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

Mad Minute stories from Thursday, August 4th

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ST. LOUIS (AP) -- A light that appeared high over St. Louis' Gateway Arch is perplexing officials.
The mystery started when an Illinois man shot video of the light early Tuesday morning and shared it with KTVI-TV . After seeing the report, an employee at an Illinois park across the river from the arch took a look at footage from a security camera and also saw the same light.
The video has been posted on the park's Facebook page.
Mike Buehlhorn, director of the Metro East Parks and Recreation District, says he doesn't know if he believes in UFOs, but "there's something weird with that one."
Spokesmen for the nearby Scott Air Force Base and the Federal Aviation Administration say they know nothing about the source of the light.

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PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Philadelphia is urging residents not to swim in dumpsters after a rented trash bin was filled with fire hydrant water and transformed into a pool.
The online news site Billy Penn first reported the shenanigans at a weekend block party. The party's organizers told the site they power-washed the dumpster, lined the bottom with plywood and tarps and cushioned the corners with pool noodles.
However, filling it with hydrant water caused the biggest issue with city officials.
The Department of Licenses and Inspections issued a statement saying the city won't issue permits for block party dumpster pools.
Agency spokeswoman Karen Guss said, "you would think this decision would not require an explanation."
Among the reasons: It takes water that should be available in the event of a fire; the strong water pressure could push someone into harm's way; and the huge amount of water released could cause a main break.
"We are not screwing around, Philly," Guss' statement reads. "The city strongly recommends that residents opt for recreational options that are safer, more sanitary and less likely to deplete the resources firefighters need in an emergency."

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CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Authorities say two people who tried to pawn some stolen PlayStations didn't realize that they had burgled the home of the pawn shop owner.
Citing a Clarksville, Tennessee police report, The Leaf-Chronicle says 30-year-old Jeremy A. Watts and 24-year-old Jessica F. Heady tried to sell two PlayStation systems along with controllers, video games and DVDs.
The pawn shop owner, Edward Dial, said he recognized the items and went home to check. Sure enough, his house had been broken into. Watts and Heady were arrested Tuesday and charged with aggravated burglary. Both were held on $50,000 bond. It is unclear whether either has an attorney.
Police say the stolen property was valued at more than $1,000.

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SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. (AP) -- Some unusual visitors joined the crowds of swimmers and kayakers trying to cool off on Lake Tahoe - a bear and a pair of cubs.
Pallas Buckley, who lives near South Lake Tahoe, took video of the rare sight this week: the animals frolicking and splashing in the water near the beach while people paddled nearby seemingly unfazed.
She says her fellow lakegoers watched the spectacle but stayed respectful of the bears. Buckley says she's seen many bears, but spotting them on the beach was a first.
Wildlife experts tell TV station KTVN in Reno, Nevada, that it's unusual for bears to visit a busy area, raising concerns they're used to being around people.
They say the bears could've come down for food or to cool off during the drought.

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LOS ALAMOS, N.M. (AP) -- A New Mexico bear hitched a ride on top of a garbage truck, traveling at least 5 miles on the vehicle before it was able to make its escape up a tree.
Santa Fe National Forest spokeswoman Julie Anne Overton says the driver was picking up a dumpster last week when he heard a squeal then realized the bear was on top of the truck. It rode atop the vehicle to a site where the Forest Service keeps a firefighting helicopter.
Helicopter mechanic Evan Welsch, who snapped photos of the bear, said about 30 Forest Service and National Park workers had gathered around to see the spectacle when it was suggested that the driver back up near a tree to give the animal an escape route.
The bear clamored for the tree and stayed up there about an hour or two before scurrying down and running off.

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CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) -- A longtime inmate who was recently released from prison pleaded guilty Wednesday in federal court to robbing a bank in Wyoming and asked a judge to impose the maximum sentence, saying going back to prison would be like going home.
Just a week after the robbery, Linda P. Thompson, 59, waived her right to a grand jury proceeding and entered the plea to a bank robbery charge.
Thompson said she had already spent about 18 years in prison for various crimes.
"Prison is home to me so I'm just going back home," she said. She added later, "I'd like as much time as possible."
Thompson pleaded guilty as part of a plea bargain that did not contain a recommended sentence. A bank robbery conviction generally carries a maximum 20 years in prison, though the term can be lengthened when previous convictions are considered.
Thompson's attorney, David Weiss, said outside court that it's unusual to represent a defendant who wants to go back to prison and "exceptional" to have one who wants so much prison time.
He described Thompson as competent and intelligent and an advocate for transgender prison inmates. She was featured a decade ago in a documentary film titled "Cruel and Unusual" that examined the lives of transgender prisoners.
Thompson was arrested July 27 after a US Bank branch in Cheyenne was robbed by a woman who tossed the money into the air outside and offered some to passers-by. She then sat down and waited for police to arrive.
Thompson told U.S. District Judge Nancy Freudenthal that she was released June 21 from Coffee Creek Correctional Facility in Wilsonville, Oregon, where she said she had served six years after a robbery conviction.
Thompson said she protested her release from the prison but her request to stay was denied.
She said she "hopped" a freight train headed for Wyoming, where her plan to stay ended when she was assaulted in a park on July 24 and decided she was better off in prison.
"The easiest way to get there is rob a bank," Thompson said.
Thompson was polite while speaking to the judge, and joked with her attorney. She interrupted the hearing once to ask permission to sit down because of back pain.
Freudenthal set sentencing for Oct. 12 after a pre-sentence investigation is completed.

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CELORON, N.Y. (AP) -- What could be scarier than a statue of Lucille Ball that was so hated it was dubbed "Scary Lucy"? Being the sculptor hired to replace it.
"It was completely intimidating," said Carolyn Palmer, whose new Lucy is to be unveiled Saturday in Lucille Ball Memorial Park in the actress' western New York hometown of Celoron.
"You can't please everybody," Palmer said by phone from her New Jersey studio, where she was putting the finishing touches on the bronze sculpture she began nine months ago. "But overall, I just really, really hope that I please the town of Celoron, please Lucy's family and all her fans. ... Fingers crossed!"
It's hard to imagine she could do any worse than Dave Poulin, whose 2009 version was so thoroughly panned for looking absolutely nothing like the comic actress that fans launched a Facebook campaign last year with the name, "We Love Lucy! Get Rid of this Statue."
Poulin said he ended up receiving hundreds of angry emails and even death threats for his donated piece, which depicted Ball from the famous "I Love Lucy" episode in which she auditions for a "Vitameatavegamin" health tonic ad. Critics blasted its disturbingly wide-eyed and even zombie-like face.
After Poulin's offer to redo the statue for free was declined, a town selection committee looked at dozens of sculptors before going with Palmer, best known for her sculpture of Pope Francis, created for his visit last year to New York City. Private donors are covering the estimated $250,000 cost.
To capture Ball, who died in 1989, Palmer enlisted three different models and studied photos, movies and, of course, all those TV shows from the 1950s.
Palmer said she wanted to show her subject's energy, glamour and confidence, evoking movement with her dress blowing in the wind.
Harder to capture, Palmer said, was Ball's penchant for wearing "sort of painted-on makeup," which doesn't always translate in bronze. "She's a stunning woman. I had to do a little bit of exaggerating in certain areas to bring that out."
Celoron Mayor Scott Schrecengost said he's hoping the work, which he's seen, puts to rest "a very bad story that started a year ago."
Then again, Scary Lucy has been such a draw (Schrecengost has seen people brush off the snow in the middle of winter to take a selfie) that there was talk of moving it to the National Comedy Center under construction in nearby Jamestown. But the plan for now is to relocate it to another spot in the park.
Schrecengost knows that might not sit well with the fans who wanted Scary Lucy gone.
But, he said, "It's been an icon in itself."

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- After-school religious clubs appear to be the next venture of a national group that sought to install a statue of Satan outside two state capitols to protest Christian monuments on public grounds.
The Satanic Temple contacted nine public school districts across the country this week seeking to start after-school Satan programs. In all but one district, religious clubs are operated by the Child Evangelism Fellowship's Good News Clubs, in which students can study the Bible and pray, according to temple co-founder Lucien Greaves.
Several districts contacted by The Associated Press said they were reviewing the group's request and noted their facilities were available to community groups.
Mat Staver, founder of a Christian legal aid group that has represented the Child Evangelism Fellowship, said Greaves' organization was illegitimate and an "atheist group masquerading" as religious. Greaves described Satanism as an atheist philosophy whose believers "feel it provides everything a religion provides to be legitimized as such."
The Satanic Temple, which is based in Salem, Massachusetts, and has chapters in several states, said it wants to counter well-funded fundamentalist Christian organizations that it believes are eroding the separation of church and state in public schools. Greaves said the after-school program would show "that people can be of different religious opinions and still be moral, upright people."
"We think that when kids are being exposed to the idea that they will burn in hell and other supernatural ideas, that there is a positive upshot to being exposed to the presence of a satanic afterschool program," he said.
Greaves said his group could pose tough legal fights if its requests are denied.
In Utah, the Granite School District said that if the group meets set requirements, including paying rent, there's nothing the district can do to stop it. District spokesman Ben Horsley said the group won't be able to put up fliers in schools or talk to students during school hours, the same arrangement given to the Good News Club.
Springfield Public Schools in Missouri also said it was reviewing the group's request. It noted that granting requests to use the district's taxpayer-funded facilities "does not constitute the district's endorsement." The school district in Prince George's County, Maryland, described a similar policy and noted parental permission was required for after-school activities.
The other districts are in Georgia, California, Florida, Oregon, Washington state and Arizona.
The Satanic Temple has taken up similar causes outside schools, including seeking to install an 8½-foot-tall bronze statue of Satan at the Oklahoma Capitol to stand in contrast to a Ten Commandments monument. Oklahoma's Supreme Court later banned all religious displays on Capitol grounds. The group is seeking to do the same outside Arkansas' statehouse, where a Ten Commandments monument has been proposed.

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Authorities say a woman flew into Nashville with nearly 45 pounds of marijuana inside her suitcases.
News outlets report that a police warrant says a police dog at the Nashville International Airport noticed the presence of drugs in two bags that arrived from an incoming flight on Wednesday.
Metro Nashville Police say 23-year-old Juneequa Smith was detained after she picked up the suspicious luggage off of an airport belt. Inside the bags, authorities say they found 37 packages of marijuana weighing 44.5 pounds.
The warrant doesn't say what city Smith traveled to Nashville from.
Depending on the grade of the marijuana, The Tennessean reports the drugs have a value between about $122,000 and $200,000.
Smith has been charged with felony drug possession. It's unclear whether she has an attorney.

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FERNWOOD, Miss. (AP) - An argument about a dog apparently prompted a Mississippi woman to set fire to her boyfriend's clothes, starting a blaze that destroyed his house, authorities said.
Lawanzie Devall, 47, of Columbia remained in jail Wednesday, with bond set at $5,000 on an arson charge, Pike County Sheriff's Department Chief Investigator Greg Martin said.
Homeowner Robert Johns told investigators Devall woke him Monday "cursing him out about his dog," Martin said in a news release.
"Johns said he told her that his dog was there first and she could leave," Martin continued.
He wrote that Johns told investigators Devall started packing her clothes, telling him, as she left, that she would "take care of" him.
"Johns said the next thing he noticed was the house was on fire," Martin wrote.
Johns escaped without injury, The Enterprise Journal reported.
The fire was reported at 2:15 p.m. Monday in the community of Fernwood.
Pike County Civil Defense Director Richard Coghlan said he responded to the call with the Fernwood Volunteer Fire Department.
"It was fully engulfed. It was a total loss," he said. "They went around 3:30 and were there until 7."
Martin said he did not know whether Devall has an attorney who could comment.

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