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Sugar Mountain: The night shift at Domino Sugar

Sugar Mountain: The night shift at Domino Sugar

It is 11:30 p.m. and raw sugar operator Richard Sears is hard at it, pounding a CAT 950 front-end loader through dune-sized hills of raw unprocessed sugar in an arena-like enclosure. A 15-year employee of Domino Sugar, Sears scoops and dumps load after load into a huge hopper to keep "the [raw] sugar flowing into the house" where it is processed. Because they're short-handed tonight, Sears is pulling a 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. shift—and is just one of 75 employees working the night shift at the Inner Harbor plant on any given evening.

As he drives the loader through mountains of sugar, a melted molasses syrupy scent coats the air and wafts beyond the...

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