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

Mad Minute stories from Tuesday, September 5th

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Mad Minute for 12/30/16 Mad Minute for 12/30/16

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Scientists assessing efforts to eradicate invasive ants on the Channel Islands off California have enlisted a four-legged expert to sniff out the destructive insects.
A yellow Labrador named Tobias has lived for months with a handler on Santa Cruz Island. The specially-trained dog keeps its snout to the ground, searching for nests of Argentine ants that threatened the ecosystem after being introduced decades ago.
Christina Boser, an ecologist with the Nature Conservancy, said Tuesday that no new nests have been found - one sign that a project started in 2009 to wipe out the unwanted ants is successful.
Boser says in the absence of new nests, researchers have kept a few old nests around to give Tobias something to sniff out so the dog can get its reward: a favorite ball.

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BOSTON (AP) -- A kitten found walking in a busy Massachusetts highway tunnel has been rescued with the help of state police troopers who shut down traffic for it.
Police said Sunday on Facebook the kitten decided to "play a little hide and seek" in the Ted Williams Tunnel in Boston.
Sgt. Bob Dateo shut traffic down. The Animal Rescue League of Boston quickly rescued the kitten.
A trooper posted a photo of the wayward kitten on social media. A video taken by police shows the kitten walking along the side of the road as cars drive by.
Police say they need ideas on what to name the kitten.
The kitten will be put up for adoption when it's medically cleared.
 
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MIAMI (AP) - A Miami sandwich shop bicycle delivery man was struck by an unmarked police car - and then jailed for 12 hours.
The Miami Herald reports that 19-year-old Jimmy John's delivery man Mason Morales was on his bicycle and in a crosswalk when Miami police officer Kenia Fallat struck his bike Thursday and knocked him to the pavement.
Morales responded by throwing his bike at the car, denting the passenger door. Morales told the newspaper that Fallat had been on her phone. He says he knew he was in trouble when Fallat got out of the car and he saw her uniform.
"The whole thing was pretty awful and stupid," Morales said. "I don't think I should have been brought in for that."
Morales was handcuffed, charged with criminal mischief and taken to jail until his mother bailed him out at 3 a.m. Friday. Morales said he was also ticketed for failing to yield the right of way.
Fallat and Miami Police declined comment. The damage to the car was estimated at $500.
Morales said incidents with cars are fairly common while delivering food in Miami.
"I deal with this every day - drivers who don't pay attention to where they're going," Morales told the newspaper. "I've been hit before. I broke my nose once."

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LA CROSSE, Wis. (AP) - An 11-year-old girl from western Wisconsin is saving for college by flipping houses.
Madison Bue of West Salem has spent her summer renovating a four-bedroom, two-bath house in La Crosse's south side, the La Crosse Tribune reported. Bue's grandfather, business mogul Cliff LeCleir, purchased the property for her.
"She is the most determined child I have ever seen," LeCleir said. "When she sets her mind on something she gets it done."
Bue, who's one of six siblings, said she knows her parents can't afford to pay for college for all of them.
She was inspired to start raising funds for college by flipping houses after watching the reality show "House Hunters" on HGTV and other shows that feature people flipping houses for profit.
"I love those shows so much," she said. "I asked Papa if he could help me flip a house to save up college funds."
She stared her own limited liability corporation, BueZoo, for the project. Bue and LeCleir considered more than a dozen homes before choosing one to work on.
Bue took ownership of the home in June and began working on the renovation in July. She did much of the work on her own, such as outdoor landscaping and removing old carpet and tile. She hired contractors for painting and other work. Her mother, Amanda Bue, has also contributed as an employee of BueZoo.
Bue said she isn't sure if she'll tackle another house next year because it was difficult balancing the work with extracurricular activities.
"I am just really proud of myself," she said. "Even though I am hot and sweaty and tired at the end of the day, I am really proud of all that I did that day. I'm excited to be able to tell my friends I accomplished this."
Bue will be in fifth grade at Coulee Christian School this fall.

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CUMBERLAND, Maine (AP) -- Maine lobstermen Alex Todd has hauled in blue lobsters and even some lobsters that were half blue, or half orange. But he says those don't compare on the scale of weirdness to the translucent crustacean that he recently pulled up in a trap.
The lobster that Todd caught on Aug. 24 is a ghostly, pale blue. It almost looks to be transparent.
Todd, from Chebeague Island, said he knew when he saw the translucent lobster in his trap alongside mottled green and brown lobsters that this was "definitely weird."
His photos have made the rounds on social media.
As for the lobster, he tossed it back into the ocean because its tail had been notched, flagging the lobster as an egg-bearing female. Those lobsters are off-limits for conservation reasons.

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PARIS (AP) - A Venezuelan political exile who proposed to his girlfriend during an audience with the Pope is basking in the wonder of his engagement in a romantic trip to Paris.
Catholic Dario Ramirez strolled through the City of Light Monday with his fiancee Maryangel Espinal, reminiscing about the moment last month that thrust the politician-in-exile into the international spotlight.
Ramirez told the Associated Press that the pontiff, his protocol staff and Espinal were shocked when he popped the question. His fiancee thought he was going to ask for a selfie - not her hand in marriage.
A video recorded on Ramirez's iPhone captures cheers from the surrounding people when Espinal said "Yes."
His audience with Pope Francis came as part of a visit with the International Catholic Legislatures Network.

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) - A federal lawsuit claims a Virginia prison blocked inmates from getting a humanist group's magazine because it contained a picture of a painting of Eve in the Garden of Eden with her breasts exposed.
The American Humanist Association's lawsuit is asking the court to declare that the prison's "total ban on 'material containing nudity'" violates the First Amendment.
The group says the issue of "the Humanist" magazine was blocked from subscribers at the Coffeewood Correctional Center in Culpeper County because it included the photo of a Flemish artist's painting.
David Niose of the American Humanist Association said in a statement that there is "absolutely no basis" for withholding the magazine from inmates.
A Virginia Department of Corrections spokeswoman said Friday that she could not immediately comment on the lawsuit.

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MEDFORD, N.Y. (AP) - A runaway cow has rammed a police car in suburban New York before being tranquilized and returned to its owner.
Newsday reports that the cow was seen trotting through the streets of Medford on Long Island around 11:30 a.m. Friday.
Police said the cow lives in a residential area and the animal's owner had reported it missing Thursday.
A patrol officer pulled alongside the brown-and-white bovine Friday and the animal rammed the car, leaving a large dent. The officer was not injured.
Additional officers arrived and used their vehicles to corral the cow in an abandoned property.
The cow was then subdued with a tranquilizer dart and returned to its owner.
It wasn't immediately clear why the owner kept a cow at home or how it escaped.

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DUBLIN, Calif. (AP) - A California county sheriff's office arrested four of its own deputies who are accused of allowing a maximum-security prisoner to throw feces and urine at other inmates.
The East Bay Times reports the Alameda County Sheriff's Office arrested its deputies on Thursday on charges of mistreating inmates at Santa Rita Jail.
One deputy resigned and three others have been placed on administrative leave after Sheriff Gregory Ahern launched an investigation in January. The three on leave are 26-year-old Sarah Krause, 23-year-old Justin Linn and 27-year-old Erik McDermott, while Stephen Sarcos resigned.
Inmate Ruben Febo Jr. says he is housed in the same area where the mistreatment took place. He recently wrote a letter to the East Bay Times saying he was placed in a cell "saturated in feces."

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(USA Today) In a city with no water, here is a list of items required to break into a warehouse and steal 14 cases of bottled water:
One (1) hand saw
One (1) hammer
One (1) hovercraft, capable of zinging over the flooded streets of Beaumont, Texas, at 60 miles an hour.
Oh, and permission from the Coca-Cola Company.
Fortunately, Bill Zang recently found himself equipped with all four things. At a few minutes after 3 p.m. on Saturday he killed the hovercraft's engines and floated toward the Coca-Cola warehouse on the northern edge of Beaumont. At the back gate, Zang hacked the lock with a saw, then his friend Sam Byers slammed the lock with a hammer.
The lock broke. The gate swung wide. Both men laughed.
"This is so much fun!" said Byers, happy finally to find water in Beaumont, where the water treatment plant had been offline for two days.
A week after Hurricane Harvey made landfall, most of the rescue and recovery efforts in south Texas are no fun at all. The work is simultaneously plodding and emotionally charged. Relief workers spend days floating through flooded neighborhoods, checking and rechecking houses to make sure all the people and pets have been evacuated.
Sometimes they rescue a cat. Sometimes they discover a corpse. Sometimes they find nothing but flooded homes and silence. At this point, as the adrenaline of early rescue efforts fades into fatigue, many rescuers find the inertia of routine becomes their primary fuel.
"I have no idea when we got here," said Zang, president of the Hovercraft Unlimited company, who drove from his home in Rockport, Illinois, with two hovercraft to help rescue hurricane victims. "What was that, two days ago? Four? The days all start running together after a while."
Sometimes, however, the routines get scrambled, and relief workers get the opportunity to do something they will remember for the rest of their lives. Their stories serve as a reminder that even though the sky over south Texas has brightened, and the nation's attention has begun to move on with the rain, thousands of people are still in desperate need of help.
"There is still a lot of work to do," Zang said.
For Edwin Toy, the break in the monotony came Thursday night, when he was the lead driver of a 16-truck convoy delivering bottled water from Houston to Beaumont. The trip normally takes about an hour and a half, Toy said.
On Thursday it took 10 hours. Toy sat in the cab of his truck with water lapping halfway up his gas tank.
"We just had to get through," said Toy, 53, a driver for the H-E-B Grocery Company. "I don't think I'll ever forget it."
For Cassidy Meeks, the adrenaline came from running up and down U.S. Route 69 northeast of Beaumont, looking for people to save. At 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, Meeks met a woman at a nearby Shell gas station who said her brother was trapped on the highway by water rushing from the flooded Pine Island Bayou.
Meeks didn't have any special gear at her disposal. She simply started walking. She went north as far as she could, hugging the highway's concrete median for support as the water rose to her neck.
Finally she turned around and flagged down Zang, aboard his bright blue hovercraft.
"He's out there somewhere, but I can't find him," Meeks, 20, of Joshua, Texas, told Zang. "We've got to find him. It sounds like he's about to drown."
Zang was not excited about the mission. The current was moving at about 15 miles an hour, he said, and one mistake could drown both himself and the man he was trying to save. He roared off anyway, sending a plume of spray behind his craft's main propeller.
Seven minutes later Zang returned with Cory Adams, looking wet and sheepish, sitting in the backseat.
"He was in the nasty part" of the water flow, said Zang. "If you fall in there, you're swept away for 2 miles and nobody will ever find you."
No one else in the vicinity had a boat powerful enough to even get close to Adams, however. He had been in the torrent for an hour, he said, and he was losing strength.
"I thought I was going to drown," said Adams. "If he didn't come and save me, there's no way I would have made it."
Compared with most of his rescue missions after Hurricane Harvey, Zang's effort to remove water from the Coca-Cola warehouse was a bit of a lark. Someone with the Coca-Cola Company informed Beaumont's Fire Department that the facility contained thousands of bottles of fresh water, but flooding in and around the building prevented people in most vehicles from entering and retrieving it.
The firefighters asked Zang if he could help, he said. And so he and Byers found themselves standing behind the Coca-Cola warehouse a few minutes after 3 p.m. After entering the gate they motored to the building, where Byers broke a window with a hammer, reached inside and pulled a door open.
Inside they found tens of thousands of bottles of Fanta, Dr. Pepper, Coca-Cola and Dasani brand bottled water. They loaded 14 cases of water onto the hovercraft's flat deck, powered up and sped away. The cases later would be picked up by other volunteers and delivered to National Guard troops, who would distribute them to Harvey evacuees.

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