Dispatches > Quick Takes

Quick Takes

Oddball occurrences

Issue: "Jerry Falwell," May 26, 2007

Crime escalator

The situation went from bad to worse to worst for three mid-Atlantic teens. Police say three boys stole a Delaware school bus and took it for a booze-induced joyride until crashing into a New Jersey state official's parked car in Newark. But when the official boarded the bus to check for injuries, one teen, identified by police as a 15-year-old male from Elkton, Md., fled while the other two boys drove away with the state official still aboard the bus. And while the remaining two boys eventually stopped the bus and got away, the first teen who fled was restrained by a neighbor. Chances that all three teens will be prosecuted to the law's fullest extent when finally apprehended seem high: The man they effectively kidnapped was New Jersey's deputy attorney general, Stephen Smith.

Hip to be square

Just how valuable can one city block be? According to a study by a New York nonprofit, Manhattan's Times Square generates $55 billion every year for the city's economy. According to the study, businesses in Times Square employ 200,000 workers, contribute $1.1 billion in tax revenue to the city, and are visited by 80 percent of all tourists who travel to Manhattan. All told, the $55 billion dollars generated by Times Square make it a more powerful economic engine than the combined economies of Panama and Bolivia.

Mystery theater

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Tacoma, Wash., police have quite a whodunit on their hands. Someone apparently dressed up a dead baby deer in infant's clothing and abandoned it on the steps of the Pantages Theater, a Tacoma landmark. Besides an infant sleeping outfit, the newborn fawn was wearing a bib with "You think I'm cute? You should see my aunt" written on the front. Police say they would like to investigate, but don't know how the fawn got there or what would motivate the perpetrators. "It's just bizarre," a police spokesman said.

Horse play

Wild horses couldn't drag them away, but could domesticated racehorses really keep the Rolling Stones from playing a concert in Belgrade? Animal-rights activists in Serbia objected to the rock band's plans for a July 14 concert in a Belgrade horse track, saying the loud noise from Mick's mouth and Keith's guitar could traumatize the hundreds of horses stabled nearby. After the activists successfully created a local stir, the Stones managers conceded defeat and declared the veteran rock band would look for somewhere else to play.

Kat nipped

No surprise: The name Katrina was significantly less popular for baby girls in the United States in the year after the deadly hurricane of the same name spun destruction in August 2005. But the name seemed to become more popular in Louisiana and Mississippi, two states hit hardest by the hurricane. In the 12 months prior to Hurricane Katrina's landfall, eight Louisiana babies were named Katrina. In the year after, 15 were so named. The number of Katrina babies also grew in Alabama.

Most popular names for males born in 2006:
1. Jacob
2. Joshua
3. Michael
4. Ethan
5. Matthew

Most popular names for females born in 2006:
1. Emily
2. Emma
3. Madison
4. Isabella
5. Ava


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