Mad Minute stories from Monday, September 25th - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Mad Minute stories from Monday, September 25th

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BEDDINGTON, Maine (AP) - Maine forest rangers say the quick actions of a woman armed with a frying pan helped stop a forest fire.
Rangers say Nancy Weeks used a frying pan to carry water back and forth between the flames and a nearby pond in a wooded area near Beddington. WGME-TV reports Weeks kept the fire under control until crews arrived.
Officials say the fire was sparked by an unattended camp fire.
Rangers say it's still fire season in the state, and likely will remain so until the first snowfall.

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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - Claire Richardson remembers taking off in an airplane uniquely configured for Alaska when a horrible smell seeped into the passenger area.
The captain soon came on the speaker to apologize for the odor, which was coming from 70 skittish baby reindeer headed for Texas.
"Guess they all pooped as we lifted off from the runway," said Richardson, a Jesuit volunteer at a Nome radio station during the 1980s flight who is now chief of staff for Alaska Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott.
Those days will be coming to a close as the special plane that hauls people, goods and even animals on the same flight is taken out of service in a state with few roads.
Alaska Airlines is retiring its last four combi planes, special Boeing 737-400s designed to carry cargo in the middle of the plane and 72 passengers in the rear, company vice president Marilyn Romano told The Associated Press ahead of this week's unveiling of the first of three new cargo planes for the state.
"They've been our workhorses," said Jason Berry, manager of the company's cargo division.
The new cargo planes are a dedicated fleet of three 737-700s, and they are the first ever to be converted from passenger jet to cargo planes. Passengers will now fly separately in 737-700s.
Alaska Airlines is the only major airline in the U.S. that had combi planes, which were designed for the special challenges of the nation's largest state.
A postage stamp placed in the middle of an average sheet of paper represents the area a person can reach in Alaska by coast line, river, road or railroad.
"If you want to see or do business in any of the rest of that sheet of paper, you only have two choices: You can fly an hour or walk a week," said Mark Ransom with the Alaska Aviation Museum in Anchorage.
The combi planes made sense to deliver people and goods to remote hub communities in Alaska in the most cost-efficient manner.
The planes can carry up to four large cargo containers - weighing anywhere from 12,000 to 14,000 pounds - in the middle of the plane. Passengers fill the rear of the plane, and they get on board by using stairs like the pre-jetway days.
"It's bittersweet," Romano said of the planes' retirement, especially for those who understand what they have meant to the people of Alaska.
The planes usually fly to communities like Nome on the Bering Sea coast, Utqiagvik (formerly Barrow) on the northern Arctic Ocean coast or Deadhorse, the supply town for the Prudhoe Bay oil fields, where there might not be enough cargo for a full planeload or enough passengers to fill a jet.
From those locations, smaller airplanes usually deliver the cargo and passengers to dozens of nearby villages.
The combi planes also make famous milk runs through southeast Alaska, leaving Anchorage and stopping about every 45 minutes to deliver goods - including milk - to little communities before heading on to Seattle, where the airline is headquartered.
It's not just milk that gets delivered. In other parts of the United States, cargo planes deliver durable goods to businesses to make commerce run, said Berry, the cargo division manager.
"In Alaska, we are carrying their milk, the groceries, the fruit, the vegetables, the pharmaceuticals, the drugs, for these people, for these communities," he said.
And animals.
"Because of where we are and where we live, we have the opportunity to help move a lot of unique things, and a lot of them are living," said Romano, the airline vice president.
That could include shipping an injured eagle to the Alaska Raptor Center in Sitka for rehabilitation or giving a lift back to Anchorage for scores of exhausted sled dogs that had just finished the nearly 1,000-mile Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in Nome.
The last combi flight is scheduled for Oct. 18, which is also the Alaska Day state holiday. This year marks the 150th anniversary of the formal transfer of Alaska from Russia to the United States. The final flight will deliver the combi plane to Seattle from Juneau.
 
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BERLIN (AP) - A drunk German man who insisted on voting in Sunday's election despite lacking the necessary documents has landed in jail - after police discovered he was wanted for arrest.
The unidentified 46-year-old tried to cast his ballot in the eastern town of Guben, but was turned away by election officials.
The inebriated would-be voter caused a scene, prompting officials to call police.
German daily Potsdamer Neueste Nachrichten reported Monday that officers checked the man's identity, found that he had a seven-month sentence to serve and promptly arrested him.

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - It took about 66 million years, but a duck-billed creature has finally won recognition as California's state dinosaur.
Gov. Jerry Brown announced Saturday the signing of a bill making Augustynolophus (Aw-gus-tin-o-lo-fus) morrisi the official dinosaur of the Golden State.
Fossilized remains of the duckbilled creature that lived anywhere from 100 million to 66 million years ago have been found only in California.
Several other states and Washington, D.C., also have official dinosaurs.
California has more than 30 state insignia including a state lichen - lace lichen - and a state fabric, denim.

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PRESCOTT, Ariz. (AP) - It turns out the graveyard plaque of the common-law wife of legendary gunfighter John Henry "Doc" Holiday was just six inches under, not stolen from a cemetery.
The plaque at the Arizona Pioneers' Home Cemetery in Prescott had been reported stolen recently. But the Prescott Daily Courier reports that a voluntary caretaker found the plaque in mud under a hole at the grave of Mary Katherine Horony-Cummings, also known as Big Nose Kate.
Holiday played a central role in the infamous gunfight at the O.K. Corral in 1881 in what was then the Arizona territory.
Pioneers' Home interim Superintendent Dale Sams says the plaque had sunk into the ground, which had been softened and waterlogged by monsoon rains, and then covered by flowing mud.
Volunteer caretaker Denise Meyers says the plaque needs cleaning but is intact.
Horony-Cummings died Nov. 2, 1940, at age 89. She was buried under the name "Mary K. Cummings."

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RALEIGH COUNTY, W.Va. (AP) - A West Virginia man thought it was a good idea to hide from police in an attic, but he did not count on the floor collapsing.
WCHS-TV reports U.S. Marshals tried to arrest 32-year-old David Pfost at a home in southern West Virginia on Friday for violating his supervised release. Pfost was hiding in the attic of the home.
Deputy marshals surrounded the house and used tear gas in an attempt to get Pfost to surrender. They finally arrested him when the attic floor collapsed.
U.S. Marshals Senior Inspector Christopher Lair said Pfost refused medical treatment and was booked into the Southern Regional Jail. No officers were injured.

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VARENA, Lithuania (AP) - Hundreds of Lithuanians ran around with baskets and buckets Saturday in a southeastern pine forest.
Why you ask? It's the national championship of wild mushroom picking - a competition always held on the last Saturday in September.
That's when conditions are "not too dry, not too wet, the humidity is perfect," explained mushroom hunter Janina Juodine.
A rainy, relatively warm summer created ideal conditions for the foraging festival in Lithuania, where forests cover more than 33 percent of the Baltic country and mushroom-hunting is considered the second-most popular sport after basketball.
"Walking between trees and looking for big brown mushrooms is a great way of spending a Saturday," said Julius Sostakas, an IT engineer from Vilnius. "It is a part of our cultural heritage."
Mushrooms - fresh, dried, salted or marinated - are considered an essential element in Lithuanian cuisine, used in many dishes to add special flavor to meat, fish and potatoes.
More than four hundred edible varieties can be found in Lithuania's forests, including edible boletus, slippery jacks, chanterelles, blewits and morels.
The festival Saturday took place 60 kilometers (37 miles) south of the capital, Vilnius, close to the border with Belarus. It drew thousands of onlookers as well as local mushroom sellers dressed in Lithuanian folk costumes - colorful knee-long skirts with embroidered aprons and woven sashes.
"This is a great event," contest judge Rimute Avizininene told The Associated Press.
She said 21 teams had participated, adding that the largest picked edible boletus - known in the country as the king of Lithuania's forests - weighed 621 grams (22 ounces).
A local team called Mushroom Nightmares won Saturday's contest by delivering 58 kilograms (128 pounds) of mushrooms.

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KETCHIKAN, Alaska (AP) - New yellow painted highway lines in the Alaska's Panhandle city of Ketchikan are crooked and the paint that's been used by state transportation officials has stained cars, officials said.
Among those affected was Ketchikan Gateway Borough Mayor David Landis, whose car ended up with yellow paint on it.
"You come to expect having highway striping like that to be straight and have orderly looking lines and be professionally applied," Landis said. "Something was clearly wrong with the equipment or the operation of that equipment to have so many things wrong all at once."
The problems emerged after the state Department of Transportation tried out a new line painting system on the Tongass Highway, The Ketchikan Daily News reported Saturday.
Department spokeswoman Meadow Bailey said the paint is "not drying as quickly as it should due to humidity in southeast Alaska."
Bob Sivertson, a Ketchikan city council member, called it the poorest line painting work he's seen.
Bailey said the state will not repaint the yellow lines.
She said people with cars that got paint on them should have the vehicles pressure washed.
If the car washes don't work, she recommended spraying WD-40 lubricant on areas stained with yellow paint. The lubricant should be left on cars for up to two hours before washing them.
And if that does not work, she said, they should put a "liberal coating of Vaseline" on the car areas stained yellow. It should be left on the cars overnight before getting the vehicles pressure washed, Bailey said.

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FEDERAL WAY, Wash. (AP) - Police in western Washington state say they've recovered a stolen motor home and reunited its owner with about 10 dogs that were inside.
Authorities tell KING-TV that police in Lacey on Saturday also took into custody one person in connection with the case.
Officials say someone stole the Winnebago on Friday evening from the parking lot of a Federal Way sporting goods store. That's about 35 miles (56 kilometers) from where police in Lacey recovered the vehicle..
Police say surveillance video shows a young man with black hair and a red, white and black backpack stealing the RV.
Police say the show and service dogs include a Doberman pinscher, five toy fox terrier puppies, three miniature pinschers and a poodle.

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SCOTTSVILLE, N.Y. (AP) - An upstate New York farm is marking the 100th anniversary of women's suffrage in the state in distinctly fall fashion, with a corn maze in the shape of Susan B. Anthony.
Stokoe Farms' owner Suzanne Stokoe says she wanted to honor one of Rochester's most famous citizens with the three-acre maze, which features the activist's profile and her house, which has been turned into a museum.
This year is the centennial of women's voting rights in New York. Three years later, in 1920, ratification of the 19th Amendment gave all American women the right to vote.
The maze is open from this weekend through the end of October.
 

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