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California county bans Happy Meal toys

AFP: California county bans fast-food toys to stem child obesity
SAN FRANCISCO — A California county is stopping restaurants from using toys to lure children to high-calorie, salt-laden food such as popular "Happy Meals" hawked by fast-food giant McDonald's. Elected officials in the county of Santa Clara, in the heart of technology center Silicon Valley south of San Francisco, voted Tuesday to enact the ban to fight an "obesity epidemic" sweeping California and the United States. "This ordinance prevents restaurants from preying on children's love of toys to peddle high-calorie, high-fat, high-sodium kids meals," said Ken Yeager, the county supervisor behind the ban. "This ordinance breaks the link between unhealthy food and prizes." County public health officials that spoke in support of the ban at a public meeting blamed fast-food for being a factor in soaring obesity rates threatening American children with diabetes and shortened life spans. "Obesity is literally an epidemic," county public health director Dan Peddycord said in remarks to the board of supervisors. "If food meals sold in restaurants contain too many calories, high fats, high sugars, high sodium and are attached to an incentive item like a toy, that is part of the environment we make our decision in."

April 29, 2010

Asian Americans in San Francisco feel they are being targeted by black youths

Asian American attacks focus at City Hall The police have responded by increasing foot patrols in the highlighted neighborhoods for the next month.
On March 22, Cheng was checking on her daughter who was late coming home on the bus. Standing on the Third and Oakdale Muni platform, she recalls being grabbed from behind, choked and thrown off the 5-foot-high metro stop and into the street. The impact knocked her unconscious, shattered some of her teeth and left her lying in the path of a bus. The attacker was identified as a 15-year-old African American boy who was charged with robbery. But he threw her to the ground for no apparent reason. Cheng was just one of the nearly 300 Asian Americans who showed up at City Hall to share story after story about being assaulted, robbed and intimidated. The two hours of testimony were tearful and angry. The need to share their stories was triggered by Cheng's experience; the January beating death of Huan Chen, 83, as he left a bus station at Third Street and Oakdale Avenue; and Tian Sheng Yu, who died after he was punched by an 18-year-old African American man in Oakland. The stories highlighted what will be a difficult conversation. The speakers said they felt they were being targeted by African American teenage boys. "I live in constant fear," Cheng wrote in her first interview, which was conducted over e-mail. "I am afraid to go out any more. I can't eat because I have no lower teeth. I have a big lump on the back of my head ... I walk with a limp and need help to move around. I am afraid I may lose my job. I came from China 20 years ago. I came because it offers its people freedom, freedom of speech, good education. How would I have imagined I would become a crime victim? I have lost confidence in America."

April 28, 2010

Runaway boy lived for days in Bed, Bath & Beyond

Runaway Boy Charged With Larceny - Detroit Local News Story - WDIV Detroit This is about three blocks from where I grew up.
Investigators said the boy ran away from home Sunday and walked into the store near Gratiot Avenue and 13 Mile Road just before closing. He went undetected for four nights as employees locked up the store for the night. Police said the boy found a blanket from a shelf to stay warm and then took shelter under a riser. Police said the boy would eat peanuts and food he found on the store's shelf and go to the bathroom in a pop bottle. "He knew how to survive whoever he was and God bless that he is home now," said a Bed Bath and Beyond shopper Friday. Police said the boy would leave in the morning and then return again at night until he was discovered by a clerk, who then called police.

After a very wet Winter Bay Area ends water rationing

EBMUD ends voluntary rationing
The East Bay Municipal Utility District cited a greater runoff last spring and strong conservation efforts by its 1.3 million customers in Alameda and Contra Costa counties in canceling a 15 percent mandatory rationing program last year. On Tuesday, it said the voluntary rationing effort was no longer needed. "For the time being, we are in great shape with our water supply, but looking far into the future as we must, there are many challenges remaining," said district board president Doug Linney. The district estimates that its reservoirs will be filled to their capacity of 600,000 acre-feet of water at the end of September. An acre-foot is about 326,000 gallons, enough to cover an acre in a foot of water. The East Bay district, along with the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission and the Marin Municipal Utility District, operate independent water systems that aren't tied into the State Water Project, the network of reservoirs, pumps and pipelines operated by the California Department of Water Resources.