Health

San Diego’s Lawsuit Against Monsanto Shows Just How Hard It Is To Hold Polluters Accountable

May 22, 2015 by Source
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Other cities have sued over PCB pollution, but San Diego’s case is unique.

by Natasha Geiling / Think Progress / March 25, 2015

In a 1970 internal memo, agrochemical giant Monsanto alerted its development committee to a problem: Polychlorinated Biphenyls — known as PCBs — had been shown to be a highly toxic pollutant.

PCBs — sold under the common name Aroclor — were also huge business, raking in some $10 million in profits. Not wanting to lose all of these profits, Monsanto decided to continue its production of Aroclor while alerting its customers to its potentially adverse effects. Monsanto got out of the PCB business altogether in 1977 — two years before the chemicals were banned by the EPA — but just because the company no longer produces the toxic substances doesn’t mean it can forget about them completely.

Nor can the areas impacted by PCB pollution. On March 13, the city of San Diego, California filed a lawsuit against Monsanto for the company’s role in the production of PCBs.

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Sex Trafficking of Minors Hits Close to Home in Point Loma

May 19, 2015 by Source
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Point Loma Democrats Hear about Sex Trafficking

By Lois Lane

The program, “Sex Trafficking of Minors in San Diego,” last Sunday, May 17, 2015, seemed distant from the Ocean Beach and Point Loma audience. We quickly learned that this is one indeed one of our local problems and one of the most profitable illegal activities, greatly out-earning drug dealing. The product is also renewable – you can only sell a package once, but with prostitution, you can sell the same product over and over.

The speakers were Ali Serano, Assistant US Attorney, Sergeant Chris Cameron, San Diego County, and Gayle Sollfrank, representing a resource for victims, GenerateHope.

If we don’t think this is our problem, Ms. Serano displayed a printout from that day, showing six active Point Loma links on the primary Internet site (not publicized here).

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Dark Clouds on San Diego’s Horizon

May 13, 2015 by Doug Porter
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By Doug Porter / San Diego Free Press

Developments over the past few days bode poorly for San Diego’s image and civic pride.

One of the main tourist attractions, the football team, the successor to the downtown development agency and the home for Comic Con are all in turmoil.

Controversies have arisen concerning the lone Democrat on the Board of Supervisors and the sheriff’s department is being investigated for civil rights violations arising out of the arrest of a mentally handicapped man.

So many stories, so little time to tell them all:

Sex and Drugs at SeaWorld …. COME INSIDE

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Gov. Brown on Climate Change: “We’re dealing with it and it’s damn serious.”

May 13, 2015 by John Lawrence
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Then Why Haven’t You Put Any Restrictions on Big Oil and Big Ag?

By John Lawrence

Governor Jerry Brown is leading the nation and perhaps even the world in his efforts to do something about climate change and global warming which is causing epic drought conditions in California.

He has mandated that greenhouse gas emissions must be reduced to 40 percent below 1990 levels over the next 15 years. Brown called this the most aggressive benchmark enacted by a government in North America. All well and good.

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Nuclear Shutdown News – April 2015

May 12, 2015 by Michael Steinberg
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Nuclear Shutdown News chronicles the continuing decline of the US nuclear power industry, and highlights the efforts of those who are creating a better energy future.

Here’s the April edition:

By Michael Steinberg /Black Rain Press

Oyster Creek – oldest US nuke keeps shutting itself down

On April 28 patch.com ran “NRC Oyster Creek Nuclear Has Substantial Safety Problems.” Located in New Jersey, the Oyster Creek nuclear plant is the nation’s oldest (sometimes) operating nuke. It started up in late 1969, and is now 45 years old. US nuclear plants were designed to last only 40 years.

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Toxic Turf? Movement Grows Against Synthetic Turf

May 11, 2015 by Source
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By Jenifer McKim /New England Journal of Invest. Reporting/May,9 2015

Artificial turf fields, cushioned with recycled crushed tires and increasingly in demand for US athletic complexes, are getting some serious pushback.

In Swampscott last week, town meeting members approved plans to install a new synthetic field with silica sand, a more expensive product touted as a nontoxic alternative to the small rubber pellets known as crumb rubber ubiquitous on thousands of synthetic fields across Massachusetts and the nation.

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World Carbon Dioxide Levels Pass 400 ppm For First Time Ever

May 7, 2015 by Source
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Global Carbon Dioxide Levels Topped 400 PPM Throughout March In Unprecedented Milestone

By Nick Visser /Huffington Post / May 6, 2015

Average global levels of carbon dioxide stayed above 400 parts per million, or ppm, through all of March 2015 — the first time that has happened for an entire month since record keeping first began, according to data released this week by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Scientists with NOAA’s Earth System Research Laboratory have called the news a “significant milestone” in the growing scourge of man-made climate change.

“This marks the fact that humans burning fossil fuels have caused global carbon dioxide concentrations to rise more than 120ppm since pre-industrial times,” Pieter Tans, lead scientist of NOAA’s greenhouse gas network, told The Guardian on Wednesday. “Half of that rise has occurred since 1980.”

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SeaWorld Cited for Violations of Employee Safety by Cal-OSHA in Middle of Its PR Blitz

May 4, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
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In Another Blow – Mattel Pulls “SeaWorld Trainer Barbie Dolls”

In the midst of an aggressive PR campaign in a gigantic push-back against all the negative publicity it has received and the subsequent drop in attendance and profits lately, SeaWorld has just been cited by California health and safety inspectors for serious violations of employees safety.

Four citations were issued to the Mission Bay facility by the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health- three of them serious – and all toll they carry about $26,000 in fines.

From an inspection that occurred on October 29th of last year, OSHA cites violations of worker safety that include a failure by SeaWorld to keep its employees aware of the dangers posed by orcas; requiring employees to ride and swim with them in the park’s medical pools and for having trainers be with orcas in more shallow areas on pool edges.

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Point Loma – OB Dems Get Lit on Medical Marijuana Regulations in San Diego

April 28, 2015 by Source
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Report of Pt Loma – OB Democrats Meeting Sunday, April 26, 2015

By Lois Lane

This past Sunday’s meeting had a decidedly progressive tone, with a panel discussion on the topic of medical marijuana, and a presentation about the OB Rag.

The medical marijuana topic had some high-powered speakers – Terrie Best from the San Diego Chapter of Americans for Safe Access; Alex Kreit, Associate Professor and director of the Center for Law and Social Justice at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, and Ebon Johnson, director of the Green Nectar Dispensary.

Cynara Velazques, a club member, served as moderator. The guidelines stated that the topic was past the “for/opposed” stage, and was meant to provide information about the current law. Some interesting highlights: …

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Climate Mobilization Coalition Gears Up for Next Action – Meetings Every Saturday in OB

April 28, 2015 by Source
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Local Climate Mobilization Coalition meets at People’s Co-op every Saturday at 10:00 a.m. — Here’s Report of April 25th Meeting

By Colleen Dietzel / Special to the OB Rag

Since early February this year the Coalition for Climate Mobilization has been organizing a series of events to build the movement leading up to the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris in November. (See OB Rag coverage of March 15th event.)

The Climate Mobilization Coalition’s goal is a call to the United States Government to immediately commence a national World War II-style mobilization to transition the U.S. from fossil fuels to sustainable energy, including solar, wind and water.

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Midway Planners Savor First Area Medical Marijuana Dispensary

April 27, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
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Report of Midway Community Planning Group

By Tony de Garate / Special to the OB Rag

Like it or not, medical marijuana is coming to the Midway area – and police are calling on its citizenry to prevent the area from becoming overrun with rogue operators.

Only one Midway dispensary has gained legal status so far in the 13 months since the San Diego City Council approved regulations to allow storefronts to legally sell medical pot. But with its abundance of industrial areas that are devoid of churches, libraries, parks and residential housing, the community reeks of dispensary-friendly zoning — and potential opportunities for non-certified medical pot merchants who want to fly under the radar, police say.

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There’s Too Many Stabbings in Ocean Beach of Late

April 14, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
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4 People Stabbed in 3 Weeks

By our count, there has been at least three stabbing incidents of late in Ocean Beach – and that’s three too many! 3 incidents in which at least 4 people were stabbed.

No. 1: There was the stabbing as a result of a fight between some homeless people late Saturday, March 22nd. The fight had taken place it appears in Saratoga Park. The suspect was arrested, according to Community Relations Officer David Surwilo, and the victim was fined.

No. 2: A second stabbing took place also recently

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Court: Navy Sonar Training Injures Whales, Dolphins and Other Sea Animals

April 2, 2015 by Source
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by Big Island Now Staff

A U.S. District Court judge has ruled that the National Marine Fisheries Service wrongly approved U.S. Navy training exercises in the Pacific Ocean that would cause widespread harm to whales, dolphins, other marine mammals, and endangered sea turtles.

The Navy’s planned exercises involved the use of explosives, sonar, and vessel strikes over a five-year period, causing an estimated 9.6 million instances of harm to ocean mammals and other marine life.

It was concluded that the training exercises would impact millions of marine animals with injury, death, and disrupted essential habits like mating, rest, and communication.

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Nuclear Shutdown News – March Edition

March 31, 2015 by Michael Steinberg
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By Michael Steinberg / Black Rain Press

Nuclear Shutdown News chronicles the continuing decline of the US nuclear industry, and highlights efforts of those who are democratically working to bring about a renewable energy future. As nuclear plants in the US are approaching or surpassing their 40 year operating life, their ability to operate properly and safely lessens, creating more and more problems across the nation.

Here’s our March report:

Diablo Canyon – Last Nuke Plant in California

On February 20 a Federal Court of Appeals in Washington DC rejected an attempt by Pacific Gas & Electric and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to quash a lawsuit filed by environmental group Friends Of the Earth (FOE). According to FOE, the suit alleges that the “NRC illegally allowed PG&E to alter Diablo Canyon’s nuclear plant license.” …

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Students Successfully Petition San Diego School Board to Pressure SeaWorld on Animal Sancturaries

March 27, 2015 by Source
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Students from Point Loma High Cinematic Arts Class Part of Presentation

Statement of PLHS Cinematic Arts Teacher INSIDE

By Martha Sullivan

On March 24th, the San Diego Unified School Board voted unanimously 5-0 to “encourage Sea World to explore animal sanctuaries for their animal entertainers”. The resolution was sponsored by Trustees Kevin Beiser and Richard Barrera. The Board had been petitioned by local students – including some from Point Loma High School -.

Several students spoke to the Board about what they are learning in school in regards to the treatment of animals, what is humane and what is not.

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Santa Ana’s, Pollens, Sinuses, and Chiropractic

March 27, 2015 by Source

eye washBy Dr. Warren Patch

The weather is definitely changing.

“Warmest Winter on record … driest January in history… Santa Ana winds already blowing pollens from the dessert to the coast in record numbers…”, and we can feel it: dry nose, itchy red eyes, sinuses dripping, non-productive cough, difficulty breathing for some.

“It’s just my allergies,” one might say. What to do? Support the drug industry, or your own health?

First of all, wash your eyes and sinuses daily with simple saline solution. You can buy a bottle of saline nasal spray at the local drug store and just spray it up your nose with a couple big snorts until you can spit it out through your mouth.

Buy an eye wash cup and so the same for your eyes. Just fill it half-way with saline, fit it around eyeball, and tilt your head back and forth a few times. You’ll be amazed how much junk you can wash out of your eyes, and how much better they feel!

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Junco’s Jabs: An Evil Monster Rises from the Depths of San Diego Bay

March 26, 2015 by Source
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By Junco Canche / San Diego Free Press _______________________ Junco Canché Junco Canché, the Chicano Punk Rock Artesano, was born in the US and raised in Mexico. His influences include cartoons, punk rock, manga, and Mayan codexes . Before SDFP, Junco drew cartoons for El Coyote Online, La Prensa News, and the Southwestern College Sun. […]

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Midway Area Gets a “Legal” Pot Dispensary

March 25, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
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The Point Loma Peninsula has a pot shop! The San Diego Planning Commission on March 19th voted 4 to 2 to approve a medical marijuana dispensary in the Midway area of the Point.

The Point Loma Patients Cooperative is the 4th such dispensary to be allowed under San Diego’s stringent requirements. It’s located at 3452 Hancock Street.

The other dispensaries allowed include an Otay Mesa storefront that just opened last week, and 2 more – one in San Ysidro and the other in Kearny Mesa. Both are are expected to open this spring. Allegedly, the City is supposed to allow a total of 36 dispensaries within city boundaries.

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The Spring Garden Thing!

March 25, 2015 by Source

survivalsherpa.wordpress.com

By Susan Taylor

The flatlanders in San Diego had somewhere between 1-2 inches of rain recently and I hear the call of school gardens asking, “Can we plant something?” Of course we can, so let’s get going.

On a recent stroll along the boardwalk towards South Mission Beach, I dipped into the tiny streets between the boardwalk and Mission Blvd and saw so many interesting growing things.

One idea I’ve already tried is to take a hanging succulent cutting, let it harden off for a couple of days and here’s what’s next–wrap a handful of soil around the root (to be) end and then add some coir or even a paper towel. Moisten the whole wrap and nest it into the crotch of a tree branch.

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San Diego Finally Allows 1st “Legal” Pot Shop 19 Years After California Voters Passed Measure

March 20, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
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The City of San Diego has finally allowed the opening of the City’s very first medical marijuana dispensary. (NBC7 )

This opening of the first “legal” pot shop in San Diego comes 19 years after California voters passed Prop 215, making medical marijuana legal.

And the County of San Diego has only allowed one dispensary to open to date – a storefront opened last summer in an unincorporated area outside El Cajon.

The shameful history of nearly 2 decades for both the City and County of San Diego that viewed together initiated delays, stalls, and outright resistance to the spirit of Prop 215, stands in deep contrast to the wishes of the state’s voters.

On this issue at least, the implementation of the medical marijuana law, our local governments have been very undemocratic as they have quite openly stymied what the voters, the people, wanted.

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San Diego Sues Monsanto for Polluting Bay With Banned Carcinogenic Chemicals

March 18, 2015 by Source

Lawsuit says toxins manufactured by agrochemical giant ‘have been found in Bay sediments and water and have been identified in tissues of fish, lobsters, and other marine life’

By Sarah Lazarre / Common Dreams

San Diego Coronado Bay Bridge

San Diego authorities filed a lawsuit on Monday (March 16) against the agrochemical giant Monsanto, accusing the corporation of polluting the city’s bay with carcinogenic chemicals that are so dangerous to human health they were banned in the U.S. more than 30 years ago.

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The Lobbyists at Your Dinner Party

March 3, 2015 by Source

Every purveyor of food and drink wants the government to advise Americans to consume more of what they produce

new_food_pyramid_2012By Jill Richardson /Other Words

Remember the old food pyramid?

Until “MyPlate” replaced it a few years ago, the U.S. government’s official dietary advice for Americans fit neatly into that triangle.

The government recently moved toward updating those standards again. And the result isn’t nearly as digestible. In classic bureaucratic form, the Department of Health and Human Services cooked up a 571-page draft report for Americans to comment on.

The actual updated dietary guidelines will come later. Here’s what we know about the draft

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Joining Spirit with the Billions of Us Human Beings

March 2, 2015 by Ernie McCray
[caption id="attachment_123238" align="aligncenter" width="500"]Lao Tzu humanity quote (Image: Flickr – Hartwig HKD)[/caption]

By Ernie McCray

I was driving and turned my radio to 89.5, KPBS, and there was a conversation going on about “7 Billion Others,” an exhibit that’s opening in the U.S. for the first time – at San Diego’s Museum of Photographic Arts (MOPA): February 21 to September 13.

I liked what I was hearing and googled around and found, on the MOPA website, 45 questions written for visitors to the exhibit to answer so that they can find in themselves that spark that resides in us all and connects us to the journey of human beings featured in the video project.

My answer to the first question was: Ernest Charles McCray; age 76; retired school principal; widower; American as in United States of America.

Here are my replies to the other questions, based on what first came to my mind:

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Why hundreds of starving sea lion pups are washing ashore in California.

March 2, 2015 by Source
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By Nick Kirkpatrick / Washington Post / February 26, 2015

Sick, starving and dying sea lion pups are washing up on the shores of California in record numbers this year. In 2015, 940 young sea lions have turned up, officials with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said last week — four times the number California would normally see. But why?

Experts say it’s the warm water. Scientists believe warmer coastal waters force the prey of sea lions — squid and sardines, for example — deeper beneath the ocean’s surface. Then nursing sea lion mothers must look further afield for food, leaving their pups for longer than normal. Deprived of sustenance and weakened, the pups limply wash ashore.

“The prey source is just too far away for the mothers to go out, get food and come back and wean the pups,” Jim Milbury of the National Marine Fisheries Service told Yahoo News. Peter Wallerstein, director of Marine Animal Rescue in Los Angeles County, said the pups are unable to dive down to get food for themselves.

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Avoiding Contaminated Ocean Waters After Storm Has Special Meaning for OB and Pt Loma Surfers

March 2, 2015 by Staff

The word is getting out – don’t go in the water for 3 days after these current storms. And this warning has special meaning for Ocean Beach and Pt Loma surfers. For it wasn’t 2 and a half months ago that long-time surfer, Barry Ault, died from a bacterial infection he obtained while surfing in local waters after a storm.

Urban runoff has polluted coastal waters and the San Diego County Department of Environmental Health has issued a general advisory telling beachgoers to avoid swimming, surfing and diving in all coastal waters for 72 hours following rain. This is due to increased levels of bacteria, that is especially prevalent near rivers and outlets that discharge urban runoff, which can include animal waste, soil, and decomposing vegetation.

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OB Hostel Termite Tent Merely Precautionary

February 27, 2015 by Matthew Wood
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Those who walk by the OB Hostel this week and think the place is either wrought with bugs or hosting a perverse carnival need not worry. The owners are tenting the place as a precautionary measure to protect against termites.

“Who doesn’t have termites in San Diego?” said Maria Argyropoulos-Minos, Chief Operating Officer of USA Hostels.

“That’s pretty much the way it works. Anytime you have a house, you tent it.”

The tent has been on the iconic building for much of the week, but should be down by mid-morning on Friday.

“We just want to make sure it’s safe and secure from the little buggers and this seemed like a good time,” she said.

Argyropoulos-Minos said it is part of a number of upgrades the company is making to the place since purchasing it late last year.

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Nuclear Shutdown News for February 2015

February 25, 2015 by Michael Steinberg

No nukesBy Michael Steinberg / Black Rain Press

Nuclear Shutdown News chronicles the continuing decline of the US nuclear industry, and the people working for better energy alternatives.

As I was gathering information for this issue, one word kept popping up: Entergy.

Entergy is a gigantic energy corporation whose highrise headquarters renders the skyline of downtown New Orleans. Among its holdings are 11 nuclear power reactors, making it the nation’s second largest nuclear power company, after Chicago’s Exelon.

At the turn pf the century Entergy went on a nuke plant spending spree, buying up a half dozen aging reactors at bargain basement prices, as nuke plants go.

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Conversion to Renewable Energy is Going Too Slow to Avoid Catastrophe – Part 4

February 25, 2015 by John Lawrence

Extremely Slow Progress Converting to Renewables in Face of Huge Increase in CO2 Emissions: What Are the Trends?

rising sea levelsBy Frank Thomas and John Lawrence

Part 3 can be found here

Parts 1 and 2 address the psychological denial mechanisms and economics behind the world’s ingrained obsession with increasing GDP rates, despite their environmentally cancerous impact. Naturally, developing countries want the same material benefits from boundless GDP growth and unlimited resource development that advanced countries have long been exploiting.

This abets the idea that, as long as people make money from despoiling the atmosphere and climate, the Market should have its free reins forever. The Market is assumed to be the best arbiter of our planet’s ecological stability, but that is patently false. In reality, the Market exploits the environment and now it is becoming clear that increasing population and economic growth fueled by fossil fuels do so as well.

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The Dark Truth Behind Quinoa – the Popular Superfood

February 20, 2015 by Source

As the hype around quinoa builds, so do big questions about the problems with its production.

By Jill Richardson / AlterNet

Chenopodium quinoa in flower. / commons.wikimedia.com

Quinoa is rising up the popularity charts as a food staple in U.S. and Europe. A growing spate of positive coverage cites quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wa) as a high-protein grain-like relative of spinach and beets which is a newly discovered gluten-free superfood. Its growing popularity has also spawned a growing source of controversy, following reports that high global quinoa prices put the crop out of reach for the people who grow it.

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Sometimes the Simple Things Are the Most Fun – the Zion Market

February 18, 2015 by Judi Curry

Zion produce sectionTry going to the Zion Market in Clairemont Mesa some day

By Judi Curry

As much as I hate to admit it, I have a birthday coming up at the end of the week. As a general rule I would just as soon forget the day and move right on to the next one.

Perhaps many of you know that I am a “host mother” to foreign language students in the US to hone their English skills. My latest student is the 413th student I have housed since 1992, when my husband and I began this adventure. I have had students from all over the world—each one unique in their own way—and with the exception of only three students that I asked to have removed from my home, it has been a wonderful experience.

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