- The Washington Times - Sunday, November 23, 2003

Tex-Mex eatery says it is safe

IMPERIAL, Pa. — A Chi-Chi’s executive said yesterday that the chain’s Mexican restaurants are safe and will rebound from a widespread outbreak of hepatitis A that federal officials have linked to green onions shipped from Mexico.

Three persons have died and nearly 600 have been sickened in the outbreak, traced to green onions in salsa and a cheese dip at a Chi-Chi’s restaurant at the Beaver Valley Mall, about 25 miles northwest of Pittsburgh. It is the nation’s biggest known outbreak of hepatitis A.

The restaurant chain filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Oct. 8, a move unrelated to the outbreak. On Friday, a bankruptcy judge gave limited approval to Chi-Chi’s plans to begin paying some expenses of those sickened in the outbreak — up to $20,000 per claim.

Lawmaker criticizes Bush over nuke project

LAS VEGAS — President Bush broke his campaign promise to Nevadans and rushed ahead with plans to develop a national nuclear waste repository in the state, the speaker of the Nevada Assembly said yesterday in the weekly Democratic radio address.

The decision by the Bush administration to move forward on the Yucca Mountain project has serious consequences not only for Nevada, but for the 38 million Americans who live within a mile of the nation’s highways and rail lines, Speaker Richard Perkins said.

Mr. Bush signed legislation last year designating Yucca Mountain, about 90 miles northwest of Las Vegas, as the nation’s sole nuclear waste repository. The plan is to transport 77,000 tons of high-level nuclear waste through 43 states to the underground repository beginning in 2010.

Mr. Perkins said Mr. Bush reneged on his promise during the 2000 campaign that he would rely on “sound science” to make a decision.

442 foster children adopted in one day

NEW YORK — Adoptions of 442 foster-care children were finalized here yesterday, the city’s largest single-day total, as part of a nationwide initiative aimed at encouraging adoption. National Adoption Day, in its third year, was designed to help draw attention to the estimated 126,000 foster-care children awaiting adoption.

Across the country, more than 3,100 adoptions were expected to be completed yesterday, more than double the 1,350 finalized last year. New York will have the most, with more than 600 adoptions statewide.

Aside from the formal adoptions, other adoption-related events are taking place throughout the United States, including an “adoption hoedown” in Arkansas, aimed at reaching out to those considering adoption.

Student suspended over supposed ‘hit list’

PENSACOLA, Fla. — A seventh-grader who compiled what officials call a “hit list” of students and faculty members he wanted dead has been indefinitely suspended from school. No charges were filed because there was no direct threat on the list, but an investigation is continuing into the unidentified student, said Norm Ross, Escambia County’s deputy superintendent of schools.

Mr. Ross said officials could decide by Monday whether to recommend the student be expelled. A student and a parent on Wednesday reported the incident at Bellview Middle School to a sheriff’s deputy at the suburban Pensacola school.

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