Why America Is Growing The Most Sweet Potatoes Since WWII

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Sweet potatoes are undergoing a modern renaissance in this country.

While they have always made special appearances on many American tables around the holidays, year-round demand for the root vegetables has grown. In 2015, farmers produced more sweet potatoes than in any year since World War II.

War Effort

"A lot of things were hard to get during World War II, and potatoes were easier to raise than some of the other vegetables," my grandmother Joyce Heise tells me.

When a solar company wants to test new technology, they bring their panels to the National Renewable Energy Lab near Denver. It's a place where federal scientists can measure how powerful and long-lasting solar panels are, so consumers know what they are buying.

"A lot of times maybe people don't even know how to evaluate new technologies appropriately. And so we have a lot of insight and knowledge into the market that can help with some of those decisions," lab engineer Chris Deline explained.

On Friday, when President-elect Donald Trump puts his hand on a Bible and takes the oath of office, he may very well be in violation of a lease on one of his premier hotels.

The Trump International Hotel is a grand dame of a building on Pennsylvania Avenue, just a stone's throw from the White House. It's become something of a tourist destination in Washington — and a rallying point for protesters — since Trump won the election. This week, they snarled traffic in front of the hotel, and one demonstrator suffered serious burns after trying to set a fire outside the building.

Earlier this week, the U.S. Department of Defense announced they had transferred 10 more Guantanamo detainees, this time to Oman. Now, 45 remain at the facility, leaving challenges on what to do with the prisoners for President-elect Donald Trump.

A 32-year career at Boeing comes to a close in April for engineer Dave Baine of suburban Seattle. Baine was already prepared to retire when Boeing sealed the deal by making him a buyout offer last week.

"It's better than a gold watch," he says. The deal is six months' pay in a lump sum and extended health insurance.

"It'll help the younger folks that want to stick around and help some of the older folks exit quickly and quietly," he says.

When former Texas Gov. Rick Perry faces the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources for his confirmation hearing on Thursday, his first test could be whether he remembers the name of the agency he's been picked to head.

If you think that you won't be touched by a Republican overhaul of Obamacare because you get health insurance through your job at a big company, think again.

Several of the law's provisions apply to plans offered by large employers, too (with some exceptions for plans that were in place before the law passed in March 2010).

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker determined Wednesday there are commercial fishery failures for nine salmon and crab fisheries in Alaska, California and Washington. These fisheries experienced sudden and unexpected large decreases in fish stock biomass due to unusual ocean and climate conditions in recent years. This decision means North Coast communities can seek disaster relief from Congress.

 

South Korean judges Thursday denied a request by prosecutors to arrest Jay Y. Lee, the de facto leader of the sprawling Samsung conglomerate, saying there wasn't enough evidence to detain him on bribery charges. Lee is ensnared in South Korea's largest political corruption scandal to date, involving people at the highest levels of business and government.

"We appreciate the fact that the merits of this case can now be determined without the need for detention," Samsung said, in a statement issued after the early morning decision.

The future of local Public and Education Access Television in Mendocino County is uncertain. At the December 6, 2016 Board of Supervisors meeting, county staff recommended axing funding for that part of PEG, which stands for Public, Education and Governmental Access TV, and keeping only the government access channel. The three channels, 3,64, and 65, are available to Comcast subscribers throughout the county.  The Board of Supervisor's ad-hoc committee meeting on PEG takes place Thursday, January 19 at 10:00 at the Willits Center for the Arts.

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