Dispatches > Quick Takes
Krieg Barrie

Quick Takes


Issue: "Inside the wire," March 22, 2014

River race

A Tulsa, Okla., man figured his dogs would be safe left in his vehicle when he stepped away from his pickup truck on Feb. 25. What he didn’t figure: Perhaps his truck would not be safe. No sooner had Scott—identified by local TV station Fox 23 only by his first name—stepped away than the two dogs managed to slip the truck into gear. What followed was a three-block joyride that ended when the truck crashed into a dry bed of the Arkansas River. Unfortunately for the dogs’ owner, the truck sustained heavy damage. But pets Roscoe and Luna both walked away just fine.

Toking advantage

Danielle Lei had the perfect idea. In order to move a large volume of Girl Scout cookies, the 13-year-old would find the best place in all of San Francisco to sell. So on Feb. 17, Danielle set up her Girl Scout cookie selling operation outside a Bay Area medical marijuana dispensary. In just two hours of work, the eighth-grader managed to sell 117 boxes—or a 50 percent increase in sales over the same time period at any other location. Danielle wasn’t the only Girl Scout with this idea. A small number of Colorado Girl Scouts looking to take advantage of the marijuana munchies occupied sidewalks outside a few of the state’s legal dispensaries, leading the Colorado Girl Scouts organization quickly to condemn the practice.

Turning to nice

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Ice is back with a brand-new invention: an award for charitable service. On Feb. 26, the Wellington, Fla., Chamber of Commerce presented Rob Van Winkle—also known as ’90s rap icon Vanilla Ice—with its Outstanding Citizen of the Year award. Best known for his brief but bright hip hop career in the early 1990s, the “Ice Ice Baby” rapper has reinvented himself as a reality television star. His DIY channel show details Van Winkle’s new career of flipping houses in Florida. But the former bad boy has also become a local icon, donating to dozens of charities including Toys for Tots and the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

The Chicago way

How seriously is Chicago taking the proliferation of Asian carp, an invasive aquatic species of fish? Seriously enough to consider an $18 billion stop-gap solution. Imported from China in the 1970s to help filter sewage treatment ponds, Asian carp quickly found their way into the Mississippi River and then spread throughout much of the United States. Now with the invasive and disruptive fish firmly established in Chicago’s waterways, many fear they could overrun the Great Lakes. A January report released by the Army Corps of Engineers says it would require an $18 billion effort to prevent the nuisance fish from invading Lake Michigan and beyond. Gourmet Chicago fishmonger Dirk Fucik hopes for a simpler plan: He wants to eat the problem. Fucik’s fish shop is promising carp burgers for customers as soon as the waterways thaw.

Performance art

It’s hard to figure how South Florida artist Maximo Caminero ever expects to get his artwork shown in Miami’s Perez Art Museum. Complaining that the new art museum favors international artists over local Florida artists, Caminero decided to make a stand. He could have staged a protest or organized his own art show. Instead the 51-year-old painter entered the museum on Feb. 16, picked up a $1 million vase by prominent Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, and smashed it into the floor of the exhibit hall. Police arrested Caminero and charged him with felony criminal mischief.

Slow reader

More than six decades after being checked out, a Warwickshire, U.K., library book has found its way home. In February, an unidentified library patron returned a dusty copy of The Adventures of Pinocchio that bore a December 1950 due date. Despite the tardiness, the scofflaw avoided all penalties by taking advantage of the library’s brief amnesty period on overdue book fines. Otherwise, the patron would have faced an $8.71 fine—the county maximum.

Low caliber

It’s going to take more than a BB gun to put fear into one Iowa fast food worker. According to police in Des Moines, a man wielding what turned out to be a BB gun strolled into a Taco John’s on Jan. 20 and demanded that the cashier empty his register for him. After judging the barrel of the faux-weapon, the cashier wasn’t worried. “I don’t have anything for you,” the cashier responded. “And plus, that’s a BB gun.” Police say the suspect eventually left the store on foot.

Bite worse than bark

Wild packs of dogs may be roaming the streets of a Phoenix neighborhood, but at least the dogs are tiny. Maricopa County animal control says residents of the Maryvale neighborhood have reported a growing number of feral Chihuahuas yipping and nipping their way through city streets, terrorizing residents and turning sidewalks into minefields of excrement. Residents are especially worried because the roving dog pack has not only begun dividing into multiple groups of Chihuahuas, but the tiny terrors are also adopting larger stray dogs into the packs. Animal control officials report they received more than 6,000 calls last year for service—more than double the amount of calls for a nearby neighborhood of the same size.


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