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Health and safety

911 Calls

(before 2003)

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People can call 911 when they need help. The police will come quickly. This phone number should be used only
in an emergency.

There have been some problems with people using the 911 phone number. More than half of the calls made to
it are accidental. These accidental calls are not real emergencies.

Calling 911 when you do not need it can be very bad. It wastes the time of the people answering the calls. It
can even force someone who has a real emergency to wait before getting the help they need.

Many accidental 911 calls come from cell phones. Keys are sometimes pushed and the call goes through without
the owner of the phone knowing that he has called in an emergency. A group of people is trying to find a way to
fix this problem.

One area is trying a new program that might help solve the problem of accidental 911 calls. This program will
make callers of 911 calls push another key on the phone if it is a real emergency. People hope that change will
reduce the number of accidental 911 calls going through.

A Disease Caused by Sex

(before 2003)

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When people have sex together, they can share things. The fluids from the body can pass from one person to
the other. These fluids can contain different things.

Some things that can be shared are germs. Some germs can cause disease and make people sick. These germs
can turn into an infection. They can cause a lot of problems for men and women for a long time.

A government person says that a certain kind of germ is being spread very quickly. It is an infection that can
cause a person to have health problems later in their life. The government wants to warn people about it.

A lot of young people are found to have this infection. Many of these people are young women. The government
wants to tell these women about the disease.

The government will test people for this disease. They will do it so no one else finds out. They will tell people
how to get rid of the disease. They will also tell them how to avoid getting it.

(before 2003)

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AIDS is a disease that kills people. It is caused by a germ. It is spread by sharing drug needles or having sex.
All people are at risk. A person with AIDS can get sick in different ways. Half of the people who have gotten
AIDS have died. There is no cure, but you can protect yourself from getting the disease.

You can avoid AIDS by knowing your sex partner well. Talk to them about it and ask them personal questions
about themselves. Do not have sex with a person who has had the virus or used needles for drugs. Sex is safest
if you and your partner are AIDS-free and only have sex with each other. Always use proper protection during

Another way to avoid AIDS is to never share needles. If you must share, always clean the needle and the
syringe to kill the AIDS virus. Doing without drugs will lower your risk of getting AIDS.

AIDS is not spread by everyday contact. You do not get AIDS from food, sneezing, telephones, social kissing,
toilets, hugging, swimming pools or giving blood.

Air Rage
(before 2003)

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People that work for airlines say that air rage is a growing problem. Air rage is when a passenger on a plane
gets mad and starts acting badly. This is a problem that needs to be fixed for the safety of everyone on the

Sometimes angry passengers yell at the flight attendants. Flight attendants have had food thrown at them.
Some of them have even been grabbed and hit.

It can be dangerous to have a passenger that is out-of-control on a plane. The safety of the workers and
passengers can be in jeopardy. Airline workers want something to be done to protect everyone.

Workers want the airlines to train them better to deal with angry passengers. They also want to have
equipment available to restrain abusive passengers. They hope that these things could help protect themselves
and everyone on the plane.

Punishment for acting badly on a plane is getting stricter. People that assault an airline worker will be fined a lot
of money. They can even be put in prison for up to 20 years.

Alzheimer's Disease
(before 2003)

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Diseases can cause many problems. Alzheimer's disease makes people have problems with their thinking. Even
easy tasks are hard to do.

A German doctor discovered the disease in 1907. Back then, it was considered a rare disease. Today, it is
known to be more common.

Alzheimer's disease attacks the brain. It slowly destroys a person's memory. It changes their thinking and the
way they act. About 4 million American adults have this disease.

At times, a person with this disease can become confused. They can have a hard time trying to talk. Sometimes
they forget where they are. Sometimes they do not remember their own family. Eventually, people who have
this disease can no longer take care of themselves.

Alzheimer's disease cannot be cured, but it can get better with treatment. It is important to see a special doctor
if you have this disease.

Baby Born at Train Station - Sisters Follow at Hospital


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One day a woman was waiting for a train at the train station. She was pregnant with triplets and was on her
way to her doctor’s office. As she walked up the stairwell, she felt the first contractions start. She knew she was
going to have the baby there. She could not wait for the train to take her to her doctor’s office.

A history teacher also happened to be at the train station. He rushed over to help her. He took off his shirt and
caught the first baby as it was born. He used his shirt to wrap up the baby. The baby was a very tiny baby girl.
She only weighed three pounds.

The man called the paramedics to come help the woman and take her to a hospital so that she could deliver the
other two babies with the help of doctors and nurses.

When paramedics arrived, they rushed the baby to an Oakland hospital. They put the mother in another
ambulance and took her to a different hospital so that she could deliver the other babies. The doctors delivered
the babies by doing surgery on the mother. The other two babies were also little girls.

The babies were too young to be able to swallow their food, so doctors and nurses were feeding them through a
special tube. The impatient babies and their mother are all doing well.

Body Scan
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Sometimes it takes many years for diseases to be found. Now there is a way to look for them before someone is
feeling sick. Some illnesses can be found and treated very early by having a body scan.

Body scans allow doctors to look into a person’s body. They can see bones, tissue, and blood vessels. By
looking into a person’s body like this doctors can sometimes see how healthy a person is.

People that have a family history of illness might want to have a body scan. Others that are young and healthy
would probably not need one. Some people have body scans because it makes them feel more secure.

Many doctors do not think everyone should have body scans. Body scans are expensive. They are often not
necessary. Sometimes body scans can be wrong. When this happens it can cause a lot of unnecessary worry.

Body scans can be very useful to doctors and patients. They can help find diseases at early stages. If diseases
are found early they can be treated more easily. It would be a good idea to talk to a doctor before spending
money on one.

Boy Falls From Ride

(before 2003)

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A boy fell from a ride at an amusement park. He was nine years old. He was hurt.

People who saw it happen said the boy flew out of the car. Somehow he slipped under the safety bar. He landed
in some bushes.

The boy got some cuts and bruises. He was taken to the hospital. Doctors kept him there for a couple of days to
make sure he was okay.

Workers at the amusement park were shocked. They did not know how the boy slipped out. They could not find
any problems with the ride.

People from a television station talked to parents that were leaving the park. Most of them said that workers at
the park tried very hard to make things safe. They do not know how this could have happened.

Burning Wood Bad for the Air


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A panel of government officials is worried. The air quality in some areas is not good. The air is polluted with
soot. The officials worry that the air is harmful to the people who breathe the air. They are experts. They study
the environment. They discuss ways to stop the air pollution. The panel decided to make some changes to the

The new plan places strict limits on how much soot can be released into the air. Now, a measurement of 65
parts of soot is considered safe. The new plan would reduce that number to 30. The daily limit of pollution in the
air would be cut in half.

These new standards would affect industry. The limits would also affect people who own wood stoves and
fireplaces. The county will keep track of the air quality every day. People would be required to stop burning
wood when the levels are high. They could also install a kind of special fireplace. These fireplaces burn very
little wood. They do not pollute the air as much. Some counties will punish families who violate the ban. They
will have to pay a fine for not complying with the law.

Some states do not have much industry. Their pollution problem is not too bad. They would still have to
regulate how much pollution is released into the air. The experts hope that this ban will help keep the air

Before the plan becomes a law the public will have a chance to comment on it. Citizens will have ninety days to
ask questions and voice concerns about the plan. Then it will become a law.

California Toxic Spill

(before 2003)

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Scientists have been watching chemicals float down the Sacramento River. The spill is 13 miles long. It is
heading for Shasta Lake.

They think it will take 45 days for the chemicals to get to the dam. The water in the lake is for drinking and
farming. The water with the chemicals in it has killed many fish. It would be very bad for humans to drink.

Some people who live by the river were not told about the chemical spill. They wanted to know why the spill
was not stopped before it reached the lake.

Another man wanted to know if the chemicals would cause health problems. The government said that the
chemicals that spilled into the water did not harm people right away. This spill may change the way chemicals
are checked for safety from now on.

The river is one of California's best places to fish. It may be a while before people come back to fish. It will take
a long time for the chemicals to go away.

Californians Want to Fight Global Warming


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Many people who live in California are very concerned about the earth. They are worried that the earth is
warming too much. They believe that living things on the earth will be affected by the warming. Most
Californian's think that the state should investigate the problem.

A survey was taken in California. The questions that were asked were about global warming. The results of the
survey were very interesting. They showed that most people in California are very concerned about global

The survey showed that over half of the people who live in California want the state to work on the global
warming. Last year not as many people felt that way. People think the problem is getting worse.

Another poll showed that many people are not happy with the federal government. They do not like the way
global warming is being handled. Only a few people asked think that the federal government is doing a good job
with this issue.

One man said that Californians are feeling worse, not better. They are more concerned today than they ever
have been about global warming. Many of them want the state of California to deal with the problem instead of
waiting for the federal government to do something.

The people do not want to wait. They want the state to start working on the problem immediately.

Cancer Center Announces Expansion


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Cancer is a serious disease. Adults and children can get cancer. The cancer center treats many patients each
year. More and more people in California need cancer treatment. Scientists are trying to find new ways to treat
cancer. They also want to help cancer patients learn about the disease.

A cancer center in Davis wants to expand. The center wants to offer treatment and research to patients. It also
wants to add a special hospital. This special hospital is for children with cancer. More space is needed. More
money is needed, too.

A woman lost her son to cancer. He was only five years old when he died. She wants to do something to help
other children with cancer. She wants more research to be done so other children won’t get sick. One thing she
can do is donate money to the cancer center. She donated a large sum of money to help treat children with

It will be an expensive project. The woman’s donation will help, but much more money is needed. A local
university will provide some of the money. The rest of the money will be donated by local people. They expect
that it will take two years to raise the rest of the needed funds.

Cell Phone Safety

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Many people are wondering if it is safe to talk on the phone while driving. There have been quite a few
accidents while drivers were talking on the phone. Some research is being done to find out if driving while
talking on the phone is dangerous.

When there is a car accident police officers will find out if any of the drivers were using a cell phone. They will
write this information in a report. The information will be saved and later studied.

There have been some very bad car accidents caused by drivers being distracted by cell phones. Drivers
sometimes forget to watch the road carefully when they are using their phones. Not paying attention to the
road can dangerous, even deadly.

It is important for drivers to focus on the road. They need to pay attention to what is going on around them.
They might need to stop or swerve quickly.

People want to make sure that the roads are safe for everyone. Studies will be done using the information
police officers collect at accidents. Maybe someday this information will lead to laws about driving and using cell

Child Safety Seats


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The California Highway Patrol, people who work at a medical center, and a local news station had a special
program early one morning. They organized a demonstration in a big parking lot. They showed parents and
grandparents how to keep children safe while riding in a car. They showed people how to use children's car

The officers and medical experts showed adults how to properly place a car safety seat in an automobile. A
safety seat must be tightly fastened so that it will not move. They gave demonstrations on how to place a child
in a safety seat and to use a car's seat belt to lock down a safety seat. The straps of a safety seat must be
secure at the shoulder of a child. That way the seat is safe and effective.

People drove in their own cars to the demonstration. They brought their children with them along with their car
seats. The experts showed them how to position their car seats properly. The experts also looked at the seats
that the parents were using. The parents were told whether their child's seat was safe. The experts looked at
the seat to make sure it was not damaged or broken. They also checked to make sure it was not recalled.

Most of the problems that the experts found were resolved. The biggest problem was that the seats were too
loose or the straps were too low for the children. The parents were given new seats if their child's seat was
damaged or unsafe.

It is a law in California that all children must be in a safety seat or booster seat when they are in a car. A child
must be in a safety seat until they are 6 years old or weigh at least 60 pounds. A child can ride in a car with a
regular seat belt after they become 7 years old or weigh more than 60 pounds.

Car booster seats have to be used with a car's lap and shoulder belt. A booster seat raises a child so that the
vehicle's seat belt can be used correctly.

An adult driving with a child in the car without a safety seat will be fined. They will have to pay a ticket and they
will have a mark on their driving record called a point. If a person receives too many points on their driving
record they can lose their privilege to drive.

Company Offers Eye Care to Hurricane Victims

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A business is giving a big gift to people who lost their homes after Hurricane Katrina. The company is called
VSP, and will give hurricane victims $15 million worth of free eye care services.

Roger Valine is the man who runs VSP. He thought many people who lived where the hurricane hit had lost their
glasses in the rush to leave their flooded homes. "It made me think, what can we do?" said Valine.

Roger Valine quickly came up with a plan. The company has already given out 23,000 certificates for free eye
exams and glasses. That is about half of what VSP plans to give.

VSP is the largest eye care company in the country. The people who work there are not surprised that VSP
wants to help these victims. They say it is a nice place to work.

The victims who are being helped by VSP are very grateful. One school nurse says that with VSP’s help, two
children have gotten glasses that they need. Many people are being helped by this company.

County Gets Ready for Emergency


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San Joaquin County has flooded in the past. The people there know it could happen again. A person who works
for the county says they are ready for the worst to happen. His name is Ron Baldwin. He is in charge of
emergencies when they happen. He said that good organization is needed during a flood.

Stockton had a very bad flood a long time ago. Manteca had a flood emergency a few years ago. They are both
towns in San Joaquin County. Mr. Baldwin is not worried if there is another flood. He thinks everything will be
alright as long as everyone does a good job.

Mr. Baldwin believes the way California handles disasters is a good one. He also thinks it is up to local agencies
to find out what is needed. They have to tell the state what supplies are necessary. They need tell the state
where to send the supplies.

People need to know when there is an emergency. They need to be warned. People can be given warnings over
the radio. They are also warned over the television.

Mr. Baldwin also said more work needs to be done in an emergency. One thing he is worried about is how to
evacuate people from towns. People need to know where to go if they have to leave their homes. If people need
to relocate there is no plan in place. There are warehouses that might be available. The state fairgrounds are
another place for people to go.

He is going to try very hard to make a plan that works well.

Disabled Parking Signs Abused


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Some disabled people have a special card they use when they park their car. These are called disabled placards.
They are removable signs that can be hung from the rearview mirror of a car. These placards are only supposed
to be for disabled people.

These placards are meant to help disabled people in a number of ways. They allow the person to park in special
parking spaces. They can also be used when dropping-off or picking-up a disabled person. A disabled person
can even use it to park without having to put money into meters.

Parking officials think that some people are cheating. Not all people who have these placards are disabled.
Today, one in sixteen drivers in California carries the sign.

There are a lot more people who have disabled placards today than ten years ago. A person from the DMV says
that there are many reasons for the increase in numbers. As people get older they may have a reason to
receive one. There are also more reasons that allow drivers to have one today. Finally, there are a number of
people who have them that should not.

Last year the DMV cancelled more than 25,000 permits. They found that lots of people who had the disabled
placards had died. These permits are no longer valid.

Some people are worried about the system being abused. They are worried that access to the program could be
limited because of misuse by others. More rules could make it harder for truly disabled people to get disabled

Disc Jockey Threatens Lives

(before 2003)

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Many people listen to a specific radio station. One morning listeners heard more than just music. They heard
the disc jockey threaten himself and others.

People who work at the radio station called the police. They got worried when they heard the disc jockey talking
about a fight he had with his wife. He was talking about it while he was on the air.

The police wanted to calm the man down. They needed to be very careful. The man's young son was in the

Officers talked to the man. He quickly walked out of his booth. He was taken to the police station.

Nobody was hurt. The little boy was fine. People just got worried and wanted to make sure everyone would stay

Drivers Caught Running Red Lights


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A red traffic light means stop. Many people in one city often do not stop at red lights. Police there pulled over
50 drivers one afternoon for red light violations. They gave these drivers tickets. These tickets can cost a
person up to $338.

Lots of people slow down instead of coming to a complete stop at red lights. Some people call this a California
or Hollywood stop. Those kinds of stops are against the law. The law states that you must come to a complete
stop at a stop sign or red light.

Police hope that by giving drivers tickets it will help them remember to stop at red lights. Cameras were also
placed at 11 intersections to photograph red light violators. This will help catch people who fail to stop at red
lights. If they are caught not stopping at a red light, a picture is taken and a ticket is mailed to their home.

Earthquake Could be Worse than Hurricane


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Experts know that a disaster is coming but they do not know when it will happen. They do know that it could
cause a lot of damage. They think it will be worse than a hurricane. The disaster they are worried about is an

There is a break in the earth's crust. It is called the San Andreas Fault. The San Andreas Fault is in California.
Many earthquakes happen along the San Andreas Fault. In 1989 there was a big earthquake on the fault. The
earthquake was called the "Loma Prieta Earthquake." Many people were hurt or died. Many buildings were
ruined. Lots of people lost their homes. Roads and bridges were also damaged.

A large earthquake could happen in Southern California. Many small earthquakes have happened in the last
year. Earthquake experts think that a large earthquake will happen there soon. They think a big earthquake will
happen in the next few years.

The San Andreas Fault has many power lines stretched across it. There are water channels close to the
earthquake fault. A large earthquake in Southern California would destroy energy and water supplies. Lots of
people would be without power or water for weeks. Buildings that have not been built strong enough would be
destroyed. Not all hospitals would be able to help people who were injured. Many people would die or be

People need to be prepared. They need to know what to do if an earthquake happens. Everyone in California
should have a survival kit at home. The emergency kit would include food and water. There should be
medication and first aid supplies in the kit. A good survival kit will also have a portable radio, flashlights and
spare batteries. All of the supplies in the kit should last at least 3 days.

Earthquake Exhibit at Now Open at State Capitol


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One hundred years ago a tragedy happened in San Francisco. A huge earthquake damaged much of the city.
Then a big fire swept through the city. Many buildings burned down. Hundreds of people were killed.

Thousands of people lost their homes. They had to leave the city. They went to another large town. The town
welcomed them and gave them shelter. The refugees stayed at rail yards. Special centers were set up to help
the people. Trains delivered supplies to the damaged city. These supplies helped the survivors of the

A museum about the disaster is open at the State Capitol. Visitors can see many artifacts. They can also watch
a movie about the earthquake. Accounts of the disaster will also be told. The museum will stay open for one

The people who set up the display say they want to help people remember the earthquake. They also want
people to know that it could happen again. Scientists say another large quake will happen near San Francisco.
They do not know when.

Energy Changes in California?


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Almost twenty years ago the people of California took a vote. They voted to close their nuclear power plant.
Today there is a group that thinks nuclear energy is a wonderful thing. They want to build a new one. They
want to build this one in a different area of California.

There is a man leading the nuclear energy group. He says that a new nuclear power plant would be good. He
thinks that the people would benefit by having one. Other people agree with him. They say that Californians
should think about using nuclear energy. They believe that it is a clean alternative to using fossil fuels.

Maybe California should be looking for other ways of producing energy. Some groups do not think that nuclear
energy is the way to go. Others think it is a good idea.

Trying to use nuclear power in California could be difficult. Right now laws say that new nuclear power facilities
can not be built. The federal government will first have to build a place to store spent fuel rods. A man who
works for the government is trying to get that changed. He thinks California should give nuclear power another

Fire in Colorado
(before 2003)

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Firefighters have had a hard time putting out a big fire near Boulder, Colorado.

It took firefighters a long time to control the fire. It was very windy. One firefighter said that the winds can blow
the fire out of the area very easily.

The fire destroyed 65 homes. During the worst part of the fire, people were asked to leave their homes. Police
were worried that the empty homes might be looted. They checked every car going in and out of the fire area.

One family returned to their home to find that only a small part of it had been hurt by the blaze. They felt very
lucky to be able to repair the damage. The fire had come so close to their house that the girl had to run out
with only her teddy bear.

Another family lost only their outdoor toilet. Their cabin had no indoor plumbing so their outhouse was in the
yard. They were thankful their home was not burned down.

Fireplace Users Could Get Fined


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Many people use wood stoves and fireplaces to heat their homes. Scientists have become worried about the
smoke that they give off. Harmful chemicals are in the smoke. The smoke is causing air pollution. The pieces of
pollution, called soot, are floating in the air. They are too tiny to see. Scientists must use a microscope to see

Small amounts of soot are safe, but large amounts can be dangerous. The government wants to limit this kind
of pollution. It may stop people from using their fireplaces.

The air is tested every day. When soot levels are high, more than 65 micrograms of soot per cubic meter,
factories must stop making smoke. The government thinks that limit should be much lower.

Factories produce the most smoke and soot. But the government thinks that all types of burning should be
limited. The soot levels from factories and homes could be limited. Home owners may have to install new wood
stoves that they comply with the new law. Or, they may not be able to burn on days when the air quality is bad.

Residents of some towns are fined if they violate the burning ban. Scientists hope these new regulations will
make the air cleaner and less harmful to breathe.

Free Gun Locks

(before 2003)

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A man from a church wants to help save lives. He learned that many young people were using guns. He was

Some kids hurt people with guns. Other kids injure themselves with guns. Guns can be very dangerous.

This man got an idea. He thought gun locks could help keep people safe. He wanted to give people gun locks.

A store agreed to sell the locks to him at a good price. He bought the gun locks. He will give them to people in
his church.

Another man was offering a class. This class will help parents and children. The class teaches people how to use
and care for a firearm.

Girl Dies
(before 2003)

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Some people had a party. A little girl was missing. Many people looked for her.

The little girl was found. She was dead. Someone found her in the swimming pool.

Police officers want to talk to everyone who was at the party. They hope to find more clues. They need to know
what happened.

The girl's body was examined. The person who examined her stated that she did not drown. She was

Police are not saying much to the public. They have not named anyone as a suspect. They need to find out
more about what happened the day of the party.

Governor Wants Kids to Eat Healthy


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Many people are concerned about the health of children in this country. One big problem is that children are
becoming more overweight. Being overweight is a problem that costs money. People are less productive when
they weigh too much. They also have more health issues when they are overweight.

One thing that makes people overweight is eating too much junk food. Chips, candy and sugary snacks are
called junk food. Junk food is not healthy for people. It can make them overweight. Most junk food contains too
much fat and sugar. When children have too much fat and sugar in their diets, they can become overweight or
even obese.
Teenagers and children eat a lot of junk food. Some studies say that teenagers drink soda every day and eat
too much fast food. They also eat a lot of junk food.

The governor of California wants children to be healthier. He held a special summit meeting to talk about the
problem. He invited several other health groups, as well as children. He talked to the children about staying
healthy. He asked them to exercise more and to stay away from junk food. The governor also took a walk with
the children. We wanted to show them that exercise can be fun. He asked the students for a commitment to
stay healthy.

The governor also signed a new law. It limits the sale of junk food and soda in school cafeterias. Lawmakers
hope that this new law will stop children from eating so much junk food. They hope this will help make children
healthier in the state.

Growers Announce New Food Safety

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In September 2006 many people became sick all around the United States. Doctors were very puzzled. The
doctors thought that the people had all gotten stomach flu. Then they discovered it was something worse. The
doctors and health officials discovered that all of the people ate fresh spinach around the same time. The
spinach that was eaten was not good. It had a bacteria on it or in it called "E. coli".

The E. coli bacteria causes lots of health problems. If a plant is near contaminated water it can become infected
with E. coli. There are other ways E. coli can get on or into fruits and vegetables. When someone gets E. coli
their symptoms are very similar to the flu. Most healthy adults can recover from it. Some people can get very
sick and die from it.

About 166 people in 25 states got sick from the bacteria that was in fresh spinach. Many of them had to go to
the hospital because they were so sick. One person did not recover and died.

The Food and Drug Administration investigated the problem. They wanted to make sure that no one was
tampering with food and making people sick on purpose. They found that there was probably a problem with
the way growers handled the food. They did not think there was any tampering.

People were told not to eat fresh or bagged spinach while the FDA was investigating. Washing the produce will
not solve the problem.They told grocery stores to throw the spinach away and not sell it. Many companies who
process spinach had to throw what they had away so that no more people would get sick. Frozen and canned
spinach were safe. The bacteria can not live if it is frozen or cooked at a very high heat in a can.

It is not known where exactly the outbreak started. Other outbreaks were caused by water that was
contaminated by cow waste and other things. The state of California is trying to figure out where the problem
started. Knowing where the spinach came from helps investigators figure out how it became contaminated.

The Food and Drug Administration said that it warned California farmers to do more to make sure their spinach
and lettuce was safe to eat. Since 1995 there have been 20 cases of spinach or lettuce contaminated with E.

Food growers in California and other states wanted to prevent this from happening again. They put together
new guidelines for produce growers. The guidelines are like rules that produce growers should follow when
planting, picking, and packaging food. The plan is designed to protect food from E. coli so that people do not get
sick again.

Gun Control
(before 2003)

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Anyone who wants to buy a gun in California will have to wait for 2 weeks. Four people waited 15 days to buy
guns. Then they robbed a store and shot 3 people.

Congress is now trying to pass a law that will make everyone wait to buy a gun. Many people do not want this
law. Others are glad it might happen.

California has one of the longest waiting times for someone to buy a gun. A gun dealer said that this waiting
time does not seem to do much good. He has not seen crime go away because of it.

One good thing that has happened with the waiting time to buy a gun is lower suicide rates. A lot of suicides are
with a gun. In California, there are fewer suicides by gun than other places.

One reason to make people wait to buy a gun is to make sure the guns are not sold to criminals. Last year, this
check stopped 2,400 guns from being sold to criminals. This check does not stop anyone else from buying a

Many criminals buy guns on the street and not in a store. Some people think that a law like this will not do any
good. But other people think that if only one person is stopped from getting a gun, then this law is worth it.

Health Insurance
(before 2003)

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the "NEXT" button.

The purpose of health insurance is to help you plan for unexpected, costly emergencies. If you get sick or
injured, you need health insurance so the doctors can help you.

Medical insurance can be very expensive. The cost for this kind of insurance is going up. Like most people, you
may not be able to afford all of the insurance you might need.

Many people think that if you could only afford one kind of insurance, you should buy health insurance. If you
can afford only a small amount of health insurance, it is best to insure yourself against the big unexpected costs
and pay the smaller common bills yourself.

There are different kinds of insurance you can get. Hospital Expense insurance will pay for any costs you get
while having to be in a hospital. Surgical Expense insurance will pay for the doctor to operate on you. Regular
Medical insurance will pay for any non-surgical treatment. Disability Income insurance will help pay for living
expenses if you are sick and cannot work.

Healthy Baby
(before 2003)

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In order to have a healthy baby, it is best not to do certain things while pregnant. The most common reason
that babies have problems when they are born is because the mother took drugs or drank alcohol while

Any food she eats, any liquid she drinks, and any drug she takes passes through the mother's body and into the
unborn baby. There is nothing that stops the baby from getting whatever the mother has in her body.

There is no safe amount of alcohol or drugs a pregnant woman can take. Doctors do not know how any baby
will react to the alcohol or drugs in the mother's body. The best advice it is to not use any alcohol or drugs
while pregnant.

There is no safe time to take any drugs or alcohol during pregnancy. If a woman discovers she is pregnant, she
should stop smoking or using drugs and alcohol immediately. The sooner the woman stops taking them, the
better chance the baby has to be born healthy.

After the baby is born, it is important for the mother to not take drugs or alcohol if she is breast feeding her
child. Any drug or alcohol can be passed on to the baby through the mother's milk.

It is best if you eat healthy foods, get plenty of sleep, and see a doctor regularly if you are pregnant.

Healthy Families
(before 2003)

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the "NEXT" button.

Health insurance can be very expensive. Some working people do not make enough money to pay for it. The
state started a program called Healthy Families. This program offers people health insurance at a low cost.

Families are charged about $7.00 a month per child for this health insurance. This is much less money than
buying insurance any other way. Having health insurance is very important. With insurance people can see a
doctor when they are sick or hurt.

The cost of this program is low. Many people are still not enrolling in it. People say that it still costs too much
money. They need all of their money for things like food and rent.

It would be great if everyone could have health insurance. People are working hard to come up with ways to
make this to happen. One idea is to make the Healthy Families Program free for some people.

It is important for people to see a doctor when they need to. The Healthy Families Program makes it possible
for more people to do this. Many ideas are being considered. Hopefully some of them will allow even more
families to get health insurance.

Home Fire
(before 2003)

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the "NEXT" button.

There was a fire that burned a house down. The local police are trying to find out how it started. There was a
man and three children who are missing.

No one knows what happened to them. When the police first looked at the burned home, they did not see any
bodies. They were not sure if the people were killed by the fire.

A home fire can be very dangerous. Many things can start a fire in the home. It is important that a home is
clean and safe so fires will not be started.

The mother of the missing children could not find them. She did not know if they were in the home before it
burned. She has not seen the father or her children since the fire.

The police are not sure how the fire started. Some people start fires on purpose. There is nothing that shows
that the fire was started on purpose but the police want to make sure.

Ice Cream Vendors Cannot Sell Toys


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People who sell ice cream from trucks will not be allowed to sell anything else in one city. They will also not be
able to sell ice cream after dark.

A new law was passed because people were angry that some of the ice cream trucks were selling toy guns that
looked real. Some children bought the toy guns and took them to school. One child got in trouble and could not
go back to school for a few days.

The mother of one child was very angry about the toy guns. She wanted a new law to stop the sale of toy guns
from ice cream trucks. She thinks the new law will stop the owners from selling these kinds of things.

The new law also makes the owners of the ice cream trucks fix bad paint on the trucks. Also, if the truck plays
music, the owner will have to pay a fee.

Owners will have to obey the new law in one month.

Keep Kids Safe

(before 2003)

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the "NEXT" button.

The curiosity that helps children develop also puts them at risk of injury. The good news is that most childhood
injuries are preventable with proper precautions.

Be safe by doing the following:

From the day you bring your child home from the hospital, he or she must always be secured as a passenger in
a car. Set a good example for your children by buckling up yourself!

Put smoke detectors on every level of your home and in the hallway outside bedrooms. Make sure your kids
know what the sound of a smoke detector means and what they should do in case of a fire.

Whenever possible, cook on rear stove burners and turn pan handles inward on the stove. Be sure to keep hot
foods and liquids out of reach and away from the edge of the table and counter.

Swimming pools are the most common site of childhood drownings, but smaller bodies of water such as
bathtubs, buckets, basins and toilets also present a safety hazard. Provide constant adult supervision for
children playing in or near water.

Research shows that childhood poisonings most often occur in the kitchen and bathroom areas. Store all
medicines, cleaning substances and other poisons well out of children's reach or in a locked cabinet.

A bicycle helmet should be worn every time a child rides a bike, or rides as a passenger on an adult bike.

Crib slats should be no more than 2 3/8 inches apart to prevent the baby's head from getting caught between
the bars. Make sure the crib has no corner posts. Posts can catch clothing and cause strangulation.

Kid Safety
(before 2003)

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Children are curious. Sometimes, they are too curious! This can lead to injuries. Many childhood injuries can be
avoided if adults are careful and know how to keep kids safe.
Here are some important things to know about safety:

Always make sure children are safe in a car by having them ride in a car seat. Older children should always
wear a seatbelt when they are a passenger. Be a good example to your child by always wearing your seatbelt.

Install smoke detectors in your home. Put them in the hallway outside of bedrooms and on each floor. Smoke
detectors make a loud noise if smoke is present in the air. Make sure your children know what the sound
means. Talk to them about what to do in case of a fire.

Burns can occur in the kitchen. Whenever you can, cook on the back burners of your stove. Turn the handles in
toward the wall. Always keep hot liquids away from the edge of the stove or table.

Swimming pools are a common site of childhood drownings. However, children can drown in much smaller
bodies of water, such as bathtubs, buckets, basins and toilets. All of these can be a safety hazard. Adults must
always watch carefully when children are playing in or near the water.

Many people keep chemicals, cleaners and medicines in the kitchen and bathroom. Cleaners and medicines
should be stored in a safe, locked place so that children cannot reach them.

Kids love to ride bikes, but they should always wear a helmet. Small children should wear helmets if they ride
on the back of an adult’s bicycle. If they fall, a helmet will help protect their brain.

It is also important to make sure babies are safe when they are sleeping. Babies can get their heads stuck in
the slats of a crib. This could cause an injury to the baby’s head and neck. To be safe, make sure the slats on a
baby’s crib are less than 2 3/8 inches apart.

Safety is important. Knowing how to keep children safe in your home is a great way to show kids how much you
care about them.

Kidnapping Alert
(before 2003)

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the "NEXT" button.

Sometimes children are kidnapped. Kidnapping is like stealing a child. It is important that kidnapped children
are found and brought home as soon as possible.

The sooner the public knows about a kidnapping the sooner they might be able to help. Some people decided to
start a program that would alert the public about kidnappings right away. This program is called Care Alert.

The Care Alert program gives television and radio stations important information about a recently kidnapped
child. These stations will then tell the public what happened in hopes that someone might be able to help.
Anyone that may have seen something about the kidnapping could then call the police.

Sometimes one parent of a child kidnaps his or her own child. These kidnappings are not usually used in the
Care Alert program. The Care Alert program is only used when a stranger has taken a child.

When a child is kidnapped he is in a lot of danger. It is very important to find him as soon as possible. It is
hoped that this new Care Alert program will save children’s lives.

Lawmakers Pass a Drug Bill


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The state Senate approved a bill for the governor to sign on Thursday. The creators of the bill want to stop
student athletes from using drugs.

The bill is called Senate Bill 37. It was introduced last year by a senator from San Francisco. If the governor
signs the bill, it becomes a law. The new law would make student athletes sign a promise. The students would
promise not to use drugs called steroids.

Steroids make some athletes faster and stronger. But, they are bad for the body. Part of the bill requires that
high school coaches be trained. Coaches and their athletes would be taught about the dangers of steroids.

A bill similar to Senate Bill 37 was sent to the governor last year. The governor did not sign the other bill.

Many high schools are in favor of the bill. They are teaching their coaches about drugs. Their students have to
sign an agreement not to use drugs.

An agency in charge of the rules for high school sports is also in favor of the bill. They think many students use
steroids. The agency has told high schools to do what the bill says by 2008.

Sheldon High School began to teach athletes and coaches about drugs. The high school also requires signed
promises from players. The players must promise not to take drugs. The Sheldon High football coach thinks the
bill is a good idea for the athletes.

Many other high schools are doing the same thing. They want to raise awareness about steriods. If athletes
learn about the drugs, they will know that they are bad for their bodies. People hope that this bill will help end
drug use.

Lawmakers Want to Ban Cell Phones


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People of California are arguing whether or not it should be legal to use handheld cell phones while driving.
Some people think it should be okay. Other people do not think it is safe.

One man is trying for a law that would only allow drivers to use hands-free cell phones while driving. He thinks
that the bill could save lives. Similar bills have been introduced in the past. They have never passed.

Other people do not think the bill should pass. They say that studies have not proven that hands-free cell
phones make driving safer. They think that drivers can become distracted by other things too. Having pets in
the car, putting makeup on, or brushing your hair can be distractions also.

The proposed bill would fine people $20 the first time they are caught talking on their handheld cell phone while
driving. They would be fined $50 every time they are caught after that.

Man Coughs Up Nail


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In 1970, a man was mowing his lawn. He felt a pain in his throat. He saw a little bit of blood. The man said that
he was not too worried, but a few hours later it really started to hurt.

The next day, the man said that it felt like he had a hot knife cutting him when he coughed. He also had a high
fever. His family rushed him to the hospital. The doctors found a small nail that had embedded itself in the
man’s rib cage.

Doctors gave the man some medicine to help fight an infection. They said that he should be okay. They thought
that the nail would seal itself off in his body. They did not think that he needed surgery to remove the nail.

More than 35 years after the incident, doctors saw the nail again in the man’s body. The nail was no longer in
his rib cage. It was now in his lung. Doctors decided that the nail needed to be removed. They made the 84-
year old man an appointment to have it taken out.

Before the day of the appointment, the man was brushing his teeth in the bathroom. He said that he felt a tickle
in his throat. He started coughing. The nail popped right out.

Doctors said that the man is doing fine. They do not think that the nail caused any damage to his health.

Many Student Athletes Hurt Playing Football

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Some parents worry about their kids playing sports. Many of them wonder if football is too dangerous. At least
two young football players have recently been hurt very badly.

Football is a contact sport. Football players can get hurt. One college football player said that he has had four or
five concussions. He also said that getting hurt is one of the risks players have to take.

A football coach said that players can be taught how to play safe. Playing safe can minimize the risk of injury.
Practice and good instruction are very important. The coach also said that life-threatening injuries are rare.

Sometimes children are seriously hurt while playing a sport. They have to be taken to the hospital. Football is
not the sport that sends most kids to the hospital. Kids that are hurt while playing basketball are sent to the
hospital more often than those playing football. People can get hurt playing almost any sport.

At least half of all sports injuries to children happen during practice, not games. Therefore, it is important to
always play safe.

Marijuana Proposition
(before 2003)

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People in California voted to let marijuana be used for people who were in pain. The proposition said that people
who are sick or dying can smoke marijuana. The marijuana helps get rid of the pain.

Some people really wanted the proposition to pass. They were happy when it did. One person said that it shows
how much people care about others who are sick and dying.

Now people in California can smoke marijuana if they are sick. They need to have a doctor say that it is okay
first. The federal law still says that it is illegal. The two courts not agreeing causes a problem. California is
getting ready to work it out in the courts.

The new laws allow almost anyone who is suffering to smoke marijuana. No written note from the doctor is
needed to smoke it. The new law also says that it is legal to grow marijuana for medical use.

Police are worried. They think that some people might smoke it even if they are not sick. Others are scared that
the new laws will hurt the war on drugs. Police say they will continue to make people follow the drug laws,
including the illegal use of marijuana.

Memorial Bells
(before 2003)

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A memorial was put up in California. The memorial was to honor a small boy. The boy was killed. His family was
on vacation in Italy when it happened.

When the boy died his parents donated his body parts. The body parts helped save 7 people living in Italy. The
people in Italy were very happy. They wanted to thank the boy’s family in some way. They sent 130 bells to

The bells reminded the family of all the love the people in Italy had for them and their dead son. An artist made
a memorial from the bells. It is 18 feet high. It was placed by the ocean. When the wind blows it makes the
bells ring.

The parents want the memorial to be a comfort for anyone who visits. The father still remembers how special
his son was. He hopes people will keep giving body parts to those that need them. He wants to keep sharing the
love that his son had.

Miracle Musician
(before 2003)

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When Jason Becker was 19 years old, he was a very good guitar player. He was going to be a rock and roll

In 1989, he wanted to be in a new band. He practiced with them to see if they would hire him. At the same
time, he noticed he had a limp when he walked.

The band liked how he played. They asked him to join their band. Jason then went to see the doctor about his
limp. The doctor told him he had a disease. It is called A.L.S. or Lou Gehrig's disease.

Over the next 7 years, Jason lost the use of his legs and his hands. He also began losing the use of his vocal
chords. His care needed full attention. His family and friends had to take care of him at all times. This meant
that he could no longer play his guitar in a band.

However, this did not stop Jason. He got a computer and used it to make his music. It allowed him to create
any sound he wanted. He made an album and a music video. It took five years to produce.

Jason says that music is what he wants to make for the rest of his life. His girlfriend wants to help him with it.
His father is also helping but it is getting harder and harder for Jason to talk. For his mother, Jason is a hero
because he has never given up.

Jason works with his brother and his friend to make a new album. His mother and father will support him for
the rest of his life. They just want him to be happy.

Mosquito Virus is a Concern


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A large amount of rain has fallen recently. Experts are worried about flooding. But they are also worried about a
disease. The disease is called West Nile Virus. County officials have found two dead birds. They tested the birds
for the disease. The results were positive. The birds were infected with West Nile Virus. The test results are
making scientists concerned.

West Nile Virus is a disease that is carried by mosquitoes. Officials want to get rid of the mosquitoes because
they carry West Nile Virus. Birds eat the mosquitoes and get sick. People can get the disease if they are bitten
by an infected insect.

Mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water. All the rain has left a lot of water in ponds, old tires and trees.
These locations are excellent breeding grounds for the insects. Warm weather has helped the mosquito eggs to
hatch. The mosquito population is increasing. The county has sent workers out to check these locations. The
workers are inspecting wet areas. If they find mosquitoes they will spray poison on them to kill them.

“Mosquitoes just find a way to get in there and lay their eggs. It’s crazy” said Dennis Chan. Mr. Chan works for
the Mosquito Control District. Mr. Chan says it is critical for people to drain standing water from their yards.

There are other ways residents can help stop the spread of West Nile Virus. Officials urge people to dress in
long sleeves and pants. They say using an insect repellant can help. Also, make sure window and door screens
are intact to keep bugs outside.

The symptoms of the disease are like the flu. However, it can lead to other more dangerous brain problems.
These problems can be fatal.

Mosquitoes Are Coming


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the "NEXT" button.

People of California are being warned about a virus. This virus can be spread by mosquitoes. It is called West
Nile virus.

A man who is a State Public Health officer said that people should be careful. Because of the warm weather
mosquitoes are breeding earlier that normal. No one can tell how bad West Nile virus might be this season.
People should try to protect themselves from mosquito bites. All standing water should be cleared so
mosquitoes can not breed. Also, insect repellent with DEET should be worn when outside.

It is also a good idea to stay inside during dawn and dusk. Mosquitoes are most active at this time. If someone
must go outside they should wear long-sleeve shirts and pants.

No human cases of West Nile virus have been found yet in 2007. There have been areas that the virus has been
found however. They are trying to reduce the number of mosquito breeding pools there.

Most people do not usually get extremely sick from the virus. They may get flu-like symptoms like fever, head
and body aches. Sometimes it can be very serious. A person may contract encephalitis.

The first case of West Nile virus found in the United States was in 1999.

Neighbors Fight
(before 2003)

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A man says someone has lit eight fires outside his home. He thinks a neighbor did it. He and his neighbor have
not been getting along.

These neighbors have been arguing about this man's children. The children seem to be doing things the
neighbor does not like. He called the police.

Other neighbors say the arguments have gotten worse since then. Many small things outside the man's home
have been set on fire. He is very mad.

Police say they know about the disagreement between the two neighbors. They cannot arrest anyone for the
fires. They do not have enough proof showing who started them.

The man says he wants to get along with all of his neighbors. He hopes someone can help them solve the
problems with the children. Hopefully the arguments will stop.

New Driving Laws for Teens


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There are new laws for teenage drivers. Some parents do not know about these new laws. It is very important
that everyone learns about and understands these new laws.

A teenage girl died in a car crash. She was a passenger in a car. The driver of the car was 16 years old. There
were two other passengers in the car who were also hurt.

The accident reminded some people of how important the new laws are for teenage drivers. The laws were
written to hopefully save lives. Maybe the teenage girl would still be alive if the law was followed.

The new law states that teen drivers cannot have passengers in their car who are under the age of 20 unless
there is another licensed driver over the age of 25 in the car too. The law also states that teenagers cannot
drive between the hours of 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. These laws need to be followed for the first year that a teen
driver has his license.

Some students said that they know about the laws but do not obey them. They want to drive with their friends.
Some teenagers are breaking the law by driving with friends in their cars.

There are some exceptions to the new driving laws. Teens can drive their brothers and sisters to school. They
can also drive during off-limits hours because of work or medical reasons. They need to keep a note in their car
stating why they need to drive.

Many more teenagers die in car crashes than adults. New laws were made to help keep young drivers safer. If
the laws are going to work they will need to be followed.

New Driving Laws May be Passed


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A city council is considering a new law. The law will help make parking lots safer. It will allow police to ticket
drivers in mall parking lots. The target of the law would be drivers who perform car tricks or don’t obey rules in
parking lots. Police believe that reckless driving in these areas is a big problem in their town. They hope the
council will pass the new law.

Some teens and young adults do not follow the rules in mall parking lots. They drive dangerously and perform
stunts. Drivers gather in the lots to put on trick shows called “sideshows.” The drivers squeal their tires. They
spin donuts. They also do a dangerous stunt called “ghostriding.” Drivers set their car in gear and let it roll
through the parking lot. They walk alongside it, or jump on the hood. These tricks are very dangerous to the
many people who watch the shows. In one city, a spectator was killed watching a show in a mall parking lot.

The shows also damage the mall property and impact sales. Sometimes as many as 50 cars join in the shows.
The tires leave marks on the asphalt. Also, they park in fire lanes, roll through stop signs and crosswalks and
play their radios too loudly.

Police feel that sideshows and reckless driving have become a big public safety problem. Unfortunately, police
could not do much about it to stop it. This is because drivers used private parking lots for their shows. Traffic
laws do not apply to private property. All police can do is tell the crowds and drivers to leave. It doesn’t help,
because they just go to another parking lot and continue.

Police spoke to the city council about the problem and asked them for help. If the law is passed, police could
write tickets to drivers who break the law. Police could only enforce the law if property owners give them
written permission. Many shoppers are in favor of the new law. They don’t like to shop at the mall now because
of all the chaos. They think this would help make it a safer place.

Nuclear Scientists
(before 2003)

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Russia and the United States decided to stop being enemies. They no longer wanted to blow each other up with
bombs. Each side stopped making bombs.

The U.S. no longer tests nuclear weapons. There is not enough money to support making nuclear weapons. But
the piles of nuclear weapons are still around. They need to be watched over to keep them safe.

The scientists who made the bombs still have a lot of their research information. They did not want to get rid of
it. They decided to save it for others to use and learn from.

The men and women who invented nuclear weapons helped to create large bombs. By having so many large
bombs, the countries who had them did not want to use them. All of the bombs would wipe out everyone on
Earth. This knowledge is being kept by scientists across the U.S.

The nation's nuclear weapons labs are trying to save that knowledge. They are making video tapes of the men
who built the weapons. The tapes will be where anyone can look at them. It will help answer questions for other
scientists. They want everyone to remember what went right and wrong for future generations.

Officers May Be Required to Workout


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One city has a very fit group of police officers. Each officer is required to spend one hour in the department gym
before each shift. It is said that most of the officers do not mind keeping in shape as part of their duties.
This city’s police chief said that his officers are in great shape. He thinks that their policy of working out has
also attracted some excellent recruits. He believes that this program has done a lot for his police force. The
officers are in much better shape. He said that the work ethic has improved too.

One man wants this kind of program for all California police officers. He would like to have $10 million. With the
money he wants to create a voluntary fitness program for police officers. Not everyone thinks that this is money
well spent.

This man believes that the program would actually save money. He says that millions of dollars would be saved
in medical costs. He also thinks that money spent on disability payments would go down too.

People who are against the program do not think that taxes should be raised to pay for the program.

Organ Donations
(before 2003)

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the "NEXT" button.

Sometimes people get sick. Sometimes a part of their body is not working right. Sometimes these parts or
organs stop working. These organs might be the heart, the liver, or the kidneys. Some sick people need a new
organ to take the place of the one that is not working right.

When a person dies, some of their organs can be used in other people. The family of the dead person can
choose to give the working organs to people who need them.

A senator wants to make a law that will help keep records of people who want to give their organs. He thinks it
will be easier for the relatives of a person who dies to make the decision. The relatives would still have the
choice whether or not to give the organs.

Good organs are needed everywhere. There are not enough organs in California.

More people need to know about the need for organs. Many of the people who need them are not white. But
people from other races are not giving enough of their organs. Without enough organs from people of all races,
it is hard to find organs for all people who need one.

Park Attack
(before 2003)

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the "NEXT" button.

A woman was running in a park. A man attacked her. He tried to rape her.

The woman saw the man get out of a car. He started coming close to her. He was carrying something shiny.

The man came up to the woman. She fought him off. He cut her arm.

The woman sprayed the man's face with something from a can that makes your eyes burn. Then he ran away.
The police have not yet found him.

A witness saw the woman get hurt. This person took her to a nearby hospital. She is now getting better.

Police Find Drugs

(before 2003)

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Police officers saw someone driving badly. They decided to pull the driver over. They thought it was a drunk

The officers turned on their sirens. The driver pulled over. The officers walked up to the car.

They spoke to the driver of the car. They searched the driver. One of the officers found some drugs in the
driver's pocket.

The officers arrested the person. While they were making the arrest one of the officers looked into the back of
the car. He saw supplies for making a lot of drugs.

It is illegal to have drug-making supplies. The driver was taken to jail. This person is accused of a serious crime.

Pollution Fight
(before 2003)

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A city wants to get money from some companies in the city. These companies are putting bad things into the
water under the ground. It might cost $100 million to clean up the water.

Companies use many chemicals in their work. Some of these chemicals can leak into the ground. The chemicals
pollute the water under the ground.

The city does not want to put the companies out of business. It is talking to their insurance companies. One
insurance company has already given the city $1 million.

Some companies are not happy about the city's plan. They do not want their insurance companies to pay the
city. It would be like saying the water pollution is their fault.

A man in charge of the local newspaper does not like the plan. He does not want his business blamed for
pollution. He is afraid lawsuits will put him out of business.

Prevent Choking
(before 2003)

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the "NEXT" button.

Choking is the fourth leading cause of death in young children.

Children will put anything in their mouths. Small toys, jewelry, tacks, and coins are just a few. Protect them by
keeping small items out of their reach.

Some foods can cause young children to choke. Round, hard foods are especially dangerous to young children.

Ask your doctor if your child is old enough to have foods like hot dogs, nuts, carrots, and grapes. These foods
can lodge in a child's throat and be very hard to get out.

There are other safety tips you should keep in mind. Do not let your child run with anything in his or her mouth.
Do not let your child lie down while eating. Never leave your baby alone with a propped up bottle.

Being aware of what your child puts in his or her mouth may save his or her life.

Program Helps Get Word Out About Missing Children


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the "NEXT" button.

Parents in a small city have a new way to help find a missing child. The police in this city want parents to know
about a new program. The program is free and could save valuable time looking for a child.

Here is how the program works. The police take a picture of the child with a digital camera. The digital camera
saves pictures as a computer file. The computer file is copied onto a floppy disk. The disk is given to the parents
to take home. Once parents take the disk home they can add information about their child using their home

If a child does become missing, the parents can quickly send the picture and information that is on the disk to
the police using e-mail. It can also be sent to places that help find missing children. Parents can even use the
disk to print flyers to help find their child.

Someone who works for the city thought of the new system. A service club gave almost $4,000 to make the
system and buy disks.

About 500 parents in the city are using the system. The police would like to make the system bigger and use it
to help find old people who get lost too.

Relief Group Sends Supplies


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Three men wanted to help survivors who lost their homes in a hurricane. They asked people who lived in their
area to help too. People donated food, water, and even medicines. They collected a lot of supplies to send to
the Gulf Coast.

The men who started collecting were ready to send supplies after five days. They loaded a semi-truck with food,
medicine and other things. The first truck was sent to Louisiana to help people who had lost their belongings
and homes. It took the truck about a day and a half to get there from California.

Seven more trucks were loaded and made ready. The trucks were sent to states that were damaged by
Hurricane Katrina. Those states are Louisiana, Alabama, and Mississippi. The supplies will be given to people
who survived the hurricane.

Chris Snow is a volunteer who is loading supplies into the trucks. He was asked why he was helping. He said,
"It's a disaster and everybody needs to jump in and help."

Ruling by the Courts

(before 2003)

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the "NEXT" button.

The Supreme Court said that a federal law was against the Constitution. That law tried to keep children from
bad things on the Internet. The Constitution says that it is okay to say anything you want. The new law would
put limits on free speech.

Some people are happy that the Supreme Court said the law was against the Constitution. They say it is an
important victory for free speech. They say there are already ways to stop children from seeing bad things on
the Internet. One parent said that kids should be open to everything.

Other people are unhappy about what the Supreme Court said. They say that children need to be kept away
from some things on the Internet. They say that laws are needed to do that. A mother was worried for her
children because of what might be put on the Internet.

The people who want a law to stop showing bad things to children on the Internet will try again. They will try to
write a law that is not against the Constitution. The president will call a meeting to talk about it.

There are already laws that say you cannot show or say bad things on TV and radio. People say that you cannot
send these things over the Internet either. The Supreme Court said that these laws are not against the

School Deal
(before 2003)

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the "NEXT" button.

There is a district that takes care of many schools. They make decisions for lots of people. One decision they
made was not liked by all of the people.

In some of their schools, they sell drinks. These are soft drinks that are sold from a machine. This district
wanted to have Pepsi Cola the only soft drink in these machines.

The district knows that the selling of soft drinks will bring in a lot of money for them. They also will sell bottled
water. The machines will also have fruit juices.

But some parents do not like the plan. They think that ads will be allowed in the schools. They also think that
students who drink the soft drinks will not be very healthy. They are worried that the drinks have too much
sugar and no good calories.

Both sides want to keep talking about it. They are getting together to study the problem more. The district will
switch from Coca Cola to Pepsi Cola very soon.

School Nurse
(before 2003)

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the "NEXT" button.

People wanted to have a nurse at their school. A company was able to put a nurse there. Now some of the
teachers do not want that company to put nurses in schools.

The company wanted to place nurses at schools because there were so few nurses available. Many schools have
to do without a nurse. Children at the school needed someone to take care of them when they get sick or hurt.
Also classes could have the nurse talk about health care to the students.

Teachers feel that the nurse should not come from an outside company. They think the nurse should be hired
by the school. They say the company nurse does not have the skills to do the job right.

They want the nurse to stop working at the school until someone is hired to do it. The nurse will stay there until
a decision is made.

Schools Give Students Tools to Fight Back Against


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Bullies are a big problem in schools. Every week, many children are afraid to go to school. They are afraid they
will be picked on by a bully. One study found that 52% of children reported being bullied at least once a week.
Sixty percent say that they know someone who could harm them. One student was always being teased
because he was short. He didn’t like to go to school because he had to face the bullies.

Some children choose not to go to school at all so they can avoid the bullies. When they miss school, students
fall behind their classmates. A new program is helping put an end to this problem. The program is teaching kids
how to deal with bullies. This is helping more children feel safe in school.

One school principal is working to end this negative behavior. Last year, he decided to let students know
bullying is not allowed there. Students are now encouraged to report bullies and stand up for themselves. Those
found to be bullies face harsh penalties. Students at his school participate in a program called “Be Bold.” In this
program, students work together to prevent violence. They do skits and go into classrooms to talk about the
problem. They give other students strategies on how to deal with bullies.

The principal says that the school has changed since he has addressed the bullying problem. But there are other
steps parents can take to help their children with this problem. First, students and their parents should know
the school's rules about bullying and what they should do if it happens. Second, children should be taught to
stand up for themselves. They should try to resolve issues by talking them out. If the problem continues,
parents and children should record each incident. Children should tell someone if they are being picked on.
Many children keep bullying a secret.

Parents should look for warning signs of bullying. These can include cuts and bruises, worrying, wanting to stay
home from school, or a sudden drop in grades.

Sea Lion Found on Street


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A sea lion, who likes to get around, turned up on a Sacramento street late last night.

People taking a walk at night almost stepped on the sea lion. It was sitting at the corner of two streets.

The passersby poured water on the sea lion to keep him comfortable. Then they called the police. "The callers
told us there was a sea lion," said a police spokesperson. The police called other agencies that could help the
sea lion. They found people who were experts. They were from the Marine Mammal Center.

The experts from the center arrived early in the morning and moved the sea lion into a cage. They also gave
the sea lion medical care. They think the lost sea lion swam from the San Francisco bay into the Sacramento
River. Then they think the sea lion took a side trip into the American River. He ended up in a creek that feeds
the river. The experts think the sea lion is confused because he may have a brain illness. Small polluted plant
life could have made the sea lion sick and mixed-up.

This sea lion has also shown up in San Luis Obispo and in Moss Landing. A special tag that the sea lion wears
lets people recognize him. Experts know where he has been because of the tag.

A male sea lion can weigh more than one ton. Sea lions are mammals and have a bark like a dog. Sea lions are
often seen along the rocky coastline during summer months. They occasionally make their way upriver following
the fish.

Skin Cancer
(before 2003)

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In California about 9,000 people will die this year because of skin cancer.

There are two types of skin cancer. One type is caused by the sun. The second type of skin cancer happens
when the skin cells are turned into cancer cells.

Your risk for getting skin cancer depends on a number of things. Your chances are higher if you have light-
colored skin, have blue eyes, are getting older, or are in the sun a lot.

The survival rate for skin cancer is 80% when found and treated early. Depending on how deep the skin tumors
are, different therapies can be tried. They are surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation.

Skin cancer can be prevented by staying out of the sun during the hottest part of the day. Using sun block with
a protective factor of at least 15 will also help. Other ways of protecting yourself would be to wear hats and
long-sleeve shirts. It is also good to look at your skin each month to find any skin cancers early.

Watching for any changes in your skin and staying out of the sun during peak hours are the two best ways to
prevent skin cancer.

Smokers Have New Way to Quit


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the "NEXT" button.

Smoking is a very bad habit. It can cause many diseases, such as cancer and high blood pressure, and many
people want to quit. It is not easy to quit smoking, however. Many people try to quit, but are not able to quit.
They go right back to smoking cigarettes. They are addicted to smoking, but want help to quit.

There is a new way to help people quit smoking. It is based on an ancient Chinese method of treating pain. The
method is called acupuncture. It is done by sticking needles in special areas of the body. These needles trigger
special chemicals to help the pain go away.

A therapist is using acupuncture in a new way. She is using lasers instead of needles. She applies the lasers
around the face and arms of people who want to quit smoking. The lasers do not hurt. They release chemicals
called endorphins. The chemicals help people resist the urge to smoke.

One woman who had the laser acupuncture smoked for 45 years. The lasers helped her to quit. She did not feel
like she had to smoke. She believes in the treatment and says that it can work for others. She says it helps to
take the edge off her cravings. She has not smoked for a long time. The therapists say that the laser treatment
does not cure the patient. They must have some willpower.

This treatment has been used for years in Canada and Europe. Until now, the government did not approve of
acupuncture. Many doctors think that it is a very exciting way to treat smoking addiction.

Smoking Kills
(before 2003)

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the "NEXT" button.

Smoking kills more Americans than AIDS, drug abuse, car accidents and crime.

Did you know that 390,000 Americans die each year from cigarette smoking? Smoking tobacco causes 1 out of
6 deaths. Smoking can also cause some very serious diseases. Some people become addicted to smoking.

Lung cancer has caused more deaths in women than breast cancer. If a pregnant woman smokes, she has a
greater chance of medical problems with her baby.

Cigarette smoking is the number one cause of cancer death in men. Male smokers over the age of 35 are more
likely to die from smoking-related diseases like lung cancer.

Many children start smoking before they reach high school. They run the risk of smoking most of their lives.
They could die of smoking-related diseases.

Smoking May be Banned in Cars


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the "NEXT" button.

Studies show that smoking is bad for a person’s health. Even being around a person that is smoking can be
unhealthy. It is called "second-hand smoke". Smoking is very bad for children. It may become illegal in
California for a person to smoke in a vehicle when children are present.

The California Senate is considering a bill that would make it a crime to smoke in the car when children are
inside. This law would be called SB 7. The author of the bill is a democratic senator from Long Beach. She says
that she thinks this bill could protect kids’ health.

The senator from Long Beach thinks adults should be fined $100 for each violation. She believes that this would
make them think twice about smoking when kids are on the car.

Some people do not like this bill. They say that it gives government too much control over what people choose
to do. These critics of SB 7 are calling it a “nanny government” measure.

A republican senator from Grass Valley does not support the bill. He does not think that the government needs
to tell people what they can or cannot do in their homes or cars. He also believes that this bill infringes on
parents' rights.

This senator said that he knows that smoking can be dangerous. He does not allow smoking in his car when his
grandchildren are inside. Still, he does not think that the government should make that decision. He believes
that it should be left up to the parents.

The governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger has not said whether he would sign the bill or not to make it
a law. When he was asked what he thought about adults smoking in cars when children were inside, he said
that he thought it was terrible.

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the "NEXT" button.

Sometimes children do not do what their parents tell them to do. When this happens, a parent tries to help the
child to do the right thing. When this does not work, the parent usually punishes the child.

There are many things that a parent can do. One thing that people have done is to spank the child. When a
parent spanks a child, they will use their hand or a hard object to strike them on their bottom. This is meant to
show the child that they have done something wrong.

One parent remembers being spanked when he was a child. His parents used a wooden spoon. When he
spanked his own children with his hand, he saw that he put a red mark on his child’s leg. He never did that

One problem with spanking is that it teaches the child to hit someone when they do not like what the other
person is doing. Another problem with spanking is that the parent is usually angry and can hit the child too
hard. Sometimes parents will use spanking for everything and not try other ways to get the child to do the right

Many parents are not sure of what to do instead of spanking. Some people think that their religion tells them
that spanking is okay. Some think that the law lets them do it. The courts say that parents have the right to
teach their children how to behave.

Other things should be tried before a parent decides to spank a child. Telling the child exactly what is wanted
from them can be one thing. Giving a child more than one choice is another thing that can be tried. Getting
down to the child’s level and taking a more child-friendly approach can help as well.

Stop Carjacking
(before 2003)

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the "NEXT" button.

Your car can be stolen at anytime. This is called "carjacking." Carjacking can happen anywhere but there are
ways to keep your car from being taken.

When you leave your car, lock all the doors and close the windows. When you drive, lock your doors and keep
the windows rolled up.

Do not stop to help a car that has broken down. Instead call a service station or police to tell them where the
car is.

When stopped at a light, leave enough room between you and the car in front of you. This will leave you room
for escape.

Be suspicious of anyone approaching the car with fliers, asking for change or directions. Be ready to leave
quickly, even if it means running a red light or stop sign.

While driving, if struck from behind or in any suspicious way, stay in your vehicle with the doors locked and
windows closed until the police arrive. Turn on your car's emergency flashers.

If you're very suspicious, get the other vehicle's license number and drive to the nearest police station or a
well-lighted area with lots of people.

If you think you are being followed, drive immediately to an area with lots of lights and people. If possible, drive
to the nearest police station.

Teen Drinking
(before 2003)

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the "NEXT" button.

Some kids start to drink alcohol at a young age. They think it is part of becoming an adult. They also think
drinking is not that bad because so many people do it. They feel it is not as bad as taking drugs. It is easy for
kids to get liquor by using fake identification.

Parents may start to notice a change in their child’s behavior if the child starts drinking. Kids who drink
sometimes stop doing things they normally liked to do. They may keep telephone calls and meetings a secret
and not want anybody to touch their things. They act moody and do not have the same eating and sleeping

Parents need to stay involved in their kids’ lives. They should talk to their children about their problems to be
aware of any changes.

Parents can be the best protection. Children who get a lot of love can feel good about themselves. It helps them
resist doing bad things even when other kids are doing them. Parents can also help set a good example by not
drinking and driving. They can have firm rules in the home that everyone follows.

Give the children good ideas on how to say "no" to drinking, even when they are at a party. Try not to overreact
or panic if the child tries alcohol. How you handle it can affect their attitude. It may be helpful to talk to other
parents about setting up curfews and rules about parties or other events.

Teen Suicide
(before 2003)

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the "NEXT" button.

In 1985, two boys spent an afternoon drinking beer. They were also smoking. They listened to music by a band
called Judas Priest. Later that evening they tried to kill themselves. One boy died right away. The other died
three years later.

The two families blame the record company that made the record and the band. They believe the music helped
the boys to kill themselves. They are going to go to court to get money from the record company and the

The parents think people should know what type of music their kids are listening to. They want warning labels
put on all records so people will know if the music is good or bad.

A judge said that the band and the record company did not get the two boys to kill themselves. The court said
that what was on the record was an accident of the sounds mixing together. The song does not call for
teenagers to commit suicide. One lawyer said all music can be heard wrong. Any song played backwards could
make strange words. The lawyer thinks the judge was very fair because the band did not put any secret words
into their music.

One of the boy's father says he does not think this will be the last time parents will go to court for this. He
believes other bands will be held responsible for the music they make. An Oregon family who lost their son to
suicide is thinking about going to court, too.

The Dangers of Fireworks

(before 2003)

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the "NEXT" button.

Fireworks can be very dangerous. People can hurt themselves or others if they are not very careful.

One boy was recently hurt. He was watching someone play with firecrackers. The firecracker was placed inside
of a plastic pencil and then let off. The pencil exploded. A piece of the plastic flew into the boy’s eye.

The boy was badly hurt. He does not know if he will ever see out of his left eye again. Doctors will do their best
to fix his eye.

Some types of fireworks are illegal. Illegal fireworks like firecrackers explode. They can easily hurt people.
Fireworks that do not explode are much safer and are legal.

No matter what type of fireworks is being used people must be very careful. It is very important for adults to
always be with their children when fireworks are being used. All types of fireworks can start fires or hurt people.

Threatened at School
(before 2003)

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the "NEXT" button.

A man's son is leaving California to stay safe. The boy was threatened at school. A group of kids said they were
going to hurt him.

The group of boys said they were going to shoot him. They wanted him dead because of his race. The boy said
he was very scared.

The boy and his father told people at the school about the threats. The father said that they did not do anything
about it. The father called the police and filed a report.

The father and son are very upset. They think the school should have taken care of the problem. They decided
that the boy should leave the state in order to stay safe.

People from the school say that they take all threats seriously. They are looking into the threats. They also say
that it takes time to find out exactly what happened.

Tire Fire
(before 2003)

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Lightning struck early in the morning. It started a fire in a huge pile of tires. The fire is near a big city in

Firefighters say it could take more than a year to put the fire all the way out. Another tire fire started a year
ago. It is still burning.

An agency of the government is in charge of waste. It makes rules about keeping old tires. It tries to make sure
people obey the rules.

The agency is angry at the man who owns the tires. It has told him many times to get rid of them. He has not
done it.

Right now the smoke from the fire does not hurt people's health. Firefighters are using bulldozers to clear the
ground around the fire. They do not want it to get bigger.

University Students Not Allowed to Drink Alcohol


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Some college students drink too much alcohol at school. Many of them live on the campus. Heavy drinking has
caused many problems. It can cause students to make bad choices and do dangerous things.

One college has decided to ban alcohol. It has gotten a reputation as a party school. Five students at the college
have died from drinking too much alcohol. Recently, one student drank too much vodka. He slipped into a
coma. The college hopes the new rule will prevent any more tragedies.

The new rule prohibits students from drinking alcohol in the dorms. The first time a student breaks the rule they
will receive a warning. If they break the rule again, they will be evicted from the dorm. However, they will still
have to pay for the dorm. Some students do not live on the campus. They live in houses near the campus.
Those students are also banned from drinking alcohol, even if they are of legal age.

Freshmen at the college are now required to take a special course. The course is called AlcoholEdu, and lasts for
two and a half hours. The students learn about the dangers of alcohol. They also take a survey to find out how
much they know about alcohol. All first-year students must pass the course.

The college hopes that more information will help students make better choices.

Walking at Night
(before 2003)

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the "NEXT" button.

Walking at night can be very dangerous. The advice below can make your walking more safe.

Avoid walking or running alone at night. Instead go walking or jogging with a friend.

Do not use headphones while walking, driving or jogging. You need to hear what is going on around you to be

Always walk in well-lighted areas. Don’t use of short cuts.

After dark, keep away from large bushes or doorways where someone could be lurking. Always stay near the

If someone in a vehicle stops and asks for directions, do not approach the vehicle. Answer from a distance.

If someone follows you, go to an area with lights and people. If you need, to walk in a different direction.

When you get money at the ATM machine, be careful. Quickly put your cash away so people do not see it.

Woman Has Meningitis

(before 2003)

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the "NEXT" button.

Meningitis is a disease. This disease can be very serious. A woman has come down with it and is very sick.

This woman goes to church. She was helping in the kitchen during a Sunday dinner at the church. Hundreds of
people were there.

Church members are worried that they could get the disease too. Some people have been given medicine just
to be safe. Others who were not as close to the woman are being told to watch for signs of the disease and see
a doctor if they start feeling ill.

Doctors say that meningitis is not usually spread through casual contact. This means that unless someone
shares something like a drink, cigarette, or a kiss, they are probably safe. Most people at the church have
nothing to worry about.

The woman with meningitis has been doing better since she was given medicine. Church members are being
careful to watch for signs of the disease. Luckily most people do not need to worry since it does not spread from
one person to another through casual contact.