Mad Minute stories from Wednesday, December 13th - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Mad Minute stories from Wednesday, December 13th

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PORTLAND, Maine (AP) - Worker shortages in Maine have forced the state Department of Transportation to hire private contractors to plow roads.
The Portland Press Herald reports the state Department of Transportation has awarded a contract to the Ohio-based company First Vehicle Services. The contractors will work in southern Maine.
MDOT has struggled to keep highway workers in recent years. The department currently has 50 open positions.
Dale Doughty, MDOT's Director of Maintenance and Operation, says some workers might be attracted to higher wages at private companies.
Maine State Employees Association interim Executive Director Ginette Rivard says a bill that would have raised the starting hourly wage of highway workers was recently voted down by the Legislative Council. Rivard says the raise could've helped with recruitment and retention.

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SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) - A central New York family is campaigning for their carefully crafted recreation of the house from "A Christmas Story" to become an official Lego set.
WSTM-TV in Syracuse reports Jason Middaugh's small family project to recreate the house from the classic holiday film turned into a six-month undertaking. Middaugh says he and his family, who live in Marcellus, scoured the internet to find the 2,000 pieces needed to construct the home.
The Middaugh family included the character Ralphie in a bunny suit, a shipping container with a "fragile" sign and the notorious leg lamp.
Lego reviews set proposals when 10,000 people support a project on their special site. The Middaugh family's "A Christmas Story" set has received nearly 9,000 endorsements.
 
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FAIRFAX, Va. (AP) - Fairfax County police say a man stripped off his clothes and jumped on a passing vehicle after a road accident near Washington Dulles International Airport.
A statement from the Fairfax County Police Department says the bizarre incident occurred Tuesday afternoon and caused "major traffic delays" during rush hour around the major international airport.
The man, who was not immediately identified, is facing multiple charges.
Officials say the naked suspect was found on Dulles airport property after fleeing the accident scene. He was taken to the hospital with minor injuries.
Nobody else was injured during the road accident or what the police describe as an assault on a passing vehicle.

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CARSON, Calif. (AP) - Morning commuters on a Southern California highway were greeted Wednesday by a huge structure that wasn't there the night before.
In a matter of hours overnight, Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. raised a giant inflatable hangar that will be the permanent home of one of the company's new airships, which replaced its original blimps.
The building standing nine stories and stretching the length of a football field went up along Interstate 405 south of Los Angeles in suburban Carson.
It will house Wingfoot Two, which began flying over college football games in Los Angeles in October. The company says its new airships are easier to maneuver than the original ones.
Goodyear said the hangar, manufactured by United Kingdom-based Lindstrand Technologies and constructed with ultralight high-tech material, is the largest structure of its type in North America. Twenty fans inflated the hangar's air cells and will maintain pressure.
Wingfoot Two, which is technically a dirigible rather than a blimp, is scheduled to leave its temporary home at Long Beach Airport and arrive in Carson on Friday.
Goodyear has operated the base in Carson since 1968 and plans to mark its 50th anniversary next year.

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PEABODY, Mass. (AP) - An expecting father in Massachusetts has shown off his paternal glow with a pregnancy photo shoot.
Peabody resident Nick Roberts surprised his pregnant girlfriend with the photos at their gender reveal party in June before their son Logan was born. Some of the photos show Roberts posing at a beach in the town of Nahant, cradling his visible belly.
The couple's son has since been born.
Roberts says he and his friend, who is a photographer, grabbed some fast food before the shoot to "try to look a little pregnant."
Roberts' girlfriend, Brianna Magee, tells WHDH-TV she flipped through the pictures and "just started laughing harder and harder."
Roberts says the photo shoot was "extremely difficult because we just kept laughing."

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JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - There's only one thing under the Christmas tree decorating Poplar Boulevard in Jackson - a pothole that residents hope will get fixed soon.
WLBT-TV reports somebody placed a tree fully decorated with ornaments and lights in the sinkhole that appeared weeks earlier in the Belhaven neighborhood. A sign on the tree says: "From our sinkhole to yours."
Resident Kelsey Berry says the pothole posed a hazard to unsuspecting motorists because the street isn't lit very well. The tree's lights turn on at night to help warn drivers to swerve around it.
Many Jackson residents are all too familiar with holes in the roads. On one street where a pothole blew out several tires recently, people built a makeshift graveyard of hubcaps.

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BOSTON (AP) - A Massachusetts man previously convicted of stealing a laptop from the law school he was attending, and then tampering with a jury verdict slip, is facing new charges of falsely portraying himself as a lawyer.
David Scher, of Newton, was held Tuesday for allegedly violating conditions of parole.
Prosecutors allege the 35-year-old Scher, after his release from jail in October, told a recruitment agency that he had a law degree and was employed as a patent attorney for a business.
Scher was convicted of stealing a school laptop while attending Suffolk University Law School in 2014, and never completed his law degree.
Prosecutors say he later replaced the verdict slip in his case file with a forgery saying "not guilty."
His lawyer did not return a call for comment.

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BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) - The manager of a Montana hotel says police are investigating after a man spent more than 4 hours working to unbolt an ATM from the floor at the hotel and dragged the 300-pound machine out the door.
Gail Linnell tells KULR-TV the surveillance video shows the man walked into the La Quinta Inn and Suites in Billings at about 3 p.m. Saturday, took the stairs to the upper level, walked down the stairs to where the ATM sat and unbolted it from the floor.
Linnell says the man dragged the ATM out of the hotel just before 7:30 p.m. The hotel released surveillance video with images of the suspect.
Billings police spokesman Lt. Neil Lawrence says they aren't releasing the amount of money that was in the ATM. No arrests have been made.

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BOSTON (AP) - All comic book heroes need a sequel - even U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren.
The Massachusetts Democrat was the focus last year of a 22-page comic titled "Female Force: Elizabeth Warren," which told the story of Warren's rise from Oklahoma schoolgirl to U.S. senator and champion of the liberal wing of the Democratic Party.
Now publisher TidalWave Comics is bringing out a sequel, "Female Force: Elizabeth Warren #2," chronicling the early days of Warren's 2012 U.S. Senate campaign and her rise to power.
Instead of Batman battling the Joker, readers can follow along as Warren battles Congress to ease the burden of crushing student loan debt.
Past subjects of the "Female Force" series include Hillary Clinton, Michelle Obama, Condoleezza Rice, Oprah Winfrey, Ellen DeGeneres (dih-JEN'-ur-us) and Nancy Pelosi (puh-LOH'-see).

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PENSACOLA, Fla. (AP) - A Southwest Airlines plane was diverted to a Florida airport after fumes from a coffee maker were reported in the back of the aircraft.
According to a Pensacola News Journal report , airline spokesman Brian Parrish said Flight 1539 from Orlando, Florida, to Houston was diverted Tuesday morning to Pensacola International Airport.
Parrish said the smell of fumes reported in the back of the aircraft was determined to have come from a coffee maker in the cabin.
City of Pensacola spokesman Vernon Stewart said passengers and flight crew members were removed from the aircraft while the cabin was checked.
The flight continued to Houston after the aircraft was deemed safe.
 

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