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Kids want calico made state cat

January 18, 2001

Kids want calico made state cat



By LAURA ERNDE / Staff Writer


ANNAPOLIS - If five Western Maryland fifth-graders have their way, the calico cat will join the ranks of such elite animals as the blue crab and the Chesapeake Bay retriever.

The Westernport Elementary students are asking the Maryland General Assembly to name the calico the official state cat.

Their argument - the cat's colors are similar to the Maryland flag's black, red and gold.

The girls came up with the idea last year when they were studying Maryland government, said Lexi Gentry, 10.

"Cats are smart and a lot of people like cats. We don't think there's any other state that has a state cat," she said.

Lexi and her friends wrote to Del. Kevin Kelly, D-Allegany/Garrett, who promised to sponsor a bill for them.

After the session began Jan. 10, the girls diligently checked the legislature's Web site but failed to see their bill. They wrote another letter to Kelly, who filed House Bill 157 Thursday.

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"We were all excited. We couldn't believe it. We just felt excellent about ourselves," said Lexi, speaking on behalf of the "Cat Club."

Their principal, Steve Wilson, was also pleased and said he'd help arrange for them to testify in Annapolis if needed.

"I'm just really smiling here. They're really neat kids and they're all excited because they're a part of this," Wilson said.

The bill will come to the House Commerce and Government Matters Committee, on which two local legislators sit, Del. Christopher B. Shank, R-Washington, and Del. Louise V. Snodgrass, R-Frederick/Washington.

Kelly noted that the bill is also a women's rights bill.

"All calico cats are female," he said with a smile.

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