Mad Minute stories from Wednesday, March 15th - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Mad Minute stories from Wednesday, March 15th

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DALLAS (AP) -- A 67-year-old Dallas woman climbed a pecan tree on her property to protest a utility company's plan to trim the branches.
Jeri Huber climbed the tree Monday to stop an Oncor crew from trimming it.
It was the second time in six years that Huber has climbed the tree to prevent any limbs from being removed.
She says the utility company is encroaching on her rights as a property owner, but Oncor counters that it's been trying to resolve the matter for months and that it's responsible for keeping power lines free from branches so that service to customers isn't disrupted.
The company has issued a temporary restraining order against Huber. A crew later successfully trimmed the tree.

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FLORIDA, Mass. (AP) -- Massachusetts State Police are investigating the theft of a pair of 305-pound, coin-operated, binocular-like devices that gave tourists spectacular views along the state's famous Mohawk Trail.
The scenic viewers are mounted on metal posts that are often found at inspiring vistas.
Police said Wednesday they think the bronze and cast iron viewers were cut from their wooden platform next to the Eastern Summit gift shop in the town of Florida sometime between February 27 and March 7.
Police say the devices, manufactured by Tower Optical, are considered collectibles because so few are made.
Tourism officials say the views from the Eastern Summit extend 65 miles on a clear day.

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ATLANTA (AP) -- A Georgia State Patrol trooper took three canine vagrants into custody - and then he and a few of his colleagues adopted the abandoned puppies as their own.
The Georgia Department of Public Safety posted on its Facebook page Tuesday that trooper Jordan Ennis found three puppies while patrolling a southwest Atlanta subdivision on Monday. He was driving in the abandoned subdivision known as a dumping site for stolen cars when he spotted the puppies in a briar patch.
The agency says Ennis and his police dog, Tek, brought the puppies into headquarters. They were promptly adopted by Ennis and three members of the headquarters staff.
The agency says Ennis suspected no one was coming for the puppies, prompting the adoption. The puppies are a mix of unknown breeds.

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TRENTON, N.J. (AP) -- A federal judge has dismissed a discrimination lawsuit that said one of New Jersey's top pork roll makers fired a worker for passing too much gas.
Louann Clem said her husband struggled with extreme gas and uncomfortable diarrhea due to gastric bypass surgery.
Her suit claimed Case Pork Roll President Thomas Dolan complained about the side effects and told her husband to work from home due to the smell. She also worked at the firm.
Clem's initial claim was dismissed last summer. Her amended lawsuit said managers made "insulting and humiliating" comments that caused her mental and physical anguish.
The court eventually dismissed that claim in January, saying she failed to prove the managers created an abusive work environment.
Clem's attorney couldn't be reached for comment.

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PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - Even anarchists enjoy smooth roads.
A group billing itself Portland Anarchist Road Care has taken to the streets, not to promote disorder but to repair the potholes that emerged during the city's brutal winter.
The group has a Facebook page that shows masked workers repairing five potholes in southeast Portland.
In a message posted to the site, the anarchists say state neglect has caused the streets to fall into disrepair and it's up to residents to fix them. The group says it also wants to correct the perception that anarchists are only interested in breaking windows and blocking traffic.
"We believe in community oriented direct action," the group says on Facebook. "We believe the state cares more about funding a militarized police force to suppress free speech than caring for and repairing the roads."
Portland Bureau of Transportation spokesman John Brady says the agency understands people are frustrated with the potholes, but discourages them from taking matters into their own hands. He said it's unsafe to go into traffic and important to get the potholes filled correctly.
"It's a multistep process," he said. "It's not just a matter of pouring some asphalt into a hole and leaving it at that."
The city known for its gloomy, yet tame weather is emerging from a winter that featured ice storms, snowstorms and an extended period of freezing temperatures. That left Portland's already bumpy roads in worse shape than usual.
The city has greatly expanded its pothole crew to deal with the problem, Brady said. Crews filled 900 holes during a break in the weather last weekend, he said.

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CHAGRIN FALLS, Ohio (AP) -- Police say a 70-pound popcorn ball worth hundreds of dollars that was swiped from a suburban Cleveland shop where it was being auctioned has been returned.
The oversized snack dyed red, white and blue was taken from outside the Chagrin Falls Popcorn Shop over the weekend. But it was found intact in front of the shop Wednesday.
Police had earlier asked residents to keep an eye out for it.
Shop owner Dewey Forward had told Cleveland.com that the popcorn ball could be returned with no questions asked and no charges filed.
It was created for a New Year's Eve popcorn ball drop and is being auctioned this week, with the proceeds slated to go toward renovations of a town hall. It's valued at $700.

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TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) - An Ohio city is going to allow golf carts and other low-speed vehicles on downtown streets and two residential neighborhoods.
Toledo's city council approved the plan and, starting in April, drivers who are at least 16 and hold a valid license will be able to take golf carts onto Toledo's streets.
Toledo has about 280,000 residents.
A few cities and several resort-type communities around Ohio already allow golf carts on city streets.
Under Ohio law, golf carts may be legal within specific parameters and with safety features added. They must be titled, licensed and insured like any other vehicle.

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KINNELON, N.J. (AP) - Authorities in Morris County are searching for a suspect who they say cut a hole in the wall of a Dunkin' Donuts and stole a safe.
Police tell The Record the suspect stole the safe from a Dunkin' Donuts in Kinnelon on Monday morning. Investigators say the suspect broke into a vacant store-front next door so he could cut a hole in the wall to gain access to the coffee shop. Police say the suspect then smashed through dry wall and stole the safe.
Investigators say the suspect made off with the safe in a stolen truck. The amount of money in the safe was not specified.
An investigation is ongoing.

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VACAVILLE, Calif. (AP) -- A young sea lion camped out in a farmland canal in California poked his head back out of a drainage pipe Wednesday, a day after rescuers tried for hours to wrangle it and take it for a checkup, officials said.
Marine mammal experts are trying again to get the animal out of the canal in the small inland city of Vacaville, between San Francisco and Sacramento. The rescue had been called off for nightfall.
The closest body of water is the Sacramento River, about 50 miles north. Experts at the center believe the animal likely traveled up the river, took a wrong turn and followed a series of agricultural ditches and waterways to get to the canal.
"Although this is a rare location for a rescue call, this animal is in very good body condition and active, so we are hoping it just made a wrong turn," said Dr. Cara Field, staff veterinarian at the Marine Mammal Center.
The mammal, believed to be a young male, is fat and looks healthy and seems to be enjoying his adventure, center spokesman Giancarlo Rulli said Tuesday.
The renewed rescue effort comes a day after police officers, fire officials and more than a dozen marine responders tried unsuccessfully for hours to flush the animal out of the drainage pipe.
Officials want to take the animal, which was first spotted Tuesday morning by an animal services official, to the center in Sausalito to be evaluated.

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CINCINNATI (AP) -- A Cincinnati-area restaurateur says he'll buy steak dinners for Northern Kentucky University's 15,000 students if the men's basketball team wins its first-ever NCAA Tournament game by beating No. 6-ranked Kentucky.
Jeff Ruby says the promise could cost him and his steakhouse big if the underdog Norse topple the Wildcats, who are seeded second in the South Regional, on Friday in Indianapolis. But, he says it's important to support hometown organizations and he sees Northern Kentucky as an asset to the area.
The school is a first-timer in the NCCA Tournament. It won the Horizon League championship and the league's automatic bid in its first year of eligibility for the tournament. The one-time Division II power made the jump to Division I five years ago.

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