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Dispatches Quick Takes

Quick Takes

Neil Robertson (Imagine China/Newscom)

Driven to distraction

A small oversight cost former world champion snooker player Neil Robertson a chance at another title. Robertson decided to drive to the Barnsley Metrodome for the World Open qualifier on Oct. 4 rather than stay the night near the event. But in a hurry, the snooker player accidentally typed the wrong Barnsley, U.K., into his mapping program. Rather than drive to the city of 91,297 in South Yorkshire to compete in the billiards-style games, Robertson drove to the tiny village of Barnsley in Gloucestershire with a population of 209. Earlier this year, Robertson missed a tournament due to a flight being canceled. “When I realized there was a second Barnsley, it was too late to get to the other one,” Robertson said on Twitter. “Hopefully I’ll be able to either play or complete a match this season.”



Simon Jolin-Barrette (Handout)

Language arts

French is the official language of Quebec, and for some the common bilingual greeting “bonjour-hi” doesn’t cut it. In 2017, Quebec’s National Assembly unanimously approved a nonbinding resolution urging shopkeepers to say only “bonjour” as a greeting. In October, the province’s minister of immigration, francization, and integration, Simon Jolin-Barrette, floated the idea of banning “bonjour-hi” in shops. That idea prompted enough ridicule for the province’s government to backtrack but not give up completely. Jolin-Barrette suggested using a carrot instead of a stick: “One thing for sure, the government of Quebec will put in place incentives because French is the spoken language in Quebec.”


Brynn Anderson/AP

Deandre Sommerville (Brynn Anderson/AP)

Slumbering justice

A Florida man spent 10 days in jail after sleeping through jury duty. After receiving his first-ever summons for jury service, 21-year-old Deandre Sommerville said he accidentally overslept and missed his Aug. 21 date. Sommerville made it to his job running an after-school program in West Palm Beach but failed to notify the Palm Beach County Courthouse. In September, Circuit Court Judge John Kastrenakes sentenced Sommerville to 10 days in jail, one year of probation, and 150 hours of community service for the offense, explaining that Sommerville’s actions delayed the court by 45 minutes. After the 21-year-old finished serving his 10-day term, Kastrenakes reduced his probation to three months.




Stuck by a stick shift

Car thieves in Madison, Wis., were stymied by a once-common car feature that has become something of an anti-theft device: a manual transmission. Police in Madison say a pair of thieves broke into a home Oct. 3 and found an unlocked car in the garage. After stealing a purse with keys inside, they attempted to take the car. Police say the thieves managed to start the car, but were unable to drive it away because they could not get the vehicle into gear. Police eventually found the stolen purse in another car stolen from another location and later abandoned. Just 5 percent of new cars sold in the United States come equipped with a manual transmission.


Dolores Ochoa

Ice cream vendor María del Carmen Pilapaña (Dolores Ochoa)

Taste bud test

A new ice cream flavor from a vendor in Quito, Ecuador, has patrons lining up to try it. Meat-flavored ice cream has been tried before, but vendor María del Carmen Pilapaña said she believes she has the first guinea-pig-flavored ice cream. Meat from guinea pigs, called “cuy,” is commonly eaten in some parts of South America. “My family and my husband thought I was crazy,” Pilapaña said. “They didn’t think anyone would like these ice creams, but now they’re our main product.” Though she offers traditional ice cream flavors, Pilapaña said her offerings include bug- and mushroom-flavored ice cream.



Trinity County Sheriff Woody Wallace

Heath Edward Bumpous (Trinity County Sheriff Woody Wallace)

Wedding crasher

A Texas woman on the eve of her marriage convinced her fiancé to confess to bank robbery charges. Police say Heath Edward Bumpous of Crockett, Texas, robbed a Citizens State Bank in nearby Groverton because he was getting married the next day and needed money for a wedding ring and to pay for his wedding venue. A Trinity County Sheriff’s deputy said Bumpous used a gun to commit the robbery. Later, the sheriff’s office posted video surveillance on social media, which Bumpous’ fiancée saw. After calling her fiancé, she convinced Bumpous to turn himself in to authorities. Sheriff’s deputies were able to recover most of the cash.



Zach Dwyer/The St. Cloud Times via AP

Kade (Zach Dwyer/The St. Cloud Times via AP)

Course correction

A wrong turn for a 9-year-old runner netted the boy a medal. During a 5K race in Sartell, Minn., on Sept. 21, mother Heather Lovell thought she lost her son. Waiting along the race route, Lovell kept watch for her son Kade. When Lovell saw other children pass by, she grew worried and began asking race officials to look for her son. She finally found Kade at the finish line of the 10K event, eventually discovering that her son made a wrong turn onto a different race course. For his part, the boy said he panicked when he realized he was on the wrong course and increased his speed in part because he believed his mother would be mad at him. The quicker pace worked—Kade finished first in the 10K race.


Krieg Barrie

Krieg Barrie

No musher necessary

When dog owner Jen Mignard of Billings, Mont., tripped and fell off her sled during an Oct. 9 training run, she hoped the four-dog team would either stop or make for her car. They did neither. Instead, the team kept racing through town, catching the attention of locals and police. “They led the police on a bit of a slow-speed chase,” she said. Eventually authorities were able to corral the dogs, and Mignard was able to pick them up from a local shelter the next day. Screen Capture

Richard Goyan Paul, aka ‘Nobody’ ( Screen Capture)

Nobody goes nowhere

A mayoral candidate’s gimmick to sneak his way into office in Keene, N.H., failed on Oct. 8 when citizens voted in the city’s primary election. Richard Goyan Paul, who in August legally changed his name to “Nobody,” managed to get himself and his new name on the ballot. Hoping to ride voter dissatisfaction to victory, “Nobody” only received 47 of the 2,271 votes cast, or just over 2 percent. Paul, who has multiple convictions for disorderly conduct and drugs, said he’s also thinking about running for governor.