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News of the Weird

The Associated Press
Tuesday June 11, 2002

Name that chirp 

TRENTON, N.J. – Some unlikely tunes are leaping up the charts in New Jersey. 

A new CD featuring frogs croaking is selling so fast that state wildlife officials are having trouble keeping it in stock. 

“It’s pretty amazing,” Linda Tesauro, executive director of the Conserve Wildlife Foundation, said last week. “We never expected these to be as popular as they are.” 

Performers include the indigenous Pine Barrens Treefrog, the chirping Northern Spring Peeper, and the Carpenter Frog. 

Frog fans also are buying the accompanying book “Field Guide to Amphibians and Reptiles of New Jersey.” 

Initial runs of 1,000 copies for each item sold out in 10 weeks — a record for the state Division of Fish and Wildlife’s Endangered and Non-game Species Program. A second run of 2,000 is expected within days. 

The frog sounds were recorded in the woods and streams of the Garden State. The CD is meant to teach listeners to identify the calls and chirps of the tiny amphibians. 

The CD and book sell for $10 each or $18 for the set. 


Hello kitty 

CANON CITY, Colo. – Bill and Shirley Smith lost their cat in last week’s destructive wildfires here. Lucky for one lost kitty, they’re not too heartbroken to open their home again. 

The Smiths plan to adopt a frail and burned kitten found in the ashes. 

The wildfire, one of the worst in Colorado history, destroyed 88 homes, including the Smiths’, about 100 miles southwest of Denver. The Smiths saved their three dogs before fleeing but couldn’t find the cat, R.C. 

Tuesday night, Bill Smith’s daughter and son-in-Law, Linda and Jon Marsh, found the kitten while searching for R.C. 

“It wasn’t what we were looking for, but we saved something that was living and breathing,” Linda Marsh said. 

The dehydrated kitten had second-degree burns on its paws, ears and nose. A veterinarian at the Fremont Veterinary Hospital in Canon City bandaged its paws and administered antibiotics. 

It was expected to fully recover. 


Thief returns goods 

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. – A man’s plan to steal his neighbor’s car was foiled when the car broke down and he was caught pushing it back into the driveway. 

Michael Peterson allegedly broke into John Dailey’s home, took a set of car keys, helped himself to soft drinks from the refrigerator and stole a 1985 Honda Civic parked in the driveway, police said. 

Peterson and a male juvenile accomplice knew Dailey would be out of town, said state Trooper G.S. Petsko. 

As they fled, the car “began to malfunction and stopped in the roadway,” Petsko said. “Disgruntled, they pushed the vehicle back to the residence.” 

Dailey’s nephew spotted the men and eventually called police. 

Peterson, 23, was arraigned Wednesday on charges of burglary, destruction of property, receiving a stolen vehicle, larceny and unauthorized use of a vehicle. He was released on $5,000 bond. 

Peterson faces up to 22 years in prison if convicted. 

Petsko said the 16-year-old juvenile accomplice would face similar charges.