Mad Minute stories from Monday, April 9th - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Mad Minute stories from Monday, April 9th

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MANCHESTER, N.H. (AP) — A woman applying for a job at a New Hampshire county jail has been arrested because it turns out she was wanted on a charge in Maine.
Police say Kristina Hoefs, of Manchester, applied for the job on Friday at the Hillsborough County Department of Corrections. But workers soon realized she was being sought on a theft-related offense in Maine.
Hoefs was taken into custody and taken to police headquarters. She was scheduled for arraignment Monday.
It’s unknown if Hoefs has a lawyer. No phone number for her can be found.

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DEPEW, N.Y. (AP) — An upstate New York police department fed up with lingering cold weather has placed winter under arrest.
The Post-Standard reports the Depew Police Department wrote Friday in a humorous Facebook post that it had arrested the season. Police said any more snow winter produces would be held against it in court.
The department also called for groundhog Punxsutawney Phil to turn himself in for predicting six more weeks of winter. Police joke that they're willing to look past winter's "most recent transgressions" if it works with the department.
New York has experienced wintry weather this month and high winds that caused power outages.
 
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An American flag-draped daredevil, who climbed a 200-foot crane in California as thousands of stunned spectators watched, was taken into custody Sunday three hours after the dangerous display began, police said.
It's still unclear why the man, who has not yet been identified, decided to climb the crane just after 5 p.m. Sunday on Hollywood Boulevard. The man was spotted shirtless and barefoot climbing up and down the crane boom, FOX11 LA reported.
At one point, he took an American flag that was on the crane and wrapped it around himself. He was also seen dangling from a rope.
Thousands of people watched the incident unfold for three hours.
"He climbed up and he was shirtless already, like he had his jeans on, then all of a sudden took them off and threw them on the ground," a witness told FOX11. "He took the American flag off the crane, was wearing it as a cape pretty much."
The man eventually came down from the crane on his own. Los Angeles Police Department Sgt. Jose Torres said the man was "very apologetic" about the bizarre incident.
"He was rambling a lot of different things, not very comprehensive," Torres told KTLA. "The main thing is that he was mostly sorry for what he did and telling us that he didn't want to put us in danger, nor did he want us to use all the resources that we did just for him."
The man was taken to a nearby hospital for a mental evaluation.

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Did her explanation go over like a breeze?
A 26-year-old woman in Florida claimed that "a windy day" was the reason why cocaine was in her bag, WPLG reported Friday.
Fort Pierce authorities stopped a swerving car in late March and questioned passenger Kennecia Posey, the station explained.
Police said an officer smelled marijuana, and while going through the car, marijuana and cocaine were discovered in bags in Posey's purse, WPLG added.
Posey reportedly said the marijuana belonged to her. 
"I don't know anything about any cocaine," the station quoted her as saying in a police report. "It must have flown through the window and into my purse."
She was charged with a felony count of cocaine possession and a misdemeanor count of marijuana possession - and has been released on bond, according to WPLG. 

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Continental is a rather infamous dive bar in New York City's East Village. There's a large, hard-to-ignore sign outside promising, in its most recent iteration, "6 shots of anything $12."
Last week, musician Eden Brower noticed a different sign taped in the window of the bar, announcing that the word "literally" had been banned from the establishment.
Brower tweeted a photo of the sign, which read, in all caps:
Sorry but if you say the word 'literally' inside Continental you have 5 minutes to finish your drink and then you must leave. If you actually start a sentence with 'I literally,' you must leave immediately!!! This is the most overused, annoying word in the English language and we will not tolerate it.
Seems like a rather extreme solution to that "problem," but OK. The bar updated the sign days later, throwing shade at one of America's most famous families by stating, "Stop Kardashianism now!"
Bar owner Trigger Smith has since told Timeout New York that the sign is just a joke, and that his bar would be empty if he actually enforced the rule. "How could I mean that? How could I be serious?" he said. "I literally feel sorry for anybody who would take this seriously."
But not everyone was laughing. When the sign went viral, some people on Twitter raised the issue of sexism, saying the sign is an example of the continued policing of how (primarily) women speak. The unnecessary mention of the Kardashians certainly helps make that case.
Before Smith clarified he was kidding, Art Silverman, senior producer of NPR's "All Things Considered," encouraged people to "literally test the waters" at Continental by using the word and seeing if they get thrown out.
Even though Smith has clarified the whole thing is a joke, we'd still be interested to see how that experiment ends.
So did Smith do it all for publicity? Continental is closing its doors for good on Jan. 30, after 27 years. Smith wrote on the bar's website that "if we're very, very busy for the remainder, it's possible that we'll have the funds to relocate!" The new sign has certainly gotten people's attention.
And if history has taught us anything, it's that aggressively telling people not to do something is a pretty surefire way to make them do that thing.

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April 9 (UPI) -- A zoo in New Zealand said an apparent attempt to steal squirrel monkeys from their enclosure was foiled when the primates fought back.
The Wellington Zoo said someone used bolt cutters to break into the squirrel monkey enclosure after the zoo closed Friday night.
"We initially believed a squirrel monkey was missing however we have since located all of these monkeys," the zoo said in a Facebook post.
The zoo said several of the 12 monkeys living in the enclosure sustained minor injuries, leading officials to believe they fought off the attempted thieves.
"They are all doing well and we're keeping them all together so they can support each other while they settle back into their daily routine," the zoo said in a follow-up post. "We'll be keeping a close eye on them over the next few days to make sure they are well."
The zoo said police are investigating the break-in.

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SINCLAIR, Maine (AP) — Residents in a Maine town believe they've created the world's largest ice carousel on a frozen lake.
About 100 volunteers cut a circle in the ice that's 427 feet (130 meters) in diameter, and they used four outboard boat motors to get it rotating on Saturday. It happened in Sinclair in northern Maine.
Mike Cyr, one of the organizers, announced, "we got 'er spinning!"
He says the ice carousel is big enough to break the world record held by a town in Finland. A surveying team confirmed the measurements on Saturday.
Volunteers used augurs to bore more than 1,300 holes, along with chain saws and other equipment, to cut the massive hole in lake ice that was 30 inches thick. They waited for warmer weather to get it spinning.

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MCPHERSON, Kan. (KSNW) - A McPherson man is using his old school ride to get around town and get fit.
Harvey Werner, 73, is a strong believer in taking in every life moment.
"You act like when you get to be 70 or something you shouldn't be able to be out there having fun or whatever," Werner said. "I enjoy."
One of the ways the dad and grandpa enjoys himself is by taking rides in his unique vehicle. To the eye, the vehicle appears to be a small boat on wheels.
"I think it's designed like those pedal boats that you see," Werner said.
The car is called a People Powered Vehicle (PPV). It was introduced to the United States about 50 years ago.
"In the 70s, when Jimmy Carter got in an oil bind with the oil crisis and there was a big shortage of oil, this company got this idea. They'd put out these people powered vehicles and sell them so people wouldn't have to buy oil," Werner explained.
Werner bought his first PPV several decades ago. He used it to take his kids on outings. Now, more than 20 years later, the retired school teacher has a new PPV and a new reason to hit the road.
"Whether it's 10,000 steps or going 4 miles in a pedal car, I decided I needed exercise, keep the weight off and keep from getting diabetes and all of those bad things. I just use this as a way to do that," he said.
Werner has made it his goal to ride the pedal car several miles each day. Each time he goes for a ride, he's sure to keep a bucket of his necessities nearby.
"I've got a garage door opener, looks like some gum. a dollar bill for a tip," he said. "I don't want to carry a purse, so I can carry a bucket and get by with it because a bucket is masculine."
Werner has also installed his own 1960's radio in his car. He said he often finds himself jamming to country music because it's one of the only stations he can get clearly.
"It's no Bose radio, but it works," he laughed. 
Werner believes he's put about 500 miles on the pedal car. He said he plans to put on many more.
"Ride one once and you'll know why," Werner said.

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NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- You may not see women's nipples on Instagram, but you could find Fentanyl.
A quick search can turn up plenty of accounts filled with pictures of various pills. They typically list contact details -- email addresses, phone numbers, and usernames for chat apps and encrypted messenger services like Kik and Wickr -- to connect off of Instagram. Put two and two together, and these are likely drug dealers, illicit online pharmacies, or scammers.
Earlier this week, Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, quietly took some action to crack down on drug-related posts. A search for #Oxycontin on the app on Friday morning turned up zero posts.
On Monday, it turned up more than 30,000 posts. The hashtags #Fentanyl, #ketamine, #opiates are now similarly sparse, with notes like "recent posts from #Fentanyl are currently hidden because the community has reported some content that may not meet Instagram's community guidelines."
In a statement, an Instagram spokesperson told CNN its community guidelines "make it clear that buying or selling prescription drugs isn't allowed on Instagram, and we have zero tolerance when it comes to content that puts the safety of our community at risk."
Critics are wondering what took Instagram so long. After all, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said himself five months ago that the "biggest surprise" during his so-called "year of travel" around the US was seeing the "extent of opioid issues."
Overdose deaths from prescription and illicit opioids have doubled over the past six years alone -- from 21,089 deaths across the nation in 2010 to 42,249 in 2016.
The Instagram takedowns came after a tech entrepreneur flagged several accounts and common hashtags to a Facebook executive on Twitter.
Glassbreakers CEO Eileen Carey said she has been following the issue for years. Flagging posts within the app didn't seem to create any tangible change, she told CNN. "Instagram has allowed this to happen to a point where no one is hiding it," said Carey, who previously worked on pharmaceutical intellectual property abuse.
The Facebook executive told Carey that the company is working to make it easier to report these problems within the app. But in the meantime, various accounts and hashtags Carey flagged were taken down.
"In this case, we are grateful to those who reported the content. We took swift action to remove the content and put in place additional measures to ensure the safety of our platform," the spokesperson added.
This issue isn't new: A 2014 article from tech website Venture Beat highlighted the use of hashtags like #XanaxForSale to peddle drugs on Instagram. At the time, Facebook issued a generic statement which largely shirked its responsibility. "...If your photos or videos are promoting the sale of regulated goods or services, including firearms, alcohol, tobacco, prescription drugs, or adult products, we expect you to make sure you're following the law and to encourage others to do the same," the statement said.
Posts that appear to be from drug sellers have become a bigger issue on Instagram in the past year or two, according to Carmen Catizone, executive director at the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy. "I think the companies are struggling to decide what to do and what not to do ... but extra due diligence would save a life."
Internet companies can usually avoid liability for user-generated content thanks to Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which gives them a broad layer of immunity. But companies are supposed to act in good faith to protect users.
Critics have said that Instagram generally responds to flagged content rather than proactively cleaning house. It has, however, banned some hashtags and images, like, for instance, nipples.
Tech companies are tight-lipped about the content moderation process, which is usually a combination of technology and humans. During a call with media on Wednesday, Zuckerberg said the company has 15,000 people working on content review and security, a number that will grow to 20,000 by the end of the year.
Facebook has more than two billion users.
Takedowns can be a game of whack-a-mole: While #Xanax posts were removed, accounts tagging #Xanaxplease that appear to be selling pills are still viewable. #Oxy also turns up a number of pill posts.
Expect to see more pressure on internet companies. This week, FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb called out specific tech outfits -- including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Google -- for enabling opioid sales.
"We find offers to purchase opioids all over social media and the Internet," he said in a speech on Wednesday at the National Rx Drug Abuse and Heroin Summit in Atlanta. "Internet firms simply aren't taking practical steps to find and remove these illegal opioid listings."
Libby Baney, founder and executive director of Alliance for Safe Online Pharmacies, told CNN that while tech companies shouldn't be blamed for the opioid epidemic, they are essential to crackdown efforts. "This epidemic has not been caused by the Internet -- but it's the next wave," she said.
Baney said that tech companies haven't done enough to crack down on illicit posts the way that they did with advertisements for illegal drugs.
In 2011, Google agreed to pay $500 million to the Department of Justice for showing prescription drug ads from Canadian online pharmacies to U.S. consumers. It stopped the practice in 2009, once it became aware of the U.S. Attorney's Office's investigation.

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April 9 (UPI) -- Authorities in Massachusetts said they were able to capture a pair of escaped emus spotted running loose through residential neighborhoods.
Freetown Animal Control said two emus were spotted running loose in town Thursday night and residents were able to block off a road where one of the birds was found wandering.
Officers were able to capture the emu and the second bird was spotted on some railroad tracks Friday morning, leading to its capture by a Lakeville animal control officer.
Freetown Animal Control said the owners of the emus came forward to claim the flightless birds and said they are believed to have panicked and forced their way out of a gated area when a wild animal wandered onto the property and attacked their chickens.


 

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