Mad Minute stories from Wednesday, December 6th - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Mad Minute stories from Wednesday, December 6th

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SOUTH HACKENSACK, N.J. (AP) - Police in New Jersey say a woman was drunk when she continued driving with a mass transit sign sticking out of the roof of her car.
The 52-year-old was pulled over Saturday on Route 46 in South Hackensack when police noticed something odd. Police say the woman had a New Jersey Transit sign protruding through the roof of her car.
Police say the woman didn't even know the sign was there.
South Hackensack police say the sign got stuck in the vehicle when the driver was in Secaucus before she was pulled over.
The woman has been charged with driving while intoxicated and careless driving.

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WASHINGTON (AP) - With a bill like a duck but teeth like a croc's, a swanlike neck and killer claws, a new dinosaur species uncovered by scientists looks like something Dr. Seuss could have dreamed up.
It also had flippers like a penguin, and while it walked like an ostrich it could also swim. That's the first time swimming ability has been shown for a two-legged, meat-eating dinosaur.
The tiny creature, only about 18 inches (45 centimeters) tall, roamed 75 million years ago in what is now Mongolia. Its full curled-up skeleton was found in a sandstone rock.
"It's such a peculiar animal," said Dennis Voeten, a paleontology researcher at Palacky University in the Czech Republic. "It combines different parts we knew from other groups into this one small animal."
In a study released Wednesday by the journal Nature , Voeten and coauthors named it Halszkaraptor escuilliei (HAHL-shka-rap-tor ES-key-lay-ee) or "Halszka" after the late Polish paleontologist Halszka Osmolska.
Paleontologist Kristi Curry Rogers of Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota, who didn't participate in the study, called it "a pretty crazy chimera: a swan neck and dinosaur body, but with a mouthful of tiny teeth and hands and feet that look like they might be good for swimming."
Its mashup body let it run and hunt on the ground and fish in fresh water, said study co-author Paul Tafforeau. He's a paleontologist at the ESRF , known as the European Synchrotron in Grenoble, France, a powerful X-ray generator where numerous tests were made on the fossil.
Lead author Andrea Cau, a paleontologist at the Geological Museum Capellini in Bologna, Italy, said he was at first highly suspicious about the fossil's authenticity, both because of its appearance and the fact that the rock containing the skeleton had been smuggled out of Mongolia and left in a private collector's hands.
"I asked myself, 'Is this a real, natural skeleton, or an artifact, a chimera? If this is a fake, how could I demonstrate it?'" Cau said in an email. "Assuming it was a fake instead of starting assuming that the fossil is genuine was the most appropriate way to start the investigation of such a bizarre fossil."
So researchers used the Synchrotron to create three-dimensional images of the fossil, which showed the creature was indeed a single animal and not a concoction built up from several sources. For example, an arm hidden in the rock perfectly matched the visible left arm, and lines indicating growth matched up across the bones.
Even though the creature wasn't dreamed up by Dr. Seuss, it got a blessing from a Dr. Sues.
Hans Sues, a paleontologist at the Smithsonian Institution who wasn't part of the research, praised the work and said it "shows again how amazingly diverse dinosaurs were."
 
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NORTHPORT, N.Y. (AP) - Authorities say a woman arriving at a Long Island court to answer a marijuana possession summons was smoking pot when she parked her vehicle in the local police chief's spot.
Newsday reports that the 26-year-old woman had been ticketed in May for unlawful possession of marijuana. Police say she was arriving for her court appearance in Northport on Monday night when she cut off an unmarked police car in the parking lot while talking on her cellphone.
Police say she then pulled into the parking spot clearly marked as reserved for the village's police chief, Bill Ricca. He says when the officers asked the woman to roll down her window, pot smoke billowed out.
Police issued the woman another appearance ticket for unlawful possession of marijuana. She was also ticketed for using her cellphone while driving.

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SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine (AP) - Representatives for a Maine Toys R Us store say a husband and wife stopped in to pay off $10,000 in layaway orders for other families.
WGME-TV reports the couple is local and desired to remain anonymous when making the payment at the South Portland store. Store manager Jay Roes says the money is enough to pay off the balance on about 100 layaway accounts. The gift will help make Christmas more affordable for dozens of families in the area.
The total layaway balance at the store remains around $25,000.

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LANGHORNE, Pa. (AP) - A beloved Santa with "naughty" tattooed on one arm and "nice" tattooed on the other has been asked to tone down his typically goofy poses at a suburban Philadelphia mall, leaving some fans miffed.
Scott Diethorne is known for silly poses like hanging kids upside down and flashing his "naughty" or "nice" forearms.
Customers tell Philly.com that when they arrived at the Oxford Valley Mall in Bucks County for their annual photos recently, they learned Santa Scott could only take "traditional" Christmas pictures - no tattoos or upside-down poses.
Cherry Hill Programs, which runs the mall's Santa operation, says they're "dedicated to preserving the tradition and image of Santa."
Diethorne declined to comment, but his daughter says he loves his job and he doesn't want this outcry to jeopardize it.
His fans are coming for photos anyway.

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DEERFIELD, N.H. (AP) - A New Hampshire town is happy to report that its beloved elf on a shelf has been returned, more than a day after he vanished.
The Deerfield Rescue Squad posted on Facebook on Wednesday morning that Zippy the elf is a little wet, but safe. It featured photos of him carried by a police officer and parked in a car.
The rescue says "Our Holiday Magic is back."
Deerfield Rescue Squad EMS captain Cindy McHugh says a town resident was getting ready for work when he saw that Zippy was on his doorstep. He called police.
McHugh said the town isn't interested in pursuing the matter further, and just wants Zippy back for the children.
The mannequin in a red onesie, cap, mittens and slippers makes appearances around town.

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BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) - A Delta flight from New York City to Seattle had to make a stop in Billings after the plane's toilets stopped working and passengers couldn't hold it any longer.
The Billings Gazette reports that the direct flight diverted hundreds of miles south on Saturday to make the emergency bathroom stop.
Delta says that upon landing in Billings, the plane had to taxi to a cargo area because a gate was not available. Delta says ground crews rolled a stairway to the airplane so passengers could "disembark to find relief of built-up pressures."
A flight from New York City to Seattle can take about six hours.

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ROME (AP) - Christmastime Nativity scenes usually feature donkeys, cows and sheep. That could help explain the interest generated when divers mounted a creche in the shark tank of the aquarium in the Italian Adriatic city of Cattolica.
The sharks who call the Cattolica Aquarium home - a 3-meter (10-foot) -long sand tiger shark named Brigitte and her fellow tank-mates, closely inspected the work this week as divers installed the ceramic tiled Nativity scene on an underwater column. At one point Brigitte got too close and was poked to stay away.
With its 3,000 sea creatures representing 400 species, the Cattolica is the largest aquarium on the Adriatic.
Italy is famous for its "presepe," the hand-crafted Nativity scenes that often take over entire Italian living rooms at Christmastime.

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DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) - Dubai is offering thrill-seekers a new way to see its dazzling skyscrapers: On one of the world's longest zip lines.
The 170 meter-high (558 foot) XLine opens this week in Dubai's Marina neighborhood. For an entire kilometer (3,280 feet), those brave enough can whiz past some of Marina's tallest skyscrapers at a speed of 80 kilometers an hour (50 miles/hour).
A similar zip line opened two years ago near the world's tallest skyscraper in Dubai. The new zip line, however, is double the length and offers couples the chance to experience the thrill together with two zip lines running adjacent to one another.
The zip line starts at the top of one of the Marina's towers and lands near the Marina Mall.
Tickets cost around $180 a person (650 dirhams).

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An armed Washington state man stopped in the middle of an intersection last month to fight "lizard people" because President Trump told him to, police said.
The Pierce County Sheriff's Office said they received a call on Nov. 25 in Parkland, Wash., that a 54-year-old man had stopped his white SUV in the middle of an intersection, waved an AK47 and screamed about "sending in the news" and "lizard people."
Police arrived at the scene and started closing in on the man who put his weapons away in the car and laid on the ground as per police orders. The man allegedly resisted being handcuffed before police tasered him.
According to police, the man said he had "snorted methamphetamine to lose weight" and had been prescribed morphine.
"The meth doesn't make me crazy man, the lizard people are real!" he reportedly told officers. He also said Trump called his home to inform him about the "lizard people" and that he needed to fight them before they took over, police said. The man, police reported, claimed that Trump told him an "alpha dragon" had kidnapped his family and were holding them hostage.
The man reportedly said he screamed because he wanted to "attract the news vans" so "his story could be documented for history."
The department said the man was "heavily under the influence of a stimulant" and was transported to a hospital for treatment. He was subsequently put in a 14-day mental health evaluation hold, the office said. The office did not release the man's name.
Deputies said after they searched the man's SUV they discovered a loaded Century Arms AK47, a loaded Ruger .357 revolver, 5 loaded magazines for the AK47, a holster for the revolver, and a wooden bat.
 

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