Mad Minute stories from Friday, August 4th - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Mad Minute stories from Friday, August 4th

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NEW YORK (AP) -- A defendant in a money laundering case has at least two things in common with "Pharma Bro" Martin Shkreli - the same name and the same judge.
The other Martin Shkreli pleaded not guilty Friday in the same New York courtroom where the former pharmaceutical CEO was waiting for a verdict in his securities fraud trial. His doppelganger wasn't there at the time.
The odd coincidence wasn't lost on the 59-year-old Shkreli No. 2, who smiled and shook his head when asked about his counterpart. He said he had no interest in being that "famous."
Prosecutors have accused the more notorious of the two Shkrelis of deceiving investors in two failed hedge funds. The 34-year-old "Pharma Bro" is best known for raising the price of a life-saving drug by 5,000 percent.

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NIPTON, Calif. (AP) -- Now that one of the nation's largest cannabis companies has bought the entire California desert town of Nipton, a question remains: Will the new owners rename the place Potsylvania?
The name Weed already belongs to an old mill town in Northern California.
American Green Inc. announced Thursday it is buying all 80 acres of Nipton, which includes its Old West-style hotel, a handful of houses, an RV park and a coffee shop. Its plans are to transform the old Gold Rush town into what it calls "an energy-independent, cannabis-friendly hospitality destination."
The town's current owner, Roxanne Lang, said the sale is still in escrow, but confirmed American Green is the buyer. She declined to reveal price before the sale closes, but noted she and her late husband, Gerald Freeman, listed the property at $5 million when they put it up for sale last year.
Asked what her husband would think of the buyers' plans to turn Nipton into the pot paradise of the California desert, she laughed heartily.
"I think he would find a lot of humor in that," she finally said, adding that as a Libertarian Freeman had no problem with people using marijuana, and as a proponent of green power he'd be all in favor of energy independence. Over the years he'd installed a solar farm himself that provides much of the tiny town's electricity.
American Green says it plans to expand that farm and also bottle and sell cannabis-infused water from Nipton's plentiful aquifer, joint moves that would make the town green in more ways than one.
The buyers are also reaching out to edibles manufacturers and other pot-industry businesses, hoping they'll be interested in relocating to Nipton and bringing jobs with them.
The town's current residents number fewer than two dozen and one of its major sources of revenue is the California Lottery tickets the general store sells to people who cross the state line from Nevada because they can't buy them there.
"We are excited to lead the charge for a true Green Rush," David Gwyther, American Green's president and CEO, said in a statement. "The cannabis revolution that's going on here in the U.S. has the power to completely revitalize communities in the same way gold did during the 19th century."
Indeed it was a gold rush that created Nipton in the early 1900s when the precious metal was found nearby.
But by the time Freeman, a Los Angeles geologist who liked to look for gold in his spare time, discovered the place in the 1950s it was already a ghost town. Even worse it was 60 miles south of Las Vegas and 10 miles (16 kilometers) off the major highway that connects that city to Los Angeles.
"I like to say it's conveniently located in the middle of nowhere," jokes Lang.
Freeman bought the town in 1985 anyway and spent the next 30 years lovingly restoring its boutique hotel and general store, building canvas-covered "eco cabins" and stocking them with wood-burning stoves and swamp coolers.
The small hotel has become a popular destination with desert aficionados and fans of the Old West, even though it's located so close to a major rail line that moves freight between Los Angeles and Salt Lake City that guests are handed earplugs with their room keys.
Carl Cavaness, who works at the hotel, said Thursday the sale caught him by surprise. He said he hopes the new owners will let him and his wife stay.
"We like the quiet and solitude," the 53-year-old handyman said.
 
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LANCASTER, Pa. (AP) -- A Pennsylvania woman who rescued a piglet that was darting in and out of rush-hour traffic is getting help from local businesses to fund a surgery it needs to survive.
Francesca McAndrews tells LNP she was driving to work when she saw the tiny swine dodging cars in Lancaster last month. She slammed on her brakes and caught the little pig. She says she's had some practice catching pigs at fair.
She thinks the piglet fell off a livestock truck. Veterinarians say the animal needs surgery on a hernia it likely developed in the fall from the truck.
If the hernia gets much bigger, it could rupture.
Two local businesses are holding fundraisers to help pay for the pig's medical bills. One event is called Swine and Wine.

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LUCKNOW, India (AP) -- Police are investigating a mysterious raft of attacks in which Indian women say they're waking up to find someone has chopped off their hair and left it neatly on their pillows.
A top official in northern Uttar Pradesh state said Friday that police have advised people not to believe or spread rumors following the death of a 65-year-old woman who was beaten by a mob on suspicion that she was a witch responsible for the hair cutting.
Anand Kumar said village committees have been ordered to quash rumors about ghosts or witches cutting off women's braids. Police are investigating the claims, he said.
Similar complaints have come from neighboring Haryana and Delhi suburbs, police officials said. They have spread fear that the hair could be used to cast spells. In some places in Uttar Pradesh, parents were keeping children indoors after school.
In the state capital, Lucknow, police said a rumor began last week about someone cutting off the hair of women.
"Within days it has spread to areas around Delhi and western Uttar Pradesh. Now almost every day, police are getting complaints from women about this unknown ghost," said Manish Rakesh, a police officer.
The women "come to the police station with their braids telling stories about how someone has cut off their hair," he said.
In Agra city, Munni Devi said she went to sleep as usual, only to find her hair chopped off and her braid neatly placed near her pillow. Neither she nor her husband sleeping next to her heard anything at night, Devi said Friday.
Some psychiatrists believe the stories may be due to mass hysteria or hallucination.
"Ghosts do not cut the braids of women. This is mischief, nothing else," said Rakesh Gaur, a psychiatrist at Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College in Agra.

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NORTH PLATTE, Neb. (AP) - North Platte authorities say a 12-year-old girl who took her mom's car without permission got caught the hard way: in a collision.
The accident occurred around 11:15 a.m. Thursday, when the car she was driving east collided at an intersection with a northbound car. Police say the girl had halted for a stop sign but apparently didn't see the other car as she drove out into traffic.
She was taken to a hospital for treatment of minor injuries. It's unclear whether the other driver was hurt.
Police cited the girl for driving without a license.

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DALLAS (Reuters) - An East Texas man was wounded after he fired a gun at an armadillo in his yard and the bullet ricocheted back to hit him in his face, the county sheriff said on Friday.
Cass County Sheriff Larry Rowe said the man, who was not identified, went outside his home in Marietta, southwest of Texarkana, at around 3 a.m. on Thursday morning. He spotted the armadillo on his property and opened fire.
"His wife was in the house. He went outside and took his .38 revolver and shot three times at the armadillo," Rowe said.
The animal's hard shell deflected at least one of three bullets, which then struck the man's jaw, he said.
The man was airlifted to a nearby hospital, where his jaw was wired shut, according to Rowe.
The status of the animal is unknown.
"We didn't find the armadillo," the sheriff said.

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NEW HOLLAND, Pa. (AP) -- Police say a Pennsylvania man ranted that there weren't enough cucumbers on his Wendy's salad before he threw his food at an employee and made a threat.
Police say they were called to the fast-food restaurant on Sunday afternoon in New Holland after 58-year-old Theodore Gunderson Jr. cursed, threw the salad at an employee and said, "If I had a gun or knife you would be the first to go."
The clerk called police, and officers arrived to find Gunderson in his vehicle with the windows rolled up. Police say Gunderson eventually rolled down his window but then tried to drive away as an officer reached inside.
Online court records don't list an attorney for Gunderson. He remained jailed Friday on aggravated assault, terroristic threats and other charges.

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MONTCLAIR, Calif. (AP) -- Police in California stumbled across a trash-strewn industrial building crammed with more than 1,000 snakes, parrots, chickens and other animals - many of them dead - when they arrived to serve an arrest warrant on a man who rented the property.
The surviving animals were being examined and sheltered Friday by the Inland Valley Humane Society and SPCA.
Police originally arrived at the industrial building in Montclair, 30 miles (48 kilometers) east of Los Angeles, to make an arrest unrelated to the animals. They had asked humane society workers to accompany them to care for the man's two dogs while he was in custody.
But when they got there, humane society operations manager James Edward said Friday, they immediately became suspicious that other animals were inside.
A search warrant was served and authorities entered to find more than a thousand chickens, baby chicks, parakeets, parrots, love birds, snakes and fish.
"Unfortunately there were numerous deceased chickens and snakes," Edward said, adding conditions were deplorable.
Trash and debris were strewn everywhere, he said, and fish were swimming in tanks so filthy it was impossible to identify them. Snakes were locked in boxes without food or water. The building, itself, reeked of ammonia.
"It was definitely uninhabitable for animals or people," Edward said.
Police did not immediately release the arrested man's name, and Edward said authorities didn't know why the animals were kept there.

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LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - A Lincoln man has been given four years of probation for trying to rob a bank branch from a drive-thru lane.
The Lincoln Journal Star reports that 58-year-old James Fitzsimmons was sentenced Wednesday. Court records say he also was fined $2,500. He'd pleaded no contest to a bomb threat, terroristic threats and attempted theft.
Authorities say Fitzsimmons passed a note to a drive-thru teller at a U.S. Bank branch in Lincoln on July 29, 2016. The note said there were gunmen inside the bank as well as bombs that could be remotely detonated.
He left without getting any money. No bomb or gunmen was found in the building.

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COVINGTON, La. (AP) - Authorities say a man speeding down an interstate in Louisiana has been arrested after deputies found 2 pounds (1 kilogram) of marijuana in cereal boxes.
News outlets report 23-year-old Donald Roots-Scott Jr. of Sacramento, California, was charged with possession with intent to distribute marijuana, an expired driver's license and speeding.
The St. Tammany Parish Sheriff's Office said in a news release deputies pulled Roots-Scott over for traveling at nearly 90 mph (145 kph) on Interstate 12 on Tuesday. Scott told deputies that his driver's license was expired and that marijuana was inside the vehicle.
Authorities found high-grade marijuana hidden inside Honey Nut Cheerios and Cap'n Crunch's Crunch Berries cereal boxes. Roots-Scott told authorities that he was transporting the marijuana for distribution in Mississippi.
It's unclear if Roots-Scott has a lawyer.

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