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Thursday, April 14, 2005; Page C14

Trenton Goes Bonkers For Beluga Whale

• A geographically challenged beluga whale took a wrong turn and wound up in the Delaware River near Trenton, New Jersey, more than 80 miles from the ocean.

The whale's appearance Tuesday caused quite a stir. Reported one onlooker: "Four news helicopters are hovering overhead. The train is stopping on the train trestle. People are lining up along the river. It's like the city has gone mad."

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A marine mammal expert speculated that the 8- to 12-foot-long beluga might be an ill juvenile or an adult that chased a school of herring up the river. Belugas typically travel in large groups except when feeding.

The whale was spotted again yesterday about 10 miles north of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, heading in the direction of the sea.

Belugas can live as long as 50 years, grow to about 16 1/2 feet in length and weigh as much as 3,000 pounds, according to the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society.

Leaping Labradors!

• Here's a real-life Lassie tale:

A golden Labrador named Lacey slipped on a rocky slope in Wales on Monday and fell 100 feet down a cliff. A black Lab named Sheena saw Lacey lying in a pool of water at the bottom of a gully and raced for help.

Sheena found Lacey's owner, barked to get her attention and took her to Lacey. Rescuers were able to hoist Lacey to the top of the cliff. The dog was shivering but otherwise seemed fine, they said.

As for Sheena, we think she deserves a really nice treat.

A Bit Loony

• The "Land of 10,000 Lakes" has its own U.S. quarter.

Minnesota's 25-cent piece was issued this week. It depicts three things very popular in a state known for its outdoor recreation: a loon, fishing and pine trees.

The Minnesota quarter is the 32nd minted for a special series that honors each of the 50 states. Five new state quarters come out each year.

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