With no help from the state of Illinois or the federal government in sight, a teacher at the Round Lake (Ill.) School District near Chicago took an unusual approach to fundraising: Kim Kearby mailed hundreds of letters to heads of state and embassies in Washington, soliciting aid for his 6,000-student district. Schools there have had programs cut, he said, and teacher salaries have fallen. Will British Prime Minister Tony Blair send money to help bail out the district? How about Italy's Silvio Berlusconi? That remains to be seen. But, said Kearby, "I decided to think a little out of the box."


In Topeka, Kansas, police officer Jason Cooper happened to be nearby when a man tried to cash a stolen check, and made the arrest. Now, imagine Cooper's surprise when he found the check was, in fact, his own. His checkbook was among items taken when his car was burglarized a month before.

Utah workplaces are the most smoke-free in the US

Almost 70 percent of employees in the US worked for companies that had no-smoking policies in 1999, up from 46 percent in 1993, according to results of a new a National Cancer Institute study. Only 3 percent of workplaces were smoke-free 15 years ago. Workers in the Midwest and South, where most US tobacco is grown, reported the fewest smokeless workplaces, while those in the Northeast and West had the most. States with the greatest percentage of workplaces that are smoke-free, according to the study (1993 figures in parenthesis):

1. Utah (64.3%) 83.9%

2. Maryland (52%) 81.2%

3. California (57.4%) 76.9%

4. Massachusetts (47.7%) 76.8%

5. Vermont (57.6%) 76.6%

6. Maine (54.6%) 74.9%

7. Washington DC (51%) 74.2%

8. New Hampshire (52.1%) 74.2%

9. Minnesota (54.2%) 73.9%

10. Connecticut (47.5%) 73.7%

- Associated Press

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