Mad Minute

Authorities in Rhode Island are trying to figure out who set off explosives inside a pair of portable toilets over the weekend, leaving the thrones blown to pieces in two towns.

The Rhode Island Fire Marshal said the incidents both took place on Saturday in the towns of Westerly and Charlestown.

The first blast was reported at about 12:30 a.m. Saturday at a residential construction site in the coastal town of Westerly.

“I’ve seen many other things happen to port-a-potties but never an explosion,” Jason Mottle, who has been working the construction site, told WPRI-TV. “The port-a-potty was blown up into a million pieces.”

The second incident was reported hours later in a private parking lot in Charlestown. A fisherman reported hearing an explosion at about 11 p.m. Saturday, but the damage was not reported until Sunday morning.

Images released by the state fire marshal showed both portable toilets blown to pieces.

There were no reports of injuries in either explosion.

The state bomb squad, which is overseen by Office of the State Fire Marshal, is now investigating, according to officials. The Rhode Island fire marshal is also offering a $5,000 reward for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of whomever is responsible for the blasts.

Anyone with information is urged to contact the state bomb squad at 401-383-7723.


(FOX) A German theme park quickly shut down a new ride -- not due to safety reasons, but because critics said it resembled "flying swastikas."

The "Eagle Fly" ride at Tatzmania, an amusement park in Löffingen, a city roughly 60 miles northwest of Zurich, Switzerland, was widely criticized after a video of it in motion reportedly circulated online.

Spinning in the air while ridegoers are strapped into a harness, the ride appears to look like two large swastikas.

A spokesperson for Tatzmania told Euronews that nobody was aware of what the ride resembled until video of it was released.

"First of all, I would like to emphasize that I would like to apologize with all form to all persons who feel disturbed and insulted by our design," park owner Rüdiger Braun told the European Broadcasting Union.

Braun said the ride, which only opened in July, will face a slight redesign — each arm of the "Eagle Fly" will have three eagles, not four.


(FOX) Three Texans were slapped with hefty fines Monday after they were seen on camera riding dockless scooters down the shoulder of an interstate highway in Milwaukee, police said.

The three men were seen on Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) highway cameras riding the scooters single file on the shoulder of I-94, Milwaukee's Fox 6 reported.

The Milwaukee County Sheriff's Office said the men tried to exit the interstate but deputies stilled them first.

A spokeswoman from the sheriff's office said the men were visiting from Texas and were using a GPS to take them to Milwaukee's Harley Davidson-Museum.

Each was hit with a $204 citation for riding a moped/cycle on the freeway, Fox 6 reported. Their scooters were loaded into a deputy's squad car and the men were driven from the interstate, the report said.

Inspector Daniel Hughes said at a news conference Tuesday that the results could've been "catastrophic."

"They had to cross three lanes of traffic that were going at 50 miles per hour, give or take," Hughes said. "I believe they were trying to make the best decision under the circumstance, but it was a poor decision in the first place."

Dockless scooters, which are used for short-terms rentals and do not have a fixed home location, have proven controversial as their proliferation outpaces efforts to regulate their use.

The fast-growing trend has raised alarms across the country, with critics saying the scooters have been clogging up sidewalks and putting the lives of the riders and others at risk.


(FOX) Fidel Castro was infamous for baring his teeth and lashing out at his political opponents, even into his old age.

So it seems only fitting that a crocodile once owned by the deceased Cuban dictator took a leaf out of its old master's book when it bit a man at a crayfish party in Sweden Tuesday.

The man, identified only as being in his mid-70s, was attending a private party at the Skansen Aquarium in Stockholm when the crocodile bit him, The Local Sweden reported.

"He had his arm on the wrong side of the security glass and was then bitten by one of the crocodiles," Mikael Pettersson, a police control room officer, told local media. "He was heavily bandaged when we arrived on the scene."

The man was transported to a hospital and was in stable condition, according to reports.

In Sweden, crayfish parties are held with friends and family in August and September to commemorate the end of summer. Tuesday's party at the Skansen Aquarium was organized by the head of the business, who claimed to have shouted before the man was bitten, but said it was too late.

"What I saw was that he climbed up on a rock and was holding one of his arms over the glass barrier of the crocodile exhibit because he was going to give a speech," said the owner, Jonas Wahlström. "He turned his back and the crocodile saw his hand coming down from his arm and just attacked him and bit him."

Wahlström said, "Luckily the crocodile dropped him after maybe ten seconds so he could be taken care of."

The crocodile is one of a pair that once belonged to Castro and now reside in Sweden. Castro, who led Cuba from 1959 until 2008, gifted the reptiles - named Castro and Hillary - to a Russian cosmonaut in 1978, who subsequently donated them to the Moscow Zoo. They came to Stockholm in 1981, according to the Local.

The crocodiles have had 11 offspring since arriving in Sweden, and in 2015, Wahlström transported 10 of the baby crocodiles to Cuba to help with its dwindling population.


Specialists are using lasers to clean up the black biofilm on the Jefferson Memorial dome.

The biofilm was first noticed in 2006.

"Biofilm is a microbial community of algae, fungi and bacterial growth," National Park Service historical architect Audrey Tepper said.

In recent years, various removal methods were tested, and lasers were chosen as the best option.

"These are not lasers from 'Star Wars,'" Tepper said. "These are lasers that are designed for architectural surfaces."

The laser work is done inside protective tents.

"The laser is very laborious; it's very precise," Tepper said.

Arlington Cemetery, the Lincoln Memorial and some of the Smithsonian buildings have it, too.

"Actually, it's a fairly common phenomenon, and you will see biofilms in different forms throughout Washington, D.C.," Tepper said.

It's worse at the Jefferson Memorial because the bacteria thrives in sunlight and moisture.

There's a renewed push for first aid training following the recent mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton—specifically training in techniques that slow or stop heavy bleeding. The training itself is just five steps. (Published Thursday, Aug. 22, 2019)

"This is just such an exposed location," Tepper said.

Removing the biofilm is only part of the $8 million, 15-month renovation. Repairs are being made inside as well, including fixing the roof to the portico, which has been deteriorating due to water damage.

The memorial remains open to tourists during the project.


When Ryan Dubray was given a $50 bill from his grandparents as he headed off to college in case of emergency, he never dreamed it would be spent at a toll — more than two decades later.

Dubray's grandparents, Leo and Anna May, gave him the money so he could find his way home in case of an emergency. They signed it, and Dubray tucked it into his wallet — just in case.

"I carried my grandparents with me everywhere I went and it kind of was like they were always there in case I ever got into trouble," DuBray told News 4.

He stayed out of trouble for 21 years, never needing to use the emergency funds. His grandparents would ask to see it when they saw him, their signatures acting as a means of verifying he hadn't switched it out for another bill.

"I felt like if I ever had to spend it that would be the lowest point of my life and I would be in the depths of despair or I'd be in a whole lot of trouble and it was a life or death kind of situation," DuBray said.

It was that level of attachment Dubray had to the $50 that makes what happened to it all that much more anti-climactic, he says.

Dubray was driving back to his Massachusetts home with his family from a Myrtle Beach vacation when he hit a series of tolls, including the $15 charge at the George Washington Bridge. He quickly realized he did not have any cash left — except for the $50 bill from Nanny and Papa.

After snapping a few pictures, Dubray handed the bill over to the toll collector.

"It didn't really occur to me that I'd ever have to spend it," Dubray admitted. "I guess I took it for granted. And once it was gone I got real sad."

When he got home, he shared the heartfelt story on Facebook, saying if someone ever finds it he'll happily trade it for another, plus interest.

But he was not expecting to get the interest it has online — with hundreds of thousands of people sharing his story around the country and even the world, total strangers pledging to keep an eye out for the sentimental piece of legal tender.

"It was surprising. I wasn't expecting this kind of reaction," DuBray said.

While DuBray, who said his father and children will '"absolutely" carry on the tradition when they get to college, would love to get the bill back, he's not expecting it. His grandmother has passed away since giving him the money all those years ago, but his grandfather says the $50 has served its purpose: It helped Ryan find his way home.


When Dawn Winfield-Hunt got married earlier this month, she only expected to wear her wedding dress once. But when some friends threw a barbecue the next day, the newlywed couldn't resist slipping into the gorgeous gown once again.

After that, the 54-year-old from Isle of Wight, England, realized she could — and should — wear her beautiful wedding dress multiple times.

"I wore it at the barbecue, and everyone loved it! I then decided to wear it for the week and to go to Tesco in it and go paddle boarding," she told TODAY Style.

Winfield-Hunt's weeklong wedding dress fashion show turned into something more when she saw how excited people were to see her wearing it.

"I realized how happy it made people," the newlywed said.

So the bride decided to wear the dress as much as possible for the next year, and she's gotten nothing but positive feedback so far.

"People love it! They are always so happy and smiley around me and always come to speak to me," she said.

Since tying the knot to husband Steve, 57, on Aug. 3, Winfield-Hunt has worn her wedding gown all over the place.

"I've been shopping, made dinner, painted the deck, carried out some carpentry work, done the hoovering (aka vacuuming) and been to an open-air festival," she said.

Winfield-Hunt says she's just getting started, and cites kayaking, horseback riding and baking a cake as a few items on her dress bucket list. The adventurer also wants to visit Buckingham Palace and the zoo while she's all dolled up.

The bride purchased her gown on sale for £300 (around $364 USD) at a local charity shop, and she's certainly getting her money's worth.


(CNN) — After pocketing a rock as a souvenir from her trip to the Great Smoky Mountains, a young National Park visitor was feeling guilty. So she sent the rock back, along with an adorable letter -- and the park rangers thanked her.

In a Saturday Facebook post, rangers from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park shared the letter from the environmentally concerned traveler, who signed it Karina.

"Deep Creek was awesome! I especially liked Tom Branch Falls," the letter says. "I loved it so much I wanted to have a souvenir to come home with me, so I took a rock. I'm sorry, and I want to return it."

Along with the rock in question, Karina's handwritten message arrived with a donation and a pencil drawing of the waterfall, according to the post.

In their reply, park rangers assured Karina that her rock had been returned to its rightful place in the falls and thanked her for being "an amazing steward for the park."

"If every visitor took a rock home, that would mean 11 million rocks would be gone from the park every year! The park would definitely not be as beautiful as it was before," the rangers wrote in their post. "Rocks in the Smokies also provide homes for hundreds of creatures, including salamanders!"

It's true that the park serves as an important natural habitat for a wide variety of species, from bears to deer to, yes, lots of salamanders. The Great Smoky Mountains are known as the "salamander capital of the world," according to the National Park Service website, and are home to giant hellbender salamanders that can grow up to 2 feet long.

In another Facebook post, rangers pointed out that taking or even just moving rocks can threaten hellbenders' eggs. The salamanders build their nests under rocks in streams, and disturbances can prevent the eggs from hatching, they wrote.

Plus, it's actually a federal crime to remove objects from the park -- so Karina was definitely smart to ship back her souvenir.

"Now that you know to leave nature the way you find it, we hope you will help share this message with others," the rangers concluded their message to Karina. "It is always a good thing to give another the chance to discover!"


Aug. 22 (UPI) -- Employees at a Washington state grocery store found $550,000 worth of cocaine hidden in boxes of bananas meant for sale, local law enforcement officials said Thursday.

The workers at the King County Safeway made the discovery Sunday while arranging stock in the store's back room.

The King County Sheriff's Office said the employees alerted police, who tested the suspected drugs and confirmed the substance to be 48 pounds of cocaine.

"It's not unusual to find a spider hiding in a bunch of bananas, but kilos of cocaine?" the sheriff's office said in a Facebook post.

"This is an ongoing investigation as detectives try to determine where the bananas came from."

The sheriff's office said Safeway stores in Bellingham and Federal Way also discovered cocaine in similar produce containers.


Aug. 22 (UPI) -- A Pennsylvania family's home security camera captured the moment a bear wandered onto their porch and stole a box of mail-order dog food.

The Newman family shared video of the bear grabbing the box from their front porch in Thornhurst and dragging it off into the woods.

The family said the box was from Chewy, a mail-order dog food company operated by PetSmart.

The Newmans shared the video footage with Chewy, which offered to send a replacement box of dog food.