Dispatches > Quick Takes
Illustration by Krieg Barrie

Quick Takes

Issue: "2012 Books Issue," July 14, 2012

Testing the limits

The return of permissive speed limits may be at hand in Texas, where the state's Department of Transportation says it's willing to test run an 85 mph speed limit on a newly constructed toll road between Austin and San Antonio. If the signs go up on the new State Highway 130, the 85 mph speed limit will be the second fastest in the world, ranking just below 87 mph limits found in Poland.

A leg up

A shrimp boat captain plying his craft off the coast of Crab Island near Destin, Fla., made an unsettling catch in the pre-dawn hours of June 7. While hoisting in his catch, shrimper Matt Willingham pulled in a prosthetic leg. "That's not something you want to see at 2 a.m.," Willingham told WKYT. "I was hoping I wasn't going to find a body with it as well." He didn't, but upon further inspection Willingham noted that the false limb came emblazoned with University of Kentucky athletics logo. Once ashore, Willingham tracked down the manufacturer to help him identify the leg's owner. Because of the irregular markings on the $30,000 prosthetic, finding the owner wasn't difficult. "I got the call and I was shocked! I just started laughing, they found my leg!" said Fred Robinson, a former Kentucky Wildcats running back from the 1980s. Robinson, who lost his leg in a workplace accident a few years ago, told WKYT that he lost the leg while swimming in the area over Memorial Day weekend.

'Never too late'

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The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors conducted one small piece of 70-year-old business at a June 6 meeting. At the meeting, the board officially rescinded a 1942 resolution adopted by the same panel just a month after the 1941 Pearl Harbor attack that urged forcible relocation of Japanese citizens to internment camps. "To ignore this and to treat it as unfinished business is to trivialize it," Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas said. "It's never too late to do the right thing."

Strange pick

Unless he finds a buyer who just consumed record amounts of popcorn or brisket, a Georgia thief may find it unusually difficult to fence his ill-gotten booty. Police in Athens, Ga., say a thief-or thieves-managed to break in and steal six cases of toothpicks from an Armond's Manufacturing Company warehouse in late May worth a grand total of $3,000. How many toothpicks can you get for $3,000? About 400,000 in all. Two employees told the owner they spotted a man trying to sell Armond's toothpicks in bulk at a flea market in early June.

Bag lady

A 50-year-old Oregon woman is bringing a fresh perspective to the term "relational baggage." Prohibited from visiting her boyfriend at his Portland, Ore., apartment because she broke a fire extinguisher case last year, Kola J. McGrath devised a ploy to slip past apartment authorities. McGrath's plan was for her boyfriend to zip her into a large, pink suitcase and wheel her into his apartment for visits. And the plan worked well, until another resident saw her boyfriend, Curtis Lowe, stuffing the 5-foot-6, 96-pound woman into a bag. The onlooker phoned in a kidnapping complaint to police, who subsequently searched Lowe's apartment, finding the bag empty but McGrath hiding in the closet. They booked her on trespassing charges.

Cursing cost

Residents of Middleborough, Mass., are not all talk when it comes to cleaning up the town's language. On June 11, residents voted 183-50 to approve a proposal by the police chief of the 23,000-person town to institute a $20 fine for cursing publicly. A local business owner who voted for the proposal said that language used by local youths makes her customers feel uncomfortable. "They'll sit on the bench and yell back and forth to each other with the foulest language," Mimi Duphily told the Boston Globe. "It's just so inappropriate." An official with the American Civil Liberties Union raised questions of whether the new city code would stand constitutional scrutiny.

Out of the blue

Lobster-boat captain Bobby Stoddard of Clarks Harbour, Nova Scotia, had heard of blue lobsters, but he had never seen one until early May when he heard one of his men say, "Hey, we got a pretty one in this trap!" The lobster in the trap turned out to be an example of the one out of 2 million lobsters with a genetic variation that turns it blue. Stoddard is reportedly trying to decide what to do with the lobster after an ocean research institute wasn't interested in the find. He told CNN, "It probably belongs back in the ocean, but I'd like for as many people as possible to see it."

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