Mad Minute stories from Monday, June 19th - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Mad Minute stories from Monday, June 19th

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HAWKINS, Texas (AP) -- A Texas rancher lassoed a 10-foot alligator and wranglers crawled atop the thrashing reptile's back after it got a little too close to the landowner's cattle.
Bystanders shot video of the recent takedown near Hawkins, a town about 100 miles (161 kilometers) east of Dallas.
Byron South of Convergent Hunting Solutions says he got a call from the landowner, Hal Conover, after the alligator broke into a pen where he was weaning calves. Game wardens were also summoned.
South told The Associated Press that Conover was able to throw a rope around the reptile. The video later shows two men atop the gator as it thrashes and bites one man's hand. The man suffered minor injuries.
The alligator was eventually loaded into a trailer and hauled to a wildlife park.

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CLEVELAND (AP) -- A wayward tortoise's surprising trek around Ohio has ended happily for its owner, whose two-week search, in a twist of fate, might have saved her sister's life.
Otis the California desert tortoise managed to push open a sliding glass door and escape from Kathie Heisinger's home in Sebring in Mahoning County on May 30.
Heisinger created flyers offering a $200 reward that was quickly matched by the Sebring Volunteer Fire Department, prompting her to make the reward $500 total. Village residents soon joined Heisinger in her search around Sebring.
"There are a lot of good people in the world," Heisinger said.
Otis quickly became a minor celebrity. Facebook posts and shares, newspaper and television stories and the flyers led to more than 100 phone calls from people who believed they had spotted him.
Heisinger then heard rumors that employees of an amusement company working the Sebring Fireman's Festival the weekend Otis went missing might have scooped him up. She called the company headquartered 20 miles away in Stark County and the owner told Heisinger his employees had indeed taken possession of Otis - at least temporarily.
Otis had once again escaped after knocking over the cardboard box the workers thought would contain him.
The owner kicked in another $200 to make the reward $700, and Heisinger, her sister and friends resumed their search.
But by this time, Otis already had found another new home. Tyren O'Steen spotted the tortoise on a road near the amusement company and thought it would make a good pet for his three children. Then last week, after reading a newspaper story about Otis, O'Steen called Heisinger, who was reunited with her beloved pet of 25 years.
"I could tell the tortoise meant a lot to her," O'Steen told another newspaper that publicized Heisinger's plight, The Alliance Review.
Heisinger said the ending was "heartfelt for a lot of people." She expressed her gratitude for all who helped out in the search, which she said might have actually saved her sister's life.
Heisinger said it was uncharacteristic for her sister, who lived alone, to have helped out. One day, Dicko complained about her foot hurting and returned to Heisinger's truck. By the time Heisinger drove her home, she had lost all feeling in her leg.
Dicko underwent emergency blood clot surgery that night. Doctors told her that if she had delayed seeking medical help for a couple of more hours, she would have lost her foot - or even worse. Dicko spent time in intensive care and is now on the road to recovery.
"That's God's way of having a plan," Heisinger said. "I'm a Christian, and nothing in this world will not convince me that wasn't meant to be."
 
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PITTSBURGH (AP) -- Coca-Cola's marketing efforts during the weekend's heatwave in Pittsburgh backfired when the company mistakenly used a map of Philadelphia in a post on Twitter.
Sunday's tweet said, "Today's forecast in Pittsburgh: Record heat, followed by an ice-cold wave of ahhhhhhh. #ShareaCoke."
Although temperatures climbed into the high 80s, the tweet was received coolly because the message was accompanied by the wrong map.
Even Mayor Bill Peduto weighed in, responding, "I was elected to represent the people of Pittsburgh, not Philadelphia" - riffing on his recent kerfuffle over President Donald Trump's pullout of the Paris climate accord.
A spokeswoman for Atlanta-based Coca-Cola Co. apologized Monday, saying the company is "exploring innovative, adaptive technologies to serve up personalized content to our fans ... in this case, our map accidentally missed the mark - literally."

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OXNARD, Calif. (AP) - Police are calling it grand theft avocado.
Three produce company workers have been arrested in the theft of up to $300,000 worth of avocados, according to the Ventura County Sheriff's Office.
Thirty-eight-year-old Joseph Valenzuela, 28-year-old Carlos Chavez and 30-year-old Rahim Leblanc were each charged with grand theft of fruit and were being held in jail on bail of $250,000 each. They were arrested Wednesday.
It was unclear whether they have attorneys.
Detectives began investigating the suspects in May after receiving a tip that they were conducting unauthorized cash sales of avocados from a ripening facility in the city of Oxnard owned by the Mission Produce company.
The company estimated the avocado loss at about $300,000, the sheriff's office said.
"We take these kinds of thefts seriously. It's a big product here and in California," sheriff's Sgt. John Franchi told the Los Angeles Times. "Everybody loves avocados."

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PORTSMOUTH, N.H. (AP) -- It's a lobster lover's dream.
A Portsmouth, New Hampshire, restaurant is hoping it set the record for the longest lobster roll at 159 feet, 6 inches (49 meters).
A lobster roll is usually made from a hot dog-type bun stuffed with lobster meat. The creation by the British Beer Company on Sunday took up several tables before it was cut up and served. Chef James Gibney says 200 pounds (91 kilograms) of lobster meat went into the sandwich and 48 pounds (22 kilograms) of it was donated. Proceeds went to a charity that helps U.S. veterans.
The British Beer Company could be a contender. It says the old record kept by the World Record Academy was 120 feet (37 meters) and was set by the Prince Edward Island Fishermen's Association at a shellfish festival in Canada last September.

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IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - A 2006 inquiry by the FBI into a lottery won by a Texas judge failed to uncover a jackpot rigging conspiracy that would continue for years.
The FBI opened an inquiry into Fayette County Justice of the Peace Tommy Tipton after an informant reported that Tipton had $450,000 in consecutively marked bills that he was trying to exchange.
Tommy Tipton told the FBI that his odd behavior was legal: He had won the Colorado lottery but was trying to hide the winnings from his wife.
The FBI believed him and closed its case. But investigators failed to uncover that Tipton's older brother, Eddie, was a lottery programmer who had built the computer that picked the winning combination.
Eddie Tipton has been linked to rigged jackpots in four more states.

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BOISE, Idaho (AP) -- A pet squirrel named Joey who gained fame as a crime-fighter might be more of the lover type.
Joey, who police credited with scaring off a burglar trying to break into his home's gun safe, made his long goodbyes earlier this month, then scampered up a backyard apple tree at his Meridian, Idaho, home and hasn't been seen since.
"If I had to guess, he found a girlfriend and they're off doing their squirrel thing," said Adam Pearl, who raised Joey in his home for about 10 months.
A University of Idaho scientist said that's probably right for Joey.
"For a lot of mammals, behavior changes once spring comes," said Janet Rachlow, a professor at the school's Department of Fish and Wildlife Sciences.
Joey made headlines in February after police went to Pearl's home to investigate the burglary and Joey introduced himself. A few hours later, police nabbed a teen burglary suspect with items from Pearl's home and scratches on his hands. The teen told police a squirrel at one home came flying out of nowhere and kept attacking him until he left.
Like many famous crime fighters, Joey had a rough start in life. He was abandoned after falling out of his nest not long after being born and would have died if Adam Pearl and his wife, Carmen, hadn't taken him in.
"His eyes weren't even open," Adam Pearl said. "He was about the size of a Bic lighter when we first got him."
They bought supplies and set an alarm every two hours to feed him. Joey thrived, and soon had the run of the house, using a litterbox and learning to scavenge from bowls of nuts.
"I wanted him to be able to fend for himself," Adam Pearl said.
Joey did just that, delighting the family with his antics.
"He'd let anybody pet him when he was in the house," Pearl said. "I guess right up until the kid broke in. Right after that is when he started getting aggressive."
About a month ago, Pearl made the decision to leave a sliding door open after Joey seemed extra rambunctious. Joey eventually ventured out, played with wild squirrels during the day and returned to his bed inside at night.
On June 4, he climbed on Adam's shoulder, where he stayed for several minutes getting his ears scratched before disappearing in the apple tree.
"I think that was his goodbye, looking back on it," Adam Pearl said.
Rachlow said Joey might have a little bit of culture shock assimilating into squirrel life, but will likely succeed.
Adam Pearl said Joey liked to chew on items in the house, so there's also relief in being an empty-nester.
"Hopefully, he doesn't bring any little Joeys into the house," he said.

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British prime minister Theresa May had some unusual competition for her seat in Parliament this year-and social media took notice.
Twitter was ablaze Friday with photos of May standing beside an Elmo impersonator, the "Howling Laud," and a figure named "Lord Buckethead," who one user described as Darth Vader wearing a trash can.
In another race, Mr. Fish Finger-yes, that's a man wearing a fish stick costume-campaigned against Liberal Democrat leader Tim Ferron.
So what's with these unusual candidates?
According to Charlie Beckett, a professor of media studies at the London School of Economics, extravagantly costumed joke candidates like Buckethead make up a "great British tradition" that adds comedy to general elections.
"These are kind of the court jesters, the people who remind the powerful that there's a comic side of life," Beckett, who studies social media and British politics, said. "It's just a little bit of color in a carnivalesque way that Brits have always had in them."
As far back as the 1960s, these characters have taken advantage of the British practice known as the "declaration of results," in which all the candidates for each seat stand on stage together as a winner is announced.
"Especially with the famous politicians, like Boris Johnson or the prime minister, they will traditionally attract the most novelty candidates because they get the most coverage," Beckett said.
Indeed, the Monster Raving Loony Party-which was founded just as politics was becoming a televised spectacle-has entered at least five candidates in races to elect members of parliament since 1983. Lord Buckethead, meanwhile, previously ran against two former prime ministers, Margaret Thatcher and John Major.
Although a fee of 500 pounds, or about $635, is intended to filter these joke candidates out, British parliamentary elections are otherwise open. To enter an election, a candidate can live anywhere and must gain the signatures of only 10 people in the district.
And often, the campaign promises are just as bizarre as their costumes.
Lord Buckethead wants to provide free bikes for everyone and nationalize the singer Adele, according to the BBC. Mr. Fish Finger, who decided to run after a Twitter poll found more people would trust a fish stick than his opponent, wrote a "manifishto" that includes promises to improve the education system by providing free fish rods for everyone.
"It's part of the way that the core of politics in the UK doesn't have the same decorum that American politics used to have," Beckett said. "Here, it's always been a bit more rough and tumble."
But some candidates, like the Elmo impersonator, Bobby Smith, have other demands.
Bobby Smith, who won three votes while dressed up as Elmo, said that he ran as a way to raise attention to his custody battle. And another candidate, Yemi Hailemariam, wore a T-shirt featuring the name of her husband, Andy Tsege, an Ethiopian-born political dissident who was abducted and detained there in 2014.
"The funny, eccentric candidates must never be campaigning. They may be campaigning generally that life is too dull," Beckett said, "but generally, if they get too serious, they get ignored."

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Never doubt a New York City rat's strength and resolve.
The city's rodents are already known to persist in their quest for local food favorites (see: pizza rat, roll rat).
But one astonishing rat in Brooklyn was captured on video dragging by its teeth an entire filled trash bag just to get to a personal pizza crust inside. 
Leigh Conner filmed the rat on her block in Crown Heights, near Kingston Avenue and Dean Street, DNAInfo reports. 
She told the news website she was getting on her bike when she spotted the trash bag moving away from the curb. That's when she saw the rat crawling out of the trash bag and start to drag it. 
It was apparently trying to get at a round pizza pie crust inside.
The rat could be seen tugging and gnawing through the plastic trash bag, then finally getting the pizza crust out of the bag. It scurries away with the dough -- but inexplicably abandons it a short distance away.
Could be this city rat is also pretty fickle. 

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Arlington, TX - A 79-year-old grandma did her first keg stand at a family graduation party in Texas, and people are loving it. 
This has to be one cool grandma. Madison Munoz posted a picture of her grandma doing the keg stand on twitter, and it took the internet by storm -- getting more than 2,000 retweets and 11,000 likes. 
It was Munoz's brother's graduation party, and grandma Muriel insisted on doing the keg stand. 
In case you're not familiar, it's a party move in which you're held upside down when you drink beer from a keg - and Munoz's grandma took it like a champ.
Some say age is just a number, and 79-year-old Muriel Holshevnikoff proved that to be true.
 

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