Mad Minute

BANGKOK (AP) — A dog found swimming more than 220 kilometers (135 miles) from shore by workers on an oil rig crew in the Gulf of Thailand has been returned safely to land.

A worker on the rig belonging to Chevron Thailand Exploration and Production, Vitisak Payalaw, said on his Facebook page that they saw the dog swimming toward the platform last Friday. He said they were lucky to spot it because if there had been waves it probably would not have been visible.

The dog made it to the platform, clinging to the support structure below deck without barking or whimpering, Vitisak wrote.

The crew managed to lower a rope and secure it around the dog's neck and haul it up. Vitisak said they speculated the dog might have fallen off a fishing trawler, and dubbed it "Boon Rod," or "Survivor."

The dog was delivered by boat to the southern port of Songkhla on Monday and was declared in good shape after being taken to the animal protection group Watchdog Thailand.

Vitisak said if the dog was unclaimed, he would like to take it to his home in northeast Thailand.


CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (AP) — A Harvard University residence hall is ending a decades-old tradition of skinning and barbecuing a goat in the courtyard.

The Harvard Crimson student newspaper reports that Dunster House Faculty Deans Cheryl Chen and Sean Kelly informed students of the decision in an email last week, citing student discomfort with the tradition and health concerns.

They say Dunster will continue to hold a "goat roast," just without an actual goat.

The annual event began in the 1980s as a spinoff of a primitive survival course taught by human and evolutionary biology professor Daniel Lieberman.

After the goat is skinned, students and house staff marinated the carcass in lime, curry, salt, pepper, herbs and garlic, and then roasted it the next day on a spit over a bed of coals.


LOVINGTON, N.M. (AP) — A New Mexico man is facing charges after police say he made a bomb threat to a Family Dollar so his girlfriend could get off work.

Lovington police said Aaron Gutierrez was arrested Monday in connection with a phoned-in bomb threat in February.

The 26-year-old was arrested after police obtained phone records through search warrants.

According to investigators, Gutierrez called in the bomb threat to get his girlfriend off of work so he could see her.

He was charged with making an unlawful bomb scare and faces 18 months in jail.

It was not known if Gutierrez had an attorney.


GOSHEN, Ind. (AP) — A northern Indiana man who sought wages for lunch breaks he didn't take has won his claim, although a judge awarded him just $35.

Joe Lehman was seeking $3,543 he said Thor Industries' Postle Aluminum division owed him for lunch breaks he didn't take while working as a truck driver for about a year and a half.

The Elkhart Truth reports that an Elkhart County magistrate ruled Lehman's favor, but granted him a judgment of only $35, plus $125 in court costs.

The magistrate expressed frustration that both sides didn't present more evidence.

Lehman submitted just five daily driving logs to support his claim. Based on those, the court calculated that the Elkhart man was owed $7 for each half-hour break period he'd worked through during those five days.


BUFFALO, N.Y. (WZTV) - A new study suggests employees who force themselves to smile are more likely to drink heavily after work.

Researchers at Penn State and the University of Buffalo monitored the drinking habits of 1,592 people who work with the public, which included food service workers, nurses and teachers.

The study found that more employees had to fake a smile or exaggerate positive emotions.

Researchers also found much of the opposite with many examples of suppressed negative emotions such as holding off eye rolls.

Alicia Grandley, professor of psychology at Penn State, hypothesized that these people were more likely to consume greater amounts of alcohol once they clocked out of work.

"Faking and suppressing emotions with customers was related to drinking beyond the stress of the job or feeling negatively," Grandley said. "It wasn't just feeling badly that makes them reach for a drink. Instead, the more they have to control negative emotions at work, the less they are able to control their alcohol intake after work."

Grandey said that previous research has shown a connection between service workers and problems with drinking, but the reason was unknown.

She believes by faking or suppressing emotions, the workers are using much of their self-control, leaving less to regulate how much they drink.

"Smiling as part of your job sounds like a really positive thing, but doing it all day can be draining," Grandey said. "In these jobs, there's also often money tied to showing positive emotions and holding back negative feelings. Money gives you a motivation to override your natural tendencies, but doing it all day can be wearing."

The data came from a larger survey funded by the National Institutes of Health, called the National Survey of Work Stress and Health, which studied nearly 3,000 participants of the U.S. working population, according to Penn State.


HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Pennsylvania is getting an official amphibian, a nocturnal, unsightly salamander that's sometimes known as a snot otter, lasagna lizard or mud devil.

The House voted 191-6 Tuesday to grant the honor to the Eastern hellbender, which can grow to be more than 2 feet (a half meter) long and is battling declining numbers across much of its range in the United States.

The path to legislative recognition was not smooth, as the Eastern hellbender faced a stiff challenge from another amphibian called Wehrle's salamander.

Rep. Garth Everett, R-Lycoming, who helped shepherd the bill through the House, said hellbenders had been on decline.

"Not many people have actually seen hellbenders," Everett said after the vote. "They live only in very clean streams, and they live under rocks."

They are the largest North American amphibian, according to the Center for Biological Diversity, and their jarring appearance has inspired a colorful set of nicknames that also include devil dog, ground puppy and Allegheny alligator.

Members of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation's student leadership council began the campaign to designate it as the state's official amphibian, and their efforts were aided by Lycoming College's Clean Water Institute.

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation said hellbenders were plentiful in Pennsylvania as recently as 1990. Their numbers have since been decimated in Eastern states by pollution and sedimentation, researchers say.

Their range generally covers the Appalachian Mountains, from southern New York to northern Georgia.

Among the factors researchers also worry about are disease and warming water temperatures caused by climate change.

Hellbenders do not have federal protected status, and while some states give them protected status, Pennsylvania does not.

Wehrle's salamander, which is common, is named after the late naturalist R.W. Wehrle, of Indiana, Pennsylvania.


GEORGETOWN, Ky. (WKYT) - A woman is behind bars after deputies say she was teaching while drunk at a Scott County middle school.

Brook Ellen West (Scott County Detention Center)

An arrest citation said Brook Ellen West, 32, was arrested Monday after she admitted to authorities she took four vodka shots around 11 a.m. A student at Royal Spring Middle School said West was yelling and cursing at students.

Deputies say West, who is a substitute teacher, smelled like alcohol and was unsteady on her feet. She had a .317 blood alcohol content when she took a breathalyzer test.

The students in the classroom were ages 11-13.

West is charged with alcohol intoxication in a public place and endangering the welfare of a minor. She was placed in the Scott County Detention Center.

Scott County Schools said in a statement to WKYT:

"On Monday, April 15, 2019, a substitute reported to Royal Spring Middle School to fill a half-day opening in the afternoon. The substitute demonstrated erratic behavior. School staff acted immediately upon learning of this behavior. Scott County Sheriff's Department escorted the substitute off school grounds later charging her with alcohol intoxication. The individual is no longer employed by Scott County Schools in any capacity."


April 16 (UPI) -- Authorities in Florida said sheriff's deputies and a professional trapper were summoned to eject an 8 1/2-foot alligator found at a Walmart store.

The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office said deputies responded to a call about an alligator at the Walmart in Wimauma and they arrived to find the 8 1/2-foot reptile.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission dispatched a trapper to the scene and deputies helped load the gator into their pickup truck.

There were no injuries to Walmart shoppers or the alligator, deputies said.


April 16 (UPI) -- A French woman broke a world record for running a marathon in high heels when she finished the Paris Marathon with a time of 6:04:07.

Christelle Doyhambehere, 34, of Pau, smashed the record previously set at the Chattanooga, Tenn., marathon by U.S. woman Irene Sewell, who ran the 26.2 miles in 7:27:53.

Doyhambehere said her accomplishment was inspired by her partner, who joked she should try to run a marathon in her heels after watching her sprint to the car in the rain about a year ago.

Sewell said she trained in tennis shoes during the day and ran in her heels at night to prevent photos of her unusual footwear choice from going viral on social media before the marathon.

The runner, whose accomplishment raised funds for children's charity Koala, said she has submitted evidence of her run to Guinness World Records.


April 15 (UPI) -- Police in Canada said a loose moose running through Newfoundland and Labrador ended up doing them a favor by leading them to a stolen vehicle.

The Royal Newfoundland Constabulary said several reports came in Saturday night about a moose heading south in St. John's.

Police made multiple attempts to escort the moose back to the wooded areas in the north, but the animal kept giving officers the slip.

The RNC said the moose ended up giving police some assistance by leading them right to a vehicle that they recognized as having been reported stolen the previous day.

The moose was last seen running into the Southside Hills woods.

Moose have been known to visit St. John's in the past -- one of the animals was spotted last year wandering around the city's airport.

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