Dispatches > Quick Takes

Quick Takes

Issue: "How to fix baseball," June 21, 2003

Appealing to a higher authority

Officials with the Adams County/ Ohio Valley School District didn't want to remove giant Ten Commandments tablets from the grounds of four district schools last week, but a "judge's order is a judge's order," said school board lawyer Francis Manion. Workers used a crane to lift the 800-pound granite tablets and load them onto a truck as about 200 onlookers protested, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer. Earlier in the day a three-judge panel of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals declined to stay U.S. Magistrate Timothy Hogan's order to remove the monuments. But with four new Bush-appointed judges on the 6th Circuit, supporters of the Ohio district hope to win on appeal to the full circuit court. "Even though we have lost a minor battle, the war is still being waged," Rev. Rob Schenck, president of the National Clergy Council and one of the protesters, told the newspaper.

Sizzler delivery

Darlene Keller got dinner on the house-literally. Jonathan Voeltner, a waiter at a Sizzler steakhouse in Southern California, apparently left work still steaming after a June 6 dispute with Mrs. Keller over some vegetables. Along with two friends, he allegedly went to her home and crushed eggs on her mailbox and house, poured maple syrup over some hedges, and unrolled toilet paper onto a pine tree. Police say the trio then rang the doorbell six times and hid to watch the family's reaction. Mr. Voeltner told police the vandalism was "just a joke," but authorities charged the waiter and his friends with misdemeanor vandalism.

Money for nothing watch

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Donald Griffith of Fort Pierce, Fla., must figure that he has nothing to lose in suing the Fort Pierce Utilities Authority (FPUA). The utility can't exactly cut off his service. Mr. Griffith spent 23 years paying FPUA every month for sewer service, only to discover last year that he has a septic tank instead of a sewer connection. The retired sheet metal and roofing contractor filed suit last week, seeking $16,000 for past bills plus interest.

Word games

Is the English language headed for the khazi? The publishers of the Oxford English Dictionary's latest addition, released this month, added 6,000 words and phrases that they say bring the British dictionary into the 21st century. Among the new entries: khazi (meaning toilet); bling-bling (expensive jewelry); and minging (disgusting). Some references reflect cultural trends, such as serial monogamy and lifestyle drugs.

Village atheist-and pastor

Thorkild Grosboel doesn't believe in God or eternal life, but he does believe that he should remain a Lutheran pastor in Taarbaek, Denmark. The pastor landed in hot-or at least lukewarm-water when he said in a recent interview that "there is no heavenly God, there is no eternal life, there is no resurrection." On June 3 his bishop, Rev. Lise-Lotte Rebel, ordered him to retract those statements and apologize, and she suspended him from duties as the town pastor. But the bishop can't fire Rev. Grosboel. Pastors are employed by the government in Denmark's state-church system; government officials will have to decide whether to defrock him. The atheist pastor has at least some influential friends in his corner: Mogens Lindhardt, head of the country's Theological College of Education, who called his remarks "refreshing."

Diamond in the rough

Police in Bloomfield Township, Mich., have recovered Maria Reilly's stolen diamond ring, but she may not want it back. Daniel Dyament, who was employed at her home as a carpet cleaner, stands accused of trying to steal the $3,000 diamond ring by swallowing it. "I'm not really sure what to do with it," Ms. Reilly said. "I need to check it out and see how I feel about it."

Which way to the 19th hole?

Authorities in Ozaukee County, Wis., last week cited 49-year-old Marvin Kellar for drunk driving-with a golf cart. Mr. Kellar allegedly plowed the vehicle into a highway road marker after trying to navigate a curve and losing control of the cart, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "He was going way too fast," said sheriff's Lt. Edward Hermann.

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