Mad Minute

SIMI VALLEY, Calif. (AP) — More than 350 goats are using their mouths to help protect The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library & Museum from wildfire danger.

The herd returned this week to eat brush around the institution’s campus in the Southern California community of Simi Valley.

The goats create a firebreak between the natural vegetation and the facility, library spokeswoman Melissa Giller told the Ventura County Star.

Goats were credited with helping keep the library safe from a wildfire in 2019.

“During the huge fires a year and a half ago, many of the firefighters who were battling the fire that came within feet of the library said that it was the perimeter created by the goats that allowed them to fight the fire and stop it from getting onto our campus,” Giller said.

This year there is not as much for the goats to eat because there has been little rain and little vegetation regrowth, said Capt. Robert Welsbie, a spokesman for the Ventura County Fire Department.


TEHACHAPI, Calif. (AP) — Giant California condors are rare — but not at Cinda Mickols' home.

About 15 to 20 of the giant endangered birds have recently taken a liking to the house in the city of Tehachapi and made quite a mess.

Mickols' daughter, Seana Quintero of San Francisco, began posting photos of the rowdy guests on Twitter.

She told the San Francisco Chronicle the birds showed up at her mother's home sometime last weekend.

The birds have trashed the deck — ruining a spa cover, decorative flags and lawn ornaments. Plants have been knocked over, railings scratched and there's poop everywhere.

"She's definitely frustrated but also is in awe of this and knows what an unusual experience this is," Quintero said of her mother.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which runs a program to save the species from extinction, responded on Twitter. The agency noted that the house is in historic condor habitat, and suggested that Mickols try harmless hazing like shouting and clapping or spraying water.

California condors almost vanished in the 1980s before the few remaining birds were captured and placed in zoos for captive breeding. A few hundred birds are now in the wild.


WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Ready to welcome tourists back, Polish's southern city of Krakow has recruited two more trumpeters to play the city's trademark bugle call every hour from the tower in St. Mary's Basilica.

They joint a contingent traditionally composed of retired firefighters who are physically fit and good musicians.

A spokesman for Krakow firefighters, Bartlomiej Rosiek, said Thursday it took six months and two rounds of recruitment to find two men to reinforce the team — now of eight players — after one trumpeter retired last year.

In line with a centuries-old tradition, the Hejnal bugle call is played to the four corners of the world: for the king, the mayor, visitors and the firefighters' commander. In past centuries, guards on the city's walls would reply to show they were being vigilant.

The melody stops abruptly because a legend says that in 1241 a trumpeter sounding the alarm was hit by an arrow from an attacking Tatar. The first written records of the Hejnal date back to 1392.

Nowadays, the trumpeters work in pairs for 48-hour shifts. Each time, they climb the 272 steps from their office to the basilica's tower windows to play above city's vast market square. At noon, their call is aired on state Polish Radio 1.


May 6 (UPI) -- A truck driver in Florida walked away uninjured when several pieces of construction rebar pierced the front of the vehicle.

Brevard County Fire Rescue said two work trucks were involved in a crash in West Melbourne, causing rebar being carried by one of the trucks to pierce the front of the other vehicle.

Photos from the scene show the rebar stabbed through the center console of the truck and entered the interior near where the driver's right leg would be.

Firefighters said no one was injured in the crash.


May 6 (UPI) -- Workers doing renovations on a cafe in England made a surprising discovery inside the ceiling -- a menu from the restaurant that occupied the building in 1913.

Natalie Haywood, owner of Leaf in Liverpool, said workers doing renovations on the building found a menu for Yamen Cafe and Tea Rooms, dated Jan. 15, 1913, in the rafters.

Haywood said the workers also found a waiter's hat embroidered with the word "Yaman" and the instructions for a card game called "whist and bottles."

"Down came fluttering from the ceiling this menu from 108 years ago. It's in absolutely unbelievable condition," Haywood told CNN.

Haywood told the BBC the menu is "like a time capsule hidden in the walls."

She said Leaf plans to try to recreate some of the dishes listed on the menu.

"To see what they were doing then, how forward-thinking and creative as a restaurant, is so inspiring," she said.


May 6 (UPI) -- A Michigan woman learned the value of patience when she scored a $150,000 Powerball prize with the same numbers she has played every week for years.

Vera Giglio, 87, of Grosse Pointe Shores, matched four white balls and the Powerball in the March 27 drawing after buying a ticket from Moonlite Party Store in Clinton Township.

Giglio said she has been using the same numbers in the hopes of scoring a big prize for several years.

"I have been playing the same set of numbers every week for years," Giglio told Michigan Lottery officials. "I checked the winning numbers in the newspaper the following day and recognized them right away. It was very exciting!"

Giglio visited lottery headquarters to collect her $150,000 prize. She said she plans to use her winnings to pay off her bills.


May 5 (UPI) -- A Missouri man who won a $50,000 lottery jackpot said he owes his good fortune to a store clerk who handed him the wrong scratch-off ticket.

Bryan Burton, of Joplin, told Missouri Lottery officials he was at Casey's General Store in Joplin when he asked the clerk for a $100,000 Cash scratch-off ticket, but was handed a Millionaire Money ticket instead.

"I asked for game 313, and she gave me game 294 instead," he said.

Burton said he decided to buy the ticket, anyway, and his decision paid off with a $50,000 prize.

The winner said he was so excited to reveal the prize that he immediately called his wife to share the news.


May 6 (UPI) -- A 12-year-old Illinois boy broke a Guinness World Record when he assembled a 20.2-foot tower from popsicle sticks.

Eric Klabel of Naperville said he has been building objects with popsicle sticks and other recycled materials since 2015, and he was inspired to chase the world record after watching a Guinness World Records video highlighting other record holders.

Klabel built the 20.2-foot tower in segments measuring about 3 feet each.

"To make the tower I had to build the same 3-feet-long vertical structure many times, which got very repetitive, though it was still very fun to see it getting taller and taller," Klabel told Guinness.

Klabel's other popsicle stick creations include a motorized model car, a boat, a marble run and a functioning chair.

"I felt accomplished and grateful when I became a Guinness World Records title holder. I was so happy that I was able to get to this point. My favorite thing about achieving the record was that I was able to be known for something I am passionate about," he said.


May 6 (UPI) -- Police in New York responded to a Staten Island neighborhood where a loose horse was spotted wandering the streets and grazing on lawns.

The New York Police Department said the horse pulled away from its owner Wednesday afternoon and wandered through residential streets in the Stapleton neighborhood.

The horse made its way to the Goodhue Community Center before being corralled by police.

Police said the horse was safely returned to its owner.


May 5 (UPI) -- Confectioners in Spain used about 1,102 pounds of chocolate to create an edible version of Pablo Picasso's 1937 painting Guernica.

Chocolatiers and pastry chefs hailing from Basque created the 24.6-foot-by-11.4-foot version of the painting to commemorate the 85th anniversary of the April 26, 1937, bombing of Guernica during the Spanish Civil War.

The painting depicts people and animals being killed and injured during the bombing by Francisco Franco's Nationalist faction.

The chocolate version of Guernica is currently housed in a temperature-controlled room at the Reina Sofia art museum in Madrid, and later will be taken on tour across Spain, Germany and France.