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Dispatches Quick Takes

Quick Takes

Rochester Cathedral (Handout)

Playing through

Visitors to Rochester Cathedral in southern England may not hear the gospel, but they can get in a round of golf. Officials at the 1,300-year-old cathedral installed a nine-hole miniature golf course in the nave in a bid to attract families, one of a number of gimmicks the Church of England has tried to stem falling attendance. The AFP news service reports that Norwich Cathedral has a helter-skelter ride in its nave and that Lichfield Cathedral turned its floor into a replica of the moon’s surface. Rachel Phillips, one of the cathedral canons, told AFP that the mini-golf course has boosted the number of visitors to Rochester Cathedral by 80 percent.


 

iStock

iStock

Law and consequences

Did Ohio accidentally and temporarily legalize marijuana? It’s complicated. On July 30, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine signed a law legalizing hemp in the Buckeye State. The law distinguished between legal hemp and illegal marijuana based on levels of psychoactive THC. In August, officials in Ohio’s capital city Columbus said they didn’t have equipment that could test THC levels, meaning authorities could no longer prosecute misdemeanor marijuana cases because they could not prove in court that marijuana was not hemp. On Aug. 12, state Attorney General Dave Yost said his agency would foot the bill for private lab testing for cases involving amounts that would merit felony charges. Yost said he hopes to outfit Ohio cities with testing equipment by year’s end.


 

WTVR screen capture

WTVR screen capture

‘The TV Santa Claus’

Some late-night prowlers wear ski masks and steal property. Police in Henrico, Va., are investigating a different type: This one wears a television on his head and leaves televisions on area front porches. In August, police released video from one homeowner’s doorbell camera of the man dropping off an older 13-inch television. “He wants to be known as the TV Santa Claus. I don’t know,” homeowner Jim Brooksbank told WTVR. In all, more than 50 outdated television sets were discovered on Henrico front porches on Aug. 11. For now, police are calling the actions simply a prank. “It’s summer, and people are getting ready to go back to school,” Brooksbank said. “Maybe TV man was just ready to strike and put a little humor in our lives.”


 

Krieg Barrie

Krieg Barrie

A stinging pursuit

Police in Germany received an assist from a swarm of wasps while apprehending a suspect on Aug. 12. According to police in Oldenburg, Germany, officers nearly arrested a 32-year-old suspect but lost him when he jumped from a balcony. While the suspect briefly evaded officers, his leap left him in a wasp nest. As he fled from the attacking insects, the suspect jumped into an inflatable pool where police caught up and arrested him.

 


 

Jae C. Hong/AP

Georgia Taylor-Brown and Jess Learmonth (Jae C. Hong/AP)

The first shall be last

Race officials have disqualified two triathletes who crossed the finish line holding hands. Two British women led the pack of elite athletes during an Olympic qualification event in Tokyo. Approaching the finish line, Georgia Taylor-Brown and Jess Learmonth held hands, apparently in a display of friendship in order to share first place. But race officials found a seldom-cited section from the rules published by the International Triathlon Union that says athletes who attempt to create a contrived tie will be disqualified. As a result, both Taylor-Brown and Learmonth were disqualified and third-place finisher Flora Duffy of Bermuda was named the winner.


 

iStock

iStock

The eyes have it

Scientists from the University of Exeter in the UK have developed a new tactic for keeping seagulls away from tourists’ lunches: stare at the birds. In an Aug. 6 release, researchers revealed that staring down the birds helped delay the seagulls from attacking a plate of french fries by about 21 seconds. According to lead author Madeleine Goumas, most seagulls would not approach the food left out for them. Of those that did, the birds that were not being directly watched by a nearby human stole the french fries much quicker than the watched birds.

 


 

Krieg Barrie

Krieg Barrie

Balancing act

Chase Bank is making a number of Canadian customers very happy following a decision to forgive credit card debts for certain card holders. In order to speed their effort to withdraw from the Canadian market, officials with the U.S.-based Chase Bank say they will wipe out all balances for Canadian Amazon- and Marriott-branded Visa cardholders. Ontario resident Douglas Turner told the CBC that he had owed more than $4,600 on his card: “I was sort of over the moon all last night, with a smile on my face.”

 


 

Handout

Handout

A $98,000 smile?

Citizens of Porirua, New Zealand, were not feeling jovial after the city spent about $98,000 on a corporate branding exercise that left the city with a smiley face logo. The New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union criticized the Porirua City Council logo, calling it a “limp and childlike smiley face,” and questioned the necessity of the city’s 5 percent tax rate increase. “Councils do not need to engage in corporate branding exercises,” the Taxpayers Union said in a release. In response, a spokesman for the city claimed the city council needed a new logo in order to connect with the youthful population of the city. The city said the new logo is just one part of the city’s rebranding effort.


 

DanDee Shots

DanDee Shots

Flying horses

Move over dogs, now horses can fly too. According to a rule published by the U.S. Department of Transportation, U.S. airlines may no longer ban miniature horses trained as service animals from flights. Prior to the August ruling, some domestic carriers had prohibited miniature horses and other unusual service animals from flights. According to the Department of Transportation, because miniature horses are listed in the Americans with Disabilities Act as service animals, airlines cannot prevent them from flying in the main cabin with their owners.