Chocolate could disappear as early as 2050, scientists say

Published: Wednesday, January 03, 2018 @ 4:22 AM

The History Of Chocolate

There is some very sad news, chocolate lovers.

International Business Times reported that chocolate could vanish as early as 2050. Scientists are fighting to save the plant that brings the world the delicacy, the cacao plant.

>> Dogs at higher risk of chocolate poisoning during holiday season

Cacao plants can only survive in a handful of specific regions, but those regions have since become volatile. The plants are frequent victims of fungal disease, climate change and cocoa swollen shoot virus, or CSSVD.

Scientists and researchers at places like UC Berkeley and Mars Inc. hope to use technology to modify the cacao plant seeds to become adaptable to more climates.

And the technology wouldn’t just stop at cacao leaves.

Jennifer Doudna, geneticist and inventor of the CRISPR being used on the cacao seeds, thinks the experiment could change the way food is grown.

“Personally, I’d love a tomato plant with fruit that stayed on the vine longer,” she said.

But all is not terrible in the land of chocolate news.

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World-renowned Swiss chocolatier Barry Callebaut unveiled another type of chocolate called “ruby chocolate” in September.

The pink-hued creation with berry undertones joined the ranks of dark, milk and white chocolate nearly 80 years after the introduction of white chocolate. The ruby chocolate does not obtain its color or flavoring from additives. Instead, the chocolate was created following over a decade of testing a special cocoa bean.

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E. coli outbreak: CDC warns to ‘avoid all types of romaine lettuce’

Published: Friday, April 20, 2018 @ 5:42 PM

Photo Credit: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
Photo Credit: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has expanded its warning to include all types of romaine lettuce. The warning now includes whole heads and hearts of romaine lettuce, in addition to chopped romaine and salads and salad mixes containing romaine.

The CDC also asks consumers to “not buy or eat romaine lettuce at a grocery store or restaurant unless you can confirm it is not from the Yuma, Arizona, growing region.”

Additionally, the CDC suggests that consumers throw away any romaine lettuce in the home, even if some of it was eaten and no one has gotten sick.

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At least 31 people have been hospitalized, including three who developed a type of kidney failure, according to the CDC.

The affected states include

  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • California
  • Connecticut
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Louisiana
  • Michigan
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Ohio
  • Pennsylvania
  • Virginia
  • Washington

No deaths related to the outbreak have been reported.

The CDC has not yet identified the grower or a common brand, and is urging people not to eat chopped lettuce from the Yuma area.

Symptoms of an E. coli infection vary, but often include severe stomach cramps and diarrhea, which is often bloody. Most people get better in five to seven days. Infections can be mild, but can also be severe and even life-threatening.

If you think you have E. coli, the CDC says to talk to your health care provider or public health department and write down what you ate in the week before you got sick.

People started reporting illnesses that are part of the outbreak between March 22 and March 31.

DNA fingerprinting is being used to identify illnesses that are part of the same outbreak. Some people might not be included in the CDC’s case count if officials weren’t able to get bacteria strains needed for DNA fingerprinting to link them to the outbreak.

To reduce your risk of an E. coli infection, you can:

  • Wash your hands. Wash hands after using the restroom or changing diapers, before and after preparing or eating food and after contact with animals.
  • Cook meats thoroughly to kill harmful germs.
  • Thoroughly wash hands, counters, cutting boards and utensils after they touch raw meat.
  • Wash fruits and vegetables before eating.
  • Avoid raw milk, other unpasteurized dairy products and unpasteurized juices.
  • Don’t prepare food or drink for others when you are sick.

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Woman steals identity via social media to land job with 6-figure salary

Published: Friday, April 20, 2018 @ 4:17 PM

Woman Tries To Land Six-Figure Job By Stealing Identity Via Social Media

A Louisiana woman with a history of identity theft faces 10 years in prison after she was convicted Wednesday of stealing another woman’s background to land an executive position with a six-figure salary.

Cindy T. White, 41, of Slidell, was found guilty of identity theft over $1,000, according to a news release from the office of 22nd Judicial District Attorney Warren Montgomery. It took jurors just 15 minutes to find White guilty of the charges. 

Montgomery said in the news release that White used information stolen from another woman’s LinkedIn profile to beef up her resume in September 2015, when she applied for an executive-level position with Diversified Foods & Seasonings. NOLA.com reported that the company, based in Covington, was founded by the late entrepreneur Al Copeland.

White also used the other woman’s Social Security number and driver’s license number when applying for the job, the news release said

She was initially hired as a human resources manager, a position with a $95,000 annual salary, Montgomery said. Five months later, she was promoted to senior human resources director, a job with a $105,000 salary. 

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Company officials became suspicious a few months later when they noticed that White had trouble with duties that she should have been able to perform based on her alleged educational background. Her resume listed a bachelor’s degree from Tulane University and a master’s degree from Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

“That’s not this person,” prosecutor Casey Dieck said in court, pointing at White. “This person stole the victim’s hard work and used it to get a six-figure salary and benefits to boot.”

Officials at Diversified Foods & Seasonings also noticed that White delegated a large number of tasks assigned to her, Montgomery said in the news release. They took a closer look at her personnel file and found discrepancies in it. 

Company officials called the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office in April 2016. 

Investigators determined that White lifted her educational background directly from the LinkedIn profile of a woman with a similar name, Montgomery said. They also discovered that she obtained the woman’s driver’s license and Social Security numbers from an unnamed online site. 

A look at White’s real background revealed that this was not the first time she had stolen someone’s identity, the news release said

White, a former Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office employee, was arrested in New Orleans in 1997 on suspicion of theft, forgery and malfeasance in office after she was accused of stealing a co-worker’s identity and emptying the woman’s bank account.

She was caught when she was spotted in surveillance photos and identified, the news release said. She pleaded guilty that September to two counts of forgery and received probation. 

Her probation was terminated in 1999 when the court was sent information that White had died, Montgomery said

White also had a 1998 conviction in Jefferson Parish for attempted theft of goods. 

Prosecutors argued that White, who admitted to St. Tammany Parish investigators that she used the victim’s identity to get the job, fraudulently collected $56,209 during the seven months she worked at Diversified Foods & Seasonings. Her defense attorney argued that she earned the salary she received. 

Dieck denied the defense claim, Montgomery said in the news release

“We have here a defendant who admits to stealing to cover up the fact that she’s a convicted thief,” the prosecutor said. 

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Boy's wallet lost in 1972 found behind lockers at Wenatchee pool

Published: Friday, April 20, 2018 @ 6:17 PM

(KIRO7.com)
(KIRO7.com)

A wallet lost in 1972 has been found by a work crew in Wenatchee who is updating part of the Wentachee, Washington, pool facility.

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Wenatchee World says the wallet, owned by Harry LaRue, contains some family pictures, and a Boy Scout Card. The World says it estimates that LaRue was about 10 when he lost the wallet and that he lived in East Wenatchee.

The wallet was found behind the boys’ lockers at the city pool by a city crew who was updating the changing room.

A reporter from the World tried to find LaRue, but has been unable to.

After seeing the World's Facebook post, someone who knows a man by the same name said she contacted him and he was calling the city, who has the wallet. 

KIRO 7 is asking the Wenatchee World to verify if the man is the same person who lost the wallet years ago.

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Teacher suspended for making pancakes for students during state tests

Published: Friday, April 20, 2018 @ 2:52 PM

Teacher Makes Pancakes for Students During State Tests, School Suspends Him

A Pennsylvania teacher was suspended last week after he cooked breakfast for his students as they took state assessments.

LancasterOnline reported that Kyle Byler, an eighth-grade teacher at Hand Middle School, was suspended without pay and warned that he would be fired for “causing a distraction” while his students took the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment, or PSSAs. 

Byler told local media that he brought an electric griddle to school the morning of April 10 and cooked each of his students a whole-grain pancake to eat while they took their exams. An assistant principal walked in and questioned why he was making the children breakfast.

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The teacher, who many parents consider the “eighth-grade dad” at the school, was called into a meeting with administrators within 24 hours and told he would be fired, LancasterOnline reported

Byler said in an interview Monday that he did not understand what he did wrong. The state education department does not have a rule against serving food during the PSSAs.

Pennsylvania Department of Education spokeswoman Nicole Reigelman told LancasterOnline, however, that “those activities would likely interfere with ‘actively monitoring’ the assessment, which is a key task.”

Byler said the pancakes did not deter the students. 

“At no point was it any distraction for any of the students,” Byler said. “They worked their butts off.”

A student told the news site that the assistant principal was the only distraction.

“The moment she walked in, everybody turned,” Alizea Rodriguez told LancasterOnline. “She was the distraction. Not pancakes. Not Byler.”

Rodriguez and other students were distraught when Byler was not in class the next day. Many of those students showed up at a Tuesday night school board meeting, at which Byler expected to learn his fate. 

School district officials dismissed the claim that he was to be fired Tuesday, saying that there was never a dismissal action on the meeting agenda and that a teacher cannot be fired without the board approving a written notice setting a hearing in the matter. None of that had taken place.

“Nor will it occur in this situation, as the personnel matter has been resolved with the employee, who is scheduled to return to work,” School District of Lancaster officials said in a statement

The district statement said that free breakfast and lunch are offered to all students every day, including testing days. 

“Moreover, the Pennsylvania Department of Education strictly requires that teachers who proctor PSSA testing focus their full attention on monitoring students during the test,” the statement read. “All teachers serving as PSSA test proctors receive specific training on testing protocol. Had permission been sought by a teacher to cook in the classroom during PSSA testing and serve food to the students, the response would have been that such activities would distract the teacher from the required duties as a test proctor.”

LancasterOnline reported that about 100 concerned residents, including both parents and teachers, turned out at Tuesday’s board meeting to support Byler. 

“It takes a village to raise children,” mother of two Crystle Martinez said. “He’s part of that village.”

A pancake machine is picture on a breakfast bar in a Holiday Inn Express hotel.(Holiday Inn Express via Weber Shandwick)

Students and teachers were not Byler’s only fans. Officials at Holiday Inn Express sought to gift him and his students a one-touch pancake machine -- like those on the breakfast bars in Holiday Inn Express hotels -- and enough pancake batter to get them through the remainder of the school year. 

“As a hotel brand that knows how important an energizing breakfast is to being ‘THE READIEST’ for the day ahead, Holiday Inn Express salutes Byler for taking the initiative and making pancakes for his students,” said Lauren Schuster, manager of PR firm Weber Shandwick. 

“The brand welcomes this teacher back to school, and hopes he and his students enjoy their very own one-touch pancake machine as much as Holiday Inn Express guests do,” read a statement from the company. 

It was not clear if the school district would allow Byler to put the pancake machine in his classroom. 

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