Dispatches > Quick Takes

Quick Takes

Oddball occurrences

Issue: "He's in," Sept. 22, 2007

Salty crime

When it rains it pours for Atlanta-area resident Kendra Bull. The young mother was making her dinner during a break from her job at a Union City, Ga., McDonald's when she accidentally slipped up and added too much salt to the burger mix. The burger was fine for her but when co-workers began to serve burgers to customers, one didn't just complain. A police officer who ate a salty burger called for backup and arrested Bull for reckless conduct. She spent the night in jail and chose to have a trial by jury.

Positive enforcement

The mayor of a Siberian city in Russia has some newspeak to increase productivity. Megion mayor Alexander Kuzmin has banned city workers from using phrases like "I don't know" and "I can't" at risk of being fired. Other outlawed phrases: "There is no money," "It's not my job," and "What can we do?"

Doing time

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What do you do with a crumbling 18th-century jailhouse? In Boston, architects and businessmen worked up a $150 million bill in renovating the old Charles Street Jail into the city's newest luxury hotel. Completed in 1851, the octagonal jailhouse operated until 1990 and had housed some remarkable inmates, including famous anarchists Sacco and Vanzetti. The new design includes catwalks and barred windows to keep a jailhouse feel. The building's new name: The Liberty Hotel.

Interminable emergency

The desperate cries for help from a British teen had to wait when emergency operators in the United Kingdom put 16-year-old Terry Price on hold as he dangled from the side of a cliff. Price and Roy Williams, 18, had gone rock climbing in Somerset, but a rock Williams grabbed crumbled in his hands and he fell 40 feet. Rattled by the fall and unsure of his footing, Price managed to dial 999 (England's 911) to phone in the emergency, but was quickly put on hold. About 30 minutes later, the teenager finally talked to rescue workers. Another hour passed as Price clung to the wall because fire trucks blocked an ambulance from being dispatched. "I couldn't believe it," the teen told the Daily Mail. "It felt like I'd been clinging on for ages-it was my worst nightmare come true." After a considerable wait, rescue workers finally plucked Price from the rock face and treated Williams for his injuries.

Up a creek

The next time Massachusetts resident Gregory Lynch attempts to make a watery escape from police, perhaps he'll heist a speedboat. The 42-year-old was staying with a friend in Blandford, Mass., when police arrived to serve him with a warrant. After fending off an officer with garden tools and a skillet, Lynch fled into the nearby woods. But three hours later, a police helicopter spotted Lynch paddling across a nearby reservoir in a canoe, and police nabbed him.

Bloody assault

Walk for your lives. Reports from Japan indicate that a plague of land leeches (called yamabiru) is slowly descending from the mountains and into residential areas of 29 of Japan's 47 prefectures. But the invasion is a slow go, researchers say. The leeches hitch rides with wild animals like deer who have also begun encroaching further into civilization due to reforestation. The leeches begin at about a half-inch long, but can grow up to 10 times that size after feasting on human blood.

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