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

Mad Minute stories from Thursday, January 25th

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WARSAW, Poland (AP) - A farmyard cow in Poland has chosen freedom this winter, roaming with a herd of bison for three months after escaping its pen.
The reddish brown cow has been spotted following bison across corn and rapeseed fields bordering the Bialowieza Forest in eastern Poland as they forage for abandoned corn cobs and other food.
Rafal Kowalczyk, a bison expert who has managed to photograph the unusual sight, said the cow seems to be in good condition. That indicates that she is managing to find food, even though she is sometimes spotted on the margins of the herd. Thick fur common to her Limousin breed and the mild winter in eastern Poland so far this year have also helped her, he told The Associated Press on Thursday.
Kowalczyk, director of the Mammal Research Institute at the Polish Academy of Sciences, described the situation as exceptional, saying it's the first time he has witnessed a cow living among bison. But it's also dangerous to both sides.
If the cow mates with male bison and gets pregnant, she could die during delivery because her hybrid calf would be bigger than a normal cow calf.
Any offspring could also contaminate the gene pool of the tiny and endangered bison population in Poland, which became extinct in the wild after World War I and has been restored based on some captive survivors.
For now, the story of a rebel cow who defied the fate of the slaughterhouse to roam free with the bison is a hit on Kowalczyk's Facebook page.
One of his followers reposted the photo with the words: "Next time when I think that something stops me from fulfilling my dreams, I will remember the cow who became a bison."
But scientists will want to remove the cow from the herd by summer to prevent the risk of mating, though Kowalczyk said that won't be an easy operation.
"One question is whether when winter ends the cow will follow the bison into the forest, which is not the habitat that this cow knows," Kowalczyk said. "The more time she spends in the herd, the riskier it will be."

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MIAMI (AP) - Looking for stripper poles, a coffin with cherry red lining and a velociraptor? You might want to check out the upcoming auction of gaudy items that decorated two mansions once owned by a former developer in South Florida.
The Miami Herald reports the former estate of Thomas Kramer will be sold in one package to the highest bidder on Feb. 14.
The auction followed the seizure of Kramer's Star Island mansions following a judgment his former in-laws obtained against him. Kramer's extravagant South Beach lifestyle was fueled by the millions given him by father-in-law Siegfried Otto, a now-deceased German businessman.
Later, a battle ensued over whether it was a gift or loan. Kramer lost the case, his home and possessions. Kramer, now living in Europe, is only allowed to keep his personal photos.
 
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SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) - It still won't make her smile, but Grumpy Cat has won some scratch.
A California jury gave the furry frown queen more than $700,000 this week in a federal lawsuit over the use of her identity.
According to documents obtained by The Washington Post, owner Tabatha Bundesen of Morristown, Arizona, won the lawsuit first filed three years ago against the Grenade beverage company.
She signed on for the cat to endorse a "Grumpy Cat Grumpuccino," but the company subsequently used the cat's image to help sell other products, which an eight-person jury on Monday found was unauthorized.
Grumpy Cat, whose dwarfism and underbite give her the permanent frown she's famous for, became an online phenomenon-turned-merchandising-machine after Bundesen first posted pictures of her in 2012.

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LONDON (AP) - Scientists have identified a mummified body found in a Swiss churchyard as the great-great-great-great-great-great-grandmother of British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson.
The body of an apparently wealthy woman was found decades ago during renovations on the Barfuesser Church in Basel. There was no gravestone, and her identity was a mystery.
Basel's Natural History Museum said Thursday that by matching DNA extracted from the mummy's toe with a living descendant, its experts led an international team that identified the woman as Anna Catharina Bischoff, a member of a prominent Basel family who died in 1787 at the age of 68.
The BBC reported that Bischoff was likely poisoned by mercury, then a common treatment for syphilis, which she may have acquired while tending to patients with the sexually transmitted disease.
Bischoff's daughter married Christian Hubert Baron Pfeffel von Kriegelstein, and their descendants include Britain's foreign minister, Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson.
Johnson tweeted that he was "very excited to hear about my late great grand 'mummy' - a pioneer in sexual health care. Very proud."
The foreign secretary's father, author Stanley Johnson, said he was "totally thrilled."
Natural History Museum anthropologist Gerhard Hotz said a team of more than 40 people worked to identify the mystery woman.
"It was a risky project," he said. "We didn't know where we were going and whether we would gain anything. We had so much luck. And then entered Boris Johnson - what more do you want?"

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BERLIN (AP) - It's that time of the year to fulfill those ambitious New Year's resolutions again: More vegetables, less alcohol, sign up for the gym.
But not for Torben Bertram. Fed up with colleagues who kept pressuring him to join workout sessions during his lunch break, the 39-year-old Berliner founded Germany's first couch potato club.
Bertram says his Sofa Sports Association is proudly geared toward the non-vegan, non-overachieving, non-career-obsessed masses.
"I just didn't like this constant pressure to improve myself," Bertram said, adding that he is the antithesis of many young people in Berlin: Skinny, well-groomed but stressed.
Club activities include swaying back and forth, like in a beer hall; the "Tarzan yell" - beating your chest with your fists and yelling; and the potato chip competition, consisting of eating a plastic cup full of chips without using one's hands - a favorite among the club's child members.
The club has been meeting for about a year at bars and pubs in the German capital and now boasts 25 members from 8 to 64 years old. Men, women and children are all welcome. Bertram's wife initially thought sofa sports was "nonsense" - but she joined anyway, Bertram said with a smug smile.
The father of two, who works in political communications, sports a goatee and has a penchant for cycling shirts that are too tight around the belly. He speaks with eyes full of mischief, suggesting one shouldn't take everything he says at face value.
Lounging on a worn-out couch at one of his favorite bars in Berlin, Bertram said the club only meets in bars with sofas, where everyone is encouraged to participate in the club's unique fitness program.
The association's "sofa exercises" aren't just bar games, Bertram said with a deadpan expression. Some strengthen back and arm muscles, or burn calories. The beer-hall sway, for example, is said to combine popular German traditions with eastern-Asian forms of body awareness including elements from the Chinese Qigong system of body coordination.
"We are no regular couch potatoes because we're not idling away our time in front of the TV," he said. "We've put some serious thought into this."
It was the traditional beer-mug hoisting that convinced Patricia Bernreuther to join the club.
"It's really just a variety of what we've been doing in Bavaria for generations," the 28-year-old parliamentary aide said while holding a heavy glass of beer in her outstretched hand with ease. "It makes me feel like I'm back home."
Unlike southern Germans, who competitively carry more than 20 mugs at the same time, the Berliners are satisfied to exercise with one glass at a time, at a sloth-like speed. Most importantly, sessions are fun.
Norbert Buddendick, a 50-year-old lobbyist, said the couch potato meetings are much more fulfilling than his previous gym workouts.
"I like the whole-body approach," he said, tongue-in-cheek, as he ordered another glass of wheat beer. "And it's really great to mingle with like-minded people."
It's not just fun and games - the club wouldn't be German without some serious rules and order. Bertram has taken out accident insurance for the group, registered it with fiscal authorities and applied for membership in the regional sports association.
And the couch potatoes have their own ambitions, too.
"We are convinced that we will grow and expand across country borders," Bertram said. "For 2019, we envision a European championship in sofa sport exercises."

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - Police in North Carolina have come up with a hot plan to curb a spike in local car thefts.
The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department announced at a news conference Wednesday that drivers visiting a designated convenience store next Tuesday will get a free coffee - or soda - if they show their car keys to officers there.
CMPD Capt. Jonathan Thomas said part of the issue is people leaving cars running to warm up, but he said too many people keep an extra key inside their cars for convenience.
Officials say more than 230 cars have been stolen in Charlotte in 2018, a 31 percent increase over the total at the same time last year. Thomas says 37 percent of those thefts involved keys being left inside the car.

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FREEHOLD, N.J. (AP) - A New Jersey couple recently changed their wedding venue from a judge's chambers to a courthouse bathroom after a relative had an asthma attack.
Brian and Maria Schulz were set to tie the knot on Jan. 2 when the groom's mother had difficulty breathing. She was taken to a women's room at the Monmouth County Courthouse, where sheriff's officers administered oxygen and called EMT's.
If they had postponed the wedding, they would have had to wait 45 days for a new marriage license. So one of the officers suggested holding the ceremony in the bathroom.
In a video posted on the sheriff's office Facebook page, Judge Katie Gummer performed the ceremony.
The groom's mother is doing fine.

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KETCHUM, Idaho (AP) - An airplane approaching a central Idaho airport had to abort its initial landing after a mountain lion was spotted on the runway.
Idaho Department of Fish and Game officials said a conservation officer later killed the mountain lion in order to keep the public safe.
The Delta flight from Salt Lake City to Friedman Memorial Airport in Hailey on Saturday night was delayed about 20 minutes due to the mountain lion, the Idaho Mountain Express reported .
"We were on an approach for landing and all of a sudden the pilot pulled up," said Diane Cordes, a Hailey resident on the flight. "After a couple of minutes, he came on the loudspeaker and said the tower called and we had to pull up because there's a cougar on the runway."
After the mountain lion was spotted, airport manager Chris Pomeroy said workers attempted to corral the animal. The airport does have a plan in place for wildlife management, he noted.
"We thought we had it contained but it did spring loose and walk across the runway when the Delta flight was several miles out," Pomeroy said.
Pomeroy used a car to chase the cougar into a fenced-off section surrounding the control tower, he said.
The conservation officer shot the lion as there was no way to safely trap it in a timely manner, said Kelton Hatch, a spokesman for the fish and game department. The mountain lion was less than a year old, he said.
The officer did not have access to a tranquilizer gun, and the department does not typically relocate large predators that have become accustomed to being near people, said Mike McDonald, the department's regional wildlife manager.

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AMARILLO, Texas (AP) - Amarillo police are investigating a burglary in which thieves lifted about 4,000 antique lighters.
An Amarillo police statement Tuesday said officers on Jan. 18 responded to a burglary at a house. Investigators say the owner reported the theft of his flint butane lighter collection.
Cpl. Jeb Hilton on Wednesday said no one has been arrested in the theft of what the officer calls a "valuable" and "very expensive" collection. Hilton declined to say how much the lighters are worth amid the investigation.
Hilton says police believe the thieves got in through a back door, which was found damaged.

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(NewsOn6) TULSA, Oklahoma - A grandmother recently filed a police report after she says her grandson stole her car. When she heard where her 15-year-old grandson was, she took matters into her own hands.
"I told him I was going to get my car back; bring me my car back. I begged him, begged him, begged him for three days," said Sandra Gunnells.
Gunnells says she was on her way to work Tuesday when her phone rang. Someone spotted her 15-year-old grandson behind the wheel of her car near east 56th street.
"Once we ran into that corner, he was coming this way. We was going that way, so we busted a u-ey and we chased him," said Gunnells.
Police say that chase near 56th and Frankfort reached dangerous speeds. Sandra says at one point her grandson was even going the wrong way.
"He was in oncoming traffic driving like a maniac," she said. "Just as we got even with each other, he swerved in front of me. I hit him and because I thought I could spin him out and he would stop. When he hit us, I hit that pole and did all that damage over there."
The poll snapped right at the ground, and the vehicle she was driving was badly damaged. Her car was damaged as her grandson took off running. As you can imagine, police weren't very happy when they got there.
"Let us do our job. When you get in chases, this is what happens," said Corporal J.D. Curran.
Corporal Curran says they're both lucky they weren't seriously injured or killed.
"She is very lucky that the car hit the pole where it did and that she's not pinned in there and dead at this point," said Curran.
"At that moment, I wasn't really thinking about the repercussions but about my actions," said Gunnells. "I was just trying to slow him down and get my car back."
Police say Gunnells will likely be ticketed for reckless driving.
As for her grandson, for now, he was able to get away. She believes that he ran to his dad's house nearby.
According to her, the teen had several run-ins with police. We will let you know if he ends up facing charges for his part in the chase and crash.
 

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