I Brake for Salamanders

* Slow. Salamander crossing.

Yep, residents of Homewood, Alabama, soon will be seeing signs intended to protect spotted salamanders.

City leaders last week agreed to put "salamander crossing" signs on each end of a road where spotted salamanders cross each year on their way to mate and lay eggs.

Don Stewart asked the city to install the signs to make travelers on the road between the National Guard armory and Homewood High School more aware of their environment.

The yellow signs, featuring a black salamander drawn by Stewart, could be installed as early as next month.

The worm-eating amphibians, inky black with orange or yellow spots and gray bellies, are common from Canada to Mississippi. Some are as long as nine inches.

In Homewood, they crawl down the north face of Shades Mountain toward wetlands next to Shades Creek during the first full moon after the first warm rain.

Seeing Double

* When does 2 plus 2 equal 11?

When you're in the seventh grade at Southeast Junior High in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. That's because there are 11 sets of twins in the 520-student grade.

"I'm not sure any school, anywhere, has as many twins in one grade as Southeast," said Juanita Curry, a school counselor.

Assistant Principal Cheryl Hatley said even the students didn't realize how many twins there were in the class until someone came up with a total.

Identical twins Brittney and Whitney Lee admit they have fooled their teachers. "We switched classes once," Brittney said, "and switched back at noon. Nobody ever knew."

-- From staff and wire reports

Don Stewart displays his salamander crossing design in Homewood, Alabama.