Now, I don't want to turn Howard County into a gambling hot spot, but it is absurd that of all the counties in this fine state, ours is the only one where it is illegal for bars to host poker tournaments, which, in case you haven't noticed, are quite popular nowadays. I don't think we'll slide down a slippery slope towards full-bore casinos if we allow bars to host a couple tournaments a year as a way to drum up some extra business and let their patrons have a little fun.
Also, why is this a state law that affects on Howard County? More absurdity.
Although our county may be a little overbearing in this respect, at least we're not as bad as Fairfax, whose government was just given (by me) an award for being the most outrageously stupid and evil bureaucracy in history.
The casserole has been canned.Isn't that nice of them to waive the fee? I'm sure that $60 will really help all the churches upgrade to professional kitchens. Commercial grade refrigerators can't be more than a couple hundred bucks, right?
Under a tough new Fairfax County policy, residents can no longer donate food prepared in their homes or a church kitchen -- be it a tuna casserole, sandwiches or even a batch of cookies -- unless the kitchen is approved by the county, health officials said yesterday.
They said the crackdown on home-cooked meals is aimed at preventing food poisoning among homeless people.
But it is infuriating operators of shelters for the homeless and leaders of a coalition of churches that provides shelter and meals to homeless people during the winter. They said the strict standards for food served in the shelters will make it more difficult to serve healthy, hot meals to homeless people. The enforcement also, they said, makes little sense.
Under state and county code, food served to the public must be prepared in a kitchen that has been inspected and certified by the county Health Department. Those standards are high: a commercial-grade refrigerator, a three-compartment sink to wash, rinse and sanitize dishes and a separate hand-washing sink, among other requirements.
Health officials said they weren't aware that food from unapproved kitchens was being served in homeless shelters.
"We're dealing with a medically fragile population . . . so they're more susceptible to food-borne illnesses than the general population," said Tom Crow, the county Health Department's director of environmental health. "We're trying to protect those people."
To help the churches prepare, the Health Department is waiving a $60 fee for certification and is holding additional safe food-handling classes for church volunteers. It is also giving churches that do not have approved kitchens a list of other houses of worship with such facilities.
Oh, well, it's just another reason to not like the Commonwealth to our south, as if you needed more.
(Sorry if you're from VA. As Cindy V says, present company excluded.)
(In case you couldn't tell, I'm a little cranky today. But football is on tonight, so the world will be right soon.)