Mad Minute stories from Thursday, February 8th - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Mad Minute stories from Thursday, February 8th

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BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) - How safe is it to eat snow? A Romanian university has published the results of just such a study.
The 2017 experiment showed it was safe to eat snow that was a half-day old, and safer to eat it in the colder months. But by two days old, the snow is not safe to eat, Istvan Mathe, a professor at the Sapientia Hungarian University of Transylvania, told The Associated Press.
Scientists collected snow from a park and from a roundabout in Miercurea Ciuc, central Romania, in January and February and placed it in hermetically-sealed sterile containers. They then tried to grow bacteria and mold in them.
The study took place in temperatures ranging from minus 1.1 degrees Celsius to minus 17.4 C (30 degrees to 0.7 degrees Fahrenheit) in the city, one of the coldest in Romania.
After one day, there were five bacteria per millimeter in January, while in February that number quadrupled.
"Very fresh snow has very little bacteria," Mathe said Thursday. "After two days, however, there are dozens of bacteria."
He said the microorganisms increase because of impurities in the air.
Mathe first had the idea for the study when he saw his children eating snow.
"I am not recommending anyone eats snow. Just saying you won't get ill if you eat a bit," he said.

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BOSTON (AP) - A man's portrait has hung for years outside the chambers of the chief justice on Massachusetts' highest court. The problem? No one knows who he is.
It's a mystery that has stumped officials at the Supreme Judicial Court for more than a decade. Now they're turning to the public for help in cracking the case of the unknown justice.
"I basically said, listen, if we have not been able to identify it, why don't we set loose the public to see if they can put on their Sherlock Holmes' hats and help us to track down who this elusive and mysterious justice is?" Chief Justice Ralph Gants, who has served on the court since 2009, said in an interview.
Officials say they believe the man may have sat on the bench sometime between 1780 and 1820.
Gants said they have essentially ruled out that the man was a chief justice, but say he must have been an associate justice because they can't imagine why else his portrait be in the court, which traces its roots to 1692.
Even the artist remains unknown.
Clifford Allen, director of education and public programs for the court, said officials years ago attempted to identify all the portraits of the retired justices and put them on a CD. The anonymous painting was the only one they couldn't figure out, he said.
Since then, extensive research has turned up few clues.
Allen said he has tried matching the portrait with all of the justices who served during that era. He even ran the portrait through the Google program that matches a persons' likeness to a painting, he said.
The high court says the person that comes forward with reliable authentication of the portrait will be invited to the court to stand with Gants as he unveils a plaque bearing the mystery justice's name. They'll also get a guided tour of the John Adams Courthouse.
 
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TITUSVILLE, Fla. (AP) - When a young Florida boy wanted a stuffed toy, he crawled inside a claw-style vending machine in the play area of a restaurant to fetch one. And, he got stuck inside the glass-encased structure.
Thankfully, off-duty firefighter Jeremy House was also having dinner at the Beef O'Brady's restaurant in Titusville, on Florida's Atlantic coast. He yelled for someone to call 911 and his colleagues from a nearby fire station joined him in rescuing the boy named Mason.
"He went in, but obviously he couldn't come back out the same way," Battalion Chief Gregory Sutton told The Associated Press.
Mason sat atop the stuffed toys while firefighters took just 5 minutes to get him out.
Sutton says the boy was embarrassed, but wasn't in distress. And the machine sustained minimal damage.

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COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) - A Danish volunteer in a secondhand charity shop has found $8,284 in the pocket of a coat he was preparing to put on sale.
Jens Erik Christensen told a regional daily that the woman's coat was in a bag with other clothes left in the DanChurchSocial shop's container near Soroe, 80 kilometers (50 miles) west of Copenhagen.
Christensen told the newspaper Dagbladet Ringsted og Sjaellandske on Thursday that he was checking the coat's buttons, zippers and pockets when he noticed a bulge in one pocket and found the money in euro bills.
He said he was "a bit surprised" but didn't hesitate to call the police so they could investigate who owned the coat before donating it.

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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - An Alaska Airlines flight to Seattle was forced to return to Anchorage early Wednesday after a passenger locked himself in the bathroom, took off all his clothes, and refused to follow crew instructions.
Kate Danyluk, a passenger on the flight, told The Associated Press she knew something was wrong because the flight attendants kept going back and forth in the aisles and had put on rubber gloves.
"Alaska Airlines flight 146 from Anchorage to Seattle returned to Anchorage due to a passenger not following flight attendant's instructions. While no emergency was declared, the decision was made to return to Anchorage," Alaska Airlines spokesman Tim Thompson said in an email.
Airport police and FBI met the plane when it landed shortly before 3 a.m. Authorities did not release his identity.
"The police came on and took him out the back door," said Danyluk, an Anchorage teacher who was taking a "green escape" to attend a garden show in Seattle.
Staci Feger-Pellessier, a spokeswoman for the Anchorage FBI office, said in an email Thursday morning that the man was taken to a local hospital for a psychiatric evaluation.
"No final determination has been made yet whether or not charges will be brought," Chloe Martin, a spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney's office in Alaska, said by email.
"There was a subject on the aircraft that had barricaded or locked himself in the bathroom, the lavatory," airport police Sgt. Darcy Perry told Anchorage television station KTVA. Her office declined to make her available to speak to the AP on the direction of the airport manager, who didn't return a message.
"Flight attendants did find that the subject was naked," Perry said, without elaborating.
Danyluk didn't see the man, and said several other men were standing near the bathroom to shield the view. She had heard "he had taken off his clothes and he just wasn't in his right mind."
"I'd rather go back to Anchorage than have something happen," Danyluk said. "Safety first."
There were 178 passengers on the flight. The re-boarded flight took off for Seattle just after 6:30 a.m.___

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PASCO, Wash. - The two moms of the kids whose eyebrows were waxed by their daycare officially filed a police report today with the Pasco Police Department.
The daycare - a non-profit organization at Columbia Basin College - is licensed by the Washington State Department of Early Learning. The center has been licensed for less than a year, and has had no complaints filed against them...until this one.
Our sister station KNDU spoke with one of the mothers, Glenda Maria Cruz, who says she's been taking her son there since he was three months old, and something like this has never happened before.
"I actually checked in with some moms that I know and I told them to check your sons and they said nothing," Cruz said. "Just my son and her daughter are the only ones." 
The employees at the center are trained professionals who have basic health and safety training and are mandatory reporters, which means if they suspect a child being abused or neglected, they are required by law to report it.
The Boys & Girls Club of Benton and Franklin Counties as well as the licensing agency are currently investigating these complaints.

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CAPE CORAL, Fla. - A Cape Coral, Florida man was arrested for DUI Tuesday after a McDonald's employee found him slumped over the wheel at the drive-thru window.
According to NBC 2 News, this isn't the man's first run in with police. Officers recognized 30-year-old Christopher Bidzinski from an incident the night before, where they had to take him home. When officers asked him why he'd fallen asleep at the wheel, he told them he'd been drinking a little too much chardonnay.
"Take me to jail. I beg of you. I deserve to go to jail," Bidzinski told officers.
When police asked him to do a field sobriety test, he in turn asked if he could eat some more french fries first. He eventually agreed to the test, but officers said he couldn't stay focused.
"I'll bet you I can do a backflip right now," said Bidzinski.
He then attempted to do a cartwheel in the parking lot, but fell over. After failing the field sobriety test, he refused his breathalyzer. Inside his truck, officers found a chilled, unopened bottle of wine and placed him under arrest for DUI. The smell of alcohol engulfed the police car, and Bidzinski fell asleep on his trip to jail.
NBC2 reports that this is his third DUI arrest in the last three years.
He is in jail on a $20,000 bond.

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Pennsylvania police were able to issue an arrest warrant for a man identified after a sketch of him circulated, and was mocked among social media users.
A witness drew an image of a suspected thief - who police believe to be Hunt Phuoc Nguyen, 44, - and submitted it to Lancaster City Police, which then released the "cartoonish" picture alongside a detailed description on Tuesday.
Authorities said the suspect, believed to be Asian or South American, was around 5 feet 4 inches tall, and between 30 to 40 years of age. Police said the suspect had black hair and wide cheekbones.
"We released all of those details together in our police log in the hope that someone recognizes the suspect," officials said, according to Lancaster Online. "This was not done in jest."
The hand-drawn sketch was ridiculed online, with one person claiming it was singer Jason Mraz. Another user joked: "That guy looks just like my roommate," with the sketch Photoshopped on to a picture of his roommate's face.
Lancaster Police stated online that, "While the sketch provided by the witness may have appeared amateurish and cartoonish, it, along with the distinctive physical descriptors, jogged the memory of at least one investigator to provide a potential suspect name."
The witness who reported the crime - an alleged theft from a market in Lancaster - was shown an array of photos of possible suspects.
Nguyen was identified, and was charged with theft by unlawful taking and a warrant was issued for his arrest.

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FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) - Records show that a 99-year-old RV driver who investigators say killed two teenagers in a head-on crash after driving the wrong way on a Florida highway recently passed a re-examination in his home state of Michigan that let him keep his driver's license.
Michigan driving records obtained Thursday by The Associated Press show someone reported Walter Roney to state motor vehicle officials in September. They recommended the Dearborn resident be re-examined to determine whether he was still competent.
He passed his test Jan. 8, 29 days before Tuesday's head-on crash in Fort Pierce that killed 18-year-old Santia Feketa and 17-year-old Britney Poindexter. The best friends were headed to a skating rink.
Roney and Bruns remain hospitalized. A man who answered at a phone number linked to Roney declined to comment.
  
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A Maine dairy company has settled a lawsuit over an overtime dispute that was the subject of a ruling hinging on the use of the Oxford comma.
Drivers with Oakhurst Dairy filed the lawsuit in 2014 seeking more than $10 million. Court documents filed Thursday show that they settled for $5 million.
A federal appeals court decided to keep the drivers' lawsuit alive last year. The suit concerned an exemption from Maine's overtime law that says it doesn't apply to "canning, processing, preserving, freezing, drying, marketing, storing, packing for shipment or distribution of" foods.
The disagreement stemmed from the fact there's no Oxford, or serial, comma in the "packing for shipment or distribution" part. The drivers said the words referred to the activity of packing and shipping, but they don't do any packing.
 

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