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UPI NewsTrack Quirks in the News

82 snakes released after winter in cooler

ZION, Ill., April 3 (UPI) -- Animal rescuers in the Chicago area said dozens of brown and garter snakes have been released after spending the winter in a wine chiller.

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Rob Carmichael, director of the Lake Forest Wildlife Discovery Center, said the 82 snakes were found hibernating underneath old tracks near the decommissioned Zion nuclear power plant and were removed before work crews came in to repair the tracks, the Chicago Tribune reported Tuesday.

Carmichael said the snakes, which were discovered by a high school teacher in December, would have been exposed to freezing temperatures and possible death if they had not been removed before the scheduled repair work.

The reptiles were kept in a donated wine chiller at the Lake Forest Wildlife Discovery Center for the duration of the winter and are now being released into a newly created habitat at Illinois Beach State Park.

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"We hope these snakes will recognize this as their new home," Carmichael said.

He said the snakes were outfitted with microchips so researchers can track their movements.

Carmichael said officials wanted to rescue the animals due to the dwindling snake population in the Chicago area.


Teens caught riding atop train

OREKHOVO-ZUEVO, Russia, April 3 (UPI) -- Authorities in Russia said they caught three of six teenagers spotted riding atop a high speed Sapsan passenger train.

Police said the teenagers were seen riding atop the Moscow to Nizhny Novgorod train and three of them were caught near Orekhovo-Zuevo, about 55 miles from Moscow, while three others eluded capture, RIA Novosti reported Tuesday.

The teenagers said they had been planning to ride the train for another 30 miles, to Vladimir.

Officials said the teens were returned to their parents and are being billed for the train fares.


German janitor took 27 tons of supplies

STUTTGART, Germany, April 3 (UPI) -- Police in Germany said a janitor who admitted to stealing more than 27 tons of office supplies over the course of several decades likely won't be arrested.

Stuttgart authorities said the 69-year-old janitor admitted to taking office items and cleaning supplies from city buildings during the decades leading up to his 2007 retirement, The Local reported Tuesday.

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Officers said they learned of the pilfering from an anonymous tip and the man admitted to the thefts and showed police the items, which he kept at his apartment.

Police were cataloging the items and plan to return them to the city council. They said the janitor is unlikely to be arrested as he admitted the thefts, is considered unlikely to flee and is protected from prosecution in many of the thefts by the statute of limitations.


Survey: Many Canadians 'secret stashers'

TORONTO, April 3 (UPI) -- One-third of Canadians surveyed by a major retailer admitted to being "secret stashers" of clutter, poll results published in Toronto showed.

The Angus Reid survey of 1,004 adults conducted March 6-7 for the Canadian Tire retail chain addressed home organization habits as the calendar and weather advances into "spring cleaning" time for many.

While 54 percent of respondents described themselves as either "neurotic" or "neat" in home organization, 84 percent said they had at least one junk drawer of clutter in their homes.

Asked if they had "secret stasher" tendencies of tucking things away in various places, 33 percent admitted to the trait, the report said.

"Unfortunately, for most Canadians out of sight doesn't mean out of mind as 69 percent say that if their home is cluttered their mind feels cluttered too and 58 percent said they avoid having guests over if their home feels disorganized," the release said.

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The survey coincides with Canadian Tire's spring launch of storage and organization products at its 1,700 outlets.

The survey had a 3.1 percent margin of error, the pollster said.

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