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

Mad Minute stories from Wednesday, October 18th

Posted: Updated:

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Gary wasn't used to being around people. He didn't like being touched, or even looked at. If anyone came too close, he'd lash out.
He was perfect for the job. Because at the "Working Cats" program, no manners is no problem.
Philadelphia's Animal Care and Control Team established the program about four years ago to place unadoptable cats - the biters and the skittish, the swatters and the ones who won't use a litter box - into jobs as mousers at barns or stables.
The shelter recently expanded the program to move cats that were less-than-ideal pets into urban jobs at places like factories and warehouses as a sort of green pest control. The animals are microchipped, vaccinated and free of charge.
"Part of the reason cats became domesticated was to get rid of the rodent population," said Ame Dorminy, ACCT's spokeswoman. "We took advantage of their natural propensity to hunt and made an official program out of it."
Cats identified as a good match for the program are kept in a separate aisle at the shelter in a row called "TTA" - time to adjust. On a recent visit, a low growl could be heard from a cage housing a male named Spike, whose intake sheet listed his qualifications: hissing, swatting, spitting, can't be picked up. A few doors down, Prince was standoffish at the rear of his cage.
Just because cats don't want to be petted or snuggle on a lap doesn't mean they can't have good lives, Dorminy said.
"A lot of these cats feel more comfortable when they can be themselves and use natural behaviors," she said. "Then they're more open to human interaction because they feel more confident."
At Bella Vista Beer Distributors, mice were gnawing on bags of chips overnight, leaving a mess and forcing staffers to throw out about 15 bags a day, said owner Jordan Fetfatzes.
They tried exterminators, but nothing worked. An employee found ACCT's program online and Fetfatzes eventually decided on Gary, a white male with one blue eye and one green that had "behavioral issues." Gary wasn't accustomed to people and would hiss from the crate. At first, Gary would stay in the office and would only go into the warehouse after hours.
As the weeks passed, he warmed up to workers and customers, and has transformed into a sweet, playful mascot with free rein of the store.
"My only complaint is sometimes he gets in the way of a transaction," said Fetfatzes, who describes himself as a "dog guy" who's turned in to a cat lover thanks to Gary.
Neighborhood kids come in just to say hi to him, and he loves to play soccer with a worker who balls up cash register tape and kicks it around as Gary bats at it.
As for the mice, they vanished, seemingly repelled by Gary's scent, Fetfatzes said.
"You're not only saving your business money, you are helping save the life of an unwanted pet," he said. "And in this case, we made a friend."
A number of shelters around the country have working cat programs. One of the first, in Los Angeles, launched in 1999. Many focus on placing feral cats into barns and stables. Chicago's Tree House Humane Society places feral cats at condos and suburban backyards. Pennsylvania's Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals puts its feral cats to work in all kinds of jobs, from barns to breweries.
Todd Curry wasn't exactly sure what was inside the dumpster next door to the Emerald Windows showroom, but it seemed like a free buffet for rats.
"It was almost comical," he said, comparing it to a scene in the animated film "Ratatouille" with seemingly hundreds of rats streaming out of the dumpster.
Traps didn't work, said Curry, the company's vice president of sales, so they brought in Shelley from ACCT's program.
Soon, dismembered rat carcasses started appearing. Now the rodents just stay away.
And Shelley, which was given to the shelter after biting her family's kids, has come out of her shell, craving petting and attention, Curry said.
"The only reason she was here was for the rats, but it has turned into a lot more than that," he said, adding she functions as a workplace stress reliever.
"It's nice to see these cats put to use, not put down."

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

NEW YORK (AP) - Some flowers have found a nifty way to get the blues.
They create a blue halo, apparently to attract the bees they need for pollination, scientists reported Wednesday. Bees are drawn to the color blue, but it's hard for flowers to make that color in their petals.
Instead, some flowers use a trick of physics. They produce a blue halo when sunlight strikes a series of tiny ridges in their thin waxy surfaces. The ridges alter how the light bounces back, which affects the color that one sees.
The halos appear over pigmented areas of a flower, and people can see them over darkly colored areas if they look from certain angles.
The halo trick is uncommon among flowers. But many tulip species, along with some kinds of daisy and peony, are among those that can do it, said Edwige Moyroud of Cambridge University in England.
In a study published Wednesday by the journal Nature, Moyroud and others analyze the flower surfaces and used artificial flowers to show that bumblebees can see the halos.
An accompanying commentary said the paper shows how flowers that aren't blue can still use that color to attract bees. Further work should see whether the halo also attracts other insects, wrote Dimitri Deheyn of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, California.
 
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) - Officials say the 22-year-old son of a Florida sheriff's lieutenant took his father's unmarked car and used it to pull over his ex-girlfriend and her new boyfriend.
Local news outlets report that Christopher Combs - who is a cadet in the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office where his father also works - used flashing red and blue lights to stop the vehicle Saturday night. He ordered the boyfriend to get out of the vehicle.
Investigators later found the father's car parked outside the home of his son's friend.
Sheriff's spokeswoman Teri Barbera told the SunSentinel the "son has been fired, effective right now!"
Combs was ordered to stay away from the couple and released on bond. He faces multiple charges including impersonating a law enforcement officer. Documents don't list an attorney.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

KINGSTON, N.Y. (AP) - Bill Pullman is a bit of a klutz when it comes to holding onto a film award.
The "Independence Day" actor was the recipient of the Excellence in Acting Award at the Woodstock Film Festival last Saturday night in Kingston, in New York's Hudson Valley.
The Daily Freeman reports that after being handed the award, Pullman placed it on a shelf attached to the lectern on the stage. As Pullman began to speak, he jostled the lectern, causing the award to topple to the floor and break in two pieces.
After being handed the broken award, Pullman held a piece in each hand and said, "I've got two awards tonight!"
The local artisan who made the award later repaired it.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

JERSEY CITY, N.J. (AP) - A New York City woman who accidentally threw her 3-carat diamond engagement ring in the trash has been reunited with it, thanks in large part to her soon-to-be-husband - Mike Diamond.
WCBS-TV reports that Ashlee Palacio mistakenly threw the ring away as she tossed some empty candy wrappers sitting on a nightstand.
Diamond called the sanitation department for help and dug through piles of garbage Wednesday at a waste transfer facility in Jersey City, just across the Hudson River from Manhattan. Their trash had been picked up recently. With help from some of his fiancee's friends, Diamond was able to find their bag containing the ring in about 15 minutes.
Palacio says she started crying hysterically at work when she got the news that the ring had been found.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

PITTSBURGH (AP) - A paramedic and an animal control officer have rescued a deer that had waded into a Pittsburgh reservoir.
The rescue unfolded Thursday at the Highland Park Reservoir with KDKA-TV and other outlets showing live video .
The rescuers were on a raft and managed to lasso the six-point buck and tow it to shore. The deer was, at first, reluctant to get back on land.
Once it got out of the water, the deer rested before heading back to the woods.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

(Fox) A Texas man was charged with felony theft after investigators linked him to an odd plot to steal more than $1.2 million worth of fajitas over nine years, the Brownsville Herald reported.
Former Cameron County Juvenile Justice Department employee Gilberto Escaramillo missed work one day in August for a medical appointment, the same day a delivery driver called the kitchen about having 800 pounds of fajitas to drop off, the paper said. 
A woman informed the driver that the juvenile department didn't serve the Tex-Mex food - but the driver said he'd been delivering it for nine years, Cameron County District Attorney Luis V. Saenz told the Herald. 
"When Mr. Escaramilla reports to work the next day, he is confronted with the discussion and he admits he had been stealing fajitas for nine years," Saenz said. 
Escaramilla was fired that month and arrested after investigators obtained a search warrant and found packages of the Tex-Mex food in his refrigerator, Saenz explained.  
They also checked invoices and determined he would intercept county-funded food deliveries and deliver them to his own customers, according to the newspaper. 
He was determined to have stolen $1,251,578 of fajitas, the report added. Escaramilla was arrested last week on a felony theft charge.
"If it wasn't so serious, you'd think it was a Saturday Night Live skit. But this is the real thing," Saenz said. 

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

GEORGETOWN, Ky. (AP) - A Canadian horse has had the opportunity to watch television for the first time at a pet-friendly Kentucky motel.
Lindsey Partridge of Ontario, Canada, told The Lexington Herald-Leader she stopped to check in Oct. 4 at the Super 8 in Georgetown on her way to compete in the Retired Racehorse Project's Thoroughbred Makeover competition. Partridge says she received approval when she jokingly inquired of the clerk if the motel's pet-friendly policy would apply to her horse.
Partridge made a video of Blizz, a retired Thoroughbred mare who raced as Here Comes Adri. She also simulated a check-in experience, and conducted a photo op in the room. Partridge says she then took Blizz and her two other horses to Kentucky Horse Park, the local equine motel of choice.
Blizz took third in the competition's trail division.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) - Two bear cubs that escaped from a South Dakota wildlife park didn't get far, due in part to their curiosity.
The Rapid City Journal reports that a man spotted the cubs lollygagging in his neighbor's yard about a block away from the Bear Country USA park on Sunday evening.
Pennington County Sheriff's Deputy Kylie Kintigh says that when she arrived at the scene, the bears seemed more interested in following her around than making a getaway. They checked out her squad car and one even tried climbing on the hood.
Park workers eventually arrived and gently sedated the cubs for their return to the park. It's unclear how or when they escaped.
Kintigh says "It definitely was the best call I have had - and that might stand true to the end of my career."

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

ALLENTOWN, Pa. (AP) - Police say a Pennsylvania man broke into a market so he could get money to pay his court fines for marijuana possession.
Allentown police arrested Edwin Cuadrado in the attempted burglary at Heresh's Market early Monday.
Police say the 20-year-old was wearing a black coat, head covering and gloves - despite temperatures in the 60s - when he threw a heavy object at the market's door.
Police say Cuadrado acknowledged smashing a window so he could try to open the store's door, telling investigators he owed money for his previous drug conviction.
Cuadrado remained jailed Tuesday on burglary, criminal trespass and criminal mischief charges.
He has applied for a public defender but isn't yet represented by that office.

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Air quality reaches hazardous levels in Spokane

    Air quality reaches hazardous levels in Spokane

    Monday, August 20 2018 9:57 AM EDT2018-08-20 13:57:41 GMT

    SPOKANE, Wash. - Windy conditions and wildfire smoke have hit the Inland Northwest hard as air quality levels rose throughout the day, ending up in the hazardous range Sunday evening. Changes in wind direction have brought over more smoke to the area from wildfires around northern and central Washington, as well as from British Columbia. 

    >>

    SPOKANE, Wash. - Windy conditions and wildfire smoke have hit the Inland Northwest hard as air quality levels rose throughout the day, ending up in the hazardous range Sunday evening. Changes in wind direction have brought over more smoke to the area from wildfires around northern and central Washington, as well as from British Columbia. 

    >>
  • Suspect dies after officer-involved shooting in Spokane Valley

    Suspect dies after officer-involved shooting in Spokane Valley

    Sunday, August 19 2018 7:47 PM EDT2018-08-19 23:47:04 GMT

    SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. - A male suspect has died after being involved in a police shooting following a standoff situation in Spokane Valley Sunday morning. Police say the matter originated as a vandalism call after a man pulled into a gas station and began breaking windows in a vehicle. They later found the male to be armed and possibly suicidal, leading to a standoff at Trent and Evergreen where he was barricaded in the vehicle. 

    >>

    SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. - A male suspect has died after being involved in a police shooting following a standoff situation in Spokane Valley Sunday morning. Police say the matter originated as a vandalism call after a man pulled into a gas station and began breaking windows in a vehicle. They later found the male to be armed and possibly suicidal, leading to a standoff at Trent and Evergreen where he was barricaded in the vehicle. 

    >>
  • Texas police: Man yells 'Jesus is coming' before stabbing toddler; Neighbor shoots him to stop attack

    Texas police: Man yells 'Jesus is coming' before stabbing toddler; Neighbor shoots him to stop attack

    Monday, August 20 2018 9:26 AM EDT2018-08-20 13:26:17 GMT

    LEWISVILLE, Texas  - Police in Texas say a man fatally stabbed his 16-month-old son and was shot in the leg by a neighbor who tried to stop the attack. The stabbing was reported Sunday afternoon in the courtyard of an apartment complex in Lewisville, about 20 miles northwest of Dallas. Lewisville Police Capt. Jesse Hunter says the toddler was rushed to a hospital but later died from his wounds. 

    >>

    LEWISVILLE, Texas  - Police in Texas say a man fatally stabbed his 16-month-old son and was shot in the leg by a neighbor who tried to stop the attack. The stabbing was reported Sunday afternoon in the courtyard of an apartment complex in Lewisville, about 20 miles northwest of Dallas. Lewisville Police Capt. Jesse Hunter says the toddler was rushed to a hospital but later died from his wounds. 

    >>
HD DOPPLER 6i
/
  • Top Stories from KHQHomeMore>>

  • Hazardous wildfire smoke could affect your heart

    Hazardous wildfire smoke could affect your heart

    Monday, August 20 2018 9:39 PM EDT2018-08-21 01:39:23 GMT

    Once the smoke and particles hits your lungs, it’s like you feel you’re at a campfire. But the can go from your lungs and into your blood stream and affects your heart. The hazardous conditions especially impacts those who have heart disease or a history of heart attacks. Doctors say the smoke entering your lungs and blood stream is comparable to smoking cigarettes. The particle from inside the smoke is what causes inflammation in the lining of the blood vessels, which...

    >>

    Once the smoke and particles hits your lungs, it’s like you feel you’re at a campfire. But the can go from your lungs and into your blood stream and affects your heart. The hazardous conditions especially impacts those who have heart disease or a history of heart attacks. Doctors say the smoke entering your lungs and blood stream is comparable to smoking cigarettes. The particle from inside the smoke is what causes inflammation in the lining of the blood vessels, which...

    >>
  • How to minimize smoke in your home

    How to minimize smoke in your home

    Monday, August 20 2018 8:36 PM EDT2018-08-21 00:36:59 GMT

    Shielding the smoke is a difficult task; some of it is bound to get in our homes. But having something as simple as an air purifier will help immensely. The thick haze blanketed Spokane for most of the morning and we’re beginning to have some relief, but the smoke that comes in through your AC unit can be difficult to manage because we’re trying to cool off our homes. Randy Hastings, the president for R & R Heating and Air Conditioning, says an air-filter is only on...

    >>

    Shielding the smoke is a difficult task; some of it is bound to get in our homes. But having something as simple as an air purifier will help immensely. The thick haze blanketed Spokane for most of the morning and we’re beginning to have some relief, but the smoke that comes in through your AC unit can be difficult to manage because we’re trying to cool off our homes. Randy Hastings, the president for R & R Heating and Air Conditioning, says an air-filter is only on...

    >>
  • The Latest: Police investigating Colorado man found affair

    The Latest: Police investigating Colorado man found affair

    Monday, August 20 2018 8:07 PM EDT2018-08-21 00:07:37 GMT

     DENVER (AP) - Prosecutors have charged a Colorado man with murder in the deaths of his pregnant wife and their two young daughters. The charges Monday against 33-year-old Christopher Watts come a week after a friend reported 34-year-old Shanann Watts and the girls missing from their home in Frederick, a small town north of Denver. Watts also was charged with unlawful termination of a pregnancy. Before his arrest Wednesday, Christopher Watts lament...

    >>

     DENVER (AP) - Prosecutors have charged a Colorado man with murder in the deaths of his pregnant wife and their two young daughters. The charges Monday against 33-year-old Christopher Watts come a week after a friend reported 34-year-old Shanann Watts and the girls missing from their home in Frederick, a small town north of Denver. Watts also was charged with unlawful termination of a pregnancy. Before his arrest Wednesday, Christopher Watts lament...

    >>