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Dispatches Quick Takes

Quick Takes

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Snake crossing

Government officials in Southern Illinois have closed a 2.5-mile stretch of road because of a combination of warm weather and snakes. Officials responsible for maintaining Snake Road in the Shawnee National Forest southeast of Carbondale, Ill., declared that the annual snake migration through the park was taking a bit longer this year. Typically, they close the road to traffic in September and October. Due to unseasonably warm temperatures, officials decided to keep the road closed into November to make certain all the migrating snakes had slithered across. Park officials said that although no vehicles were allowed on Snake Road, pedestrians were more than welcome to test their courage.


Krieg Barrie

Krieg Barrie

Hungover layover

An employee at Kansas City International Airport fell asleep on Oct. 27 and awoke to find himself in Chicago. That’s because he had fallen asleep in the cargo hold of a Boeing 737 plane. According to American Airlines, the baggage handler was loading a pressurized and heated cargo hold for American Flight 363. After being found by airport employees in Chicago, the man told police he had too much to drink and fell asleep among the luggage. Police did not arrest the man, and he was flown back to Kansas City.


Ben Birchall/PA via AP

Ben Birchall/PA via AP

Document retrieval

Plans to steal the Magna Carta failed when an American tourist tackled the would-be thief. The incident occurred in Salisbury Cathedral, a church in South West England that houses one of four surviving copies of the 1215 agreement between King John and nobles to limit the power of the crown. According to a cathedral spokesman, a thief pulled the fire alarm in the 760-year-old church on Oct. 25 and then began bashing the safety glass encasing the Magna Carta with a hammer. That’s when Matt Delcambre, a tourist from Little Iberia, La., leapt into action. “I just had to stop him,” Delcambre told The Sun. The Louisiana man tackled the thief and pinned him until security arrived.


Florida Highway Patrol

Florida Highway Patrol

Driven to extremes

A high-speed police chase in Florida reaching speeds over 140 mph resulted in a fire but not an arrest. The Florida Highway Patrol released footage of the incident, which occurred in April, on Nov. 6. The officer reportedly spotted a Toyota RAV4 speeding on the other side of the highway. The officer made a U-turn in the median and started to chase down the Toyota. According to the Dodge Charger’s speedometer, the officer reached 142 miles per hour while weaving through traffic to catch the speeder, who was driving 20 mph over the speed limit. He pulled the RAV4 driver over onto the center median, where the cruiser’s hot undercarriage sparked a grass fire. The trooper then told the RAV4 driver to leave the scene before a potential explosion.


Social media/East2West News

Social media/East2West News

The final chapter?

Tempers flared in the Antarctic in October when one Russian scientist attacked another with a knife. According to a spokesman for Russia’s Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute, the relationship between the two scientists who had been living in close proximity for four years had soured. Both passed time on King George Island by reading. But Sergey Savitsky, 55, allegedly snapped after Oleg Beloguzov, 52, kept telling him the ending to the books he was reading. Beloguzov suffered a chest wound as a result of the stabbing, but the injury was not considered life-threatening.


Tammy Ljungblad/The Kansas City Star/AP

Tammy Ljungblad/The Kansas City Star/AP

Reptilian roommate

While evicting a tenant, a Kansas City landlord stumbled upon an undisclosed extra tenant who is 6 feet tall, weighs 150 pounds, and spent most of his time in the hot tub. The extra tenant was a pet alligator named Catfish. Tenant Sean Casey told The Kansas City Star that Catfish is “a big cuddly lizard” that is “gentle as a puppy.” Nonetheless, Kansas City doesn’t allow pet alligators. When animal control workers later visited the house they also discovered two boa constrictors and a rabbit.


Sarah Crawford/The Shreveport Times/AP

Sarah Crawford/The Shreveport Times/AP

Long overdue

Going through his late mother’s personal effects, Robert Stroud of Shreveport, La., found a curious object: a dusty copy of Spoon River Anthology by Edgar Lee Masters. Inside the book jacket, he found a library card indicating the book belonged to the Shreve Memorial Library. It turned out that Stroud’s mother, Margaret, had checked out the book on April 14, 1934, when she was 11. When Stroud returned the book, the library waived the late fee, a maximum of $3 according to 1934 rules. But Stroud presented the library with a check for $1,542.65 anyway, pointing to the library’s Depression-era 5 cents per day late rule. Library director John Tuggle told the Shreveport Times he hopes the story reminds patrons that “it’s never too late to return an overdue book.”


 Goodwill Industries of Fort Worth

Goodwill Industries of Fort Worth

A gift with a bite

A Fort Worth, Texas, Goodwill employee got quite a scare when looking through a donation bin on Nov. 2. Among the donations in the bin was a large yellow boa constrictor. Believing that someone had pranked the Goodwill store by donating a snake, store employees alerted local media. That’s when Austin Pair of Keller, Texas, stepped forward to claim the snake as his own. Pair said he lost track of the 6-year-old boa constrictor named Toki in May, after which he searched his home thoroughly but unsuccessfully. In October, Pair donated a couch to Goodwill and apparently Toki hitched a ride. After taking care of the animal for the weekend, a store employee returned Toki to Pair whole and healthy.


Krieg Barrie

Krieg Barrie

Among the living

Ryan Meganack of Alaska wasn’t even mostly dead. A U.S. district court sentenced the commercial fisherman, 35, to 15 months in prison after he faked his death in order to avoid a 15-year prison sentence for sexual assault. Meganack reportedly swamped his boat at sea, returned to Alaska on another boat, and hid out while the Coast Guard searched for him. Meganack’s girlfriend, who was in on the scheme, blew his cover when she tried to comfort his parents by telling them he wasn’t really dead. The Coast Guard reportedly spent $384,261 on the search for Meganack.

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  • Laura W
    Posted: Mon, 11/26/2018 12:36 am

    Re the book-reading scientists: Stabbing someone is clearly not the best response to spoilers, but what kind of sadist does that?