Tuesday, March 29, 2011

New scrap metal, ice cream businesses may come to county

The Rowan County Planning Board voted to recommend two rezonings to commissioners Monday that would allow new businesses to run. The first was for Charles Blackwelder’s proposed metal recycling center at 11710 Bringle Ferry Road outside Salisbury that would accept scrap metals, catalytic converters and sealed car batteries. It would not accept cars or run demolition or disassembly.

Blackwelder said Monday that he has run a similar plant in Concord for 30 years. He decided to let his son take over that operation and open another center a little more than a mile from his home.

“I think it will help some people who are out of work by being able to come in there and sell a little bit of scrap,” Blackwelder said. “I’ve had people telling me they were glad I was there because I’m supplying grocery money.”

When a contractor working for the current owner, JEMM LLC, requested permits to install a new septic system, planning staff told the owner that the property needed to be rezoned to accommodate the operation. Staff later received an anonymous complaint on March 1 about a “junkyard for recycled metal” in operation and notified Blackwelder of the violation.

JEMM’s agent, attorney Sean Walker, then submitted a request to change the zoning of the 9.51-acre parcel from rural agricultural to industrial with a conditional use district. Walker said Monday that when Blackwelder began leasing the property, he assumed he could run his operation using the 4,600-square-foot building. The building is permitted for residential storage only, but the previous owners operated a mobile-wash and equipment-rental business there.

When told of the rezoning requirement, Blackwelder continued to get his business started while JEMM filled out an application. “He wants to be a good neighbor, he wants to run a clean operation and he wants to be in compliance as soon as possible,” Walker said. The part owner of an adjacent property, Jerry File, objected to the rezoning.

“Who would want to live next door to a junkyard?” File said. “My property would be unsellable.”He said his property consists of wetlands and a small stream that flows into High Rock Lake, and he is concerned about the impact of runoff. When Chairman Mac Butner asked if File’s property is registered as wetlands, he said no. Butner also asked if he had an appraisal performed to determine adverse effects of the business, and File said he had not.

Another neighbor, Thomas Moffa, said he’s fine with owning property next to Blackwelder’s business and doesn’t think it will hurt the market value of the house he’s selling there. “Mr. Blackwelder has done a very good job of cleaning it up,” Moffa said. “It was basically a junkyard before he got there.”

Ann Shepherd, who also lives on Bringle Ferry Road, said she doesn’t like the noise and traffic congestion the business causes. Trucks line up in both directions while waiting for it to open, she said, and metal debris sometimes scatters on the road.

Senior Planner Shane Stewart said the noise may annoy neighbors but likely would not exceed the county’s noise ordinance. John Linker, a board member, suggested limiting the footprint of the operation to address concerns from File and Shepherd about future expansion. The business currently consists of a building, storage containers and a parking lot and uses less than half of the property.

He also proposed requiring extra gravel or paving at the driveway entrance, because he has noticed mud and gravel on the highway. “I believe the other people who live by their have the same property rights as the person who wants this rezoning,” Linker said.

In addition, board member Rodney Whedbee asked if a screening buffer of trees could be added in front of the business to help create a shield. “I’m trying to create a balance to protect all property owners involved and protect Mr. Blackwelder’s business,” Whedbee said. “We really do appreciate you guys starting a business in Rowan County.”

Blackwelder said he wouldn’t mind those requirements. The board unanimously voted to recommend the request with conditions that the driveway is moved to improve sight distance and paved for the first 50 feet, a tree buffer is added and operations are limited to the front half of the property.

Also at Monday’s meeting, the board unanimously gave its recommendation to a rezoning request from Elizabeth Withers Smith, who wants to reopen an ice cream shop at 9010 Cool Springs Road in Woodleaf.

The 1,000-square-foot commercial building on a 1-acre parcel was previously Brightner’s Corner Ice Cream Shop and is currently being used for personal storage. Smith has applied for a rezoning from rural agricultural to commercial, business and industrial.
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Friday, March 18, 2011

Cannabis Food in Australia? It's High Time!

Who wants to smoke cannabis (aka pot/weed/marijuana) when you can eat it? Not some Australians! Their top food watchdog, Food Standards Australia New Zealand, recently said foods made with industrial hemp would be A-OK with them.

The decision resulted from an appeal by Dr. Andrew Katelaris, who is appealing against his deregistration for supplying medical marijuana to patients. (Poor guy.) It seems he also opened a can of worms regarding hemp foods when he said the seeds of industrial hemp contained more omega-3 acids than seafood.

So, then Food Standards investigated and found that industrial hemp is actually no big thing. It contains reeealllly low levels of psychoactive THC, so it's not like if you ate cannabis ice cream, cake, or beer, you'll end up stoned out of your mind. In other words, we're not talking about the kind of pot food that entails taking loads of actual pot and mixing it into butter that then goes into a brownie recipe.

The only people who are actually concerned about hemp becoming a part of mainstream food? "Various [Australian] government stakeholders," who are worried that high-THC seeds (um, how many of those actually exist?) would get into the food chain, fearful that some food manufacturers will make false claims about their foods getting you high, and nervous that hemp foods may lead to positive drug-test results.

On all accounts, it sounds like those "stakeholders" are making a mountain out of a molehill! According to the article about the controversy in The Australian, you'd have to eat a LOT of hemp food (eight teaspoons of hemp oil) to have anything show up in a drug test whatsoever. And if you're really that concerned, then steer clear. Go for soy or dairy.

Otherwise, it seems like there would be more benefit than harm by allowing more foods to be made with industrial hemp. Turns out the seed has lots of protein, polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs!), dietary fiber, and good nutrients like vitamin E, potassium, magnesium, iron, calcium, and zinc.

In Europe, Canada, and even here in the U.S., hemp's already in a good handful of foods, but it's not exactly mainstream yet ... I'd bet more people opt for soy ice cream, for instance, than hemp ice cream, which I've spied on occasion in the ice cream case at Whole Foods.

And I'm pretty sure no one is getting high off of the hemp ice cream. So it sounds like there's little argument that Australia would do well to just loosen up already and say "yes" to hemp foods.
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Thursday, March 17, 2011

Cannabis-derived ice cream, cake and beer given OK on health grounds

CANNABIS ice cream, cake and beer have been cleared on health grounds by Australia's food watchdog, despite fears the "marijuana munchies" could trigger positive drug tests.

A Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) investigation concluded that industrial hemp contained such low levels of the psychoactive substance delta 9-tetraydrocannabinol (THC) that anyone consuming the food would not feel its effect, The Australian reported.

"FSANZ has not identified any safety concerns relating to the consumption of hemp foods," a Food Standards report said. The Food Standards authority yesterday sought public comment on an application by deregistered Sydney doctor Andrew Katelaris to lift Australia's ban on food derived from cannabis. Mr Katelaris, who is appealing against his deregistration for supplying medical marijuana to patients, said the seeds of industrial hemp contained more Omega 3 acids than seafood.

"We're looking at making ice cream and health food bars," he said. "Our vision is that anything you can do with soy beans or dairy you can do better with hemp seed."In 2002, a Food Standards recommendation to approve hemp as food was overturned for fear it would "send the wrong message to the community".
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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Former ice cream store manager arrested for embezzling

A former Las Cruces ice cream store manager has been arrested and booked into jail for allegedly embezzling money from her former employer. Las Cruces police say 23-year-old Crystal M. Serna faces one count of embezzlement. Detectives say Serna was employed by Caliche's Frozen Custard last August.

The Las Cruces Sun-News reports Serna told detectives the nearly $11,000 in lost deposits were most likely a bank error. The bank says it had no record of the deposits and Serna was unable to produce any receipts for the transactions she claimed to have made. A warrant was issued and Serna was arrested Monday. She was booked into the Dona Ana County Detention Center.
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Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Lady Gaga Might Sue over 'Baby Gaga' Breast Milk Ice Cream

Lady Gaga is not down with Baby Gaga. The pop performer has reportedly threatened to sue a London ice creamery over their human breast milk-flavored ice cream, Baby Gaga. Matt O'Connor, the owner of The Icecreamists, told the NYPost, "She's acting like a big baby who is crying over spoiled breast milk."

Gaga doesn't have all that much to worry about: no one's buying the frozen treat these days. The product is currently being tested for health code violations. The sugary treat is made with human breast milk, vanilla pods and lemon. Do you think Lady Gaga has much of a case? And isn't it sort of funny coming from the woman who supposedly wants her perfume to smell like blood and semen?
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Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Breast milk ice cream seized for safety tests

Breast milk ice cream seized for safety testsWestminster took the Baby Gaga flavour at Icecreamists and sent it away to test for viral infections. The ice cream consists of breast milk blended with vanilla pods and lemon zest. Founder Matt O'Connor, 44, today said he had taken "every possible precaution" over the recipe and that he was considering a protest if Westminster bans him from selling it.

Mr O'Connor, who previously led direct action group Fathers 4 Justice, said: "Our donor was screened at a leading medical clinic and then the ice cream mix is fully pasteurised. We have had a fantastic response and 200 women have come forward and offer to give us milk."

Brian Connell, Westminster's cabinet member for business, said: "Following two complaints from members of the public and concerns from the Health Protection Agency and Food Standards Agency, our officers visited the premises and removed all ice cream being sold as containing breast milk.

"Selling foodstuffs made from another person's bodily fluids can lead to viruses being passed on and in this case, potentially hepatitis."
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