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Bright and Brief

September 27, 1987

WASECA, Minn. (AP) _ Much has changed since the first corn husking championships 60 years ago, like the contestants’ running shoes and the spectators’ home video cameras.

But the contestants still have to husk corn the old-fashioned way - with their hands.

″Those young guys are tough to beat,″ said 84-year-old Gerhardt Boelter, the oldest husker at Saturday’s Minnesota Corn Husking Contest. ″I’m always picking against the 75-year-olds. I haven’t much of a chance to win. But I generally get the honor of being the oldest man.″

He missed the cut and won’t be among the first-, second- and third-place finishers going to Marshall, Mo., next month for the national competition.

Corn husking contests started in the United States in the 1920s, when a couple of Iowans bragged to a couple of men from Illinois about how much corn they could pick in one day, said Durward Irvine, 67, of Amboy.

Pretty soon 10 Corn Belt states were sending state champions to a national competition that was supported by then-U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Henry Wallace. The contests drew thousand of spectators.

Irvine finished eighth in the Minnesota contest in 1941, which was the last husking competition until it was revived in Minnesota in 1979. The art of corn husking died when farm mechanization took hold in America during World War II.


HOLLYWOOD (AP) - A city councilman and 100 volunteers have taken it upon themselves to spruce up Tinseltown streets in honor of Hollywood’s 100th birthday.

Los Angeles Councilman Mike Woo put some muscle behind a broom on Vine Street on Saturday to kick off the ″Give Hollywood a Bath″ campaign, which will continue over the next two weekends.

″It just goes to show you the spirit and enthusiasm of people here in Hollywood,″ Woo told the volunteers. He also handed out awards to businesses that have done the best job of keeping their property clean.


LOS ANGELES (AP) - Designer bibs, automatic tea brewers and edible pet food spoons were among the ingenious items on display at this weekend’s Invention Convention ’87, touted as a ″a virtual flash flood of creative juices.″

The three-day convention, which opened Friday, featured not only inventors and some 200 new products and gadgets, but corporate researchers, patent lawyers, venture capitalists, buyers and suppliers, said Maggie Weisberg, president emeritus of the Inventor’s Workshop International Education Foundation.

Among the exhibitors were Joe and Jean Pomerance, who operate a pharmacy in the Sherman Oaks district of Los Angeles. When Mrs. Pomerance splattered salad dressing on a silk blouse she decided that ″bibs were not just for babies″ and went into the adult designer bib business.

Brad Ridgley of Encino displayed his ″Tea Magic″ tea brewer, which he hopes will do for tea what Mr. Coffee did for java. The $59.95 device allows a user to custom blend and brew cups of tea from an assortment of leaves in its four storage containers.

A convention news release said those attending the convention include a little girl who holds a patent on an edible pet food spoon.

Also on display was a 4-foot-tall machine that molds dough for gourmet cookies.

″If you let it run for 11 hours, you’ll produce a million cookies,″ said James Gentry, 42, an electrician and inventor from Topanga. He added that the device also can be adapted to make hamburger patties or adobe bricks.

″It cleans up easy, too,″ he said.

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