Concerned about a lack of elementary school teaching materials on Idaho history, first lady Lori Otter decided to publish her own - "Ida Visits the Capitol." Paid for with private donations, the 30-page picture book features a stylishly clad female pilot named Ida who barnstorms the state, the Idaho Statesman reports. If the first lady has her way, the next edition could be "Ida Explores the State Symbols."
An organic Chilean wine called Palin Syrah was a big seller at a San Francisco wine bar until Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin was tapped as Republican vice presidential candidate, The Associated Press reports from Berkeley, Calif. Ever since, Democratic-leaning clientele won't touch the stuff, the bar owner says. But in Houston, a wine store clerk says she sold out of Palin Syrah, with one woman buying a case for a politics-themed party.
After designating a rich confection called the Smith Island Cake the state dessert in April, Maryland lawmakers now recommend citizens shed those extra calories by participating in the official state exercise - walking. According to Capital News Service , state Del. Bill Bronrott (D) proposed the first-in-the-nation official exercise bill to help citizens avoid cardiovascular disease, a health problem he says costs the state $2.25 billion a year.
Call off the University of Georgia vs. University of Alabama football game? Are you nuts? That was the reaction of Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue's spokesperson to a suggestion by Atlanta gasoline supplier, Tex Pitfield, for a way to cut down on fuel demand during the state's serious gas shortage, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. In hindsight, maybe someone should have listened to Pitfield. Eighth-ranked Alabama trounced third-ranked Georgia 41 to 30, and at least one fan ran out of gas going to the game.
Pennsylvania Superior Court Judge Joan Orie Melvin refused to accept a controversial pay raise, but the state's highest court ruled she's got to take it. The 11 percent increase - amounting to $16,442 a year for Orie Melvin - was approved by the Legislature in 2005 and later repealed after public protests. In 2006, the state Supreme Court re-instated the pay hike for judges, and now the panel says it would be illegal to return the money to the state treasury. "I never heard of anyone being forced to take a pay raise," the Pittsburg Tribune-Review reported Jack Orie, the judge's brother and a Pittsburgh attorney, saying.