Giant pumpkin weighing nearly 1 ton sets California record

HALF MOON BAY, Calif. (AP) — A Northern California pumpkin hobbyist has won first place at the 46th annual Safeway World Championship Pumpkin Weigh Off, setting a record for the largest in California.

Leonardo Urena of Napa won $15,000 Monday when his pumpkin logged 2,175 pounds (986 kilograms).

Weigh-off spokesman Timothy Beeman says Urena's pumpkin is the second largest in the contest's history. A pumpkin from Washington state weighed nearly 2,400 pounds (1,088 kilograms) and won in Half Moon Bay in 2017.

The 51-year-old says he took up the hobby in 2000 and says he enjoys the pumpkin growing community. He also won the Half Moon Bay contest in 2011.

Urena says he always tells his pumpkins he's proud of them and he encourages them to keep growing.

Utah firefighters get purple manicures aiding girl in crash

CLEARFIELD, Utah (AP) — Two Utah firefighters responding to a car crash left the scene with purple manicures after calming a young girl upset over the collision.

North Davis Fire District Chief Allen Hadley and Captain Kevin Lloyd checked on the crying and screaming girl while medics evaluated her mother.

The two dads, both fathers of young girls, soothed the upset girl by allowing her to paint their nails after the car accident Saturday in the northern Utah city of Clearfield.

The North Davis Fire District is praising the firefighters for their quick thinking.

"This is how amazing our firefighters are," the district wrote.

Nobody was seriously hurt in the crash.

River otters attack, injure family dog in Anchorage park

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — An Alaska man rescued his family's dog from an attack by river otters in a small lake at an Anchorage park, he said.

Kenny Brewer waded waist-deep into Taku Lake and suffered a bite on his hand while pulling the dog away from the river otters that converged on the pet, Alaska Public Media reported .

The 27-year-old Anchorage dietitian and his wife, Kira, were walking the husky-mix named Ruby, which was bitten by a group of otters that dragged the dog underwater.

A veterinarian performed a "mini-surgery" to clean the dog's cuts, slice away damaged tissue and stitch a drain tube into its leg, Brewer said.

The couple walked the dog through the park south of midtown Anchorage and saw the otters swimming and climbing on a log.

"They would slither off of it into the water, and they just looked very playful and non-imposing," Brewer said.

After throwing a tennis ball into the water for the dog, the couple saw "water splashing, and thrashing."

"First it was just the one otter on her, and then it seemed like three more," Brewer said. "They started dragging her down, basically. You could tell she was getting bit, she was howling, she was kind of fighting back, but she was getting dragged under for two or three seconds at a time."

Beavers have attacked dogs at Anchorage's University Lake, but wildlife biologists said they were not aware of attacks by river otters.

The otters probably perceived the dog as a threat, biologist Dave Battle said.

"They're cute, and they're doing all their activities. They're very interesting to watch," Battle said. "But they're still a wild animal, and they can be dangerous. So just give them their space."


Information from: KSKA-FM,

A solution for food waste in schools: Give it to the pigs

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — 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...

Report: DWI suspect offered deputy $10K bribe to let him go

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A New Mexico man is facing charges after authorities say he attempted to bribe a sheriff's deputy during a suspected drunken driving stop.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports Phillip Quintana was arrested early Saturday following an alleged $10,000 bribe and a promise to the deputy to "make you happier than you can imagine."

Authorities say the 36-year-old Quintana was pulled over after his black Chevy Camaro was clocked going 72 mph in a 35 mph zone outside Santa Fe.

Santa Fe County Sheriff's Deputy Anthony Segura says Quintana smelled of alcohol and refused an alcohol breath test.

Authorities found $25,275 cash, Oxycodone pills, and 35 grams of cocaine inside Quintana's car.

Quintana was charged with drunken driving, suspicion of bribery of a public officer and trafficking controlled substances.

It was not known if he had an attorney.


Information from: The Santa Fe New Mexican,

Police: Man used Uber to transport meth in Utah

PROVO, Utah (AP) — An Uber passenger in Utah is facing charges after police say he used the ride-hailing service to transport nearly 11 pounds of methamphetamine.

The Provo Daily Herald reports Edgar Esteban Ramos Valdez was arrested Friday following a confrontation with a Provo, Utah, officer who spotted the Uber passenger acting nervously.

According to a police report, an Uber driver picked up the 22-year-old Valdez at a Provo hotel and came into the vehicle with the bag of meth.

The Uber driver drew police attention by following too closely and making improper lane changes.

The suspicious officer brought in a K-9 to the scene and found the bag of drugs.

Valdez was charged with possession of illegal drugs with intent to distribute. It was not known if he had an attorney.


Information from: The Daily Herald,

'No human is limited': Kipchoge runs sub-2 hour marathon

VIENNA (AP) — 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...

Dog lost since 2007 found over 1K miles away in Pittsburgh

PITTSBURGH (AP) — 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?"

Plane hits car in emergency landing on road; no major injury

DAYTON, Ohio (AP) — A plane crash turned into a traffic crash when a small aircraft having engine trouble made an emergency landing on an Ohio roadway and rear-ended a car near an intersection.

The two pilots aboard the plane and the driver in the BMW they hit weren't seriously hurt in the Thursday afternoon crash. It happened a couple miles from an airport just south of Dayton.

State Highway Patrol Sgt. Jeff Kramer says the 1979 Piper fixed-wing, single-engine plane had trouble as it was returning to the Dayton-Wright Brothers Airport. The pilot then aimed to land in a cornfield but worried about avoiding some power lines, so she switched plans to try for the roadway.

The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating what happened.

Big avocado earns Hawaii family Guinness World Records honor

WAILUKU, Hawaii (AP) — 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,