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

Mad Minute stories from Monday, December 25th

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LOS ANGELES (AP) - Authorities say a gift-wrapped box of horse manure addressed to U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin (mih-NOO'-shin) was found near his home in Los Angeles.
The package was found Saturday night in the tony Bel Air neighborhood after it was dropped off at a neighbor's house.
The Los Angeles Police Department's bomb squad was called to the home and officers opened the box, finding a pile of horse manure inside. Police said the package had been gift-wrapped and was marked as being from "the American people."
Police said the Secret Service was taking over the investigation. A Secret Service spokesman said the agency was aware of the incident but declined to comment further.
A spokesman for the Treasury Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment Sunday.

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GEORGETOWN, Del. (AP) - Raja the cat once was lost, but now is found - three years later.
On Tuesday, a man brought a stray cat to a shelter in Georgetown, Delaware, run by the Brandywine Valley chapter of the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
Staffers there found the cat's microchip, and through some sleuthing connected 6-year-old Raja to his owners, the Tuttle family.
As it turns out, the Tuttles lost Raja back in 2014 when they were living in Florida. The Tuttles now live in Virginia.
The family came to Delaware on Saturday to reclaim their prodigal feline.
 
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GREENFIELD, Mass. (AP) - Massachusetts police have a new mystery to solve: Who wrote a 1944 love letter discovered within the walls of a house being remodeled?
The Greenfield Police Department took to Facebook on Saturday to ask for the public's help in figuring out the backstory behind the handwritten letter. Police say the letter is dated April 19, 1944, and was penned by a man who identified himself only as Walter.
The letter was addressed to Miss Betty Miller, of Greenfield. In the letter, Walter makes no attempt to hide his affections. He writes: "I have always thought more of you than any other girl, and I still do."
Police say they only have one motive: reuniting the letter with Miller or her family.

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PARIS (AP) - Urban scientists and Paris foodies are getting excited about a bizarre discovery atop a hotel near the Eiffel Tower: the first-ever wild truffle growing in the French capital.
It's just one 25-gram (0.9-ounce) winter truffle. But truffles normally sprout only in limited areas of southern Europe, and are so rare that the most prized versions can sell for thousands of euros per kilogram.
The National Museum of National History, which confirmed the discovery Friday, called it a "beautiful example" of environmental benefits of rooftop gardens sprouting across Paris and other cities.
Urban ecology researcher Frederic Madre described on France-Info television finding the mushroom beneath a hornbeam tree at the Mercure Paris Centre hotel.
This truffle was donated to science - but the hotel is already hoping to be able to offer homegrown truffles to diners someday.

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LONDON (AP) - A discount chain's online ad campaign showing a Christmas elf in suggestive poses is sparking complaints to British officials.
The Advertising Standards Authority said Friday it has received more than 50 complaints from the public about the Christmas-related ads.
Many said the ads were offensive and unsuitable to be viewed by children.
The authority is looking into the matter but has not taken any action against the Poundland chain.
The ads show the Christmas elf in a number of suggestive photos with double entendre captions.
The popular chain sells many items for 1 pound ($1.34).

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ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) - Hundreds of live fish were left flopping on Interstate 4 in Florida when one tractor-trailer rear-ended another, making a mess that forced troopers to close part of the highway.
Florida Highway Patrol spokeswoman Kim Montes tells The Associated Press that several bins filled with fish tanks "sloshed forward" when the flatbed truck carrying them hit the other vehicle early Friday near Orlando. The crash happened as traffic ahead of the trucks slowed down around 5:30 a.m.
Montes says several hundred live tilapia and other fish spilled onto the road and other vehicles ran over them.
She says troopers had to close two lanes of the road for several hours to clean up the "slimy situation."
The incident report says 39-year-old truck driver Mayel Perez was ticketed for careless driving.

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A Pennsylvania utility customer got the shock of her life after checking on her monthly electric bill and seeing that she owed $284 billion.
"My eyes just about popped out of my head," Erie homeowner Mary Horomanski, 58, told the Erie Times-News. "We had put up Christmas lights and I wondered if we had put them up wrong."
Horomanski checked her account statement online earlier this month and saw that she was being zapped for $284,460,000,000 by Penelec, her electric provider.
She was told she had until November 2018 to pay the entire amount. Her first payment for December was only $28,156.
After a call from Horomanki's son, Penelec fixed the statement to show that the actual balance was $284.46, the paper reported.
Penelec spokesman Mark Durbin said somehow the decimal point was in the wrong spot.
"I can't recall ever seeing a bill for billions of dollars," Durbin told the paper. "We appreciate the customer's willingness to reach out to us about the mistake."
Horomanski told her son she had a better idea for a Christmas gift after she saw the $284 billion bill, according to the paper.
"I told him I want a heart monitor," she said.

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BOURNE, Mass. (AP) - A Massachusetts teacher is one tough cookie - he cut his finger on the Food Network's "Christmas Cookie Challenge" show and still won the competition.
Doug Alley lives in Rhode Island but teaches culinary arts at Upper Cape Cod Regional Technical School in Bourne, Massachusetts, and took the $10,000 top prize.
Alley tells the Cape Cod Times he and his fellow contestants have been texting each other since the episodes began being aired in the run-up to Christmas.
The challenge was taped in New Orleans in August. Alley won for his sugar cookies and a lemon rosemary cookie.
Alley says he, his wife and their 17-year-old daughter are using part of his winnings for a vacation at Disney World. He says he's also planning to release a new cookbook soon.

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Five years ago, the Jets had the Buttfumble. Last week, the Panthers scored on the Buttcatch as Damiere Byrd got both cheeks inbounds for a touchdown before landing on the end line.
Now say hello to the Buttpick.
With a third-and-10 from his own 48 with 57 seconds to go in the first half, Falcons QB Matt Ryan threw a high-but-catchable pass to Marvin Hall.
The ball bounced off Hall's fingertips and landed on the backside of Saints CB Marshon Lattimore, who was face-down on the ground.
As teammates Marcus Williams and Craig Robertson dove over him, Lattimore reached back and grabbed the ball for an interception.

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(Huffington Post) A Pizza Hut employee in Stafford, Virginia, is out of a job over a customer's special request.
The customer, who was not named, said her two sons ? ages 12 and 15 ?  asked for a joke to be written on the pizza box when they placed an order online, WJLA, the ABC station in Washington, reported.  
The joke went over like a Meat Lover's Pizza at a Veggie Lover's Pizza party. 
"What do a pizza delivery driver and a gynecologist have in common?"
WJLA did not repeat the answer, saying it was "too crude," but a reporter shared an image of the pizza box on Twitter: 

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