A few things that crossed my eyes in the last few days, in no particular order.
Here's an interesting story that Dr. Reynolds has in his back yard. The Knoxville paper has sued the county commission over open-meetings-act violations. They reporters thus have something of a conflict of interest and want local bloggers to call BS when needed, even becoming part of the paper's coverage.
Blogs, especially ones of a policy nature, can read like an one-man op-ed page. Here, we're moving into a one-man newspaper application, albeit one with a quirky editorial mix. Interesting.
Sullivan U has a culinary department, so this was a topic of conversation in the faculty office bay; there's a new law that all almonds have to be pasteurized. The people who sell almonds directly to consumers are already doing that, but the ones that go into candies and cookies aren't yet with the program and want a delay.
In pasteurization, the shelled and hulled nuts typically are treated with dry heat, steam or chemical fumigants, reducing any pathogens by a factor of 10,000.
The trick is that they are still sold as "raw" which doesn't thrill folks who want a more natural diet. The processes aren't supposed to do so with "no significant degradation of the sensory and quality characteristics of almonds, such as the flavor, color, texture, or skin integrity."
However, that doesn't satisfy a lot of folks who don't like anything unnatural done to their food; most of the entries on an almond pasteurization Google are against it. For my sake, I'm not a natural food guy and getting salmonella isn't my idea of almond joy, so I'm cool with the change.
One interesting news item from Lexington was that the Fayette country school board passed a 0.53 mill (5.3 cents per $100) property tax increase on Tuesday. That was surprising to me, since in Michigan, boards of education don't have the authority to raise taxes on their own, other then to opt not to charge all of a millage that they're entitled to; they can opt to change the rate within a certain range authorized by the voters, but they have to put any increase in that range up to a vote.
Not so in Kentucky. Here's the state school financial management manual. They can't raise their revenues more than 4% in a year without a public vote, but can raise taxes within that realm without a vote.
That gives the county boards of education more power than in Michigan. Back home, they could decide how to spend the tax money and oversee curriculum, but they had to ask the voters for more tax money. Here in the Bluegrass, they can raise your taxes (or your landlord's taxes) themselves.
That'll get me out to a school board election. As much of a political geek as I am, I don't have a great voting record in local school board elections. That might have to change.