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

Mad Minute stories from Thursday, April 14th

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LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) -- A judge has dismissed a Nebraska inmate's lawsuit that claimed he was denied his right to worship the divine Flying Spaghetti Monster, and that he was mocked and faced discrimination for his faith.
Stephen Cavanaugh sued the Department of Correctional Services and penitentiary officials in 2014 seeking $5 million and a court order mandating that inmates who practice FSMism receive the same rights and privileges as inmates who practice other religions.
U.S. District Judge John Gerrard dismissed the lawsuit on Tuesday. He said in his ruling that "FSMism" is not a religion as outlined by federal law, but "a parody intended to advance an argument about science, the evolution of life and the place of religion in public education."
Gerrard said those issues are important and that FSMism contains a serious argument, "but that does not mean that the trappings of the satire used to make that argument are entitled to protection as a 'religion,'" the Lincoln Journal Star reported.
He also said Cavanaugh, 24, didn't sufficiently back up claims that he had been prevented from exercising his religion while serving time in the Nebraska State Penitentiary on assault and weapons charges.
Cavanaugh claimed prison staff discriminated against him by refusing to allow him to meet for worship services and classes, to wear religious clothing and pendants and to receive communion. He said staff mocked and insulted his faith.
Gerrard determined that prison staff considered Cavanaugh's request in good faith "and concluded, reasonably, that FSMism was satirical and required no accommodation."
"This case is difficult because FSMism, as a parody, is designed to look very much like a religion," he said.

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WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) -- Inky the octopus waited until it was dark and the staff had gone home from the National Aquarium of New Zealand before making his move.
He squeezed and pushed his way through a tiny gap in the mesh at the top of his tank and slithered 2 meters (6.6 feet) to the floor. Then he made a beeline across the room to a drain hole.
With a body the size of a rugby ball, Inky managed to stretch out and squeeze into the hole. From there, he shimmied down the 50-meter (164-foot) pipe until he was back in the Pacific Ocean.
All he left behind three months ago was a slimy trail, allowing staff at the Napier aquarium to re-create his amazing escape.
He's not been seen since.
Inky's story begins on Pania Reef, several hundred yards (meters) out to sea from the aquarium. He was pulled up by a fisherman in a lobster pot and wasn't in good shape. He'd been attacked, probably by a snapper or some other fish, and a couple of his tentacles were half their normal length.
After a year recuperating at the National Aquarium, said manager Rob Yarrall, Inky was once again in good health. And he'd been delighting the staff with his intelligence.
"He used to come up and you could hand-feed him," Yarrall said. "He'd grab hold of you with the suckers on his tentacles, or squirt water at you. And he worked out how to screw the top off a jar."
Yarrall said that since they have no bones, octopuses can squeeze through almost any hole that's larger than their beaks, so the drain hole, 15 centimeters (6 inches) wide, was no great challenge.
After Inky escaped, the aquarium staff figured out what happened, admired his cleverness, wished him the best and went back to work. No one thought to publicize the story until Robyn McLean, communications manager for the Napier City Council, heard about what happened this week. She told a local reporter, and before long she and her small staff had fielded more than 100 calls from international media.
"It shows how we should never take animals for granted," McLean said. "The humble octopus is a very, very intelligent creature. He thought this one out and he nailed it. So, go Inky."

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TOKYO (AP) -- A chimpanzee fled from a zoo in northern Japan and tried desperately to avoid being captured by climbing an electric pole.
Not for long.
Chacha, the male chimp, was on the loose nearly two hours Thursday after it disappeared from the Yagiyama Zoological Park in Sendai, the city that's hosting finance ministers from the Group of Seven industrialized nations in May.
TV footage showed Chacha perched atop the pole, agitated and screaming at zoo workers below. Even after being hit by a sedative arrow in the back, Chacha desperately tried to escape, dangling from a power line.
He finally gave up and fell head down into a blanket held by a dozen workers on the ground. It's not immediately clear if he survived.
Zoo officials are investigating how he escaped.

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LONDON (AP) -- An underwater robot exploring Loch Ness has discovered a dark, monster-shaped mass in its depths.
Disappointingly, tourism officials say the 30-foot (9-meter), object is not the fabled Loch Ness Monster, but a prop left over from a 1970 film.
Billy Wilder's "The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes" puts the great detective on the trail of the monster - which turns out to be a disguised submarine. A model of the submarine-monster sank during production to the bottom of the 750 foot (230 meter) -deep lake.
Tourism body Visit Scotland is backing a survey of the Highlands lake by a marine robot to study its depths and see if there is any sign of the fabled monster, which helps attract hundreds of thousands of visitors a year to the region.
Visit Scotland chief executive Malcolm Roughead said that whatever the survey finds, "there will always be a sense of mystery and the unknown around what really lies beneath Loch Ness."

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LONDON (AP) -- A woman from Wales cannot name her baby daughter Cyanide, a British court ruled Thursday.
The woman, whose name cannot be published for legal reasons, has infant twins and wants to name her son Preacher and her daughter Cyanide, saying the poison is a "lovely, pretty name" with positive associations because it helped kill Nazi leader Adolf Hitler.
Local officials objected, and a family court judge ruled against the mother in September, saying she was not acting to secure her children's welfare.
She challenged the ruling, saying it was her right to choose her children's names. But three Court of Appeal judges upheld the earlier decision in a judgment published Thursday.
One of the justices, Eleanor King, said it was "one of those rare cases" in which judges should intervene.
"It is hard to see how ... the twin girl could regard being named after this deadly poison as other than a complete rejection of her by her birth mother," she said.
The woman has a history of drug abuse and mental health problems, and her children have been placed in foster care.

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BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) -- Nothing can stop true love, or at least a good kiss. Not even armed robbers.
Police in Montana's largest city are looking for three suspects who robbed a bar at gunpoint, but they didn't seem to disturb a couple who kissed through the commotion.
An employee of the Tap Inn and several patrons told police in Billings that two men and a woman wearing bandannas and gloves stormed the bar and casino early Monday and demanded money.
Surveillance video from the business shows the bartender quickly opening the cash register and putting his hands in the air, as did other bar patrons, while the amorous couple kept hugging and kissing.
The robbers left with an undisclosed amount of cash, and the bartender called 911.
No one was hurt.

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - Proclamation Ale Co., a small Rhode Island brewery that's pushing to change the state's beer laws, recently received an angry letter about its efforts. In response, the brewer set the letter on fire and posted to Facebook a photo of him holding the flaming document while flanked by brewery employees, with everyone raising a middle finger.
"It's Proclamation," said Dave Witham, the primary owner and brewer. "I thought we should make a statement."
The anonymous letter appeared to be from a liquor retailer, upset that Proclamation is urging lawmakers to remove the limit on the amount breweries can sell to visitors on site for consumption off premises.
Rhode Island allows for 72 ounces per visitor. Many other states have a higher limit or none at all. Among Rhode Island's neighbors, Connecticut's limit is 9 liters; Massachusetts doesn't have one.
The owners of Proclamation in West Kingston, Rhode Island, say that if the state's breweries could sell more beer directly to consumers, they could afford to hire more people and make more beer to send to distributors for the retailers, so every tier of the system benefits.
Some retailers, however, feel that the current system works well and protects the public. And some worry that changing it could be bad for their businesses.
The letter, which was postmarked in Providence and mailed to Proclamation in late March, says, "Retailers are happy to see small breweries succeed with their endeavors, but it should not happen at their expense."
The section of the law in question dates to 1933, when Prohibition was repealed. Under a three-tiered system, manufacturers sell alcohol to distributors, who, in turn, sell to retailers.
Lawmakers introduced bills this legislative session to remove the 72-ounce limit, arguing that Rhode Island needs to modernize, support its breweries and embrace beer tourism. Democratic Rep. Joseph Solomon, of Warwick, said he thinks changing the law could help retailers, since people who like the beer at the brewery will likely buy it in the future at their local liquor store.
"It's not taking away from anyone," he said. "It's an easy way to create jobs and boost the economy."
A lobbyist for independent liquor retailers in Rhode Island, Robert Goldberg, said he's working with lawmakers on a compromise. The Rhode Island Liquor Stores Association declined to comment, citing the negotiations.
Some liquor retailers are publicly supporting Proclamation's efforts.
On Friday at Proclamation, about 100 people lined up outside the building for the release of a new beer.
The first in line, Ryan Lagace, said he went to the brewery to try the new beer, but he usually goes to breweries in Massachusetts because he can buy as much beer as he wants.
"Every time I go, I go out to eat, buy gas, make other purchases," said the 32-year-old resident of Burrillville, Rhode Island. "You can take that beer tourism and turn it into something profitable for the state, not just the breweries."
Proclamation opened in 2014. Witham said he's hoping Rhode Island lawmakers, who often talk about the need to create jobs, will support changing the law so breweries can grow.
Craft breweries in Rhode Island have an annual economic impact of about $160 million, which ranks 48th in the nation, according to the Brewers Association, which advocates for craft brewers.

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A 72-year-old woman said Tuesday that her "wisdom and memories" helped save her as she wandered for nine days in the Arizona wilderness while authorities frantically searched for her.
Ann Charon Rodgers and her dog were found late Saturday afternoon in the Canyon Creek area of the White River Indian Reservation, the state Department of Public Safety and the Gila County Sheriff's Office said. Authorities said Rodgers got stranded March 31 on a remote back country road while driving to Phoenix to visit her grandchildren.
"What I feel like is a survivor," Rodgers told reporters Tuesday. "How stupid could I be?"
Rodgers ran out of gas and became disoriented, and for the next nine days, she and her rescue dog, Queenie, wandered the area looking for help, officials said.
As the days dragged on and no one came to help, "I just moved as fast as I could," she said.
"If I couldn't do that, I crawled," she said. "If I couldn't do that, I sat on my butt and crawled."
Rodgers said she pondered her possible death in the wilderness, concluding: "All right, if this is the end - if this is it - at least I'm going to die in the most natural beautiful cathedral I have been in in a long time."
"And then I thought, 'No, I ain't giving up yet," she said.
During the search, an aerial search crew spotted a distress signal that Rodgers had built spelling out "HELP!" in sticks and rocks on the canyon floor, authorities said. A handwritten message under the rocks, dated April 3, indicated that Rodgers was out of food and water and was venturing into the canyon. Her abandoned car was found later the same day.
On Saturday, a White River Tribal Game and Fish officer found Rodgers' dog walking out of the Canyon Creek area, authorities said, and Rodgers was eventually found standing next to a signal fire trying to wave down the search helicopters.
"Old people are thought of as not always as able to do things as others, which is true in many ways," Rodgers said Tuesday. "However, because we age, wisdom [and] memories become part of your knowledge base that help you survive."
Rodgers was treated for exposure at a hospital in Payson, Gila County Sheriff Adam Shepherd said. Asked Tuesday whether she still planned to go visit her grandchildren, she whispered, "You better damn well believe it."

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Prague, Czech Republic - A former police instructor crashed into dozens of parked cars in Prague Tuesday afternoon. 
He seemed to be acting deliberately and had rammed some vehicles repeatedly. No one was injured. 
Karel Kadlec, who is 46-years-old, was arrested in his vehicle on a street adjacent to where he ran his off-road vehicle into 51 other vehicles. 
He refused to undergo a breathalyzer test, but agreed to take a blood test. 
Police said the policeman had a .10 blood alcohol level. 
The same officer had been involved in a similar incident while under the influence last year. 

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LARGO, FL (WFLA) - A Florida man accused of vandalizing a home told deputies that he had listened to too much music and masturbated too much, which caused him to feel like "going out and destroying stuff."
Largo police officers responded to a home at 2066 N. Belcher Rd. around 2 p.m. on April 8 after someone reported seeing a man smashing a mailbox.
When police arrived at the home, they say they found William Timothy Anderson Thomas, 25 on the property, shirtless and covered in dirt.
According to an arrest affidavit, a trailer tire had been flattened, a window on the house was broken, and a mailbox, a real estate sign and a garden angel were completely destroyed.
Police say Thomas admitted to willfully and maliciously damaging the property. "He also stated he had listened to too much music and masturbated too much and he felt like going out and destroying stuff," said the arrest affidavit.
Thomas was arrested and charged with burglary and criminal mischief. He was booked into the Pinellas County Jail with bond set at $7,000.
 

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