Mad Minute stories from Wednesday, August 10th - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Mad Minute stories from Wednesday, August 10th

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DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) -- After he escaped unharmed from the burning wreckage of an Emirates airplane that had crash-landed in Dubai, Mohamed Basheer already considered himself lucky.
Then came the call telling him he had won $1 million.
"I said, 'Don't joke!'" the 62-year-old Indian recounted, laughing inside the auto-body repair shop where he works in Dubai. "They said, 'Yes, you are the winner!' I said, 'No!'"
Basheer won Dubai Duty Free's Millennium Millionaire sweepstakes Tuesday with a ticket he purchased July 6, just before he boarded an Emirates flight to head to India's Kerala state and his hometown of Pallickal.
He believes the 1,000-dirham ($270) ticket, No. 845 in Series M222, was his 17th attempt to win the sweepstake.
Yet perhaps his luckiest numbers were yet to come as he boarded Emirates flight EK521 on Aug. 3 to return to Dubai. Sitting in seat 26G, Basheer said the flight passed normally for the 300 onboard until the Boeing 777-300 attempted to land at Dubai International Airport, the world's busiest international airfield.
The plane hit the runway, bounced and slammed into the ground again. For Basheer, who works at Al Tayer Motors auto body shop as a fleet operations coordinator, it felt like the shuddering stop of a speeding car with anti-lock brakes.
The cabin quickly filled with smoke when the plane came to a halt.
"Nobody knows what's happening," Basheer told The Associated Press in an interview Wednesday. "But I'm not scared. ... I was supporting the people and also I saved my life."
He jumped out of the airplane's emergency exit and down the slide, before turning back to see the fire spreading as others fled. He said he saw the explosion that caused the crash's only fatality, an Emirati firefighter responding to the blaze.
But he said he remained in awe that the passengers all escaped.
"That really is a miracle," Basheer said. "Thanks for God and thanks for the pilot."
An investigation into the crash is ongoing, though radio traffic and transponder data suggest the aircraft tried to regain altitude in the last moments before it hit the ground. That could indicate the pilots were trying to go around for a second landing attempt when something went wrong.
For Basheer, a no-nonsense employee like many of the laborers, taxi drivers and others from Kerala who take jobs in the United Arab Emirates, he immediately went back to work at the auto shop.
And then, at 1.45 p.m. on Tuesday, he received the phone call telling him he'd won.
"We were all excited, but he was the same - calm," said Ambujam Satheesh, his manager at the body shop. "He was taking calls from the customers."
That calm has carried Basheer through an intense 24 hours of non-stop calls to his mobile phone. Two bankers even came to visit him at the workshop, ending their pitch for his cash with a request for a selfie that he obliged.
To Basheer, the money isn't life-changing, though it can help his partially paralyzed son, grown daughter, grandchildren and wife. He'll keep working until mandatory retirement and will try to create a program to help the poor by teaching them useful work skills.
"Don't rubbish that money by giving something to someone for free," the 37-year Dubai resident said. "If you're hard-working, you make the money valuable."
The interview over, Basheer walked past the gleaming Ford Mustangs in the body shop and returned to his desk. A moment later, the phone rang with a worried customer and he got back to work.

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LAS VEGAS (AP) -- Airline officials say they called for help after a passenger was found stowing a monkey in his shirt during a Las Vegas-bound flight.
Frontier Airlines spokesman Richard Oliver says the incident happened Tuesday night on a flight from Columbus, Ohio, to Las Vegas.
Oliver says the passenger broke policy by not informing the airline that he was bringing a service animal onboard, and then refused to turn over documents verifying the monkey's status.
McCarran International Airport spokeswoman Christine Crews says law enforcement officials met up with the plane and determined that the monkey was a certified service animal.
Oliver says the animal was brought surreptitiously onto the plane in a duffel bag and never became loose or uncontained during the flight.
It wasn't immediately clear whether the passenger faces consequences.

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BERLIN (AP) - A German court has sentenced a man who falsely claimed to be a doctor and treated patients on a cruise ship to three years in prison.
News agency dpa reported that the Berlin state court on Monday convicted the qualified nurse of bodily harm, fraud, abuse of titles and deprivation of liberty. The latter charge referred to the fact that he put 41 patients under anesthetic.
The court found that the 41-year-old defendant claimed to be a doctor for five years starting in 2010, using a forged medical license, to enhance his status and because doctors earn more money.
At one point, he worked for 10 months on a cruise ship. The court found that no patients were hurt but he wouldn't have been able to handle any medical complications.

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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) -- This might be an only-in-Alaska problem: A restaurant in Fairbanks that has told customers since 2013 it was serving reindeer tenderloin was actually giving them elk.
And now The Pump House has been fined $50,000 by the state for mislabeling the meat.
The parent company of the restaurant agreed to pay the criminal fine, donate $10,532 to three non-profit food groups and publically apologize.
Restaurant co-owner Vivian Bubbel (buh-BEL) says an advertisement with the apology ran Saturday in the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner. She says the restaurant would have no additional comment.
The state Department of Environmental Conservation investigated. An employee reported the restaurant had not served reindeer in the years he worked there and the restaurant manager confirmed the use of elk.
The menu described reindeer tenderloin as "similar to caribou and raised in Western Alaska where they are harvested by the Native people."
The meat actually came from elk in New Zealand.

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Deltona, FL - Apparently workers hired to paint a sign in front of Pine Ridge High School in Deltona, Florida, need to retake an english class. 
Either that, or they wanted drivers to know they were in a "Scohol" zone. 
In a photo posted online, you can see the the mistaken paint job outside the school. The best part though, is that they painted the misspelled word twice. The road now reads "scohol scohol."
No word yet if the school has plans to fix the mistake. 

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LOS ANGELES (AP) -- The Pasadena Humane Society is saying: See you later, alligator.
After 18 years at the shelter north of Los Angeles, Tina the alligator was scheduled to be moved Wednesday from her private pool to the alligator enclosure at the Los Angeles Zoo.
The 7-foot-long, 100-pound gator will share space with a celebrity: Reggie the alligator.
Reggie was illegally raised as a pet and then dumped in Harbor City's Machado Lake in 2005. Reggie became the stuff of songs and T-shirts before he was captured two years later.
Tina, named after Tina Turner, is 28 years old and could have a long life ahead of her. An alligator named Methuselah was believed to be around 70 when he died at the zoo in 2010.
Tina and other wild animals came to the Pasadena Humane Society in 1998 after a traveling wildlife education program closed because of money and permitting problems.
The other animals eventually found homes, but it was hard to place Tina until the LA Zoo agreed to take her, said Ricky Whitman, the society's vice president of community relations.
The idea was to provide her with a more enriching experience, Whitman said.
"She's a wild animal, and it's always best if they have as good a habitat as possible and an urban kennel might not be that," Whitman said. "I don't know if she likes the barking dogs (here) or not."
Over the years, Tina got her own pool with a waterfall and space to sunbathe. She was a favorite with visiting schoolchildren.
"It's bittersweet for us, you know, to see her go after so long," Whitman said.
It's not clear whether Tina will want company, though.
"Alligators are known to be choosy about who they share their space with," said the zoo's April Spurlock.
Tina will be removed from her crate and slowly introduced to the habitat, a "Louisiana-inspired swamp" with a pool, waterfall and shade trees, Spurlock said.
Spurlock said Tina isn't considered a breeding partner for Reggie so the two will just be friends - hopefully.
"It's up to them," she said.

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Sturgis, SD - An annual rally in Sturgis, South Dakota is a celebration of all things motorcycle, even -- believe it or not -- Macbeth.
The Bird Cage Theatrics Company and The Flying "V" Resort of nearby Newcastle, Wyoming, are teaming up to stage a "bikes 'n leathers" version of the Shakespearian tragedy.
The company's made up of about 15 semi-professional actors and another 15 local players.
They're sticking to the bard's original script, but replacing warring Scots with battling bikers.
The show runs through Tuesday night.

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PLYMOUTH, Mass. (AP) -- A Massachusetts man has made a rare catch, snagging a bright blue lobster. Even rarer? It's not the first time he's caught one.
Jan Nickerson tells The Associated Press her husband, Wayne, let out a loud exclamation after spotting a bright blue lobster in his catch Monday. Nickerson says her husband also caught one decades ago.
Blue lobsters are rare. The oft-cited odds of catching one are 1 in 2 million. But no one knows for sure.
Jan Nickerson says they're keeping the lobster, nicknamed Bleu, in a holding tank. She hopes to donate it to Boston's New England Aquarium, where several colored lobsters are on display.
Aquarium media relations director Tony LaCrosse calls the bright blue lobster "just spectacular" and says they may be interested if they have space.

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Tampa, FL - Just when you thought you had heard the craziest story about people playing Pokémon GO, there's this.
At 10:30 p.m. Thursday night officers responded to Ballast Point Park in response to a complaint of trespassers in the park after closing time. When officers arrived they observed about 150 people still in the park playing the virtual game Pokémon GO.
Everyone was instructed to leave and all complied except for David T. Mastrototaro-Baermude. Officers asked him to leave the park several more times and he refused to do so. Officers then attempted to arrest the defendant for trespassing after warning at which time the defendant grabbed an officer's arm and pushed off. The defendant actively continued to resist further attempts to arrest him, almost pulling one officer to the ground. The officer deployed his Taser and was then able to gain compliance from the defendant who was arrested without further incident.
Mastrototaro-Baermude was arrested for Trespassing After Warning and Resisting Arrest.

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HONOLULU (AP) -- A Maui ukulele player who unwittingly sang a duet with reggae artist Matisyahu will be performing with the singer in Hollywood.
But making the opportunity happen required help from Maui's top prosecutor and public defenders. A judge is allowing Clint Alama to fly to Los Angeles and back while temporarily released from jail, where he's being held on a probation violation after convictions for assault and other charges.
Matisyahu and his bassist Stu Brooks were at a Maui coffee shop recently when they heard Alama strumming the singer's hit "One Day." Matisyahu sang along, while Alama seemed oblivious to his singing partner's identity. Brooks filmed the impromptu duet.
The musicians later invited Alama to perform the song at their concert Friday at the Hollywood Palladium. There was one problem, Alama revealed: A warrant was out for his arrest because of the probation violation.
Brooks posted that conversation on Facebook. Maui County Prosecuting Attorney John "J.D." Kim saw the video and looked into Alama's case. Kim said he had watched the earlier coffee shop video while on vacation in Atlanta, and enjoyed seeing a local guy get some positive attention.
So Kim got in touch with Alama's public defenders and probation officials to come up with an arrangement. Meanwhile, Alama turned himself in earlier this week, was arrested and remains jailed at Maui Community Correctional Center.
A judge agreed to temporarily release Alama, allowing him to take a red-eye flight to Los Angeles Thursday night, perform "One Day" at the Hollywood Palladium on Friday and then return to Maui, Kim said.
"The court has allowed him this one opportunity of a lifetime," Kim said. He warned that if Alama gets into trouble or doesn't return, a judge could send him to prison.
Alama is excited and optimistic about the opportunity, Deputy Public Defender Danielle Sears said. "I think it's going to be a good influence on him," she said.
Sears said she's happy to have played a role in the unique arrangement. The judge's order is titled "Order granting temporary release to perform at the Palladium at Los Angeles," she noted.
Records show Alama is also known as Clint Alama-Barido. After the concert, he must remain in jail unless he can post $50,000 bail. A court hearing is scheduled for Sept. 16.
Brooks said he and Matisyahu don't know the details that led to Alama's convictions, but are willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. "It seems like everyone is supporting him," Brooks said. "He seems to have a lot of fans (in Hawaii)."
The musicians are handling Alama's travel arrangements, including having him picked up from the airport.
"He's been given an opportunity to showcase his talent. We decided far be it from us to hold him back," Kim said. "That's the true meaning of aloha- to give these guys a second chance, to understand their circumstances. Now it's on him."
 

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