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Top news stories for August 14, 2018

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Tuesday, August 14, 2018
- Omarosa promises more tapes, while CNN reports there are no black White House senior advisors. Also on the Tuesday rundown: North Carolina uses social media to protect the environment, and National Parks billions behind in maintenance. 


Pour a little sugar: the cotton candy story

By Diane Larson


August is here and with it, the state and county fairs. One of the most popular elements of these fun summer festivals besides the games, the rides, and spending summer days and evening with family and friends is the food.


Some of these foods just seem to taste better when they come from a vendor, surrounded by lights and the noise of a county or state fair.


One such treat made its debut at a fair at the turn of the century.


That delicacy is cotton candy, originally known as “fairy floss.” Fairy floss made its debut in 1904 at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition, otherwise known as the St. Louis World’s Fair.


The Journal of the History of Dentistry says that in 1897, Dr. William James Morrison co-created a machine “capable of producing cottony strands of crystallized sugar.”


Dr. Morrison partnered with a candy maker from Nashville, Tennessee, John C. Wharton, to construct a machine that would create strands of spun sugar.


The machine “featured a rotating plate that was powered by foot and heated by coal or oil lamp. Using the centrifugal force, it released crystallized sugar from the hot plate through a number of small holes to form ‘masses of thread-like or silk-like filaments,’” says


The patent stated, “The object of our inventions is to obtain an edible product consisting of the said filaments of melted and ‘spun’ sugar or candy.”


To make the cotton candy, “the sugar is added to the head, where a heater melts it into syrup. At the same time that is happening, the spinning motion of the machine (turning at roughly 3,400 revolutions per minute whips the syrup through tiny holes that are perforated across the bowl. This motion cools the syrup instantaneously and fluffs it into the air, creating long, extremely thin strands,” says


Morrison and Wharton took their sweet creation to the St. Louis World’s Fair where it made its public debut. According to, the fairy floss was sold in colorful wooden boxes for 25 cents. By the end of the fair, they sold 68,655 servings which came to $17, 163.75. According to in today’s market that would equal $410,000.


The fair went from April 30 to December 1, 1904, and was attended by about 20 million people.


However, spun sugar had been around for quite a long time. For instance, in 15th century Italy table settings of spun sugar were very popular. Caramelized crystals were whisked from ends of forks or prongs, resulting in spindly candy threads. These were sculpted into figurines that were used to decorate the tables.


According to, “Frances’s Henri III was famously served a banquet in Venice where all 2,286 pieces—from plates to tablecloth—were created from spun sugar.”


The 25 cents that patrons of the St. Louis World’s Fair paid for their ‘fairy floss’ was about just half the price of entrance to the fair. In today’s economy, you might very well pay 4 or 5 dollars for a serving of cotton candy instead of the original 25 cents. And the gate fee will most likely be anywhere from 8 to 10 dollars and above.


Even though cotton candy made its debut at a fair and is a traditional summer fair treat, National Cotton Candy Day is December 7.


If you are headed to your state or county fair and are planning on grabbing some of the airy, luscious cotton candy, you can rejoice in its long and celebrated history.



Program Key for Funding MT Outdoor Recreation Set to Expire

Big Sky Connection

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Eric Tegethoff


August 13, 2018

HELENA, Montana - With less than two months before it expires, conservation groups are calling for permanent reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund - a program that has received bipartisan support in the past.


Montana has received nearly $600 million since the fund was created more than 50 years ago.


It's helped protect a wide range of landscapes, including Glacier National Park and grizzly bear habitat on the Rocky Mountain Front.


Dave Chadwick, executive director of the Montana Wildlife Federation, says the program is crucial for the outdoor recreation economy, which supports more than 70,000 jobs in the state.


"Acquiring crucial parcels that open up access to other areas of public land," he states. "Of course, 70 percent of the fishing access sites in Montana have been funded in part with LWCF funds, and really these dollars have touched every corner and every community in this state."


The program receives funding from royalties paid by energy companies drilling for oil and gas offshore.


Funds also are used to build playgrounds, swimming pools, urban bike paths and other facilities.


The LWCF's Forest Legacy Program has supported timber jobs and sustainable logging in Montana as well. It's set to expire on Sept. 30.


Chadwick says the program has played an "immeasurable role" in keeping Montana the way it is today.


"The need is only going to grow in the future, and fully funding and authorizing the program is really going to help us keep Montana so that in 20, 30, 50 years, future Montanans are going to be able to enjoy everything we love about the Treasure State today," he points out.


Montana's U.S. senators have supported fully funding the Land and Water Conservation Fund. In most years, Congress raids the fund to spend on other projects.



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