Watercooler Stories

Oct. 21, 2010 at 6:30 AM
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School-grown veggies banned from schools

CHICAGO, Oct. 20 (UPI) -- Chicago Public Schools officials said vegetables being harvested from school gardens are bound for sale rather than school cafeterias.

Administrators said the fruits, vegetables and herbs grown by students, teachers and volunteers at the 40 school gardens can't be served in cafeterias because they do not meet the rules set by the school district and its meal provider, Chartwells-Thompson, the Chicago Tribune reported Wednesday.

"In order to use food in the school food program, it would need to meet specific/certified growing practices," school district spokeswoman Monique Bond said.

Chartwells-Thompson said the regulations include the elimination of "pesticides and insecticide" and the use of only "commercially prepared organic compost and fertilizers."

Officials said the produce will be sold or given away.

However, Kathleen Merrigan, U.S. deputy secretary of agriculture, who recently visited a Chicago School Garden, said she would like to see the resulting foods find their way into cafeterias.

"Ideally, all of those products would make it from the garden to the lunchroom," Merrigan said.


Postcard delivered after 64 years

FARMINGTON, Maine, Oct. 20 (UPI) -- A Maine college said a postcard recently arrived with a 1946 postmark and the name of a freshman student from that year.

Andrea Butterfield, a University of Maine at Farmington mailroom employee, said the postcard immediately stood out because it bore a 1-cent stamp, a 1946 postmark and an address for Farmington State Teacher's College, which was long ago absorbed by the current school, The Sun-Journal, Lewiston, Maine, reported Wednesday.

The postcard was addressed to then-freshman Ruth Webber, now Ruth Webber McGary, 83, and the item was presented to her when she recently visited the school for a ceremony to award a scholarship bearing her name.

Butterfield said the postcard came from the Farmington Post Office but its location for the past 64 years is unknown.


1 in 5 U.S. statisticians work for feds

WASHINGTON, Oct. 20 (UPI) -- The U.S. Census Bureau celebrated World Statistics Day by releasing a lot of statistics Wednesday on the government fascination with numbers.

For example, there were 29,208 statisticians in the United States in 2009, 20 percent of them employed by the federal government. Another 10 percent were working for state or local governments.

The field is a growing one with the number of jobs expected to increase 13 percent between 2008 and 2018. Those statisticians make a decent living, although not a spectacular one, with an average salary of $72,280 in 2009.

U.S. government statisticians are concentrated in the departments of Agriculture, Commerce and Health and Human Services. There are, however, 14 major statistical agencies, including the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the National Center for Education Statistics and, of course, the U.S. Census Bureau.


Restaurant seeks to save rooster statue

HATCH, N.M., Oct. 20 (UPI) -- The owners of a New Mexico restaurant said they are trying to convince officials to let them keep a fiberglass rooster atop a truck in the eatery's parking lot.

Teako and Josie Nunn, owners of Sparky's Burgers, BBQ and Espresso in Hatch, N.M., said the rooster sits atop a 1964 Chevrolet panel truck in the restaurant's overflow parking lot across the street. State officials told them the fiberglass statue, which bears a sign promising "soft-serve ice cream" constitutes illegal off-premises advertising on wheels, the Las Cruces (N.M.) Sun reported Wednesday.

Teako Nunn said he is seeking options to bring the rooster, which stands 12 feet tall with the truck included, into line with the rules, including possibly taking the wheels off the truck.

Bridget Spedalieri, spokeswoman for the New Mexico Department of Transportation, said the Nunns must correct the violation or officers "would be forced to proceed with action to remove the advertisement and forward this matter to our legal section."

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