New research says regulations lag popularity: Backyard chickens are an increasingly popular move for anyone wanting a source of fresh eggs (or just to hang out with chickens, which are funny weird animals). According to a new paper from researchers at the University of California, however, the regulations governing proper procedure for keeping backyard chickens have lagged far behind their popularity. “Most ordinances,” according to those researchers, “inadequately address both human and animal health and welfare concerns.” READ MORE


Guatemala volcano death toll rises: The death toll from the eruption of Guatemala’s Volcano of Fire has risen to 75, with nearly 200 people missing. Crews are digging through debris on smouldering terrain after the volcano exploded in a hail of ash and molten rock, and “pyroclastic flows” of boiling ash, rock and water engulfed homes with temperatures climbing to 1,300 degrees F. In places it was still too hot to pull out bodies that are so thickly coated with ash that they look like Pompeii statues. Read more HERE and HERE.


Man sabotages sausages: A Wisconsin factory worker has been arrested after allegedly tampering with Johnsonville sausages while on the job earlier this year. According to media reports, Jonathan Lane allegedly placed a piece of cigarette paper into one sausage link on March 25 and inserted a wire connector into another on March 28 at the company’s production facility in Sheboygan Falls. According to the criminal complaint, Lane reported to management that he had found the foreign objects on the food processing line. However, video surveillance revealed that Lane put the objects there himself. READ MORE


Scientists map genomes of pathogens: Scientists seeking new ways to fight drug-resistant superbugs have mapped the genomes of more than 3,000 bacteria, including samples of a bug taken from Alexander Fleming’s nose and a dysentery-causing strain from a World War I soldier. The DNA of deadly strains of plague, dysentery and cholera were also decoded in what the researchers said was an effort to better understand some of the world’s most dangerous diseases and develop new ways to fight them. READ MORE


Consent decree would make chicken processor correct water issues: Delaware’s Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control is asking the state’s Supreme Court to approve a consent decree with Delaware’s Mountaire Farms that would make the chicken processor correct wastewater issues and pay related fines. READ MORE


Mexico levies tariffs on pork: Mexico yesterday levied punitive tariffs —10 percent effective today, escalating to 20 percent on July 5 — on unprocessed pork (not including variety meats) in retaliation for tariffs on its metal exports to the United States, according to the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC). READ MORE

Maine begs to avoid seafood tariffs: Maine’s members of Congress are urging President Donald Trump’s administration not to place tariffs on seafood imports from China because they fear such a move would jeopardize the state’s valuable lobster industry. That could be devastating to Maine’s lobster industry, which is the largest in the country and sends millions of dollars in lobsters to China, a growing market for the seafood, they said. READ MORE


Massive cloud of midges descends on Cleveland: In what has become an annual ritual in Northeast Ohio in June, the Lake Erie midges have descended upon the area, traveling in swarms large enough to show up on weather radars in Cleveland. The tiny mosquito-like insects are more of a nuisance than a danger, but area meteorologists and residents had plenty to say about them nonetheless. READ MORE

Here’s how a chicken can live without its head: Mike The Headless Chicken lived for 18 months without a noggin after a farmer, in a failed attempt at slaughter, axed off his head and missed the jugular vein. “Miracle Mike” was eye-droppered a milk and water mixture until he met his unexpected death over a year later when he choked on a kernel of corn.


Scientists seek to grow a great American wine grape: There’s no nice way to put it: American grapes make bad wine. At least, that’s their reputation. And so the Napa Valley grew famous with its plantings of Chardonnay, Merlot, Sauvignon, Cabernet or Pinot—the so-called “noble” French grapes—while Concord grapes were deemed only fit for jelly and juice. But American wine grapes are poised for an epic rebrand. Using DNA analysis and other high-tech tools, a group of scientists in Minnesota, California, New York and other states have taken a harder look at indigenous American grapes and found long-hidden qualities that could redeem them even to the most snobbish of wine-sippers. READ MORE