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Take Note: Field of dreams; It's economic

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Field of Dreams

After a disappointing season, Minnesota Twins' fans must have been wishing for the baseball team's glory days as World Series champions.

Now, they can get a piece of the old field of dreams--where the Twins won the 1987 and 1991 pennants--and help out some young aspiring athletes.

The team's nonprofit community fund and another local foundation are hawking 40,000 square feet of artificial grass that was pulled up when the Metrodome stadium got a new field for the '95 season.

The souvenirs for sale? Coasters, desk sets, and floor mats made of faux grass. And, for fans who love the game of golf as much as baseball, a putting green.

The turf sales benefit after-school programs for middle school students in the Twin Cities, said Dave St. Peter, the fund's executive director. In recent years, budget cutters have taken a swing at sports and other after-school activities in Minneapolis and St. Paul schools, he said.

So for just $39.95 to $99.95, Minnesotans can do their part to save the school programs and take home a piece of their team's glory days. Already, the fund has raised about $50,000, and it's hoping for a quarter-million dollars more, Mr. St. Peter said.

It's Economic

Some budding economists at Plains Elementary School in Timberville, Va., have become problem-solvers.

Whenever Bonnie Nyce's 2nd-grade class visited the school library, all the children could take out books--except one: Zachary Shifflett, who is blind, always left empty-handed because the library didn't have Braille books.

"Schools have fund-raisers all the time, but I wanted to do something more meaningful," Ms. Nyce said. "I had taken a workshop on teaching economics to young children, and it seemed like the best thing to do."

So as the class planned a project to raise money to buy Braille books, they talked about economics, weighing opportunity costs as they decided what to produce and sell.

The youngsters sold calendars and were able to buy 200 Braille books for the school.

The project was honored last month in Washington at EconomicsAmerica's annual K-12 awards program, which is administered by the National Council for Economics Education in New York City.

"If we can teach them at a young age not to fear economics and to see the relevance of it, that's wonderful," Ms. Nyce said.

--Joanna Richardson & Meg Sommerfeld

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