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Aug. 16, 2012 at 6:30 AM   |   Comments

Baker, market feud over EBT cards

WALPOLE, Mass., Aug. 16 (UPI) -- A Massachusetts baker is in a dispute with the farmer's market where she sells her wares for refusing to take Electronic Benefit Transfer cards for her pies.

Andrea Taber, proprietor of the Ever So Humble Pie Co. in Walpole, said she will not sign on to the Braintree Farmer's Market's program -- which offers tokens to EBT cardholders to purchase goods from the market -- because she does not believe people should be charging her pastries to the taxpayers, the Boston Herald reported Wednesday.

"I don't think American taxpayers should be footing the bill for people's pie purchases," Taber said.

"To me it's no different than nail salons and Lottery tickets," she said. "It's pastry, it's dessert. My pies are great, but come on."

Braintree Farmers Market chairwoman Donna Ingemanson said Taber is the only vendor resistant to the plan and the market may make accepting the EBT tokens mandatory this winter.

"We just thought that people that were on food stamps a lot of times don't have healthy choices," Ingemanson said. "What better chance to buy healthy foods than at a farmers market?"

Taber said she will leave the market if the program becomes mandatory.

"I'm not going to sacrifice my principles and standards for the sake of a few more sales," she said.


Swaziland's cash crop is marijuana

PIGGS PEAK, Swaziland, Aug. 16 (UPI) -- The poor in rural Swaziland have a new income source, a potent strain of marijuana called Swazi Gold, to sell to neighboring South Africa, relief workers say.

In the mountainous northwest of the country, Africa's last true monarchy, few crops grow in the dusty soil and most of the men have left for jobs in cities. While the AIDS death rate has been curbed in Swaziland, families typically have older siblings caring for younger ones and grandparents caring for children, The New York Times reported Wednesday.

"There are many orphans and widows who have difficulty surviving," said Tshepiso Mthimkhule, a Red Cross official.

The rollout of an easy-to-grow crop with a strong market has been beneficial. South Africa has experienced rising demand for marijuana, and Swaziland has more acreage under marijuana cultivation than India, a country 180 times its size, United Nations statistics say.

"I put the seeds in the ground, watered them and they grew. I was able to feed my children," said Sibongile Knosi, 70, of her first crop.


Caltech team wins $100k for toilet design

PASADENA, Calif., Aug. 16 (UPI) -- The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation said a California Institute of Technology team has won a contest to "reinvent" the flush toilet.

Bill Gates announced the Caltech team has won a $100,000 prize in the "Reinvent the Toilet Challenge" by designing a toilet that filters liquid waste through a "sun-powered electrochemical reactor" that oxidizes the chlorine in the urine and kills microorganisms, allowing the liquid to be recycled back into the toilet, The Seattle Times reported Wednesday.

Michael Hoffmann, the Caltech professor who led the toilet team, said the device also produces hydrogen that can be used to power a cooking stove.

Gates said a team from Britain's University of Loughborough won the $60,000 second prize for a toilet that converts feces into charcoal and a University of Toronto team took the $40,000 third prize for a toilet that treats solid waste with dehydration and combustion.

Gates said he hopes aspects of many of the entries could be used to bring a new toilet design to market.


Nessie hunter claims photo shows monster

DRUMNADROCHIT, Scotland, Aug. 16 (UPI) -- A Scottish sailor who has been searching for the Loch Ness monster for the past 26 years said he has captured a photograph of the legendary creature.

George Edwards, captain of the Nessie Hunter, said he has been taking the boat onto Loch Ness nearly every day for the past two and a half decades -- often with like-minded tourists -- and he has now captured a photo that he believes to be the back of a Loch Ness monster, ABC News reported Wednesday.

"I saw something out of the corner of my eye, and immediately grabbed my camera," Edwards recalled of when he took the picture last November. "I happened to get a good picture of one of them."

Edwards said he does not believe the monster resembles the three-humped creature often depicted in the media.

"In my opinion, it probably looks kind of like a manatee, but not a mammal," Edwards said. "When people see three humps, they're probably just seeing three separate monsters."

The sailor said he doesn't believe legends of there being only one of the creatures.

"It was first seen in 565 A.D.," Edwards said. "Nothing can live that long. It's more likely that there are a number of monsters, offspring of the original."

Topics: Bill Gates
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