Beef producers not forthcoming about ‘pink slime.’ In southwest Ohio anyway, I put a stop to that.

Lean, finely-textured beef, AKA pink slime. Creative Commons-licensed photo courtesy of Flickr user pennstatelive.

Journalism, if anything, is reading documents carefully. Especially when they come from corporations with big public relations budgets.

With this story — whose fallout I’ll probably continue to report in the coming weeks — I throw a wrench in what, at best, were corporate oversights with favorable consequences. At worst, they were calculated plans to deceive school programs that feed kids. Often the poorest kids.

Chicago Tribune reporters had uncovered the same situation in that city. But I had no idea about it until my report was done.

I’ll paste the first few graphs here, but I’d appreciate it if you read the story on the paper’s site, and even commented on Facebook if you have the time.


Schools feel misled about ‘pink slime’

News-Sun investigation prompts more scrutiny about beef schools buy

By Brandon Smith-Hebson

For weeks, local school districts told the public they don’t serve food containing the controversial beef product known as “pink slime.”

Turns out they probably do.

A Springfield News-Sun investigation revealed that districts and food vendors may have been inadvertently misleading the public. Three key beef suppliers to schools acknowledge using what detractors call pink slime in some of their products.

After asking more questions of the suppliers, a few school districts have changed their menus.

“They were telling the truth, but not the whole truth and nothing but the truth, is how I feel,” said Chris Ashley, director of Springfield City Schools’ meals program.

Header change

The dining room of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Westcott House, Springfield, Ohio. As was Wright’s custom, he designed the furniture in the house as well as the structure. This table with integrated electric lighting was re-created in the early 2000’s from Wright’s drawings. (Photo by me)

I decided to flip the header today, simply because I got bored with the last one. I don’t think I ever explained what it was—the roof of the abandoned building I lived in last summer.

Here’s the photo essay explaining THAT situation.

I plan to sell the story of the Westcott house to TRIP, the biennial travel publication of Brown Publishing’s southwest division. I’ll show you the spread when it’s printed.

Whole-tree construction


Frank Lloyd Wright’s Westcott House, built in 1904 in Springfield, Ohio (Photo by Brandon Smith)

Here’s an update on me: two pieces of mine are sitting in a queue to get onto a local satire site; I’m looking for a writing or researching or restaurant job; I’m waiting for my student loan to come in so I can stop eating just rice and pita and almonds.

I did, however, purchase a 12-person table and set it up last week. The restaurant thing is on its way. Pictures soon.

This post is to share some of today’s favorite articles.

This New York Times piece talks about a construction practice that uses whole trees (albeit dead trees) instead of milled lumber. Not as much waste is generated there—just the bark. Also, using whole trees can hold 50 percent more weight than the same amount of lumber, so less is needed in the first place.

I like it most, though, because it’s true to the material. (This is a time-tested architectural maxim; Frank Lloyd Wright was all about it.) When you look at this wood you know it comes from a tree, something once living. It’s easy to forget when you look at a plank.