Mad Minute stories from Thursday, May 18th - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Mad Minute stories from Thursday, May 18th

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BOSTON (AP) -- While other Harvard University students were writing papers for their senior theses, Obasi Shaw was busy rapping his.
Shaw is the first student in Harvard's history to submit a rap album as a senior thesis in the English Department, the university said. The album, called "Liminal Minds," has earned the equivalent of an A-minus grade, good enough to guarantee that Shaw will graduate with honors next week.
Count Shaw among those most surprised by the success.
"I never thought it would be accepted by Harvard," said Shaw, a 20-year-old from Stone Mountain, Georgia, a suburb of Atlanta. "I didn't think they would respect rap as an art form enough for me to do it."
Shaw describes the 10-track album as a dark and moody take on what it means to be black in America. Each song is told from a different character's perspective, an idea inspired by Geoffrey Chaucer's 14th-century classic "The Canterbury Tales." Shaw, who's black, also draws on the works of writer James Baldwin while tackling topics ranging from police violence to slavery.
Shaw's thesis adviser, Harvard English lecturer Josh Bell, said Shaw is a "serious artist and he's an amazing guy."
"He was able to turn around an album that people in the English Department would like very much but also that people who like rap music might like," Bell said.
Harvard undergraduates aren't obligated to submit senior theses, but most departments require it to graduate with honors. Often it takes the form of a research paper, but students can apply to turn in an artistic work as a creative thesis. Some submit screenplays, novels or poetry collections.
Shaw was at home for winter break in 2015, struggling to find a topic for a written thesis, when he told his mother, Michelle Shaw, about the creative thesis option. He had recently started writing his own raps and performing them at open-microphone nights on campus. His mother connected the dots and suggested he record an album for his thesis.
It took Shaw more than a year to write the songs and record them at a studio on Harvard's campus. His friends supplied many of the beats, while he taught himself how to mix the tracks into a polished product.
"I'm still not satisfied with the quality of the production just yet, but I'm constantly learning and growing," Shaw said.
Rap and hip-hop have drawn growing interest from academia in recent years. Harvard established a fellowship for scholars of hip-hop in 2013, and other schools including the University of Arizona have started to offer minors in hip-hop studies.
Clemson University announced in February that a doctoral student submitted a 34-track rap album as his dissertation, a first for the South Carolina university.
Shaw plans to circulate the album online for free and hopes it opens doors to the music industry. In the meantime, he's headed to Seattle to work as a software engineer at Google.

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BOSTON (AP) -- A Massachusetts congressman is taking issue with Republican President Donald Trump's claim he's the target of the "single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history."
That's because Democrat Seth Moulton represents Salem, the scene of the single greatest witch hunt in American history.
Trump tweeted his comment Thursday following the appointment of a special counsel to investigate allegations his campaign collaborated with Russia to sway the 2016 election.
Moulton responded, tweeting out "as the Representative of Salem, MA, I can confirm that this is false."
Nineteen men and women were hanged and one man was crushed to death during the 1692 Salem hysteria. The episode has been used as a cautionary tale in the more than three centuries since.
 
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WADENA, Minn. (AP) -- A confused white-tailed deer that wandered into a Walmart store in Minnesota ran into a startled customer who tackled the animal to the ground.
Shoppers at the store in Wadena (wah-DEE'-nah), 150 miles (240 kilometers) northwest of Minneapolis, speculated that the young animal was searching for a snack Tuesday when it entered the store through the garden center doors.
Tom Grasswick, who happens to live in Deer Creek, told WDAY-TV that he felt like someone had slugged him when the deer slammed into him. Grasswick says his first instinct was to tackle the animal, bringing it down on a pallet of dog food.
Grasswick covered the deer's eyes to calm it down, and he and others took the animal outside and set it free.

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MANCHESTER, N.J. (AP) -- A dump truck overturned and spilled its load of stone on top of a car in New Jersey, and authorities say the driver had to be dug out to be rescued.
Police in Manchester Township said that 24-year-old Andrea Penna, of Whiting, was trapped underneath stone and debris after the roof of her car collapsed on top of her Monday.
Penna and her passenger sustained non-life threatening injuries, as did the driver of the dump truck. The passenger of the car was able to get out on her own.
Police say the truck struck the Nissan as it was making a left turn and then overturned onto the car's roof, spilling its load on top.
State police, state department of corrections employees and other motorists stopped to dig the car out.
The crash is under investigation.

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SARASOTA, Fla. (AP) -- A driver escaped serious injury when her SUV hit a 9-foot alligator crossing Interstate 75 in Florida.
The Florida Highway Patrol said in a news release that 34-year-old lawyer Jennifer Rosinski of Cooper City lost control after hitting the alligator, and the car flipped over multiple times. She somehow escaped with bruises and a cut under her right eye. The alligator wasn't so lucky.
Lt. Gregory S. Bueno told the Palm Beach Post that crashes involving alligators are rare along that stretch of I-75 in southwest Florida.
Rosinsky couldn't believe it. She told the paper she first thought a fox had run in front her vehicle. She said: "I've never been in a significant accident before, and the first one I'm in is car vs. alligator!"

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) -- Graduation caps weren't the only things flying at one high school commencement in Tennessee after some adults in the audience started throwing punches.
Videos posted to social media show a fight between adults breaking out as Arlington High School graduates marched into a Memphis church to the tune of "Pomp & Circumstance" Tuesday. The Memphis Commercial Appeal reports the melee may have been brought on by a dispute over saving seats.
Arlington Community Schools superintendent says in a statement "it was unfortunate that a couple of adults in the audience exhibited the behavior they did prior to the ceremony beginning and thus has caused a distraction from the celebration of our students' accomplishments."
A video shows one woman being handcuffed, but it's unclear if anyone was arrested.

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ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) -- Authorities say a man has been charged with driving drunk in the parking lot of the New York State Police Academy.
State police say an off-duty trooper reported a suspicious person Wednesday afternoon in the parking lot at the academy located at state police headquarters in Albany. Troopers say they watched a man exit his vehicle and lay down in a grassy area behind the academy.
Troopers conducted a field sobriety test on the man and then took him to the trooper station at the Empire State Plaza in downtown Albany, where a breath test revealed he had a blood-alcohol content of 0.28 percent. The legal limit for driving in New York is 0.08 percent.
The 49-year-old man was ticketed for aggravated driving while intoxicated.

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BIG PINE KEY, Fla. (AP) - Authorities say a Louisiana woman living illegally in a vacant home in Florida answered the door naked when a sheriff's deputy stopped by to investigate.
Monroe County Sheriff's spokeswoman Becky Herrin says a real estate agent called to report that someone was staying at the home on Big Pine Key without the owner's permission.
Deputy Richard Wang looked in the window and saw 36-year-old Feliciamae Farrington naked. He knocked on the door and she answered, still naked. Farrington refused to get dressed and investigators say she fought with Wang as he tried to take her into custody. The struggle continued when other deputies arrived.
Farrington is from Harvey, Louisiana. She's been charged with trespassing, battery on a law enforcement officer and resisting arrest. Jail records don't list a lawyer.

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GLENN, Mich. (AP) - Michigan has suspended the license of a doctor who authorities said may have endangered patients and the public by performing liposuctions in a storage building, officials announced Tuesday.
The state Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs said the decision about Bradley Bastow's osteopathic physician's license was made under the Public Health Code.
"Our investigation found that Dr. Bastow's conduct was negligent, incompetent and lacked good moral character," the agency's Director Shelly Edgerton said in a statement. She described the conditions at the facility in southwestern Michigan as "dangerous and deplorable."
The Associated Press left messages seeking comment from Bastow, who isn't criminally charged.
The department and the office of Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette filed an administrative complaint saying Bastow performed liposuctions in unsanitary conditions in the building, known as a pole barn. They also said he improperly disposed of medical waste, improperly dispensed controlled substances and had other violations.
Allegan County health officials earlier said they learned from sheriff's investigators that a doctor was performing procedures in the building in the town of Glenn. They said the building didn't have a certificate of occupancy and wasn't approved for any business.
The county health department warned people last month to seek immediate medical care if they had surgery at the site and showed any signs of infection such as fever, redness, and swelling.

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OAKDALE, Pa. (AP) -- A Pennsylvania woman who said her only regret in life was not finishing high school has received an honorary diploma - at age 105.
Theresia Brandl donned a cap and gown Wednesday at her Oakdale nursing home to celebrate, surrounded by four grandchildren, eight great-grandchildren and five great-great-grandchildren.
Brandl attended Stowe High School until she had to drop out to care for her ailing mother. The school was later merged with a nearby school, forming Sto-Rox High School, which awarded her the honorary diploma.
The diploma was arranged by the Twilight Wish Foundation, which helps fulfill wishes for people over 65, after Brandl was nominated by an administrator at the nursing home.

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