Mad Minute stories from Thursday, May 11th - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Mad Minute stories from Thursday, May 11th

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SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) -- The largest cargo ship ever to visit ports on the U.S. East Coast is so long the Statue of Liberty and Washington Monument could fit end-to-end along its deck and still leave room for Big Ben.
The COSCO Development arrived Thursday at the Port of Savannah after cruising past dozens of onlookers who cheered and took photos of the mammoth vessel from Savannah's downtown riverfront. Its first East Coast voyage marks a new era for U.S. ports that, despite years spent anticipating the supersized ships, will struggle to accommodate them without major infrastructure improvements.
"It takes up the whole river!" Andrew Evans, who served as a ship's officer in the 1960s, exclaimed to his wife as the ship slowly lumbered into view, the cargo containers stacked on its deck towering above trees on the shore.
"The larget ships I was on, you could fit 10 of them on that ship," Evans said. "Maybe more."
At 1,200 feet (366 meters) bow-to-stern, the COSCO Development is longer than the aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford. It can carry 13,000 cargo containers measuring 20 feet (6 meters) long apiece. That's 30 percent more capacity than the last record-breaking ship that sailed into Savannah last summer.
The big ship, flagged out of Hong Kong and owned by China-based COSCO Shipping Lines, is also the largest to pass through the Panama Canal following a major expansion last year. Its arrival on the East Coast shows shippers aren't waiting for the seaports scrambling to deepen their harbors so the larger ships can pass fully loaded at low tide.
The Port of Virginia, where the ship docked earlier this week, is one of only four East Coast ports with the desired 50 feet of depth at low tide. A $973 million deepening of Savannah's shipping channel started in 2015 but won't be finished for about five more years. The Port of Charleston, South Carolina, where the big ship will head next before returning to Hong Kong, plans to start its own dredging this fall.
Overall, 15 U.S. seaports on the East and Gulf coasts are seeking $4.6 billion after being authorized by Congress to make room for bigger ships. Only three of those have cleared the permit requirements needed to start digging, said Jim Walker, navigation policy director for the American Association of Port Authorities.
Meanwhile, the largest ships using the Panama Canal must carry lighter loads or wait for higher tides before calling on most U.S. ports on the East Coast.
"Maybe it's a warning shot that these U.S. ports need to get these improvements finished," Walker said. "If you're having to light-load ships for this, it costs more."
Manuel Benitez, the Panama Canal Authority's deputy administrator, said the surge in ship traffic between the U.S. East Coast and Asia has exceeded expectations since the canal opened its expanded locks last June. The authority initially thought two or three larger ships would pass through each day, he said, but the daily average has been nearly six.
The COSCO Development had to make its 39-mile (63 kilometer) trip up the Savannah River at high tide Thursday morning to ensure it would fit. Its cargo deck was about 80-percent full, said Griff Lynch, executive director of the Georgia Ports Authority.
Lynch said dockworkers using six cranes planned to load and unload about 5,600 total cargo containers - big metal boxes used to ship goods from consumer electronics to frozen chickens - from the giant ship. That's more than five times the cargo Savannah handles for a typical ship.
"It's everything we've talked about for years," Lynch said. "Now what you're going to see is one after the other. This is going to become more of the norm."

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PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- A starving and abandoned miniature donkey rescued from a Pennsylvania farm had a little secret for animal welfare workers: She was pregnant.
Sadie and a male mini-donkey named Romeo were rescued from a Huntingdon County farm in January, along with a cow, two beagles, chickens and roosters.
Workers at the Pennsylvania Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals say they had no idea when Sadie was due but she gave birth to a male foal on Sunday.
The baby has health complications likely caused by the mother's treatment at the farm.
The PSPCA is holding a naming contest to raise money for the foal's medical care. For $5, the public can cast a vote and be entered for a chance to meet the baby and Sadie.
Name choices include Lil' Sebastian, Georgie, Van, J.R. and Lucky.

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ROCKY RIVER, Ohio (AP) -- Police in suburban Cleveland say a half-naked man intentionally crashed his car into a closed convenience store to get beer, injuring himself and a store employee.
Rocky River police say the 45-year-old driver was wearing nothing from the waist down when he crashed through a store wall early Sunday and told the worker he needed beer.
Police say the man barricaded himself in a beer cooler and told police to shoot him, but they subdued him with a stun device.
The driver was taken to a hospital, as was the store employee, who suffered leg and chest injuries that weren't considered critical.
The driver has been charged with impaired driving.
Police say the worker was fortunate that a deli counter was between him and the car, preventing more serious injuries.

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GARDEN CITY, N.Y. (AP) -- A suburban New York college lacrosse team has replaced its warm-up music with a recording of a portion of a speech by President Donald Trump.
An Instagram video of the Adelphi University team was posted Wednesday showing players running onto the field at the conclusion of an excerpt of a Trump speech that includes his campaign slogan, "Make America Great Again."
Newsday reports Adelphi athletic director Danny McCabe says in a statement the pre-game music is chosen as a team. It was approved because it did not contain vulgarity or inappropriate subject matter.
The team finished the regular season with a 14-3 record. It begins the NCAA Division II playoffs against Pace on Saturday.
Adelphi is a private university on Long Island.
The Barstool Sports website was the first to report the Instagram video.

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BIG PINE KEY, Fla. (AP) - Authorities say they have charged a Florida grocery employee with stealing $10,000 worth of lottery tickets from a grocery store in Big Pine Key.
News outlets report the Monroe County Sheriff's Office said in a Facebook post on Monday that they've arrested 41-year-old Teresa Blanco, of Little Torch Key, and charged her with grand theft.
Officials with Winn-Dixie contacted authorities when they noticed an almost $14,000 shortage in lottery inventory. Authorities say when they arrived at the store an employee showed them a surveillance video of Blanco pocketing $25 scratch-off tickets and only paying for $2 and $5 tickets.
Authorities say when Blanco looked at the video, she admitted to taking $10,000 in lottery tickets.

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WESTFIELD, N.J. (AP) -- A love letter lost in the walls of a New Jersey home reached a World War II veteran 72 years after it was written.
Melissa Fahy and her father found the letter in a gap under the stairs while renovating her Westfield home.
The letter, postmarked May 1945, was written by a woman named Virginia to her husband, Rolf Christoffersen. Her husband was a sailor at the time in the Norwegian Navy.
"I love you Rolf, as I love the warm sun," Virginia Christoffersen wrote. "That is what you are to my life, the sun about which everything else revolves for me."
Fahy told WNBC-TV in New York that she could not believe the love and admiration Virginia had for her husband. "It was really sweet to see that long-distance love," she said.
She decided to find the Christoffersens and deliver the letter, turning to a Facebook page for help. Facebook users located the couple's son in California hours after Fahy's post.
The son read the letter to his 96-year-old father. Virginia died six years ago this weekend.
"In a way, I guess it's his wife coming back and making her memory alive again," Fahy said.

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FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) - Authorities say a man had to be treated for hypothermia and rescued from a snowy northern Arizona mountain which he had hiked up while wearing only shorts and other light clothing in quest of free pizza.
Coconino County sheriff's Cmdr. Rex Gilliland says the Forest Service lookout at the tower on Mt. Elden overlooking Flagstaff provided shelter to the 30-year-old man who was trying to qualify for a pizza from a local business.
Gilliland says the mountain had several inches of snow from a late spring storm when authorities got a report of the man being in trouble and asked the lookout to check for him.
According to Gilliland, the man either was unaware of the forecast or disregarded it when he set out Tuesday morning.

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MURFREESBORO, Ark. (AP) - An Oklahoma woman has found a 2.65 carat diamond at a state park in southwest Arkansas.
Victoria Brodski of Tulsa says in a news release Wednesday from Crater of Diamonds State Park that she picked up the stone May 6 about 10 minutes after entering the park because she thought it was a pretty piece of glass.
Brodski says she didn't realize it might be a diamond until hours later after visiting an information center to see what an uncut diamond looks like and park staff then confirmed it is a diamond.
Park interpreter Waymon Cox said the diamond is smooth and appears to be free of blemishes, but the park doesn't estimate the worth of diamonds.
Brodski plans to sell the diamond and share the money with her family.

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COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) - The Norwegian government has reversed a 40-year-old ban to allow 19 kinds of reptiles to be held as pets.
Norway's Agriculture and Food Ministry which also handles laws concerning domestic animals published a list Thursday allowing nine species of snakes, seven kinds of lizards and three types of turtles as of Aug. 15. Amphibians are still not legal in Norway.
According to Norwegian Web-based news site Nettavisen, the Norwegian Food Safety Authority estimates there are about 100,000 illegal reptiles and it was difficult to enforce such a ban. Iceland is the only other Nordic country banning these animals, Netavisen said.

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CANBERRA, Australia (AP) -- Australian quarantine authorities on Thursday urged travelers through Asia to avoid bringing in hitchhiking amphibians after a passenger arrived at an airport with a dead Indonesian toad in his shoe.
The Department of Agriculture of Water Resources warned travelers to check their luggage and other belongings for biohazards after toads from Thailand and Indonesia were found recently at three Australian airports. Authorities are confident that all the passengers were unaware they were carrying toads and were not smuggling wildlife.
The department's head of biosecurity Lyn O'Connor said a sniffer dog reacted to a shoe that an Australian was wearing as he arrived at Cairns Airport in northeast Australia.
The black-spined toad found by a biosecurity officer inside the shoe had only recently died and was probably alive when the passenger put the shoe on in Indonesia, O'Connor said in a statement.
A live banded bullfrog was found in a passenger's shoe at Perth Airport on Australia's west coast after a flight from Thailand, the department said. Officials could not immediately say on Thursday whether the passenger was wearing the shoe or had packed it in luggage.
A live black-spined toad arrived on a flight from Thailand at Melbourne Airport in southeast Australia where it was found in a woman's luggage, the department said.
The black-spined toad could significantly damage the Australian environment and could carry exotic parasites or disease, O'Connor said.
Australia has some of the world's toughest quarantine regulations in a bid to keep pests and diseases from infiltrating its isolated borders and destroying the country's unique wildlife. The strict quarantine policies captured global attention in 2015, when Johnny Depp and his then-wife, Amber Heard, were charged with illegally bringing their pet Yorkshire terriers into Australia, where Depp was working on a movie.
They subsequently made an awkward apology video that warned others about violating the quarantine rules and avoided jail.

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