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Weird News

    Maine has decided that eating like a pig could be a good thing, especially for schools looking to cut down on food waste. A law saying schools can give food scraps away to pig farmers is now on the books in the state. The practice of feeding human food waste to pigs goes back millennia, but some school districts in Maine have expressed confusion in recent years about the rules around the practice. So the Maine Legislature passed a clarifying bill that took effect Sept. 19. The new standards will help school districts find a use for spoiled food that might otherwise end up in landfills, say supporters, including Republican sponsor state Sen. Stacey Guerin, of Glenburn. 'In Maine, that was a common practice when I was growing up. Hog farmers would come to the back door and take the waste at the end of the day,' Guerin said. 'I'm glad school administrators can do that with confidence now, without fear of breaking the law.' The new rules state that any individual or institution, including a school, can donate garbage to a swine producer for use as feed even if they're unaware of the producer's licensure status. Guerin said the rule change made sense because the schools aren't responsible for monitoring the license status of hog farms. Donations to hog farmers will also help school districts reduce the cost of waste disposal, said Ryan Parker, a Newport resident and farmer who advocated for the bill. Parker has raised pigs of his own and said his hogs were happy to indulge on old milk. 'It's one less thing they have to pay for — get the food waste out of the trash. And if you don't have food waste in your trash, it doesn't smell,' Parker said. Unlike most kinds of livestock, pigs can digest human food waste fairly easily, said Bobby Acord, a consultant with the National Pork Producers Council. 'And pigs have a voracious appetite,' he said. 'They eat whatever you put in front of them.' The National Conference of State Legislatures said it's unclear how many other states have laws like the one in Maine. The rules about feeding refuse to swine vary by jurisdiction. More than half the states allow garbage feeding, Acord said. The hog farmers in Maine are required to have a license to feed pigs food waste, and the waste has to be cooked. Those rules, which exist to prevent the spread of diseases such as salmonella poisoning, remain in effect, state officials said. Not all hog farmers in the state would be able to use the food waste because of the difficulty of collecting and cooking it, but it could still become a way for schools to reduce the amount of unused food they throw out, said Clark Souther, the president of Maine Pork Producers Association. 'Schools have an awful lot of scrap waste from the kitchen and from the tables. So it would add up,' Souther said.
  • Roger Bannister, 1954. Eliud Kipchoge, 2019? Like the sub-four minute mile, running a marathon in less than two hours had seemed impossible — until Saturday. But this time there's an asterisk: Olympic champion Kipchoge performed his feat under conditions so tightly controlled to maximize his success that it won't appear in the record books. The 34-year-old Kenyan completed the 42.195 kilometers (26.2 miles) in 1 hour, 59 minutes, 40.2 seconds at the INEOS 1:59 Challenge, an event set up for the attempt. Ahead of the event, Kipchoge even compared the feat to being 'like the first man on the moon.' Afterward, he drew comparisons to Bannister, the late Briton who 65 years ago became the first athlete to run a mile in under four minutes. 'It is a great feeling to make history in sport after Sir Roger Bannister,' Kipchoge said. 'I am the happiest man in the world to be the first human to run under two hours and I can tell people that no human is limited. I expect more people all over the world to run under two hours after today.' With all variables tailored to his advantage, it was still the full marathon distance but it was no regular marathon race, which means his jaw-dropping finishing time will not be ratified by IAAF. Different to an ordinary race, event organizers had set a nine-day window to be flexible and stage the run in the best possible weather conditions. Also, Kipchoge was supported throughout his run by 36 pacemakers who accompanied him in alternating groups, with five athletes running ahead of him in a V-shape and two others closely following. Unlike a normal race, a timing car just in front of the pack also helped keep the scheduled pace, and was equipped with a laser beam, projecting the ideal position on the road, parts of which also had painted stripes to indicate the optimum running line. Furthermore, Kipchoge received drinks handed over by a cyclist to prevent him from having to slow down. Even though his attempt was never meant to set an official world record, Kipchoge was understandably delighted and twice punched his chest in celebration while smiling when he finished. 'That was the best moment of my life,' he said, before adding that he trained 4 ½ months for his extraordinary race against the clock. 'The pressure was very big on my shoulders. I got a phone call from the president of Kenya.' In a statement, President Uhuru Kenyatta said: 'Hearty congratulations, Eliud Kipchoge. You've done it, you've made history and made Kenya proud. Your win today will inspire future generations to dream big and aspire to greatness.' Kipchoge said his mission went beyond athletics. 'We can make this world a beautiful world and a peaceful world,' he said. 'The positivity of sport. I want to make it a clean sport and an interesting sport.' Kipchoge was cheered by thousands along the course in Prater Park and there were celebrations in his home country before he had even finished. Hundreds of joyous Kenyans brought traffic to a standstill in the middle of the capital, Nairobi, as they gathered to watch the end of the run on a large screen. People pumped their fists, clapped and fell to their knees as Kipchoge cruised to the finish line. In Kenya's running mecca of Eldoret, called the home of champions, hundreds of people burst on to the streets in celebration. 'We should line up the entire road from the airport to Nairobi. Receive him like the hero he is,' prominent activist Boniface Mwangi said on Twitter. Running at an average pace of 2 minutes, 50 seconds per kilometer (around 4:33 per mile), Kipchoge was 11 seconds ahead of schedule halfway through his run. He then maintained his tempo until the pacemakers left him for the final 500 meters, where he sped up. 'I was really calm, I was just trying to maintain the pace,' said Kipchoge, adding he was never in doubt about breaking the barrier. 'For me it was not 50-50, it was 90%.' Jim Ratcliffe, founder of the chemicals company backing the attempt, exchanged high-fives with Kipchoge after the finish. 'He even accelerated in the final kilometer, he is a superhuman,' Ratcliffe said. 'I can't believe he's done it. He did the first half in less than an hour and then he's just done that again.' Organizers said normal anti-doping regulations were in place and that Kipchoge and all the pacemakers were being tested in and out of competition by the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU). The team behind the event 'has ensured all athletes involved in the project are undergoing extensive intelligence-led testing that has been pioneered by the partnership between Abbott World Marathon Majors and the AIU,' they said in a statement to The Associated Press. The Prater Park in the Austrian capital offered long straights, protected from the wind by high trees, for most of the 9.6-kilometer course, which Kipchoge completed more than 4 times. It was his second attempt at breaking the two-hour barrier, after missing out by 26 seconds at a similar event on the Formula One track in Monza, Italy, in May 2017. Kipchoge, who took Olympic gold in Rio de Janeiro in 2016 and has won 10 of his 11 marathons, holds the official world record of 2:01:39 since shattering the previous best mark by 78 seconds in Berlin last year. In the near-perfect circumstances at the meticulously planned attempt, Kipchoge shaved almost two minutes off that time. Long-time coach and mentor, Patrick Sang, a former Olympic and world steeplechase silver medalist, said it was 'really exciting.' 'I am happy for him and what he has achieved. He has inspired all of us that we can stretch our limits and that we can do more than we think we can do,' Sang added. Under Sang's guidance, Kipchoge won gold in the 5,000 meters at the world championship in 2003, the start of a distinguished track career which includes Olympic bronze and silver medals from 2004 and 2008. After missing out on qualification for the 2012 London Olympics on the track, Kipchoge switched to the marathon and has since been pushing the boundaries of the discipline. But he still faces one big challenge — to run under two hours in a regular marathon race. ___ Associated Press writer Tom Odula in Nairobi, Kenya contributed. ___ More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
  • A toy fox terrier that disappeared from its family's south Florida home in 2007 was found this week over a thousand miles away in Pittsburgh and reunited with its owner on Friday. The 14-year-old named Dutchess was found hungry, shivering and in serious need of a nail trim under a shed on Monday, according to Humane Animal Rescue. The property owner took the dog to a Humane Animal Rescue location, where staffers were able to locate a microchip and trace the dog back to its owners in Boca Raton, Florida. The dog's owner, Katheryn Strang, drove all the way to Pittsburgh for an emotional reunion with Dutchess . Boca Raton, Florida, is about 1,130 miles (18184.74 kilometers) from Pittsburgh. Strang said she couldn't believe it when she got the call that her dog had been found after all these years. She said her son opened the door after school one day and Dutchess got out and they never saw her again. They were living in Orlando at the time near a very busy street and she assumed the dog was either hit or scooped up by someone. She checked shelters daily in the weeks after Dutchess went missing, and continued to pay the annual fee on the microchip, as well as update her contact information whenever she moved. 'They are like your babies. You don't give up hope,' she said at a news conference after reuniting with Dutchess. As she kissed and hugged her long-lost pet, she murmured to the dog: 'Where have you been?
  • A Hawaii family has won a place with the Guinness World Records for the world's heaviest avocado. The Pokini family from the island of Maui received the Guinness certificate this week for the avocado weighing 5.6 pounds (2.54 kilograms), The Maui News reported Thursday. The average avocado weighs about 6 ounces (170 grams), according to Guinness officials. The Pokini family's avocado tree is more than 10 years old and 20 feet (6.1 meters) tall. Mark Pokini planted it when his son was born, using a seed from his brother-in-law's tree on Oahu island, he said. Mark and Juliane Pokini and their son, Loihi, applied in December for the Guinness recognition involving a tough verification process by the company known as the chronicler of the world's record achievements. The family in 2018 entered another avocado, but it did not meet all the elements of the Guinness verification process requiring input from a certified horticulturalist, two forms completed by witnesses, a state-certified scale, photographs, video and other documentation. For the second attempt, the family gathered a team and the right tools ahead of time as they watched the growth of what became the record fruit. They did not water or fertilize the tree, deciding to 'kind of just leave it alone,' Juliane Pokini said. Winning was emotional, she said. 'We were excited,' Juliane Pokini said. 'But at the same time, we were like, finally. It was such a long wait.' The prize avocado was put to good use when the family 'made a whole bunch of guacamole' to share with relatives and friends, she said. __ This version corrects that the seed for the tree came from Mark Pokini's brother-in-law's tree, not his parents' tree. ___ Information from: The Maui News, http://www.mauinews.com
  • Cans of beer have littered the parking lot of a church of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in a Salt Lake City suburb after a semi-trailer crashed that was carrying cases of brew banned by the faith. Sandy Police Stg. Jason Nielsen said the semitrailer veered and fell from a road and into the church's parking lot after it was hit by a pickup truck that ran a red light on Thursday. Beer cans were strewn across the empty church parking lot. One of the faith's key rules is a ban on members drinking alcohol. Nielsen says the semitrailer driver was left with injuries that were not life-threatening. The pickup truck driver wasn't hurt. Authorities haven't determined if he will be cited. The church building wasn't damaged.
  • The copyright owners of the 'Charlie Brown Christmas' theme song have sued Dollywood in federal court for copyright infringement. News outlets report the complaint says the East Tennessee theme park named for country star Dolly Parton has used the song without permission in live Christmas performances since 2007. The lawsuit says Los Angeles-based Lee Mendelson Film Productions owns the copyright and is asking for $150,000 for every time the song has been used. According to the suit, 'Christmas Time is Here' was written by Lee Mendelson and Vince Guaraldi for the 1965 television special 'A Charlie Brown Christmas.' Dollywood said it is aware of the lawsuit but declined to comment on pending litigation.
  • Officials in a southwest Missouri city are planting small flags in piles of abandoned dog poop as part of a campaign to get residents to clean up after their pets downtown. The Police Department in Springfield, Missouri, posted photos of the flags in use on its Facebook page Wednesday. The flags contain messages such as, 'Is this your turd? 'Cuz that's absurd' and 'This is a nudge to pick up the fudge.' The campaign started this week and the department noted on Facebook that leaving behind a pet's mess in many cases violates a city ordinance. The flags are made of bamboo and recycled paper. The city said it picks up nearly 25 pounds (11.34 kilograms) of poop a week from downtown parks and parking lots, costing $7,500 annually.
  • Authorities say they've arrested a Florida man who provoked a small alligator into biting his arm and poured beer into the animal's mouth. News outlets report 27-year-old Timothy Kepke and 22-year-old Noah Osborne were charged last week with unlawfully taking an alligator. Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officers began investigating in August following a complaint of Osborne catching the alligator in Palm City and handing to Kepke. Kepke appears in a video to let the reptile bite his forearm. The video also shows Kepke feeding the alligator beer as it struggles. When officers interviewed Kepke last month, he reportedly acknowledged that he was in the video and said the gator was alive when they released it. The men were released on bond. Jail records didn't list attorneys for them.
  • A family visiting South Carolina fished a big package from the ocean, took it to their rental home and opened it up, finding about 44 pounds (20 kilograms) of cocaine. Beaufort County Sheriff's Maj. Bob Bromage told news outlets Monday that the family was walking along Fripp Island when they spotted the trash bag-wrapped package floating in the water. They dragged it onto the beach and lugged it to their rental in a golf cart, later slicing it open to discover bricks of white powder. At that point, they figured they'd better call police. Authorities assessed the cocaine's value at more than $600,000. Officials are working to determine its origin. Bromage said narcotics don't frequently wash up in the county. He thinks Hurricane Dorian may have pushed it ashore.
  • A New Mexico football coach has been fired and faces criminal charges after authorities said a student used a cellphone video to capture the coach on video taking money from a player's wallet. State Police arrested Miyamura High School coach John D. Roanhaus on Saturday following a review of the footage showing Roanhaus going into the school's locker room and taking $40 from the wallet, court documents said. According to an arrest warrant, a police officer was contacted by a student's mother who showed the officer the cellphone video. The video showed Roanhaus walking into the school's locker area, taking two $20 bills from a black wallet and stuffing the money in his sock, Officer Nathaniel Renteria wrote in the arrest warrant. Roanhaus had been the head football coach at the high school in the small, New Mexico western city of Gallup since 2018. He is the youngest son of New Mexico Hall of Fame coach Eric Roanhaus, who retired in 2016 as head football coach at Clovis High School after recording 343 wins, the most in state history. The mother told Renteria it wasn't the first time that players had experienced thefts in the locker room. Gallup-McKinley County Schools Superintendent Mike Hyatt told the Gallup Independent newspaper that Roanhaus was fired. Roanhaus, 42, was charged with larceny and non-residential burglary and ordered held on $2,000 bail. Roanhaus did not immediately respond to a telephone message left Wednesday seeking comment. No attorney was listed for Roanhaus and he has not been assigned a public defender, court records said. A preliminary court hearing on the case was scheduled for Wednesday. Miyamura High School's football team has a 1-6 record this season after a 55-14 loss last Friday.