Mad Minute stories from Monday, February 12th

MIDDLE TOWNSHIP, N.J. (AP) -- A Jersey shore home that washed into the bay during a weekend storm was a structurally unsound nuisance and was bound to fall into the water, neighbors said.

The Grassy Sound home started falling apart long before it was swept off its pilings on Saturday and local officials ignored repeated complaints about it, neighbor Jim Mooers said.

"All of this could have been prevented if somebody had taken the right action when all of these issues were pointed out, but nothing was done," Mooers told "Yes, they might be cleaning up the stuff, but me and all of my neighbors will be cleaning up the rest over the years."

The home's owner, Stuart Tait could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

Next-door neighbor Haldy Gifford said he spent the weekend using a pole to push Tait's floating piles so they wouldn't smash into his home's supports.

"I fended off his refrigerator for three hours," Gifford told The Press of Atlantic City.

Joe Clifford told The Associated Press the house broke loose and went by his home, hit a few decks and struck his 18-foot boat - which capsized - before it went out to the bay.

Tait told Middle Township officials on Tuesday that he had secured permission from the Army Corps of Engineers to use a barge crane to remove what's left of the house from the marsh, Business Administrator Connie Mahon said. He said the cleanup would take about a week, she said.

A page has been started to help Tait pay for the removal of debris.

The U.S. Coast Guard has warned boaters about possible underwater obstructions in the Grassy Sound from the house.


STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) -- The bad news is that a Canadian caterpillar now found in Pennsylvania can cause a nasty rash. The good news is that most cases can be treated at home with lotion and ice, though it'll cause several hours of discomfort.

WJAC-TV says there have been many recently reported cases in State College and elsewhere in central Pennsylvania.

The white hickory tussock moth caterpillar is to blame.

The caterpillar's fuzzy black spines contain venom they use to ward off predators. But it can also irritate human skin.

State College resident Bryant Martin says he and his 5-year-old son learned that the hard way. The boy was letting the caterpillar crawl on his hand Sunday and developed a rash minutes later.

MedExpress Dr. Joseph Betz says the rash is only temporary.


BOISE, Idaho (AP) -- A hunter camping in central Idaho woke up when a black bear started biting his head, and he couldn't get medical care for three days because he was in such a remote wilderness area.

Idaho Fish and Game officials said in a statement Wednesday that 29-year-old Stephen Vouch of Boise had been hunting bighorn sheep with friends and awoke to the attack at 2 a.m. Friday.

Vouch yelled, and one of his friends shot the young male bear with a .45-caliber handgun. Vouch then shot and killed the wounded bear when it climbed a tree.

Vouch received first aid, then the hunting group rafted downstream before flying out of the rugged Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness on Sunday.

He was treated Monday at a hospital for cuts to his head and released.


ALTOONA, Pa. (AP) -- A central Pennsylvania volunteer fire company is using a purple fire truck to raise awareness of domestic violence.

The Newburg Fire Company in Logan Township uses the truck in parades and other public events, but it's no longer used to fight fires. Although many people know October is a month when pink objects call attention to breast cancer, it's also the month designated to raise awareness of domestic violence.

Tory Schwarze, a Newburg EMT, tells WJAC-TV that other fire departments in the country have purple trucks, but officials believe the Newburg vehicle is the only one painted that color for domestic violence.

The neighboring Altoona fire department donated the truck to the volunteer company in 2012.


COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- Four bears were seized Wednesday from an Ohio property, the second time in three days that the state took animals from owners as it cracks down on owners who haven't complied with tightened requirements for owning dangerous wild creatures.

Three black bears and a brown bear were removed near Germantown, southwest of Dayton, after the owner refused to surrender them, Department of Agriculture spokeswoman Erica Hawkins said. She said she couldn't provide details about the condition of the bears or where they were kept.

Owner Daniel Chambers had indicated on an earlier permit application that he also had a tiger and a cougar, but those animals weren't found and it wasn't immediately clear what happened to them, Hawkins said.

Chambers' public phone number rang as disconnected, and he didn't immediately respond to a message sent via a fundraising website under his name.

The bears, which had been under a quarantine order since July, were taken to a state holding facility in Reynoldsburg while officials try to find them new homes.

A hundred animals - most surrendered, some seized - have moved through the facility since Ohio enacted stricter rules after a suicidal man released dozens of animals, including lions and tigers, from a Zanesville-area farm in 2011.

The seizure of the bears came two days after a different owner, Mike Stapleton of Paws and Claws Animal Sanctuary near Waldo, surrendered five tigers when state officials showed up at his door. Like Stapleton, Chambers had started but never finished the application process for a required permit.

Hawkins said that in other cases, owners had submitted incomplete applications and the state was able to work with them to address what was missing. But she said that hadn't worked with Stapleton and Chambers.

"These two guys were in a group of people that, despite multiple outreaches to try to give them that same courtesy to allow them to complete that permit application, they chose not to do it," Hawkins said.

Stapleton told The Marion Star after surrendering his tigers that they were well cared for and that he'd done what he could to try to keep them, including unsuccessfully seeking an accreditation that might help exempt him under the state law.

Chambers had been warned that he failed to provide proof of insurance, an affidavit of compliance with housing standards and a plan for dealing with a potential animal escape, Hawkins said.


STORRS, Conn. (AP) -- A University of Connecticut student faces criminal charges over a confrontation with a campus food court manager who wouldn't let him buy macaroni and cheese with bacon and jalapeno peppers.

A 9-minute, obscenity-laced video clip posted online shows freshman Luke Gatti arguing with and eventually shoving the manager inside the university's student union in Storrs on Sunday night. Police and the manager said Gatti had been refused service for carrying an open alcohol container.

The video shows the apparently intoxicated 19-year-old questioning why in America he can't have beer in the building. He uses a gay slur against the manager and repeatedly demands, "Just give me some (expletive) bacon-jalapeno mac and cheese."

After shoving the manager, Gatti is tackled by another employee, is arrested by a police officer and spits at the manager before being led out of the building.

Gatti, who's from Bayville, New York, did not return a phone call or an email seeking comment. He's charged with breach of peace and criminal trespass and is due in court on Oct. 13.

Federal privacy laws prevent UConn from commenting on whether Gatti faces any university sanctions, UConn spokeswoman Stephanie Reitz said.

"Generally speaking," she said, "any UConn student found to have violated the provisions of the Student Code may face penalties imposed by the Division of Student Affairs that range from probation to expulsion."

Gatti was previously a student at the University of Massachusetts and was twice arrested last year on disorderly conduct charges, according to the Daily Hampshire Gazette in Northampton, Massachusetts.

During one of those arrests, he was accused of using a racial slur against a police officer, court filings show.


NEW YORK (AP) - JetBlue Airways is trying to bring a little bit of country to the city - opening its own "farm" at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport.

The 24,000 square-foot space - less than half the size of a football field - outside JFK's Terminal 5 is meant to educate travelers more than actually feed them. Although eventually JetBlue would like to serve items grown there in terminal restaurants and even make some blue potato Terra Chips that are served on flights.

One day, if the airport allows it, there might even be animals, such as bees and butterflies.

The goal is to try and teach people about farming and to improve the appearance of the terminal's exterior.

"We know people like green space. It's what they have at home. Why not put that at an airport if that's what they love and want?" says Sophia Leonora Mendelsohn, the New York-based airline's head of sustainability. "Your flying experience starts on the ground."

Building a farm at an airport is not simple: It took JetBlue three years to get approval.

Airports are concerned about anything that would attract wildlife, especially birds. That means no growing tomatoes, corn, berries, seeds or sunflowers in its new garden. (The airline originally wanted to grow wheat and use it to make its own JetBlue JFK beer.)

So instead, JetBlue is focusing on potatoes, chives, basil, carrots and other plants deemed safe.

The airline expects to grow 1,000 potato plants, yielding more than 1,000 pounds of spuds every four to six months, along with an additional 1,100 plants such as mint, arugula, beets, garlic, onions and spinach.

The project is in partnership with GrowNYC, a non-profit environmental group that focuses on improving New York City block by block. Students will be brought in from local schools to learn about gardening.

Some of the herbs and produce will be used by restaurants in JetBlue's terminal, others will be donated to local food banks.

All of the plants are grown in plastic milk crates that are bolted together and then tied to hooks in the cement floor. The structure is designed to withstand 160 mph hurricane-force winds, another requirement of the airport's operator, The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

For its first few months, the farm will be closed to the public. Then in the spring, pending approval from various regulators, JetBlue hopes to have educational programs for local students. Eventually, the airline envisions allowing some of its fliers to sign up in advance for visits.

One of JetBlue's sponsors in the project is Hain Celestial, which makes Terra Chips and other natural food brands including Arrowhead Mills, Earth's Best, Health Valley and Walnut Acres.

Jared Simon, senior director of marketing for the company, says right now they are growing Adirondack blue potatoes at JFK to raise awareness of farming.

"Most people have probably not been to a potato farm," Simon said. "It's really about the education. There's such a desire from consumers to connect what they are eating with where it is from."

Eventually, the potatoes might be used to make the blue chips served on JetBlue flights, but not until the company figures out if the crop has the right amount of starch, sugar and moisture.

Terra Blues can be found on all JetBlue flights and have been the official snack of JetBlue Airways Corp. since the airline launched in February 2000. Last year, the airline handed out more than 5.7 million one-ounce bags of the chips.

It takes one to three potatoes to make each bag. There's no way this tiny airport farm will ever supply enough potatoes. Maybe, if lucky, it will yield enough for less than 1 percent of demand. The majority will continue to come from a farm in Van Buren, Maine.


A Christian group in Sharon Hill, PA predicted the world was going to end of Wednesday, October 7th... But so far so good.

The Church founder of the eBible Fellowship website said the bible clearly shows the 7th of October was the day God wanted to destroy the earth -- completely annihilating it. 

He says the prediction was partially based on the blood moon, which happened on September 27th, when there was a lunar eclipse and a super moon.


Authorities say a 20-year-old Pasco County man has been arrested after dancing on the hood of his car with a half-empty bottle of brandy in his hand and later threatening a deputy.

The Tampa Bay Times reports that a Hillsborough County Sheriff's deputy saw Emanuel Figueroa dancing atop his car on Sunday night in the parking lot of a 7-Eleven.

The deputy says the man jumped down, tried to hide the liquor and refused to identify himself. The deputy determined that Figueroa was younger than 21, and tried to arrest him. The deputy says Figueroa resisted and later tried to spit on him.

Figueroa is facing several charges, including assault on a law enforcement officer and minor in possession of alcohol.

It is unclear whether Figueroa has an attorney.


SPARTANBURG, SC. - Police in Spartanburg, South Carolina arrested a 53-year-old man when he called 9-1-1 to complain that his girlfriend wouldn't have sex with him. 

Officers went to the home on Fairfax Street where they met with Patrick Doggett. He was outside, drinking alcohol. 

Doggett explained to police why he called 911, but he then turned to the house and started shouting obscenities. 

Officers arrested and booked him into jail on charges of public drunkenness.


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