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Dispatches Quick Takes

Quick Takes

(Russian Look via Zuma Wire/Newscom)

Heavy metals

A mishap by a plane during takeoff nearly cost a Russian mining company hundreds of millions of dollars. The problem: The plane was a cargo plane, the cargo was gold-and-silver doré bars, and the mishap involved the plane accidentally dropping 3.4 tons of the valuable cargo onto the runway. The March 15 incident happened in Yakutsk, a Russian city in Siberia, when the plane’s cargo door gave way during takeoff. Pilots landed the plane at a nearby airfield and returned to Yakutsk airport to begin collecting the precious metals. According to authorities, all the bars were eventually recovered.


(David Richard/AP)

Cleveland blues

An informal support group for fired Cleveland Browns coaches met at a restaurant in Indianapolis during this year’s NFL Scouting Combine, according to ESPN. Since 2008, the Browns have racked up a 38-122 record while firing five head coaches. In that time, the Browns have also cycled through nine offensive and defensive coordinators. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the group met at a restaurant named “Rock Bottom.”


(Krieg Barrie)

Cheesed off

They had one job. Many patrons of a British cheese festival left with empty stomachs after organizers ran out of cheese midway through the event. An official with the Big Cheese Festival blamed stormy weather for chasing off some of the festival’s vendors and leading to the shortage. An official with the event published an apology for the March 3 fiasco on its Facebook page and promised a 50 percent discount to all dissatisfied patrons for next year’s event.


(Ingram Publishing/Newscom)

Under the influence

Forget drunk dialing, comparison shopping site says Americans have a new problem: drunk shopping. According to the site’s February 2018 survey, drunk Americans spent nearly $450 on average over the course of the year during alcohol-influenced online shopping sprees. Last year, reported the average American spent just $206 drunk shopping. The survey also claims that men’s boozy spending more than doubles women’s.


Lake County Sheriff’s Office

Danny Lee Konieczny (Lake County Sheriff’s Office)

Return trip

He went to the hospital in an ambulance, and he went home in one also. Danny Lee Konieczny told Lake County, Fla., sheriff’s deputies that his long wait in the Villages Regional Hospital waiting area prompted him to steal an ambulance and drive it 7 miles back to his home in Lady Lake, Fla. “He was upset because he was just put in the hallway to wait and was not being seen at the hospital,” an officer said. Officers used a GPS device to locate the ambulance at Konieczny’s home. Konieczny, 60, said he checked to make sure the ambulance was empty before taking it.


Megan Ehrhart/The Citizen

Bradley Strange on the roof (Megan Ehrhart/The Citizen)

High above them

An attempted robbery led to an unusual standoff in Auburn, N.Y. Police allege that 33-year-old Bradley Strange demanded the wallet of a 75-year-old man on March 11. When officers arrived at the scene, they spotted Strange climbing out of a window and onto the roof of a two-story home. There, authorities surrounded the building and decided to wait Strange out. An Auburn police spokesman said Strange finally gave himself up, but only after spending nine hours avoiding custody on the roof.


(AFP Photo/Courtesy of Kym Illman)

Voyage down under

A gin bottle washed up on Australia’s Wedge Island—132 years after the German navy tossed it into the ocean. Tonya Illman discovered the message in a bottle while walking on the beach in January. “I picked it up thinking it might look nice on display in my home,” she said. Illman later discovered a cryptic message in the gin bottle. Eventually officials with the Western Australian Museum helped her and her husband identify the note as part of a German naval experiment dating to 1886. The German navy had tossed bottles into the ocean to study ocean currents. Each message asked the finder to return the note to the nearest German consulate along with where and when the bottle was found. Before Illman’s discovery, the last bottle had been returned in 1934.



Disney in the desert

Headlined by a 50-story-tall Torah-themed roller coaster, a group of investors has announced plans to build a Jewish Disneyland in the Negev desert of Israel. The group has hired American theme-park builder ITEC Entertainment for the project and expects its completion by 2023. The proposed 4,000-acre park has already raised $400 million in foreign investment and promises a re-creation of the Splash Mountain attraction found at Disney theme parks.


Australian Broadcasting Corporation

Rolan Gopel (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

A fine mess

A resident of Western Australia has discovered he’s breaking the law by living on his own land. City officials with Menzies, Australia, began fining Rolan Gopel $50 a day in August for living in a camper van on land he purchased in 2015. Specifically, the city has ordered Gopel to install a septic tank on the property and connect to the city water mains. Gopel, 58, lives off a small pension and said he cannot afford and does not want the improvements. In an effort to obtain compliance, the local court imposed a fresh $3,100 fine in March. “I refuse to pay a fine for living,” Gopel told Australia’s ABC. “I refuse to be homeless.”