Mad Minute stories from Wednesday, November 23rd | Strange

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Good news for fans of “The Goonies:” the old Victorian home featured in the film is on sale in Astoria, Oregon, and potential buyers are considering making it more accessible to the public.

“We have a few interested parties right now,” said realtor Jordan Miller, the listing agent for the property. “It seems to be everybody’s intention to be able to open up the house a little bit more and have more access.”

The 1896 home with sweeping views of the Columbia River flowing into the Pacific Ocean has been listed with an asking price of $1.7 million on Zillow, where it’s described as “fully loaded with history, nostalgia and iconic level of fame.”

Since the movie hit theaters in 1985, fans have flocked to the home in northwestern Oregon’s historic port of Astoria. The city celebrates Goonies Day on June 7, the film’s release date, and welcomes thousands of people for the event.

Owner Sandi Preston was known to have been largely welcoming to visitors. But she lived in the house full time, and the constant crowds were a strain that prompted her at times to close it to foot traffic.

After the film’s 30th anniversary drew about 1,500 daily visitors in 2015, Preston posted “no trespassing” signs prohibiting tourists from walking up to the property. She reopened it to the public this past August.

City officials, who restricted parking in the area, have long sought to mediate the tensions between residents and the fans hoping to see and photograph the location.

“While the owner of this location from The Goonies is a fan of the movie and enjoys chatting with visitors making the trek to Astoria to see the film locations, as you can imagine, it gets hard having hundreds of people crowding into your personal space every single day,” the Astoria-Warrenton Chamber of Commerce wrote in August on a Facebook page they administer called Goonies Day in Astoria, Oregon.

In the coming-of-age film, based on a story by Steven Spielberg and featuring a young Sean Astin, a group of friends fight to protect their homes from an expanding country club and threats of foreclosure. In the process, they discover an old treasure map that leads them on an adventure and allows them to save their “Goon Docks” neighborhood.

Astoria and its rugged coastline served as the backdrop for several well-known films from the 1980s and ’90s, including “Kindergarten Cop” starring Arnold Schwarzenegger.

For now, potential buyers of the iconic Goonies house don’t seem to want to make the house their primary residence, said listing agent Miller, suggesting it has drawn interest from people who want to “make it their passion.”

“It’s kind of a fun buy,” Miller said. “Whoever buys the house is going to have a relatively steady stream of extremely happy people walking up outside to fulfill their childhood dreams.”


NEW YORK (AP) — Don’t accuse the TSA of catnapping on the job. When an alert agent at New York’s John F. Kennedy airport noticed tufts of orange fur poking out of a slightly unzipped suitcase, it gave him pause.

As the bag went through the X-ray unit Nov. 16, the Transportation Security Administration agent was in for a surprise: Inside were four paws and a tail belonging to a feline stowaway.

“On the bright side, the cat’s out of the bag,” a TSA spokesperson tweeted Tuesday.

The passenger was paged to return to the ticket counter after the cat was found, the spokesperson, Lisa Farbstein, said in an email.

“The traveler said that the cat belonged to someone else in the household, implying that he was not aware that the cat was in the suitcase,” Farbstein said.

“We call that a good CATch!” she said.

The stowaway cat, identified by the New York Post as “Smells,” was returned to its owner.

The cat’s owner told the Post that Smells must have crawled into the suitcase of a visiting friend. She didn’t know her tabby was missing until airport officials reached her.


(CBC) A B.C. Supreme Court judge in Kamloops has cancelled a marriage annulment after concluding that the woman who appeared before him to consent to the order was an “imposter.”

In a ruling he said was necessary — in part — to prevent a “miscarriage of justice,” Justice Dennis Hori last week set aside an order he granted almost a year ago after an application by two people who identified themselves via “remote audio connection” as Warren and Gina Zant.

According to the decision, the real Gina Zant “became distraught” when she was told about the annulment — which would have meant the loss of her interest in her ex-husband’s pension plan.

“I am unable to determine, on the basis of the evidence before me, who actually appeared at the annulment application representing herself as Gina Elizabeth Zant. However, I am satisfied that whoever attended by telephone on that date was an imposter,” Hori wrote.

“I am satisfied that where an imposter appears at an application representing themselves as a party, without the consent of the actual party, there is sufficient grounds to set aside the orders made at the application.”

Hori’s ruling follows an unusual set of circumstances that saw the judge reject “most, if not all” of Warren Zant’s representations to the court — not least of which was a claim Zant himself was mentally incompetent.

According to the decision, Warren Zant married the real Gina Zant in the tropical Cook Islands on Nov. 27, 1999.

They split nearly two decades later, filing a separation agreement in which they agreed Gina Zant would receive survivor benefits under Warren Zant’s Operating Engineers’ Pension Plan.

The current set of proceedings was set in motion last year when Warren Zant applied to the court for an order annulling the marriage and removing Gina Zant “from being a beneficiary under his pension and benefits plans.”

The application included correspondence from the Cook Islands stating that the marriage was “null and void.”

A document bearing the signature “Gina E. Zant” was also filed with the court — consenting to the orders Warren Zant was seeking.

“I was fully aware that our marriage in the Cook Islands was not legally binding,” the document read.

Based on that information and the assurances of the two people who appeared by telephone as Warren and Gina Zant, Hori granted the annulment, as well as the order ending Gina Zant’s right to be Warren Zant’s pension beneficiary.

Warren Zant sent a copy of the annulment order to the Operating Engineers’ Pension Plan two months later.

Then the administrator of the Operating Engineers’ Pension Plan pension plan called the real Gina Zant — who said she “was unaware of any court proceedings.”

A number of the documents filed in support of Warren Zant’s application to annul the marriage have come under scrutiny. A registrar for marriages, births and deaths in the Cook Islands says documents ascribed to her are ‘fraud.’ (Shutterstock)

According to Hori’s decision, a number of different people purporting to represent Zant have since appeared at a series of hearings along with the real Gina Zant and a pension plan lawyer.

Along the way, documents supporting Warren Zant’s original annulment application have come under scrutiny.

They include emails purportedly written by an official in the Cook Islands claiming that according to the South Pacific nation’s laws: “this marriage is fraud or totally annulled, it does not exist.”

The country’s senior registry manager for births, deaths and marriages emailed the real Gina Zant to say the correspondence ascribed to her was “fraud documents which you did not receive from me.”

Hori also concluded the person before whom Warren Zant swore his affidavits in Chetumal, Mexico was not authorized to commission affidavits for use in Canada.

Enrique Alejandro Alonso Serrato was supposed to be “a commissioner for taking affidavits for the Canadian embassy.”

But he wasn’t on any list of lawyers and notary publics on the government’s website, and the embassy confirmed for pension staff that not only did they not employ Serrato, they didn’t have an office in Chetumal.

Acting on her own behalf, the real Gina Zant claimed she was “shocked” to learn that her marriage had been nullified and her interests in Warren Zant’s pension cancelled.

“I gave Warren Zant’s representatives the opportunity to cross-examine Gina Zant,” Hori wrote.

“However, they did not do so.”

A B.C. Supreme Court judge in Kamloops has set aside an earlier order annulling a marriage. He also refused to find the man who made the application mentally incompetent. (CBC)

Based on those facts, Hori set aside his earlier annulment order.

The judge also went on to reject Warren Zant’s application for an order “upholding the legal incompetence of Warren Thomas Zant due to mental health” because it was based on “unreliable” evidence from witnesses who “lack credibility.”

Hori said he was “not prepared to accept that Warren Zant is mentally incompetent” — pointing out that if Zant had been mentally incompetent then he couldn’t have sought the order seeking the annulment in the first place.

David Paul, the lawyer who acted for the Pension Plan, said the case was “very troubling.”

He said his client and the real Gina Zant were “very pleased” with Hori’s decision, but that the situation appears to be someone taking advantage of the extraordinary measures courts have gone through to ensure access to justice during the pandemic.

“Unfortunately, while these procedures have been overwhelmingly successful they’ve also allowed certain malevolent individuals to use the deficiencies in these remote programs for nefarious purposes,” he said.

“I think this case and other cases that come before the courts will give the legal profession a reason to look at how we can even further improve our system to prevent against instances like this in the future.”

The parties will be back in court in January when Paul says he’ll be making an application for costs.

“It’s my submission that the claimant needs to face personal repercussions for this type of conduct,” he said.

“I think there also needs to be a loud message to like-minded individuals that our system of justice is based on principles of honesty and that there are serious consequences for fraudulent conduct.”


Nov. 23 (UPI) — Animal control officers in Nebraska said a goat was finally corralled after evading capture on multiple occasions for nearly three weeks.

Lincoln Animal Control said calls started coming in about a brown-and-white goat on the loose Nov. 8, and officers were able to make visual contact with the goat multiple times, including one time when the animal had climbed onto the girders beneath a bridge.

“We’ve been working to get it secured. But they’re difficult to catch because they have four legs and we only have two — so they’re a lot faster than us,” Animal Control officer Nick Finelli told the Lincoln Journal Star.

Animal control posted a video to Facebook showing the brown-and-white goat finally being wrangled by a group of four officers.

“We kind of moved in on his territory, so he didn’t have anywhere to go because the building was to his back,” Finelli said. “And then we were able to secure him.”

The goat is now being cared for at the Capital Humane Society while officials try to identify the animal’s owner.

Animal control said a white goat was previously seen hanging out near Shoemaker’s truck stop and Interstate 80 from August to early November, but the animal has since vanished.


(CNN) In April 1992, Vanessa Williams’ “Save the Best for Last” topped the Billboard 100, Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton was running for the White House, “Who’s the Boss?” aired its final episode, and the babies born to Rachel and Philip Ridgeway a couple of weeks ago were frozen as embryos.

Born on October 31, Lydia and Timothy Ridgeway were born from what may be the longest-frozen embryos to ever result in a live birth, according to the National Embryo Donation Center.

The previous known record holder was Molly Gibson, born in 2020 from an embryo that had been frozen for nearly 27 years. Molly took the record from her sister Emma, who was born from an embryo that had been frozen for 24 years.

It’s possible an older frozen embryo may have been used; although the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tracks success rates and data around reproductive technologies, it does not track how long embryos have been frozen. But there’s no evidence of an older embryo resulting in a live birth.

“There is something mind-boggling about it,” Philip Ridgeway said as he and his wife cradled their newborns in their laps at their home outside Portland, Oregon. “I was 5 years old when God gave life to Lydia and Timothy, and he’s been preserving that life ever since.”

“In a sense, they’re our oldest children, even though they’re our smallest children,” Ridgeway added. The Ridgeways have four other children, ages 8, 6, 3 and almost 2, none conceived via IVF or donors.

The embryos were created for an anonymous married couple using in-vitro fertilization. The husband was in his early 50s, and they used a 34-year-old egg donor.

The embryos were frozen on April 22, 1992.

For nearly three decades, they sat in storage on tiny straws kept in liquid nitrogen at nearly 200 degrees below zero, in a device that looks much like a propane tank.

The embryos were kept at a fertility lab on the West Coast until 2007, when the couple who created them donated the embryos to the National Embryo Donation Center in Knoxville, Tennessee, in hopes another couple might be able to use them. The five embryos were overnighted in specially outfitted tanks to Knoxville, said Dr. John Gordon, the Ridgeways’ doctor.

“We’ve never had in our minds a set number of children we’d like to have,” Philip said. “We’ve always thought we’ll have as many as God wants to give us, and … when we heard about embryo adoption, we thought that’s something we would like to do.”

The medical name for the process the Ridgeways went through is embryo donation.

When people undergo IVF, they may produce more embryos than they use. Extra embryos can be cryopreserved for future use, donated to research or training to advance the science of reproductive medicine, or donated to people who would like to have children.

As with any other human tissue donation, embryos must meet certain US Food and Drug Administration eligibility guidelines to be donated, including being screened for certain infectious diseases.

“Embryo adoption is not a legal ‘adoption’ at all, at least in the sense of a traditional adoption which occurs after birth,” the National Embryo Donation Center says. “However, the term allows all parties to conceptualize the process and eventual reality of raising a non-genetically related child.”

The American Society for Reproductive Medicine says, “Application of the term ‘adoption’ to embryos is inaccurate, is misleading, and could place burdens upon recipients and should be avoided.”

Many colloquially call the donor process “embryo adoption,” but adoption and donation are not one and the same, said Dr. Sigal Klipstein, a Chicago-based fertility specialist and chair of the American Society of Reproductive Medicine’s ethics committee.

“Adoption refers to living children,” Klipstein said. “It’s a legal process by which a parent-child relationship is created when it did not previously exist.”

Embryo donation, she said, is a medical procedure. “It’s a way by which we take embryos from one couple or individual and then transfer them into another individual in order to build families.”

The phrase “adoption” has become wrapped up in a larger cultural debate, used predominantly by those in faith-based communities with conservative leanings. The National Embryo Donation Center is a private, Christian-led organization. It requires recipients to pass a “family assessment” and says “couples must be a genetic male and a genetic female married for a minimum of 3 years.” The center says it has helped with the births of over 1,260 infants from donated embryos.

Klipstein says that using donated embryos can often be cost-effective for people looking for fertility help, as it cuts out the price of looking for and storing donor sperm and eggs. “They don’t get the genetic connection to the children,” she said, “but they do have a much less expensive reproductive option than even with in-vitro fertilization in most cases.”

For the Ridgeways, building their family was always part of a larger calling.

“We weren’t looking to get the embryos that have been frozen the longest in the world,” Philip Ridgeway said. “We just wanted the ones that had been waiting the longest.”

When looking for donors, the Ridgeways specifically asked the donation center about a category called “special consideration,” meaning it had been hard to find recipients for these embryos, for whatever reason.

“Going into this, we knew that we could trust God to do whatever he had sovereignly planned and that their age really had no factor. It was just a matter of whether or not that was in God’s plans,” Rachel Ridgeway said.

To pick their embryos, they went through a donor database. It did not list the how long embryos have been frozen, but it listed the donors’ characteristics like ethnicity, age, height, weight, genetic and health history, education, occupation, favorite movies and music. With some files, there are photos of the parents and of their children if they have them.

The Ridgeways assumed those listed with earlier donor numbers had been at the center the longest and tried to narrow their choice to those profiles.

Southeastern Fertility, which partners with National Embryo Donation Center, thawed the embryos February 28. Of the five that were thawed, two were not viable. There’s about an 80% survival rate when thawing frozen embryos, experts say.

The American Society for Reproductive Medicine and the CDC both recommend transferring one embryo at a time, as transferring more raises the likelihood for multiples, which also potentially increases risk for both mother and child. Twin babies are more likely to be born early, develop cerebral palsy, have autism and result in stillbirth.

Rachel remembers Gordon handing her a picture of the three embryos and recommending they transfer only two, telling her, “multiples can cause problems in pregnancy.” But she said there was no question in her mind that they would transfer all three.

She remembers getting teary-eyed and saying, “You just showed me a picture of my three children. I have to have them all.”The remaining three embryos were transferred into Rachel on March 2, 29 years and 10 months after they were frozen. Two of the transfers were successful. Studies have found that 25% to 40% of frozen embryo transfers result in a live birth.

Embryos can be frozen pretty much indefinitely, experts said.

“If you’re frozen at nearly 200 degrees below zero, I mean, the biological processes essentially slow down to almost nothing. And so perhaps the difference between being frozen for a week, a month, a year, a decade, two decades, it doesn’t really matter,” Gordon said.

Dr. Jim Toner, a fertility specialist in Atlanta, likens it to an old story: “It doesn’t seem like a sperm or an egg or embryo stored in liquid nitrogen ever experiences time. It’s like that Rip Van Winkle thing. It just wakes up 30 years later, and it never knew it was asleep.”

The age of the embryo shouldn’t affect the health of the child. What matters more is the age of the woman who donated the egg that went into the embryo.

“If that patient was 25, yes, most likely, her embryos will survive,” said Dr. Zaher Merhi, a fertility expert at the Rejuvenating Fertility Center in New York City. “It’s all about the egg and the embryo and when the egg was taken out.”

The Ridgeways say they’ve wanted their kids involved all along the process, so they have been explaining it to them as they went through the steps.

“They were excited and happy with us every step along the way. They love their siblings, and they play together and were looking forward to finding out whether God had given them two boys, two girls or a brother and a sister,” Phillip Ridgeway said.

Lydia was born at 5 pounds, 11 ounces, and Timothy was 6 pounds, 7 ounces.

“They were good-size babies,” Rachel Ridgeway said. “It really is God’s grace because he has just sustained us each step of the way.”


Nov. 22 (UPI) — Reptile wranglers in Australia came to the rescue of a thirsty snake found with its head stuck inside the opening at the top of a beer can.

Photos and video posted to Facebook by Brisbane North Snake Catchers and Relocation shows rescuers responding to a report of a snake trapped in a beer can in Brighton, Queensland.

The rescuers arrived to find the venomous red-bellied black snake’s head was stuck inside a can of Victoria Bitter, a popular brand of beer.

The rescuers used tools to cut through the can and free the snake. They discovered the snake had likely not been in search of a stiff drink — there was a dead frog inside the can. The state of the frog’s decay indicted the snake had likely been trapped in the can for a few days, the rescuers said.


Nov. 23 (UPI) — A Florida couple who are both competitive eaters broke Guinness World Records for speed eating hot dogs and a burrito.

The record-keeping organization announced Miki Sudo ate an entire burrito in 31.47 seconds, breaking the previous record by 0.88 seconds. In the same day, she broke the record for most hot dogs eaten in 1 minute, downing six to double the previous record.

Sudo’s husband, Nicholas Wehry ate 12 hot dogs in 3 minutes, beating the previous record of 9.

The pair, known as The Hungry Couple, met four years ago while preparing for a competitive eating event.

“We actually met at the gym on the morning of the largest eating contest on our circuit,” Sudo told Guinness World Records. “I just thought I’d be polite, and I went over and introduced myself.”

The couple have since married, and have a child together, but they continue to face one another in competitions.

“We’re ranked third and fourth in the world and at any given contest, we might beat each other by a fraction of an ounce,” Sudo said.


COLUMBUS — Ohio State is preparing their campus to host its rival team, the Michigan Wolverines, Saturday afternoon, according to our news partner WCPO in Columbus.

Saturday’s between the Buckeyes and Wolverines is highly anticipated with the winner going to the Big 10 Championship.

Ohio State is using tape to cross out the letter “M” around its campus ahead of “The Game,” WCPO reports.

This includes billboards, plaques and buildings.

It’s a tradition to cover the letter and helps students get in the spirit of the rivalry, according to WCPO.

The rivalry between Ohio State and Michigan (The Team Up North) originated in 1897.

Kickoff from Columbus is Saturday at 12 noon.


PONCHATOULA, La. (AP) — Louisiana artist Mandy Poche needed something to wear to her exhibit opening the next day. Instead of making a last-minute dash to the store, she turned to her creative skills and painted a white off-the-shoulder cocktail dress to match one of her artworks. The result has been an internet smash sensation.

Poche lives in Ponchatoula, a town of about 8,000 people in southeastern Louisiana that is known for its annual strawberry festival, antique stores and the live alligator it keeps as a mascot. It’s now being noticed for a piece of art that people from around the world have connected with — Poche’s dress.

When she painted the dress and made a video of it, she joked with her family that it would be a hit. “Y’all just watch, this is going to go viral,” said Poche, who owns Mandi Mae Fine Art.

The video, titled “When you need something cool to wear to your art release tomorrow night,” shows her making an initial turquoise brush stroke on the dress and ends with the finished, brightly hued garment next to a similarly colorful painting.

In the three weeks since she posted it on Facebook, the video has been viewed nearly 9 million times, generating a stunning amount of interest in her work from all over the United States and as far away as Australia.

“It’s been nonstop. Messages in the middle of the night coming in from other countries that I didn’t expect,” she said.

Poche, originally from Luling, Louisiana, is a self-taught artist who creates abstract impressionist works with a Southern twist. Her gallery is filled with variety, much like the dress.

She said she has since made and sold four similar garments but most likely will never part with the original.

Now Poche is trying to capitalize on the interest generated by the dress to contribute to her community. She plans to work with local women business owners to hold a charity event soon.

“Anything I can do to draw people here, I’m all for it,” Poche said.

She added that she is happy to have inspired others, including fellow artists: “I connected with these people on a whole different level.”

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