A lawsuit against a pork roll company for flatulence, bears swimming in a backyard pool and an unlikely inspiration for a folk-rock band are among the oddest stories to happen in New Jersey this year:
THE ELF'S GONNA BE OK
A New Jersey girl called 911 this month after she touched her Elf on the Shelf.
Police say 7-year-old Isabelle LaPeruta, of Old Bridge, was worried because, according to the popular children's book, the magic of Christmas goes away if the elf is touched.
Her mother, Lynanne, says she awoke from a nap to find her daughter trying to shoo an officer out of the house. She says the girl panicked after the elf fell on the floor when she threw a ball.
The officer radioed headquarters: "Isabella apologized. She touched the Elf on a Shelf. She won't call 911 again."
BEARS LIKE SWIMMING, TOO
A mama bear and her five cubs decided to beat the August heat in a Rockaway Township pool.
Tim Basso posted a video online showing the bears climbing into his family's above-ground pool, tumbling out of it, dragging around pool toys and climbing on a slide and swing set.
Basso said his 3- and 5-year-old daughters weren't eager to share their toys. One of the girls can be heard on the video crying out "No!" as a cub grabs an inflatable toy.
PORK ROLL FLATULENCE LAWSUIT
One of New Jersey's top pork roll makers was sued by the wife of an employee who she says was fired for passing too much gas in the office.
Louann Clem said in the lawsuit filed in September that her husband suffered serious consequences from gastric bypass surgery. Those included extreme gas and uncontrollable diarrhea.
The lawsuit alleges that Case Pork Roll Co. President Thomas Dolan complained about the side effects and told Rich Clem to work from home because the office smelled. His wife also worked there.
But owner Tom Grieb said neither of them was fired. He says business wasn't good and they didn't want to take a pay cut and walked out. He says they were never discriminated against.
THE LUMINEERS: NEWSPAPER FANS
A member of The Lumineers says a picture of The Record columnist Herb Jackson is the secret to the band's success.
Jeremiah Fraites posted a picture of his keyboard on the folk-rock band's Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts.
Fraites said that he didn't know who Jackson was when he taped the picture to his keyboard 10 years ago but that "looking at him assures me creativity will flow."
CHRISTIE, NOT KIRSTIE
The actress became a trending topic throughout the U.S. on Twitter in May after jokes and confusion from people reading the phrase "Christie ally" in headlines.
David Wildstein is an ally of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. He pleaded guilty for his role in lane closures on the George Washington Bridge in 2013.
STEVEN TYLER: ROCK `N' ROLL, NOT STRAWBERRIES
Police had to send an alert to West Windsor residents that Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler was not performing at a small pick-your-own strawberry farm.
The rock star and "American Idol" judge was listed on concert websites ReverbNation and Eventful as performing a Saturday morning show at Windsor Farm & Market.
It's not clear how the mistake was made.
BIRTHDAY CAKE GO BOOM
A Maywood man lit his kitchen table on fire by adding lighter fluid and gasoline to a birthday cake recipe so he could post a video of the fiery result on YouTube.
Maywood Police Chief David Pegg said the man was trying to record the flaming cake with his iPad in May. Police and firefighters responded to the house and were greeted by an angry man who demanded they leave.
The fire was contained to the kitchen table, and authorities say the incident didn't appear to be criminal.