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Dispatches Quick Takes

Quick Takes

(Illustration by Krieg Barrie)

More mac and cheese, please

As food flies off the shelves of Canadian grocery stores, a nation turns its anxious eyes to one Canadian factory to keep the mac and cheese flowing. Kraft’s Montreal plant has transitioned to around-the-clock production to keep up with Canadian demand for Kraft macaroni and cheese boxes. Panic buying in March led to a 35 percent increase in demand nearly overnight. To meet that demand, the 960 employees at the Montreal facility have started taking on extra shifts to accommodate the extra hours of operation. “People are very proud,” plant manager Danielle Nguyen told CTV. “They feel they’re contributing to a noble cause, to serving the country.”


 

iStock

iStock

Shirt waste

Toilet paper shortages due to coronavirus fears have led Redding, Calif., residents to a substandard alternative. According to city officials, residents of the city caused a sewage backup by using scraps of T-shirts as toilet paper substitutes and flushing them down the toilet. The city contracted with COR Wastewater Management to clear the blockage on March 18. “If you use anything other than toilet paper, bag it,” an official said on the city’s official Twitter channel. “Don’t flush it.”


 

iStock

iStock

Rolling on the river

At the end of a very slow-speed chase, West Virginia officers were finally able to nab their man. Deputies with the Cabell County Sheriff’s Department began a search for a suspect from Culloden, W.Va., on March 24 after receiving a complaint about domestic violence. When deputies initially approached the man, the suspect bolted into his car and drove to the banks of the Ohio River. From there, the man abandoned the vehicle, swam to the middle of the river, and climbed aboard a floating log. Deputies watching from the shore tracked the man as he floated down the river, but eventually managed to drag him to shore.


 

Getty Images

Getty Images

Beefed-up traffic

Drivers in Chesapeake, Va., ran into an unusual traffic jam on March 24. Virginia State Police say a very large cow escaped a trailer on I-64, causing drivers to slam on their brakes to avoid hitting the animal. Motorists tried to guide the cow off the freeway, but she traveled down the roadway for a mile. The loose cow backed up traffic on both sides of the highway for miles as onlookers slowed to catch a glimpse. Eventually officers with the Chesapeake Police Department as well as other state officials helped draw the animal off the interstate and into custody.


 

JPL-Caltech/NASA

JPL-Caltech/NASA

Old-school problem-solving

The engineering solution for freeing a stuck Mars spacecraft was banging itself repeatedly with its own shovel. In March, NASA revealed its InSight robotic lander, which touched down on the red planet in November 2018, had become stuck. The problem: The robot’s drilling module was caught in the Martian soil. The solution, as formulated by NASA engineers: banging the robot’s scoop against the part that was stuck. On March 13, NASA officials announced the idea had worked. They had freed the module, and the lander was back on track with its mission.


 

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Facebook

Facebook follies

Amid a lockdown in Italy, priests throughout the country performed Mass via social media. But one priest in Salerno made a mistake: He left the video filters activated. Parishioners watching priest Paolo Longo via Facebook saw what appeared to be some questionable wardrobe choices to go with his vestments. The Facebook video filters that were inadvertently left on made it appear that Longo was wearing, at one point, a metallic helmet, and later a wizard’s hat. His parishioners didn’t seem to mind, with many of them thanking him for giving them a laugh during the coronavirus lockdown.


 

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Facebook

Delivery from debt

Nearly 45,000 families received a bright yellow envelope in the mail beginning in late February. The letters inside bore incredibly good news. Working with the nonprofit RIP Medical Debt, Crossroads Church in Cincinnati, Ohio, had raised enough money to pay off $46.5 million in medical debts. “Churches are at our best when we are a blessing to real people in our communities,” Senior Pastor Brian Tome told Fox News. The church began its fundraising drive in November. The New York–based charity that the church partnered with is able to clear $100 of medical debt for every dollar donated.


 

Handout

Handout

Getting the VIP treatment

A Japanese airport has rolled out the red carpet for dogs. Osaka’s Itami Airport unveiled a fenced yard near the terminal so passengers with dogs can take the animals on a rest stop before boarding a flight. The zone has a shower for rinsing the animals off and water bowls. The area also has a pole, giving the dogs an opportunity to empty their bladders before getting on a plane. According to the company that operates the Itami Airport, the pole has a drain and a flush.