Dispatches > Quick Takes
Sarasota County Sheriff's Office/AP

Quick Takes

Issue: "Food stamps surge," Nov. 19, 2011

Ego's legos

Beachcombers near Sarasota, Fla., could be forgiven for not knowing what to make of what washed ashore on Oct. 25. Beachgoers discovered an 8-foot-tall Lego man, weighing roughly 100 pounds and made of fiberglass. The floating figure, which bore a painted-on T-shirt with a logo that read, "NO REAL THAN YOU ARE," is probably the work of Dutch artist Ego Leonard. Similar Lego statues of his have washed ashore in the United Kingdom and The Netherlands.

Canadian care

If you're going to fall and break your hip, you might as well do it in a hospital. That's what 82-year-old Doreen Wallace must have thought when she slipped, fell, and broke her hip inside the Greater Niagara General Hospital on Oct. 8. But when she called for help, staff at the Niagara, Ontario, hospital told her she needed to call an ambulance from another hospital. "It was horrible. It really was," Wallace, who also suffered cuts from the fall, told the Toronto Star. "Everybody who walked through the door stopped and stared at me."

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A security guard helped wipe blood off her face, but doctors and nurses at the hospital, citing policy, rendered no aid. "I was floored," said her son Mike Wallace. "We're probably, maybe, like a 50-yard walk, literally, down to the emergency department." Hospital Supervisor Dr. Kevin Smith said the mixup resulted from miscommunication between staff. But just last April, medical staff refused treatment to a 39-year-old woman who was suffering a catastrophic heart event in the hospital's parking lot. Staff told her boyfriend to call 911. The woman died days later.

Laptop looter

When Grammy-nominated record producer and instrumentalist Ryan Leslie's laptop was stolen last year in Germany, the 33-year-old Leslie offered a $20,000 reward for the return of his device. And when his laptop, which contained new tracks that he had been working on, didn't surface, Leslie upped the reward to $1 million. At that point, Armin Augstein, a 52-year-old German man, returned the laptop to Leslie, expecting to cash in on the reward. But it never came. So in October Augstein decided to force the issue: He filed a lawsuit against Leslie.

Fighting fire

Rose Swiszowski won't admit it, but don't tell residents and administrators at the St. Francis Manor retirement community in Vero Beach, Fla., that she's not a hero. Officials with the retirement community credit the 94-year-old Swiszowski with battling an Oct. 16 fire at the retirement complex well enough that firefighters were able to extinguish the blaze without much property damage. Swiszowski says she was walking to her apartment at St. Francis Manor when she saw flames engulfing a building. "I came around the corner and I saw what looked like a bonfire," she told WPTV. First she doused the flames with a pitcher of water. Next, she attempted to smother it with flour. "I don't think I am a hero, not at all," she said. But firefighters said her quick actions kept the fire from spreading and causing major damage.

Whale slaves

Arguing that SeaWorld's captivity of killer whales constitutes slavery, lawyers with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals are alleging in federal court that the amusement park is in violation of the 13th Amendment. PETA filed the suit on Oct. 26 in a San Diego federal court on behalf of five Orcas that perform killer whale shows for SeaWorld. Amusement park officials said that the suit, which seeks to apply constitutional rights to animals, is baseless and without merit.

Dog collared

For months, Jim Arrighi wondered what had become of his Jack Russell terrier named Petey. The dog wandered from Arrighi's Erin, Tenn., home in July leaving the retired Tennessean heartsick over what may have happened to the 4-year-old dog. So when Arrighi received a long-distance phone call in October, he could hardly believe that Petey had been found-600 miles away in Detroit. Neither Arrighi nor the Humane Society in Detroit that scanned the dog's microchip and traced it back to Tennessee could say how Petey managed to cross the Ohio river, traverse Indiana and possibly Ohio, and finally end up in the backyard of a Rochester Hills, Mich., resident.

Art "experience"

You can go to German artist Carsten Höller's exhibit at the New Museum in Manhattan, but first you'll have to sign a two-page waiver. That's because the exhibit, dubbed "experience," is only for the adventurous. "Experience" sends museum-goers down a 102-foot-long slide from the fourth floor to the second floor and also includes a mirrored carousel, a sensory deprivation tank, and vision-distorting headgear. The exhibit is scheduled to run through Jan. 15.

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