Mad Minute

STURBRIDGE, Mass. (AP) — A Massachusetts man learned the hard way that fireworks are probably not the best way to deal with a hornets’ nest.

Dave Schmida, of Sturbridge, says he was trying to remove hornets high up on his family’s home on Monday when a corner of the roof caught on fire.

The Telegram and Gazette reports the 21-year-old first used a more traditional method, spraying the nest with Raid, a pesticide spray.

When that didn’t work, Schmida went the unconventional method of using a Roman candle to handle the wasps.

A video of the incident shows the nest immediately go up in flames, along with the eaves.

Schmida used a fire extinguisher from the upstairs floor to put out the flames. He says the damage was minimal, with only a few boards left slightly burned.


Aug. 15 (UPI) -- Police in China said a truck driver was ticketed when a scooter being carried on the back of the vehicle got stuck on some power lines.

A video recorded on the mountain road in Lishui City, Zhejiang Province, shows a scooter suspended from power lines hanging above the road.

Police said the truck driver had taken the mountain road in an attempt to avoid being caught driving with a load of 21 scooters that were not properly secured. They said five of the scooters fell onto the road and one ended up tangled in the power lines.

The truck driver was ticketed and made to pay the cost of having the scooter removed from the power lines and damage to the lines repaired.


DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A piglet born at the Iowa State Fair has been touched by royalty.

The 2019 pork queen for the Iowa Pork Producers Association, Gracie Greiner, kept her tiara atop her head as she reached inside a laboring sow Tuesday and removed the piglet at the fair's Animal Learning Center.

The 18-year-old lives a few miles outside Washington, a small eastern Iowa town, where her family breeds pigs to show at the county and state levels. She told The Des Moines Register that "helping pull pigs has come to be one of my favorite parts of the process."

This piglet was big and one of the last ones the sow delivered, which Greiner says meant the sow already was pretty tired.

Her dad, Shaun Greiner, told The Associated Press on Friday that his daughter is about to start classes at Iowa State University in Ames and intends to major in animal science, with an eye toward going to veterinary school someday.


LAS VEGAS (AP) — Las Vegas police say a driver escaped with minor injuries after a crash that left the driver's SUV wedged between a wall and a power box.

Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Lt. Bill Steinmetz says the crash occurred early Thursday when the driver lost control of the car, driving it onto a sidewalk and hitting a tree, which flipped the vehicle.

KVVU-TV reports no pedestrians or other cars were involved and the SUV driver had no passengers.

Steinmetz says the driver was taken to the hospital with minor injuries.


WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) — A New York couple's luxurious vacation house in Florida has been taken over by dozens of black vultures that are vomiting and defecating everywhere.

The Palm Beach Post reports the Casimano family can't even visit the $702,000 home they purchased earlier this year in the Ibis Golf and Country Club.

Siobhan Casimano described the smell as "like a thousand rotting corpses." The vultures have destroyed screen enclosures, and have overtaken the pool and barbeque. The few times the family has visited, they've had to park their car in the garage or the birds peck at them with their beaks.

A neighbor, Cheryl Katz, tells the Post she's got it even worse because she lives next door to a person who is feeding the vultures and other wildlife. In May, she said vultures tore through her pool enclosure and couldn't figure out how to get out.

"Imagine 20 vultures trapped, biting each other — and they can bite through bones," she said. "They would bang against my windows running away from a bird that was attacking them. Blood was everywhere. It was a vile, vicious, traumatic event. And it was Memorial Day, so no company I called would come out to help me."

Finally, three police officers arrived. They removed the screens and shooed away the vultures.

Since she has chronic lymphocytic leukemia, which leaves her vulnerable to infections, she's had to be extra careful going outside, even having someone power wash the patio twice.

The homeowners blame Katz' neighbor, who they claim is excessively feeding wildlife.

Katz said she has seen the neighbor give bags of dog foot and even a roasted chicken to the vultures.

Neighborhood association president Gordon Holness said they've warned the woman but they're limited in what they can do because the vultures, as migratory birds, are protected by federal law.

Holness said vultures were not a problem in the neighborhood before this spring. He said they've contacted the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to issue a warning, but so far they've been ignored by the neighbor.

Katz said she spoke to someone at the U.S. Wildlife Service and learned it is hard to get a permit to kill a black vulture.

People have suggested scaring them with fireworks or balloons, but that doesn't work for long.

Katz even tried putting out four fake owls that have moving heads and blinking lights. "The vultures chewed the owls apart," she said. "They ripped the heads off."


KEAVY, Ky. (AP) — Authorities in Kentucky say three thieves thought they were stealing gasoline from a property for their broken down car until the car stopped working again.

Laurel County Sheriff's Office on Facebook said the three stole a 5-gallon gasoline jug from a garage for their car. Except there wasn't gasoline in the jug. It was peroxide.

News outlets report Latasha Bryant, Timothy Storms and Dustin Napier were arrested Wednesday on various charges including burglary.

Spokesman Gilbert Acciardo says after the trio filled their tank up with peroxide, they pushed the vehicle onto the victim's property.

The sheriff's office says Napier was found with a pill in her mouth that she refused to spit out. Bryant was found with a glass pipe.

It's unclear if an attorney is available to comment.


ATLANTA (AP) — An investigation involving two of the world's biggest airports and hundreds of turtles has led to federal charges that a man illegally shipped the reptiles to China.

Nathan Horton is charged with violating the Lacey Act, which forbids illegal wildlife trafficking.

Prosecutors took a slow-wins-the-race approach to filing charges this week, since the case began as early as 2016. That's when a Georgia Department of Natural Resources officer found Horton trapping turtles on Georgia's Lake Jackson, southeast of Atlanta. He told the officer he had 1,000 active turtle traps on Lake Jackson, court records how.

The next year, undercover officers met with Horton, which they videotaped.

"Horton said that he shipped all the turtles he caught to a person in California who exports them to China for the pet trade," U.S. Fish and Wildlife agent John Elofson wrote in a sworn affidavit, recounting what was said in the undercover meeting.

Turtles are considered "prized pets" in China, and a single wild turtle caught in the U.S. can sell for hundreds of dollars in China, Elofson noted.

Wildlife officials began monitoring turtle shipments from Atlanta's airport. The California Department of Natural Resources also had undercover officers on the lookout for turtles in transit at Los Angeles International Airport. One shipment they tracked at the Los Angeles airport involved five boxes of turtles that went from Southwest Airlines' cargo area to China Southern Airlines.

Court records don't list an attorney who could be reached on Horton's behalf.

In March, four South Carolina men were sentenced in a similar case in which turtle transactions were set up using the Facebook text messaging feature. One of the men — Steven Verren Baker of Holly Hills, South Carolina — was described by prosecutors as the ringleader of an "international syndicate of wildlife smugglers" that exchanged turtles between the U.S. and China. Baker was sentenced to 27 months in federal prison.


NEW YORK (AP) — What's in a name? Or in the case of New York's new Gov. Mario M. Cuomo Bridge, what's not in it?

Roughly year-old signs for the long suburban bridge are being patched over because they don't bear the former governor's middle initial, the state Department of Transportation said Thursday.

Department spokesman Joseph Morrissey said it's being done "to ensure every sign reflects the official name of the new bridge" and make sure signs are uniform.

It's not immediately clear how many signs are involved or how much the fixes will cost. The Journal News first reported on them, pegging the number at dozens of signs.

The DOT is patching over the signs on its roadways, while the state Thruway Authority is patching some of its relatively few signs and replacing others, Thruway spokeswoman Jennifer Givner told the Journal News. The agency is producing the signs in-house, she said.

The nearly $4 billion bridge over the Hudson River opened last year. Connecting Westchester and Rockland counties north of New York City, the span replaced the former Tappan Zee Bridge — or, officially, the Gov. Malcolm Wilson Tappan Zee Bridge.

Lawmakers and current Gov. Andrew Cuomo agreed to name the new span after his late father, who held the state's highest office from 1983 through 1994. Mario Cuomo, who died in 2015, was Democrat, as is his son.

In a twist, Mario Cuomo had formally renamed the bridge to honor Wilson, a Republican. It had been the Tappan Zee Bridge since 1956, and many residents of the region kept calling it just that. (And many still do.)

The Cuomo change irked Wilson's daughter, and it spurred an online petition urging that the name revert to Tappan Zee, which harkened to the area's Native American history and Dutch colonists. Andrew Cuomo called the renaming-reversal campaign "vindictive" and personally hurtful.

The missing "M." fixes come as a state agency is also correcting a misspelling of the name of the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge in New York City. For over 50 years, one "Z″ was missing.

In that dropped-letter matter, the state Metropolitan Transportation Authority argued for years that it could cost millions of dollars to correct road signs, brochures and maps referring to the nation's longest suspension bridge.

Lawmakers and Cuomo agreed last year to fix the signs and materials only as they wore out or were reprinted.

The span honors Italian explorer Giovanni da Verrazzano, who sailed into what is now New York harbor in 1524.


(FOX) The governor of Tanzania's largest city wants to create a database that tracks married men in the East African region in order to crack down on infidelity and "humiliating" women, he said this week.

Women have been complaining that men are deceiving them by making false promises of marriage, Dar es Salaam regional commissioner Paul Makonda said at a news conference on Monday.

"Our main aim is to relieve pain from these women who are suffering from these cheaters -- As a governor, I am not happy to lead women who are sad and heartbroken," Makonda said, according to The Daily Telegraph.

"If possible, we will set up a database in the regional commissioner's office in each region that every man who promises a woman marriage, this should be registered in the database which will allow women to check to see whether the person asking is married," he explained.

The government-run public database would include all married men's' names and photos, but other details of such a database -- including its legality -- remain unclear.

"I have received a lot of complaints from young women. Many women from Dar es Salaam region have been deceived many times, and they have had enough," Makonda said, according to The Independent. "These charming men have been promising to marry them, then ditch the women after using them. This is something that is humiliating."

"These cunning men have left many women nursing heartbreaks and emotional bruises," Makonda added. "You'll find a young man successfully wooing a woman, making her leave every other thing that she does and follows you, hoping that the man will marry her only to realize he is just using her."

This would not be the first time Makonda has made a controversial suggestion. Last year he called for citizens to start reporting gay people in Tanzania, where same-sex relationships are illegal.

He said a team of police and other authorities would target gay people, The Guardian reported at the time -- but the national government distanced itself from Makonda's proposal.

"The government of the United Republic of Tanzania would like to clarify that these are Makonda's personal views and not the position of the government," the foreign affairs ministry had said at the time.


(FOX) Henry Ford, a notorious car thief wanted for violating his parole, was captured Wednesday morning in southeast Michigan, authorities said.

Ford was arrested in Inkster – about 20 miles west of Detroit – around 8:15 a.m., investigators said. He led marshals on a brief car chase before he was stopped, the Detroit Free Press reported.

Ford had eluded the law since he cut off his ankle tether and mailed it to the state corrections department in June, the U.S. Marshals Service said

The 49-year-old has a long rap sheet filled with assault and larceny convictions, including stealing GPS units from cars, Detroit's Fox 2 reported.

"Basically, this guy's whole life – he's a thief. He steals from vehicles, he steals vehicles, he steals tires off vehicles, anything to do with vehicles – go figure – Henry Ford is then robbing them," U.S. Marshal Aaron Garcia told the station in June.

Marshals said Ford is likely to be charged with other crimes. He had a warrant out for his arrest in the nearby city of Livonia for stealing tires off... a Ford.