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On The Light Side

July 17, 1987

POLSON, Mont. (AP) _ Would-be champion cherry pit spitters will be aiming to be tops in style and distance at the third annual Cherry Harvest Festival here next week.

Those who’d rather spit words than cherry pits have a chance to maneuver their mouths in the tongue-twister competition, and area fiddlers will have their own championship in conjunction with the festival Friday and Saturday.

Last year, the top tongue-twister won in 13 seconds. For those wishing to practice, here is the verse:

″How many cherry pits could Charley, the champion cherry pit spitter, spit if Charley could spit pits? Twice as many if he’s split pits to spit and spit split pits. If he didn’t split pits to spit and spat unsplit pits, he’d spit only half the pits he’s have spat had he split unsplit pits to spit and spat split pits.″

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KALONA, Iowa (AP) - People who come to Kalona are usually perplexed by all the people named Miller and Yoder.

Not long ago, a man came to the Kalona News for help in finding Duane Yoder.

″There are six of them. Which one do you want?″ asked Mary Zillinski, managing editor of the paper.

Turns out that of 1,862 residents, 584 are named Miller and 319 Yoder.

Postmaster Terry Hagedorn, who moved to town from Cedar Rapids, said it may take him two or three years to get everyone straight, but he’s working on it. His predecessor, Earl Fry, grew up in the town.

The large population of Millers and Yoders piqued the interest of People magazine, which had a story in March on the town the the postmaster’s plight. Television’s ″PM Magazine″ is expected to film a segment on the town.

Jonas Swantz, who has delivered mail in rural Kalona for about 20 years, not only has a lot of Millers and Yoders on his route but is related to many of them.

″My mother was a Helmuth and she’s got Millers and Yoders on both sides of the family,″ he said.

Swantz said people in town are a little surprised by all the attention. ″To us, it just seems normal.″

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SAN ANDREAS, Calif. (AP) - The tale of a fellow downing a $1,500 gold nugget with a swig of beer may have been a little hard to swallow, but prosecutors decided no crime had been committed.

″We let him go,″ Calaveras County Deputy Sheriff Chad Roots said with a chuckle about Timothy Mark Nolan, 30, who’d been held for investigation of grand theft. The district attorney ordered Nolan, the nugget apparently still inside him, released from the county jail Thursday.

Prosecutors noted that theft requires the specific intent to permanently deprive the victim of property, and there was insufficient evidence to hold Nolan for that.

Nolan in fact had repeatedly apologized for the prank and tried to stand on his head to liberate the nugget - the size of a half-dollar - from his insides. The gold’s owner, Tom Peterson, had been showing it to him Tuesday night when Nolan grabbed it.

″Nolan popped it in his beer, took a drink and swallowed it,″ bartender Linda Wenbourne recalled. ″He was just trying to be smart. He kept saying, ’I’m sorry. That was really stupid.″

There was no word on Peterson’s plans to get the gold back.

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