Doing thyme: Inmates grow food to save jail money
FREMONT, Ohio - The sheriff already replaced pancakes and red meat with cereal and turkey to save money.
Now he's come up with another way to cut food costs at the jail.
Inmates are growing their own veggies in an acre and a half garden that sits just inside the fence surrounding the Sandusky County Jail.
"You name it, I think we got it in here," said James Seaman, the jail's work program director.
Three weeks ago, 13 low-risk inmates who are allowed to mow lawns and do other chores around the county planted tomatoes, potatoes, green beans, onions, sweet corn, peppers, cabbage, carrots, cantaloupe and watermelon.
The inmates who take care of the garden have become so interested in its progress that they argue about who gets to go out at night to water the sprouting plants, Seaman said.
Sheriff Kyle Overmyer's idea for a vegetable garden took root after he was forced to reduce his budget by $75,000 this spring.
- Item: Costco in NYC will start accepting food stamps. Can the rest of the country be far behind?
- And here's a good use for lottery winnings:
The $100,000 bonus that went to the Southeast Washington supermarket that sold last month's $144 million Powerball ticket will go to charity, the grocery chain said yesterday.
The Capital Area Food Bank will get the money that the Giant Food on Alabama Avenue received as part of the lottery winnings, officials from the store said.
It is traditional for the store that sells the winning ticket to get a bonus. This was the city's largest Powerball win, and as soon as the location of the sale of the winning ticket was announced April 9, store employees wondered whether they would get a cut. A representative of at least one local charity was at the store the morning after the drawing, asking for a donation.
Giant has had a long relationship with the food bank. The donation will go toward construction of a larger distribution center, which will allow twice the amount of food to be distributed throughout the city, said Kim Brown, a vice president with Giant Food.
- Petula Dvorak, Washington Post
And for you back-country enthusiasts:
HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Keeping cold ones cold when camping in grizzly bear country may be getting a bit easier.
New coolers from a Florida company and a business in Texas that have passed federal and state tests for resistance to grizzlies are the first to be mass-produced. So, local officials willing, adventurers with a boat or a pack animal hefty enough to carry a cooler no longer must hang it 10 feet off the ground to comply with food-storage rules in the backcountry that grizzlies inhabit.
Wildlife managers have long required that campers in grizzly territory keep food and beverages out of bears' reach — either in a vehicle, building or special locker; or suspended from a tree or pole; or protected by portable electric fencing. The rule, which applies when campsites are unattended and in some places when campers are asleep, is intended to keep humans safe and bears healthy.
But it has frustrated many a camper who found herself repeatedly flinging ropes over branches to get her grub into a tree. Small bear-resistant containers have been around for years, but the appeal of a larger one that also keeps things cold is clear.
Hanging a cooler is an especially "significant project" at the start of a trip, when it's full and can weigh 100 pounds, said outfitter Brett Todd, who puts clients on horses — and their gear on mules — for trips into Montana's Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex.
Five orphaned and nuisance bears who make their home at the Grizzly & Wolf Discovery Center in West Yellowstone tested the new coolers for a group called the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee, which includes representatives from U.S. and Canadian wildlife agencies and from the states of Montana, Wyoming, Idaho and Washington.
The bears beat and scratched at each cooler for an hour. Despite smelling the peanut butter and fish stored inside, they failed to break into the boxes, made of the same tough plastic used in kayaks. Even the 100-pound weights that human tormentors dropped on the boxes didn't crack them open.