Mad Minute stories from Tuesday, January 17th - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Mad Minute stories from Tuesday, January 17th

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OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- Think it's hard for firefighters to rescue a cat in a tree? Try a cow in a swimming pool.
Firefighters in Oklahoma City were summoned Sunday morning after a homeowner reported hearing some sort of "snorting" coming from his swimming pool area. Emergency responders arrived and discovered a hole in the swimming pool's liner and a cow trapped in the water.
Oklahoma City Fire Department Battalion Chief Benny Fulkerson says firefighters used their pumps to remove about 5 feet of water from the pool so the cow wouldn't experience hypothermia. Crews then brought in a wrecker to hoist the nearly 1,500-pound animal from the pool and to safety.
Fulkerson says the cow appeared to be uninjured after its ordeal.

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PALM SPRINGS, Fla. (AP) - Authorities say a South Florida woman crashed her SUV into a T-Mobile store a day after trying unsuccessfully to exchange a cracked iPhone.
The Palm Beach Post reports that 26-year-old Shinobia Montoria Wright was arrested after Thursday's crash and treated for injuries to her forearms. Wright later told police she became upset after being forced to pay for a replacement phone even though she had insurance.
A manager told Palm Springs police that Wright seemed to be under the influence of a substance when she came into the store Wednesday. The next day, authorities say Wright crashed her vehicle through the front entrance and then got out and began smashing glass displays with a squeegee. Police said Wright also hit an employee in the neck.
Wright faces multiple charges, including aggravated battery. Jail records didn't list an attorney.

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - Police say an 80-year-old Utah woman who was unable to move for hours after a fall dialed a wrong number for help, but by chance got just the right person.
The Daily Herald reports that Halene Johnson meant to call her son when she finally reached a phone following the fall at her Taylorsville home, but she mixed up the number.
The wrong number she dialed happened to belong to a police detective.
West Valley City police Officer Dana Pugmire kept the woman on the line and as he helped get paramedics to her house.
He stayed on the phone until help arrived.
Johnson was hospitalized but is expected to recover.
She says she's grateful to the detective who kept listening to a misdialed call.
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CAPE MAY, N.J. (AP) -- The co-owners of New Jersey's Cape May Brewing Company are honoring the 175th anniversary of their alma mater with a uniquely named commemorative brew.
KYW-TV reports the Jersey shore-based microbrewery is releasing its "Demisemiseptcentennial Ale" on Jan. 25 to celebrate the founding of Villanova University.
Co-owners Ryan Krill and Chris Henke first met as freshmen at the suburban Philadelphia school in 2001.
Christine Quisenberry, Villanova's Director of Presidential Initiatives and Events, says the university wanted to involve alumni in its yearlong celebration of the milestone anniversary.
The beer is a classic Pale Ale brewed with sampling of German Pilsner malt, the brewery's house ale yeast strain and a hefty dose of hops. It's been described as an easy-drinking draft that's perfect for cheering on the defending national champion and top-ranked Wildcats this basketball season.

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JERUSALEM (AP) -- Israel's largest zoo is scrambling to find a monkey who swung out of a tree and escaped from the wildlife park near Tel Aviv.
The "Safari," located in the adjacent city of Ramat Gan, is asking the public to help find Kuner, a 17-year-old wedge-capped capuchin monkey who fled on Monday - likely after a fight with rival males in his enclosure.
Spokeswoman Sagit Horowitz says the 3 kilogram- (6.6 pound-) Kuner is about the size of a cat and poses no danger. She urged people to be careful if they see him and avoid making loud noises that could scare him away.
Kuner briefly escaped 11 years ago, when a storm knocked over a tree trunk that he used as a bridge to walk away. He returned shortly afterward.

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BERGEN, N.Y. (AP) - Two employees of a western New York lumber business were in the right place with the right equipment when they used a forklift to rescue a woman from a burning car.
Brian Frew and Ross Gingrich tell Buffalo's WGRZ-TV they were making a delivery Thursday afternoon when a vehicle broadsided another at a nearby intersection in the town of Bergen (BUR'-jihn), 15 miles southwest of Rochester.
Gingrich says he and Frew used the forklift being transported on their flatbed truck to raise one of the vehicles to free a woman who had been partially ejected from her vehicle, which had caught fire.
Other passers-by used several fire extinguishers to put out the flames.
State police say the woman and the other driver are expected to recover.
The cause of the crash is being investigated.

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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - An Iredell County woman is comparing her latest lottery win to being struck twice by lightning.
A news release from the N.C. Education Lottery says Lisa Williard of Harmony was one of three people to split the jackpot in Thursday's Cash 5 drawing. The jackpot was $1,065,423.
The odds of winning a Cash 5 jackpot are 1 in 749,398.
Williard's first win came in 2008, when she won $363,041 from a Cash 5 drawing.
Willard claimed her prize of $355,141 on Friday at lottery headquarters in Raleigh. After state and federal taxes, she took home $246,826, which she said she would use to pay off her mortgage.
The other winning tickets were sold at stores in Pineville and Winston Salem. Winners have 180 days to claim their prize.

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DESTREHAN, La. (AP) - Animal control in southeast Louisiana says a colony of raccoons was relocated because of their addiction to junk food.
St. Charles Animal Control supervisor Jena Troxler tells WWL-TV Wednesday that raccoons feasted on sugary snacks from marshmallows to doughnuts in a wooded area behind the Winn Dixie and Chase Bank on Airline Highway. The raccoons were fed the snacks to keep them away from food left for 14 feral cats that also live in the area.
Troxler says she saw 31 raccoons weighing 30-40 pounds within a four-month span.
Troxler says animal control agents to trapped and relocated 16 raccoons to the Bonne Carre Spillway about five miles away. The cats, which are spayed and neutered, were not removed from the area.
Troxler warned that people should not feed wild animals.

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - A former Internal Revenue Service employee is accused in a 15-count federal indictment of filing false tax returns.
Grand jurors in Kansas City, Missouri, indicted 48-year-old Carla Lachelle Mitchell of Kansas City, Kansas, on Friday on 10 counts of filing false tax returns and five counts of aggravated identity theft.
The indictment alleges Mitchell was working as a contact representative at the IRS from 2006 to 2015 when she prepared false federal income tax returns for 2011, 2012 and 2013 for 13 of her friends and family, as well as herself.
Mitchell allegedly included several false entries to lower the individual tax liability or to increase the refunds on the questioned returns.
Online court records do not show whether Mitchell has an attorney.

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A Maryland school district continues to face criticism from social media users for firing a staffer after she corrected a student's spelling on Twitter, and social media experts say the controversy illustrates the challenges schools face in communicating with students online.
Katie Nash was still in her probationary period as web experience coordinator for Frederick County Public Schools (FCPS) when she fielded several tweets on January 5 from students asking if school would be closed the next day because of snow.
"Close school tammarow PLEASE," one student insisted.
"But then how would you learn how to spell 'tomorrow?'" Nash responded from the @FCPSMaryland account, adding a smiley face emoticon.
"It really provided an opportunity to go back and forth in a lighthearted way and correct the student's spelling of tomorrow," Nash told WJLA, explaining her thought process.
That, apparently, went too far for the district. Last Friday, Nash was informed her probationary period would not be extended.
Some have accused her of using the school's account to bully a student.
"The tweet in question was inappropriate and certainly created a lot of unpleasant responses in terms of other students piling on," school board president Liz Barrett told the Frederick News-Post.
One community member posted on Nash's Facebook page that the tweet made her "really, really angry."
"Using a position of power and authority to cleverly & so publicly rebuke a student is irresponsible given the potential fall out of humiliation/teasing/bullying that FCPS professes to stand against," Catherine Campinos wrote.
Others have come to Nash's defense, including the child whose spelling she mocked. He tweeted the following day that he thought her response was funny and did not take it personally, and he expressed surprise that the incident had sparked a bullying debate.
While the district has apologized to the student, Nash has spoken to him and his family as well, and they are on her side.
"His father wrote to me and just really wanted me to know that he was appreciative of what I said," Nash said.
Cyberbullying expert Dr. Sameer Hinduja said calling Nash's tweet bullying is "ridiculous."
"I feel like it was a very respectful but truthful retort to the student, and even playful," he said.
Hinduja, co-director of the Cyberbullying Research Center and a professor of criminology at Florida Atlantic University, said bullying typically involves an intent to do harm and some indication that the behavior is repetitive or will be repeated.
"A reasonable person on the outside who hears about this story would come to the conclusion that this support staff person did not intend harm," he said.
The feelings of the student also matter when weighing such a comment.
"If the target is truthfully hurt and can articulate how and why they were hurt, then we have to take the student at their word," Hinduja said. In this case, the student was not.
Scott Talan, a professor of communication at American University who teaches courses on social media strategy, said correcting a student publicly on Twitter, even if done in a friendly way, may not be the best way to teach them or keep them engaged in the future.
"I think she didn't mean anything mean-spirited but she probably could have handled this privately," he said.
Michael Doerrer, director of communications for FCPS, said in a statement Tuesday that it would be "inappropriate and unethical" to comment on a specific employee's circumstances, but employees do have the right to appeal decisions.
"As you know, situations like this are often not as simple as they seem," he added.
A petition started by a former FCPS student on Nash's behalf has attracted more than 5,000 signatures demanding she be given her job back, but she said that she would not want to return.
"I don't want to be a distraction to the school system and the goals they have for overarching achievement," she told the News-Post.
Nash has pushed back against her critics in interviews and on Facebook. She said student focus groups had shown that they wanted more engagement with the school on social media.
"There was never a conversation about 'don't engage with students,'" she told WJLA.
She also rejected suggestions that she is using the incident to promote herself.
"I submit to you that I was terminated from a job. No one wants to be known for that," she wrote on Facebook. "As to why I have been 100% open about what happened. . . I would rather put everything out there, back it up where I can, and let people go from there."
Experts hope this type of controversy will not discourage schools from interacting with students on social media.
"This is where students are and this is the reality of 21st century communications," Talan said.
He added that schools should also offer students mandatory courses on "digital and social media literacy," including understanding how data is collected online, the consequences of social media mistakes, and how to fact-check.
Hinduja acknowledged the difficult situation the Frederick County school district faces in navigating the modern social media minefield.
"I don't mind that they want to stay ahead of the online bullying problem, but sometimes in an effort to send a hard and fast message…we sometimes overstep our bounds when it comes to bullying," he said.
"Maybe you can sort of applaud the good intentions," he said, but the firing seems like a disproportionate reaction to Nash's actions.
It may have been better to address the matter less formally, such as with a memo to staff about appropriate social media activity, but that also risks unintended consequences.
"The last thing that we want is students to perceive that adults are out of touch with technology and the way that kids are using technology to interact," Hinduja said.
Nash's critics argue she was out of line to shame a student in front of the district's 30,000 Twitter followers, regardless of intent.
"My gut clenched when I saw the tweet for the first time and all I knew in that moment was it involved a student on the receiving end," Campinos wrote on Facebook. "When there is power in play then the balance of the responsibility of doing no harm falls on the person with power and authority."
Wielding that authority properly is important to FCPS, according to Doerrer, and it is something he believes they have been successful at in the past.
"FCPS has a long track record of engaging students and our community in positive and productive ways," he said. "We are proud of our students, our FCPS parents and families, and our community; our goals include highlighting their achievements, engaging them in the issues that affect our school system, and sharing information with them."
That can be a difficult line to walk for someone in Nash's job.
"Part of it is staying relevant without becoming boring, and that's not easy. Being wary of not just jumping into anything that seems topical or interesting," Talan said.
Considering context and knowing the audience is also important. School officials may not need to be as cautious in communicating with university students on social media as they must be in high schools and elementary schools.
"Schools should be using it, especially when the students are minors, with vigilance and attention to detail," he said.
This may prove to be a learning experience for Nash and the school district, but according to Hinduja, the lesson should not be to avoid these casual exchanges with their students entirely. Students already believe their teachers are oblivious about this technology, and cutting off engagement can only widen that gap.
"It's 2017 and we should promote the interaction of adults and youth," he said. "If we continue to promote this intolerance of any interaction…then I think we miss educational opportunities."

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