Quick Takes: Unintended trial run
High school students discover they must take their college admissions exam twice
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What’s worse than taking an SAT in December? Taking the test over again in March. Students at a Connecticut high school eagerly checked for their SAT scores in December only to find a major problem. According to the College Board, they hadn’t taken the test. Instead, the 114 students who sat for the Dec. 2 standardized test at Greenwich High School discovered they’d actually taken an old exam from 2021. School officials say they reached out to the College Board for an explanation but didn’t immediately learn what caused the mix-up. However, the testing company contacted affected students and offered a makeup test a week before Christmas or the option of taking the new digital version in March. That did little to assuage affected students like Katie Hawks, who told Patch Media, “I wasted a potentially good score and a whole day.”
Portland International Airport officials hoped weary travelers passing through their terminals during the busy Christmas season would depart feeling more relaxed. No prob-llama thanks to some help from specialists Beni and Prince—trained therapy llamas who donned festive holiday costumes and spent three days accepting hugs and strokes from stressed passengers. “They’re just very unique animals compared to most other therapy animals,” owner Lori Gregory, who runs Mountain Peaks Therapy Llamas and Alpacas, told The Washington Post. “They got the total package.”
Making hot art
Banksy’s newest pop art creation vanished from a London street almost as fast as it arrived. Banksy, the anonymous street artist whose work has sold for millions of dollars, posted an image to social media Dec. 22 of his newest creation: a stop sign embellished with three military drones to create an anti-war message. But as Banksy fans began congregating at the spot, they saw two men cut down the sign and speed away. London police arrested the two suspected thieves within 48 hours.
New dice for drivers
Cars in Illinois might smell a little better in 2024. On Jan. 1, a law took effect that prevents police in the Prairie State from pulling over motorists merely because the driver’s view might be obstructed by something dangling from the rearview mirror. Before 2024, that meant any Illinois driver with a hanging air freshener, a parking placard, or even fuzzy dice could be pulled over by police. Bill sponsors argued that Illinois police abused the law by using it as a pretense to make traffic stops.
Police in Guelph, Ontario, foiled a plot by a trio of serial butter thieves who seemingly procrastinated on their Christmas baking. According to police, the men swiped an entire case of butter from a grocery store Dec. 24. Responding officers quickly located the getaway car parked nearby at another grocery store. As officers approached the suspects’ vehicle, one of the men exited the store with another cart of stolen butter. In total, the trio pilfered 144 sticks of butter and 17 containers of ghee worth more than $1,000. The police poked fun at the bizarre heist, saying the thieves “had their holiday baking plans interrupted.”
Boy flies south
When Logan Lose, an unaccompanied 16-year-old traveler, walked up to his gate at Tampa International Airport on Dec. 22, he saw passengers boarding. Unsure what to do next, Logan checked with gate agents who told him to get in line to board. Problem: Logan had a ticket to Cleveland and the passengers boarding the Frontier Airlines flight were bound for Puerto Rico. Logan’s flight was due to depart later at the same gate. The boy’s parents say the agents didn’t check the boy’s boarding pass when they waved him onto the wrong flight. A Frontier spokesperson apologized, and the airline managed to get Logan to Cleveland the next day.
Missing pigeon report
The pigeon waddling outside the door of a Cape Coral, Fla., hair salon in December seemed like any other until staff noticed it trying to drink water from a planter box and was strangely unbothered by humans. Customer Elizabeth Merriken picked up the bird and found a phone number on a tag attached to its foot. “I’m always finding homeless stray animals. So it was typical for me,” Merriken told WSVN-TV. Merriken and salon staff called the number and discovered the pet bird had been missing for 15 months since Hurricane Ian swept the pigeon away from its home. Staff arranged a reunion for the owner and his bird, calling it a Christmas miracle.