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

Mad Minute stories from Tuesday, July 12th

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VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (AP) -- A surfing group is warning beachgoers to watch their step after a scary-looking fish was found lurking in the Virginia Beach sand.
Multiple news outlets report the East Coast Surfing Championships wrote on their Facebook page that one of the company's friends came across a northern stargazer fish while walking. The strange-looking fish has a speckled, flattened body and a large head.
Although the Chesapeake Bay Program's website says that stargazers tend to live at the bottom of deep, open waters, this particular one was found near the shore.
The program says stargazers bury in the sand with their eyes and mouth sticking out in order to ambush prey.
Surfing officials say that while northern stargazers don't pose any real threat to humans, their electric spines make them a serious predator.

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LUCKNOW, India (AP) -- Hundreds of thousands of people in India's most populous state jostled for space Monday as they attempted to plant 50 million trees over 24 hours in hopes of shattering the world record.
Officials in Uttar Pradesh distributed millions of saplings to be planted across the state to help India's efforts to increase its forest cover, and to get into Guinness World Records for the most trees planted in a day. The current record is 847,275, set in Pakistan in 2013.
More than 800,000 people, including students, lawmakers, government officials, housewives and volunteers from nonprofit organizations, headed out Monday to plant the saplings at designated spots along country roads and highways, rail tracks and forest lands.
Uttar Pradesh's top elected official, Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, said that planting 50 million trees would spread awareness and enthusiasm about afforestation and environmental conservation.
"The world has realized that serious efforts are needed to reduce carbon emissions to mitigate the effects of global climate change. Uttar Pradesh has made a beginning in this regard," Yadav told volunteers in the city of Kannauj, 250 kilometers (155 miles) southwest of the state capital, Lucknow.
India's government is encouraging all 29 states to start tree-planting drives to increase the country's forest cover as part of commitments made at last year's climate change summit in Paris. The government has designated more than $6.2 billion for tree-planting across the country, in keeping with its pledge to push India's forest cover to 95 million hectares (235 million acres) by 2030.
In Lucknow's Kukrail Reserve Forest, eighth-grader Shashwat Rai said he was planting a "peepal," using the local name for the fig species Ficus religiosa.
"I've read in a book that this tree releases maximum oxygen," Rai said. "There is so much pollution in the city, we need trees that produce oxygen."
Shashwat said he would be checking on the tree frequently. "I don't want this plant to die," he said.
The long-term survival of trees planted in such mass campaigns remains a concern, officials said.
Senior forest official Sanjeev Saran said the sites where the trees have been planted would be monitored through aerial photographs taken at regular intervals to check how many of the saplings were thriving.
Usually, only 60 percent of saplings survive, with the rest succumbing to disease or lack of water, officials said.
Meanwhile, auditors from Guinness World Records were moving around in the state to check on the numbers. "We are trying to maintain full transparency," Saran said.
"They are out in the field and are supervising the plantation drive," he said. "We do not know who they are or where they are at this point in time. They are working incognito, and this suits us."
Last year, Uttar Pradesh entered Guinness World Records for the largest distribution of saplings by donating more than 1 million trees that were planted at 10 locations in the state.

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Red Hot Chili Peppers bass player Flea says he ended up autographing some Metallica items following a mix-up at an airport in Belarus.
Flea has posted a picture on his Instagram account of him signing his name to a Metallica album, a DVD and pictures of the band.
He writes that the Chili Peppers tried to explain to the custom officials who asked for the autographs that they had the wrong band, "but they insisted that we sign anyway."
Flea says he did play a song with Metallica once, but adds that he's no Robert Trujillo, Metallica's bassist.

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TRENTON, N.J. (AP) - A man who tried to steal thousands of dollars from an elderly aunt's annuity by impersonating her in calls and emails to her insurance company is now headed to prison.
Jason Crozier received a five-year sentence on Friday. The 45-year-old Sussex County man had been convicted of insurance fraud, theft by deception and identity theft.
Officials with the state's Insurance Fraud Prosecutor's office say Crozier tried to steal $5,500 from his aunt's annuity.
They say he contacted her insurer multiple times between April and May of 2013 and provided her personal information - without her knowledge or consent - in a bid to make them believe he was his aunt so he could withdraw money from the fund.

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LEWISTON, Maine (AP) - A Maine contractor working to install storm water drain pipes in Lewiston made tapped into a historic water hydrant dating back to the mid-1800s.
Excavator Todd Gendron says it's the third historic cistern he's unearthed in his career.
The Lewiston Sun Journal reports ( ) that the large brick cistern was installed around 1869 and could hold about 40,000 gallons of water.
"The craftsmanship of the brick work is totally amazing," said Lewiston Public Works director Dave Jones.
Bates College retired professor Doug Hodgkin, who's written several books about local history, said Lewiston didn't start piping in water until the 1870s.
He said fires were a serious concern at the time, because wood houses were built close together and fire could easily spread from one to another. Hodgkin said insurance companies pressured cities to reduce the risk of fire losses.
"They said if you don't do something, insurances rates would be high," he said.
"Lewiston's population was exploding," Hodgkin said, of the era when the cistern was built. "The population was doubling from census to census. It would double from 1850 to 1860.
Gendron said the cistern will remain in place on Spring Street and the storm water pipe will run through it.
The goal of the storm water drain project is to divert storm water from the city's sewer system to prevent raw sewage from entering the Androscoggin River during heavy storms.

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BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (AP) - Connecticut State Police say a horse was found wandering on Interstate 91 after kicking out the door of its trailer and falling onto the highway.
Troopers responded and alerted the animal's owners who had continued on their way. Police say the horse had a few cuts and scrapes but appeared to avoid more serious injury.
The horse was found around 1 a.m. Thursday after drivers reported seeing it in the Cromwell area.
The owners were about 40 miles away in Stratford when they were notified by police. They retrieved the horse.

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CINCINNATI (AP) -- A small-city mayor who's also a veteran standup comedian was indicted Tuesday on four felony counts including election falsification and theft in office.
The state auditor's office announcement followed a monthslong investigation of Republican Hillsboro Mayor Drew Hastings by special prosecutors appointed by a Highland County judge. The counts also include theft and tampering with records.
Hastings said he has done nothing wrong and was "mystified" when he was served with the indictment while having lunch at a restaurant.
"I'm only guilty of trying to represent our citizens without the consent of an established political structure," Hastings said.
Among allegations probed were improper personal use of Hillsboro city trash bins, a $500 vacant building fee refund he received and election falsification concerning his residency in the city of 6,600 residents, where he has a downtown apartment. He has called the investigation a politically motivated "witch hunt" and a waste of taxpayers' money.
Auditor Dave Yost acknowledged Hastings "has long complained about the length of time a careful, proper investigation takes."
"That investigation is now complete," Yost, a fellow Republican, said in a statement. "... I am confident the jury of his peers will find that evidence amounts to proof beyond a reasonable doubt."
Hastings was re-elected last November to a second four-year term, winning 59 percent of the vote.
Former Mayor Betty Bishop, a Democrat and campaign manager for Hastings' last opponent, said it was "a sad day" for their community.
"All I can do is pray instead of criticize," she said.
Hastings said he and his attorney will be ready to fight the charges, which could bring jail time with convictions. His first court appearance is scheduled for July 27.
Hastings bought a small farm 60 miles east of Cincinnati a decade ago, then bought several downtown properties. He ran in 2011 as an anti-establishment Republican ready to shake things up and scoffing at political correctness. He said while "America is going to hell in a handbasket," he could help revitalize little Hillsboro. He won 62 percent of the vote.
Hastings, 62, has been a frequent guest on radio's syndicated "Bob & Tom Show." His TV appearances have included Jay Leno's "Tonight Show" and Comedy Central. He has been praised by The Times-Gazette for improving the city's finances and for downtown progress.
But critics see a heavy-handed, self-serving mayoral style. Bishop had said after his re-election that voters might not have recognized the issues with Hastings, "but they will."
Hastings' bluntness has gone too far at times. He apologized to upset black residents late last year after he made a Facebook post that said "blacks have all but formally declared war on whites."
Hastings also was investigated in 2013, when the state attorney general responded to a challenge on whether he was a city resident, concluding there was no cause for action. A lawsuit alleging official misconduct was filed last December, but a judge dismissed it as moot because allegations stemmed from Hastings' first term.

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JERSEY CITY, N.J. (AP) - Police say a man on a motorcycle used a retractable license plate to try to prevent paying a toll at the Holland Tunnel.
A Port Authority police officer on Sunday saw the license plate was concealed as the motorcycle entered an E-ZPass lane. The officer then saw the man use a toggle switch to return the license plate to its proper position.
Authorities charged 51-year-old Henry Pogue of Roselle with theft of service and possession of drug paraphernalia. He's due to make an appearance in Municipal Court on July 26.
It's not known if Pogue has a lawyer and a telephone number listed in his name was no longer in service.

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NEW ORLEANS (AP) - New Orleans police say a 27-year-old woman is accused of stealing $860 worth of fingernail polish from a CVS drug store - in one day.
Authorities say in a news release that Raushawn Ford was arrested Monday and held without bond on charges of theft and possessing stolen property. The news release quotes CVS' loss prevention officer as saying that Ford also had stolen from two other stores.
The release did not elaborate on when and how Ford allegedly stole the polish or how she was caught. Jail records did not indicate whether she had an attorney who could comment on the allegations.
According to the CVS website, it sells nail polish for anywhere from 99 cents to $17 a bottle, with kits running from $5 to $25.

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METHUEN, Mass. (AP) -- It didn't take much goading to find new homes for more than four dozen needy goats. We kid you not.
An animal rescue farm in Massachusetts says all 46 goats it acquired in mid-May from an owner overwhelmed by his rapidly growing herd have been adopted.
The MSPCA-Nevins Farm in Methuen (mih-THOO'-uhn) said Friday that an additional five kids born since May also have been claimed. Most of the goats - an assortment of alpine, pygmy and angora mixes - are already in their new homes.
Farm barn manager Gia Barss says the goats recovered from the parasitic infections and other ailments they had when their former owner voluntarily turned them over.
The Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals had called on people to step forward and give the animals new homes.
 

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