LIBERAL WINS AGAIN!
The score is now Liberal, Kansas, 28, Olney, England, 24.
Melissa Hurla bested 12 other runners Tuesday to win the International Pancake Race in 60.65 seconds, giving Liberal the title over Olney for the 28th time in 52 efforts.
Hurla, 31, outpaced a field that included Miss Kansas Kimberly Grice, who finished in the middle of the pack. Juliette Minter won the Olney end of the race in 64 seconds, three seconds better than the performance she turned in last year.
The annual Shrove Tuesday competition between the two cities grew out of the 1445 legend involving a housewife who was late for Shrove Tuesday shriving service because she was cooking to use up the last of her fat. The woman, wearing a scarf on her head and an apron, reportedly ran to church, a skillet with a pancake in it still in her hand.
The record for the race was set in 2001 by Lisa Spillman, who ran the course in 58.1 seconds as a steady sleet fell. Because she has won the race three times, she was precluded from taking part in this year's event.
Additional security precautions sparked by the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks did not slow down the revelry in the streets of New Orleans Tuesday on the final day of the Mardi Gras celebration.
Members of the Louisiana National Guard were deployed to assist police during the Carnival season, but there were few other visible signs of the security precautions taken for the annual debauchery that precedes the Lenten season.
There were, however, some reports that the size of the crowd was down from last year. "They are having a lot of fun, but the crowd is a little smaller," said Judy Polgar, office manager at Pat O'Briens in the French Quarter. "They are still out all night. There's just not as many of them."
Sgt. Paul Accardo, a New Orleans police spokesman, said there were no major problems as the Zulu and Rex krewes paraded down St. Charles in the uptown area, tossing beads to the crowd.
But some parade watchers were angered Monday when city sanitation crews began removing ladders traditionally used to view the parades on the popular routes. Many of the ladders were thrown in garbage trucks and crushed.
Top city officials were reluctant to talk about the crackdown, which ended quickly, but the city sanitation department said it was intended to remove safety hazards. "Our fundamental mission is to provide for public safety so that citizens can have a safe and enjoyable Mardi Gras," the statement said.
The festivities ended at midnight with the rolling out of street sweepers to clear the streets.
REASONS TO CELEBRATE TODAY:
WEDNESDAY: This is Ash Wednesday, marking the beginning of Lent. 40 weekdays and six Sundays remain until Easter.
Today through Feb. 20 is National Condom Week. (Web site: ppsinc.org)
And it's Get A Different Name Day. (Web site: wellcat.com)
(Thanks to Chase's 2002 Calendar of Events)
BY THE WAY...
Who was the first person to win the U.S. Medal of Honor?
Col. Bernard Irwin was the first person awarded the U.S. Medal of Honor, in 1864, after distinguishing himself in battle on this date in 1861.