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

Mad Minute stories from Friday, August 12th

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HAMPTON, N.H. (AP) -- An oversized rubber duck that was stolen from a New Hampshire family's home five years ago has returned, shrouded in a cloud of mystery and global intrigue.
The Portsmouth Herald reports the Troiano family began receiving cryptic postcards and pictures of the duck in locations all over the world soon after its disappearance from their Hampton home.
A Facebook page documenting the globe-trotting of "Gale Ducky" gained a large following that included the Troianos themselves, who were amused by their bath toy's new adventures and weren't put off by his abduction.
But on Wednesday morning, Gale Ducky returned with a suitcase full of mementoes from his journey to 20 different countries and numerous cities across the United States.
Jennifer Troiano says she hopes the abductor's identity remains a mystery.

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ELIZABETH, N.J. (AP) -- A New Jersey couple who claim they were scared away from their home after receiving creepy letters from someone named "The Watcher" can move forward with a lawsuit against the home's former owners, a Superior Court judge ruled on Thursday.
Judge Camille Kenny rejected a motion to dismiss the lawsuit but threw out some of the claims made by Derek and Maria Broaddus, including their contentions that ex-owners John and Andrea Woods intentionally or negligently caused emotional distress when they sold the house in June 2014, NJ.com reported.
Derek and Maria Broaddus, who have three children, bought the house in Westfield for nearly $1.4 million, but they refused to move in due to three eerie letters they said they received from a person with a "mentally disturbed fixation" on the home.
They have claimed that one of the letters they received read: "Do you need to fill the house with the young blood I requested? Once I know their names I will call to them and draw them too (sic) me." The person signs the letters as "The Watcher."
The couple claims the Woods were aware of the person and should have warned them about a letter they received from the person who claimed ownership of the home.
The Woods' attorney, Richard Kaplow, said state law didn't require his clients to disclose an off-site social condition.
Kenny's ruling indicated there may be little evidence that the previous owners knew about the letters.
"The linchpin of this case is that one letter," Kenny said, noting that Andrea Woods had disclosed the letter and went to the police with Maria Broaddus to make a report after closing on the house.
If that letter is the only information the sellers had, Kenney said, the Woods can seek a summary judgment of the case in their favor.

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WARSAW, Poland (AP) -- A Polish woman who went into labor on the way to a hospital got a helping hand from a tram driver who used string from an umbrella to tie off the umbilical cord.
Paulina Kacperska and her husband were driving to a hospital in Poznan Thursday morning when Kacperska started giving birth.
Kacperska said in an interview on TVN24: "I told him 'pull over and get out, you have to deliver (the baby) because I can feel the head coming out.'"
By chance, her husband pulled over near a tram stop where a driver was working who had worked as a midwife in the past.
The driver, Dorota Kaczmarek, arrived in time to tie off the umbilical cord of the healthy baby boy, who was named Fabian.

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NEWARK, N.J. (AP) -- A New Jersey woman has settled a lawsuit that will allow her to display a vanity license plate that reads "8THEIST."
The settlement was filed in federal court on Friday.
Shannon Morgan lives in Maurice River in Cumberland County. She sued the state Motor Vehicle Commission in 2014 after it denied her request to get a plate that spells "atheist" beginning with the number 8 instead of the letter A on the grounds it might be considered offensive.
The settlement agreement says the commission agreed the plate "is consistent" with the commission's applicable regulations.
As part of the settlement, the Motor Vehicle Commission also won't prohibit vanity plates with sayings such as ATHEISM, GODLESS, HEATHEN, HERETIC and SKEPTIC.

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HARDWICK, Vt. (AP) -- The owner and publisher of a weekly newspaper is extending an essay contest to find a new owner for it after failing to get enough entries.
Ross Connelly had hoped to get at least 700 essays from which to pick a winner to own the Hardwick Gazette but said Thursday that he had received fewer than 100 since the contest started June 11.
The entry fee is $175. Contestants are expected to write up to 400 words about their skills and vision for owning a rural weekly newspaper in Vermont.
Connelly announced in the newspaper on Wednesday that he was extending the contest by 40 days.
"Besides garnering a number of excellent essays, the contest to this point makes a strong case there are people in this country and elsewhere who recognize the importance of a community newspaper, and have the skills and drive to be successful running one," he wrote.
The deadline to enter is Sept. 20.
The winner would assume ownership of the newspaper and its historic building, equipment, website and proprietary materials needed to operate the business. The newspaper is printed offsite at a press not owned by it.
Connelly and his late wife, Susan Jarzyn, bought the newspaper in 1986 after moving to Vermont from Cape Cod, in Massachusetts. She died in 2011, and he has said he would like to retire.
He had been unsuccessful selling the newspaper so he came up with the essay contest.
If he doesn't receive at least 700 entries, he'll refund the entry fees. He also has the option to extend the contest another 20 days.

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A man accused of stealing a car from South Florida high school's parking lot decided to show off his twerking skills during his court appearance.
Surveillance video from Miami Edison Senior High School captured Calvin Lloyd Griffith, 30, walking through the building, taking an employee's keys and then stealing the Volkswagen Passat from the parking lot of the school, according to a Miami-Dade Police arrest report. 
Griffith was arrested Wednesday on charges of grand theft, burglary and trespassing. He made his first court appearance Thursday before Miami-Dade Judge Catherine Pooler.
"My mom's here!" Griffith exclaimed as he was brought into court.
As he continued to speak, his microphone was turned off. In order to get to the judges attention, Griffith began twerking.
"He's got problems," an unamused Pooler said.
Griffith's mother was in court with a bag of prescription medications for her son. He apparently suffers from mental illness and was off his medications.
Griffith, who was already on probation for similar charges, was given $18,000 bond but was ordered held until his next court appearance Friday.
He was also ordered to stay away from Miami Edison Senior High.
"Do not go back there. You are not a student anymore," Pooler warned. 

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BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) - "The Simpsons" is doubling down with an hour-long episode in January.
It will be the first time the half-hour animated series has expanded to a full hour, Fox said Monday.
Al Jean, executive producer of the series that revels in daring humor, included a political shot in announcing the episode.
"I just pray it won't be the last thing people see before a Trump inauguration," Jean said in a statement.
Taraji P. Henson, who plays Cookie on Fox's "Empire," and Keegan-Michael Key will guest star. Henson voices Praline, the former wife of a music mogul who has conned Mr. Burns into bankruptcy. Key voices a rapper, Jazzy James, who joins with Praline, Homer and Bart to help Mr. Burns seek revenge.
The airdate for the episode, titled "The Great Phatsby," a play on the classic "The Great Gatsby," was not announced. "The Simpsons" begins its 28th season on Sept. 25, and will reach its 600-episode milestone Oct. 16.

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Agawam, MA - Apparently sheer determination is keeping sheep on the lam in southern Massachusetts.
A flock of five sheelp fled after being fleeced by their owner south of Springfield.
Running back and forth between neighbors' homes, they've been dropping not-so-pretty presents on the sidewalks. 
Police and animal control have tried to wrangle the animals, with no success so far. 

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Nuuk, Greenland - Scientists now calculate that Greenland sharks are Earth's oldest living animals with backbones.
They estimate that one of those gray sharks was born in icy arctic waters roughly 400 years ago and lived until only a couple of years ago.
Using a novel dating technique, an international team of biologists and physicists estimated the age of 28 dead female Greenland sharks.
Eight of them were probably 200 years or older.
Marine biologist Julius Nielsen at the University of Copenhagen estimated that the oldest of them was 392 years old but with a huge 120-year plus or minus margin of error because of uncertainties in technique.
Until now, the record holder was a Bowhead whale that hit 211 years old.
The study is published in the Journal of Science.

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Twinkie lovers, brace yourself.
Wal-Mart and the maker of the American snack cake are bringing the classic American treat to store shelves... with a state fair twist.
Hostess has created deep fried Twinkies.
Unlike regular ready-to-eat Twinkies, you keep these frozen and then bake them before eating them.
They'll be available exclusively at Wal-Mart beginning Monday.
 

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