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Take Note: Cheese burgers aren't paradise; Pepsi promotion

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Cheese burgers aren't paradise

Students in Burton, Mich., want to kick the fast-food habit.

Two years ago, the district hired the McDonald's restaurant chain to provide lunches to students every day in all three of the system's schools. But now, many of the district's 1,100 students say they need a rest from the burgers and fries.

"After awhile it gets boring," said James Grennay, a junior at Bentley High School. "You get sick of eating the same food every day."

The school board is asking local voters on June 10 to approve a $180,000 expenditure to rebuild and update the schools' old cafeterias so that individual schools can get cooking once more.

Bruce Kefgen, the superintendent of the Burton public schools, said last week that he hired a local franchise of the Oak Brook, Ill.-based food giant to supply midday meals because the schools' lunch program was losing money. A shortage of lunchroom workers and ill-equipped kitchens limited the menu options and failed to attract many students, he said.

But since the Big Mac and Quarter Pounder have been around, the cafeteria has been a financial success.

"I have nothing but praise for McDonald's," Mr. Kefgen said. "But after two years, people started getting tired of cheeseburgers."

Pepsi promotion

Many school districts across the country have banned beepers from classrooms or campuses because they say the paging devices disrupt classes and can be used for drug dealing.

But it may be tough to convince the Pepsi generation.

The soft drink giant announced this month that it will offer top-of-the-line beepers at a discount price to teenagers as part of a $50 million promotional program for the company's Mountain Dew drink. In the next few weeks, Pepsi Cola and its corporate partners will offer 500,000 beepers for $29.99 each to people who buy Mountain Dew. The Motorola pagers usually sell for about $125.

Pepsico, based in Purchase, N.Y., wants to use the beepers to connect young people to a network that will offer such prizes as mountain bikes, compact discs, and trips.

Jon Harris, a company spokesman, said last week that Pepsi is "doing everything possible to keep beepers out of school" and to teach consumers about their proper use.

--Jessica Portner

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