Mad Minute stories from Thursday, April 27th - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Mad Minute stories from Thursday, April 27th

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CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) -- The U.S. Postal Service is going all out for this summer's total solar eclipse, with a first-of-its kind stamp.
Just touch the stamp with your finger, and the heat transforms the image of the blacked-out sun into the moon. Remove your finger, and the eclipse reappears. The trick is using temperature-sensitive ink.
There's a map on the back of the stamp sheet showing the eclipse's diagonal path across the U.S. on Aug. 21, as the moon covers the sun in the sky.
It will be the first total solar eclipse visible in the contiguous United States since 1979 and the first one coast to coast since 1918.
Announced Thursday, the Forever 49 cent stamp comes out in June - on the summer solstice.

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) -- Five hundred Rhode Island residents have received duplicate tax refund checks totaling $364,000.
A state official says human error is to blame.
The checks were sent in a group of refunds mailed Friday. The checks people received are identical, but only one of the two checks can be cashed.
The Rhode Island Department of Administration and the Department of Revenue say they expect no financial impact. They say they're working to prevent duplicate checks from being mailed again.
Department of Administration policy director Allison Rogers says people can cash one check and return the other to the state, along with a brief explanation.

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SALEM, Mass. (AP) -- A Massachusetts city known for celebrating the occult is drawing attention after its mayor snapped a photo that appears to show a scowling face trapped in a streetlamp.
Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll shared the photo on Twitter on Wednesday. The Democrat asks if other people can see the face, which she calls "eerie."
Many on social media say it looks like a man's face, with a furrowed brow and parted lips. Some say they're spooked. Others say it should be no surprise in Salem.
The city of 43,000 residents was home to the 1692 Salem Witch Trials, which led to the executions of 20 people.
Salem's attractions include a witch museum, witchcraft shops and a Halloween party that claims to be America's biggest.
The photo was taken outside a courthouse.

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MITCHELL, S.D. (AP) -- A South Dakota man who claims to have found a mouse in a can of soda is suing Coca-Cola Co., saying he missed 60 hours of work and accumulated $1,000 in medical bills after becoming ill.
In court documents, attorneys for Coca-Cola Co. disputed that there was proof that the mouse ended up in the can during bottling, saying it would have been in a more advanced stage of decomposition, The Daily Republic in Mitchell, South Dakota, reported. Six weeks had passed between bottling and when Putzier opened the can on June 7.
Brian Johnson, an attorney for the Atlanta-based company, said during a motions hearing Tuesday that he anticipates testimony from a veterinary pathologist, who will analyze the mouse's decomposition. The defense also hopes to get testimony from the quality assurance manager and line supervisor of the Portland, Indiana, plant where the can was bottled.
Putzier is seeking $2,026, plus any general damages proven at trial, with interest. He sued under a new South Dakota law that allows certain cases to be handled more quickly. Under that law, each side is restricted to one witness and six hours.
But Johnson asked Judge Patrick Smith to change those limits for the case. Smith approved three experts for each party and agreed to lengthen the time limit for the trial. Johnson asked for four days, though the trial could take longer.
"Coca-Cola is faced with a claim that's really an attack on its brand," Johnson said. "Coca-Cola takes these cases extremely seriously and tries them all."

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DARWIN, Australia (AP) -- Firefighters who fought a blaze at a house in the tropical Australian city of Darwin on Thursday contended with the added distraction of being watched by a 4-meter (13-foot) pet crocodile.
The fire destroyed the two-story house in the upscale suburb of Fannie Bay but did not harm the huge reptile, a female named Albert, which lives in a backyard enclosure, firefighter Bill Gleeson said.
"Thankfully the crocodile didn't affect our operations at all," Gleeson told reporters.
"It's well contained and clearly unaffected by fire. He seemed quite happy to look at me as I was protecting the premises," Gleeson added.
Wildlife ranger Tom Nichols said crocodiles were rare in the Darwin suburbs. The pet had been living at the property since before crocodiles became a protected species under federal law in the early 1970s.
Gleeson said there was no one in the house by the time firefighters arrived. The fire appeared to have been caused by a clothes iron that was mistakenly left switched on, a government statement said.
Authorities have yet to decide whether the croc will have to be moved.
The householder Helen Haritos told Australian Broadcasting Corp. a year ago that her croc hunter father George Haritos captured Albert in a Northern Territory river in 1958 for someone who requested a crocodile at a party but no longer wanted one after sobering up. Helen Haritos inherited Albert when her father died in 1992.
George Haritos and his three brothers became famous for accompanying Queen Elizabeth II's husband Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, when he bagged a crocodile in Darwin Harbor in 1956.
"It's not quite like my dog, but I do have a particular bond and care for the animal," Helen Haritos, 64, told ABC. She could not be immediately contacted for comment on Thursday.
Crocodile numbers have exploded across Australia's tropical north since they became protected after decades of hunting. Because saltwater crocodiles can live up to 70 years and grow throughout their lives - reaching up to 7 meters (23 feet) in length - the proportion of large crocodiles is also rising.

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AKRON, Ohio (AP) -- Police say an Ohio man called 911 to request a police dog to help track down heroin allegedly stolen from him.
WEWS-TV reports a 20-year-old man in Bath Township, near Akron, made the call in January. The recording was released this week.
When the call operator asks why the caller needs a police dog, he replies that a female stole heroin from him.
Bath Police Chief Mike McNeely says it's among the most bizarre things he's heard in four decades of policing.
McNeely says the man is expected to face a drug charge after he pulled a brown, waxy substance from his pants while being interviewed by police.
The substance was seized and sent to a lab for testing. The caller was released pending the test results.

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PRINCETON, N.J. (AP) -- A sickly snake that slithered into a classroom at a New Jersey elementary school has been turned over to a rescue center.
Third-graders at Riverside Elementary School in Princeton found the 4-foot-long (1.22 meter) boa constrictor on Tuesday.
Principal Valerie Ulrich tells NJ.com the snake was in poor health and lucky to be alive.
The students are taking care of a female boa named "Cuddles" and the school believes Cuddles' scent might have attracted the stray boa from a home in the neighborhood.
The snake will be put up for adoption if no one claims it in seven days.

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OCRACOKE, N.C. (AP) - Authorities say a woman led police on a high-speed chase on a North Carolina coastal island but found out it's hard to elude the law when the only highway leads to a ferry dock.
The Hyde County Sheriff's Office says deputies were called last weekend about a motorist driving recklessly on tiny Ocracoke Island in North Carolina's Outer Banks.
Capt. Jason Daniels says 34-year-old Tara E. Cranmer led deputies with sirens wailing along the lone state highway, a two-lane island route reachable only by ferry. Daniels says Cranmer stopped her truck near the north ferry dock, ran and was captured about an hour later. No one was hurt.
Authorities say Cranmer faces several charges and has been jailed on a $22,000 bond. It isn't known if she has an attorney.

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WILKES-BARRE, Pa. (AP) - A northeastern Pennsylvania man and woman have pleaded guilty in the theft of more than $174,000 while they were serving as officers of a northeastern Pennsylvania church.
Forty-five-year-old Cherie White pleaded guilty Wednesday in Luzerne County Court to theft and access device fraud involving funds taken from Holy Trinity Lutheran Church. Fifty-two-year-old Keith White pleaded guilty to access device fraud and conspiracy to commit theft.
The Rev. Paul Metzloff called Kingston police in August to report that the church was nearly broke. Police said after examining bank records that the Whites had stolen the money since 2010.
The Whites declined comment as they left the courtroom. Prosecutors said their plea agreements call for them to pay back more than $174,000, but Metzloff said the actual loss is closer to $250,000.

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NEW YORK (AP) - Customs agents at John F. Kennedy Airport have seized more than 300 pounds of banned Yak meat smuggled in sweaters, pants and shawls.
Officials said Tuesday the meat came from Nepal, a country affected by foot-and-mouth and other infectious cattle viruses. It wasn't clear who was responsible for the meat shipment.
Prohibited seeds and dung pods were also seized.
Authorities told NBC New York the meat was destroyed. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency says foot-and-mouth disease is a "worldwide concern that can spread quickly and cause significant economic damage."

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