Mad Minute stories from Tuesday, March 6th - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Mad Minute stories from Tuesday, March 6th

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WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) - Hump day had a more tangible meaning for the Washington Nationals.
New manager Dave Martinez had a trio of camels brought to spring training camp Wednesday, four-legged visual aids to help players launch a journey aimed at getting over the franchise's playoff hump.
"I don't know if it's so much as embrace it, but just not worry about it because so much as been made about it," first baseman Ryan Zimmerman said. "It's fair for people to write about it, but making the playoffs every year, winning divisions every year to me is already over the hump. We used to lose 90 games every year. People forget that."
The Nationals have reached the playoffs in four of the last six seasons but have not won a postseason series since relocating to Washington ahead of the 2005 season.
Martinez joined players for the team's daily "Circle of Trust" meeting on the turf infield outside the clubhouse at 9:30 a.m. Not long into the meeting, first base coach Tim Bogar and third base coach Bob Henley rode camels onto the field.
"I thought it was a great idea," said Bogar, who's first foray into camel riding came on a cow named Blondie. "I thought it was something just to make sure they cleared their minds and they had fun with it. We embraced it. I thought the guys reacted to it real well. From what I could see everybody was having a good time with it."
Wearing a Washington Nationals floppy hat with a red and white checkered towel flowing from underneath, Henley repeatedly yelled "Hump Day!" - a reference both to a famous television commercial and a common nickname for Wednesday - while atop a camel named Lawrence. Bogar and Henley parked their camels on each side of the walkway that leads from the meeting area to the practice fields, and players walked between.
"It was fun," reliever Ryan Madsen said. "It's fun. It's nice to have a camp loose. It's nice to have the courtesy to have a loose camp when you have a good team."
Unlike many of his teammates, Madsen has some familiarity with camels. A camel named Hoover lives near his Arizona home, and Madsen frequently takes his daughters on bike rides to visit the camel.
"He got a little overweight, so he just lays down a lot now," Madsen said. "They've got him on a diet."
There was some concern that the Florida camels might have smelled Hoover on Madsen.
"The one was looking at me funny," Madsen said, sticking out his lower jaw for emphasis. "It was showing its tooth at me and he had that kind of crazy look in his eye, so maybe it was his long lost cousin."
After the players walked the camel gauntlet, Bogar and Henley rode Blondie and Lawrence to the practice field. No one rode the third camel, named Brown. He only made the trip, according to Bogar, because Blondie refuses to go anywhere without Brown.
When not motivating professional baseball team, the camels reside at a petting zoo in nearby Jupiter.
In his first season as the Nationals manager, Martinez spent 10 years as Joe Maddon's bench coach with the Chicago Cubs and Tampa. Maddon is well known for his spring training stunts designed to keep players loose.
The camels exited the Ballpark of the Palm Beaches well before the Nationals returned to the clubhouse following the workout. Washington played Miami in Jupiter later Wednesday.
"All I've got to ask you guys is, Can you still smell me?" said Bogar before boarding the bus.

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BERLIN (AP) - Statistics show pigs are hogging the market in Europe as the largest livestock category and outnumber people in Denmark by more than two-to-one.
European statistical agency Eurostat said Thursday that with a population of about 150 million in the European Union, pigs far outnumber cattle and other bovines, the second-largest livestock category with 89 million head.
Eurostat says 40 percent of the EU's pigs are in Spain and Germany, with significant numbers also in France, Denmark, Netherlands and Poland.
Denmark is the only country where pigs outnumber people , with 215 pigs to every 100 residents. Not coincidentally, it's also a country known in Europe for its quality bacon.
The Netherlands is next with 70 pigs per 100 people, Spain with 63 to 100, and Belgium with 54 to 100.
 
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WARREN, Ohio (AP) - A garishly appointed Ohio mansion that heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson once called home and subsequently fell into disrepair is being converted into a house of worship.
The Living Word Sanctuary Church has been cleaning up the property in Trumbull County's Southington Township, roughly 45 miles (72 kilometers) southeast of Cleveland, since the 25,000-square-foot (2,323-sq. meter) mansion was donated to the church several years ago.
"The property had been untouched for 10 years," Living Word Pastor Nicholas DeJacimo told the Warren Tribune-Chronicle . "You had so much grass you could have sold it for hay.
The mansion is a considerable step up; the church has been holding services at a YMCA. The sanctuary the church hopes to have ready by year's end is an area where Tyson and his guests splashed in an indoor pool. A four-bay garage is being turned into youth classrooms and a nursery. Tall steel cages where Tyson kept four tigers have been dismantled for a pavilion.
The second-floor master suite featured mirror-covered walls and ceiling, a whirlpool spa and two bathrooms.
"We heard there were some crazy parties here," DeJacimo said. "We will turn this into a room where women can get ready for a wedding."
Church offices and meeting rooms are being built on the second floor.
It's unclear which of the mansion's design features can be attributed to Tyson or the previous owner. It was built in 1979. Tyson bought it at sheriff's sale in 1989 for $300,000 and sold it 10 years later for $1.3 million to Paul Monea, an infomercial entrepreneur best known for marketing Tae-Bo exercise videos.
Monea was sentenced to 13 years in federal prison in 2007 for money laundering charges. The mansion was bought at sheriff's sale in 2010 for $600,000 and then donated to the church for a tax write-off. The church's up-front investment was $50,000 to clear back taxes.
Tyson returned to the mansion in 1995 after serving time in Indiana for rape and lived there while training at promoter Don King's camp in nearby Orwell, according to the newspaper. Tyson befriended neighbors during training runs and played basketball with kids on his court.
People stop hoping for a look inside Tyson's former home, DeJacimo said. He said the mansion "got dropped in our lap."
"I tell everyone, 'This was meant for us.'"

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BUCKSPORT, Maine (AP) - Two Maine friars say they are closing down their iconic bakery to open up a brewery.
The Bangor Daily News reports Friar's Bakehouse in Bangor will close Friday after more than 18 years. Franciscan Brothers Donald Paul and Kenneth Leo say they plan to open their new venture, the Friar's Brewhouse Tap Room, this month.
The brew house will be located in Bucksport, much closer to the brothers' monastery. Paul says the 40-minute commute to Bangor was a big strain for the two.
The two began selling their homebrew beer in 2013, and had been considering opening a separate business to highlight their brews for the past six years.

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KEY WEST, Fla. (AP) - A Florida retiree has won the women's division in Key West's annual Conch Shell Blowing Contest - and accepted a marriage proposal from a fellow competitor.
Seventy-year-old Mary Lou Smith impressed the judges Saturday with long blasts on the fluted, pink-lined shell. And when 73-year-old Rick Race proposed on stage, she accepted by joining him in a joyous duet.
Other winners included Florida Keys resident Vinnie Marturano, who won the men's division after blowing three-toned blasts and a song fragment.
Judges evaluated entrants from children to seniors on the quality, novelty, duration and loudness of their playing.
Conch shells have been used as signaling devices in the Florida Keys for centuries. Native-born islanders are called Conchs, and the Keys are nicknamed the Conch Republic.
The contest was conceived by the Old Island Restoration Foundation.

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GLOUCESTER COUNTY, N.J. (AP) - A New Jersey man who got drunk in West Virginia and mistakenly ordered a $1,635 Uber ride back to his home state says the experience was "crazy."
NJ.com reported Wednesday that Kenny Bachman thought he was taking an Uber to where he was staying, near the West Virginia University campus.
But when his driver woke him up two hours into the more than 300-mile journey to New Jersey, Bachman says he didn't know what was happening or who the driver was.
The trip was made more expensive because Bachman gave the driver money for tolls and ordered an UberXL, which can hold up to six passengers.
He says he unsuccessfully challenged the fare with Uber, which confirmed that the ride occurred.
Bachman says he gave the driver five stars.

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VICKSBURG, Miss. (AP) - What's one way to get students to vote for a school bond measure? Promise them they won't have to take final exams.
That's what an email sent to students at Warren Central High School in Mississippi said. The principal says the email was sent in error.
The Vicksburg Post reports a Feb. 20 email asked the students to help pass a bond measure to renovate district schools. The email said those who vote in March are exempt from finals.
Retired educator Diana Emfinger filed a complaint with the county election commission the next day, asking for an investigation because an authority figure "has not just suggested how students should vote, but offered them a tangible benefit."
District spokeswoman Christi Kilroy wouldn't disclose the message's origin.

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NEW YORK (AP) - A New York City college is trying to evict a former student who it says is illegally squatting in her dorm room.
Hunter College has filed a lawsuit against 32-year-old Lisa Palmer, saying the woman owes more than $94,000 in unpaid residence hall fees since she dropped out in 2016.
The lawsuit says Palmer was denied summer housing in 2016. She remained in her dorm, despite the school sending several notices that she would be charged $150 a day if she stayed.
Palmer was issued a 30-day eviction notice in September 2017. She refused to leave, prompting the school to file its lawsuit.
Palmer, a former geography major, says she plans to stay and fight the case.
A Hunter College spokesperson says they cannot comment on pending litigation.

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TIVERTON, R.I. (AP) - A Rhode Island school district is asking local taxpayers to dig deeper into their pockets to fund next year's school budget.
But don't expect outrage in Tiverton. The school committee wants a total of $1.
The committee is proposing increasing the next fiscal year's school budget by $800,000 over last year, but noted that it is getting an expected $340,000 in state aid and will withdraw almost $460,000 from its reserve fund. That leaves the town on the hook for $1, a minimum amount required by state law.
School Committee member Deborah Pallasch tells The Newport Daily News that the board has never asked for just $1 before.
A town referendum May 19 will allow registered voters to decide on the budget.

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BALTIMORE (AP) - Baltimore firefighters probably made record time arriving at the scene of a recent fire. That's because it broke out in the building housing the fire department's headquarters.
Fire department spokeswoman Blair Skinner told The Baltimore Sun that an electrical fire Thursday triggered the evacuation of the 85,000-square-foot (7,900-sq.-meter) downtown building the fire department shares with the city's finance and information technology departments.
Skinner says firefighters responded in a matter of minutes, in addition to the fire chiefs already in the building.
She says the smoke appeared to have originated on one of the floors above the fire department's offices.
No one was injured. The exact origin is still under investigation.

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