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

Mad Minute stories from Thursday, March 23rd

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PITTSFIELD, Mass. (AP) -- Police in Massachusetts didn't have to look far for a suspect in the knifepoint robbery of a Pittsfield liquor store.
Authorities say Melissa Holden was found asleep in the hallway of a nearby building a short time later - with a knife and bottles of vodka and Gatorade - the very items reported stolen. She was also wearing clothing similar to the suspect seen in store surveillance video.
The Berkshire Eagle reports the 40-year-old Holden was held on $3,000 bail after pleading not guilty at her arraignment Tuesday.
Her attorney said she had no recollection of any robbery.
Police say the suspect entered the store, grabbed a Gatorade from a cooler, asked for two pints of vodka, and pulled a knife when the clerk asked for payment.

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REDUCTION, Pa. (AP) -- "The Town That Garbage Built" is up for sale.
A family that has owned the Village of Reduction in Pennsylvania for nearly 70 years has decided to divest itself of the 75-acre property. The $1.5 million asking price includes farmland, 19 single-family homes and a 1914 one-room schoolhouse.
The village was once home to about 400 employees of the American Reduction Company. The company operated a plant that processed tons of garbage a day from Pittsburgh, before the city opened its own facility in 1936. Newspaper headlines at the time proclaimed it "The Town That Garbage Built,"
Current owner David Stawovy's father bought the property in 1948 for $10,000.
His father and grandfather operated a dairy farm on an adjacent plot of land, Stawovy told the Tribune Review. When his father expressed interest in buying one of the American Reduction homes, a company official asked him "Why don't you just buy them all?"
Stawovy said his children aren't interested in the property and his family can't afford to maintain it.
"I've done it all my life," he told the newspaper. "I've got to be the mayor, the fire marshal and the dog catcher."
About 60 people still live in the village, and most say they prefer to stay put.
Andrew Knopsnider has lived in the village for over two years in his cottage overlooking the Youghiogheny River.
"I'd like to stay," Knopsnider said. "It's nice and quiet and peaceful."
Real estate agent Deborah Dattalo said it's one of the more unusual listings she's handled.
"Everybody I talk to says, 'Oh, my gosh. What a great property,' " she said. "I think it's going to take the right buyer with the right vision for what can be done with it."

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LONDONDERRY, N.H. (AP) - New Hampshire Fish and Game officials say a tractor-trailer driver suffered minor injuries after a 19-pound turkey crashed through his windshield on Interstate 93.
Conservation officer Chris McKee says the adult turkey ended up in the cab of the trailer on Tuesday in Londonderry. The turkey had been trying to fly across the highway.
McKee says the truck driver called for help. The turkey died of its injuries on the way to a rehabilitation center.

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RAFAH, Gaza Strip (AP) - Palestinian barber Ramadan Adwan has found a fiery way to trim his client's hair - if they are brave enough.
In his small shop in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, Adwan uses careful application of open flames. His creative idea was born from Gaza's frequent power cuts preventing him from using a dryer.
After cutting and combing, the barber applies what he calls "special" lotion and powder to client's heads to protect their skin before using flames from an aerosol can to dry the wet hair.
"The experience strengthens the hair, but it's not permanent as with chemical products. It's just temporary to show a good and nice style," he says.
News about Adwan's hot method has spread across the Gaza Strip and some other barbers began imitating him.
He says applying "fiery" hairstyles requires great attention and experience that not all imitators possess.
The technique is yet another form of resilience displayed by Gaza's 2 million residents, who are entering their 10th year under a blockade. Israel and Egypt imposed the measure after the Islamic militant group Hamas seized the territory in bloody street battles from forces loyal to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Israel says it is meant to prevent Hamas from getting weapons. Critics condemn it as collective punishment.
AP photographer Khalil Hamra recently visited the barbershop for this photo essay.

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We've told you about the scams where thieves pretend to be from the IRS, and threaten to arrest you if you don't give them money for one reason or another. It happened again, but this time the outcome was hilarious. 
Wisconsin police officer Kyle Roder got a message on his phone, from (who else) a scammer pretending to be from the Internal Revenue Service. He knew it was clearly a scam, so he called the number back. On the other end of the call, a man with a thick accent answered, and said his name was "James Maxwell," then he corrected himself and said "James Johnson."
When Roder called him out, the man said his name was actually James Maxwell Johnson. 
At that point, the man tried to convince Roder to give him money. Throughout the phone call, Roder kept asking pointed questions the scammer would give him evidence that it was actually a scam. 
For example, Roder asked if he could just pay the fine at a local IRS office, but the scammer said no. 
Luckily Roder wasn't fooled, and the scammer didn't get anywhere.
To prevent yourself from falling victim to these scams, the IRS has tips for identifying scammers and how to avoid them:  https://www.irs.gov/uac/newsroom/scam-phone-calls-continue-irs-identifies-five-easy-ways-to-spot-suspicious-calls

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ATLANTA (AP) - A 19-year-old candidate seeking a city council seat in the newly formed city of Stonecrest is headed to a runoff election next month.
News outlets report that Mary-Pat Hector, a sophomore at Spelman College, finished second Tuesday to George Turner Jr. in a five-way race in the southeast DeKalb County city. Neither candidate got more than 50 percent of the vote, forcing the top two finishers into a runoff April 18.
During the campaign, Turner challenged Hector's eligibility because of her age. Georgia law requires candidates to be at least 21 years old unless a city charter specifically makes an exception. The DeKalb County Board of Registration and Elections ruled Hector could run because the city's charter doesn't specifically mention an age restriction.

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(MiamiHerald) Miami, FL - The oldest and youngest players at the Miami Open lost on Wednesday, but they had very memorable matches.
Tommy Haas, who turns 39 in a few weeks, was tied at 3-3 in the third set against Jiri Vesely and about to serve when a giant iguana climbed atop the baseline scoreboard in an "Only in Miami" moment. The players and fans noticed it and the umpire said: "If it's not moving and it's just like that, we're going to try and play."
Vesely, near the sun-bathing iguana, said: "I cannot concentrate."
"It's not a dangerous animal," the umpire said.
But officials decided to try to make the iguana move by waving a towel at it. Haas took a selfie with it. The iguana jumped onto the court and ran around, delaying the match while the crowd and players laughed. The court crew was finally able to capture the reptile and escort it off the court.
"Maybe the iguana got the note that this is most likely the last time I'm playing here, and he wanted to say hi and take a peek or something," Haas joked after losing 6-7 (5-7), 6-3, 7-5. "It was pretty cool. Of that size, I don't think I've ever experienced that. I don't know where he came from and why he wanted to come out on court and say hello to everyone.
"My main concern was getting him safely away from there. It was an interesting picture to take. I don't think it'll ever happen again, to be honest, especially because my career is almost over anyway. Nice of him to stop by. Good looking iguana."

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BRYCEVILLE, Fla. (AP) - Florida Forest Service officials are letting residents return to their homes after a man burning some books started a 700-acre brush fire.
Forest Service spokeswoman Annaleasa Winter said Thursday that good weather helped firefighters battle the blaze. News media reported at least two homes were destroyed.
The fire started when a man started burning books in his yard around 2 p.m. Wednesday. The fire quickly got out of control and spread, forcing the evacuation of nearby residents.
Officials said the man was burning without a permit, and will be billed for the firefighting effort.
Nassau County Emergency Management Director Billy Estep told the Florida Times-Union that in addition to the two buildings destroyed, six were damaged and 19 others affected.
Officials say the fire was about 65-percent contained.

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BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) -- A former U.S. Postal Service worker in western New York has pleaded guilty to scamming the federal government out of more than $1.2 million in benefits.
The U.S. Attorney's Office says 59-year-old Richard Klaffka, of Holland, pleaded guilty Wednesday to wire fraud. Prosecutors say his 62-year-old wife, Cathleen, admitted to playing a role in the scheme.
Authorities say Richard Klaffka told Veterans Affairs in 2006 that he was disabled and needed to use a wheelchair because of an injury connected to his military service. He claimed he couldn't walk or dress himself, but officials say he hiked, biked and played horseshoes.
He also claimed to have limited mobility because of an injury suffered while working for the post office.
He and his wife were ordered to pay back the more than $1.2 million they received in VA and workers compensation benefits.

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(FOX) Saddam Hussain's name is making it difficult for him to get a job.
"People are scared to hire me," the 25-year-old Indian marine engineer tells the Hindustan Times.
Hussain was, yes, named for that Saddam Hussein; the name was given to him by his grandfather. It turned out to be a poor choice, as the young man has been unable to find a job since graduating university two years ago, despite having done very well in school.
And he's applied for dozens of positions. He says he's spoken with some of the HR departments of companies he's applied with, and they told him his name was the problem, because it could cause "suspicion."
One recruitment expert points out that this would be a problem especially if a job requires travel abroad, during which he might get stopped by airport or border authorities: "He might just keep getting stuck or the company has to pull him out of the sticky situation, making the hire cumbersome," the expert says.

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