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

Mad Minute stories from Thursday, December 8th

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WINSLOW, Maine (AP) -- A horse and a camel at a Maine petting zoo have formed an unlikely friendship.
The 5-year-old camel, Caesar, at the Pony X-Press Zoo in Winslow has become a guide for Dolly the horse, who is blind.
The zoo's Ed Papsis tells WGME-TV Dolly's probably the only horse with "a seeing eye camel."
He says Caesar needed the company of another animal and Dolly needed a guide, so the two were put together and they bonded. Dolly relies on the camel and follows him around. She whinnys for him if he's not nearby and he bellows back for her.

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WHITE TOWNSHIP, N.J. (AP) -- A Christmas tree farmer has found and returned a wedding ring that slipped off a New Jersey man's finger roughly 15 years ago.
David Penner lost the ring during a visit with his wife to Wyckoff's Tree Farm in White Township. He returned and searched, but the ring was nowhere to be found.
"I thought it was a miracle," Penner said of the farmer's find.
John Wyckoff, a third-generation tree farmer, told NJ.com he was riding on the back of a tractor sticking trees in the ground in April when he spotted something shiny in the soil. He sifted the dirt and found the wedding band. An NJ.com report on the discovery last week spurred a call from Penner's sister-in-law, who connected the two men.
"I got probably about half a dozen emails of people trying to give me leads," Wyckoff said. "One was right on."
Wyckoff invited Penner into his house to see the ring. Penner knew the date within the band, which Wyckoff had withheld when sharing the story. But Wyckoff asked for a wedding certificate as well. The 68-year-old Penner, of Liberty Township, offered to show ID, but Wyckoff insisted.
"That's no problem," Penner remembered saying. He went to the bank Monday to get the certificate.
The reunion was bittersweet for Penner, who lost his wife of 42 years when she died at age 67 in September.
"This was a piece to come back to me, in her absence," he said.

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CASPER, Wyo. (AP) -- It got so cold in Wyoming, even the Moscow Ballet couldn't move.
The traveling ballet group famous for performing "The Nutcracker" this time of year couldn't start their buses Thursday morning in Casper.
The temperature in the central Wyoming city plunged to 31 degrees below zero overnight.
Moscow Ballet spokeswoman Sally Michael Keyes says the group's bus and equipment trucks had to be defrosted over several hours.
The delay and worries about driving over snowy passes in Colorado prompted the troupe to cancel a performance Thursday night in Grand Junction, Colorado.
The ballet's home town of Moscow is no stranger to cold and snow, but even Moscow's recent low of 18 degrees wasn't nearly as cold as Casper.
The Moscow Ballet still plans to perform Friday and Saturday in Denver.

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STAMFORD, Conn. (AP) -- A Connecticut man who rolled into a jewelry store in a wheelchair, asked to see a $37,000 watch, then got up and sprinted out with the expensive timepiece has been sentenced to six years behind bars.
The Stamford Advocate reports that 37-year-old Larry Johnson was also sentenced Wednesday to eight years of probation.
The Waterbury man pleaded guilty in September to robbery, larceny and assault.
Authorities say Johnson entered a Stamford jewelry store in a wheelchair in May 2015 and asked to see a Rolex watch. Once he had the watch, he got out of the wheelchair, used pepper spray on the clerk and the security guard, and knocked the guard to the ground as he fled.
Johnson was tied to the theft by a fingerprint on the wheelchair.

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FLORENCE, Ariz. (AP) - A judge in Arizona has sentenced a woman to spend Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and the following day in jail.
Pinal County Superior Court Judge Lawrence Wharton said he wanted 33-year-old Kristi Schmidt to understand the gravity of her actions and how the holidays could have been different if she had behaved differently, the Casa Grande Dispatch reported.
Schmidt was arrested in July after police say her husband pulled a gun on a Pinal County Sheriff's deputy while officers were helping evict the couple from their home. Kristi Schmidt became aggressive during the confrontation and captured her own actions on a cell phone, police said.
Wharton said the cell phone recording informed his sentencing decision.
The video wasn't shown to the public, but prosecutor Kristen Sharifi told the court that Schmidt was pregnant and under the influence of illegal substances when she evaded officers and slipped out of handcuffs before going back inside the home. Sharifi said Schmidt slammed the doorway on one of the deputies
Schmidt pleaded guilty in October to attempted aggravated assault, interfering with judicial proceedings and attempted hindering of prosecution. Her attorney, Matt Long, asked for Schmidt to serve jail time over the New Year instead, but Wharton declined the request and said he picked Christmas for a reason.
He also sentenced Schmidt to three years of supervised probation.
Schmidt apologized for her actions during the hearing.
"This has been a really scary event for me," she told the judge. "I want to prove myself during probation that I'm going to do what I have to do."

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SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. (AP) - It was a different kind of hang-up for a San Bernardino man who climbed into a storm drain to retrieve a friend's cellphone and couldn't get out.
The San Bernardino Sun reports that Ronnie Wayne removed a manhole cover and climbed into the drain Tuesday night after his friend dropped the phone.
After he became stuck in the narrow space, his friend bought some rope from a nearby store and tried to pull him out.
Firefighters were called after the rope broke and sent the 51-year-old Wayne tumbling farther down the drain.
It took about 40 minutes to free him.
Authorities say Wayne had only minor cuts and declined medical attention.

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LEBANON, Ohio (AP) - Ohio officials say a Florida man has been sentenced to two years in prison and ordered to pay $22,000 in restitution for his role in a theft ring that stole the hair growth product Rogaine and other over-the-counter drugs.
The Ohio Attorney General's Office says 36-year-old Andres Arias, of Boca Raton, pleaded guilty Tuesday to a racketeering charge in Warren County in southwestern Ohio and was sentenced.
The attorney general's statement says Arias was part of a criminal network that stole Rogaine, a dietary supplement and an over-the-counter weight loss drug, from drug stores throughout Ohio. The statement says Arias flew to targeted cities where he stole the drugs and shipped them to associates in New Jersey.
Arias' attorney says Arias is remorseful and the plea agreement is fair.

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Washington, D.C. - As the saying goes, you're either an Elvis fan or a Beatles fan, and apparently it's the same when it comes to queso and cheese dip. 
Today on Capitol Hill, Texas Senators Ted Cruz and John Cornyn defended their state's queso against Arkansas Senator John Boozman's cheese dip. 
The senators hosted a blind taste test at the weekly Republican Steering Committee lunch to settle the fight once and for all. 
The feud began last month when a Wall Street Journal article featured Arkansas cheese dip challenging Texas queso in the melted cheese hierarchy. Senator Cornyn followed by challenging his Arkansas counterparts to a cheese off. 
Despite Senator Cruz's passionate plea for Texas queso, it was Arkansas' cheese dip that won over other senate republicans. 

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BOSTON (AP) - Signs marking the eastern and western ends of the longest continuous road in the U.S. have been unveiled on both coasts.
Historic U.S. Route 20 runs between Boston and Newport, Oregon.
On Thursday, Massachusetts highway officials installed a mileage sign on the eastern end of the road in Boston's Kenmore Square. It informs motorists that Newport, Oregon, is a mere 3,365 miles away on Route 20 westbound.
A similar sign went up in Newport marking the same distance to Boston.
At a Boston ceremony, Massachusetts Highway Administrator Thomas Tinlin says, "There are many things that divide our country, but Route 20 is one thing that connects us."
The road passes through 12 states between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.

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HENAGAR, Ala. (AP) - Authorities in Alabama say a man charged with burglary was naked when he was taken into custody.
DeKalb County Sheriff Jimmy Harris tells al.com that 40-year-old Mark Tucker, of Flat Rock, is charged with third-degree burglary, second-degree burglary, breaking into a vehicle and attempted murder.
Harris says his office got a call about 5:45 a.m. Monday about a man prowling around a house and possibly in a garage near Henagar.
The sheriff says the prowler was confronted by a resident and the two men began to struggle when the prowler fired a gun. A woman was grazed by the bullet but not seriously injured.
Harris says the suspect ran into the woods and was later found inside a home naked.
Online jail records do not list an attorney for Tucker.
 

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