Darren’s Daily Dose of Weird News: April 06, 2011

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NEW NEWS...

A 16-year-old central Illinois girl has been given $150 in tickets after the worried victims of her April Fool's Day prank called police.  Bloomington police say the girl texted her friend and cousin Friday morning and said she'd been robbed and shot in the foot.  The pair called police, who rushed to a home where they found the 16-year-old safe. She hadn't been robbed or shot.  The (Bloomington) Pantagraph reports the girl received a $100 ticket for disorderly conduct and a $50 ticket for truancy because she wasn't in school Friday.  Police say she could have been criminally charged with filing a false police report.  ***MARLAR: If you’re given a ticket on April Fool’s Day, do you believe it or just consider it a joke from a jovial police officer?

Spanish police say they have arrested a man who twice escaped from custody by having his wife send fake faxes ordering his release.  Jose Carlos Serna was taken into custody at his home north of Madrid while hiding in a hollowed-out sofa.  In December, he was in a cell at Arganda del Rey courthouse awaiting trial when officers got a fax purportedly from a regional court. It was followed by a phone call purportedly from a court official, corroborating the release order.  Serna was freed to a waiting taxi. The call came from his wife, Gema Maria Serna, whom police tracked down to a house in the northern suburb and arrested on March 3.  It was not the first time Serna used the trick on police. He escaped from Valdemoro jail last October using the very same method.  ***MARLAR: I’m guessing this is the same guy who as a grade-schooler used to sign his own grade cards with “signed, Jose’s mom.”

Some residents of a Chicago suburb who remember all too well having to dig out from February's historic blizzard apparently forgot the date Friday when they reacted angrily to a newspaper report that the city plans to charge for snow removal.  WBBM-AM says the Evanston RoundTable article provoked some irate calls to City Hall, whose staff explained that residents would not be required to pay $2.25 a day for snow removal and pointed out that Friday was April 1st... April Fool's Day.  ***MARLAR: Wow – talk about a snow job!

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released a report that said taxing people based on how many miles they drive is a possible option for raising new revenues and that these taxes could be used to offset the costs of highway maintenance at a time when federal funds are short.  ***MARLAR: So what have we been paying for roads with up to now?  How about we use THAT money – the money collected from us already that was supposed to go to fixing and maintaining roads?  Come to think of it, we’re already taxed by the mile aren’t we?  We pay taxes for gasoline as it is – and the further we drive, the more gas we need to buy.  This is like paying tax for a cheeseburger, but then also being taxed additionally for each bite it takes for you finish your meal.

RETRO NEWS: FORMERLY NEW, NOW NOT NEW, BUT STILL ENTERTAINING...

A judge in Pennsylvania rejected a man's request to sign his driver's license as "God" even though he's legally changed his name and he's already done it on other documents ranging from bank records to income tax returns.  ***MARLAR:  As if it’s a surprise to anyone that the IRS expects even God to fork over his profits.

A Bakersfield, California, woman is in a lot of trouble after she was turned in by her 10-year-old son for making counterfeit money and identification cards. The boy gave officers the funny money, telling them his mommy made it. Mom will be in court today.  ***MARLAR: She’s now working on counterfeit “Get Out of Jail Free” cards.

A 44-pound feline was found waddling around recently without a collar in Voorhees, New Jersey.  Officials at the Camden County Animal Shelter were calling the kitty “Princess Chunk” although the cat has since been discovered to be a male.  “(The cat) is built like a quarterback,” said Deborah Wright, a shelter volunteer and current foster owner of the kitty. “I mean how do you lose a 44-pound cat?!” Princess Chunk’s owner did finally claim him.  ***MARLAR: But he’ll have to pay extra for the forklift to get Princess Chunk into his car.

Don't expect it to be a major smash hit, but there's a CD out featuring the rhythmic stylings of Nebraska's native frogs. University of Nebraska-Lincoln herpetologist Dennis Ferraro says frog songs are all about attracting a mate. Male frogs produce a simple bass line to say they're in their own territory and a higher-pitched melody to coax females to come over. Female frogs don't make the sounds. Ferraro's CD, "Frog Calls of Nebraska," features 11 tracks, each about one and half to 2 minutes long. It's not just entertainment. Ferraro says listening to frog calls helps scientists track populations.  ***MARLAR: And now we know how that Warner Bros. cartoon frog got his start!  “Hello my baby, hello my honey, hello my ragtime gal...!”

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