Take Note: Farm aid; Submarines and substitutes

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Farm Aid

School officials in Bradleyville, Mo., thought their ship had come in when a property-tax reassessment almost tripled land values in their district to $9 million.

Even after cutting the district's levy rate to adjust for what appeared to be a windfall, they budgeted for extra tax revenues of $136,000.

But just as fast as the tide rolled in, it ebbed.

Local officials last month determined that they mistakenly had assessed the value of an $11,000 farm at $5 million.

The farm is on 380 of the district's 88,000 acres of land.

New tax bills are being sent to some district residents, but the new assessments will bring in only about $20,000 of the extra money that was expected.

District officials chalked up the error to a computer glitch.

"We have no ill feelings about the mistake," said Lonnie Leatherman, the superintendent of the 230-student district.

"We were going to live with the extra money; now we'll live without it," he said.

Submarines and Substitutes

Just plain sick--that's how most people at Flushing High School near Flint, Mich., will remember this year's celebration of American Education Week.

Student council members marked the occasion with 16 feet of submarine sandwiches and a bowl of punch at a staff lunch.

The 83 teachers and staff members at the 1,300-student school quickly devoured the sandwiches.

That was Nov. 15.

Within two days, 29 employees had called in sick, complaining of nausea and indigestion, which students in the high school's bacteriology class quickly traced to a section of ham sandwich.

Mad efforts to find substitute teachers took a back seat to misery.

"It really devastated us," said Gary Whitmire, the assistant principal.

"People here took themselves to the hospital, and the kids were distraught," he said. "It was severe. It simply emptied your whole system."

Mr. Whitmire had taken two days off after the staff luncheon for deer hunting and spent the entire time sick at a deer camp.

The local health department has yet to release the findings of its study of the outbreak, but by now the sickness has become a topic of humor.

"It's the talk of the town," Mr. Whitmire said.

--Drew Lindsay & Lonnie Harp

Vol. 15, Issue 15

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