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

Mad Minute stories from Monday, January 23rd

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NEW YORK (AP) -- A mysterious Skittles spill on a rural highway in Wisconsin is taking another twist, with Mars Inc. saying it doesn't know why the discarded candy might have been headed to become cattle feed.
The case began when a Wisconsin sheriff posted on Facebook this week that "hundreds of thousands of Skittles" had been found spilled on a highway. Later, he updated the post to say the candy had fallen off a truck on its way to be cattle feed.
Only red Skittles had spilled out, and Dodge County Sheriff Dale Schmidt joked in the post that it would be difficult to "Taste the Rainbow" in its entirety. The incident gained attention after CNN wrote about it, citing a report from a local affiliate.
A variety of food byproducts are commonly used for animal feed, and Skittles maker Mars Inc. says it has procedures for discarding foods for that purpose. However, the company says the Skittles in question came from a factory that doesn't sell unused products for animal feed.
"We don't know how it ended up as it did and we are investigating," Mars said.
Company spokeswoman Denise Young said the Skittles were supposed to be destroyed because a power outage prevented the signature "S'' from being placed on the candies. She said Mars planned to contact the sheriff's office and the farmer to find out more.
Schmidt said one of his deputies had come across the spill and sent him photos, which he posted on Facebook. He said the Skittles spilled from a box that started to disintegrate in the rain, and about half of them got out. The Skittles on the ground did not have the standard letter "S'' on them, he said.
The sheriff said he has spoken to the farmer, but did not have his phone number. Schmidt did not respond when asked by email for the farmer's name.
Linda Kurtz, a corporate environmental manager at Mars, said the company sells unused candies and ingredients to processors that incorporate them with other materials to make animal feed. She said Mars does not sell directly to farmers, and its procedures follow Food and Drug Administration regulations.
Kurtz said Mars determined the spilled Skittles came from its plant in Yorkville, Illinois, which does not sell products for animal feed. The other U.S. plant that makes Skittles, in Waco, Texas, sells to a local processor that melts them down into syrup.
Josh Cribbs, a cattle nutritionist and director of commercial development for the American Maine-Anjou Association, which promotes a particular cattle breed, said that the food byproducts that get used for cattle feed vary depending on what's available in the region and particular time of year. In places like Texas, for instance, Cribbs said citrus rinds are common.
Cribbs said a specific product would not be used alone, but be mixed with other ingredients to achieve a particular nutritional profile.
"You might think, 'Oh my gosh, they might be eating a Skittle.' In reality, that piece of candy is being broken down," he said.

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JERSEY SHORE, Pa. (AP) -- A television station has found the reason one central Pennsylvania town stinks: a field of decaying radishes.
WNEP-TV began investigating after residents of in the town of Jersey Shore complained the odor was turning the place into Funkytown.
Some people thought their propane tanks were leaking. Others say the smell was worse than dead deer or rotting pumpkins. The station even visited the sewer plant, which smelled OK.
The culprit, it turns out, is a field of radishes planted by T. A. Seeds, a company in nearby Nippenose Township.
The company plants the radishes to scavenge for natural nutrients left in the soil. The crops normally decay before the spring thaw, but they've rotted earlier this year because of unusually warm temperatures this month.

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PENSACOLA, Fla. (AP) -- It took about 34 years, but a sailor finally got a response to a message he stuffed into a plastic bottle and tossed into the Atlantic Ocean.
Then 19-year-old Ron Herbst was a petty officer in the Navy aboard the USS Coral Sea. His message included the ship's coordinates, his name, the date and his address. Less than a year later, a couple found the bottle while vacationing in the Florida Keys.
But Gordon and Cindy Brevik didn't try to contact Herbst. Instead, they hung on to the bottle.
Late last year, they noticed the bottle while moving and contacted Herbst in Pensacola through Facebook. He was stunned and tells The Pensacola News Journal that he now plans to donate the bottle to Pensacola's Naval Aviation Museum.

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MIAMI (AP) -- A Missouri couple vacationing in Florida had a close encounter with an alligator when it leapt into their airboat and became wedged in the boat's railing.
Passengers screamed as 30-year-old Tylor Hindery of Springfield, Missouri, captured the moment in a Facebook live video posted Tuesday.
Hinderey tells the Miami Herald he talked his wife Emerald into an airboat ride.
The guide killed the engine and floated close to the bank so people could photograph the gator.
But Hinderey says the boat got stuck. The guide didn't want to start the engine and scare the gator so he prepared to push off the bank. Just as he warned passengers not to make any sudden movements, the gator jumped into the boat.
The gator eventually slid in to the water. No one was hurt.

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PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- A record-setting limbo dancer gave Philadelphia airport passengers some free entertainment this week when she scooted under a bench at a terminal.
Shemika Charles, who goes by "The Limbo Queen," had a layover in Philadelphia on her way to a scheduled performance at a basketball game in Wisconsin. She says on Twitter she "had to get loose" and decided to have a little fun.
She posted video of herself successfully dancing through the tiny opening between the bottom of the bench and the floor.
Charles set the current Guinness World Record mark for lowest limbo by a female when she passed under a bar just 8.5 inches off the ground in 2010.

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ITHACA, N.Y. (AP) -- A hardbound edition of "The Hobbit" is back on the shelves at a New York library nearly 40 years after it was checked out by a reader who traveled the world as a Marine.
Bob James tells WSTM-TV in Syracuse that he checked out the J.R.R. Tolkien book from the Tompkins County Public Library in Ithaca before enlisting in the Marines in 1979.
The book became so popular with his fellow Marines that there was a waiting list. James believes the book was passed along to Marines and sailors serving aboard at least eight different ships in the western Pacific.
He brought the book the home after getting out of the Marines and held onto it until Monday, when he returned it to the library.
The library didn't charge him any late fees.

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EL PASO, Texas (AP) - A state district judge in El Paso is accused of shaking his middle finger at another judge in a fit of anger and now has a court date after being charged with disorderly conduct.
State District Judge Patrick Garcia is scheduled for trial in April after the El Paso County district attorney's office determined the misdemeanor case should be prosecuted.
A county court judge filed a complaint after he says Garcia gave him the finger in November outside the county courthouse.
The El Paso Times reports Garcia was angry because he believed the lower court judge had undermined a plea agreement being arranged in Garcia's court.
Garcia has told the newspaper he didn't want to comment.
The other judge said in his complaint that he found the incident "humiliating."

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VIENNA (AP) -- Vienna public transit authorities have found the man who went for a joyride with a Vienna street car. But they still don't know why.
The Vienna Lines transport authority says the culprit is a former employee who was dismissed some time ago. And police spokeswoman Irina Steirer says the 36-year-old has confessed to nabbing the tram.
But Steirer said Monday the suspect has given no motive other than acting on impulse.
The former trolley driver was apprehended Sunday, a day after unlocking the empty tram's door while the driver was making a rest-room stop, and then apparently sprinting away once transit officials brought the tram to a halt after less than two stops by turning off the electricity.
The man is not being identified due to Austrian confidentiality laws.

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GREELEY, Colo. (AP) -- Greeley Mayor Tom Norton is there for his hometown University of Northern Colorado men's basketball team. Unless he gets ejected after protesting a referees' call.
The Greeley Tribune reports Norton was ejected from Saturday's game against Weber State University when officials said he got up from his courtside seat and walked onto the floor to object.
Norton denied being on the court, saying, "I'm behaving."
He was later readmitted and watched the rest of the game from another seat several rows up.
Northern Colorado coach Jeff Linder joked that he would have to send Norton treats because they're neighbors.
Weber State won, 74-69.

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NEW YORK (AP) - A fugitive wanted for the brazen theft of an 86-pound bucket of gold flakes worth nearly $1.6 million off an armored truck in midtown Manhattan has been arrested in Ecuador, police said Friday.
U.S. Homeland Security investigators and New York City and Ecuadorean police apprehended Julio Nivelo, who also uses aliases. In Ecuador, prosecutor Maria Aguirre said Nivelo would be tried in the country for theft. Ecuador does not permit extradition.
Nivelo was arrested Thursday after leaving the home of a relative, where he had been living, said police Col. Carlos Coloma. Officials tracked him from New York through Florida, they said.
Defense attorney Faricio Garcia argued that immigration documents indicate that Nivelo wasn't even in New York at the time of the theft because he has been banned from entering the U.S. since 2008.
Earlier, Ecuadoran police said in a statement that there was no registry of Nivelo entering the country legally, "and it is presumed that he did it in a clandestine manner at the border."
The gold hasn't been recovered. Surveillance cameras showed the thief swiping the 5-gallon bucket off the back of the vehicle in broad daylight on Sept. 29.
A guard had briefly gone to the truck's cab, apparently to retrieve his phone. Pedestrians and vehicles streamed past.

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