to the scene for a report of an unresponsive, unconscious man.
Authorities say police determined Vasques-Hernandez was breathing and seemed to be intoxicated.
Police say he then became "combative" and began swinging his fists at officers who asked for identification.
Vasques-Hernandez handed his wallet to officers who smelled marijuana, then found a baggy of the drug in the wallet.
It's unclear whether Vasques Hernandez has an attorney. He was released pending a court appearance.

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LECANTO, Fla. (AP) -- A Florida woman has been accused of taking methamphetamine and driving a motorized shopping cart through a Wal-Mart while drinking wine and eating sushi and cinnamon rolls.
According to a Citrus County Sheriff's Office arrest report, security officer Robert Gross observed 25-year-old Josseleen E. Lopez consuming $32.36 worth of food and wine inside the Lecanto store.
Gross says he watched Lopez open some sushi, eat a piece and then put it back on the shelf. He says Lopez did the same thing with a package of mini muffins and cinnamon rolls. He says Lopez also ate most of a rotisserie chicken.
Lopez told authorities she was homeless and hungry and had just injected herself with methamphetamine.
She was arrested on charges of retail petit theft and possession of drug paraphernalia.

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CONCORD, N.H. (AP) -- Should those irreconcilable differences suddenly become reconcilable, don't go looking to get un-divorced in New Hampshire.
The state's Supreme Court this month upheld a lower court ruling refusing to vacate a New Castle couple's 2014 divorce after 24 years of marriage.
Terrie Harmon and her ex-husband, Thomas McCarron, argued on appeal that their divorce decree was erroneous because they mended fences and are a couple once more. But the justices, in a unanimous ruling issued Dec. 2, said the law specifically allows them to grant divorces - not undo them.
Courts in some states - including Illinois, Nebraska, Mississippi, Arkansas, Maryland and Kentucky - will vacate divorces within a certain time frame or under certain circumstances, at the parties' request. Others - including New York and South Dakota - maintain they, like New Hampshire, have no statutory authority to undo a divorce.
Attorney Joshua Gordon, appointed to defend the lower court's ruling, said allowing the couple's divorce to be undone could jeopardize the finality of all divorces.
"Divorce is a uniquely fraught area of litigation," Gordon argued. "For divorced couples, it is often important to have the solace of knowing that their former spouse is indeed former."
Harmon and McCarron did not return calls seeking the answer to the question: Why not just remarry?
They were married in 1989 and filed for divorce in January 2014; the divorce decree was finalized in July that same year. In March, they filed a joint motion to vacate the decree.
New Hampshire law does allow for divorces to be set aside for reasons of fraud, accident, mistake or misfortune. Gordon said that none of those circumstances happened in the Harmon-McCarron divorce and that any adverse financial consequences the couple claimed were "self-imposed."
He said it's his understanding they had several reasons for trying to vacate the decree.
"I think it was partly sentimental, and partly that they had some business interests that a divorce and remarry would be more complicated than undoing the divorce," Gordon said.
Harmon, a lawyer, argued in court papers that a couple shouldn't have to show the decree was legally flawed if they reconcile. She said that test is "designed to balance the interests of adverse parties," not those who want to get back together.
Attorney Kysa Crusco, head of the family law section of the New Hampshire Bar Association, said Harmon's argument was "creative" but the law and prior New Hampshire rulings are clear.
"People just have to be cautious in making sure divorce is what they really want," she said.

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AUBURN, Calif. (AP) -- Police in California are trying to determine why a man was naked in frigid temperatures when he entered a home and stole a purse.
Auburn police say the homeowner's boyfriend then chased 28-year-old Adam Pettibone on Friday night before Pettibone got into an SUV and drove off. Sgt. Tucker Huey says Pettibone struck the boyfriend with the SUV. The boyfriend declined medical treatment.
Auburn is about 30 miles northeast of Sacramento. The temperature dipped into the 30s Friday.
Police say they found the SUV a short distance away in front of a home where Pettibone was. They booked him at Placer County Jail on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon and burglary. He was being held on $250,000 bail.
Huey said he did not know whether Pettibone had a lawyer.

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PHOENIX (AP) -- Phoenix firefighters have saved a cat but it wasn't stuck in a tree.
KPNX-TV in Phoenix reports that firefighters were called to a home Christmas morning to help free a cat trapped in the chimney.
Adrienne Gill says her daughter, who is visiting from California, brought her new pet cat along.
The feline went missing Thursday and the family went to bed after they were unable to locate it.
Gill's husband decided to check the chimney the next morning.
The family was shocked and relieved to find the cat.
It took firefighters 20 minutes to get the animal out.
The cat was sooty but uninjured.
The chimney has since been securely boarded up.

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HENRICO, Va. (AP) - A Virginia man will be spending more time behind bars after his second and third wives showed up to visit him in jail at the same time.
The Richmond Times-Dispatch (http://bit.ly/1JbwD2d ) reports that Frank E. Blake Jr.'s visitors led investigators to discover that Blake hadn't divorced his second wife before he married his third wife. Authorities also say Blakemarried his second wife before his divorce from his first wife was finalized. It's unclear why Blake was initially in jail.
Blake pleaded no contest Tuesday to a charge of bigamy, stemming from the overlap between the end of his first marriage and the start of his second. He was sentenced to 1.5 years imprisonment, with 3.5 years suspended.
Blake says he didn't realize he was committing a felony.

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SEATTLE (AP) -- Attorneys for a doctor charged with aggravated murder may argue that their client was suffering from cough-syrup induced psychosis, which led him to kill his partner and toddler son in 2011.
The Seattle Times reports that 43-year-old Dr. Louis Chen is accused of fatally stabbing 29-year-old Eric Cooper and 2-year-old Cooper Chen, whose bodies were found inside the couple's Seattle apartment.
Chen's defense team had previously indicated it would pursue an insanity or diminished capacity defense. But a motion filed in October suggests Chen had a buildup of dextromethorphan, a cough suppressant found in many over-the-counter cold medicines, in his system. The motion argues that the drug metabolized slowly in Chen, who is Taiwanese, due to his genetic makeup.
Chen goes to trial in April.

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NEW DELHI (AP) -- Like consumers around the globe, Indians are flocking to the online marketplace in droves these days. But there's one unusual item flying off the virtual shelves: Online retailers say cow dung patties are selling like hot cakes.
The patties - cow poop mixed with hay and dried in the sun, made mainly by women in rural areas and used to fuel fires - have long been available in India's villages. But online retailers including Amazon and eBay are now reaching out to the country's ever-increasing urban population, feeding into the desire of older city folks to harken back to their childhood in the village.
Some retailers say they're offering discounts for large orders. Some customers are asking for gift wrapping.
"Cow dung cakes have been listed by multiple sellers on our platform since October and we have received several customer orders" since then, said Madhavi Kochar, an Amazon India spokeswoman.
The orders come mostly from cities where it would be difficult to buy dung cakes, she said.
In India, where Hindus have long worshiped cows as sacred, cow dung cakes have been used for centuries for fires, whether for heating, cooking or Hindu rituals. Across rural India, piles of drying cow dung are ubiquitous.
Radhika Agarwal of ShopClues, a major online retailer in India, said demand for the cow dung cakes spiked during the recent Diwali festival season, a time when Hindus conduct prayer ceremonies at their homes, factories and offices. On a recent day, ShopClues' website showed that the patties had sold out.
"Around Diwali, when people do a lot of pujas in their homes and workplaces, there is a lot of demand for cow dung cakes," said Agarwal, referring to rituals performed during the popular festival.
"Increasingly, in the cold weather, people are keeping themselves warm by lighting fires" at outdoor events, she said, adding that people who grew up in rural areas find the peaty smell of dung fires pleasant.
"It reminds them of the old days," she said.
Online retailers said people were also buying the dung cakes to light fires for ritual ceremonies to mark the beginning of the new year and for the winter festival known as Lohri, celebrated in northern India.
The cakes are sold in packages that contain two to eight pieces weighing 200 grams (7 ounces) each. Prices range from 100 to 400 rupees ($1.50 to $6) per package.
Dung cakes are also used as organic manure, and some sellers are marketing them for use in kitchen gardens.

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A wayward emu that eluded police and animal control officers in Delaware for months now has a place to call home.
The emu, now named Eddie Horace, has found a home at Cathy Capone's Square Dog Ranch near Townsend. 
The emu, which caused at least two schools to go into a "soft lockdown" while on the loose, was finally captured in November and boarded the large bird at Square Dog Ranch.
The escaped emu was on the run in Delaware for months, eluding police and animal control officers before several people were able to wrangle the elusive bird on Nov. 11. Among the group were workers from Three Palms Petting Zoo in Clayton.

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MARANA, Ariz. (AP) - Like something out of "Hansel and Gretel," a larger-than-life gingerbread house made with hundreds of pounds of sugar and spice has been luring in guests at one southern Arizona resort.
Much like the fairy tale, they are free to enter and sit down by a roaring fire. But there is no wicked witch.
Instead, there's a server with a three-course menu.
A team of pastry chefs at the Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain in Marana decided this Christmas to go make a gingerbread building that was more than a display. The 19-foot-tall "house" has been operating for the past month as a private dining room and become valuable real estate in terms of the attention.
There's no cost to walk through. But for $150, you can reserve the whole thing. Up to six people can sit down and order meals and beverages from the hotel kitchen. The fireside fee does not include food.
The idea of a life-size gingerbread house where people could go in and out drew skepticism, even from some hotel workers. But head pastry chef Daniel Mangione was confident it could be done.
"There's a lot of gingerbread houses out there but usually it's just a facade and the inside is forgotten about," Mangione said. "But this year we really wanted to see if we could make it different."
Up since Thanksgiving, the house will be coming down after Sunday. But Mangione assured that they will resurrect it in some form next Christmas.
"We want to do something a little different. We're not really too sure what that might be," Mangione said. "We might do a sushi counter."
Pastry chefs first prepped for construction back in June by making batches of gingerbread daily. They baked them with a reddish hue and cut them into "bricks." They also pre-ordered massive quantities of ingredients including 200 pounds of ginger powder, 400 pounds of honey, 50 pounds of cinnamon and 10 pounds of nutmeg.
"It's a much larger project than what we're working on day-to-day for banquets," said Marlene Carollo, another pastry chef at the resort.
According to Mangione, it took a "baker's dozen" about four days to tile the exterior. More than 4,000 ginger bricks made of real gingerbread cover the outside walls and the roof. Gumdrops and peppermints adorn each tile in a precise pattern and the windows are framed with candy-cane trim.
Mangione said they have had to do a quick check of the house every day to see if anything has gone missing. So far, the only hazards have been children caught licking walls or a few peppermints at a child's eye-level disappearing.
"Parents are very good about controlling their kids," Mangione said. "We haven't had any major loss of tile."
The aromatic abode has elicited strong reactions from adults as well. One man asked if he could stay overnight. Another wanted to buy the house for his grandchildren.
Anne and Vincent Duffy, who were visiting from Los Angeles, happened upon the house while walking around the lobby. The couple initially thought only the candy was real.
"I was really impressed that they made something of this size," Anne Duffy said. "I love it."

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