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On the Light Side

February 8, 1989

LIBERAL, Kan. (AP) _ They didn’t have to flip to pick the winner of the annual Shrove Tuesday pancake race. An English gym instructor easily defeated a Kansas aerobics teacher to retain her title.

Lesley Byrne, 26, of Olney, England, ran her hometown, 415-yard course, carrying a frying pan with a pancake, in 62 seconds. That was quicker than 23- year-old Donetta Schindler, who beat 14 others on a similar Kansas course with a time of 65.91 seconds.

″My legs feel really bad. I thought I was fitter because I’d been training. I’ll be coming back next year to try for the hat-trick,″ Mrs. Byrne said.

″I felt like I was in good position,″ said Mrs. Schindler, a former tennis player at Liberal High School. ″I was ready for it, but I had not trained that much.″

According to legend, the race has been run in Olney since 1445, when a woman dashed to church on Shrove Tuesday still clutching her frying pan with a pancake in it. Some say the pancake may have been a bribe to the bellringer to ring the bell sooner to signal the start of celebrations on the last day before Lent, which traditionally include pancakes.

In 1950, women in Liberal in southwest Kansas began challenging Olney.

Runners in both races wore the traditional garb of skirt, apron and headscarf. The winners exchange inscribed silver trays from the two towns and other prizes.

This year’s victory was the seventh straight for the English, giving them a slight 20-19 edge in the series.


PRINCETON, N.J. (AP) - It’s taken 52 years for the Nassau Inn to get back a sign stolen by two Princeton University students as a prank, and the innkeeper isn’t taking any chances with it this time.

After the Class of ’37 graduated, the sign graced the rooms of succeeding Princeton students. During World War II it was stored in a coal bin in New York, then in a garage in Batavia, Ill. In 1954, it turned up in Short Hills and a volunteer group restored it in East Aurora, N.Y.

Now, the Class of ’37 plans to return the 2-by-5-foot hand-painted sign to the entrance of the 200-year-old inn during a ceremony Feb. 18.

″It’s great to be able to have our original sign back after 52 years,″ innkeeper Nelson Zager said Tuesday. He said about 100 members of the original 300 in the class are expected to return for the event.

The sign will be better secured this time around.

″Lest any modern-day prankster become inspired to repeat Princeton history, our engineers have assured us that the formerly ‘permanent’ sign is now truly permanent thanks to modern alloy ... and an electric alarm system,″ Zager said.


CEDAR, Mich. (AP) - The breakfast sausage to be served at this week’s Governor’s Conference on Agriculture isn’t exactly kosher in Michigan, but no one is complaining.

A 1952 state law listing all the ingredients retailers are allowed to stuff into sausage includes honey, eggs and garlic - but not cherries.

″But it’s not exactly illegal, either,″ said Robert Jason, a regional supervisor for the Agriculture Department’s food division in Traverse City. ″When the law was made in 1952, nobody ever thought to put fruit in sausage.″

He said state regulators are looking the other way until someone can amend the state’s sausage laws.

Ray Pleva, a butcher who developed the cherry pecan sausage that will grace the tables at the conference, has sidestepped the sausage law by having a wholesale sausage company stuff his links.

Federal law, which regulates sausage wholesalers, allows fruity fillers.

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