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People Still Really Love Surge, Apparently

People Still Really Love Surge, Apparently

The movement to bring back Surge (the extinct soda) is making waves

Well, this is fun: a group of Surge lovers (remember that extinct soda that was discontinued in 2003?) is gaining traction now with plans of a billboard begging Coca-Cola to bring back Surge.

Business Insider reports on the group, now 21,000 strong on Facebook, and its effort to bring back Surge. After Coca-Cola discontinued the soda in 2003 following bad sales, the company was met with some serious Surge fans. With petitions and the numbers of Surge supporters to sway Coca-Cola, the Facebook group took a new step to bring back the soda: a $4,000 billboard in Atlanta, where Coca-Cola is based. "Dear Coke, we couldn't buy Surge, so we bought this billboard instead," reads the sign.

The group even has "surging days" where fans inundate Coca-Cola's headquarter lines with pleas of bring back Surge (which Coca-Cola caught onto and began issuing memos to warn employees). Said the founder of the movement, Evan Carr, to Businessweek, Surge's absence has left a Surge-shaped hole in his heart — really, we can't make this stuff up. "Surge was more of a lifestyle for me and I always had a can when I was growing up in the '90's... I just wanted to see if other people out there missed it as much as I have," Carr told Businessweek. Well, we give him props for sticking to his guns.

Surge Is Back in Soda Fountain Form Exclusively at Burger King

But only at locations with those high-tech Coca-Cola Freestyle machines.

Discontinued sodas always seem to inspire a cult following – groups of people patiently waiting for the day their beloved beverage will return. Recently, many have had their dream come true. From Clearly Canadian to Crystal Pepsi, plenty of nostalgia-driven sodas have made comebacks in the past few years. But one of the most anticipated revivals was the Coca-Cola-produced Mountain Dew-ish knockoff, Surge, which has come and gone a number of times since 2014. And now Surge addicts can get their fix in a new form: The brand has landed in soda fountains exclusively at Burger King.

The beloved �s soda announced that it would be returning exclusively to any Burger King locations nationwide that have a Coca-Cola Freestyle—those digital, touchscreen machines that are able to spit out a seemingly unlimited variety of carbonated drinks. Though locations with the crazy soda-making device are limited, Coca-Cola does offer a website that can help you find one of the machines at a Burger King near you, meaning you shouldn’t have to pop your head into every Burger King in the city to score a fountain Surge.

Admittedly, tracking the whereabouts of Surge and whether it is or is not available hasn’t been particularly easy since it first returned as an Amazon exclusive back in 2014. By the following year, the soda had landed on store shelves, and it appears that you can still score Surge both online and in select stores to this day. However, as far as fountain Surge is concerned, apparently, Burger King is your only option.

It isn’t the first time Burger King has tempted fast food customers with the soda. Back in 2015, Burger King was the lone chain where people could score a 𠇏rozen Surge,” basically a Surge slushy. That drink was only around for a limited time. But how long fountain Surge will be around, however, is yet to be seen.

Pandemic Gardens Satisfy A Hunger For More Than Just Good Tomatoes

My brand-new back yard garden bed — I can't control the news, but I can plant some radishes.

In this time of fear and uncertainty, people are going back to the land — more or less. Gardening might just be overtaking sourdough baking, TV binging and playing Animal Crossing as our favorite pandemic coping mechanism

Nature, Fantasy, and Everyday Practice

by Jennifer Wren Atkinson

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So here I am in my back yard, where I've got this lovely four foot by eight food raised garden bed — brand new this year, because yes, I'm one of those people who are trying their hand at gardening. I've got tomatoes, I've got cucumbers, I've got radishes, I've got beets sprouting up, I've got what I think might be a zucchini and a spaghetti squash, but the markers washed away in a storm.

And I had some watermelon seedlings, but they died in the last cold snap. So that's why I'm out here today — driving in stakes and draping plastic wrap for the next cold snap.

Life Kit

This Is A Good Time To Start A Garden. Here's How

I have to be extra careful now, because I couldn't actually replace my watermelon seedlings — garden centers and hardware stores have been picked clean.

Jennifer Atkinson is a senior lecturer in environmental studies at the University of Washington, and the author of Gardenland: Nature, Fantasy and Everyday Practice. She says she'd get a flurry of responses to her blog posts about pandemic gardening, but she really got interested when she started seeing it in the headlines. "Seed suppliers were saying they were completely cleaned out in the early days of lockdown, that seed sales were going through the roof. And that a lot of those customers were first-time growers."

Tamar Charney's windowsill lettuces. Tamar Charney/NPR hide caption

Tamar Charney's windowsill lettuces.

Like me. Now when you've discovered a new obssession, you want to share it, right? So I put out a call in the company newsletter. And it turns out that a lot of my colleagues here at NPR love to garden — some are brand new pandemic gardeners, and some have well-established green thumbs. Some don't have back yards, like NPR One's Tamar Charney, who reported in from Ann Arbor, Mich: "My garden's basically just my kitchen windowsill, and it's full of little glasses, half full of water," she says. "Each one has a stub of an old head of lettuce in it, and slowly but surely, they're regrowing."

Here in D.C., business correspondent Alina Selyukh has just taken delivery of a load of seedlings for her balcony. "Some chives, some Swiss chard, some watercress, lots of herbs." Morning Edition production assistant Nina Kravinsky says she decided to try her hand at sprouting seeds — and now she has "WAY TOO MANY TOMATO PLANTS."

An aloe blooms on Andrea Gutierrez's patio. Andrea Gutierrez/NPR hide caption

From Los Angeles, It's Been a Minute producer Andrea Gutierrez described what sounds like an amazing setup, full of jasmine, white sage, succulents, vegetables and spices: "I have a flat of strawberries I need to plant, there's plumeria . We've got jalapenos, serrano peppers, Thai hot peppers that my partner likes to dry and grind, agave, I have a couple of aloe plants."

And back here in DC, All Things Considered editor Sarah Handel says she's planting more since the pandemic hit. "This year in our garden we've got three different kinds of tomatoes, we've got swiss chard, lettuce, sugar snap peas, hot peppers, an onion we replanted from an onion top," and all kinds of herbs. "More mint than we could ever use," she jokes. And a fig tree.

But let's be honest — you're not going to be able to feed your family from a backyard vegetable patch. So why do we love to grub around in the dirt so much?"

"People have always gardened in hard times, but food is only one part of that story," says Jennifer Atkinson. "They're also motivated by the desire for beauty or contact with nature. Maybe they're looking for a creative outlet or a sense of community. And there's immense gratification that comes from work that gives you tangible results."

What people are starved for right now isn't food, but contact with something real.

Today's pandemic gardens are often referred to as "victory gardens," after the patriotic plots of World War II. And Atkinson says there's some merit to that comparison. But, she says, what's going on now is much more complex than just an attempt to shore up the food supply during wartime.

"What people are starved for right now isn't food, but contact with something real," she says. "We spend all day on screens. We can't be around each other at restaurants or ballparks. We can't even give hugs or shake hands. So all of a sudden, the appeal of sinking your hands in the dirt and using your body in ways that matter, that becomes irresistible."

I might not be able to control the news, or the weather, or whatever it is my sourdough starter is doing in that jar — but I can press a tiny radish seed into the dirt, give it food and water, and watch it grow.

This story was edited for radio by Ted Robbins, and adapted for the Web by Petra Mayer

They say they're innocent

A couple of days after the bayou boys turned themselves in on the assault charge, they declared their innocence. Also according to TMZ, the Molineres claimed they were the victims of assault, and their alleged victim was just trying to snag some fame for himself. The two vowed to fight the charges in court. As of this writing, no information could be found on the trial's outcome. However, it's safe to say these two gator chasers didn't make it easy on their accuser.

14 Ways To Eat Hummus, Besides Slathering It On Pita Chips

When I say hummus, you say. pita chips, right? But that's not the only thing you can slather with this creamy, Middle Eastern-born spread.

Hummus' main ingredient, chickpeas (or garbanzo beans) "have grown in this region of the world for thousands of years, but nobody can decide whether it&rsquos Syrian, Lebanese, Arabic, etc.," explains food researcher Lana Chehabeddine. &ldquoDifferent countries in the Middle East like to claim ownership, but the actual word 'hummus' is Arabic for 'chickpea.'&rdquo

Though its exact origin is still up in the air, hummus (along with other dips like baba ghanoush and muhamarrah) "is traditionally used in what Middle Easterners call a &lsquomezza&rsquo 0r 'mezzah' style meal, in which everyone tastes a little of a few small staple dishes on the table,&rdquo says Chehabeddine. &ldquoOtherwise, hummus has been traditionally used as a dip for pita bread and a side for shish kabobs, grilled meat on skewers."

With its rich history and subtle, creamy texture and flavor, it's no wonder hummus is popular around the world today.

It's also got some impressive health perks, too. The dip is packed with protein and other nutrients, like magnesium, iron, and fiber, according to dietitian Maggie Michalczyk, RD. You can thank the humble chickpea for those benefits.

Honestly, though, every traditional component of this tasty spread brings something to the table. &ldquoBesides the protein and fiber benefits of the chickpeas, olive oil provides unsaturated fat and an anti-inflammatory kick, as do the omega-3 rich sesame seeds in tahini,&rdquo says Dr. Alexia M Moutsatsos, MD, FACP. &ldquoOther common add-ins like garlic and lemon also provide antioxidants and vitamin C, respectively.&rdquo

Not to mention, chickpeas are a seriously affordable protein source, making hummus a cost-efficient and nutritious staple for vegetarians, vegans, and omnivores alike. It's also pretty easy to make your own: All you need is a can of chickpeas, garlic, lemon juice, tahini, and olive oil. Just add your ingredients to a food processor and you'll have fresh hummus in minutes, Michalczyk says.

Don't limit your hummus consumption to just chips or carrot sticks, though. Here's what else to eat with hummus, according to a few super-creative nutritionists.

Following its brief inclusion on the menu of The Cinnamon Club restaurant in Westminster, squirrel meat has become rather sought after.

A butcher in Suffolk supplemented its dwindling rabbit stocks with squirrel meat earlier this month, selling out in three hours. The Elveden Estate butchers explained to the Daily Mail that rabbit numbers were on the decline and that there is now a limit on the number allowed to be killed in order to keep the population stable.

Hence the replacement meat, which has become something of a hit.

Why consider eating squirrel?

Director of The Wild Meat Company, Robert Gooch, thinks that the fact that interest in the meat is rising is largely down to the novelty factor. His company sell a variety of game meats, including squirrel, and he was happy to supply us with one to try out in our own kitchen.

People don&rsquot often &ldquoappreciate the quality of the meat&rdquo he told us, since squirrels are &ldquocommonly seen in parks and gardens.&rdquo Robert added that, conversely, in the US squirrel is rather popular, and an American colleague also confirmed this to me.

American chef Georgia Pellegrini says that it&rsquos a particular favourite of the eastern states, and according to a 2011 report (the most recent) on the hunting habits of Americans, 1.7 million people in the States hunted squirrels that year. That's significantly more than the 1.5 million shooting at rabbits. &ldquoSquirrel hunting is more American than apple pie&rdquo says Pellegrini.

Cooking squirrel

The first thing I notice about squirrel as I tried to section it up was the high bone-to-meat ratio, which isn&rsquot surprising considering its small size, but makes for rather difficult work when portioning it out. A very heavy and sharp knife is required to cleanly and safely cut through the bones and cartilage.

The main chunks of meat are to be found on the hind quarters, but there&rsquos also a bit on the front quarters, and a small amount around the lower back.

While cutting, I realised that there&rsquos little bits of hair clinging to the meat here and there, which isn&rsquot the most appetising thing, but then again, it&rsquos no worse than a spot of unshaved pork.

I browned the meat in a frying pan and then quickly boiled it with a bay leaf in the mix to finish the job, hoping to retain most of the flavour while not obscuring it. While cooking, a musty odour became very noticeable, though this is possibly the result of the meat having sat in plastic packaging for a couple of days. It did clear up after a couple of minutes.

I tried to shred as much meat off the bones as possible, but it is hard going. Apparently the pieces are often served breaded in the States, much like KFC chicken.

I can see why. You really need to get your mouth around a joint and strip it down with your teeth for maximum efficacy, but wanting to give everyone the chance to taste it, I carry on ripping scrappy pieces off the carcass with a fork and sharp knife.

What does it taste like?

Strangely, the squirrel meat was compared with pretty much every other meat. &ldquoTastes like chicken&rdquo came the inevitable response from a few people, but others said it was &ldquolight, a bit like pork,&rdquo or even compared it to lamb.

I think that our collective inability to make a singular comparison tells us that squirrel has its own distinctive flavour. Personally, I would describe it as a light game meat that I would happily eat again &ndash it reminded me somewhat of duck, and I wasn&rsquot alone in that thought either.

One person looked at the plate for a few moments before commenting that they simply couldn&rsquot do it. &ldquoI just keep thinking of squirrels running around in the park!&rdquo Others were put off by the smell, but those who got past that found it quite tasty and most said they'd give it another go in the future.

Would you ever try squirrel, or are you revolted by the thought? Let us know in the Comments below.

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New evidence that U.K. coronavirus variant spreads more easily has scientists really worried

The coronavirus variant that emerged in the United Kingdom belongs to the world now, and mounting evidence is confirming some scientists’ early suspicions: It is a super spreader capable of turbocharging the pandemic and muscling less transmissible strains of the virus into oblivion.

Now that the new variant has established a beachhead in the United States and more than 40 other countries, the race to contain it is on. That contest pits humans armed with vaccine, masks and hand sanitizer against a viral strain with a handful of genetic changes that has raised fears from the moment they were detected.

There’s some good news: Researchers who’ve measured and modeled the U.K. variant’s powers have found no reason to believe it makes people sicker once it invades their bodies. Nor does it appear to reduce the time that it takes for a newly infected person to be able to spread the virus — a development that could generate fast-moving waves of new patients.

And other new research strengthens the case that the COVID-19 vaccines being administered across the United States and elsewhere should protect against the new variant.

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But other findings are more ominous. Using many distinct methods to track the U.K. variant and compare it to its predecessors, two groups of researchers have concluded that the new strain’s rapid growth across Britain cannot be dismissed as a fluke.

And as fast as the new strain has spread in its native land, it is poised to do even better here. Once it becomes established in the U.S. — a prospect experts view as inevitable — thwarting it will require public health measures more stringent than those adopted so far, a speedier vaccine rollout, and a greatly increased willingness to be immunized.

“We’re losing the race with coronavirus — it’s infecting people much faster than we can get vaccine into people’s arms, and it’s overcoming our social distancing,” said University of Florida biologist Derek Cummings, an expert in emerging pathogens. “Now there’s this variant that will make that race even harder.”

‘We’re losing the race with coronavirus. . Now there’s this variant that will make that race even harder.’

Derek Cummings, an expert in emerging pathogens at the University of Florida

The new variant’s genetic changes appear to have increased its transmissibility by about 56%, according to the new research, though it could be as low as 40% and as high as 70%.

With this competitive advantage, it will quickly become the most commonly encountered strain in any region where it gains a toehold. As it does so, coronavirus infections — and the increased illness, hospitalizations and deaths that result — will blow up.

“The bottom line is it will be harder to control this new variant if it takes over,” said Ira Longini, a University of Florida infectious disease modeler who was not involved in either of the British studies.

And it will take over, he added.

The new variant’s superpower, as evidenced in Britain, is its ability to plow through public health guardrails and propagate with ease. It was spreading for at least a month and likely longer before it was detected by sharp-eyed (and well-funded) geneticists in the United Kingdom.

Travel bans were predictably useless at bottling it up. The variant, known to scientists as B.1.1.7, has turned up in 47 countries so far, including ones as far-flung as Australia, Chile and Japan.

As recently as 2009, disease hunters have seen strains of influenza virus with just a few new genetic tweaks wipe out existing strains in the span of a year, Longini said.

“I don’t see what would stop it,” he said. “It should be spread across the planet.”

What does such enhanced transmissibility mean? Imagine a party of maskless people, none of whom have immunity to the SARS-CoV-2 virus. If a single person carrying a typical strain walks in and mingles for a few hours, two to three additional people will likely go home infected.

If the same partygoer were infected with B.1.1.7, the virus would find 3.5 to 4.3 new victims in the course of that same event.

That difference may seem small, but as new generations are infected, its effect will be magnified. In a month, a single person with the U.K. variant could generate 150 new infections — nearly quadruple the 39 cases that would result from a person with an older strain of the coronavirus.

Researchers share which numbers they’re watching to forecast when California’s deadly COVID-19 surge will end.

In reality, the U.K. variant would probably meet a bit more resistance in the United States. At this point in the pandemic, as many as 1 in 5 party guests have already been infected and gained some measure of immunity that could be helpful. In addition, some social distancing is likely to be observed, the party might be held outside, and many attendees would wear masks.

Under these circumstances, someone with a typical SARS-CoV-2 strain would likely find a single person to infect on a rare lucky night for the virus, two people would leave infected. At this rate, the pandemic grows at a relatively stately pace, and after a month, a total of three people have been infected.

B.1.1.7 changes this picture. A carrier at the same party would pass on his infection to 1.5 to 2 other victims. After a month, the initial case results in 11 to 16 new infections.

In the contest among viral strains, this competitive advantage is important. A virus’ goal is to find and invade new bodies. The variant that manages to capture more of them, and in turn infect yet more bodies, will vault ahead of its competitors and establish its dominion.

In short order, the more timid strains are crowded out of the landscape altogether, and the brash newcomer is calling the shots of the pandemic.

For instance, experts warn that B.1.1.7’s increased transmissibility will drive up the proportion of the population that needs to be vaccinated to achieve herd immunity and bring the pandemic to a halt.

Ultimate Egg Recipes: A Guide to Spring’s Simple Luxury for Easter and Beyond

WHEN MEGHAN MARKLE and Prince Harry welcomed Oprah to their secluded Montecito, Calif., estate last month, one revelation piqued my interest—and it wasn’t what topped the tabloids the next day. Apparently the Sussexes recently added a backyard chicken coop—aka “Archie’s Chick Inn”—to their family compound. Royals: They’re just like us!

No, really. Surely you recall the toilet paper shortage and yeast crisis, but did you know that 2020 was also the year Americans hoarded hens? Last spring hatcheries around the country reported unprecedented sales driven by amateur homesteaders restless from lockdown and panicky about food insecurity. If early signs are an indication, this year is shaping up to be nearly as intense. “Things are still crazy right now,” said Phil Tompkins, who, along with his wife, Jenn, owns Rent the Chicken. This Pennsylvania-based backyard chicken outfitter has locations in 28 states and 2 Canadian provinces, some of which have already sold out completely for the 2021 season. Is it any coincidence that, according to Google Trends, searches for “how to cook eggs’’ hit their all-time peak last year?

But if 2020 was all about DIY homesteaders and weary cooks embracing eggs as the perfect pandemic pantry staple—frugal, high-protein meal stretchers made for leaning on in hard times—this spring, as we inch tentatively back toward normalcy in and out of the kitchen, it seems only fitting to celebrate this ingredient’s more sumptuous side. Sure, scrambled eggs may stave off the wolf, but haven’t we all had enough of mere survival?

Julia Child called the egg a “perfect, pristine, primal object.” Few foodstuffs constitute such a culinary miracle. (Did you know that eggs contain every nutrient needed to sustain life except for vitamin C?) Indeed, thanks to the binary nature of the yolk and the white, the egg is really two separate ingredients in one, each with its own properties and potential—to thicken custards, enrich sauces, leaven cakes and more. Soufflé, crème brûlée, quiche, mayonnaise, meringue: None of these delights (nor dozens of others) would be possible without the egg’s peculiar alchemy.

Anyone who’s ever painted an Easter egg or placed a hard-boiled egg on the seder plate knows that the deep symbolic association of eggs with vernal rebirth and renewal is a cultural thread that weaves around the globe and deep into prehistory. According to Lisa Steele, an author, egg authority and 5th-generation chicken whisperer based in Dixmont, Maine, it’s also a plain biological fact. Most hens require 12 to 16 hours of daylight to lay reliably. The more light there is, the more productive chickens are a flock that might yield nothing all winter can churn out a dozen or more a day come June. (No wonder Harry and Meghan sent Oprah home with a to-go bag.) To fill the stacks of cartons one sees year-round in the supermarket, industrial growers rely on artificial light and other manipulative farming practices. But in nature eggs are as much a seasonal crop as springtime delights like ramps or morels, and just as deserving of our adulation.

Street racing surges across US amid coronavirus pandemic

Street racers gather the evening of Sunday, Aug. 12, 2018, in the parking lot of the Goodwill on Northeast Marine Drive and 122nd Avenue in Portland, Ore. Across America, police are confronting illegal drag racing whose popularity has surged since the coronavirus pandemic and lockdowns began. Drivers have blocked off roads to race and to etch donut patterns on pavement with the tires of their souped-up cars. From Portland, Oregon to Albuquerque, New Mexico from Nashville, Tennessee to New York City, officials are reporting a dangerous, and sometimes deadly, uptick in street racing.(Anna Spoerre /The Oregonian via AP)

Jaye Sanford, a 52-year-old mother of two, was driving home in suburban Atlanta on Nov. 21 when a man in a Dodge Challenger muscle car who was allegedly street racing crashed into her head-on, killing her.

She is one of the many victims of a surge in street racing that has taken root across America during the coronavirus pandemic, prompting police crackdowns and bills aimed at harsher punishments.

Experts say TV shows and movies glorifying street racing had already fueled interest in recent years. Then shutdowns associated with the pandemic cleared normally clogged highways as commuters worked from home.

Those with a passion for fast cars often had time to modify them, and to show them off, said Tami Eggleston, a sports psychologist who participates in legal drag racing.

“With COVID, when we were separated from people, I think people sort of bonded in their interest groups,” said Eggleston, who is also the provost of McKendree University, a small college in suburban St. Louis. “So that need to want to socialize and be around other people brought the racers out.”

But people have been killed as packs of vehicles, from souped-up jalopies to high-end sports cars, roar down city streets and through industrial neighborhoods.

Street racers block roads and even interstates to keep police away as they tear around and perform stunts, often captured on videos that go viral. The snarl of engines and traffic tie-ups have become huge annoyances.

Georgia is among the states fighting back with new laws.

Last week, Gov. Brian Kemp signed a bill named for Sanford that mandates at least 10 days of jail time for all drag racing convictions. It also requires people convicted a third time within five years to forfeit their vehicles.

“This illegal activity is very dangerous,” the Republican governor said at a bill-signing ceremony. “Our goal is simple: to protect every family in every community.”

In New York City, authorities received more than 1,000 drag racing complaints over six months last year — a nearly five-fold increase over the same period in 2019.

“Illegal street racing puts lives at risk and keeps us up at night,” said New York state Sen. Brad Hoylman. “While there’s been less traffic during the pandemic, some drivers have used this as an opportunity to treat our streets like a NASCAR speedway.”

The Democratic lawmaker has introduced legislation that would authorize New York City to operate its speed cameras overnight and on weekends in hot spots for illegal street racing. The Senate Transportation Committee recently unanimously approved the measure, setting it up for a floor vote.

In Mississippi, Republican Gov. Tate Reeves signed into law in March a bill that allows state troopers to respond to incidents in cities. On New Year’s Eve, drivers blocked traffic on an interstate highway in Jackson, the state capital, for an hour while they spun out and did donuts, etching circles in the pavement.

Even though the highway patrol headquarters was nearby, troopers couldn’t respond because they were prohibited from handling incidents in cities with over 15,000 people. That prohibition will be lifted when the new law takes effect July 1.

In Arizona, the state Senate has passed a bill to impose harsher penalties. It now awaits a House vote. Under an ordinance approved in March by the Phoenix City Council, police can impound a car involved in street racing or reckless driving for up to 30 days.

Meanwhile, the death toll climbs. On the night of May 2, a 28-year-old woman was killed in Phoenix when a street racer crashed into her car. A man was arrested on suspicion of manslaughter.

Police in Albuquerque, New Mexico, handed out thousands of tickets for speeding and racing since a crackdown began in October.

“Racing up and down our streets is so deadly, especially while more kids, seniors, pedestrians and cyclists are out during this pandemic,” said Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller.

Street racing in an industrial neighborhood of Portland, Oregon, scares people who work there. A motorcyclist was killed last month in a crash that police said apparently involved racing. Business owners on April 2 wrote to the mayor and city commissioners, asking them to take action.

After weekends of racing and stunts, a road there and its 2-mile (3.2 kilometer) straightaway are littered with alcohol containers. Spray-painted lines mark start and finish lines. Parking lots are scarred by circular tire tracks or completely eroded in places by spinning tires.

Portland police say they’re too overwhelmed to do much about it.

“The city of Portland has experienced an enormous increase in our shooting rate, a staggering amount of volatile demonstrations, while our staffing numbers have dwindled,” said acting Lt. Michael Roberts, who is tasked with addressing illegal street racing. “We often do not have the bandwidth to address the street racer calls.”

Bizarrely, two police cars drag raced through a residential Washington, D.C., neighborhood last month. They wound up crashing into each other. One officer was fired. That former officer and another officer, now under suspension, were charged last week with reckless driving and other traffic offenses, the Washington Post reported.

In Denver, police have deployed a helicopter to track races, closed lanes often used by racers and sent officers to places where racers meet. On April 3, a mother was killed when a street racer broadsided her car in downtown Denver.

In one of the most notorious incidents, hundreds of street racers clogged a stretch of interstate in nearby Aurora on March 7 while they raced and cruised. Police warned other motorists to stay away amid reports of guns being brandished and fireworks going off.

The events have given more urgency to a long-standing effort by the Colorado State Patrol to lure street racers to a safer environment. The agency’s “Take it to the Track” program features weekly contests at Bandimere Speedway, in the foothills west of Denver.

“You can bring out whatever you have, be it a supercar or mom’s minivan, grandpa’s Buick,” Trooper Josh Lewis said at the racetrack last week. “And you can race a cop, and do so legally.”

Lewis then beat a Toyota SUV on the quarter-mile track, reaching 88 mph (142 kph) in his Dodge Charger.

Ray Propes, 58, started street racing when he was 16 but now prefers Bandimere Speedway for its traction and safety.

“You don’t have to worry about accidents, animals, kids, birds, anything,” he said.

Associated Press reporters Thomas Peipert in Denver Maria Villeneuve in Albany, New York Emily Wagster in Jackson, Mississippi Susan Montoya Bryan in Albuquerque, New Mexico and Jonathan J. Cooper in Phoenix contributed to this report.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

These Are The Best Ways To Make Ramen In Your Dorm

Most of us are at least passingly familiar with ramen. Who could refuse those delicious (and most importantly, deliciously inexpensive) noodles that are so easy to make? That's why I was thrilled to find the recent AskReddit thread, prompting users to share their best ramen recipes for college students. Dorm room cooking wan be a challenge, but instant ramen doesn't require anything except access to hot water — and it's both easy and inexpensive to doctor your noodles into something spectacular, even when you're not working with a whole lot.

Ramen is a universal crowd-pleaser, whether you're eating lunch solo or heating up a makeshift midnight snack to share with your roommates. And it isn't just for college kids, either, although it's certainly dorm room staple I mean, I've already long since finished college, and I still love ramen. After all, why should the cheap and convenient noodle recipes end just because you're no longer living in a dorm?

Of course, what you can do to make your ideal ramen varies depending on what kitchen tools you have available. For some people, you might be limited to just a microwave or an electric kettle. For others, if you have a slow cooker handy, you can basically make a gourmet meal based around a super affordable packet of noodles. If you have a nice variety of spices and sauces, that can help, too! Though we all know the seasoning packet that comes with a package is a real life-saver, especially when our cupboards are pretty bare.

I've chosen my personal favorite cheap and easy ramen recipes below, but be sure to check out the full thread over at AskReddit for even more awesome recommendations.

1. Add A Little Jerky To Your Dish

Round out your ramen with a little salty protein. Jerky also makes for a convenient and cheap snack, too. Also noteworthy for non-meaters is that, yes, vegan jerky exists. Hurrah!

2. Add Some Vegetarian Protein To Your Bowl

Tofu is pretty cheap, lasts forever in the fridge, and sucks up whatever flavors you mix it with. Baking some tofu (many dorms have communal kitchens) and popping it into a bowl of delicious noodles is an easy way to get some healthy protein into your meal.

3. Make Your Liquid As Flavorful As Possible

Whether you're using a homemade broth or something from a box or can, cooking your noodles in a flavorful liquid instead of just plain water adds a nice touch.

4. Marinate Your Toppings For The Best Flavor

If you eat ramen regularly, or you just like to plan ahead, it's a great idea to marinate your proteins, vegetables, and other toppings before you actually cook your noodles. This gives your food time to really absorb the flavor and become more nuanced and rich.

5. Make These Fancy Noodles To Impress Your Roommates

If you want to become everyone's favorite roommate, whip up some fancy noodles in no time flat.

6. Canned Soup And Ramen Might Be A Match Made In Kitchen Heaven

Strange, but true: If you have some cans of soup in your cupboard you need to get rid of them, using them to cook your ramen noodles is apparently a delicious and fool-proof way to create a unique and easy dish. Don't knock it until you try it, am I right?

7. Hoisin Sauce and Sriracha: The Classics

If you want your ramen to be super quick, yet super flavorful, always keep some hoisin sauce and sriracha on hand. These sauces can go really well with other dishes, too, making them nice and versatile in the kitchen.

8. This Three-Step Process Is Absolutely No Joke

If you eat ramen on the regular, you might as well develop a specific system that works for you. This Redditor's method sounds like it's virtually a science, and I have to say, I'm so convinced that I'm going to try it myself soon!

9. Breaking Down The Cost Makes This Taste Even Sweeter

When you're working with a budget, few things taste better than knowing your money is going far when it comes to your meals. That's why it can be super handy to break down the cost per ingredient, per meal and see how far your dollar really stretches.

10. Treat Yourself To A Creamy Sauce

Who doesn't love the creamy comfort of a homemade sauce? Especially if you're missing your parent's home cooked meals, this one is sure to warm your stomach — and your heart.

11. Peanut Butter Goes Well With Everything — Including Your Noodles

Have a jar of peanut butter in your pantry? Perfect. Add a scoop to your ramen and you've given yourself a new flavor — and some protein, to boot.