Mad Minute stories from Thursday, May 12th - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Mad Minute stories from Thursday, May 12th

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LEONIA, N.J. (AP) -- A fire has destroyed a 90-foot-long lifelike robotic dinosaur that was set to be part of an exhibit at a New Jersey theme park.
Exhibit creator Guy Gsell tells The Record newspaper the animatronic Argentinosaurus dinosaur was reduced to a charred skeleton Thursday at Overpeck County Park in Leonia.
The Field Station: Dinosaurs exhibit is moving to the park this month after operating in Secaucus since 2012. Its creator says a welder was putting finishing touches on the Argentinosaurus when a spark started the blaze.
The dinosaur was burned to its skeleton. None of the exhibit's 33 other dinosaurs was damaged.
The exhibit's creator says the exhibit is still on track to open Memorial Day weekend and he plans to rebuild the Argentinosaurus robot.
Argentinosaurus fossils were discovered in Argentina in the 1980s.

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LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) -- A Lincoln man says he's not dead, despite what the Social Security Administration has said.
Chuck Zellers learned of his demise in March after his Social Security deposit was removed from his bank account while he and his wife, Alice, were in Arizona, he told the Lincoln Journal Star.
They talked to a woman at the Social Security office who checked her computer and told him, "'Oh, by golly, you are dead,'" Zellers said.
"She told me it could be a funeral home declared you deceased; or that someone just put in a wrong keystroke or something like that," he said.
But Zellers, 73, admitted he will probably never know how it happened.
So, he's spent the past few weeks going from agency to agency, business to business, proving with various documents that Charles Richard Zellers II, of Lincoln, Nebraska, is not dead yet.
It was "a lot of driving and a lot of calling," he said.
He retired from his computer job at Unisys in 2000, and since then his pension and Social Security checks have been his main source of income. He hadn't received either check in over two months.
Luckily, when he cut his Arizona trip short and returned home, his local Social Security office paid him what he was owed - but only after they saw him alive.
His Veteran's Administration disability payments were recently reinstated and his credit rating is also back.
"It looks like they are reversing things for me," Zellers said.

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DETROIT (AP) -- Volunteers helping to maintain Detroit parks and playgrounds took a crack at mowing grass while blindfolded as part of a friendly competition.
The Detroit News reports that the Detroit Mower Gang held the "Blindfold Mowing Olympics" on Wednesday while trimming Hammerberg Field on the city's west side. The contest came after they wanted to determine who could drive a riding mower the straightest without seeing.
It wasn't easy: Two of the six contestants mowed an X in the grass as they crossed paths at Hammerberg Field, which includes a playground, football field and baseball diamond. Two others mowed perpendicular paths.
Jim Coffman went crooked but not as crooked as the others, so he won the first race. The newspaper says the prize was a bunch of used blindfolds.

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ROME (AP) -- The gourmet food Serena Williams ordered off the hotel room-service menu for dogs looked good enough for her to eat. So the top-ranked tennis player sampled it, and later got sick.
Williams posted a video Wednesday on Snapchat showing the salmon and rice dish she ordered for her Yorkshire Terrier at their hotel during the Italian Open.
Noting how good it looked, she tells the camera: "I ate a spoonful. Don't judge me!"
Williams says the bite tasted weird, "a little bit like a house-cleaner thing," but she ate it anyway.
She says within two hours, she had to run to the bathroom. She recovered in time to beat fellow American Christina McHale 7-6 (7), 6-1 in the third round Thursday.
The dog, Chip, appeared fine watching Williams from her player's box.
Williams says of the doggy menu: "I don't think it's consumable for humans. They should have wrote that!"

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PITTSBURGH (AP) -- Sheriff's deputies say they've caught the gingerbread man, a Pittsburgh-area burglary suspect who referred to the nursery rhyme in taunting authorities who couldn't catch up to him.
Police say 25-year-old Heath Emory Miller was trying to hide in the attic of a home where police found him on Wednesday.
Emory is wanted on several warrants from burglaries in the Pittsburgh suburbs of West View and Ross Township.
On Monday, he escaped into the woods after Allegheny County deputies thought they had him cornered.
That night, Miller posted on Facebook saying, "They call me the gingerbread man. Catch me if u can. I'm running as fast as I can."
Miller remained jailed without an attorney Thursday.
The gingerbread man is a children's story about a cookie that runs away from those who try to eat him.

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LISBON, Portugal (AP) -- Portuguese officials said Thursday they are trying to put a value on a 19th-century statue broken when a man climbed up it late at night to take a photo, possibly a selfie.
The state company responsible for the statue, Infraestruturas de Portugal, said it is looking into whether the statue can be restored or whether a new one must be made. Once the cost is calculated, the company may bring legal charges against the alleged culprit.
The statue of 16th-century King Sebastian, around 1-meter (3-feet) tall, stood in a head-high niche between the front doors of Rossio train station in Lisbon. The statue and the building are classified as national monuments.
Police said a 24-year-old Portuguese man climbed up onto the statue earlier this month. It came loose and fell onto the ground, breaking into more than a dozen pieces. The Public Prosecutor's office is now investigating the circumstances of the incident.
The statue is not a landmark and is rarely noticed by passers-by amid the station's ornate architecture, but King Sebastian is well-known as a monarch who fell in battle in North Africa aged 24 and without heirs. A legend, still recounted, grew up that he would one day reappear out of a mist and retake the throne.

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - An Albuquerque woman is facing embezzlement charges after police say she stole from her former employer more than $7,000 - in quarters.
KRQE-TV in Albuquerque reports a criminal complaints says Jessica Madrid stole 29,503 quarters from an apartment complex where she worked as a secretary.
Police say the 26-year-old Madrid never deposited the quarters in laundry money on behalf of the complex and kept the coins.
Albuquerque police spokesman Tanner Tixier says it took apartment complex officials around six months to realize they were being ripped off.
According to records, Madrid collected quarters from the complex laundry site each week from June 2015 until January 2016.
A police report says Madrid was later fired for an unrelated matter.
It was not known if Madrid had an attorney.

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When you find a fast food restaurant you love, chances are you REALLY love it. You know, your "go-to" guilty pleasure. 
35-year-old Jake Booth is no exception.
When the Army vet, who lives in Florida, got pneumonia in February. He had to go to the hospital, where he had a heart attack, and then went into a coma. 
He stayed comatose for 47 days, but then on the 48th day, he miraculously woke up. His first words? "I want Taco Bell." 
His brother says he had a tracheotomy, but he was determined to speak, and he did. 
Unfortunately, it was another three weeks until he could eat again, which brings us to early May. When doctors finally cleared him to eat, sure enough he got his Taco Bell. 
He reportedly ate eight and a half Crunchy Tacos. 

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Bennington, VT - If you ever get charged with a crime, please don't try to get out of it like this. 
Police say 62-year-old Edward Corey, who lives in Bennington, Vermont thought it would be a great idea to send a cake to the officer who arrested him for stealing thousands of dollars from his father. 
The cake was accompanied by a note that said "Cake is to sweeten deal. Let's make it happen today." Cpl. Christpher Lauzon apparently isn't open to bribes, and now Corey is facing new charges of trying to bribe an officer. 

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San Diego, CA - A San Diego woman getting ready to take a bath Thursday was shocked when she discovered a snake in her bathtub.
The woman found the reptile resting in her bathroom drain when she went to preheat her bath water.
An officer with the County of San Diego Department of Animal Services came to the animal's rescue. Officer DJ Gove says a man with a club was watching over the snake when she arrived.
Officer Gove identified the snake as a ball python and was able to snake it out of the drain.
According to the couple who found the snake, their apartment was secured, and they have no idea how the snake got into their home. 
The python was taken back to an animal care facility. 

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