Mad Minute stories from Thursday, October 11th - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Mad Minute stories from Thursday, October 11th

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HEALDSBURG, Calif. (AP) — Authorities in Northern California are looking for a hammer. A really, really big one.
The Santa Rosa Press-Democrat says police in Healdsburg in California’s wine country are looking for an enormous artwork that vanished over the weekend.
The artwork was an 800-pound ball-peen hammer made of metal with a long redwood handle. The hammer measures 21 feet long and the head is 6 feet tall.
The piece, valued at $15,000, was loaned by the artist about a year ago to the Healdsburg Community Center. It vanished from the lawn sometime Friday night or Saturday morning.
The artist, Doug Unkrey, says it would have required about eight people or a flatbed trailer with a winch to carry off his work.
Police, of course, want to nail the thieves.

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Everyone's made crazy impulsive choices after they've had a few too many, but one couple got so drunk on their honeymoon that they purchased an entire hotel.
Gina Lyons, 33, and Mark Lee, 35, from London, might've had a bit too much rum when they made the spontaneous decision to buy the small beach-front spot in Sri Lanka.
During their three-week backpacking trip in December 2017, the couple hit it off with some of the staff members at the rustic location in Tangalle on their first night there.
After drinking 12 glasses of rum, they found out the lease was almost up on the hotel, so they agreed to take it over for three more years, which cost around $39,576.
"After finding out that it was $13,200 a year, myself and Mark thought that it would be a brilliant idea to buy it, because we were so drunk," Lyons told The Daily Mirror.
The couple said they were buzzed for the remainder of the conversations regarding details of the purchase, which also took place in another language, and they needed their friends to translate.
"Because we didn't understand most of the conversation, Mark and I just sat drinking more rum and slowly getting drunk again," Lyons said.
"After some bartering, we finally agreed that we would pay $39,576 for the three year lease and pay $19,788 in the first year and the other half by March 2019."
But after making this big financial decision, the couple panicked when they found out they were expecting a child.
"Our friends and family think we're idiots and shouldn't have been doing it — we owed a lot of money from the wedding and only lived in a tiny flat, and now we have a baby on the way.
"I felt like I was already a bad mother because I felt guilty that I'd wasted all of this money buying a business that might not work. I was plagued with feeling irresponsible, but it was either sink or swim — so we decided we'd have to make it work," Lyons said.
The couple reopened the seven-bedroom bed-and-breakfast they named Lucky Beach Tangalle at the end of July after about $8,000 of renovations. Business is now booming and they've since seen a steady flow of customers. But they insist their next big decision will be made sober.
 
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(AJC.com) PORT ORANGE, FLA. - A 28-year-old from Port Orange, Florida, was charged with wire fraud after using more than $927,000 worth of cable service in 2015 and 2016 without paying for it, the FBI said.
Investigators said Rishi K. Sharma ordered service from Time Warner Cable under a company name with an address listed on the 19th floor of a building in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Service was terminated after 90 days because no payment was received, so Sharma opened another account under a slightly different company name, officials said.
Agents said he used different names to open 68 accounts without paying for them in New York and Ohio cities -- cities in which he appears to have never lived.
Sharma closed the front door of his home and threatened to call police when WFTV visited the residence Thursday.
Sharma's brother, A.J. Sharma, said that he believes his brother is innocent.

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Oct. 11 (UPI) -- Police investigating motion alarms that were triggered at a Virginia high school discovered an escaped python slithering around the school.
The Fairfax County Police Department said Animal Protection Police Officer Chase was dispatched to Hayfield High School in Alexandria when officers investigating motion sensor alarms discovered the culprit was a large snake.
Chase captured the python safely.
Police said the snake was returned to the school's science lab, where it had escaped.

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Oct. 11 (UPI) -- A runaway alpaca caused chaos for drivers in New York's Brooklyn borough when it ran loose in heavy traffic.
A video posted to Twitter by Jacob Kornbluh shows the alpaca, which onlookers incorrectly identified as a "runaway llama," running loose in the street in the Borough Park neighborhood.
Peter Jager, 48, the animal's owner, said Alfalfa the alpaca had been brought from a farm in Woodbury, Conn., to participate in a Noah's ark demonstration for Satmar UTA yeshiva's kindergarten and first-grade classes.
Jager said Alfalfa was only on the loose for a few minutes before being safely recaptured.
"You don't chase, you don't chase. You run after him and he'll take off," Jager told the New York Post. "We walked him into a corner and just grabbed him."

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Oct. 11 (UPI) -- A Pennsylvania family's home is drawing onlookers after their front yard tomato plant unexpectedly grew to a staggering 22 feet tall.
Sam Krum said he has been planting vegetables for years, but the tomato plant he put in front of his Bloomsburg home just five months ago is the first to shoot up to such an unexpected height.
"I don't know why it got that big, but it just grew and grew and grew," Krum told WNEP-TV.
He said his fertilizer recipe might be to blame.
"I fertilize it with a special concoction and just watched it get bigger and bigger. My family has canned them, made tomato sauce and spaghetti sauce. My kids are just sick of eating the tomatoes," he told the Press-Enterprise newspaper.
The tallest tomato plant listed by Guinness World Records was a 65-foot plant grown by Nutriculture Ltd. of Mawdesley, England.

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Oct. 11 (UPI) -- A North Carolina family has some new pets after going to a local Kmart to try on snow boots and discovering a mother mouse and her babies.
Shasta Riederer said she took her sons, Talon and Deakon, to shop for snow boots this week at the Kmart store in Bismarck, where one of the boys made a shocking discovery inside a boot in the store's shoe section.
"He goes, 'Mom, look,'" Shasta Riederer told WDAY-TV. "I thought it was Vienna sausages rolling around the floor until they started moving, but then we heard them squeaking."
Riederer posted videos to Facebook showing her sons rounding up the seven baby mice and their mother.
The mother said the store didn't want anything to do with the rodent family, so she and her sons took them home.
"I let the kids take them home, let them get a fish tank for them, kids put them in there and they were happy ever since," she said.
Riederer said the mice will likely be released once the babies are a little bigger.
"So proud of them that they have that kind of compassion," Riederer said of her sons. "That they are willing to save mice when it would have grossed everybody else out."
Kmart officials said the shoe section was searched, but no more mice were found. They said a pest control company was hired to spray inside the store as a precaution.

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Oct. 10 (UPI) -- A marine rescue group in South Carolina is trying to identify a mysterious large object that washed up on an island beach.
The Lowcountry Marine Mammal Network posted a photo to Facebook showing the strange object that washed up on a Seabrook Island beach.
Commenters suggested the object looked like a piece of a spaceship or a movie prop -- perhaps the foot of a Star Wars AT-AT.
The group said the object seems foam-like to the touch and, despite its appearance, does not contain any metal.
Some have suggested the object resembles the shape of a damaged marine buoy like those used by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Seabrook Island officials had the object removed by a truck and trailer, but they have not commented on the identity of the unusual piece of debris.

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Oct. 11 (UPI) -- Officials at an Illinois zoo are warning members of the public to steer clear of two badgers that escaped from their enclosures at the facility.
The Niabi Zoo said the North American badgers were found to have escaped from their enclosures at the Coal Valley facility's Biodiversity Hall on Oct. 4, but the escape was not revealed to the public until Wednesday.
The zoo is asking members of the public not to approach the badgers if they are spotted and witnesses are encouraged to instead call the zoo.
"We're confident the two badgers will be recovered," zoo director Lee Jackson said in a statement. "Badgers will only behave aggressively if cornered, so we ask that no one attempts to capture a badger."

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Oct. 11 (UPI) -- Firefighters in New Jersey shared security camera footage of a gas pump bursting into flames after a vehicle pulled away while still refueling.
The Hackensack Fire Department posted a video to Facebook showing what happened Wednesday afternoon at a Lukoil station.
The video shows a vehicle pull away from a gas pump while in mid-refueling, with the nozzle still inserted into the tank.
The pump breaks away from its base and ignites into a fire that the the attendant was able to put out with an extinguisher once the emergency fuel cut-off switch was triggered.
Firefighters said no one was injured in the incident.


 

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