Dispatches > Quick Takes
Krieg Barrie

Quick Takes


Issue: "China's abortion regime," July 26, 2014

Ghost auditor 

City leaders in Portsmouth, Va., are wondering: How can a city auditor do his job if he goes more than a year without logging into the city’s financial records system? According to a Virginian-Pilot newspaper report, Portsmouth City Auditor Jesse Andre Thomas had not released a single audit since taking the position 14 months ago. What’s more, the city official only logged on to the city’s financial system twice in the first few weeks of taking the job, and never since, according to records obtained by the paper. The same records indicate Thomas often goes months without scheduling a meeting or appointment. “If those things are factual,” Councilman Bill Moody told the paper, “then we need to meet as a council and make a decision on his future.”

Parking lot chow

Of the hundreds of food trucks that litter San Francisco parking lots, one new restaurant on wheels is catering to a different breed of customer. Milo’s Kitchen, a dog snack division of Big Heart Pet Brands, rolled out its dog food truck into San Francisco on June 28. But the stay by the bay was short-lived. The dog snack truck, which offered not only snacks but family portraits too, traveled to Los Angeles and San Diego in early July. From there, the truck will embark on a cross-country tour with stops in Phoenix, Chicago, Detroit, Minneapolis, Atlanta, and Pittsburgh. 

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Sometimes the best thing to do is not check Facebook during a burglary. According to police in South St. Paul, Minn., alleged burglar Nicholas Wig, 26, logged into the popular social media website during a June 19 burglary. And then he left without logging out. Arriving home, owner James Wood noticed not only that his house had been robbed, but that the perpetrator left his Facebook account active on Wood’s computer and a bunch of wet clothes on the floor. Wood used the opportunity to call out Wig by making a post on his page—and offered to give the alleged thief back his wet clothes. Incredibly, Wig offered to return later that night to the home and trade Wood’s cell phone for his jeans. When he arrived for the trade, police arrested him.

No Swett?

If you’ve got the money, he’s got the town. Investors with $400,000 to spend can buy up all of Swett, S.D. The ramshackle town located close to the Nebraska line used to be home to about 40 residents, but in recent decades, the townspeople moved to bigger South Dakota towns. Now Swett is wholly owned by Lance Benson, who put the entire town up for sale with a Rapid City, S.D., real estate broker. And though only two people officially live in Swett, the town’s bar, Swett Tavern, attracts a number of patrons from nearby ranches and farms.

Spell check

Even the best need proofreaders. Northwestern University’s highly respected Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications in June issued about 30 diplomas that misspelled the word “integrated” by leaving out the “n.” This isn’t the first embarrassing diploma mistake by an American institute of higher learning. In 1988, the University of Wisconsin-Madison misspelled “Wisconsin” on nearly 4,000 diplomas, and last year Radford University misspelled “Virginia” on its diplomas.

Lost and found

Since 1979, George Talley of Detroit has been telling friends and family about his prized Chevrolet Corvette. But since the day in July 1981 when a thief stole the Vette from a Detroit street corner, Talley has spoken of the car only in the past tense. That all changed on June 20 when Talley received a call from Mississippi. “I get a call from AAA telling me you have a Corvette in Mississippi, come and get it,” Talley told WXYZ. “I’ve heard it was running, it had 47,000 miles on it, and right now, it’s at the police station in Hattiesburg, [Miss.].” Police there don’t know the full chain of custody—they were just able to track down the original owner 33 years after he reported it stolen thanks to the vehicle’s VIN number.

Dolphin keepers

Russia has returned some of Ukraine’s valuable military hardware since annexing Crimea earlier this year. But Ukrainian officials are insisting that Russia is holding back one valuable asset: Ukraine’s pod of naval reconnaissance dolphins. “The military dolphins need to be returned to our country in the same way that Russia returned Ukraine’s seized military equipment,” first deputy head of the Henichesk Regional State Administration Dmitry Yunusov said. The Soviet Union originally began training dolphins to spot land mines and enemy divers in the 1960s. But since the breakup of the U.S.S.R., Ukraine had administrated the dolphin program in Crimea. Defense analysts suspect Russia will not be so willing to return the pod, however.


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