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Archive for Friday, February 14, 2003

Briefly

February 14, 2003

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Virginia

Robertson prepares for prostate surgery

Religious broadcaster Pat Robertson said Thursday he had prostate cancer and would undergo surgery to remove his prostate gland.

Robertson, 72, made the announcement on his "700 Club" television program. He told viewers he was diagnosed shortly after Christmas and tests show the cancer has not spread.

"I am going into surgery on Monday and I would appreciate your prayers," said Robertson, whose Christian Broadcasting Network is based in Virginia Beach. He said he hoped to be back to a full schedule within two weeks.

Connecticut

Yale unions cancel contract extensions

Unions representing 4,000 employees of Yale University say they won't extend their contracts past March 1, making the clerical and mechanical workers eligible to strike.

But both sides said they still hoped to settle the dispute at the bargaining table.

The Federation of Hotel and Restaurant Employees locals made their announcement during a march of about 500 people Wednesday night in New Haven to Yale President Richard Levin's home.

The union members have been working under expired contracts since January 2002 while negotiations continued. The unions said they were frustrated that Levin had not come to the bargaining table.

Negotiators have agreed on some job security and wage-level issues, but they remain far apart on wages and pensions.

Michigan

Grocery worker accused of poisoning ground beef

A former supermarket employee was indicted on charges of poisoning about 200 pounds of ground beef with insecticide and sickening more than 40 people.

Federal prosecutor Phillip J. Green said 39-year-old Randy Jay Bertram of Grand Rapids was trying to get back at the Byron Center Family Fare Supermarket for reasons that are unclear.

Bertram was accused of bringing a bottle of Black Leaf 40 to work on Dec. 31 and pouring it into the beef, then wrapping the meat for sale in packages of one to three pounds.

One person was hospitalized and has since recovered, prosecutors said.

Bertram was arrested at home Wednesday and charged with poisoning food with reckless disregard, which can bring up to 20 years in prison. He was also charged with intending to cause serious injury to the supermarket, a charge that carries up to three years.

Bertram was jailed for a hearing today.

Atlanta

CDC: Senior population to double by 2030

America's population of senior citizens is expected to double by 2030 to 71 million, and the nation needs to begin preparing for the demands they are going to put on the health care system, the government said Thursday.

Between 2000 and 2030, the number of Americans 65 or older will increase from 35 million to 71 million, or from 12.4 percent to nearly 20 percent of the population, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

The increase reflects both the aging of the baby boom generation and major improvements in life expectancy.

The chronic diseases associated with aging will mean increased demands on the nation's medical and social systems.

Health officials should expand their focus from infectious diseases and maternal and child health to promoting health in older adults, preventing disabilities and maintaining quality of life, the CDC said.

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