Mad Minute stories from Wednesday, November 23rd - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Mad Minute stories from Wednesday, November 23rd

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NEW YORK (AP) -- Officials say a man shopping in New York's Grand Central Terminal suffered leg and hand burns when an e-cigarette exploded in his pants pocket.
Central Cellars employee John Lee says it looked like fireworks exploding when the vaporizer pen suddenly blew up in the man's pants Wednesday morning.
Metropolitan Transportation Authority spokesman Aaron Donovan says the man was taken by a private ambulance service to a hospital. He says the injuries appeared minor.
Donovan says train service at the transit hub wasn't affected.
Electronic cigarettes and other battery-operated electronic smoking devices occasionally do catch fire.
Last year, the federal Department of Transportation issued a rule prohibiting passengers from packing e-cigarettes in checked luggage to protect against in-flight fires.

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Officials settled a deadlocked race for a spot on a city council in suburban Salt Lake City by drawing names from a pilgrim hat and flipping a coin - a decision-by-chance that Utah and a number of other states allow to break ties in elections or appointments.
Utah law lets tied votes be settled "by lot" but does not specify what method of chance to use, Elections Director Mark Thomas said Wednesday. A coin toss and drawing names are common methods and they have been used two or three times over the past decade in Utah, generally in small elections, he said.
In the Kentucky city of Grayson, a tied election for a city council seat was settled Thursday with a coin flip.
In other states, local officials sometimes have rolled dice to determine the winner. That happened in Oregon in June, when two legislative candidates tied as they sought the nomination of the Independent Party. A 1992 stalemate in a primary for an Arizona legislative seat was settled by a game of poker.
In the Utah city of West Jordan last week, the city council interviewed 10 candidates interested in filling a vacancy. After 3½ hours of interviews and several rounds of voting, the council narrowed it down to Alan R. Anderson and David Pack. The council members deadlocked 3-3.
The council knew going into the Nov. 16 meeting that a tie was possible and came prepared, West Jordan spokeswoman Kim Wells said. Each candidate's name was written on an identically sized piece of paper and put in a pilgrim-style hat provided by councilman Dirk Burton, who was asked to bring an option from his large collection of hats in case of a tie.
The police chief drew Anderson's name, designating him as "heads" for a coin toss. It came up heads, making him the winner.
The coin toss, first reported by the Deseret News on Tuesday, marked the first time West Jordan filled an office by that method, said Wells, the city spokeswoman.
Anderson, a charter school business manager and member of the city's sustainability committee, told The Associated Press that he and Pack both agreed early on: "As the coin goes, so we do."
He acknowledged that after spending hours interviewing for the job, "it's kind of tough that you have to put it down to a coin toss."
Pack, who serves on the city's planning commission and as president of a high school parent-teacher association, did not return a message seeking comment Wednesday. He told the newspaper that he thought the process was "a fair, open and honest way to settle a deadlock vote."
Anderson won by chance after running for the seat last year but losing to a councilwoman who resigned this month. He will serve until the end of 2017 and run in a special election next November to keep the post for two more years.

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GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) -- A Wisconsin hunter has killed an eight-point ... doe?
WLUK-TV reports that Wayne Douville was hunting near Abrams in northeastern Wisconsin on Monday when he shot and killed a 222-pound deer that had eight points on its antlers.
Upon closer inspection, the 68-year-old Douville and his aptly-named friend, Mel Buckmaster, discovered the deer had female genitalia.
Jeff Pritzl, district wildlife supervisor for the state Department of Natural Resources, says the doe likely had a higher testosterone level, which might occur in one in 100,000 deer. He says the deer was tagged a buck because the antlers were at least three inches long.
Douville says he plans to have the entire deer mounted, though he doubts his wife will let him put it up on the living room wall.

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RED BUD, Ill. (AP) -- An elderly Illinois couple has something to be thankful for after a repo man who took their car had a change of heart and helped them get it paid off.
Illini Asset Recovery co-owner Jim Ford tells KTRK-TV that after repossessing the Buick from Stan and Pat Kippling, he pulled over to call the bank in order to see if he could pay it off for the couple. Ford set up an online fundraiser and says he raised the bulk of the cash needed in the first eight hours. The newly paid off car was returned to the Kipplings on Monday.
Ford says the couple reminded him of his late grandparents.
Stan Kippling says getting the car back is "just like hitting the lottery."

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SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Twitter CEO and co-founder Jack Dorsey says the social media platform accidentally suspended his account.
Dorsey tweeted Tuesday night , "just setting up my twttr.again (account suspension was an internal mistake)." The post was an echo of his first-ever tweet, which came in 2006.
San Francisco-based Twitter suspended the accounts of several prominent members of the so-called "alt-right" in an apparent crackown on accounts tied to hate speech or threats of violence. Twitter declined comment, but noted its policies against hate speech and harassment.
Some supporters of the movement cheered Dorsey's brief suspension with celebratory tweets Tuesday.

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MCKEES ROCKS, Pa. (AP) -- A workshop on fire eating sparked a false fire alarm at a former church near Pittsburgh.
Neighbors called 911 after spotting flames inside the building in McKees Rocks about 9 p.m. Monday.
Firefighters arrived to find flames - but they weren't burning out of control.
Instead, a group of 25 people was participating in a workshop, learning to perform the circus trick of fire eating.
Fire Chief Nick Radoycis says the building didn't have running water or fire extinguishers, so the group might be cited for trespassing or using the building without a proper permit.
Ed Pinto, one of the participants, says there was no harm done or intended, saying the group was "hanging out and doing our crazy stuff" and someone called the fire department.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - A lawsuit over the sale of a snake-infested house in Maryland has been settled.
The Capital Gazette of Annapolis reports that Barbara Johnson Palmer, an attorney for real estate agent Barbara Van Horn, confirmed Tuesday that a confidential settlement had been reached.
In 2015, Jeffrey and Jody Brooks filed a $2 million lawsuit against Van Horn of Champion Realty Inc. over the purchase of the home. The couple bought the house in December 2014 and found it to be infested with black rat snakes four months later.
Van Horn denied knowing about the snakes.
The Brooks' attorney, Genevieve Lindner, filed to voluntarily dismiss the suit in Anne Arundel County Circuit Court on Nov. 9. The case was dismissed days before it was set for trial Nov. 14.

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - An atheist's request to say "IM GOD" on his license plate was denied by the state of Kentucky, which said it might distract other drivers, could spark confrontations and would be in bad taste.
Bennie L. Hart says that by driving around with the "IM GOD" message, he simply wants to spread his views about religion - that it's impossible to disprove anyone's claim to being "God."
Besides, Hart says, he had the same plate for a dozen years when he lived in Ohio, without causing any problems.
Hart sued Kentucky's transportation secretary, Greg Thomas, on Tuesday on free speech grounds, asking a federal judge in Frankfort to strike down some Kentucky laws and rules for personalized plates.
"Under the First Amendment, government officials do not have the authority to censor messages simply because they dislike them," said William Sharp, legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky, which helped file the lawsuit. "And in this instance, personalized license plates are a form of individual speech equally deserving of First Amendment protection."
State Transportation Cabinet spokesman Ryan Watts said the agency doesn't comment on pending litigation.
Hart, who moved to Kenton County in northern Kentucky in February, intends to reapply for the "IM GOD" plate, his suit says.
When Hart was first turned down in March for the "IM GOD" plate, an administrative branch manager for Kentucky's Division of Motor Vehicle Licensing cited state law and regulations forbidding vulgar or obscene personalized plates, the suit says. That characterization is "demeaning" to Hart and his views and amounts to censorship, the suit says.
"I simply want the same opportunity to select a personal message for my license plate, just as any other driver," Hart said in an ACLU release Tuesday. "There is nothing 'obscene or vulgar' about my view that religious beliefs are subject to individual interpretation."
In April, Hart says state officials gave other reasons for their denial: that it wasn't in good taste, might distract other drivers and potentially spark confrontations.
According to the lawsuit, state officials indicated their denial was backed by a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that upheld Texas' refusal to issue a license plate bearing the Confederate battle flag.
The court said in the 5-4 ruling that Texas can limit the content of license plates because they are state property and not the equivalent of bumper stickers. The Sons of Confederate Veterans said their free speech rights should include a Texas plate bearing its logo with the battle flag. A state board rejected it over concerns that the license plate would offend many Texans.
"That case did not decide the question here, and that is whether or not personalized plates are government or individual speech," Sharp said in an interview Tuesday. "And we think ... the answer is that it is in fact individual speech."
The Freedom From Religion Foundation is also assisting in pressing Hart's case.

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If you're looking for something fancy to give that special someone this holiday season, look no further than Cheetos. 
Before you refuse, we're not talking about giving them a snack. Instead, Cheetos is launching an expensive jewelry line. 
The Chestora Collection includes 18 karat gold earrings and a matching ring for $20,000... But remember, there's only one set available. 
The jewelry claims to be the design work of Chester Cheetah, but Cheetos says a "ghost designer" from Texas actually helped out the cheetah. 
So while the idea may seem a little far fetched, this jewelry set might actually the quality gift you were looking for.

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(BBC) A waiter in Texas was given a $750 tip by a diner after mentioning he had not seen his family in Northern Ireland for more than two years.
Ben Millar, 22, said he was waiting on a man called Jeffery on Saturday when they began discussing Ireland.
Jeffery said he often visited Ireland and Mr Millar said he wished he could see his family more often.
A note on the dinner receipt read: "Hopefully, this can get you back to Ireland for the holidays."
Mr Millar had served Jeffery and his family for the rest of the evening after their conversation and only discovered the tip after they left.
 

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