He’ll Get You, You Dirty Rats!

--The police department has the rats on the run. That’s because Fang is on the prowl. Police acquired the 20-pound part-Persian feline “in an interdepartmental transfer” from the city animal shelter in Grand Prairie, Tex. Fang’s mission is to rid the police station of rats, which were chewing up important evidence, Sgt. Doug Clancey said. “Fang is our rat-attack cat,” said Clancey, who is in charge of property and detention services, “but we recognize him professionally as a rodent controller.” The rats had been gnawing on the patience of officers in the property room for some time before Fang began his 24-hour-a-day patrol last month. Clancey said traps and poison had failed to deter the rats. “They got into everything,” he said. “They had no limits. They chewed through beer cans, candy boxes, cigarette packs and gum. They were destroying evidence like crazy.” But Fang now has the rats on the defensive. “He’s doing a great job. We haven’t seen any intruders lately,” Clancey said.

--Walter Cronkite did a better job of making fun of his sainted image than the celebrities who gathered to roast CBS’ ex-anchorman. “I’m taking the easy way out,” talk show host Dick Cavett said. “I’m going to use all the jokes I used at the Mother Teresa roast.” House Majority Leader Jim Wright (D-Tex.) said he always thought that, “if God were to speak out loud to me, he would sound something like Walter Cronkite.” In return, Cronkite said he expected “to grow old gracefully--like Joan Collins or Gary Coleman.” He poked fun at his candidacy, at age 69, to be the first journalist in space, noting that it could be years before NASA resumes the space shuttle program. “To tell you the truth,” he said, “I think that, right now, it’s sort of a race between NASA getting the shuttle’s plumbing fixed before mine wears out.” About 300 people attended the $1,000-a-plate dinner to benefit a Walter Cronkite Chair in the communications school of the University of Texas at Austin, which Cronkite attended.

--When the central New York village of Unadilla notified Walter Owen that he had not complied with rules for keeping his sidewalk free of snow and ice, he tore up the sidewalk in front of his house and had it removed. That left the shovel in the village’s court, and the trustees asked their attorney, Marcley Hilderbrand, if Owen could be prosecuted. Hilderbrand said that, because Owen’s sidewalk was pretty far off the beaten path and not many of the town’s 1,317 inhabitants used it, Owen might be able to make a case that the walk was no longer public. “But, if someone on Main Street did the same thing, he couldn’t get away with it,” Hilderbrand said. The trustees decided to drop the matter.