FDA approves first rapid, take home HIV test

first_imgWASHINGTON | The Food and Drug Administration has approved the first over-the-counter HIV test, allowing Americans to test themselves for the virus that causes AIDS in the privacy of their homes.The OraQuick test detects the presence of HIV in saliva collected using a mouth swab. The test is designed to return a result within 20 to 40 minutes.Government officials estimate one-fifth, or about 240,000 people, of the 1.2 million HIV carriers in the U.S. are not aware they are infected. Testing is one of the chief means of slowing new infections, which have held steady at about 50,000 per year for two decades.FDA officials said the test is aimed at people who might not otherwise get tested.“The availability of a home-use HIV test kit provides another option for individuals to get tested so that they can seek medical care, if appropriate,” said Dr. Karen Midthun, director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research.FDA stressed in its approval announcement that the test is not 100 percent accurate.A trial conducted by Orasure showed the home test only correctly detected HIV in those carrying the virus 92 percent of the time. That means that the test could miss one person for every 12 HIV-infected people who use the kit.The test was accurate 99 percent in ruling out HIV in patients not carrying the virus. That means the test would incorrectly identify one patient as having HIV for every 5,000 HIV-negative people tested.The FDA previously approved several HIV test kits designed to be used at home, although those kits — which usually require a blood sample — must be sent to a laboratory to be developed.Based in Bethlehem, Pa., Orasure has marketed a version of OraQuick to doctors, nurses and other health care practitioners since 2002. When used by professionals, the test is shown to accurately identify both carriers and non-carriers 99 percent of the time.While it’s not clear why the test appears less accurate in consumer trials, company researchers said they expected the test’s specificity to drop when used by consumers versus professionals.Orasure plans to launch the test in October, selling it through retailers like Walgreens, CVS and Walmart, as well as online pharmacies. Whereas the test marketed to health professionals costs about $17.50, Orasure expects the consumer version to sell for more. The company is not announcing a price yet, but said it would be less than $60. CEO Doug Michels said the additional cost will help pay for a toll-free call center to provide counseling and medical referrals to test users.“Each of the call-center operators is bilingual in English and Spanish, they’ve gone through 160 hours of training on HIV counseling and testing,” said Michels. “So they are highly trained professionals and they’ll be there to support the consumer.”Shares of Orasure Technologies rose 59 cents, or 5 percent, to $12.09.last_img read more

Oregon activists announce GMO labeling campaign

first_imgPORTLAND, Ore. | Activists in Oregon have announced a signature gathering campaign to place a ballot measure requiring the labeling of genetically modified foods on the statewide ballot in November.If adopted, the initiative by Oregon GMO Right to Know would require food manufacturers, retailers and suppliers to label raw and packaged foods produced entirely or partially by genetic engineering. The measure would not apply to animal feed or food served in restaurants. It would be effective January 2016.More than 87,000 signatures are needed to qualify for the ballot. The group has until July 3 to collect signatures.Signature-gathering is also underway in Colorado and in Arizona to put up similar labeling measures.Unlike dozens of other countries, the U.S. currently does not require the labeling of genetically engineered foods. But the use of GMOs has been a growing issue of contention in recent years, with American consumers, environmentalists and health advocates pushing for mandatory labeling.Earlier this month, Vermont became the first state to pass a law that requires labeling of genetically modified organisms. The law takes effect in mid-2016.Maine and Connecticut have enacted labeling laws for engineered foods, but those won’t go into effect until other states in the region follow suit. Counties in Hawaii, Washington state and California have adopted laws banning or limiting genetically modified organisms.There are currently 85 bills on GMO labeling in 30 states, with more than half introduced this year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, as well as dueling bills in Congress.Two recent labeling ballot measures failed. Last November, Washington voters narrowly rejected a mandate to label GMO foods. Backers blamed the defeat on a record $22 million raised by labeling opponents, including large biotech corporations and food manufacturers. Supporters raised about $8.1 million.A ballot measure also didn’t make it in California in 2012, where pro-labeling activists were equally outspent by biotechnology companies. Biotech firms raised $45 million in that state, while consumer advocates and organic food makers raised just $9 million.In Oregon, a GMO labeling initiative was defeated in 2002. However, concerns over GMO’s in Oregon regained momentum two years ago, when some organic farmers in the southern part of the state discovered genetically altered beets were being grown near their fields.Farmers in several counties pushed for measures to ban genetically modified crops, though only the initiative in Jackson County made it to the ballot. Voters will decide whether to ban GMO crops in that county next week.Hoping to forestall a patchwork of local regulations, Oregon enacted legislation barring counties from adopting GMO bans. Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber also created a task force on genetically engineered agriculture and directed the state’s Department of Agriculture to examine issues surrounding GMO crops, including labeling.Currently, there’s little science that says genetically engineered foods are unsafe. But labeling proponents say too much is still unknown about GMO’s, so consumers have a right to know if they are eating them.“GMO’s are not systematically, independently tested for safety before they’re sold to consumers, so we should give Oregonians the ability to decide for themselves,” said David Rosenfeld, executive director of the state’s consumer group OSPIRG.Labeling critics say mandatory labels would mislead consumers into thinking that engineered ingredients are unsafe. And though most GM crops are engineered for resistance to herbicides or insects, advocates say engineering could eventually make crops more nutritious, resistant to disease, or tolerable of drought or other weather calamities.In an effort to head off state-by-state efforts to require mandatory labeling of GMO foods, the food industry has recently proposed voluntary labeling of engineered foods. The industry is pushing a House bill in Congress that would create new voluntary labels nationwide.GMO crops are common in the U.S. The vast majority of processed foods contain GMOs and over 80 percent of the corn and more than 90 percent of the soybeans planted in the U.S. are genetically modified. The FDA could soon approve a genetically modified salmon.Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.last_img read more

Winter weather wrath? Pooches’ paws feel the pain, too

first_img In this Sunday, March 1, 2015 photo, Seymour, a Cavalier King Charles spaniel mix, takes a break from his walk in Concord, N.H. A harsh winter across the country has pet owners buying boots to protect their pets’ paws. (AP Photo/Jim Cole) In this Sunday, March 1, 2015 photo, Malia Ebel, left, walks her dogs, Seymour, left, and Sanders, both Cavalier King Charles spaniel mixes, alongside Wendy Olcott and her golden retriever, Sunny, as each dog wears winter booties, in Concord, N.H. A harsh winter across the country has pet owners buying the boots to protect their pets’ paws. (AP Photo/Jim Cole) LOS ANGELES | People aren’t the only ones suffering from a seemingly endless winter of bone-rattling cold, record-busting snow and ice-slick sidewalks. Pooches’ paws feel the pain, too.While millions of residents from the Rocky Mountains to the East Coast shovel snow deep into the season and hunker down awaiting relief, their dogs are either missing out on walks or left vulnerable to injury with each salt-coated step. In this Sunday, March 1, 2015 photo, Sanders, a 12-year-old Cavalier King Charles spaniel mix, plays in the snow in Concord, N.H. A harsh winter across the country has pet owners buying boots to protect their pets’ paws. (AP Photo/Jim Cole) Rock salt and shards of ice can cut feet or get wedged between toes, de-icing chemicals can burn paw pads and frostbite can happen. That’s led to a late-season boost in sales of doggy boots, which can be an annoyance for canines but allow owners to protect pets that are like family.Malia Ebel of Concord, New Hampshire, has four dogs — two that will wear boots and two that won’t or can’t. Either way, when the temperature dips below zero, Ebel cancels the crew’s two daily walks.“My two little dogs won’t go out the front door without them when it’s snowy,” she said of the dog boots worn by her Cavalier King Charles spaniel mixes.Ebel trained 13-year-old Seymour and 12-year-old Sanders when they were young to wear boots, which are a necessity instead of a fashion choice.“My dogs don’t have a problem with the snow; it’s the salt that hurts their feet,” she said. “So it’s great that their feet are protected and they can walk on the street all winter. In a winter like this, there has been so much snow and they’ve had to salt the roads very consistently.”The persistent winter has pushed Boston close to its 20-year-old snowfall record with more than 100 inches and seemingly froze Niagara Falls in place. While people throw up their hands at each new storm, the weather is giving a boost to pet clothiers.At the Barker & Meowsky Paw Firm in Chicago, the number of boots sold each day in the last six weeks was four times higher than a typical day this winter, company President Alice Lerman said.“Some days all we sold were boots,” she said of the pet boutique that sells clothing, furniture and carriers for cats and dogs.Boots called “Muttluks,” fleece-lined boots that resemble furry Mukluks for people, were good sellers, as were Pawz disposable booties that look like balloons and come in 10-packs.But the boots that sold out every day were a new product called Saltsox. They slip on easily, stay dry and come shaped like a dog’s foot so they won’t fall off as often, Lerman said.There are even less intrusive options: Musher’s Secret wax was designed for sled dogs and forms a shield on paws to keep ice and salt out. Bag Balm moisturizer and Vaseline also can be used in a pinch.Boots are a begrudging necessity for Wendy Olcott’s golden retriever, Sunny. Living in Contoocook, New Hampshire, her 12-year-old dog learned to wear boots as a puppy for their long walks. But that doesn’t mean Sunny likes them.“Sunny didn’t like wearing the boots initially, and she still, all these years later, doesn’t like wearing them,” she said.But walks go faster with the footwear because the dog doesn’t have to stop to get the snow out from between her toes, Olcott said.Shelters also are struggling this winter. At the Worcester Animal Rescue League in Massachusetts, keeping about 60 dogs and cats and two bunnies warm and clean has made laundry a never-ending chore, Executive Director Allie Tellier said.Worcester received 92.1 inches of snow through mid-February. Some days, workers and volunteers can’t get to the shelter, and whoever is closest has to trudge in to feed the animals.When it’s 20-below, even the housebroken dogs won’t do their business outside, leading to messes, Tellier said. But when the hardier dogs go out, many come back holding up frozen paws.“We are equipped to handle snow and winter, but this has been harsh,” Tellier said.last_img read more

Review: ‘Age of Ultron’ is an Avengers overdose

first_img This photo provided by Disney/Marvel shows, from left, Cobie Smulders, seated, Chris Evans, Don Cheadle, Claudia Kim, Chris Hemsworth, Robert Downey Jr., Jeremy Renner, Mark Ruffalo and Scarlett Johansson in the film, “Avengers: Age Of Ultron.” The movie releases in U.S. theaters on May 1, 2015. (Disney/Marvel via AP) This photo provided by Disney/Marvel shows, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, left, as Quicksilver/Pietro Maximoff , and Elizabeth Olsen as Scarlet Witch/Wanda Maximoff, in a scene from the film, “Avengers: Age of Ultron.” The movie opens in U.S. theaters on May 1, 2015. (Jay Maidment/Disney/Marvel via AP) This photo provided by Disney/Marvel shows, Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye/Clint Barton, in the new film, “Avengers: Age Of Ultron.” The movie releases in U.S. theaters on May 1, 2015. (Jay Maidment/Disney/Marvel via AP) This photo provided by Disney/Marvel shows, Chris Evans, left, as Captain America/Steve Rogers, and Chris Hemsworth as Thor, in the new film, “Avengers: Age Of Ultron.” The movie releases in U.S. theaters on May 1, 2015. (Jay Maidment/Disney/Marvel via AP) What binds Whedon’s spectacles with his Shakespeare are the quips, which sail in iambic pentameter in one and zigzag between explosions in the others. The original 2012 “Avengers” should have had more of them, and there’s even less room in the massive — and massively overstuffed — sequel for Whedon’s dry, self-referential wit.As a sequel, “Age of Ultron” pushes further into emotionality and complexity, adding up to a full but not particularly satisfying meal of franchise building, and leaving only a bread-crumb trail of Whedon’s banter to follow through the rubble.The action starts predictably with the Avengers assaulting a remote HYDRA base in the fictional Eastern European republic of Sokovia. They are a weaving force: Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man, Chris Hemsworth’s Thor, Mark Ruffalo’s Hulk, Chris Evans’s Captain America, Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow and Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye.Their powers are as various (supernatural, technological, mythological) as their flaws (Iron Man’s narcissism, the Hulk’s rage, the Black Widow’s regrets). Downey’s glib Tony Stark/Iron Man is the lead-singer equivalent of this super group and, I suspect, the one Whedon likes writing for the most. “I’ve had a long day,” he sighs. “Eugene O’Neill long.”What “Age of Ultron” has going for it, as such references prove, is a sense of fun, a lack of self-seriousness that persists even when things start going kablooey — something not always evident in other faux-serious superhero films. (See: “Man of Steel,” or rather, don’t.)In Sokovia, they encounter duplicitous twins: the quick-footed Quicksilver (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) and the mystical Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen). The real villain, though, is the titular Ultron, an artificial intelligence that the Scarlet Witch slyly leads Stark to create, birthing not the global protection system he hopes, but a maniacal Frankenstein born, thankfully, with some of his creator’s drollness.Ultron (James Spader) builds himself a muscular metallic body and begins amassing a robot army to rid the planet of human life. Spader plays Ultron who is too similar to other mechanical monsters to equal Tom Hiddleston’s great Loki, the nemesis of the last “Avengers” film. But Spader’s jocular menace adds plenty. He wickedly hums Pinocchio melodies: “There are no strings on me.”But the drama of “Age of Ultron” lies only partly in the battle with Ultron. The film is really focused on the fraying dysfunction of the Avengers and their existential quandaries as proficient killers now untethered from the dismantled S.H.I.E.L.D. agency.There’s not a wrong note in the cast; just about anything with the likes of Spader, Ruffalo, Johansson, Hemsworth and Downey can’t help but entertain. But the dive into the vulnerability of the Avengers doesn’t add much depth (is the home life of an arrow slinger named Hawkeye important?) and saps the film’s zip.All the character arcs — the Avengers, the bad guys and the new characters — are simply too much to tackle, even for a master juggler like Whedon. The movie’s hefty machinery — the action sequences, the sequel baiting — suck up much of the movie’s oxygen.In the relentless march forward of the Marvel juggernaut, “Age of Ultron” feels like a movie trying to stay light on its feet but gets swallowed up by a larger power: The Franchise.“Avengers: Age of Ultron,” a Walt Disney release, is rated PG-13 by the Motion Picture Association of America for “intense sequences of sci-fi action, violence and destruction.” Running time: 141 minutes. Two and a half stars out of four.faux-serious superhero films. (See: “Man of Steel,” or rather, don’t.)In Sokovia, they encounter duplicitous twins: the quick-footed Quicksilver (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) and the mystical Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen). The real villain, though, is the titular Ultron, an artificial intelligence that the Scarlet Witch slyly leads Stark to create, birthing not the global protection system he hopes, but a maniacal Frankenstein born, thankfully, with some of his creator’s drollness.Ultron (James Spader) builds himself a muscular metallic body and begins amassing a robot army to rid the planet of human life. Spader plays Ultron who is too similar to other mechanical monsters to equal Tom Hiddleston’s great Loki, the nemesis of the last “Avengers” film. But Spader’s jocular menace adds plenty. He wickedly hums Pinocchio melodies: “There are no strings on me.”But the drama of “Age of Ultron” lies only partly in the battle with Ultron. The film is really focused on the fraying dysfunction of the Avengers and their existential quandaries as proficient killers now untethered from the dismantled S.H.I.E.L.D. agency.There’s not a wrong note in the cast; just about anything with the likes of Spader, Ruffalo, Johansson, Hemsworth and Downey can’t help but entertain. But the dive into the vulnerability of the Avengers doesn’t add much depth (is the home life of an arrow slinger named Hawkeye important?) and saps the film’s zip.All the character arcs — the Avengers, the bad guys and the new characters — are simply too much to tackle, even for a master juggler like Whedon. The movie’s hefty machinery — the action sequences, the sequel baiting — suck up much of the movie’s oxygen.In the relentless march forward of the Marvel juggernaut, “Age of Ultron” feels like a movie trying to stay light on its feet but gets swallowed up by a larger power: The Franchise.“Avengers: Age of Ultron,” a Walt Disney release, is rated PG-13 by the Motion Picture Association of America for “intense sequences of sci-fi action, violence and destruction.” Running time: 141 minutes. Two and a half stars out of four.center_img It will surely stand as one of the most peculiar and possibly ironic entries in a director’s filmography that in between Joss Whedon’s two “Avengers” films there reads “Much Ado About Nothing”: a low-budget, black-and-white Shakespeare adaption sandwiched between two of the most gargantuan blockbusters ever made.In “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” there is definitely aplenty ado-ing. Too much, certainly, but then again, we come to the Avengers for their clown-car excess of superheroes, their colorful coterie of capes. This photo provided by Disney/Marvel shows, Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man/Tony Stark in the film, “Avengers: Age Of Ultron.” The movie releases in U.S. theaters on May 1, 2015. (Jay Maidment/Disney/Marvel via AP) This photo provided by Disney/Marvel shows, Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow/Natasha Romanoff, in the film, “Avengers: Age Of Ultron.” The movie releases in the U.S. on May 1, 2015. (Jay Maidment/Disney/Marvel via AP)last_img read more

Backyard sheds reimagined as pubs, studios, getaways

first_img“It’s gaining in popularity. It’s all over the board what people are using them for,” she said.The sheds range from stylized structures with sliding glass doors to buildings made from repurposed materials.Ford-Workman and her husband spent about $300 fixing up their structure, which friends have dubbed “Barshed.” They furnished it with cast-off furniture from friends.“Our Barshed is nothing to put in a home-design magazine by any stretch of the imagination, but all our friends rave about its existence,” she said.Studio Shed in Louisville, Colorado, sells prefabricated structures to people who want more living space or to enhance their backyard, said Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski, the company’s creative director. The buildings, which range in price from $7,500 to $20,000, offer flexibility and are less expensive than adding a room to the house, he said.Jennifer and Eric Antonow added a shed to their Palo Alto, California, property because they can’t afford a bigger house.“It made so much economic sense,” she said.They use their shed as a home office and recording studio. It sits next to their hot tub, so sometimes they use it as a changing room. She also anticipates serving drinks there while entertaining outside.The Antonows needed a permit to install the shed, which rests on a concrete slab. City and county rules vary, so check with the local zoning department before adding a structure, said Jim Ayers, a contributor to hometalk.com, an online home and garden forum for do-it-yourselfers.He did not need a permit to build the gardening shed that he later converted into a tiki bar at his Nashville, Tennessee, home. The building, which sits on concrete blocks, is not a permanent structure, he said.He transformed the shed into a party spot at the urging of his wife, Monika. “It didn’t take much for me to go her way,” he said.He estimates he spent about $500 on the project. He already had some of the lumber. Many of the items are repurposed.The Ayers spend a lot of time in their backyard, and love to invite friends.“If we’re not at somebody else’s place or away on a trip, we’re out there,” he said. “My wife loves it. In her younger years, she was a bartender.” This undated photo provided by courtesy of Morgaine Ford-Workman shows the bar shed she and her husband created in the backyard of their house in Morrisville, Penn. A growing number of homeowners have begun throwing parties in converted sheds and outbuildings constructed for entertaining. (Morgaine Ford-Workman via AP) This photo provided by Studio Shed shows how one homeowner used a shed to enhance the backyard and create additional space for entertaining and outdoor living in San Carlos, Calif. Homeowners around the country are using sheds as a place to hang out. (Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski/Studio Shed via AP) In this undated photo provided by courtesy of Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski/Studio Shed, the shed that Jennifer and Eric Antonow built near their backyard hot tub provides some extra living space in Palo Alto, Calif. The high cost of California real estate made the shed a more affordable option than building an addition. (Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski/Studio Shed via AP) When Morgaine Ford-Workman and Wren Workman bought a house with a backyard shed, they saw the potential for something more than storing garden tools.The couple transformed the 10-by-12-foot building into a bar to use during outdoor parties at their house in Morrisville, Pennsylvania.“We’re involved in community theatre and we like to throw a lot of parties,” Ford-Workman said. “It’s an extra place to hang out.”People looking to get more use out of their backyards are building or converting sheds for a variety of purposes. There are backyard pubs. “She sheds,” when they’re built by women. Home offices. Art or yoga studios. TV rooms.“As we continue to explore other ways we can utilize our backyard space, we will continue to see trends like this,” said Stacy Nelson, who owns a backyard-design consulting firm, Backyard Mamma, in Weston, West Virginia. “We want to be in nature and unwind.”The do-it-yourself element and the sheds’ visual impact have made them popular on social media sites, Nelson said.last_img read more

How to transform a dull pork loin with simple ingredients

first_img This Jan. 25, 2016 photo shows honey oregano pork loin in Concord, N.H. This dish is from a recipe by Katie Workman. (AP Photo/Matthew Mead) This Jan. 25, 2016 photo shows honey oregano pork loin in Concord, N.H. This dish is from a recipe by Katie Workman. (AP Photo/Matthew Mead) This is one of those recipes that makes you feel like a bit of a genius, because it’s so easy, requires so little active time, and tastes like you worked your little fingers to the bone.This is the pleasure of a few ingredients that play interestingly off one another, here providing a balance of sweet (honey), rich (butter), herby (oregano) and spicy (cayenne). Serve this with a salad and rice or another grain or starch of your choice. Other good accompaniments would be roasted tomatoes or peppers, grilled zucchini and onions, or sauteed spinach. Leftovers are very welcome, perfect when thinly sliced in a sandwich or chopped into stir-fried rice.The sauce is a simple blend of sour cream and harissa with a squeeze of lime juice. Harissa paste is a fragrant, spicy chili paste that’s a widely used ingredient and condiment in North African and Middle Eastern cooking. It varies from place to place but always includes hot chili peppers (usually smoked), garlic, olive oil and spices such as cumin, coriander, caraway and sometimes herbs. It also may contain tomatoes. Look for it in the grocer’s international aisle. This Jan. 25, 2016 photo shows honey oregano pork loin in Concord, N.H. This dish is from a recipe by Katie Workman. (AP Photo/Matthew Mead) HONEY-OREGANO PORK LOINStart to finish: 1 hour 40 minutes (20 minutes active)Servings: 10For the pork:4-pound center cut pork loinKosher salt and ground black pepper1 tablespoon olive oil2 tablespoons unsalted butter1/4 cup honey3 tablespoon minced fresh oregano1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth or stockFor the sauce:1/2 cup sour cream2 tablespoons harissa paste1 teaspoon lime juiceKosher salt and ground black pepperHeat the oven to 375 F. Use paper towels to pat dry the pork loin, then season it generously with salt and pepper.Heat a heavy, oven-safe skillet over high. Add the oil and as soon as it is hot add the pork and sear on all sides, turning it four times, for about 3 minutes per side, or until the outside is all nicely browned and a bit crusty.Transfer the pork to a plate, pour off the remaining oil in the pan, then return the pan to medium heat. Add the butter, honey, oregano and cayenne. When the mixture starts to bubble (don’t let the honey burn) return the pork loin to the pan, roll the pork in the butter mixture, using tongs, even dipping the ends into the pan sauce. Place the pork in the middle of the pan and add the chicken broth.Transfer to the oven and roast for 1 hour to 1 hour 20 minutes, or until it reaches a 145 F at the thickest part. Turn the roast after the first 30 minutes of cooking.While the pork is cooking, in a small bowl mix together the sour cream, harissa, lime juice and salt and pepper, to taste.Remove the pork from the oven and let sit for 10 minutes before thinly slicing. Serve with the sauce.Nutrition information per serving: 450 calories; 260 calories from fat (58 percent of total calories); 29 g fat (11 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 120 mg cholesterol; 360 mg sodium; 9 g carbohydrate; 0 g fiber; 8 g sugar; 39 g protein.Katie Workman has written two cookbooks focused on easy, family-friendly cooking, “Dinner Solved!” and “The Mom 100 Cookbook.” She blogs at https://www.themom100.com/about-katie-workman/last_img read more

Ethiopian immigrant wants to make waves in Aurora

first_img Endale Getahun palns to use the the radio antenna at Aurora Central High School to start his Ethiopian radio station on Tuesday Aug. 16, 2016 at Aurora Central High School.Photo by Gabriel Christus/Aurora Sentinel AURORA | It has not been easy for Endale Getahun to find a location for the business he wants to start in Aurora, mostly because he needs space for a 100-foot-tall tower.Getahun wants to go on the air with a radio station serving the region’s growing ranks of African immigrants.“Low power FM radio stations are for communities who don’t have outlets to communicate with fellow citizens,” said Getahun of 93.9 KETO-FM, a non-profit Getahun launched with the hopes of hosting the first immigrant-focused radio station in the city. Getahun said he first conceived of the idea for the radio station while traveling with Aurora City Council members to visit Adama, Aurora’s sister city, last year. He said the station would not only serve Aurora residents from Ethiopia, but would be a multicultural radio station for all of Aurora’s African community. Endale Getahun palns to use the the radio antenna at Aurora Central High School to start his Ethiopian radio station on Tuesday Aug. 16, 2016 at Aurora Central High School.Photo by Gabriel Christus/Aurora Sentinel Endale Getahun palns to use the the radio antenna at Aurora Central High School to start his Ethiopian radio station on Tuesday Aug. 16, 2016 at Aurora Central High School.Photo by Gabriel Christus/Aurora Sentinelcenter_img Endale Getahun palns to use the the radio antenna at Aurora Central High School to start his Ethiopian radio station on Tuesday Aug. 16, 2016 at Aurora Central High School.Photo by Gabriel Christus/Aurora Sentinel “We are working with different immigrants from different countries,” Getahun said. “We are definitely working with the City of Aurora and the City of Denver to pinpoint immigrants who want to use our radio station in the future.”He said KETO’s program schedule would not only include multicultural shows, but information that is important for immigrants from agencies such as the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security. Getahun immigrated to the U.S. with his parents from Ethiopia in 1984. For several years, he said he lived in Aurora, but today lives nearby in Denver with his wife and two children. He said his radio and television experience dates back to his first years in Colorado when the first Ethiopian television channel launched in Denver. His work in local media since that time has involved freelancing as a cameraman for several African Embassies both in Denver and Washington D.C.Getahun said KETO-FM is also about dispelling preconceived notions about Ethiopia as a country.  Getahun said when he moved here, everyone in the U.S. thought Ethiopians were all starving because the hunger epidemic was all that was being covered by national news sites. “The media is powerful, and it can be used for the positive. That’s when I decided I needed to start my own media,” Getahun said. In January of 2000, the Federal Communications Commission created a low power FM radio protocol specifically to serve noncommercial educational entities such as churches, schools and nonprofits. Low power FM stations can operate at a maximum power of 100 watts, which generally provides coverage of three to five miles. Getahun first started meeting with the Aurora officials about a space for KETO nearly a year ago. According to city documents, city staff reached out to several businesses who could not host Getahun’s radio tower due to zoning requirements.  It was Aurora Mayor Steve Hogan who introduced Getahun to Bob Hagedorn, president of the Aurora Cultural Arts District board of directors and founder of the Fax Aurora business league. “This is a unique concept and it’s unique enough that it makes sense for the city to be involved and to help,” Hogan said. “It addresses a need in the immigrant community, the Ethiopian community in particular. That uniqueness is part of the reason why both the city is helping and why it’s taking so long.” Hogan said this is the first time Aurora has worked with a resident who has wanted to start a radio station for immigrants. Hagedorn said he became interested in working with Getahun because of the city’s growing immigrant African population. Aurora is the most diverse city in Colorado with 1 in 5 residents who are foreign-born. According to 2016 demographic data, between 2010 and 2014, the city’s foreign-born population increased by 6 percent with the largest number of immigrants coming from Africa and Asia. Aurora’s largest number of African residents are Ethiopians at nearly 3,000 residents, followed by the more than 1,000 immigrants from Ghana. “Endale’s personal story is significant,” added Hagedorn. “I’m a sucker for a good story. It’s powerful to see how determined Endale is. It’s a great thing he’s trying to do.” Recently, Hagedorn was able to work with Aurora Public Schools to find a suitable location for the KETO radio tower at Aurora Central High School thanks to the help of former Aurora Councilwoman Debi Hunter Holen. Jay Grimm, executive director of the Aurora Public Schools Foundation, said the opportunity to work with KETO made sense due to Central’s diverse student population, where four out of 10 students are English language learners. Hagedorn said the next steps will be looking for office space to house staff and a control room, applying for grants, and fundraising for equipment. “Having an antenna location is very big for us at this point. It also gives us credibility with foundations in terms of applying for money,” Hagedorn said.Getahun said he is very interested in the idea of partnering with the Aurora Welcome Center, a former APS building near Central that serves as a learning space for immigrants and refugees who come to the city.last_img read more

Mexico City floating farms, chefs team up to save tradition

first_img In this July 13, 2017 photo, Ichiro Kitazawa, a chef at the Japanese restaurant Rocoi, inspects herbs on a floating garden known as a “chinampa” in Xochimilco in Mexico City. Chinampa produce generally sells for 15 to 100 percent more than comparable goods at the enormous Central de Abasto, the go-to wholesale market for nearly all of Mexico City’s chefs that is so monolithic its competition sets prices across the country. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte) While sourcing local ingredients has become fashionable for many top chefs around the globe, it takes on additional significance in Xochimilco (so-chee-MIL-co), where a project linking chinampa farmers with high-end eateries aims to breathe life and a bit of modernity into a fading and threatened tradition.“People sometimes think (farm-to-table) is a trend,” said Eduardo Garcia, owner and head chef of Maximo Bistrot in the stylish Roma Norte district. “It’s not a trend. It’s something that we humans have always done and we need to keep doing it, we need to return to it.”Xochimilco, on the far southern edge of Mexico City, is best-known as the “Mexican Venice” for its canals and brightly colored boats where locals and tourists can while away a weekend day listening to mariachi music and sipping cold beers.It has also been a breadbasket for the Valley of Mexico since before the Aztec Empire, when farmers first created the “floating” islands bound to the shallow canal beds through layers of sediment and willow roots.There’s nothing quite like it anywhere else in the world, and Xochimilco is designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage site.But that World Heritage status and Xochimilco itself are threatened by the pollution and encroaching urbanization that plague the rest of the sprawling metropolis.Enter Yolcan, a business that specializes in placing traditionally farmed Xochimilco produce in Mexico City’s most acclaimed restaurants Those include places like Gabriela Camara’s seafood joint Contramar and Enrique Olvera’s Pujol, which is perhaps the country’s most famous restaurant and regularly makes lists of the world’s best.Yolcan has been around since 2001, but it’s only in the last year that business has really taken off with the number of restaurant partners increasing by a third during that period to 22. Last month five of them teamed up with Yolcan for dinner to benefit chinampa preservation.The company directly manages about its own farmland and also partners with local families to help distribute their goods, lending a much-needed hand as an intermediary.“The thing about the chinampa farmer is that he does not have the time to track down a market or a person to promote his product,” said David Jimenez, who works a plot in the San Gregorio area of Xochimilco. “Working the chinampas is very demanding.”All told Yolcan’s operation covers about 15 acres (6 hectares) and churns out some 2.5 tons of produce per month. Due to the high salinity of the soil drawn from canal beds, the straw-covered chinampa plots are particularly fertile ground for root vegetables and hearty greens like kale and chard.Diners reserve weeks in advance for a coveted table at Maximo Bistrot, one of three restaurants Garcia runs. Meticulously prepared plates of chinampa-grown roasted yellow carrots with asparagus puree arrive at the table, accompanied by sea bass with green mole sauce and wine pairings in tall glasses.Garcia estimated he gets about two-thirds of his ingredients from Yolcan or other organic farms nearby. He was born in a rural part of Guanajuato state where his family raised corn and largely ate what they grew, so sourcing local is second-nature.“I think all of the world’s restaurants should make it a goal to use these alternative ingredients,” Garcia said, stirring a pot of beans flavored with the aromatic epazote herb. “Even though it’s a little more expensive, a little more difficult to find.”Chinampa produce generally sells for 15 to 100 percent more than comparable goods at the enormous Central de Abasto, the go-to wholesale market for nearly all of Mexico City’s chefs that is so monolithic its competition sets prices across the country.But chefs who buy from Yolcan are happy to pay a premium knowing they’re getting vegetables free of chemical fertilizers or pesticides and also supporting a centuries-old tradition.Diners at Maximo Bistrot also said they enjoyed their meal, especially the burrata with chinampa-grown heirloom tomatoes. One couple said they are willing to pay the prices of these high-end eateries in order to have the best produce.“We’ve eaten in 26 countries around the world, and for the price and quality, this was awesome,” said Kristin Kearin, a 35-year-old masseuse from United States. “I honestly think that using small producers is going to come back.”Follow Lisa Martine Jenkins on Twitter at www.twitter.com/lisa_m_jenkins In this July 13, 2017 photo, Gerardo Cristobal navigates his boat as he ferries farmers and laborers to their floating farms called “chinampas” in Xochimilco, Mexico City. Xochimilco, on the far southern edge of Mexico City, is best-known as the “Mexican Venice” for its canals and brightly colored boats where locals and tourists can while away a weekend day listening to mariachi music and sipping cold beers. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte) MEXICO CITY | At dawn in Xochimilco, home to Mexico City’s famed floating gardens, farmers in muddied rain boots squat among rows of beets as a group of chefs arrive to sample sweet fennel and the pungent herb known as epazote.By dinnertime some of those greens will be on plates at an elegant bistro 12 miles (20 kilometers) to the north, stewed with black beans in a $60 prix-fixe menu for well-heeled diners.Call it floating-farm-to-table: A growing number of the capital’s most in-demand restaurants are incorporating produce grown at the gardens, or chinampas, using ancient cultivation techniques pioneered hundreds of years ago in the pre-Columbian era. In this July 13, 2017 photo, farmer Lucio Usobiaga, founding partner of Yolcan, points to a vegetable field as he talk to chefs and restaurant employees on a floating farm known as a “chinampa” in Xochimilco, Mexico City. Yolcan is a business that specializes in placing traditionally farmed Xochimilco produce in Mexico City’s most acclaimed restaurants. (AP Photo / Marco Ugarte) In this July 13, 2017 photo, lettuce grows on a floating farm known as a “chinampa” in Xochimilco, Mexico City. Chinampa produce generally sells for 15 to 100 percent more than comparable goods at the enormous Central de Abasto, the go-to wholesale market for nearly all of Mexico City’s chefs that is so monolithic its competition sets prices across the country. (AP Photo / Marco Ugarte) This July 14, 2017 photo shows a plate garnished with chinampa-grown roasted yellow carrots with asparagus puree, prepared by chef Eduardo Garcia, founder of Maximo Bistrot and a former U.S. migrant worker, at his restaurant in Mexico City. Diners reserve weeks in advance for a coveted table at Maximo Bistrot, one of three restaurants Garcia runs. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)center_img In this July 13, 2017 photo, chef Eduardo Garcia, founder of Maximo Bistrot and former migrant worker in the U.S., cuts mushrooms at his restaurant in Mexico City. Diners reserve weeks in advance for a coveted table at Maximo Bistrot, one of three restaurants Garcia runs. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte) In this July 13, 2017 photo, chef Eduardo Garcia, founder of Maximo Bistrot and former migrant worker in the US, cuts mushrooms at his restaurant in Mexico City. People sometimes think (farm-to-table) is a trend,” said Garcia. “It’s not a trend. It’s something that we humans have always done and we need to keep doing it, we need to return to it.”(AP Photo/Marco Ugarte) In this July 13, 2017 photo, a variety of lettuce grows on a floating farm known as a “chinampa” in Xochimilco, Mexico City. A growing number of the capital’s most in-demand restaurants are incorporating produce grown at the gardens, using ancient cultivation techniques pioneered hundreds of years ago in the pre-Columbian era. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte) In this July 13, 2017 photo, a farmer’s machete and hat sit on a floating farm known as a “chinampa” in Xochimilco, Mexico City. The World Heritage status and Xochimilco itself are threatened by the pollution and encroaching urbanization that plague the rest of the sprawling metropolis. (AP Photo / Marco Ugarte) In this July 13, 2017, a farmer moves his harvest of squash flowers through the channels of Xochimilco in Mexico City. Xochimilco is designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage site. (AP Photo / Marco Ugarte)last_img read more

Juul halts US sales of popular mint-flavored e-cigarettes

first_imgFILE – In this Dec. 20, 2018, file photo a woman buys refills for her Juul at a smoke shop in New York. The e-cigarette maker Juul Labs said Thursday, Nov. 7, 2019, that it will halt sales of its best-selling mint-flavored vaping pods. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)WASHINGTON  |  Juul Labs said Thursday it will halt U.S. sales of its best-selling, mint-flavored electronic cigarettes as it struggles to survive a nationwide backlash against vaping.The voluntary step comes days after new government research showed that Juul is the top brand among high schoolers who use e-cigarettes and that many prefer mint.“These results are unacceptable,” said the company’s CEO K.C. Crosthwaite, adding in a statement that the company must “earn the trust of society.”Underage vaping has reached what health officials call epidemic levels. In the latest government survey, 1 in 4 high school students reported using e-cigarettes in the previous month, despite federal law banning sales to those under 18.Under fire for its alleged role in sparking the vaping craze among teens, Juul has made a series of concessions to try and weather a crackdown from local, state and federal officials. It stopped selling popular fruit and dessert flavors in stores last year, and last month, stopped selling them online, too.Earlier, the company replaced its CEO and pledged to stop advertising its products. For years, Juul has argued that its e-cigarettes are intended to help adult smokers switch to a less harmful nicotine product. But its early marketing campaigns were mainly on social media and featured young, stylish models. The company subsequently shuttered its Facebook and Instagram accounts.After halting mint sales, Juul will only sell menthol and tobacco flavors. Mint and menthol accounted for nearly 60% of the company’s retail sales in the past year, according to data compiled by Wells Fargo analyst Bonnie Herzog.Fruit, candy, dessert and other flavored e-cigarettes have been targeted because of their appeal to underage users. Federal health officials are expected to soon release plans for removing most vaping flavors from the market, and Juul has said it will support and comply with that government policy.In September, President Donald Trump said the flavor ban would include mint and menthol flavors. However, no details have yet been released, leading vaping opponents to worry that the administration is backing away from its original plan.Representatives for those groups immediately criticized Juul for not also pulling its menthol flavor.“If they really wanted to keep the kids away they would also get rid of menthol,” said Meredith Berkman of Parents Against Vaping E-Cigarettes. “We hope the administration will understand that too — they should be taking menthol off the market.”Mint and menthol have often been treated interchangeably by vaping researchers.But a new study released Monday suggests menthol doesn’t have the same appeal as mint. The study found that mint was the most popular flavor among Juul users in 10th and 12th grades and the second-most popular among middle-schoolers. In contrast, less than 6% of teenagers across all grades preferred menthol. The study by University of Southern California researchers was based on a survey that included 1,800 Juul users.Flavors have been banned from traditional cigarettes in the U.S. since 2009, except for menthol.San Francisco-based Juul is the best-selling e-cigarette brand in the U.S. The privately held company has been besieged by legal troubles, including multiple investigations by Congress, federal agencies and several state attorneys general. The company is also being sued by adults and underage Juul users who claim they became addicted to nicotine through the company’s products.E-cigarettes typically heat a solution that contains nicotine, which makes cigarettes and e-cigarettes addictive.___The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.last_img read more

Moore signs off in winning style

first_img2nd Ted Senior (14) 35pts3rd Brendan Moore (13) 34ptsDiv 21st Dick Stewart (15) 34pts2nd Frank Courtney (15) 33pts3rd Ged Higgins (21) 33ptsTuesday, March 5, Pattana A&B – StablefordDiv 11st Bob Watson (0) 33pts2nd Brendan Moore (13) 32pts3rd Larry Simpson (11) 29ptsDiv 21st John Baxter (17) 32pts2nd Don Bradley (34) 30pts3rd Ged Higgins (21) 28ptsThursday, March 7, Phoenix – StablefordDiv 11st Brendan Moore (13) 40pts2nd Mod Chaviraska (12) 39pts3rd Poopay Lamthong (11) 37ptsDiv 21st Ged Higgins (21) 36pts2nd Don Bradley (34) 35pts3rd Nino Dinardo (16) 35ptsFriday, March 8, Bangpakong – Stableford1st Dave Edwards (11) 36pts2nd Tom Kett (18) 35pts3rd Mod Chaviraksa (11) 35ptsIt was a good week for Brendan prior to his departure to the UK: he took a 1st, a 2nd and a 3rd in his three outings.  Also having a good week were Ged Higgins with 2 thirds and Mod with a 2nd and a 3rd.We had very good numbers all week and enjoyed good weather, although it was very windy at Pattana, as indicted by the scores.For anyone interested in joining a well run friendly golf group, the Travellers Rest Golf Group (TRGG) is now situated at the Ned Kelly Bar on Soi Lengke.  We currently play 4 times per week on Mon/Tue/Thu & Fri.  For further information contact Fergus Brennan on 086 056 7019. Travellers Rest Golf GroupMonday, March 3, Plutaluang N&W – StablefordDiv 11st Martin Cooper (4) 35ptslast_img read more