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Dispatches Quick Takes

Quick Takes

A ‘silent disco’ (Edinburgh Evening News/

Sounds of silence

Patrons at popular “silent discos” in Edinburgh, Scotland, dance as they listen to music on headphones. But many of them are now facing the same problem: noise complaints from those nearby. “Silent discos are not silent,” City Councillor Jo Mowatt told The Herald. “There is a lot of whooping and screaming, especially when you have 40 women on a hen party.” She says the worst offenders are the events that combine the loud and oblivious singing of silent discos with the mobile revelry of walking tours. Her office has reportedly heard complaints for nine months about silent disco patrons dancing into traffic and nearly being struck by vehicles.


Hancock County Sheriff’s Office

Hancock County Sheriff’s Office

Out among the trees

An ATM machine mysteriously left in the woods of Maine had locals scratching their heads and authorities warning people not to attempt a cash withdrawal. A woman taking her morning walk on Nov. 20 discovered the blue ATM machine upright and intact in the woods near Deer Isle, Maine. Detective Steve McFarland checked on the machine, noted it had not been tampered with, and filed a report. The next day, the owner of the machine confessed to the sheriff’s office that she left the machine there to prank her neighbors.


Rene Johnson/Facebook

Pea (Rene Johnson/Facebook)

Following the flock

A Vermont couple’s search for their lost peacock has ended, but that doesn’t mean their bird is back in the roost. According to a Nov. 21 Facebook post, the peacock belonging to Brian and Rene Johnson has been found hanging around with a flock of wild turkeys. The Johnsons said their pet peacock named Pea disappeared in early October. Rene Johnson said she came close to catching Pea on Thanksgiving Day, but that the peacock and his turkey companions got away. The bird lover even reached out to Vermont Fish and Wildlife for suggestions: “My peacock has run off with the turkeys,” she said. “Do you have any suggestions on how to catch the little twerp?”




Krieg Barrie

Krieg Barrie

Navigational no-no

Police in Duquesne, Pa., responded to a Nov. 21 call reporting that a woman was piloting her vehicle down train tracks. They quickly tracked her down and made an arrest. “The female was 100 percent sober and had no medical conditions affecting her decision making,” police said in a report on the incident. So why was she driving on the train tracks? Because, she said, her GPS navigation app told her to do so. Police could determine no reason for the error other than unfailing fealty to her GPS, but they cited her for careless driving.


Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden/Facebook

Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden/Facebook

Clever killer

Vancouver has a serial killer and authorities have been hard-pressed to find a solution. According to officials at the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden, a wild otter has poached 14 prized koi fish from their pond as of Nov. 25. Garden workers first tried to lay traps for the “Chinatown Otter,” but failed to end its killing spree. “The otter did visit our trap and took our fish and our tuna and our chicken. Unfortunately a small jam … prevented the trap from closing,” Howard Normann, director of parks, told The Vancouver Courier. Failing to catch the otter, garden officials turned to rescuing and relocating the remaining koi, which are valued at between $1,000 and $5,000 per fish.


Darren Carroll/Getty Images

Aggies vs. Longhorns (Darren Carroll/Getty Images)

Play bill

Ever since Texas A&M fled the Big 12 Conference to join the vaunted Southeastern Conference, the football rivalry between the Aggies and the University of Texas has grown cold. The Aggies and the Longhorns, who have faced one another more than 100 times, haven’t played since 2011 when the Longhorns pulled out a 27-25 victory. On Nov. 27, Texas Rep. Lyle Larson introduced a bill to the state Legislature that would mandate Texas and Texas A&M resume their post-Thanksgiving rivalry or risk losing state funding. A similar bill was proposed in 2013, but quietly died in committee.



Ahmad Abu al-Rub assisting in a tire repair (Handout)

Good deed punished

A local Palestinian government has suspended a police official after his actions sparked anger among Palestinians. Chief Ahmad Abu al-Rub’s offense: helping some soldiers fix a flat tire on a jeep. The “problem” was that the soldiers were Israeli, and many Palestinians apparently considered the simple act of kindness to be collaborating with the enemy after video of the incident emerged on the internet. Abu al-Rub is the police chief in Hebron.





Krieg Barrie

Krieg Barrie

Season’s greetings

An invasion of deer has driven residents of Okotoks, Alberta, indoors this year. According to parks manager Christa Michailuck, her office has received more calls about aggressive deer in recent months than ever before. And while most of the unpleasant encounters have been between deer and local dogs, Michailuck warns tensions could escalate with the arrival of deer mating season. Michailuck said the town’s residents have unwittingly created an idyllic mating ground for the deer. “There’s a lot of tasty yards and gardens. There’s a lot of fruit trees,” she told the CBC, noting in particular the local crab apple trees. “You know we’re making the town pretty comfortable for them.




Given and taken

Less than an hour after earning his driver’s license, a German 18-year-old forfeited it to police. Regional police in Märkischer Kreis, Germany, said the unidentified teen was trying to impress friends on his way home from passing his driving test and earning his license. Officers clocked him driving 60 mph in a 30 mph zone. “Some things last forever—others not for an hour,” officers wrote in their report. The young man faces a four-week suspension of his license, a retraining class, and a roughly $300 fine.