Jan Lee

Jan Lee is a former news editor and award-winning editorial writer whose non-fiction and fiction have been published in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, the U.K. and Australia. Her articles and posts can be found on TriplePundit, JustMeans, and her blog, The Multicultural Jew, as well as other publications. She currently splits her residence between the city of Vancouver, British Columbia and the rural farmlands of Idaho.

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Prison Reforms Offenders While Serving Gourmet Meals

It’s a big thing when a restaurant wins out against 900 other eateries – but it’s virtually unheard of when the city’s prison can make that claim. Cardiff Prison, in Wales, ranked top recently as the city’s best diner.

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Are Nonprofit Hospitals That Sue Poor Patients Breaking the Law?

Healthcare is expensive, not only for patients but apparently for nonprofit hospitals, some of which in past years have taken to suing their poorest patients when they can’t pay their bills. But that’s not the way it is supposed to go, says one senator, who is now demanding answers.

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EU Considers Allergy Warning Labels for Herbal Products

They’re pretty, and they often smell great. But for an increasing number of consumers, herbal soaps and body care products cause allergic reactions. The EU is considering requiring allergy warning labels on products that contain herbal sources, such as camomile, lavender or rose derivatives.

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U.N. Global Compact Expels Hundreds for Non-Compliance

The U.N. Global Compact, the United Nations’ sustainability initiative, won some and lost some at the end of 2014 — literally. While its membership is now up to more than 8,000, it is still having a problem with ensuring that members file the very reports that show whether the UNGC is succeeding in its goals. The expulsions for 2014 amount to just under 8 percent of UNGC’s total membership.

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Yellowstone River Oil Spill Prompts State of Emergency

For the second time in four years, the state of Montana is facing the consequences of an oil spill in the Yellowstone River. Crews discovered the leak on Saturday and by Monday, the governor had declared a state of emergency.

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eBay Foundation’s Plan to Get Indonesian Businesses Online

The eBay Foundation’s recent partnership with website creator Kolabo may spell great potential for small businesses in Indonesia, where websites are still a growing concept. But it’s also helping to change the concept of selling to customers, by permitting small startups to reach bigger markets overseas.

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Stuffed Animal Tours: Compassionate Tourism of the Future?

A nursing supply company in southern Japan has come up with a compassionate way to take its elderly clients on travel tours: by sending their stuffed animals ahead for the photo shoot. Elderly or mobility-challenged individuals who aren’t able to attend the cherry blossom festival can send their elected emissaries on the trip.

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Ecolab’s Minnesota Offices to Go 100 Percent Solar

Add another one to the list: Yesterday Fortune 500 company Ecolab announced that its Minnesota offices will be going completely solar. It’s signed a deal with SunEdison to build the solar gardens needed to offset Ecolab’s energy usage. The deal is all in keeping with Minnesota’s solar energy legislation, which is designed to boost solar energy investment and production by 2020.

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‘Solar Gardens’ Growing New Potential for Energy in Minnesota

Minnesota’s solar energy legislation, combined with Xcel Energy’s new Solar Rewards Community program, has the potential to open the door for solar investments across the state. The best part, notes Fresh Energy Executive Director Michael Noble, is it affords investment opportunities in every community.

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Eat a Lionfish, Save a Coral Reef

NOAA scientists are reaching out to consumers for help to save the Atlantic reef systems, and their call is being heard by fishermen (and women) as well as culinary chefs. The lionfish, an invasive species whose spiny fins make it a formidable foe to native fish stocks and is killing coral reefs, needs to be reduced in number, say scientists. Bring your knife and fork.

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Elk River Pollution Indictments Announced in West Virginia

This last week marked the one-year anniversary of a chemical spill that shut down the tap water for nine counties in West Virginia and brought the city of Charleston to a commercial standstill for more than a week. It also marked the announcement that the four top executives of Freedom Industries — the company responsible for the spill — have now been indicted for violations under the Clean Water Act. The CEO, Gary L. Southern, who had been hit by numerous lawsuits, has also been indicted for scheming to defraud bankruptcy creditors.

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Oil Spill in Singapore Strait Puts Endangered Turtles at Risk

Environmental groups are waiting to see whether a 4,500-ton oil spill, which occurred last week when two ships collided in the Singapore Strait, will make landfall on Bintan Island. If so, Indonesia’s endangered turtle populations could suffer — and so could the island’s vibrant eco-tourism industry.

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Hellmann’s Drops Suit, Unintentionally Boosts Vegan ‘Mayo’ Sales

Hellmann’s decision to drop a suit against its startup competitor Hampton Creek was more a lesson in changing attitudes about food than right-or-wrong values. With an increasing focus on vegan foods and consumer support for small, innovative concepts that are touted as sustainable, Just Mayo was the expected winner in this tussle. But it may just point to a new trend in food marketing, too.

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Vancouver, BC Canada: 2030

What will Vancouver, Canada’s largest West Coast city look like in 2030? One writer takes us on an imagined journey, using technology already in the making and concepts designed for a sustainable city of the future.