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Tainted cargo?

Boca Raton’s anthrax-killing team raced north this week to head off a possible contamination threat aboard a ship bound for Canada as it passed along the New York-New Jersey coast.
BioONE got the call from the U.S. Coast Guard on Wednesday to muster at the Maher Terminal of the Port of New Jersey, where a container ship stopped offshore with cargo of possibly tainted lemons was diverted.
“We were there in 26 hours,” said John Y. Mason, president of BioONE, the firm that just last month scoured anthrax contamination from the former AMI Building in Boca Raton. BioONE will lease the structure as its headquarters.
Coast Guard spokesman Mike Hvozda told the Boca Raton News on Saturday that a “harmful biological substance” was found inside the ship that was carrying a cargo of lemons.

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“We got a report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which got a tip”about possible contamination on the ship, Hvozda said.
“We held the ship out of the port and made non-intrusive testing to determine if it was safe,” the Coast Guard spokesman said. But rather than open the containers, he said, it was decided to fumigate them and incinerate the remains.
So BioONE packed up its considerable cache of gear from outside the former AMI Building on Broken Sound Boulevard in Boca Raton.
“We have mobilized most of the equipment,” said Karen Cavanagh, general counsel and chief operating officer for BioONE. “That includes the outside generators — the big red units — the mobile laboratories and two of the trailers that were in front of the AMI building, together with a fumigation chamber.”
“The parking lot in Boca is pretty empty,” she said, mustering some humor in a touchy situation. “At least it looks that way to us.”
But Mason assured that that the post-cleanup monitoring and testing at the Boca Raton site will continue, even though 12 members of the team and much of the apparatus is up north.
“We are on schedule – or a little ahead” in the Boca cleanup, said Cavanagh, who expects the BioONE team to be back in Florida early this week.
At a Coast Guard news conference, officials said the ship was stopped at the Ambrose Anchorage “due to an unconfirmed anonymous report involving containers of contaminated lemons on board.”
Federal, state and local authorities checked the cargo “using a carefully developed process that puts public safety and port security first,” a spokesman said at the news conference.
Hvozda told the Boca Raton News Saturday that the FBI was also called in to investigate. But by Saturday afternoon, the federal agency had apparently written off the incident.
“We had been alerted by the Coast Guard,” said Jim Margolin, FBI spokesman in New York. “My information is that [the ship] is not of ongoing interest.”
“We have haz-mat personnel on the lookout for bioterrorism events,” Margolin said. “My understanding is that the cargo is going to be incinerated as a precaution.”
The vessel, MV CSAV Rio Puelo, is owned by a Chilean company with a German crew, but was flying a Marshall Islands flag.
When the Coast Guard boarded the ship, it checked the crew for possible illness, but no one was sick. Investigators said the lemons, which were sealed in containers, were not handled.
That’s good, said BioONE’s Mason. “This should be a relatively easy case,” he said, easier than fumigating a building as it has in Boca Raton and other sites around the country.
Mason said BioONE will drill holes into the unopened containers and will fumigate the lemons with chlorine dioxide gas – the same gas that was used to kill anthrax at the AMI building and at government offices and post offices following the anthrax scare in late 2001 in Washington, New York and New Jersey.

“The fumigation will take 12 hours, but the total operation will take 24,” Mason said, just as the AMI cleanup did. The Boca building was gassed in early July.
Each of the 40-foot-long lemon containers, roughly the size of a tractor-trailer, will then be destroyed at the Ameri-Fuel incinerator two miles up Newark Bay from where the Rio Puelo is now docked, said the Coast Guard.
The ash will then be inspected, said Capt. Glenn A. Wiltshire, the United States Coast Guard commander of the port who supervised the search.
“The Coast Guard [ensured] that the vessel had a safe transit into port, and we are taking every precaution in handling the containers and the safe disposal of their content.”
While the Coast Guard’s order may have come without warning, it was not a surprise, the BioONE workers said. “There are always unexpected things,” said Cavanagh. “This is what we are here for to respond.”
She also noted that the fumigation of contained freight is easier to do than a freestanding building, but there are “other technical challenges.” She said BioONE “has been prepared for this for a year.”
BioONE is a joint venture of Sabre Technical Services and Giuliani Partnership, headed by Rudy Giuliani, the mayor of New York City during and immediately after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

Hearing set Thursday on

Animal rights activists have sworn to return to Boca Raton City Hall Thursday to protest the application of Suspended Animation Inc. for a permit to conduct research into “cryopreservation” – extreme low-temperature freezing of bodies for eventual reawakening.
About 30 protesters vented their wrath two weeks ago when the city’s Planning & Zoning Board initially scheduled a hearing on the application. The company, however, had already asked for a two-week postponement before demonstrators arrived.
Suspended Animation President David Shumaker said Thursday’s hearing before P&Z; may be a long one. “We’re first on the agenda – and we may be the only ones,” he said.
Once the hearing is complete, the board will make a recommendation to the City Council, which has the final day in the matter.
Thursday’s P&Z; hearing begins at 6:30 p.m. in City Hall.
Suspended Animation Inc., located at 1082 Rogers Circle in the South Congress Industrial Center, could become Florida’s only cryonics facility for humans – and one of only a few in the United States.
In its application, the firm says most of its work – some 95 percent, according to Shumaker – will be in research on the cryonics process.
The fact that Suspended Animation will be using rats and previously euthanized dogs in its experiments has raised the ire of animal rights activists. The Animal Rights Foundation of Florida (ARFF) organized the protest two weeks ago.
In a news release, ARFF urged the Planning and Zoning Board to prohibit the “mad scientists” of Suspended Animation from performing “cruel and senseless experiments on animals.”

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Shumaker explained that death “is not an event, it’s a process. You die, but your tissue is still alive.”
He said Suspended Animation is researching how to slow tissue growth with extreme cold so that a body can be thawed later. It is not a revival, he said, so much as a restoration of life processes.
“This is being done right now on a tissue and organ level,” he said. “But we haven’t been able to do it with an entire organism.”
The idea of freezing bodies gained new recognition when retired Boston Red Sox slugger Ted Williams was put on ice following his death.
Shumaker said about 1,000 people have signed up to be frozen.
The application said the firm’s building will remain virtually unchanged. Plans call for the creation of a couple of labs and a preparation room inside, but nothing that would change the exterior.
The Life Extension Foundation of Fort Lauderdale funds Suspended Animation Inc., its application says, and 5300 Palisades Avenue Association LLC of New Jersey owns it.

This spam could put him in the can

To those who know him, Creaghan A. Harry is a wonderful father, caring son and prominent businessman.
But what they don’t know is that Harry has been harboring a deep, dark secret that has only recently surfaced and been brought to the public’s attention. He is considered to be one of the top 10 spammers in the world, according to MSNBC, and is currently being sued by the Federal Trade Commission for allegedly sending millions of illegal spam messages. Harry is also accused of selling bogus human growth hormone products over the Internet.

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The news not only saddens those who know him, but comes as a complete shock also.
“I really don’t know what to say. It’s very hard to believe,” said Wagner Alves, manager of the Rogers House Condominium in East Boca.
Alves met Harry in April 2003, when the alleged spammer bought his parents condominium No. 7, unit 24, located at 850 N.E. Spanish River Blvd., for $240,000. Only when he bought the property, it was under one of the many aliases he uses, “Harry Creaghan.”
It was only two weeks ago that Alves last saw him, and that was when Harry came to fix the apartment up for his parents before they moved to Boca from New Jersey in the next few weeks.
“The little I know about them, they are all very nice people. I met his parents last time they came down and stayed with him, and I met his brother and his brother’s family. They used to park here and walk over to the beach. And Creaghan’s little boy is such a sweet kid,” said Alves.
Another friend and neighbor said that she is shocked and appalled that a man who is considered to be one of the top 10 spammers in the world has been living right next to her and her family on Bel Lido Isle in Highland Beach, in a $2.4 million dollar home that sits right on the water, since Aug. 2002.
“To think that he might have made his money to buy his home, to buy his Hummer, to buy everything he owns from people who have sent their hard-earned money to him… I just can’t even fathom it. I hope it is just a case of mistaken identity because he is such a good man,” she said.

Nothing real about
this spam
Harry, who also goes by the name “Carl Henderson,” currently has five local businesses that are using fictitious names, according to the Florida Department of State, Division of Corporations. Those companies are Infomart, Shark Data Technologies, Ultimate Health, Grow Lean and Hitech Marketing. The address given for these companies was 2234 N. Federal Highway, No. 469, Boca Raton. Although that address does exist, it turned out to be a Pak Mail and the number represents a P.O. Box.
Steven Wernikoff, staff attorney for the FTC’s Midwest Region, Chicago, said that he believes that under Florida law, Harry can do business under more than one name, though he isn’t quite sure.
The FTC is a civil agency that tries to get money back to consumers who were defrauded, and that also tries to immediately stop deceptive advertising and illegal marketing through spam.
In January, a new federal e-mail statute came into effect, Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act of 2003, or CAN-SPAM Act, and the FTC has been aggressively attempting to enforce this statute.
FTC officials stumbled upon Harry when they were rerouting spam through their database and info line in an attempt to investigate targets.
“There are a number of Web sites that are out there that are advertising HGH products. These sites made product claims that they could stop or reverse the aging process. Consumers who purchased the products, their money went into an account that was controlled by [Harry] and that was how we were able to target him,” said Wernikoff.
“The Web sites themselves were marketed through e-mail messages by spam. We were also able to find some information about him because he purchased the products that he was selling through a supplier and he also paid for the fulfillment of those products, so he paid to have them shipped to those consumers by a third party company.”
The investigation, which started in January, went on for several months, according to Wernikoff. From January to May, a number of these products were often advertised through spam, so the FTC went back through their spam database to determine how many e-mails were forwarded to them that were attributing to these products. What they found was that approximately 40,000 were originally sent by Harry.
“That is a high volume with respect to one person. We may have even missed some, but we had done our best to try and get them all,” said Wernikoff.
“We certainly believe that this was a high-volume spam operation. At this point he is the sole defendant, but that doesn’t mean that by the end of the investigation that would still be the case.”
As of July 27, Harry’s assets have been frozen, according to the FTC. And though he might have many accounts out there that were created in another name, ones that the FTC doesn’t know about yet, they said that it is only a matter of time before they locate and freeze them.
When a call was placed to Harry about the charges against him, he said he wasn’t able to comment. However, Doug Meyer, an expert in the herbal vitamin industry did send an e-mail on behalf of Harry.
The e-mail provided information to support Harry’s defense against many of the claims that were issued against him in the court order.
The first claim was that the products do not give the results that are professed.
While the FTC said that there wasn’t any convincing scientific evidence that the products work based on the findings of two medical experts who reviewed the products claims and the ingredients, they determined that the claims were false and that the products wouldn’t have any discernable effect on the body.
But many vitamin encyclopedias show that the ingredients contained in these products are used to help stimulate the body into naturally producing HGH.
As for the spam, Harry’s e-mail defends that he didn’t produce anywhere near the 40,000 spams that the FTC alleges. He referred the Boca News to an Internet site that lists spam complaints, but claimed many of the complaints are from the same individuals.

FAU completes phase one of branding process

Four months after launching its branding initiative, Florida Atlantic University has completed the first phase of the project.
University President Frank Brogan said last February that he wants a clearer image to represent the university academically and athletically, rather than the numerous different owl logos consisting of different colors now in circulation. The baseball team uses the Blue Wave and some organizations use the university seal.
Focused on gathering the thoughts and opinions of university constituents, phase one identified a strong consensus among nearly 1,500 respondents, who participated in focus groups and on-line surveys.
Overwhelmingly, the FAU constituents concluded that the FAU mascot should remain an owl and that the university colors should be blue and red. Respondents also agreed that FAU should have three university marks – academic, institutional and athletic.
“With the input of many stakeholders, this important first step takes us closer to a more recognizable visual identity for FAU in the 21st century,” said Brogan.
Considered one of the most extensive research phases in a branding initiative of this kind, a total of 16 focus groups, comprised of approximately 200 people reviewed the use of the university’s image and discussed ways to improve it. In addition to the focus groups, an online survey was created and uploaded to the FAU website for more than two weeks to elicit responses from students, faculty, staff, alumni and the greater FAU community.

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“In the 12 years that my company has been engaged in assisting universities and companies as they adjust or adopt their visual images, I have never been involved with a university that has sought so
much input from its core
constituents,” said Eric Rickabaugh, principal of Rickabaugh Graphics, the branding company assisting FAU with the project.
FAU and Rickabaugh Graphics will now begin the second phase of this process, featuring the creation of various university marks, which will be presented to additional focus groups and the branding committee sometime in September for testing. The final phase of the branding process will include the creation of the final university marks and the rollout of the official mascot, colors and logos. The results of this project will be launched January 2005.

Urge to be part of an amazing reality hits one Boca couple

Pumped up country-western music greets guests at the door of Club Ovation in Boynton Beach and follows them into the Viper Room where would-be television stars sat as if they were television green room guests backstage.
CBS introduced prototype reality television shows, “Survivor” and “Big Brother” to the public. The newest rage is Emmy-Award winning, “The Amazing Race,” which is now entering a fifth season.
Ovation’s Nightclub in Boynton Beach served this week as South Florida’s casting couch for the two shows.
There were no network film crews, only one man and his guerrilla-style interviewing along with two casting chairs, seated center stage. Using a traditional black backdrop, couples were invited to interview with Miami based Ed Arenas of Unique Casting for the CBS reality show, “The Amazing Race,” where teams of two race cross continent for a $1 million prize.
Arenas was seated at a table with a video camera, a laptop and a knapsack, grinding through quite a few half hour interviews.
The show promotes teams of two people. The “dynamic duos,” as Arenas refers to them, don’t have to be romantically involved but need to be able to cooperate on a higher level.
One woman wanted to be on the show because her sister who was diagnosed with cancer always wanted to be on reality television, so she lived the dream for her. She was there with another woman, her friend of seven years.
Waiting patiently for their shot at the small screen, a couple who work in the Boca Raton school system and asked not to be identified, explained why they wanted to be on the show. They want to remain anonymous because as educators, they feel as if they should be beyond reproach for the students.

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“A lot of kids come to us and respect us,” the 30-year-old teacher said. His attire had a country western feel complete with 10-gallon cowboy hat.
“Reality TV is sick – it’s a crock,” he said of some of the other reality television shows. He felt as if “The Amazing Race,” was a chance to travel. His fiancée felt differently. She just wanted to have fun.
“It’s a chance to travel and have fun. I love to watch the show,” the 27-year-old blonde said hopefully.
Arenas said one of the main qualifications for being on the show is having a personality – a watchable personality. Boring is bad in reality television.
“Contestants need to be 21 years of age, in good health and have a personality – someone who America loves to watch – a legend in their own mind; controversial, argumentative…” he said, rattling through adjectives.
“We love to do things other people would watch,” The teachers said. He hopes the stress of the competition will draw them closer. As teachers, both said they are interested in learning about cultures different from their own.
They were the only local couple there of about 20 or so people. If chosen, they’ll be dropped somewhere in the world along with 11 other couples and will have to race to get to their destination, one of Arenas’ employees said.
The pair will ask for a leave of absence, from their jobs if they get picked.
“We are here just to satisfy a curiosity. You don’t get these chances very often,” Linton couple Laurie Rockwell, 33 and Scott Whittaker, 39 said. Most of the people there for the casting call lived in Linton.
Arenas said he has cast for every one of “The Amazing Race,” shows except the first one. Like the rest of Hollywood, Arenas didn’t want to give his age. However he’s been in the business for 20 years. Standing up he congratulated a couple as they left the stage, as their interview seemed to have gone well.
“You did what others are afraid to do – you took the first step,” he told the men.

Plastic surgery attracting Boca couples

Cupid is getting a makeover. After years of shooting his arrows into the hearts of blissful couples, he decided to take time out to do something about those tired, saggy eyes, crow’s feet, and tiny wrinkles around his forehead and mouth.
It’s the new look of love and according to the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, it’s a practice more and more couples are doing together.
Thirty-six percent of surgeons surveyed say they have performed ‘his and her’ treatments in the past year

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“We have couples come in together for Botox, for Radiance facial filler, for ThermaLife- non-invasive facelifts – and so on,” says Dr. Bruce Myers, Chief Eye and Facial Plastic Surgeon at Focus Surgical in Boca Raton. He added that friends and co-workers are also joining in on the craze.
And it’s a fad for the beauty conscious of all ages.
For newly engaged couple, Carrie and Jeff, it’s just “a little something extra to do so we can feel good about ourselves before the wedding,” said Carrie, 31.
The Boca Raton bride-to-be received and upper and lower eye-lifts, a thermage laser treatment and some collagen injections from Myers several months ago. And now her 32-year-old fiancée is signing up for some procedures of his own.
“Jeff came with me and when he saw how great the results were and how little recovery time there was, we signed up to get Botox together,” said Carrie, an executive recruiter.
“Hopefully it will be the start of a lot of things we get done before the wedding.”
Although still young and fairly wrinkle-free, Carrie said she sees the treatments as preventative, “before it gets too bad when we’re older.”
But beauty conscious thirty-somethings aren’t the only ones taking advantage of couples surgery.
After months of seeing the miracles of Botox, Barbara, 48, said she thought her husband, Scott, a 61-year-old real estate investor could also benefit from some procedures to help him look less tired.
Myers performed upper eyelid surgery to help eliminate the heaviness tiring Scott’s eyes. After his first surgery, Barbara said she suggested some additional procedures that might make him look less tired as well.
“I suggested he have Dr. Myers also do his lower lids, I thought it would be more flattering,” said Barbara, a psychotherapist. “And I’d been getting Botox so I thought my husband could try some between his eyes and that it would be fun to do it together.”
Scott says he was thrilled with the results and Barbara loved having her husband join the age-defying fight alongside her.
As for the cosmetic procedure that’s ruling the roost – it’s eyelid surgery, according to the American Academy of Plastic Surgeons.
“The eyes are the first feature to age on both men and women,” says Myers. “And as cosmetic procedures for men are becoming increasingly acceptable and easy – there’s virtually no recovery time – men figure why not try them too.”

They freeze dead people

Just eight days shy of Halloween, the Boca Raton Planning & Zoning Board will hear one of its most chilling requests.
Suspended Animation Inc., the Boca-based firm that wants to conduct research into “cryopreservation” – extreme low-temperature freezing of bodies for eventual revival – will ask P&Z; on Thursday for permission to do the work at its current location, 1082 Rogers Circle in the South Congress Industrial Center.

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The Planning & Zoning Board will make a recommendation to the City Council, which has the final say in the matter. The council will hold a public hearing at a later date.
P&Z; meets Thursday at 6:30 p.m. in City Hall.
If the request is approved, Suspended Animation Inc. will become Florida’s only cryonics facility for humans – and one of only a few in the United States.
In its application, the firm says most of its work will be in research on the cryogenics process. Documents say no more than five cadavers will be frozen during the year for storage at a facility owned by Alcor Life Extension Foundation.
The idea of freezing bodies for eventual revival gained new recognition – not to mention infamy – when retired Boston Red Sox slugger Ted Williams was frozen after his death. The case made headlines not only for the cryogenics process, but for the argument among his children about whether dad should be cremated or quick-frozen.
There is a connection. In its filing, Suspended Animation says it is a subcontractor for Alcor. And any bodies frozen in Boca will go to one of Alcor’s storage facilities. Williams is on ice in Arizona.
Most of the company’s research will be on animals, specifically rats, and on human cadavers in order to discover a way to preserve a whole body without damaging tissue. Although about 90 percent of the company’s business will consist of research, according to its filings with the city, it will be staffed with medical professionals able to place a person into a deep freeze.
“We don’t store any bodies. We do front end work in cryonics,” company President David Shumaker said in an interview earlier this year. About 1,000 people have signed up to be frozen in the name of science, according to the company’s filing.
The application said the firm’s 35,500-square foot building will remain virtually unchanged. Plans call for the creation of a couple of labs and a preparation room inside, but nothing that would change the exterior.
The Life Extension Foundation of Fort Lauderdale funds Suspended Animation Inc., its application says, and 5300 Palisades Avenue Association LLC of New Jersey owns it.

Irvin Rosenfeld has received 12 cigarettes daily from government for 21 years

With a slow exhale, a plume of smoke escapes from his marijuana cigarette. Dressed in a gray business suit, Irv Rosenfeld is the most unlikely person you’d expect to be lighting up during a quick lunch from his job as a high profile stockbroker.
But Rosenfeld, who handles accounts in Boca Raton and Ft. Lauderdale, is not your stereotypical pothead.
Diagnosed with a rare bone disorder at the age of 10, he is one of seven people in the United States who receives medical marijuana from the government. The “compassionate use” program, which began in 1978, was cancelled in 1982, but Rosenfeld was “grandfathered in.”
“I was told I would not live to my teenage years, I’m very fortunate,” said Rosenfeld, who couldn’t even go to school when he was younger due to excruciating pain. “I can take my medicine without having to worry about breaking the law.”
This November, marked Rosenfeld’s 20-year anniversary surviving a somewhat ‘normal’ life, thanks to the cannabis.
As for the rest of the people forbidden to use the drug for medical purposes, Rosenfeld says he’s tired of the government making criminals out of sick people. The stockbroker says he will continue to campaign for the hundreds of people who suffer needlessly because they are not granted the use of medical marijuana.

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He is one of four patients in the United States who underwent extensive testing in 2001 to determine the side effects of using cannabis.
Neurologist, Dr. Ethan Russo, conducted the extensive study, which included M.R.I’s scans, chest x-rays, and blood work, in Montana. Russo said he was amazed that there had never been any government studies detailing the positive and/or negative effects of using medical marijuana.
The tests, said Russo, showed “very few adverse effects in the patients,” no brain shrinkage, no hormone problems and no immune damage were evident.
Their higher executive functions were fully intact, which, he says, is easy to prove in Rosenfeld, since the South Florida resident is a highly successful stockbroker who handles major accounts, despite a high intake of cannabis each day.
“The truth is cannabis is very effective for a wide variety of medical conditions including pain, spasms, multiple sclerosis and glaucoma,” said Russo, who has been practicing for 20 years. “Irv’s functioning has gotten better over time, not worse, as what you might expect in someone with his condition.”
But until the stigma is lifted, many advocates of medical marijuana say they don’t believe the federal government will legalize the drug.
Registered nurse and founder of Patients Out of Time, Mary Lynn Matre, says she’s tired of excuses from the government.
“These people are living with terminal diseases and doing what they can to have some quality of life,” said Matre, a Virginia based nurse who says she has seen patients make great strides in their daily functions thanks to medical marijuana.
“The government’s big ‘out’ is that no research supports it, but for the most part they forbid research,” said Matre, who says her program is dedicated to educating health care profession and public about medical use of cannabis.
Although they often get lumped in with recreational users who are hoping to legalize cannabis, none of them say they are looking for a law which will allow marijuana to become a free for all.
“Regulate it sternly and put it in the hands of doctors,” said Rosenfeld, who has smoked 12 marijuana cigarettes a day for 21 years.
“These are sick people who are dying. They don’t have time to wait for a law to change.”

No Mad Cow reports in Florida

Mad Cow Disease has apparently landed in the USA.
And while many Americans prepare to enjoy a turkey or ham meal for Christmas Day, health officials are trying to calm people concerned about possibly tainted beef.
“Although the news is troubling, it is important to note that the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Affairs has ongoing surveillance measures to identify the presence of Bovine Spongiform Encephalitis in our state,” said Florida Secretary of Health Dr. John Agwunobi.
“No cases of BSE have ever been identified in Florida,” he said.
Federal officials are racing to find out where a cow in Washington State, apparently infected with Mad Cow Disease, was born and may have been infected.
In the meantime, they are trying to reassure Americans that the nation’s food supply is safe.
Maria Rodamis, spokeswoman for Publix super markets, said the chain does not get its beef from Washington state or Canada. “We are monitoring what the USDA puts out,” she said.

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She said any Publix shoppers with questions should speak with a manager or meat department manager, or call the store’s consumer relations line, 1-800-242-1227.
To date, the brain-wasting disease usually transmitted through contaminated feed has largely been confined to the United Kingdom.
The animal in question was one of 20 slaughtered Dec. 9 at Vern’s Moses Lake Meat Co. in Moses Lake, Wash., and meat from those carcasses was shipped to other processing plants on Dec. 11, Kenneth Peterson of the Food Safety and Inspection Service said.
Officials said all 10,410 pounds of the meat have been recalled.
Agwunobi said Florida’s “surveillance system remains vigilant as we follow the events in Washington State.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report

Former FAU professor files lawsuit for discrimination

A former Florida Atlantic University professor, who alleges he is the victim of anti-Arab discrimination after his contract was not renewed, filed a lawsuit against the university on Friday.
Mohammed Khalid Hamza received “excellent” evaluations and won several honors from the school, according to the Florida Commission on Human Relations documents, but was told shortly after Sept. 11th that his contract would not be renewed.
“He was fired for one reason and one reason only and that is the fact that he is Muslim,” said Hamza’s attorney Frank Schooster.
The complaint filed by Hamza, cites incidents of harassment, religious discrimination and unsubstantiated accusations of terrorist ties, which started just weeks after he was hired in 1997 to teach education technology and research in FAU’S College of Education.
According to a report from the state commission, Hamza had lunch with several faculty members at Sonny’s Bar-B-Q when Dr. Ray Cafolla commented on Hamza by saying, we “exchanged a Jew for a frickin’ Arab,” which brought laughter from the other faculty.
The report also quoted a faculty member, who declined to be identified, as saying the other faculty members planned Hamza’s “demise.”
“The statements reflect a discriminatory attitude toward him (Hamza) and the statements were made by persons involved in the decisions to negatively evaluate Dr. Hamza and, thus, deny him contract renewal,” commission chief Derick Daniel wrote.

The discrimination based on the ethnicity, race, and color has to face the worst any person can over the recent years, history dates back when there have been wars waged due to the racial discrimination, discover here the burning issue which has been kept under the wraps in any industry, be it the movies, the press, or at the university.

University officials denied the allegations of discrimination made in a report by the Florida Commission on Human Relations and declined to comment further about the lawsuit. They say Hamza – who co-founded Boca Raton’s main mosque – was denied tenure and told that he wouldn’t be kept on after his contract expires at the end of this semester because of his academic record. But four white male professors received tenure last year under less rigorous standards, according to the Human Relations Commission.
Shooster says ramifications from Sept. 11th led to the loss of his client’s job.
“It’s fear from Sept. 11. It’s understandable, but it doesn’t make it right,” said Shooster. “This is not a guy who was an activist on campus or promoting Palestinian rights. This is a guy who would have people of different religions over to his house to promote peace.”
Hamza, a native of Syria who has become a U.S. citizen, has denied any link to terrorism. He is currently teaching at Lamar University in Texas.