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

Mad Minute stories from Tuesday, May 8th

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Nathan Sawaya worked for years as a high-powered attorney in New York before ditching that job to pursue his passion: creating art with Legos.
Yes, those Legos. And it's been paying off. Sawaya's creations sell for five and six figure sums and his client/collector list includes such diverse and notable names as pop star Lady Gaga, tennis great Andre Agassi, former President Bill Clinton and skateboarding icon Tony Hawk. Hundreds of his pieces are on display around the world as part of his global touring exhibition, The Art of the Brick, with about five occurring simultaneously at any given time.
"The whole reason I do these exhibitions is to inspire folks to go home and explore their own creativity," Sawaya told CNBC during a 2013 interview.
After all, that's what set him on the path to a dramatic career change. In the late 1990s, Sawaya was enjoying a fast-paced New York City corporate lawyer lifestyle. "Very exciting stuff," he said. "I was working on billion dollar deals."
But five years in, he grew weary of the daily grind and searched for a way to unwind after work. He started sculpting in clay and wire. Then, he decided to toy around with Lego bricks. Friends and family members were interested in buying them. So he constructed a website and began building up his art business at night while continuing to clock in at his law firm during the day.
"When my website crashed from too many hits," he explained, "I realized it was time to make a change."
More than a decade later, he's a well-respected artist.
His work has been critically acclaimed and exhibited at spaces like The Kennedy Center and the New York Public Library. In 2015, The Art of the Brick, became the Franklin Institute's third-most successful traveling exhibit in its history. That same year, he signed a deal with Warner Bros. to exclusively create a touring exhibition of DC Comics characters.
For others looking to make a career change, Sawaya suggests:
-Transition out of the life you don't want into the life you do want. It doesn't have to be overnight. Make a plan for how you want to make the change.
-Cut out the negativity in your life. Cut out those people, colleagues, maybe even friends and family, who are telling you that you cannot make a change, or are taking too big of a risk.
-Don't give yourself a safety net. You would be surprised what you can do if you don't have a way to go backwards.
Sawaya says he keeps more than five million Legos on hand since demand for his art continues to increase and human forms usually require about 15,000-25,000 bricks while larger pieces like his Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton can use more than 500,000 Legos.
And even though Sawaya is an official Lego Master Builder, he says he buys his Legos just like the rest of us — but in much larger quantities — spending more than $100,000 a year on the colorful bricks.
"I have been fortunate to have had tremendous success as a Lego artist," Sawaya recently told CNBC. "With exhibitions, commissions and a new book, I have been able to diversify my brand." 

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A Florida woman was arrested on Friday after cops said she falsely called 911 claiming a medical emergency, when she was just thirsty.
It turns out that Jennifer Sue Roberts' emergency was a need for beer, WFLA-TV reported, citing an arrest affidavit.
The 57-year-old called 911 twice — just after 12 noon and just before 4 p.m. — claiming she had a medical emergency, according to the Tampa Bay Times. Roberts reportedly appeared intoxicated when paramedics arrived after the second call.
Pinellas County Sheriff's Office records seemingly indicate Roberts, who also reportedly goes by Jennifer Sue Sunday, has been accused numerous times of dialing 911 without an emergency. WFLA reports she's made 28 false calls since February.
The St. Petersburg woman was released Saturday on her own recognizance.
 
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May 8 (UPI) -- A Maryland man who found himself $10 short at a convenience store likely won't have that problem for a while after the shortage caused a $50,000 lottery win.
The 37-year-old Parkville man told Maryland Lottery officials he was at the E-Z Convenience store in Towson when he discovered he didn't have enough cash for the $30 scratch-off ticket he was eyeing.
"For a moment I considered heading to the ATM because I was really in the mood for a $30 game," he said. "Imagine what I would have missed out on!"
The man said he "settled" for a $20 Cash Explosion instant ticket, which ended up being a $50,000 winner.
"I started scratching the play area and saw a $1,000 win almost immediately. I was thrilled!" the man said. "One of them was for $5,000! Then, one for $10,000!"
The Cash Explosion symbols and matches added up to $50,000.
The man, who dubbed himself "Mr. SSS," said store workers were equally excited about his big win and posed for a photo with him.
"They were as excited as I was about the win," he said.
The winner said he picked up the tab when he went out to eat with friends later that day, but he didn't tell them why.
"They were surprised. I'll clue them in eventually," he said.

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May 7 (UPI) -- A wandering raccoon stole the show during a recent Catholic mass in California when it was spotted climbing the walls in the church.
A parishioner at the University of San Diego captured video during a mass last week of a raccoon pulling attention from the priest delivering his homily.
The raccoon elicits laughs from the crowd and eventually the priest as well when it makes its way to the ground.
"The raccoon eventually made its way down the sanctuary and through the aisle and someone opened up a door for it," the filmer wrote. "There are a lot of raccoons on campus and they're very comfortable with humans. This is what it means when we say all are welcome to mass!"

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(Sky News) A giant sinkhole has opened up on a dairy farm in New Zealand, revealing rock deposits from a 60,000-year-old volcano.
The hole, which has captured the attention of volcanologists, is as deep as four double-decker buses (20 metres or 66 feet) and is 200 metres (660ft) long.
It appeared after heavy rain near the town of Rotorua on the North Island, an area renowned for its geothermal activity.
Geologists believe that thousands of years of rain eroded underground limestone, causing the ground to collapse.
"This is pretty spectacular, it's a lot bigger than the ones I'd normally see," volcanologist Brad Scott said.
Mr Scott told TVNZ the dairy farm was situated above the crater of a dormant volcano.
The dirt in the bottom of the sinkhole was "the original 60,000-year-old volcanic deposit that came out of this crater", he said.
The farmer, Colin Tremain, said it had appeared overnight and was spotted by a worker on a morning run to handle the cows.

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DOUGLAS COUNTY, Ga. - The 7th Annual Douglas County Chamber Cornhole Tournament ended Sunday in a shocking manner when a fight broke out between participants.
"There was a lot of arguing so I got closer and then I saw the beer thrown so I pulled out my phone," Alex Cannon said.
Alex Cannon captured the moment punches were thrown and T-shirts were ripped off at Foxhall Resort.
"There was an exchange of words over scoring," Cannon said. "I think that's what caused it."
The event hosted by the Chamber's Program for Young Professionals raises scholarship money for high school students who demonstrate outstanding leadership.
"These are people who are supposed to be setting an example and instead they end up getting into a physical altercation?" Douglas County resident Tommy Vanbecelaere said. "It's absolutely ridiculous."
Two-year Douglas County resident Tommy Vanbecelaere said he's disappointed adults would act in that manner especially at an event benefiting high school students.
"This is for charity so why did it come to this?" Vanbecelaere said. "It's silly."
The Douglas County Chamber who sponsored the event sent us this statement saying part, "It is unfortunate that an event that has been so successful in providing scholarships for students and young professionals for the past seven years was overshadowed by a small group of people on Sunday acting inappropriately.

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May 7 (UPI) -- The grounds crew for the Norfolk Tides was busy catching baby ducks this weekend during a Minor League Baseball game.
Two ducklings danced around the third baseline in the third inning of the Tides' 8-3 win against the Louisville Bats Saturday at Harbor Park in Norfolk, Va.
Cliff Pennington was at the late, facing Tides starting pitcher Yefry Ramirez. The righty worked a 1-1 count against the third baseman before the game was delayed. The umpire stood off of the plate, watching the duckling duo roam around in circles.
A bat boy came out and scooped one of the ducklings safely into a batting helmet, before handing it off to a member of the grounds crew. Kenny Magner -- the head groundskeeper for the Tides -- used a box to secure the other duckling.
The Tides couldn't help but pull out the dad jokes on their official Twitter account.
"Some baby ducks decided they wanted to quack everybody up by running onto the field," the Tides tweeted. "They were headed for fowl territory, but our groundscrew scooped them up safely. That's what we call a #WebGem."
The Tides -- the Triple-A affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles -- also used their namesake to defend the baby bird brigade.
"What can we say? This is #birdland," the Tides tweeted.
The Tides reported that the ducks are "safe and sound." About 6,300 fans attended Saturday's Tides win. Norfolk swept Louisville in four games.

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CENTENNIAL, Colo. – Chipotle doesn't deliver, so a Denver couple took matters into their own hands – by delivering their baby in the restaurant's parking lot.
On the morning of April 10, Adrianna Alvarez went into labor with her fourth child.
"We were actually driving down this road to get to the hospital and we were getting really close to the street and I told him we're not going to make it, I feel like the baby is coming," Alvarez said.
The baby's father, Saul Flores, called 911.
"The dispatcher is like I think you need to pull over. And we ended up in front of Chipotle. It was really weird," Alvarez said.
South Metro Fire dispatcher Angie Schell took the call.
"We do a lot of child births but we rarely get to the actual birth part," Schell said. "This one was the first on in 18 years that I actually got to dispatch and help with the baby being born."
Jaden Flores was born at 9:11 a.m. on April 10th in the Chipotle parking lot.
"He became the little Chipotle burrito baby," his mom said.
To celebrate, Chipotle invited the proud parents, the dispatcher and their whole families to the restaurant for a one-of-a-kind baby shower.
They had a cake and cupcakes with faux burritos on top and they gave Jaden a swaddle blanket that looks like a tortilla.
Best of all, Adrianna and Saul got to meet the dispatcher who helped guide their little burrito safely into the world.
"We don't hardly ever get to meet our patients, ever. We don't even know what happens to them after we're done sometimes. So to be able to share the good news and this is what dispatchers do out there. We do this every day. You see a lot of bad news out there, but gosh, there are so many good one out there," Schell said.
It's only fitting that Jaden was born in a Chipotle parking lot. His parents met at a Chipotle and at one point they both worked at Chipotle too.

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May 7 (UPI) -- A British zoo said members of the public were not in any danger when a gibbon briefly escaped from its enclosure, prompting a lockdown.
The Twycross Zoo confirmed a Siamese gibbon escaped from its enclosure shortly after the facility opened Saturday morning and guests were ushered to indoor areas while the zoo was put into lockdown.
Zoo officials said the gibbon entered an area outside of its enclosure, but the area was not open to the public. They said visitors were never in danger from the escaped primate.
"As a precaution, and as part of our standard procedure, we temporarily closed the zoo this morning due to one of our gibbons being in an area he shouldn't be," zoo Chief Executive Sharon Redrobe said in a statement.
"Our animal team were in control of the situation at all times and at no time were any visitors, animals or team members in any danger," she said. "The zoo reopened within 20 minutes and we are now back to normal operation with our guests continuing to enjoy the sunny bank holiday weekend with us."

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The Big Mac turned 50 last month, and the fast food chain is celebrating by teaming up with another icon – Coca-Cola.
Brazilian agency DPZ&T is marketing the anniversary by turning the McDonald's staple into a limited-edition Coca-Cola can.
"We have done something unprecedented, a mashup of two great icons," says Rafael Urenha, chief creative officer for DPZ&T, Adweek reported. "It's such a special tribute that only Big Mac could receive: a Coca-Cola can specially made for it."
The can, which was revealed last week, features a modern representation of the classic sandwich: two patties, lettuce, cheese, pickles, sesame seed bun and, of course, special sauce.
"Five decades deserve a great celebration," Dan Gertsacov, CMO for McDonald's in Latin America, said in an announcement of the can design, Adweek reported. "This is why we decided to show the power of this partnership that has always worked out; after all, a Big Mac with Coca-Cola is an ongoing perfect combination."
It seems fitting for McDonald's to turn to Coca-Cola to celebrate such a special anniversary, seeing as the fast food chain has been praised for having the best tasting Coke.
The special can will be given out this week. However, the can is only available in South America and the marketing team revealed only influencers and McDonald's superfans will be able to get their hands on it.
Guess the rest of the McDonald's-loving folks will just have to celebrate with a regular, edible Big Mac sandwich instead.


 

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