Mad Minute stories from Friday, July 1st - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Mad Minute stories from Friday, July 1st

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NEW YORK (AP) -- Nathan's Famous may be in the hot dog business, but for decades they've been peddling a whopper.
Showmen behind Nathan's annual Fourth of July hot dog eating contest have long claimed the tradition began in 1916 as a showdown between patriotic immigrants on the Coney Island boardwalk.
That would make this Monday's contest a centennial, except for an inconvenient truth: The contest and its backstory were invented in the 1970s by PR men trying to get more attention for Nathan's, which had just become a publicly traded company.
"Our objective was to take a photograph and get it in the New York newspaper," acknowledges Wayne Norbitz, who served as president of Nathan's for 26 years and still sits on the board of directors.
Norbitz is careful to say that the company's source for the 1916 story is "legend has it." He says the first contest actually happened in 1972, and the early chowdowns were all small, sparsely attended affairs.
"We'd honestly wait for a couple of fat guys to walk by and ask them if they wanted to be in a hot dog contest," he says.
The legend of the hot dog contest conveniently dates to 1916, the same year Polish immigrant Nathan Handwerker opened his Coney Island hot dog stand using a $300 loan from two friends.
As the story goes, an Irish immigrant named James Mullen had been walking in Coney Island when he challenged a group of recent immigrants to prove who was the most American. Of course, they decided to settle it by eating hot dogs. It was a tale repeated over the years in stories by numerous news organizations, including The Associated Press.
Mortimer Matz, one of the contest's hype men, unapologetically admitted to The New York Times in 2010 that "in Coney Island pitchman style, we made it up."
The winner of that first contest in 1972 was able to shove 14 hot dogs and buns down in 12 minutes.
It remained on a small scale until the 1980s, when competitive eaters from Japan began joining the contest, growing it quickly into a full-fledged competition with weigh-ins and elaborate introductions similar to those of a heavyweight championship fight.
Joey "Jaws" Chestnut set the world record in 2013 when he polished off 69 dogs in 10 minutes. His run of eight straight victories ended last year when he lost the Mustard Yellow International Belt in an upset.
He'll be vying to regain the title this year before a huge crowd. Millions more will watch on ESPN.
Organizers held their annual weigh-in for the contest Friday in Brooklyn. The event featured a stare-down between Chestnut and the defending men's champion, Matt "The Megatoad" Stonie, as well as between defending women's champion Miki Sudo and three-time champion Sonya "The Black Widow" Thomas.
"It's so popular that in certain parts of the U.S. and certain parts of the world, people know Nathan's because of the contest," Norbitz says. "The first thing they'll say many times is 'Nathan's, that's the hot dog eating contest.'"

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BOULDER, Colo. (AP) -- Boulder residents will no longer be able to cool off with an ice cream cone by the pool because the city has discontinued the sweet treat as a vending option at all Parks and Recreation facilities.
The city dropped ice cream cones, bars and sandwiches in an effort to cut down on sugary, unhealthy snacks, The Daily Camera reported. City-run facilities can only sell treats that satisfy a series of nutritional standards, meaning chips and other junk food also left snack stands this year.
The change hasn't been welcomed by everyone. Andrew Gafford, 8, said he has always spent his summers enjoying a Neapolitan ice cream sandwich at the pool.
"I'll get over it, but then it brings back a lot of memories of me getting ice cream sandwiches," Andrew said. "Like this one time, when I was eating one very slowly, so it melted all over me. It makes me feel sad to say."
In a letter to the editor, which he wrote with the editorial guidance of an adult and his 6-year-old brother Thomas, Andrew said new restrictions take away teachable moments.
"Boulder can't tell the parents what to do," he said, "because the parents are doing a good job of helping us grow up and telling us the rules. I say leave it up to the moms, the grandparents, the great-grandparents."
Boulder District Services Manager Alison Rhodes said the aim is to give kids healthy choices, but that all facilities allow outside food to be brought in - including ice cream.

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BERLIN (AP) -- A German man has taken his grudges to the grave, telling relatives in a posthumous newspaper notice that some of them aren't welcome at his funeral.
News agency dpa reported Friday that Hubert Martini published his own obituary in the Trierischer Volksfreund, a newspaper in western Germany.
The deceased describes himself as "open, honest and unforgiving" and says his five siblings and their families are forbidden from attending his memorial service.
It is unclear what made Martini want to have the last word, but the 64-year-old notes that in life "I have hurt some people - and that's good."
Dpa quoted a local undertaker, Martina Schmidt, calling the obituary "out of order."
"He wanted to settle scores and now the relatives have to live with that," she says.

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According to Orlando NBC affiliateWESH-TV, two members of the Orlando Police Department were watching a swan and her babies along Lake Eola. At that point, Sor Velez walked between the officers and the mother swan.
The swan reached up toward Velez in what officers describe to be an effort to defend her babies. Velez then walked away, only to turn back around and punch the swan in the head before trying to run away.
He was caught by the off-duty officers, who called OPD to report the incident. Velez pled no contest to a charge of endangering wildlife on public property and was sentenced to 10 days in jail.

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OAK CREEK, Wis. (AP) -- It's a caper of grand proportion in a state that loves its cheddar.
Police in southeastern Wisconsin say 20,000 pounds of cheese has vanished. The cheese, produced by U.S. Foods, was in a semitrailer parked at a business in the Milwaukee suburb of Oak Creek when it went missing Thursday.
Police say the semi driver was transporting the load from Green Bay to the New York City area and unhitched the trailer to run an errand. When he returned, the trailer and $46,000 worth of cheese was gone.
It's not the first such heist of the legacy commodity in a state where sports fans like to wear foam wedges on their heads. A semitrailer carrying $70,000 worth of cheese was stolen from Germantown, another Milwaukee suburb, in January.

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RIVERDALE, N.J. (AP) -- Authorities say a 15-year-old serving as his uncle's designated driver was pulled over for driving 103 mph on a New Jersey highway.
Riverdale police said the teen was pulled over in a 65 mph zone on Route 287 on Tuesday night. They say the teen told police he was driving his sick uncle to the hospital, but that the uncle later admitted to smoking marijuana.
Ricardo Baez, of Reading, Pennsylvania, was charged with being under the influence of a controlled dangerous substance. A phone number for Baez couldn't be located and it wasn't immediately clear if he had an attorney.
The teen was charged with being an unlicensed driver and speeding. He was released to his parents.

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MOHTON, Pa. (AP) - Police say a central Pennsylvania man beat his friend for refusing to eat some ramen noodles.
Brecknock Township police say 23-year-old Brian Douglas Hunter had cooked the noodles about 11:30 p.m. Thursday and became angry when his 20-year-old friend refused to eat them.
Police say Hunter punched the other man in the right eye 10 to 15 times. Police say the victim had bruises, swelling and a 1-inch cut under his eye.
Online court records don't list an attorney or arraignment information for Hunter. Police say he's being charged with simple assault and harassment.

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Apparently a man in Florida really wanted some waffles. 
Police in the Crestview arrested 28-year-old Marcus Trae Johnson, after officers say he stole a van so he drive it to Waffle House. 
Using the van's GPS system, police had been following the van ever since it was stolen earlier in June. Officers say they also tracked it going to a truck stop. 
Police say surveillance video showed him in the van, and they later found the clothes he was wearing in the video in the van. Still, Johnson told officers he had knew nothing about it. 
Police didn't buy it and arrested him for grand theft auto. Hopefully they have good waffles in jail. 

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RENTON, WA - A Washington man's 911 call about a plane crash turned out to be nothing more than a bad dream.
A disoriented man reportedly took the prescription sleep aid Ambien before making the call.
The man called 911 and told police that he had been in a plane crash. He went on to describe in detail a small cargo plane that was on the way to Oregon.
Operator: Are you able to safely get out?
Caller: No. I'm pinned in.
Operator: Did it hit any buildings or just into the trees?
Caller: In the trees. In the field with trees.
Operator: Are you able to look out the window? Are you able to see for the wing where you are at?
Caller: No, I can't see anything.
As it turned out, the entire incident was imagined.
Sleep experts say the man could have been hallucinating or having an adverse interaction between the Ambien and another drug.

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HOUSTON (AP) - Authorities say a 12-year-old girl took her grandmother's car for a joyride with her 7-year-old sister, striking other vehicles as she led police on a high-speed chase north of Houston.
The grandmother reported her car stolen Thursday. A Conroe (KAHN'-roh) officer spotted the vehicle and tried to stop it, but the girls sped away. A chase ensued, with the girls hitting at least two other vehicles.
Montgomery police Sgt. Becky Lehn told KTRK-TV in Houston that the stolen car reached top speeds before OnStar took control and slowed it to about 60 mph then brought it to a stop at a high school.
The older girl was taken into custody and could be charged with evading arrest.
No one was injured.

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