Dispatches > Quick Takes
Krieg Barrie

Quick Takes


Issue: "Maximum insecurity," Feb. 23, 2013

Work order

A Massachusetts court ordered a 12-year-old boy to get a job after he failed to make restitution for graffiti convictions last year. A defense attorney for the convicted boy argued that few jobs exist for preteens and therefore the court’s ruling was flawed. Nevertheless, Massachusetts Court of Appeals Judge William J. Mead, who wrote the opinion, and two other judges ruled Jan. 30 that the boy would have to take odd jobs raking leaves, shoveling snow, or even delivering newspapers in order to pay his neighbors for the $1,000 in damages he caused. 

Silent sensation

It’s not much to dance to, but somehow a church in England has managed to pay for repairs by selling what it is calling the “Sound of Silence.” St. Peter’s Church in East Blatchington, Sussex, entered the music business last October with a 30-minute album featuring a two-minute spoken introduction and 28 minutes of the silent sounds of an empty sanctuary. Now, just four months later, officials say the recording has sold out on the church website. The recording was made when a parishioner of the 900-year-old church suggested the church set up a microphone in the middle of the sanctuary and sell the recording as a meditation tool. On the track, listeners can hear the murmurings of a few distant conversations, church pews occasionally creaking, and the whisper of traffic outside. According to the church, customers from across the world have been snatching up the recording.

Ford tough

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Neither snow nor rain nor heat—and for Deborah Ford, 64, you can cross off illness, too. The U.S. Postal Service veteran retired on Jan. 31 after 44 years on the job, all without taking a single sick day. The Detroit resident, who has worked in the payroll department of the post office for decades, balks at suggestions that showing up for work day after day, decade after decade, makes her the Cal Ripken of the U.S. Postal Service: “I was trying to do the best I could, and that just evolved into working all my scheduled days.” On days where she wasn’t feeling well, Ford said she simply would “shake it off” and go to work.

Gun fight

If the city government of Burlington, Vt., continues its push to ban semi-automatic rifles and high-capacity magazines, its police officers will have to find a new place to train. Reacting against the gun control push of the city council, owners of a popular gun range in Burlington say they might ban city police officers from training at their facility. The Burlington City Council took the first step toward banning semi-automatic rifles with a vote in January. “We felt that a prejudicial vote like that was going to be non-supportive of our club and being non-supportive of our club makes it very difficult to support Burlington City,” said Bob Boivin, chairman of the Lamoille Valley Fish and Game Club.

Road tested

When she first started driving in 1927, Edythe Kirchmaier cruised California in a Ford Model A. Today, after more than eight decades behind the wheel, Kirchmaier uses her 1997 Dodge Caravan to get to volunteer work. And after passing a recent driving test, the 105-year-old Californian will be driving until 2017, if she’s well enough. Kirchmaier maintained her status as California’s oldest licensed driver on Jan. 23 when she passed a relicensing test on the day after her 105th birthday. After compiling a perfect driving record over 86 years—no tickets or accidents—Kirchmaier said the driving test was a cinch. “I think I’m a pretty good driver,” she told Fox News. “When I learned to drive, there were no rules of the road. The roads were narrow and there were no signs saying 55 mph or anything like that.”

Holding penalty

Thankfully, you’ll never have to do it all at once, but an independent consumer study commissioned by business app TalkTo determined that the average American spends 20 minutes on hold every week—or about 43 days in a lifetime. 

Bare statement

The young man who staged a bare-chested protest on Dec. 31, 2010, against the Transportation Security Administration’s airport scanning procedures will have his day in court. The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals on Jan. 25 refused a TSA request to dismiss his $250,000 lawsuit, and that means Aaron Tobey’s case is likely headed to a jury trial. Tobey was a 21-year-old college student when as part of an enhanced pat-down screening he stripped to his boxer shorts to reveal a portion of the Fourth Amendment written in permanent marker on his chest and belly: “Amendment 4: The right of the people to be secure against unreasonable searches and seizures shall not be violated.” TSA officers at the Richmond, Va., airport arrested him on a charge of disorderly conduct. Shortly thereafter, Tobey filed a lawsuit against the TSA for violating his Fourth Amendment rights.


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