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Free Bread at Restaurants Hitting Endangered Status

Free Bread at Restaurants Hitting Endangered Status

Olive Garden(NEW YORK) — It’s a familiar ritual: sit down at a restaurant, get bread, order and continue with your typical dining out experience. Except lately, restaurants are removing one part of that scenario: the free bread.

It has been a slow rise, starting with the occasional restaurant only offering bread upon request, leading up to this week when one of Olive Garden’s investors tried to nix the national Italian chain’s unlimited breadsticks.

“Endless salad and breadsticks are another contributor to food waste,” Starboard said in a report on how Olive Garden can improve.

The Italian mainstay fired back that is has no intention of heeding such advice, writing, “Olive Garden’s salad and breadsticks have been an icon of brand equity since 1982. It conveys Italian generosity…”

The restaurant “will continue to serve breadsticks with each meal,” Olive Garden spokesman Justin Sikora also confirmed to ABC News.

So rest easy, your unlimited breadsticks are safe. But are your other bread baskets?

“It makes sense as more and more people are avoiding carbohydrates, because they’re on the Paleo diet or going gluten-free,” Bret Thorn, senior food editor at Nation’s Restaurant News, told ABC News. “So why should a restaurant spend money to give you something you’re not going to eat?”

Restaurants like Roberta’s in New York City, Barnyard in Los Angeles and Roost in Houston go one step further than not serving free bread; they charge for it.

“Some restaurants are really going out of their way to make really excellent bread or source really excellent bread,” Thorn said. “So you can get a really great basket of delicious bread, often not just with butter, but with lardo [pork] or some other awesome topping.”

Other restaurants, such as Fire & Oak in Montvale, New Jersey, only offer free bread to customers who request it.

“The menu that we designed has burgers and sandwiches on the dinner menu and the trend when we opened was in general a lot of people having burgers for dinner, so at the same time with wasting food and people going more green and all those things coming together, we decided to only make it available on request, and it’s stated on the menu,” owner Joshua Dorras told ABC News. “We didn’t know what the reaction would be when we first opened, but it’s always been fine.”

Dorras has owned several restaurants over the years, and estimates thousands of dollars wasted on untouched bread.

“It was always a shame even when we used to do it automatically. You just keep throwing bread away, and it always seemed sad to throw that food away,” he said. “I’m sure if you added it up over the year and counted every piece of bead that you threw away, it would be thousands of dollars. It’s kind of like garnishing a plate with something you’re going to throw away every time. What’s the point?”

The trend has gotten so large that New York Times food critic Pete Wells penned an entire opinion editorial on the topic.

“When restaurants withhold bread, they can make us feel like children who can’t be trusted or guests who have overstayed their welcome,” he wrote. “It’s one of those times when we can see the sharp teeth of profit hiding behind the smile of hospitality. Never mind that a slice or two of bread can smooth out the restless, angry edge of hunger; the restaurant industry has decided that giving us bread when we first sit down means a lower check total. We know that’s what they’re thinking, too, just as we know that when they charge for bread they’ve stopped seeing this simple civility as a way to make us happy and started seeing it as a line item.”

It’s a fine line that Thorn acknowledges can be tricky to toe.

“I think restaurants have to be careful when they’re doing it, because if customers feel they are being nickel and dimed, they’ll really resent that. They’ll take it out on the server when they decide how much to tip and they also aren’t going to come back to their restaurant,” he cautioned. “You need to do the math to see if the amount of money you make is worth alienating customers. And customers have to decide if they really want to eat the bread.”

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Madison Faces Tough Test Against Highland

Madison Faces Tough Test Against Highland

  Photo by Idaho Falls photographer Brad Barlow (REXBURG, ID) — The Madison Bobcats will face their toughest test of the season Friday night as they travel to Holt Arena in Pocatello to take on the Highland Rams. Madison (2-1, 1-0) has won two straight and is coming off a 29-7 win over Skyview last […]

So Long Overage Fees? New Suitcase Weighs Itself as It’s Packed

So Long Overage Fees? New Suitcase Weighs Itself as It’s Packed

TUL Thustrelie/Kickstarter(NEW YORK) — A Kickstarter campaign for a suitcase with a built-in scale is hoping to raise 95,000 Australian dollars over the next two weeks to make this luggage dream a reality.

No more overage fees at the airport. No more frantic unpacking and repacking as the people behind you on the check-in line glare and the clocks ticks closer to take off.

That’s the goal of the TUL, a suitcase prototype that’s raised almost $14,000 so far. The built-in scale means no need to lift the bag onto the bathroom scale.

“Simply close the lid of the designated suitcase, and without having to entirely enclose the zips, the press of a single button will let you know the weight of your luggage,” the Kickstarter page reads.

“By simply pressing an ‘ON’ button, the weight of your luggage will be displayed on the LCD screen. The scale will be automatically turned off after 1 minute to preserve battery life,” according to the Kickstarter campaign.

TUL also comes with an external suitcase protection jacket and a luggage lock that satisfies Transportation Security Administration requirements.

One design flaw that may deter U.S. travelers: in this prototype, kilograms can not be switched to pounds, though that feature may be added at a later date.

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Scots Head to the Polls Thursday to Vote on Independence

Scots Head to the Polls Thursday to Vote on Independence

iStock/Thinkstock(EDINBURGH, Scotland) — The people of Scotland are heading to the polls Thursday to vote on an historic referendum on whether to secede from the United Kingdom. The polls opened at 7 a.m. local time and will remain open until 10 p.m. local.

A vote to break away would grant Scotland independence for the first time in over 300 years and separate it from the rest of Great Britain, which also includes England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Various opinion polls show a slight majority favoring maintaining the status quo, but after allowing for margins of error, it’s pretty much too close to call.

The voter turnout is heavy already.  As of Wednesday, 98 percent of eligible voters had registered.

It’s a very different kind of election than what would take place in the United States. There is no exit polling or last minute campaigning, just people lining up at the polls and then counting the ballots. It’s expected, given how close this vote seems, that people will not know the results of this referendum until Friday morning breakfast time in Scotland.

Former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, a Scotsman, seemed almost overcome with emotion Wednesday as he summoned the ghosts of the United Kingdom’s war dead down through the centuries, “Scotsmen, Welshmen, Englishmen and Irishmen lying side by side.”

“We who vote ‘no’ love Scotland,” Brown said.

Scotland’s First Minister, Alex Salmond, supports a “yes” vote for independence. “This is our opportunity of a lifetime and we must seize it with both hands,” Salmond said.

At the heart of the debate for separation from London is a bitter dissatisfaction among many Scots with a trend in the United Kingdom towards a more market-based conservatism than people in Scotland want.

Scots have come to see themselves as more European, more socially democratic, and less reflexively pro-American in foreign policy than the establishment that governs them from London.

President Obama weighed in on the referendum on Twitter.  The president tweeted, “The UK is an extraordinary partner for America and a force for good in an unstable world. I hope it remains strong, robust and united. -bo”

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Pregnant Duchess Kate Cancels Solo Tour of Malta

Pregnant Duchess Kate Cancels Solo Tour of Malta

Chris Jackson/Getty Images(LONDON) — The Duchess of Cambridge has made the difficult decision to cancel her first solo foreign visit to Malta this weekend, Kensington Palace announced Thursday.

Kate, 32, had been planning to attend the 50th anniversary celebrations in Malta at the request of her grandmother-in-law, Her Majesty The Queen.

“The Duchess of Cambridge will no longer visit Malta this weekend. The Duke of Cambridge will undertake the visit instead,” the palace said in a statement.

“Her Royal Highness continues to suffer from the effects of hyperemesis gravidarum. The decision not to travel was taken by the duke and duchess on the advice of the duchess’s doctors,” the statement read.

Kate and Prince William announced earlier this month that the duchess is pregnant with the couple’s second child. The palace announced the pregnancy after Kate was unable to travel to an event with William due to hyperemesis gravidarum, a condition marked by acute nausea and sometimes dehydration.

Kate and William were also forced to announce their first pregnancy with now 1-year-old son, Prince George, when Kate was admitted to a London hospital in the early stages of that pregnancy for the same condition.

Kate is believed to be about eight weeks along now, but still before the 12 week mark when most couples elect to share news of a pregnancy.

The palace said, “The Duke is honored to represent Her Majesty The Queen on the visit, which commemorates the 50th anniversary of Malta’s independence. The visit itinerary remains unchanged.”

Malta holds a special place in the queen’s heart as she and Prince Philip spent time there during Prince Philips’ naval officer posting shortly after they were married. The queen has often said it was one of the few places they were able enjoy a “normal” life.

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Bachelorette Party Safe After Getting Stranded in Cabo in Odile’s Wake

Bachelorette Party Safe After Getting Stranded in Cabo in Odile’s Wake

Courtesy Morgan Essenheimer(SAN DIEGO) — Morgan Essenheimer is relieved to be home, back with her fiance in California.

The bride-to-be was airlifted to San Diego Airport along with seven members of her bridal party after being stranded in Cabo, San Lucas, Mexico for three days with no way to contact anyone back home.

“There was just chaos and madness everywhere,” Essenheimer said. “Not being able to speak with your loved ones or even just hear their voice, that was probably one of the worst things that could have happened to us.”

Essenheimer and her bachelorette party were among 30,000 tourists believed to have been stranded by Hurricane Odile, which wreaked havoc on the resort area Sunday. The storm destroyed buildings, knocking out power and leaving looters in its wake.

For some, the nightmare isn’t over yet.

Daniel Vigil is still trying to contact his relatives. The last contact he had with his missing mother, brother and aunt was a photo they texted to him upon arriving for their week-long vacation on Saturday, five days ago. After the Category 3 hurricane bore down on their hotel, Vigil had no way to get in touch with his family.

“It’s a roller coaster of emotion when you go through something like this,” Vigil said. “You hope for the best, but your imagination can’t help but run wild and fear the worst.”

The hotel where they were staying reported that all of its guests and crew were safe Monday. But Vigil says that’s not much consolation.

“We don’t know how much food is available, whether there’s bottled water, enough bottled water, whether our family knows of how they should evacuate and the availability of the flights,” he said.

Vigil’s not alone, with people using the search topic #FindOdile to track down their loved ones.

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WATCH: Harrowing Moments When a School Bus Crashed into Georgia Home

WATCH: Harrowing Moments When a School Bus Crashed into Georgia Home

iStock/Thinkstock(CLAYTON COUNTY, Ga.) — Newly-released video shows the harrowing moments when a school bus crashed into a Georgia home.

The accident happened Monday in Clayton County, in the central part of the state.

The video shows a red car crossing the center lane, causing the bus to swerve. The bus plowed into a mailbox, a bush and through the home’s driveway, into the building.

The windshield shattered in the crash, and the driver can be heard, distraught.

Somehow, the driver and home’s residents escaped serious injury. No passengers were on the bus.

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Live Sports Broadcast Schedule Sept 18-22

Live Sports Broadcast Schedule Sept 18-22

Live Sports Broadcast Schedule Sept 18-22 Thursday September 18 NFL Football – Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Atlanta Falcons 6:00 p.m. Friday September 19  High School Football – Madison Bobcats @ Highland Rams 5:30 p.m. Saturday September 20  NCAA Football – Clemson Tigers @ Florida State Seminoles 5:30 p.m. Sunday September 21 NFL Football – Kansas […]

Sheriff: Burned Armpit Hair Led to Idaho Car Crash

Sheriff: Burned Armpit Hair Led to Idaho Car Crash

BOISE, Idaho (AP) – A car full of teenagers crashed in Idaho after authorities say one of the passengers lit the driver’s armpit hair on fire with a lighter. The Idaho Statesman reports all five young people in the Ford Bronco were hurt in the crash Sunday and had to receive medical treatment. Authorities say […]

Family to Seek Compensation for Landslide Damage

Family to Seek Compensation for Landslide Damage

JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) – A family that lost a home in a creeping landslide in Jackson has filed notice that it intends to seek $4.17 million in damages from the town and Teton County. Their claim asserts a series of negligent actions and inactions served as catalysts for the slide earlier this year. The notice […]

South Valley Connector Moving Forward

South Valley Connector Moving Forward

(POCATELLO, ID) – Construction on the South Valley Connector is moving forward in Pocatello. The road, which will be finished in December of 2015, will connect South Fifth Avenue to the Bannock Highway on the sound end of town. Engineers tell Local News 8 that the new road will be especially helpful for emergency responders, […]

Ketchum Wants State to Use Nonlethal Wolf Control

Ketchum Wants State to Use Nonlethal Wolf Control

KETCHUM, Idaho (AP) – City leaders in the central Idaho resort town of Ketchum have passed a resolution requesting state officials use nonlethal methods to manage wolf conflicts with livestock in Blaine County. The city council in the resolution passed Monday said guard dogs, strobe lights and electric fencing are preferable to aerial gunning, hunting […]

Another NFL Player Facing Charges; PepsiCo CEO ‘Deeply Disturbed’ by Mishandling of Issues

Another NFL Player Facing Charges; PepsiCo CEO ‘Deeply Disturbed’ by Mishandling of Issues

Jim McIsaac/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Arizona Cardinals running back Jonathan Dwyer was arrested Wednesday on allegations of aggravated assault for two separate incidents — involving a 27-year-old woman and an 18-month-old child — that occurred at his home in July, according to the Phoenix police department.

Dwyer was booked on one count of aggravated assault causing a fracture, one count of aggravated assault involving a minor, two counts of criminal damage, one count of preventing the use of a phone in an emergency, and assault.  He was released Thursday morning after posting the $25,000 bond.

The Cardinals said in a news release that Dwyer has been deactivated from all team activities.

The NFL said Dwyer’s arrest will be reviewed under the league’s personal conduct policy.

Meanwhile, Carolina Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy agreed to be placed on the NFL’s exempt list Wednesday. He will continued to be paid his guaranteed salary of $13.1 million and will be allowed to be at the team facility.

Hardy is awaiting a new trial in North Carolina after appealing a guilty verdict from July on two domestic violence charges.

“I understand that I need to step away from football right now and take care of this legal matter,” Hardy said in a statement. “I am entitled to my day in court and that’s where my focus should be.”

Meanwhile, the San Francisco 49ers appear to be sticking with their decision to allow defensive end Ray McDonald to practice and play while he is under investigation for domestic violence.

McDonald was arrested on Aug. 31, but has not yet been charged.

In Chicago, the father of a woman who once dated Chicago Bears receiver Brandon Marshall when he was with the Denver Broncos called for Roger Goodell to resign Wednesday because he’s disappointed in the way his daughter’s abuse allegations were handled.

Clarence Watley spoke at a news conference arranged by attorney Gloria Allred and said his daughter, Rasheedah Watley, was abused by Marshall. Watley said he and others wrote to Goodell about his daughter’s case and never heard back. Allred is not representing Watley or his daughter.

The Broncos issued a statement saying, “This issue from more than seven years ago involving a former player was taken very seriously by our organization, which firmly believes that violence of any type against women is wrong.”

The NFL issued a statement saying, “There were several incidents that resulted in no charges being filed. Nevertheless, due to the pattern of conduct, the NFL took disciplinary action in 2008.”

Marshall was suspended for three games, but the suspension was reduced to one game. He has denied the allegations and was never convicted.

And yet another NFL sponsor has chimed in on the current state of the league.  Indra Nooyi, the chairman and CEO of PepsiCo, released a statement saying that as “a mother, a wife, and a passionate football fan…I am deeply disturbed that the repugnant behavior of a few players and the NFL’s acknowledged mishandling of these issues, is casting a cloud over the integrity of the league and the reputations of the majority of players who’ve dedicated their lives to a career they love.”

Nooyi said when it comes to child abuse and domestic violence, “there is no middle ground. The behaviors are disgusting, absolutely unacceptable, and completely fly in the face of the values we at PepsiCo believe in and cherish.”

The PepsiCo exec noted her company’s “long-standing partnership” with the NFL, and expressed confidence that [Commissioner] Roger Goodell “will do the right thing for the league in light of the serious issues it is facing.”

Nooyi concluded her statement by saying the league has an opportunity to “effect positive change.”

“I urge them to seize this moment. How they handle these cases going forward can help shape how we, as a nation, as a society, and as individuals treat domestic violence and child abuse,” Nooyi wrote.

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Police Issue Caution About Harvesting Equipment

Police Issue Caution About Harvesting Equipment

(BLACKFOOT) – Idaho State Police are advising drivers to be cautious around slow moving farm equipment. The warning is especially relevant for Bingham County as the potato and sugar beet harvest seasons quickly approach.County officials say loaded potato trucks and inexperienced drivers are often a dangerous combination. Motorists are encouraged to keep a safe distance […]

Center Street Underpass Lanes Closed for Repairs

Center Street Underpass Lanes Closed for Repairs

(POCATELLO, ID) – All westbound traffic through the Center Street underpass in Pocatello will be closed Thursday. Street crews will be fixing the pump and drainage system for the underpass, which is well known for filling with water during heavy rains. Those needing to access Old Town from the east side are advised to take […]

Four Drugs Found in Teacher’s System

Four Drugs Found in Teacher’s System

(POCATELLO, ID) – A Pocatello school teacher charged with driving under the influence earlier this year had four different drugs in her system at the time of her arrest. A toxicology report revealed that Amy Smith was taking sleeping pills, antidepressants, and psychosis medication. Smith hit a crossing guard while pulling into the parking lot […]

Sentence Reduction Request Denied

Sentence Reduction Request Denied

  (IDAHO FALLS, ID) – A convicted murderer’s request for a reduced prison sentence was denied Wednesday. Adan Arroyo, who shot Kristy Aschliman to death in Bonneville County in 2013, was sentenced to 25 years to life. Arroyo’s attorney argued that his 23-year-old client deserved a second chance, and that a 15-year sentence would be […]

Jobless Claims Plunge Lower to 280K

Jobless Claims Plunge Lower to 280K

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — Jobless claims took a dive last week, decreasing by 36,000, according to the latest figures released Thursday by the Labor Department.

For the week ending Sept. 13, the number of people filing for benefits fell to 280,000. The previous week claims stood at 316,000.

The Labor Department said there were no “special factors” impacting that week’s figures.

The four-week moving average slumped as well, falling by 4,750 to 299,500.

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Apple CEO Tim Cook Pens Open Letter Reassuring Users of Commitment to Privacy

Apple CEO Tim Cook Pens Open Letter Reassuring Users of Commitment to Privacy

Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Apple CEO Tim Cook reaffirmed the company’s respect for customers’ privacy in an open letter on Wednesday, stating that the company does not sell customers’ data or provide a backdoor for government agencies to invade users’ privacy.

“Our business model is very straightforward,” Cook writes. “We sell great products. We don’t build a profile based on your email content or web browsing habits to sell to advertisers. We don’t ‘monetize’ the information you store on your iPhone or in iCloud. And we don’t read your email or your messages to get information to market to you,” the letter reads.

Simply put, Cook says, “our software and services are designed to make our devices better.”

Cook acknowledged that the only part of the Apple brand that serves advertisers is iAd, a network that functions with the iTunes Radio service to help support advertisers. However, Cook notes, iAd “doesn’t get data from health and HomeKit, Maps, Siri, iMessage, your call history, or any iCloud service like Contacts or Mail.” In fact, users can completely opt out of iAd if they choose.

“Finally,” Cook wrote, “I want to be absolutely clear that we have never worked with any government agency from any country to create a backdoor in any of our products or services. We have also never allowed access to our servers. And we never will.”

Apple, Cook says, is committed to protecting the privacy of its customers. This commitment is borne our of a “deep respect” for users.

“We know your trust doesn’t come easy,” Cook admitted, “that’s why we have and always will work as hard as we can to earn and keep it.”

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Funeral for Pennsylvania State Trooper Killed in Ambush Attack

Funeral for Pennsylvania State Trooper Killed in Ambush Attack

Cpl. Bryon Dickson (right) and Trooper Alex Douglass (left) pictured. (Pennsylvania State Police)(SCRANTON, Pa.) — Mourners are gathering in northeastern Pennsylvania Thursday for the funeral of a state trooper slain last week in an ambush attack.

The suspected gunman remains on the loose.

Cpl. Bryon Dickson, 38, was fatally shot Friday, Sept. 12 outside the rural Blooming Grove barracks in Pike County. Another trooper, Alex Douglass, 31, was wounded.

The funeral for Dickson will be held in Scranton and hundreds of police officers are expected to attend.

The suspect was identified Tuesday as Eric Matthew Frein, 31, a skilled marksman and a survivalist with a grudge against law enforcement and authority. He is considered dangerous, possibly armed with a rifle and an AK-47. A three-state manhunt ensued after the shooting.

Schools in the Pocono Mountain School District remain closed again Thursday while the search for the gunman continues.

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