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Dispatches Quick Takes

Quick Takes

Destruction instruction

Southern California prosecutors are going after a different sort of terrorist. A federal grand jury indicted a radical environmentalist for giving a demonstration of how to make fire bombs just 15 hours before his group, the Earth Liberation Front, burned down the construction site for a large apartment complex in San Diego. Rodney Adam Coronado gave his demonstration on Aug. 1, 2003, and prosecutors insist he was inciting arson. The 39-year-old purported ecoterrorist could spend up to 20 years in prison. He spent four years in prison in the 1990s for burning down an animal-testing center in Michigan in 1992.

Extra credit

It's a wonder they did so well. Three female runners finished third, fourth, and fifth in the Dubai marathon in the United Arab Emirates even after faulty directions forced them to run an extra 2.5 miles on the 26.2-mile course. The mistake cost the runners about 15 minutes-about what they lost by. Graciously, the organizers of the Dubai marathon decided to award the trio additional prize money anyway: an extra $8,000, $6,000, and $4,000, respectively.

Lost and found

Found: Bessy, the Burmese python accidentally set loose in an Idaho apartment complex ("Quick Takes," Feb. 25; "Quotables," March 4). Plumbers called in to search for the 8-foot reptile in the walls and pipes of the 57,000-square-foot complex discovered Bessy in the ceiling in the apartment below the one she escaped from. After two weeks of nervously checking beneath beds and under covers for the massive snake, residents such as Ben Brown enjoyed hearing the news: "We'll definitely sleep better."

Sheep stealer

Little Rock, Ark., police charged a local homeless man with a felony and several misdemeanor counts after they discovered him smuggling sheep away from the Little Rock Zoo. Police saw the man, Grady Allen Carnahan, walking beside a road carrying a trash can with a sheep wedged inside. Mr. Carnahan pleaded with police, saying he was transporting the sheep-which he said was sick-to a local animal clinic. Police, not buying the story, arrested him after a short struggle.

One tough granny

The government of Australia last week bestowed the Star of Courage, its highest civilian award for bravery, on 61-year-old grandmother Alicia Sorohan. Ms. Sorohan's feat: jumping on the back of a 14-foot crocodile as it dragged a friend from his tent during an October 2004 camping trip. The beast then turned on her and almost ripped her arm off before her son shot and killed the animal. "I just couldn't get away," she told the Reuters news service, "and you think, 'Oh, there's my time up.'"

Piled high

Residents of a small town in Ohio may find it's a tall order to turn their water tower into a short stack. Some Burton, Ohio, officials want to repaint the tower to resemble a stack of pancakes honoring the hamlet's reputation as "Pancake Town USA." Chamber of Commerce President Marie Lovas is leading the charge, noting that some 20,000 people come every March weekend to the town to partake in Burton's specialty. Mayor Nick Fischbach is not juiced about the plan: "On a 90-degree day, that's just unappetizing." But Ms. Lovas is syrupy: "People would drive out to Burton just to see it. Then we'd feed them."