Mad Minute

NEW YORK (AP) — A waiter has returned a cashier's check worth nearly $424,000 to the retired social worker who lost it.

Armando Markaj found a bank envelope while cleaning off a table last Saturday at Patsy's restaurant in East Harlem.

Markaj ran outside but the customer was gone. He opened the envelope and got a shock.

After an unsuccessful search, the restaurant's owner called the Daily News for help.

A "relieved" Karen Vinacour was reunited with her check on Wednesday. It contained proceeds from her apartment sale, earmarked for a down payment on a new home.

Vinacour had not tipped the waiter after her meal. She tried to rectify that but he graciously declined.

Markaj, who's working his way through school, did accept Vinacour's apology and gratitude and said he's "happy for her."


ISLETA PUEBLO, N.M. (AP) — A businesswoman attempting to make a delivery outside of Albuquerque says thieves rolled off in her U-Haul packed with thousands of dollars' worth of refried beans.

KOB-TV reports no arrests have been made in Monday's legume larceny outside of the Isleta Resort & Casino just south of Albuquerque.

Mary Jane Brown is the president of Mexicali Rose Instant Refried Beans and says she stayed at the Isleta Pueblo hotel because she was concerned about crime in Albuquerque.

But she says thieves still took off with her U-Haul containing nearly $7,000 worth of beans.

The company is based in Anthony, New Mexico, outside of El Paso, Texas.


RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The Carolina Hurricanes have been rolling at home ever since their newly acquired grunter named Hamilton started hogging the corner.

Not defenseman Dougie Hamilton — Hamilton the pig.

The 90-pound Juliana potbelly who catches games from behind the boards in a personalized wagon has shown plenty of chops during his three-week run as the team's unofficial good-luck charm.

In the land of pulled pork barbecue, this pig pulls for the Hurricanes.

"He's like this little internet sensation that caught on," said his owner, Raleigh real estate broker Kyle Eckenrode. "People just love it when we bring him out. It's really crazy to watch it all unfold."

The Hurricanes can't argue with the results: Ever since Hamilton began hanging out in the area behind PNC Arena's corner boards — right along the players' path from the dressing room to the ice — earlier this postseason, they haven't lost with their prized pig in the building.

"I guess I'd never seen anything like it," well-traveled goalie Curtis McElhinney said.

On a whim, Eckenrode brought Hamilton — whose name is a play on "ham" — to the parking lot for Game 3 of the first-round series against Washington. He became so popular that the team invited him into the arena for the Game 6 victory over the Capitals, as well as Carolina's two home games in the second-round series with the Islanders.

And when the Eastern Conference final with Boston shifts to Raleigh for Game 3 on Tuesday night, Hamilton will be back in his customary spot amid hopes the Hurricanes can rally from two games down in the best-of-seven series.

He will make his rounds at the pregame tailgate parties that became a signature of this region during the team's run to the Stanley Cup in 2006. He'll fill up countless Instagram feeds while posing for photos with dozens of fans — many of whom no doubt will wear the T-shirts that carry Don Cherry's "Bunch of Jerks" insult-turned-rallying cry.

It's all come together in a phenomenon that's uniquely North Carolinian.

Let the Detroit Red Wings have their octopi, and the Nashville Predators their catfish.

The Hurricanes have this.

"It's been a lot of fun so far, and I think the biggest thing is, you see the city's kind of come together and the fans, and everyone's been so involved and that makes a lot of fun too," said Hamilton — the player, not the pig. "Just seeing what we're doing for the whole city and kind of everyone's coming together to share it."

Well, maybe not everyone — at least, not Cherry.

The curmudgeonly commentator earlier this season called the Hurricanes "a bunch of jerks" for their choreographed Storm Surge celebrations on the ice after regular-season home victories. After Carolina's marketing department started selling $32 shirts with the three-word jab in the team store, he doubled down on the criticism. He called Carolina fans "front-running" and argued the players "know it's the wrong thing to do or else they'd do it in the playoffs."

So, naturally, the Hurricanes quickly announced plans to sell more shirts with "front-running" written in script over the "Bunch of Jerks" phrase.

"It fuels our fan base, it fuels us," defenseman Brett Pesce said. "So in a way, I kind of want to say he's helping us."

Not that they needed much of it during the first two rounds.

They won four of the final five games to oust the Capitals — advancing on Brock McGinn's double-overtime goal in Game 7 — before sweeping the Islanders in the second round.

Fans in this nontraditional market have responded. Carolina has drawn the two largest home crowds in club history during this playoff run, bringing in 19,202 for Game 4 against Washington and topping that with 19,495 people — and one pig — in the series clincher against the Islanders.

"I think they just want to see us have success, and as long as we're winning, they're going to show up," McElhinney said. "Lately, we've been doing that, the second half of the year here, we've been pretty good and they keep coming out. So I don't know, as long as we're winning, they're all in on it. They're loud in there and they're having fun and we're having fun."


LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) — A New Mexico woman is facing charges after police say she fled an officer during a traffic stop and told him, "I don't think so."

Doña County court documents show Ricci Barnett was arrested April 21 following the exchange.

According to court documents, an officer tried to pull over the 41-year-old Barnett for driving the wrong way on a one-way street in Las Cruces, but she refused to stop. The documents say the officer made contact with Barnett as she stopped at a red light.

When the officer showed Barnett his badge, court documents say she responded, "I don't think so," and drove off.

She was eventually taken into custody and charged with aggravated fleeing from a law enforcement officer and reckless driving.

It was not known if she had an attorney.


LIHUE, Hawaii (AP) — A Kauai man pleaded no contest after telling police he was under the influence of a hallucinogenic when he used a machete to wreak havoc on his former boss' home because of a fish dispute.

Forrest Broyles pleaded no contest last week to burglary, criminal property damage and terroristic threatening, the Garden Island reported . Prosecutors agreed to drop an attempted murder charge.

Broyles told police he was on ayahuasca, a hallucinogenic brew from the Amazon, when he broke into his former boss' home on Dec. 3 to get his share of fish they caught together, according to a detective's report.

"He owes me choke ahi," he told police.

Broyles' ex-boss told police he was at home watching football with his wife when he heard a horn honking and then a loud bang. He then heard glass shattering from his front door and saw Broyles headed to the living area carrying a machete.

According to police, Broyles threatened his former boss and wife, "saying that he owed him fish and that he was going to kill him and chop him up."

Broyles started hitting their television with his machete and then "broke out all the windows, the sliding door, broke the living room stand, chairs, the table, kitchen cabinets, the stove and microwave, canoe paddle among other things," police said.

His defense attorney, Melinda Mendes, said Broyles accepted a plea deal with prosecutors because he wanted to take responsibility for what he did.

A judge is expected to sentence him to seven years in prison in August.


LOS ANGELES (AP) — The rock band Guns N' Roses is accusing a Colorado brewery of piggybacking off their fame to sell beer and merchandise.

The band filed a trademark infringement lawsuit Thursday against Colorado-based Oskar Blues Brewery, which sells Guns 'N' Rosé beer and merchandise and bandannas the group says are associated with singer Axl Rose.

The complaint says Oskar Blues applied to trademark Guns 'N' Rosé last year and abandoned the effort after the band objected.

The lawsuit says the brewery is still selling the beer and the merchandise.

The band wants a court order blocking the brewery from misappropriating its name, destroying the products and turning over profits from Guns 'N' Rosé and other monetary awards.

Oskar Blues marketing director Kyle Ingram did not immediately return a telephone message seeking comment.


TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — A microorganism that played a role in treating tuberculosis is now officially recognized as New Jersey's state microbe.

Gov. Phil Murphy signed a bill Friday giving the distinction to Streptomyces (strep-toh-MY'-seez) griseus (GREE'-say-us).

The microbe was discovered in New Jersey soil in 1916.

In 1943, researchers from Rutgers University used the microbe to create the antibiotic streptomycin.

Tuberculosis death rates in the U.S. plummeted. They fell from about 194 deaths per 100,000 people in 1900 to about 9 deaths per 100,000 people in 1955.

Rutgers researcher Selman Waksman was awarded the 1952 Nobel Prize for Medicine for discovering the microbe and creating the antibiotic.


BLACKSTONE, Mass. (AP) — A woman was able to save herself and her cat after the car they were riding in plunged into a Massachusetts river.

Blackstone Fire Chief Michael Sweeney says the woman had just picked up her cat from the groomer Saturday when she crashed the car into the Blackstone River.

Sweeney says the woman grabbed the cat and climbed out the window before the car sank into the water. The cat was in a pet carrier.

The woman in her 60s was taken to the hospital to be treated for cuts on her hand. Both the woman and the cat were expected to be OK.

Sweeney tells WCVB-TV that the woman is a "spunky lady." He says "to be able to do what she did and get out of that car, she was amazing."


TYNDALL, S.D. (AP) — A South Dakota man is accused of stealing $500 worth of sex toys from a couple's home over a period of about two years.

The Argus Leader reports that 25-year-old Brody Fuchs, of Tyndall (TIN'-duhl), is charged with second-degree burglary.

Bon Homme County Sheriff's Deputy Brian McGuire says Fuchs took "a bunch" of the items from a residence in Tyndall, which is near the Nebraska border.

An affidavit says the couple had installed a camera system inside the house, which caught Fuchs entering the home for about 40 seconds, then leaving. A deputy recovered a number of sex toys during a search of the suspect's residence.

McGuire did not say whether Fuchs knew the couple.

A phone number for Fuchs could not be found.


The library of an Australian university was evacuated last week because of a suspected gas leak which turned out to be something much different.

Around 550 people evacuated the University of Canberra's library in under 6 minutes on Thursday because of what was believed to be a possible gas leak, according to a Facebook post from the school.

But the unpleasant smell didn't turn out to be gas at all — and was actually durian, a smelly fruit.

"We are open!" the university wrote online about an hour later. "The lingering gas-like smell in the building is completely safe — someone left a durian fruit in one of our bins!"

The "offending fruit," as dubbed by the school, has a creamy, stringy texture, but also a smell that Smithsonian magazine once compared to "turpentine and onions, garnished with a gym sock."

The fruit caused the second mass evacuation of an Australian university. In April 2018, fire officials in Melbourne warned of a chemical hazard at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology and said the smell of gas had been reported.

After hundreds were evacuated, it turned out the possible leak was "not chemical gas, but gas generated from rotting durian, an extremely pungent fruit which had been left rotting in a cupboard."

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