Mad Minute stories from Wednesday, January 25th - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Mad Minute stories from Wednesday, January 25th

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NEWPORT, N.C. (AP) -- A sheriff's office says a woman narrowly escaped being carjacked after spotting what she thought was a child sitting in the middle of the road in the dark of night.
It turned out to be a dummy, dressed in children's clothing. And as the woman slowed her car, two men wearing dark hoodies approached and pulled on her door handles.
She sped away and called for help as the suspects fled, according to the sheriff's office in Carteret County, North Carolina.
Maj. Jason Wank says authorities destroyed the dummy later Sunday, just in case. He's asking for help finding those responsible.

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GLENSIDE, Pa. (AP) -- Crews are assessing a massive sinkhole that has swallowed parts of two residential yards and is threatening to swallow a pickup truck in the Philadelphia suburbs.
Officials in Cheltenham Township say the hole, which appears to be about 20 feet deep, opened up about 4 a.m. Wednesday.
A tree could be seen teetering into the hole, but it also appeared to be keeping the pickup from rolling into the crater. The hole also swallowed part of the sidewalk and the edge of the street nearest the two homes whose yards are affected.
Authorities say nobody's been hurt and there was no obvious, immediate cause for the sinkhole to develop.
Reporters at the scene say the two affected families have been evacuated from their homes.

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AKRON, Ohio (AP) -- Officials in Akron plan to downsize one of the Ohio city's iconic B.F. Goodrich smokestacks by 100 feet due to growing safety concerns.
The Akron Beacon Journal reports the twin 195-foot, red brick smokestacks have been part of Akron's skyline for nearly a century.
Each emblazoned with the word "Goodrich," the smokestacks tower over the site of the former Goodrich tire complex.
They were decommissioned in 2015 after burning gas and coal for decades. Now, city officials are worried about the deterioration of the northern stack.
Mayor Dan Horrigan says it would take $1 million to temporarily secure the stack in its current condition. It will cost between $130,000 and $175,000 to lower the stack.
When the work is done, all that'll be left will be "RICH."

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ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) -- The University of Michigan sees value in urine.
And it wants to know if others do, too.
The Ann Arbor school announced Tuesday that it has installed a toilet and urinal in a campus engineering building that take aim at converting human urine into fertilizers.
The split-bowl toilet is designed to send solid waste to a treatment plant, but route urine to a holding tank downstairs. Urine diverted from the toilet and urinal will be treated and eventually used to create fertilizers that will be applied on the grounds of the university's botanical gardens.
Call it pee-cycling.
Tuesday's opening of the facilities at the G.G. Brown building coincides with the launch of a survey to understand public opinion surrounding the technology. Urine contributors will have the opportunity to register their thoughts on a tablet computer situated in the restroom.
"It's possible that when people are asked to contribute to a system where their urine is diverted and used as fertilizer they might feel a little queasy about this at first," Michigan engineering professor Krista Wigginton said after cutting a ceremonial ribbon outside the women's restroom. "And, so, a large part of this project is actually on the social science side, the education side," to understand whether people are willing to adopt it.
The multi-state research effort is part of a $3 million National Science Foundation-funded project that's billed as the country's largest program examining the technological requirements and social attitudes related to urine-based fertilizers.
Michigan researchers, who are working with colleagues at the Vermont-based Rich Earth Institute and the University at Buffalo, say deriving fertilizer from nutrient-rich urine could save money and reduce pollution.
As for visitors to the side-by-side restrooms in the G.G. Brown building, Wigginton says they won't find anything out of the ordinary.
"I think the experience of using the toilet really isn't any different," she said, holding the stall door open and pointing at the split-bowl toilet. "That's part of the goal here: We don't want to disrupt what people are used to.
"We tried to make it as normal as possible."

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COMMACK, N.Y. (AP) -- Police on Long Island man say they've arrested a man who has had his driver's license suspended nearly 100 times.
The Suffolk County Police Department says 47-year-old Jerry Tenzie was arrested Tuesday night at a park and ride in Commack and charged with aggravated unlicensed operation of a vehicle, possession of marijuana and criminal possession of a weapon.
Police say officers detected an odor of marijuana emanating from Tenzie's car. A search of the vehicle reportedly turned up an illegal rifle, as well as marijuana.
Officials say the Copiague man has a total of 95 suspensions on his license from nine different dates. Police didn't say what his suspensions were for.
It's unclear if Tenzie has an attorney who could comment on the charges.

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MANCHESTER, N.H. (AP) -- A New Hampshire woman is accused of striking a police officer in the face with her hands while demonstrating a sword trick.
Police responded to the Manchester home of 51-year-old Lisa Bunker on Monday night for a report of a possible domestic disturbance involving a sword.
They say Bunker accidentally struck herself with the sword, causing a cut over her eye. Her ex-husband suffered small cuts to both hands while trying to take the sword away.
When police arrived, authorities say Bunker started demonstrating sword tricks and struck an officer in the face with her hands.
Bunker was charged with resisting arrest, simple assault and reckless conduct. She was being arraigned Tuesday.
It wasn't immediately clear if she had a lawyer, and a phone number couldn't be found for her.

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WALES, Maine (AP) _ Maine State Police say a man has been charged with climbing a utility pole and using jumper cable clamps to steal electricity from a utility company for his home.
Police said Tuesday 36-year-old Nicholas Gagne, of Wales, was arrested Jan. 16 and charged with theft of services. It wasn't immediately known if he has an attorney and a phone number couldn't be found for him.
Police say Gagne climbed up the power pole outside his home, connected the clamps to the transformer, and ran a line from the transformer to the ground and to his house.
Troopers say Central Maine Power Co. was aware of what Gagne was doing and tried repeatedly to disconnect the power. Gagne allegedly kept reconnecting it.
Police say CMP estimates Gagne stole power valued at more than $3,000.

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OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - A western Nebraska man is in trouble after using an explosive rifle target to announce the gender of his baby.
The Omaha World-Herald reports that Jon Sterkel and his wife, Ashley, thought the target would be a fun way to announce they are expecting a boy in June.
When Sterkel shot the target Saturday on rural land outside Scottsbluff, blue chalk powder packed around the rifle target erupted. Several people called police with concerns about the explosion.
Sterkel called the Scotts Bluff County Sheriff's Office to explain after he heard a news report on the explosion.
In return, Sterkel received a misdemeanor ticket for using the exploding target without a permit.

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One Florida man proved Halloween is never out of season in Florida.
Police say James Dizney Fields, 58, of Port St. Lucie wore a mop on his head like a mask while banging on a neighbor's door on Jan. 13, according to a TCPalm.com report.
According to a police report, when the neighbor opened the door, he saw the mop-adorned Fields and couldn't understand him, so he closed and locked the door. Fields continued his door-knocking antics and added in some doorbell ringing with the end of mop.
The neighbor identified Fields as the man who "terrified his entire family," police said.
When police found Fields and asked him what he was up to, he reportedly told officers: "I was short of an egg and needed eggs to make a cake."
Fields was arrested on a disturbing the peace charge. He remains in jail on $9,000 total bail from the Jan. 13 incident and charges from a previous unrelated incident.

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Those who know Volusia County, Fla., Sheriff Mike Chitwood are familiar with his candid and colorful delivery when talking to lawbreakers. 
Chitwood is now giving himself a dose of his own medicine after he was ticketed by one of his own deputies for going 78 mph in a 55-mph zone last Friday. 
The deputy first extended his boss a professional courtesy and declined to write a citation.  Chitwood later asked for a ticket "to set an example" for the agency.  The incident happened just one day after the county settled a lawsuit for a deputy-involved crash.
"After my day settled down a little bit, I started saying to myself, 'Let's see here, we just paid out a $200,000 settlement for a deputy who was speeding and caused terrible injury to somebody," said Chitwood. " I was elected to enforce the law and not be above the law."
The citation carried a $281 fine, which Sheriff Chitwood has paid.

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