Dispatches > Quick Takes
Associated Press/Photo by Orlin Wagner

Quick Takes


Issue: "Coming to America," April 6, 2013

Spreading the wealth

Most people who win lotteries end up sending their money down the drain. Mark and Cindy Hill of Dearborn, Mo., are doing so in a different way: In March, they donated $50,000 to improve the sewage system in nearby Camden Point, Mo., Mark Hill’s original hometown. The couple struck it rich by winning $136.5 million in the Powerball lottery in 2012, and they also have donated funds for a new fire station and a park.

Crime seen

Some suspects return to the scene of the crime. Jarad Carr allowed his alleged crime to be seen during a different kind of return. Police say Carr, 37, tried to return a printer to a Walmart store in Lake Hallie, Wis.—with a sheet of counterfeit bills inside the printer. Employees reportedly found the sheet of bills and refused to accept the printer from Carr, who didn’t have a receipt and who refused to leave. When police arrived, they found that Carr had three more counterfeit $100 bills on his person and promptly arrested him. 

Face off

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If one newly elected Japanese politician wants to take his place on the city council of an Oita Prefecture town, he’ll first need to take off his mask. Wrestler-turned-politician Skull Reaper A-ji was elected to a city council position in February after campaigning on education reform. But after his election, his fellow councilors informed him they would not allow masks—such as the lucha libre wrestling mask he commonly wears—in official meetings. “My mask is my uniform, I even wear it to weddings, so I will not remove it,” he told the Nishinippon Shimbun. The council has agreed to allow A-ji to use his wrestling name, but the parties are at an impasse until they resolve the mask issue. Since 2003, two other Japanese pro wrestlers have been elected to local office. 

Blocked by blocks

Traffic ground to a halt March 3 on damp Interstate 79 in West Virginia when an 18-wheeler carrying a load of LEGO blocks spilled its cargo. The accident, which occurred in Harrison County in the state’s northern region, littered the highway’s shoulder and right lane with LEGO debris. Highway officials shut down all but the left lane to keep cars from slipping. 

A long read

The long wait is over for lovers of author Eduard Vilde: An unidentified octogenarian walked into the Tallinn Central Library in Estonia’s capital on March 7 and returned a novel by the Estonian author that he had checked out during the Nazi occupation of the region on the same day in 1944. The man blamed the partial destruction of the library during the war’s bombing campaigns for his late return, but offered to pay the late fee. Library officials waived the fine and returned the book to circulation. 

Sudden swarm

There are bad days at the office. And then there’s this. While cleaning up a pile of trash outside a city park on March 6, two Tampa, Fla., city employees accidentally disturbed a hive of Africanized honeybees—commonly referred to as “killer bees.” Within seconds of flipping an old truck tire with their front-end loader, a swarm of perhaps 100,000 bees emerged from the rubble and began attacking the two men. The two employees, David Zeledon and Rodney Pugh, first began swatting at the swarm of angry bees but quickly fled from the cab of the loader. The pair eventually ran far enough away from the hive to escape the swarm, but not before each received an estimated 100 stings. A local hospital treated and released both men. 

The last laugh

Police in Rockville Centre, N.Y., have cited a local man for disturbing the peace after he was caught laughing too loudly in his own home. Police in the Long Island town say Robert Schiavelli, 41, made uproarious laughter out his window on Feb. 12 and 13, allegedly directed at his neighbor. Police say they were responding to a complaint from neighbor Daniel O’Hanion. Schiavelli’s lawyer, Andrew Campanelli, insists that he was only responding to verbal bullying from O’Hanion. If convicted, Schiavelli could face up to 30 days in jail and a fine up to $500. 

Drunken diplomacy

United States diplomats to the United Nations have a simple request: They would like to stop going to meetings with drunken foreign dignitaries. The deputy U.S. ambassador to the UN, Joseph Torsella, made the official request March 11. “We make the modest proposal that the negotiating rooms should in the future be an inebriation-free zone,” Torsella told the UN’s budget committee. According to press accounts, dignitaries have attended negotiations after consuming copious amounts of alcohol. Torsella noted that the United States would have to conclude that drunkenness—or tardiness—from ambassadors indicates they are negotiating in bad faith.


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