Mad Minute stories from Thursday, December 7th - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Mad Minute stories from Thursday, December 7th

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MAPLEWOOD, N.J. (AP) - An obese squirrel was caught on video stealing gourmet chocolate and lip balm that a family leaves outside as a holiday treat for delivery people.
Michele Boudreaux, of Maplewood, New Jersey, said on her blog she provides candy, snacks, tissues, hand warmers and other goodies on her doorstep every year. She's never had any issues before, but this year, her basket was raided within hours of being set outside her home.
The thief seemed to be targeting the priciest stuff, including about 25 squares of Ghirardelli chocolate, she said.
The family set up a surveillance camera to see what was going on and spotted the overweight varmint standing on a step stool, digging through the stash Tuesday.
"I mean, this squirrel is so obese - a jolly ol' chap - he must be prepping for a decade of winters," Boudreaux wrote.
Her husband tried to chase the squirrel to see where it was hoarding all the treats, but it made a clean getaway.
Boudreaux said she stumbled upon the thieving rodent in the act Wednesday, and recorded it taking more chocolate and a Carmex lip balm.
Her family has devised the perfect solution to the problem.
"We now have our chocolate in a jar that requires opposable thumbs," she wrote.
The shenanigans "brought my family so much joy," she said.
She also put a bowl of treats out for the squirrel Thursday, full of walnuts, popcorn and pumpkin seeds. The rotund rodent showed his pickiness yet again.
"He threw all the seeds out on the porch and ate all the other stuff," she said.
Squirrels are seemingly trying to ruin the holiday spirit all over New Jersey this season. Officials in the town of Sea Girt were puzzled last week when wires to the town's Christmas tree and display were found torn. Workers repaired the damage so the tree could be lit on Friday.
Police kept watch over the display and on Saturday posted a photo on Facebook of the culprit - a squirrel.
Police said the naughty rodent was "charged with criminal mischief and released on bail."

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BANGOR, Maine (AP) - Police in Bangor, Maine, say a reported intruder turned out to be a roll of duct tape.
Officers responded to a call from a woman who heard noises from her basement and reported that her dog was barking aggressively at the noise.
Police said it turns out a "thump-thump-thump" sound the woman heard was a roll of duct tape that fell off a shelf and bounced down the stairs.
Sgt. Tim Cotton wrote on Facebook that the woman had already investigated before the first officer arrived. The officer felt that the woman could've held her own until police arrived because she was "from Maine, had a dog, and a roll of duct tape."
 
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WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (AP) - A suburban New York City woman has sued a doctor, claiming he used his cellphone to take a language test while operating on her.
The Journal News reports 70-year-old Mary Edwards, of Port Chester, filed a lawsuit Monday in state Supreme Court against Dr. Eric Fishman and his employer, Westmed Medical Group. The lawsuit seeks unspecified monetary damages.
Fishman performed surgery on Edwards to fix varicose veins twice in 2017. According to the lawsuit, Edwards claims Fishman had a conversation in Spanish on his cellphone during the second outpatient procedure.
Edwards' attorney says his client was terrified for the rest of the operation. Edwards claims Fishman later explained he was taking a Spanish proficiency test during the surgery.
A Westmed spokeswoman said the company doesn't comment on pending litigation.

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MONTCLAIR, N.J. (AP) - A New Jersey ice cream shop is changing its logo of a cartoon cow with a pronounced derriere after the play on words drew complaints that it was sexist.
Montclair studio and gallery owner Amy Tingle accused Dairy Air Ice Cream of sexualizing women to sell ice cream. The logo shows a female cow with her rear exposed eating ice cream.
The Record reports the Creativity Caravan owner wrote in an open letter to the community that she was "repulsed and offended."
The logo was not visible outside the store. But it was inside on furniture, walls and cups.
The store's manager, Natalie DeRosa, wrote on Facebook that Dairy Air Ice Cream takes the complaints seriously and is working "to change the cow to be more fun and less sexy."

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BOSTON (AP) - She was impartial enough to serve as a justice on the highest court in Massachusetts, but apparently that wasn't enough for Geraldine Hines to be named a juror in a murder trial.
The 70-year-old Hines, who retired from the Supreme Judicial Court in August, said she was "so disappointed" when the prosecutor rejected her as a juror Wednesday.
Hines tells The Boston Globe , "I've been waiting my whole life to be a juror in a criminal case."
After questioning from defense attorneys and Suffolk Assistant District Attorney Mark Lee, Lee used one of his challenges to keep Hines off the jury. He apologized outside of court.
The case involves two gang members involved in a gunfight at a festival in Boston in 2014 that took the life of an innocent bystander.

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PATERSON, N.J. (AP) - Some residents in a New Jersey city have noticed a glue-like substance on mailboxes is preventing their letters from going down the chute.
The U.S. Postal Service says what's happening in Paterson is often a method used by thieves to try to snatch envelopes containing cash or checks.
Postal inspector Greg Kliemisch tells The Record the agency has launched an investigation. He declined to say how many incidents have been reported in the city.

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NEW YORK (AP) - A man who swindled his Tinder dates out of $49,000 has been sentenced to two to six years in prison.
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. says Brandon Kiehm (keem) used a variety of scams on at least three women he met through the dating app.
He claimed he urgently needed money for cancer treatments for relatives - in one case his sister, in another, his mother.
Vance says one victim was especially vulnerable because she was herself a cancer survivor.
He conned one woman while he was out on bail.
Kiehm also stole $13,000 from a man who hired him as a dog walker and $800 from a neighbor.
He was sentenced Wednesday after pleading guilty in October to grand larceny, identity theft and scheme to defraud.

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LJUBLJANA, Slovenia (AP) - Employees at Slovenia's state intelligence agency have gone on strike, demanding higher wages and better working conditions.
Slovenia's Public Administration Minister Boris Koprivnikar on Thursday described the move as "surprising and unique." He says Slovenia's spies are required by law to ensure the basic functioning of the agency to protect national security.
Local media say the strike started Wednesday with employees of the Slovene Security and Intelligence Agency, or SOVA, complaining they are understaffed and not paid enough.
No other details about the strike, including how many employees were affected, were immediately known.

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BEND, Ore. (AP) - Dr. Byron Maas surveys a supply of marijuana products for dogs that lines a shelf in his veterinary clinic. They're selling well.
"The 'Up and Moving' is for joints and for pain," he explains. "The 'Calm and Quiet' is for real anxious dogs, to take away that anxiety."
People anxious to relieve suffering in their pets are increasingly turning to oils and powders that contain CBDs, a non-psychoactive component of marijuana. But there's little data on whether they work, or if they have harmful side effects.
That's because Washington has been standing in the way of clinical trials, veterinarians and researchers say. Now, a push is underway to have barriers removed, so both pets and people can benefit.
Those barriers have had more than just a chilling effect.
When the federal Drug Enforcement Administration announced last year that even marijuana extracts with CBD and little or no THC - marijuana's intoxicating component - are an illegal Schedule 1 drug, the University of Pennsylvania halted its clinical trials. Colorado State University is pushing ahead.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has warned companies that sell marijuana products online and via pet shops and animal hospitals that they're violating laws by offering "unapproved new animal drugs." The FDA threatened legal action.
But, seeing potential benefits of CBDs, the American Veterinary Medical Association's policy-making body said last summer it wants the DEA to declassify marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug "to facilitate research opportunities for veterinary and human medical uses." It asked the board of the national veterinarians' organization to investigate working with other stakeholders toward that goal. The board is awaiting a recommendation from two group councils.
"The concern our membership has is worry about people extrapolating their own dosages, looking to medicate their pets outside the realm of the medical professional," Board Chairman Michael Whitehair said in a telephone interview. "This is an important reason for us to continue the research."
Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch, a conservative Republican, became an unlikely champion of this push when he introduced a bill in September that would open the path for more clinical research. While Hatch said he opposes recreational marijuana use, he wants marijuana-based drugs, regulated by the FDA, produced for people with disorders.
"We lack the science to support use of medical marijuana products like CBD oils, not because researchers are unwilling to do the work, but because of bureaucratic red tape and over-regulation," Hatch said.
Dawn Boothe, of Auburn University's College of Veterinary Medicine, is waiting for federal approval to begin a study of marijuana's effects on dogs with epilepsy. The classification of marijuana products containing CBD as a Schedule 1 drug, the same category as heroin and LSD, creates a "major, major, major, terrible roadblock" for researchers, Boothe said in a phone interview.
Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine were studying CBDs' effects on dogs with osteoarthritis and pruritis, or itchiness, until the DEA released its policy statement.
"The ambiguity in this process has really brought us to a screeching halt," said Michael DiGregorio, director of the university's clinical trials center. "It is research that needs to be done, because there are a lot of CBD products out there."
When it clarified that marijuana CBD extracts are Schedule 1 drugs, the DEA said it was assigning a code number to those substances to better track them and to comply with international drug control treaties.
DiGregorio complained that researchers seeking federal approval to study CBD products are told to provide certain data, but that data isn't normally available until the study is done.
"If you don't have the data, you can't get the registration to do the work," he said.
On a recent morning, Maas took a break from seeing four-legged patients in the Bend Veterinary Clinic. A stethoscope dangling from his neck over green scrubs, Maas said his clients have reported CBDs help relieve pain, arthritis, anxiety, loss of appetite, epilepsy and inflammation in their pets.
"Unfortunately there's not a lot of research out there, especially on animals, on CBD compounds," Maas said. "The research is really necessary to help us understand how to actually use these compounds on our pets."
Veterinarian Janet Ladyga of the Blue Sky Veterinary Clinic, also in Bend, said she doesn't recommend marijuana products because of the unknowns.
"We don't have a lot of evidence right now, so we don't know the toxicity or the safety profile ... and we don't have any good evidence to show either if it's safe or efficacious," she said.
The study at Colorado State University aims to provide some data. The roughly two dozen dogs in the arthritis study and the 30 in the epilepsy tests are given either CBD oil or a placebo. For the arthritis study, activity monitors are attached to the animals' collars, to determine if they're more mobile when they're taking CBD.
Dr. Stephanie McGrath checks over the scan of a dog enrolled in a study that she is leading to see the efficacy of CBD oil in the treating of dogs with epilepsy. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
Principal investigator Stephanie McGrath said she hopes the results will be a stepping stone for longer and more diverse studies, and that they provide useful information for human medicine.
"Every medication we're taking has been given to a dog first," the University of Pennsylvania's DiGregorio noted.
Meanwhile, Boothe said she had everything ready to start her study in January, and was waiting for a green light from federal officials.
"I don't know what's taking so long," she said.

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MIAMI (AP) - A monster Burmese python has been captured by a snake hunter in the Florida Everglades.
The female snake caught Friday at the Big Cypress National Preserve measured just over 17 feet (5 meters) long and weighed 132 pounds (59 kilograms).
The snake was captured by a hunter participating in the South Florida Water Management District's python elimination program and beats the hunt's previous record length by 2 inches (5 centimeters).
Snake hunter Jason Leon tells the Miami Herald he spotted the snake in submerged in the water and quickly grabbed it and shot it in the head. He said a smaller male python was nearby but not captured.
So far this year, hunters have captured 738 of the invasive snakes, which have become the top predator in the Everglades.
 

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