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5 things: USDA braces for possible return of avian flu

5 things: USDA braces for possible return of avian flu

This and more are the things you missed for the week of Oct. 12.

Each Friday I compile a list that highlights five things you probably missed in the news that week and why you should care about them.

Here’s your list for the week of Oct. 12:

1.    Will the avian flu return?
The USDA thinks the virus that killed more than 48 million birds in the US might return during the fall migration season and has hired veterinarians and other temporary workers to help respond should the threat return, according to an article in The Wall Street Journal. “We have every reason to believe we could see an outbreak of some sort this fall as wild birds come back through the middle of the U.S.,” Bill Northey, Iowa’s agriculture secretary, said in the article. In addition to the USDA’s preventative measures, farms are also doubling down on their efforts, including banning outside visitors to barns and farms.

Read more: U.S. Readies for a Return of Bird Flu

2.    Boston theatre might be new location for dining hall
When a touring production of the Book of Mormon closes, the Colonial Theatre might become a flexible dining hall/performance space for Emerson College, which owns the theatre. The space would turn into the Colonial Student Center, and would house a café and visitors’ center.

Read more: Emerson College may turn Colonial into student center

3. UConn fighting student worker shortage
The University of Connecticut is missing about half of its pool of student employees, according to an article in The Daily Campus. Dining services usually has about 200 student employees who work at its eight cafes and the Dairy Bar, but this year the actual number is around 100. That’s meant full-time employees have had to pick up the gaps, working longer hours and collecting overtime pay. UConn isn’t the only college to have issues attracting and keeping student employees this year, with colleges ranging from the University of New Hampshire to the University of Michigan all citing issues.

Read more: UC Cafés deal with worst understaffing Dining Services has ever seen

4.    Was firing retaliation for role in union?
Two foodservice employees claim they were fired for their increased roles in the union, according to an article on The workers had nearly 30 years’ experience between them in the Lake Shore Central School District in New York. Personal Touch Food Services, which contracted the workers to the district, says the reason the women were fired was for theft of company property and lying on time sheets. The women, however, dispute those charges and say the reason was for their increased participation in the union.

Read more: School cafeteria workers claim firing was retaliation for roles in union

5.    Pumpkin scarcity?
Pumpkin flavored everything is back on the menu, but how long will operators be able to offer this fall favorite? According to an article in NPR, experts say we’re fine through Thanksgiving, but anything after that could be a stretch. The pumpkin harvest has been reduced this year following heavy rains in the Midwest and drought in California. According to the National Agricultural Statistics Service, pumpkin production is up almost 30 percent in the last five years, as demand has increased.

Read more: A Spooky Tale In Time For Halloween: Weather Cuts Into Pumpkin Crop

Bonus: Starbucks pilots office delivery service in Empire State Building

Contact Becky Schilling at [email protected].
Follow her on Twitter: @bschilling_FM

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