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Take Note: War doesn't pay; A taco a day

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War Doesn't Pay

A reminder for the next time a war ends: Take a second look at the fine print before taking off work to celebrate.

The California Supreme Court ruled this month that President Bush's proclamation of national days of thanksgiving after the war in the Persian Gulf did not mean paid time off for school workers.

California law requires paid holidays for school employees whenever the President declares a day of public fasting, thanksgiving, or holiday.

Yet, the court--which took a day off itself--ruled that Mr. Bush's call for "prayers of thanks" on April 5-7, 1991, did not entitle employees time off from work.

The California School Employees Association disagreed and pressed for schools and community colleges to incorporate three holidays into the schedules of school cooks, janitors, and office workers who did not get the holiday.

They lost their battle, but at least we won the war.

A Taco A Day

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is on an international quest for the tastiest, most nutritious school lunch.

To spice up the standard menu options, the department flew in a prominent chef from Mexico this month to serve palate-pleasing entrees to a group of honors students at Olney High School in Philadelphia.

"Que delicioso!" was the consensus of the 25 students who sampled turkey enchiladas, chicken and rice, and tacos during the three-day taste test.

The students' culinary instincts could mean a welcome change for the 25 million students nationwide who eat school lunches every day.

"The plates have been cleaned all week; I guess that's our answer," said Christopher Martin, the regional administrator of the Food and Nutrition Service, which runs the school-meals program.

The agency plans to review the students' evaluations in the next few months and will then confirm that the recipes meet the new U.S.D.A. school-lunch guidelines. If they pass the government's test, the south-of-the-border menus could be sent to 92,000 schools as early as next semester.



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