Mad Minute stories from Monday, July 4th - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Mad Minute stories from Monday, July 4th

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GENEVA (AP) -- The Swiss army is working hard to fend off its latest foe: bedbugs.
The defense department said Monday that a parents' day event planned for July 16 is being cancelled because bedbugs have appeared in dormitories and fabrics used by three companies at an infantry training school in several parts of French-speaking Switzerland.
It said no one's health was in danger but "several recruits had bites typical of bedbugs."
Disinfection measures have been taken and specialists have been called in to clean up the sites. The three companies will not travel to Bure, along the French border near northern Basel, for the "Parents Day" celebration on July 16 that has been cancelled to prevent a wider contamination.

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LOWELL, Mass. (AP) -- Police have captured a foot-long alligator that was spotted roaming around a residential Massachusetts neighborhood over the July Fourth weekend.
Lowell police say they received a call around 7:30 p.m. Sunday reporting the alligator was walking down a street in the city's Highlands neighborhood. Responding officers located the animal along the side of the road.
Animal control officers arrived on the scene and took custody of the alligator. It was transported to a facility specializing in reptile rehabilitation for an evaluation.
There's no word on where the alligator came from.
This isn't the first time an alligator has turned up in Lowell.
The Boston Globe reports a two-foot alligator was spotted swimming in the city's Merrimack Canal in 2012.

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RENO, Nev. (AP) -- Reno police said they shot to death a man who tried to run over an officer as he attempted to drive into a crowded chicken wing festival, KNRV TV reported.
The incident began about 1:30 p.m. Sunday when police tried to make a traffic stop of a silver mini-van near downtown, the Washoe County Sheriff's Office said.
The driver of the mini-van failed to stop and headed toward downtown, the sheriff's office said in a statement.
The mini-van tried to get past a barricade in front of the annual Biggest Little City Wing Fest and then swerved toward a police officer who was on foot, the sheriff's office said.
The officer shot the man after it crashed into a vendor, Sheriff's office spokesman Bob Harmon told the TV station.
The suspect, who they have not identified, was taken to a nearby hospital, where he died, the sheriff's office said.
No officers or bystanders were injured.
Witnesses reported hearing multiple gunshots and seeing officers try to cut the van off.
The Reno Gazette Journal newspaper reports that witness Steven Parks, a vendor for Jax Kettle Korn, said he saw several police officers on foot attempted to cut off the vehicle so they could shoot into the passenger side of the van. Parks said he then heard multiple gunshots.
"You see these things in the movies, and know to get down," Parks told the Gazette Journal.
Wing Fest, an annual chicken wings cook-off, is a three-day event that features 25 wing cookers, a free concert and draws 80,000 people.
Following standard procedure in fatal police shootings, the incident will be investigated by the Washoe County Sheriff's Office, Sparks Police Department, Reno Police Department and Washoe County District Attorney's Office.

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LOS ANGELES (AP) -- The reeking carcass of a dead humpback whale was towed back out to sea some 24 hours after washing up at a popular Los Angeles County beach Friday.
Authorities used boats pulling ropes attached to the tail to pull it off the sand during the evening high tide, taking the whale far out to sea and avoiding a foul stench and grim scene on the beach as Fourth of July weekend crowds began arriving.
Authorities had earlier attempted the procedure at midday, with a bulldozer pushing, but it was unsuccessful because of the low tide.
The huge whale washed onto Dockweiler Beach, a long stretch of sand near the west end of Los Angeles International Airport, just before 8 p.m. Thursday and holiday beachgoers began arriving in the morning.
Lifeguards posted yellow caution tape to keep people away and biologists took samples to determine what caused the death of the humpback, an endangered species. Beachgoers watching from a distance covered their noses.
Tail markings were compared with a photo database and found that the same whale had been spotted three times previously off Southern California between June and August of last year by whale watchers who gave it the nickname Wally, said Alisa Schulman-Janiger, a whale research associate with the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County.
At the time of the prior sightings the humpback was covered with whale lice, which usually means a whale is in poor physical condition, but it was also actively feeding and breaching, she said.
Schulman-Janiger said she noticed healed entanglement scars on its tail indicating that in the past it been snarled in some sort of fishing line. The carcass was in relatively good condition which meant the whale could have died as recently as Thursday morning, she said.
The whale was about 46 feet long and at least 15 years old, meaning it had reached maturity, said Justin Greenman, stranding coordinator for the National Marine Fisheries Service.
Skin and blubber samples were taken for DNA testing along with fecal matter to be tested for biotoxins.
The experts had hoped to more extensively open up the whale but due to the holiday weekend authorities decided to get it off the beach as soon as possible, Greenman said.
North Pacific humpbacks feed along the West Coast from California to Alaska during summer, according to the Marine Mammal Center, a Sausalito-based ocean conservation organization. Although the species' numbers are extensively depleted, humpbacks have been seen with increasing frequency off California in recent years, the center's website said.
Humpbacks, familiar to whale watchers for their habits of breaching and slapping the water, are filter feeders that consume up to 3,000 pounds of krill, plankton and tiny fish per day, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
The whale that washed up is not the same one spotted earlier in the week off Southern California tangled in crab pot lines. That animal was identified as a blue whale. Efforts by a rescue crew in a small boat to cut away the line failed, and it disappeared.
California has seen a number of whales on beaches this year. A humpback carcass that appeared off Santa Cruz in May had to be towed out to sea, while a massive gray whale that ended up on San Onofre State Beach in April had to be chopped up and hauled to a landfill.
The same month, a distressed humpback was freed from crabbing gear in Monterey Bay. In March, a dead gray was removed from Torrey Pines State Beach.

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WHITE SETTLEMENT, Texas (AP) -- A North Texas city council has voted unanimously to reinstate Browser the cat to his job as live-in mascot of the city's public library.
KRLD-AM in Dallas-Fort Worth reports the governing council of the Fort Worth suburb of White Settlement voted 3-0 to let Browser stay at the library two weeks after voting 2-1 to give the tabby 30 days to check out.
Mayor Ron White had said the move against Browser was a response to officials' denial of permission to an employee to bring a puppy to work at City Hall. But he says he was overwhelmed with more than 1,000 messages on social media, all in support of keeping Browser on the job.
The vote was taken without hearing from Browser's supporters who jammed the council chamber.

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WILKES-BARRE, Pa. (AP) - A Pennsylvania man who bit off part of his wife's lover's ear during a scuffle will serve house arrest and probation.
The (Scranton) Times-Tribune reports Scranton resident John Teeple III was sentenced Thursday to four years of court supervision and three months of house arrest. He pleaded guilty to simple assault, reckless endangerment and a weapons offense.
Authorities say Teeple saw his wife's lover driving a car he was paying for and confronted him. That led to a scuffle in which Teeple bit off part of the man's left ear.
Teeple says the fight was the culmination of an emotional time that resulted in the end of his 14-year marriage.
Defense Attorney Bill Thompson says his client didn't start the physical fight.

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BENSON, NC - A North Carolina teen caught a record-breaking catfish that weighs almost as much as he does-- over 115 pounds! 
The lure of fishing for Landon Evans is what could be on the other end of that line. 
"Chasing the big one, so to speak," he said. 
Two weeks ago, the 15-year-old student had no idea just how big they lurked beneath the lake waters.
One violent yank which sent his rod horizontal, and he knew he was in for a fight -- one he was going to win.
"I gotta get it," Evans recalled thinking, "it's gotta come on the dock, I wasn't gonna lose it."
It took 30 minutes, the help of mom and dad to net a behemoth of a blue catfish. 4'6" long, and weighing nearly as much as Evans himself.
"I had no clue, I figured it might be 60, 70 pounds at the most," he said. "Even when I got it up to the surface and it rolled the first time I thought 80-90 at most. Never did I think it would be almost 120"
He says reeling it in was only half the battle, and getting it weighed was -- in his words -- a goose chase. 
"Have you got a scale that I can weight a fish on, I think it might be a record catfish," he said "and he kinda laughed at me because I told him I couldn't pick it up, and he said, 'just because you can't pick it up doesn't mean it's a record fish.'"
But it was. 117 pounds and 8 ounces. One fish, three records. 
A North Carolina record, an international game fish record, and a world junior angler record. Good enough for Evans... For now. 
He says he thinks there's still bigger fish out there. 

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Ephraim, WI - A town in Wisconsin is saying cheers, and selling alcohol for the first time since it was founded in 1853.
Voters in the village of Ephraim approved booze in restaurants back in April, but now they can buy it in stores. 
About six restaurants in the area finally got their liquor licenses just in time for the holiday weekend.
Restaurant owners say they're hoping selling wine and beer will boost their revenue by up to 30%.

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WINTER HAVEN, Fla. (WFLA) - A man was arrested at a local fast food chain because he called 911 to try and correct his food order.
Sunday night, 53-year-old John May called 911 to complain about the food he received from a Checkers food chain on Havendale Boulevard.
According to police, May said not only was his food order incorrect, but the manager also closed the drive-thru window on him, which he said, "is insubordination."
Police said May wanted officers to have the manager correct his order, even though more than half of his food was already eaten by the time officers arrived. May also admitted to officers on the scene this was no emergency.
May was booked into the Polk County Jail for one count of Misuse of 911 and one count of Trespass-Fail to leave upon Owner Order.

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New Zealand's largest cocaine haul ever was uncovered in an unusual place: inside an 881-pound diamante-encrusted horse.
A horse sculpture imported to New Zealand contained 35 bricks of high-grade cocaine. New Zealand Police
Authorities in New Zealand said Saturday that contained within the sculpture's glittery head, which arrived from Mexico in May, were 35 bricks of high-grade cocaine worth nearly $11 million U.S..
Two unidentified men - a 56-year-old U.S. national and a 44-year-old Mexican national -were arrested Friday night at Auckland International Airport, police said in a statement.
Additional search warrants were being executed in Christchurch, the statement said, and Sunday, police released surveillance video of a man "with a Spanish-sounding accent" who may be connected to the operation.
Detective Sgt. Colin Parmenter said the amount of cocaine seized in a typical year in New Zealand is 250 grams, or about half a pound - a statistic crushed by the sculpture.
"What this find tells us, though, is that there is obviously a demand for it," Parmenter said, according to the statement. "While it's possible that this statue may have been sent on to another country ... there's every possibility that the cocaine was destined for the New Zealand market."
 

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