Mad Minute stories from Friday, May 5th - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Mad Minute stories from Friday, May 5th

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SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Authorities are trying to figure out what caused a massive sinkhole that started swallowing a big rig on a San Francisco street Friday.
The driver, Alejandro Curiel, told KRON that he had stopped the truck against the curb when it started slowly sinking on the right side.
He scrambled to climb out of the driver side because a tree was blocking the passenger side. He escaped unharmed.
San Francisco Public Utilities Commission spokeswoman Betsy Rhodes said they have not identified an obvious cause of the sinkhole that measured 10 feet (3 meters) by 20 feet (6 meters) and about 8 feet (2.5 meters) deep.
She said previously that a sewer main may be to blame.
Rhodes said the area around the sinkhole in the city's South of Market neighborhood was stabilized and not in danger of sinking.
The driver, Curiel, told the TV station that he "can't believe it happened to me."
Someone started a Twitter account in the name of the sinkhole and said it was just chilling. It also wished everyone a happy #Sinkholedemayo in honor of Cinco de Mayo.

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) -- It was a four-legged kidnapping under the cover of darkness at a Minnesota park.
Police say two St. Paul officers were patrolling Indian Mounds Park about 1 a.m. Friday when their squad car was nearly struck by a speeding SUV which had blown through a stop sign. The officers gave chase and when they stopped the vehicle after 2 miles (3.2 kilometers) they were surprised to find a frightened goat in the cargo area behind the backseat.
Police spokesman Steve Linders says the stolen goat, Gordy, was one of 30 that had been situated in the park earlier in the week to eat invasive weeds.
"One day your job is to reduce invasive weeds and get rid of unwanted vegetation and the next you're on a high speed chase. Pretty frightening," Linders said, adding that the goat did not appear to be harmed.
The driver and three passengers in the SUV jumped out and started running after the SUV stopped, Linders said. Officers caught two of the four people. Two 29-year-old men are being held on a possible charge of gross misdemeanor theft, according to police.
The goat thieves knocked down part of the enclosure that keeps the animals contained in the park, so after Gordy was taken, the others went for a stroll, according to Linders. They didn't make it out of the park and were herded back to the enclosure.
As for Gordy? Linders said he's back on the job eradicating weeds.

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JERSEY CITY, N.J. (AP) -- A former deputy mayor in New Jersey is resurrecting her career as a burlesque dancer for charity.
Former Jersey City deputy mayor Leona Beldini will take the stage as Hope Diamond for the first time in more than 40 years.
She tells The Jersey Journal she won't be dancing three months after knee surgery, but she can "still strut a little bit." She won't be stripping either, although she may "take off a glove."
Beldini, who is in her early 80s, was a deputy mayor under Jerramiah Healy and arrested in 2009. She was sentenced to prison in 2012 for a bribery conviction and released in 2014.
In the early 1950s, she was known as the "gem of the exotics." Though she bared mostly all, Beldini says "by today's standards, we were nuns."
The May 11 fundraiser will benefit the city's Kennedy Dancers company.

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Little Rock police have arrested three men and accused them of stealing a live alligator from a downtown nature center.
The three were charged early Thursday with commercial burglary, theft of property and criminal mischief. One also faces a charge of fleeing.
Police say that, after the burglary at the Witt Stephens Jr. Central Arkansas Nature Center, officers found the three-foot alligator beneath a seat in the men's car. Still missing Thursday afternoon was a replica of a western diamondback rattlesnake. A shotgun taken in the burglary was also recovered.
The center's exhibit hall was closed Thursday so crews can repair a number of educational exhibits damaged after the break-in.
The nature center is in the city's River Market District, close to the Bill Clinton presidential library.

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LANCASTER, Pa. (AP) -- A Pennsylvania man trying to scare away opossums by setting a fire has destroyed his home.
LNP reports the row house blaze on Wednesday in Lancaster began when a man used butane to light a pile of leaves in his backyard. The man apparently hoped the smoke would help rid him of the marsupials, which are known for playing dead.
A city fire marshal says the fire got out of control and spread to the home, which was built of wood.
The building was condemned. Three people were displaced as a result of the fire, which did $50,000 in damage. A firefighter required hospital treatment for a shoulder injury.
Officials say the man had problems with bees also.

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LEESBURG, Fla. (AP) -- A Florida sheriff's deputy is out of a job after officials say he waved his firearm and stun gun while quoting lines from Denzel Washington's character in "Training Day," a movie about a corrupt law enforcement officer.
The Orlando Sentinel reports Lake County Deputy Dean Zipes was fired April 21.
Authorities say Zipes rubbed his pistol and Taser together in the direction of a convenience store in front of a police trainee. An internal affairs review says the action replicates a scene from the 2001 movie.
Zipes told investigators he was trying to be funny.
The report says Zipes twice pulled his firearm in an office setting, voiced racial slurs, made a motion to draw his gun at a pizza delivery boy and became upset after not receiving free Starbucks coffee.

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CAMDEN, N.J. (AP) -- A boy's lost cellphone ended up in a New Jersey garbage dump and survived.
Ethan Roncace's phone got thrown away at a high school in Haddon Township on Monday.
His father, Craig, tells WCAU-TV in Philadelphia he used an app to track the phone and saw it was on the move. The signal led the family to the Covanta waste-to-energy facility in Camden.
He suited up and started digging through a mountain of trash. He recovered the phone in 30 minutes and it still worked.
Workers were close to dumping the trash into a 50-foot-high (15 meters) and 25-foot deep (7 meters) pile of garbage.
Covanta's Rich Harrington says there's a little better than 50 percent success rate when they can identify the trash truck.

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BERLIN (AP) - Feeling nervous before your flight? Travelers at one German airport can now receive spiritual solace by entering a booth and listening to a prayer of their choice before boarding the plane.
The prayer booth at Stuttgart Airport's Terminal 3 features 300 prayers from various religions in 65 different languages, airport spokesman Johannes Schumm said Friday.
"Often, passengers still have a bit of time before their departure at the gate," Schumm added. "The prayer booth is an offer by the airport's chaplains to provide a moment of contemplation."
Designed by Berlin artist Oliver Sturm, the former photo booth offers a vast variety of prayers, including the Christian Lord's Prayer, the Jewish Shma Israel and the Islamic muezzin's call to prayer. The Hindu Hare Krishna chant, Tibetan monk chants, Buddhist sutras, prayers of Shamans from New Guinea or Mali, even American TV preachers are also available on the touch-screen display.
In addition to the big monotheistic faiths, polytheistic religions and animist beliefs are also included.
The 'Gebetomat,' which roughly translates as 'Pray-o-Matic,' was first designed by Sturm in 2008. Its red cabin has a gray curtain and an adjustable swivel chair inside. The booth is free and will be available for three months at Stuttgart Airport's boarding area next to Gate 310.
The artist, who could not immediately be reached for comment, writes on his home page that "all prayers are real prayers of believers, gathered in worship, prayer rooms, homes."
Sturm has designed several prayer booths in recent years that have been installed at schools, universities and museums.

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FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) - A South Florida woman must serve 18 months of probation for a fraud conviction after she was caught hitting herself in the head with a ceiling sprinkler at work.
The incident happened in October 2015 at Cinque Terre Energy Partners in Fort Lauderdale. Sheyla White was convicted of fraud on Wednesday.
WPTV in West Palm Beach reports surveillance video shows a sprinkler head falling from the ceiling onto White's desk. White hits herself in the forehead with it and then tried to collect worker's compensation for an "on-the-job" injury.
Records show White told her employer the sprinkler bounced from her desk onto her head. But the employer's insurance company had doubts and asked for an investigation.
White was arrested in 2016 and faced up to five years in prison.

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AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) - A Maine man is headed to prison for violating his bail conditions and calling his girlfriend repeatedly while in jail.
The Kennebec Journal reports that 33-year-old Derek Taylor, of Norridgewock, pleaded guilty to violating conditions of release Wednesday. Taylor will serve 20 months in prison.
Police say Taylor called his girlfriend while in Kennebec County Jail and got others to place calls under their names in January and February. Taylor was prohibited from contacting the woman named in his domestic assault charge as part of his bail condition.
Assistant District Attorney Michael Madigan says that Taylor told his girlfriend he loved her and wanted to marry her during the calls.
Charges of domestic violence assault and escape were dismissed in exchange for a guilty plea.

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