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More than a fifth of adults in Colorado are fat, but it’s still the skinniest state in the nation, according to a new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention map that highlights the scale of America’s obesity epidemic.
The CDC’s 2011 map, based on a continuous, wide-ranging series of surveys, shows that at least 20% of people in every state are obese, and in 12 states, more than 30% of people are obese, Wired reports. Obesity is most prevalent in Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, and West Virginia.
Tennessee has dropped off the most obese list and Indiana has joined it, but the CDC warns that this year’s map can’t be directly compared with previous years because of some changes in methodology. States in the “fat belt” tend to be those with the highest rates of strokes and diabetes and lowest per-capita incomes, MedPage Today notes. Mississippi, America’s poorest state, is also its heaviest, with 34.9% obesity.
A Michigan teenager found an unexpected item on his Arby’s sandwich: a human finger.
Ryan Hart, 14, was eating a roast beef sandwich when he bit into a piece he described as particularly rubbery. He spit out the item, which turned out to be a part of a finger measuring about one-inch long and a quarter-inch thick, the Jackson Citizen Patriot reports.
The incident occurred at the Arby’s restaurant on N. West Avenue in Jackson, Mich., on May 11, just after Hart and his mother had gone to the establishment for a quick bite after school.
Health officials said a worker likely left her area after cutting her finger on a meat slicer, according to the Jackson Citizen Patriot. Other employees, allegedly unaware of their co-worker’s injury, continued with their regular duties. Once informed of the incident, the restaurant team stopped food production and cleaned and sanitized the restaurant.
Hart is doing fine, after getting his blood drawn and getting prescribed medicine at the hospital.
After a thorough investigation of corruption in state politics, the Center for Public Integrity has made up report cards for each state—and the results are depressing.
Not one state managed anything in the A-range, while eight—Michigan, the Dakotas, South Carolina, Maine, Virginia, Georgia, and Wyoming—scored Fs.
Coming in on top with a B-plus: New Jersey. Perhaps that’s surprising, given the state’s political reputation. But that reputation has prompted some tough anti-corruption laws; ditto for other possibly counterintuitive states in the top 15, like Illinois and Louisiana.
The investigation was conducted using 330 “Integrity Indicators,” that fall into 14 categories, including internal auditing and ethics enforcement. In many cases, laws to prevent corruption are on the books—but not followed or enforced. A sampling of the depressing stories uncovered:
- More than 650 Georgia government workers took gifts from vendors conducting business with the state in 2007 and 2008.
- Tennessee hasn’t issued one ethics penalty since it created a commission tasked with doing just that six years ago.
- A Maine senator didn’t disclose millions in state contracts to an organization he helped run; a legal loophole made that a-OK.
Amanda Clayton won the lottery in September, but despite her $1 million prize, she was still collecting $200 per month in food stamps until recently.
Last night, the Michigan Department of Human Services confirmed that she has been removed from the welfare program, the Detroit News reports. “State assistance, our tax dollars, is meant to go to those who are truly in need,” says state Rep. Dale Zorn. “It’s not meant to go to those who won big in the lottery.”
A similar incident involving a $2 million payday occurred in 2010, and Zorn is now looking to make sure big lottery winners are taken off welfare programs.
Clayton’s ex-boyfriend says she went on “an insane shopping spree” after winning the state lottery; she reportedly bought a house and car with cash. After taxes, she took home about $500,000 total of her $700,000 lump sum payment, Clayton’s mother says.
“I thought that they would cut me off, but since they didn’t I thought maybe it was OK because I’m not working. I feel that it’s OK because I have no income, and I have bills to pay. I have two houses.” The Times notes that Clayton could well have been breaking the law, if she accepted food stamps after her income and assets surpassed the legal threshold. “The person in question hasn’t been eligible for a long time,” says a DHS spokesman.
After paying almost three times the drugstore price for a Coke and candy, a Michigan man has had it: He’s suing his local AMC cinema in an attempt to lower snack prices statewide.
“He got tired of being taken advantage of,” Joshua Thompson’s lawyer tells the Detroit Free Press. “It’s hard to justify prices that are three and four times higher than anywhere else.”
Thompson paid $8 for a Coke and pack of Goobers, compared to $2.73 at a local drugstore.
The suit says AMC is violating the Michigan Consumer Protection Act with absurdly high prices. Thompson hopes to win refunds for overcharged customers as well as a civil penalty for AMC but consumer lawyers predict the case will be dropped. “The lawsuit won’t go anywhere,” says one.
A Michigan mother says she was humiliated by a judge who told her breastfeeding in his courtroom was inappropriate.
Natalie Hegedus, who was fighting a boating ticket, says she brought her 5-month-old son to court with her and fed him discreetly in the back of the courtroom before her case was called. When she was called up, the judge asked her if she thought what she was doing was appropriate, WoodTV reports.
When Hegedus told the judge that what she was doing wasn’t illegal, he responded, “It’s my courtroom, I decide what’s appropriate in here,” the court transcript states. “The laws don’t apply in a courtroom, the judge’s law applies, do you understand that?”
Hegedus says the exchange almost left her in tears and she was upset further when she learned that a female courtroom assistant had handed the judge a note saying “There’s a woman breastfeeding in court, my God!”