Mad Minute stories from Monday, August 8th - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Mad Minute stories from Monday, August 8th

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BROWNINGTON, Vt. (AP) -- A hilltop village near the Canadian border grew to more than double its usual population of about 900 on Monday as people lined up to see dozens of oxen move an old schoolhouse back to its original location.
The goal of the re-enactment was to move the Orleans County Grammar School, which in recent decades has served as a Grange hall, about a third of a mile back to the center of the small hilltop campus where early 19th-century scholar and legislator Alexander Twilight opened it in 1823 and was its schoolmaster. The school had been moved in 1869 to the town's population center.
While many onlookers found the parade of 44 oxen impressive, it turned out the oxen didn't actually provide the power to get the 105-ton timber-frame school building up the hill. That power was supplied by the engine on the back of a barge-like rolling platform that filled both lanes of the narrow country road.
"We were going to let the oxen take it if they could and help them out if they needed it," said Peggy Day Gibson, director of the Old Stone House Museum in Brownington. "So we're doing this for show, and we're doing it for fun, and we're doing it to get the community involved."
The impetus for the move came two years ago, when the town was told it could no longer get insurance for a building without indoor plumbing or a modern heating system. Residents voted to offer the building to the Orleans County Historical Society, which oversees the Brownington historic district.
The town's central historical figure is Twilight, said to be the first African-American to graduate from an American college or university, getting a degree from Vermont's Middlebury College.
The oxen pulling the 30-by-40-foot white clapboard-sided schoolhouse surely gave the event a 19th-century feel, but there were some more modern aspects as well. Aside from the engine pushing the schoolhouse up the hill, there were the utility crews who showed up to lower power lines and communications cables so the 34-foot-high building could have clearance.
The event appeared better attended than organizers hoped.
"We should be selling T-shirts," said Brownington resident Dawn Perry, who suggested the shirts might say, "I was there for the second moving of the schoolhouse."
Caught up in the might-have-been entrepreneurial spirit, her husband, Everett "Sonny" Perry, surveyed the crowd and replied, "Too bad I wasn't ready for our yard sale. That would have been good."
The schoolhouse was placed next to a newly built foundation and will be slid onto that later this week. The foundation will be fronted with slabs of granite, to give it a more historically accurate appearance.
The building is "solid as a rock," said Bob Hunt, education director for the museum. Once in place, he said, "it should be good for another 200 years."

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BERLIN (AP) -- A Chinese tourist who lost his wallet in Germany signed the wrong paperwork and ended up being placed in a refugee home.
Christoph Schluetermann, an official with the German Red Cross, which runs the home, told news agency dpa on Monday that the man "set machinery in motion that he couldn't get out of."
The unidentified man's troubles started in early July when he lost his wallet after arriving in the southwestern German city of Stuttgart. Officials have figured out that, instead of going to police to file a stolen goods report, he somehow ended up at an authority that presented him with an asylum application.
From there, he was sent to Dortmund in northwestern Germany and on to the refugee home in Duelmen. "He simply did what he was told," Schluetermann said.
Schluetermann said he quickly noticed the man because "he was different from the others - very, very helpless."
With help from a translation app and then from a translator at a Chinese restaurant, it became clear that the man wanted to travel on to France and Italy, not seek asylum.
It took German officials 12 days to put the story together and send the 31-year-old tourist on his way, Schluetermann said.

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WABENO, Wis. (AP) -- A Wisconsin man has his prosthetic leg back after the lost limb was discovered sticking out of a beaver dam by two canoers.
Elliot Fuller and Jason Franklin spotted the leg while paddling between a pair of lakes near Wabeno in Forest County on Thursday, the Wisconsin Journal Sentinel reported. Fuller said they were convinced it was part of a corpse until they got close enough to pull it out.
"I was sure we had found a dead body that someone dumped into the creek," the Germantown man said. "We thought it was real at first until we got a closer look."
A quick search on Craigslist yielded an ad from Mark Warner, who lost the prosthetic limb when his own canoe tipped over during a July fishing trip on Range Line Lake in Wabeno. The 49-year-old from Green Bay said he rescued his fishing gear and cooler, but the prosthetic limb got away.
"I wasn't overly worried about it because I use my older model for fishing and hunting," Warner said. "It wasn't my everyday leg, to put it that way."
Fuller and Franklin found the limb three miles from where Warner lost it. They returned it to Warner on Friday, netting a $50 reward for its safe return.
"Just did what I thought was right," Franklin said. "I hope that if I lost my leg that someone would return it to me, too."
Warner said he was sure it was gone. A friend had to convince him to put up the Craigslist ad.
"I really didn't expect to see it again. On my end, it's pretty amazing and it's pretty bizarre where it ended up," Warner said.

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GREAT FALLS, Va. (AP) -- One driver may be giving her insurance company an expensive bill after she accidently backed into a nearly $300,000 Ferrari while attempting to parallel park outside a Virginia coffeehouse.
Video being shared online shows the aftermath of the Saturday accident in Great Falls, near Washington, D.C. It shows the rear of the woman's Mercedes convertible sitting on the hood of a Ferrari 458 Speciale with a car alarm blaring. It happened at a weekly meeting of local car enthusiasts. One man asks the woman who was behind the wheel of the Mercedes: "Are you serious?"
Fairfax County police say they helped the drivers exchange information, but no one will be charged.
The Ferrari 458 lists for more than $290,000 and tops out at over 200 miles per hour.

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YUKON, Okla. (AP) -- An Oklahoma woman has been reunited with her pet tortoise after the creature was found about a mile away from home after a day on the loose.


Becca Funa says her 25-pound pet tortoise, named Desta, is remarkably fast and "you can't exactly put a collar on him." This was the tortoise's second escape from home.
Funa says Desta spends most days in the backyard of her home in Yukon, just west of Oklahoma City. Funa tells Oklahoma City television station KWTV that she noticed Desta was missing Friday.
On Saturday, a woman found the tortoise at Yukon City Park, and Funa was reunited with her pet later that night. Funa suspects Desta got out through an open gate in the yard.

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TRENTON, N.J. (AP) -- Drivers who drink coffee behind the wheel don't need to worry about getting a ticket in New Jersey any time soon.
The sponsor of a bill targeting distracted driving says his measure doesn't specifically cite coffee, despite recent news reports focusing on the beverage.
Democratic Assemblyman John Wisniewski said the legislation is aimed at discouraging distracted driving and that he cannot imagine that a police officer would pull anyone over for drinking coffee.
Current law already prohibits texting or talking without a hands-free device. The new legislation is broader and would bar "any activity unrelated to the actual operation of a motor vehicle in a manner that interferes with the safe operation of the vehicle."
Wisniewski says he sponsored the bill , which doesn't mention eating or drinking, to avoid the need for new legislation every time technology changes.
He introduced the measure seven months ago, but he has yet to bring it up for a vote in a committee he leads. It also never came up for a vote in the two previous legislative sessions in which he introduced similar bills.
Wisniewski said he was surprised by the reaction to the legislation. He said the outcry against the bill has been so strong that his inbox has filled up even more than when he proposed a 25-cent-per-gallon increase in the gas tax.
Wisniewski said when he introduced the bill before, people worried he was trying to stop them from eating sandwiches while driving.
"It was the 'ham sandwich bill' last time," he said. "Now it's coffee."

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- Ohio is looking for an expert in growing marijuana who must adhere to its drug-free workplace policy as the state implements a new medical marijuana law.
Cleveland.com reports the new hire by the Ohio Department of Commerce would help write rules for medical marijuana cultivators.
The chosen contractor would be held to Ohio's drug-free workplace policy, which currently doesn't allow for medical marijuana use.
A commerce department spokesman couldn't say Friday whether the contractor's employees would have to clear a pre-employment drug test.
The contractor would research best practices and recommend how they would work with Ohio's patient needs in the new Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program.
The job was posted last week. The state is accepting applications through Wednesday. The department has budgeted $50,000 for the work.
Ohio's new law allows people to use the drug in vapor form for certain chronic health conditions while barring patients from smoking marijuana or growing it at home. Employers could continue to enforce drug-testing policies and maintain drug-free workplaces.
The law will take effect Sept. 8, though the program is not expected to be fully operational until two years later.
The commerce department, state medical board and board of pharmacy will all play a role in regulating medical marijuana and those who cultivate, test, use and dispense it.

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MILAN (AP) -- The Italian coast guard has rescued and revived a kitten that was drowning by using massage and mouth-to-mouth, after children on shore drew attention to its plight.
A sailor jumped in the sea to rescue the cat, which was floating apparently lifeless in the water, as the coast guard ship entered the Sicilian port of Marsala after a patrol mission.
A video released Friday showed crew members administering mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and massaging the kitten to remove water from its lungs. They encouraged it: "Breathe, breathe. Wake up" and after a few minutes the kitten emitted a few weak "meows."
A veterinarian on shore says the kitten is now in good health. He has been given a home at the Marsala maritime district office and has been named Charlie.

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A 55-year-old New Jersey man died on Tuesday. That much is fact.
But due to dueling obituaries for him - one apparently submitted by his wife, the other apparently by his girlfriend - the rest is a little murky.
Both obituaries were published in The Press of Atlantic City, one on top of the other, and both included the same photo of the deceased, who lived in Egg Harbor Township.
The first obituary identifies the man as Leroy Bill Black and says he was survived by "his loving wife, Bearetta Harrison Black and his son, Jazz Black." It says Black died at home on Aug. 2 surrounded by his family. No cause of death is given.
The second obituary identifies him as Leroy "Blast" Black and also says Black died at home - but makes no mention of any family being there. It says in addition to his son, Jazz, Black is survived by his siblings, other family, friends, and his "longtime girlfriend, Princess Hall."
That obituary also says he was a fiberglass technician who died of lung cancer due to fiberglass exposure.
Neither the wife nor the girlfriend could be reached by NBC News, and NBC News could not confirm the content of the death notices.
A viewing is set for Saturday afternoon and Black's funeral is scheduled for Sunday at Greenidge Funeral Homes in Atlantic City. A staff member at Greenidge who did not identify herself told NBC News that she had received a phone call from a mourner "asking if there's going to be a problem between the wife and the girlfriend" at the funeral.
Joseph Greenidge Jr., the funeral director at Greenidge Funeral Homes, told KYW Newsradio in Philadelphia it isn't unheard of for there to be multiple obituaries written from different perspectives. But, he said, they took direction from Leroy's wife regarding the funeral arrangements.
"We follow the state law, which is that there is one point of contact. And in this case, as in any case, it would be the spouse, and so we followed the direction of the spouse," he told the station.

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OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- Three people were taken to a hospital after an estimated 30,000 to 60,000 bees escaped and stung people in a Wal-Mart parking lot in southeast Oklahoma City.
Emergency Medical Services Authority spokeswoman Lara O'Leary says two people were transported in serious condition and the third was in good condition after being stung Saturday morning after the bees escaped from three hives.
Each of the three injured are adults, but no other information about them was released.
Oklahoma City Fire Battalion Chief Benny Fulkerson says the incident began about 10:30 a.m., when a person selling bee hives met a buyer in the parking lot and the bees escaped.
Fulkerson says beekeepers were called and gathered the insects. He said a firefighter was also stung, but did not require medical attention.

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