Skip to main content

Dispatches Quick Takes

Quick Takes

(Xavier Leoty/AFP/Getty Images)

Something to crow about

A case involving a French rooster’s crowing highlights the tension between lifelong residents of rural France and retirees looking for a tranquil home outside the city. A recently arrived retired couple made a formal noise pollution complaint against a rooster named Maurice who, they say, crows too early and too loudly in the morning. Owner Corinne Fesseau defended her bird in court on July 4, saying Maurice is only doing what roosters were born to do. Fesseau has lived in Oléron, a rural island off of France’s west coast for 35 years. She argued that backyard chickens are part of life in Oléron. A number of cockerel owners gathered outside the courthouse in solidarity. The court should make a decision by September.


 

iStock

iStock

Small slug, big punch

After a thorough investigation, Japanese rail officials say a slug was to blame for a power outage that halted rail traffic and stranded 12,000 passengers. Officials with Japan Railways said they found the slug’s electrocuted corpse inside electrical equipment next to the tracks. The power outage stopped almost 30 trains. In 2016 a weasel bit a high-voltage wire at a particle accelerator near Geneva, Switzerland, causing the Large Hadron Collider to short-circuit and go offline.

 


 

Institute for Justice

Institute for Justice

Garden variety

July 1 marked the day Hermine Ricketts was able to start gardening at home again—following a six-year legal battle and a state law. In 2013, officials in Miami Shores, Fla., informed Ricketts that she would have to stop tending her front-yard garden because of a newly passed city ordinance. Ricketts protested, saying that since her home faced south, her backyard was too shady to grow plants. Facing a $50-per-day fine, she pulled up her garden and hired a lawyer to fight city hall. But before she could wrap up her lawsuit, the Florida Legislature passed a law nullifying community prohibitions on front-yard gardens. Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the bill, and Ricketts and her husband got busy planting tomatoes, jalapeños, squash, and okra and hoping for a good fall harvest.


 

Krieg Barrie

Krieg Barrie

Body count

Nevada Highway Patrol Trooper Travis Smaka has heard hundreds of excuses to try and get out of traffic tickets. The one from July 1 ranks as one of his favorites. Smaka pulled over a minivan for driving in the high-occupancy-vehicle lane ostensibly without a passenger. But the Chrysler minivan happened to be a hearse carrying a dead body in the back. “So, he doesn’t count in the back?” the driver reportedly asked the trooper. He did not. Smaka let the hearse driver off with a warning, but reminded him that dead bodies, mannequins, and pets do not count in the HOV lane.


 

Handout

Handout

We all screamed

In the wake of a viral video showing a Texas woman opening a Blue Bell ice cream carton, licking the ice cream, and putting the carton back in the freezer case, a Corpus Christi, Texas, Walmart placed an “armed” guard in the ice cream aisle. The late June video of a young woman licking the Blue Bell Tin Roof ice cream in Lufkin, Texas, caused strong denunciations, and police had been talking up charges of second-degree felony tampering that could carry a prison term of 20 years. As it turned out, the suspect is a minor and therefore won’t face charges that stiff. Regardless, a Walmart store in Corpus Christi placed an employee on guard with a water gun to scare off any copycat cases in the lead-up to the July Fourth holiday.


 

Krieg Barrie

Krieg Barrie

Encroaching roaches

Scientists from Purdue University are warning that cockroaches are becoming immune to insecticide. According to a study published in June in Scientific Reports and spearheaded by Michael Scharf, German cockroach populations not only developed a resistance to insecticide but also picked up immunity to insecticides not used in the study. “[This] will make controlling these pests almost impossible with chemicals alone,” Scharf said. The typical German cockroach female can lay nearly 400 eggs during her 100-day lifespan.


 

Connie Monsees told KMGH

Connie Monsees told KMGH

Led astray

An aggressive Google Maps driving direction led to dozens of drivers getting stuck in mud en route to Denver International Airport. A large crash on Peña Boulevard in Aurora, Colo., on June 23 caused GPS applications like Google Maps to search for a quicker route to the airport. Driver Connie Monsees told KMGH that she and about 100 other drivers seemed to be following smartphone directions onto a dirt road. Unbeknownst to the mapping program—or the drivers—the dirt road was impassible after recent heavy rainfall, and most of the motorists became stuck behind a few cars that had become bogged down in mud. Those with all-wheel drive vehicles were able to get through, and Monsees says she picked up a few stranded motorists and delivered them to the airport.


 

Handout

Handout

Quick turnover

It took a Canadian man just 10 minutes to lose his brand-new supercar. Driving his 2019 McLaren 600LT valued at $256,500 for the first time, the unidentified driver from Coquitlam, British Columbia, was reportedly pulled over by police on June 17 for traveling 100 mph—almost double the posted speed limit. Because of the excessive speed, Canadian police impounded the vehicle for seven days and issued the driver a $368 ticket.