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Obamas host young chefs, and a papaya tree

A tree grows in Washington, D.C. — a papaya tree, to be exact — and it’s growing at the White House.

That’s according to 8-year-old Hawaii resident Eleanor Cowell, who visited the nation’s first home in early July as one of 55 young winners in a recipe contest sponsored by first lady Michelle Obama.

"Dead center in the White House garden was a papaya tree — with a bunch of green papaya on it," Cowell told the Star-Advertiser.

Her mother, Lara Cowell, confirmed the sighting, though she added that upon closer inspection, the papaya tree was in a pot.

Coincidentally, papaya is one of the key ingredients in Eleanor’s "Taste of the Tropics Fruit Bowl" that earned her the prize of lunch with the first lady, and at which, as an unexpected bonus, she also got to meet the president, former Hawaii resident Barack Obama.

Maybe next time Cowell visits the White House, she’ll be served papaya from the Obamas’ very own papaya tree.

Rep. Gabbard accorded a beautiful accolade

Attention to freshman U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard continues to grow, this time by The Hill, which ranks her the sixth "most beautiful" political figure in Washington, D.C.

The Capitol Hill newspaper reports that Gabbard "has drawn intense attention since she took the oath of office because of her age (at 32 she’s the youngest female House member), her looks and her time in the Army National Guard, which included two deployments to the Middle East."

In the paper’s 10th yearly rankings, Sen. Jeff Flake, a freshman Senator from Arizona, is "Mr. All-American" in the No. 1 spot and Gabbard is the top-ranked House member.

It just goes to show that in Congress, not everything is based on seniority.

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