Mad Minute stories from Wednesday, May 18th - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Mad Minute stories from Wednesday, May 18th

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SAN DIEGO (AP) -- The San Diego County Department of Animal Services says a baby opossum is doing well after being rescued from a toilet.
The soaking wet little creature is seen in photos posted on the department's Facebook page.
The agency says a Pacific Beach woman found the critter in her toilet on May 1 and Animal Control Officer Carlos Wallis responded and took it to the San Diego Humane Society's Project Wildlife. It will be released when it is old enough to survive on its own.
A second opossum was found in the home later, along with a broken window which likely allowed the animals to enter.
Animal Services Deputy Director Dan DeSousa says both opossums are doing OK.

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Atlanta, GA - Weird things go through TSA checkpoints, but this one just might take the cake.
A passenger brought a dead body prop from the "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" movie through security at Atlanta's Hartsfield Jackson Airport.
A TSA spokeswoman called it "possibly the strangest thing" she had ever seen at a checkpoint.
While the bizarre prop caught TSA officers' attention, it was treated like any other piece of baggage and was shoved into the x-ray machine.

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Florida alligators are known for eating many things: turtles, birds, the occasional human limb.
But one large gator with an apparent sweet tooth was recently photographed sliding into a canal with a whole watermelon clamped in its jaws.
"Gator caught stealing watermelon out of watermelon field in Hendry County," a Florida Agricultural Crimes Intelligence Unit officer wrote May 13 on the group's Facebook page. Sgt. Charles White of the Hendry County Sheriff's Office took the photo.
The image had been shared thousands of times by Tuesday. Hendry County is east of Fort Myers, largely agricultural and in the center of the southern part of the state.
The photo stunned Steve Stiegler, a wildlife biologist in the alligator management program at the state's Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
"Um," he said, chuckling. "This would be unusual. Watermelons are not generally part of an alligator's diet."
He added that the gator in the photo appears to be about 10 feet long.
Alligators are predatory carnivores that eat fish and frogs when they're small.
"As an alligator gets larger, it will eat larger fish, larger vertebrates such as snakes, birds, land mammals that get too close to the water or attempt to swim across the body of water," Stiegler said.
He said that for an unknown reason, people who illegally feed alligators often give them marshmallows. Indeed, on the Facebook post of the gator watermelon thief, several people reminisced about tossing marshmallows to gators in Florida.
That's a no-no, Stiegler said.
"That alligator probably has a sweet tooth, and one of the more popular treats for people who illegally feed alligators are marshmallows. Alligators can taste sweet, and somehow this alligator got a taste of a watermelon and he's gone back for more."

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SAN ANTONIO (AP) -- A Texas school district says no one will face punishment after video surfaced of high school students using a cat's intestines as a jump rope during a lesson.
Officials with the North East Independent School District told KENS-TV the incident happened earlier this month during an anatomy class at Winston Churchill High School.
The district said the teacher felt the lesson was "effective" for demonstrating how long and tough intestines are.
Spokeswoman Aubrey Chancellor says the lesson was not meant to be disrespectful. She says neither the students nor teacher will be punished because there is no "ill will." But she says the district will update the lesson plan.
Animals rights group PETA told the TV station the school should replace "cruel and crude" dissection methods with animal-free lessons.

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HELSINKI (AP) -- Finland's Parliament has one. Nokia has one. And now a Burger King restaurant in downtown Helsinki has its own sauna.
Hanne-Mari Ahonen, brand manager for Burger King in Finland, on Wednesday said the idea was to combine local traditions with serving burgers.
She says the restaurant had "lots of good feedback" since they opened last year, with groups of 15 accounting for some 60 or more people attending every week.
Customers do not eat in the steam bath - that comes after the big sweat.
"No, no, the sauna is for sweating it out, and our hamburgers taste all the better for it afterward," she said.
The sauna costs 250-300 euros ($282-$350 for a group, depending on weekday or weekend. The meal costs extra.

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LIHUE, Hawaii (AP) - Police in Hawaii are looking for cat burglars who absconded with six dogs from a Humane Society shelter.
Police said in a statement that three mixed breed pit bulls, two Airedale terriers and a 2-month-old lab mix named Arianna, were taken from the shelter on Kauai sometime between Saturday night and Sunday morning.
Police say the thieves cut a lock off a gate to get into the shelter and make off with the furry friends. The puppy named Arianna has a microchip implanted, according to the Humane Society.
The Humane Society is offering a reward of up to $5,000 for the tips that lead to an arrest and conviction.

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) - A fortune-teller in Virginia has pleaded guilty to committing mail fraud and stealing more than $1 million from her former clients in exchange for "lifting their curse."
The Department of Justice said in a news release that 42-year-old self-proclaimed psychic Sandra S. Marks pleaded guilty Tuesday in Charlottesville federal court to one count of mail fraud and one count of money laundering. She faces up to 20 years in prison on each count.
Marks also will have to return at least $1.2 million to her victims.
Assistant United States Attorney Ronald M. Huber says Marks, who was formerly based in Albemarle County, would tell clients they would need to sacrifice large amounts of money so that a "dark cloud" could be lifted. Huber says Marks promised to return the money but never did.

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PORTLAND, Maine (AP) -- A police sergeant looking for speeders captured a fireball streaking across the sky on his dashboard camera early Tuesday.
The bright flash visible from several states was apparently left by a meteor burning up as it passed through Earth's atmosphere. Other people and webcams also captured images of the fireball.
The American Meteor Society reported more than 400 sightings in Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania and parts of Canada.
Portland police Sgt. Tim Farris was parked in front of the Central Fire Station when his camera captured the meteor lighting up the sky around 12:50 a.m.
Another officer who was chatting with him, Graham Hults, was heard exclaiming, "Oh, my God!"
Based on the brightness, the object was likely a space rock somewhere between the size of a toaster and a refrigerator when it entered the atmosphere, said Geoff Chester, spokesman for the U.S. Naval Observatory in Washington, D.C.
Webcams in Portsmouth Harbor in New Hampshire and at the Burlington International Airport in Vermont captured the fireball. Video surfaced from other sources, including another officer in Plattsburgh, New York, and a motorist on the Everett Turnpike in New Hampshire.
Some reported hearing booms.
The Maine Mineral & Gem Museum suspects the meteor crashed into the woods of northwestern Maine, based on preliminary findings. It's offering a $20,000 reward if someone recovers a piece of the meteorite weighing at least 2.2 pounds.

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CHESNEE, S.C. -A retired teacher from Spartanburg County could be a record breaker.
Ella Mae Colbert, 100, ran the 100-meter dash at Chesnee Middle on Tuesday.
Students, teachers, school district employees and people from the community lined the track to support her. They chanted "Ella Mae" at times, causing Colbert to do a dance before she started running.
When the gun went off, she started running but tripped. She needed a bandage for a chin after the fall.
"When she fell, I almost cried, then when she got up it made me feel 100 times better," said Martha Cox, a seventh-grade student. "She's a major inspiration on me, because I run track and I hope to be like her when I get older."
Colbert then went back to the starting line. The gun went off again and she took off.
"She fell, but she got back up to do it. I think we should all be the same way she did. Every time we fall, just get back up and keep trying," said Eva Vaca, a seventh-grade student.
An official timing company tracked Colbert's every move.
She crossed the finish line after 46.79 seconds. The world record for a 100-meter dash run by a 100-year-old was 1.17 seconds.
Colbert's family will take the statistics from the timing company and share them with Guinness World Records, hoping to have Colbert certified as the new record holder.
"Oh, I feel all right. I'm not tired," Colbert said after sitting down. "Some of these kids around here, they know I don't stop."
Colbert, who is a retired teacher from Spartanburg School District 2, took the moment as a chance to teach the people around her.
"I'm glad that you came. I'm glad that you thought about me," Colbert told the crowd. "I want you to do your best so when you get my age, you'll be running, too. Most of you got to do good, do better and do your best."
Some of Colbert's former students were there to cheer for her.
"She was as tough then as is now. She was awesome. She kept us all in line," said Carla Horton, who was Colbert's student in sixth grade. "What an amazing testimony to these kids that when you fall down, you get right back up and you keep going."
Colbert said she may have broken a record, but that doesn't mean she's done.
"You do not stop. Go ahead. You'll have some trials and you'll have something that gets in your way, but you don't let it get you down. You get up; you go again," Colbert told the crowd. "Do your best at anything you do, then when you get 100, you'll be beating me then, but I'm going to hang around to see that you do."

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BEIJING (AP) -- The subject of the photo looks out from behind bars, with newspapers arranged in front of him to prove what day it is. This "proof of life" shot is not a scene from a kidnapping but an effort by the Taipei Zoo to debunk rumors that a prized panda recently died.
Photos released by the zoo this week show 11-year-old Tuan Tuan looking at the papers laid out in front of his inner enclosure. The zoo's director said in a statement that Tuan Tuan, his partner Yuan Yuan and their cub Tuan Zai are all fine.
"We welcome everyone to visit them at the zoo," said Director Chin Shih-chien said.
The website of China's official Communist Party newspaper Global Times had reported the panda died of canine distemper, sending the story racing across the Chinese-language Internet. The paper later retracted the story and apologized for not checking its facts, a potentially egregious error given the political sensitivity surrounding the panda pair.
Giant pandas exist only in China and Beijing has often used overseas gifts of the animals to make political statements about its relationship with other governments. Beijing claims the self-governing island of Taiwan as its own territory, to be brought under its control by force if necessary.
Tuan Tuan and Yuan Yuan, whose combined names translate as "Reunion," were sent by Beijing to Taiwan in December 2008 following the election of China-friendly President Ma Ying-jeou as the island's leader.
The rumors of Tuan Tuan's death came just days before the inauguration of Ma's successor, Tsai Ing-wen, whose party formally supports Taiwan's formal independence from China.

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