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By DENNIS DAILY, United Press International   |   Jan. 30, 2003 at 4:00 AM   |   Comments

TINY TOT FOUND IN FREEZING SCHOOL BUS

School officials in the Twin Cities say they have fired two employees after they left a 4-year-old in an unheated Head Start bus. The child, according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, fell asleep on the bus ride from her home and stayed on the bus after it got to its destination.

It was only later in the morning, after about two hours had passed, that the girl awakened and turned on the four-way flashers of the bus to attract attention. When the child was found on the bus she reportedly was screaming and yelling.

The publication says the incident was the second in less than a week in which a small child was left on a bus in freezing temperatures.

Last week, a 17-month-old baby was left for three hours on a bus after all the passengers left. Neither child was harmed in the incidents.


DOCTORS DONATE OVERSEAS OPERATIONS

A group of plastic surgeons has gone to the Philippines to operate on children born with facial defects. The Louisville Courier-Journal says the doctors have made their annual trek from Louisville to the other side of the world to "perform miracles" on hundreds of children.

Over the past few years the group estimates it's performed more than 2,000 operations, many major surgeries to close craniofacial birth defects.

One of the driving forces behind the charitable air flights is Dr. Benjamin Rigor. A native of the Philippines, Rigor has made the long trip to his homeland more than 80 times in the past three decades.

The incidence of facial birth defects in the Philippines is twice that of what it is in the United States.

To make matters worse, many children with the deformities in that country are from families that don't have the money for the operations shortly after birth. What this means is the children grow to young adulthood bearing the stigma of deformity, often ostracized from society.


ATHLETES LIKELY WON'T BE ARRESTED

The basketball coach of the Arizona Wildcats says it's unlikely that legal action will be taken against any of his players. The Arizona Daily Star says the comment was made by coach Lute Olson. A Kansas hotel claims the players looted a vending machine, taking more than 70 items and rifling the cashbox.

Local police in Kansas were notified by hotel officials, but only after the three suspects had checked out.

A police officer in Lawrence, Kan., tells the publication officers questioned three assistant coaches about the incident. The visiting Arizona officials agreed to pay for the damages.

The repayment by the coaches also creates an interesting "gray area." Since NCAA rules technically forbid coaches from paying for "extra benefits" for players, is "smoothing things over" with the hotel considered to be a violation of the rule?

The charges came the same day a national report shows Arizona leads the nation in the per capita overall crime rate.


PITTSBURGH YOUTH CHARITY TO GET BIG LIFT

The Sarah Heinz House, a longtime provider of services to youth in Pittsburgh, is about to get a $7 million expansion. According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the Heinz facility has been in business for more than a century, offering a variety of educational and sports activities for grade school and high school students.

The house's expansion project calls for the addition of a new gymnasium, fitness facilities, karate and dance studios, and a computer lab.

Pittsburgh Mayor Tom Murphy and several members of the City Council were on hand for the official announcement at the current facility, on Chestnut Street.

Much of the funding is coming from the Heinz Endowments, which chipped in about $3 million. The rest of the construction funds are being sought from other foundations, corporations and individuals. The construction work, designed by Rothschild Architects of Pittsburgh, is to begin in the spring.

More than 800 young people currently are enrolled in programs at the Heinz House facility. In recent years the agency has been hard-pressed to keep up with the demand for more services in Allegheny County.

© 2003 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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