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macon.com MIDDAY UPDATE: 4 incumbent Ga. congressman skip debates; 200 Ga. Tech students get 'Promise' scholarship; food allergies increasing in U.S. kids, study says

Four incumbent congressmen from Georgia failed to show up for debates held by the Atlanta Press Club and broadcast online.

Republican U.S. Reps. Lynn Westmoreland of Grantville, John Linder of Duluth and Tom Price of Roswell and Democratic U.S. Rep. David Scott skipped the Tuesday debates that were recorded at Georgia Public Broadcasting.

Their opponents, Democrats Stephen Camp of Newnan, Doug Heckman of Norcross and Bill Jones of Marietta and Republican Deborah Honeycutt, respectively, were left standing at empty microphones.

Laurie Strauss, Atlanta Press Club executive director, didn't fault the incumbents, noting that Scott and Price were attending House Finance committee meetings at the time. Strauss said the press club thought Congress would be in recess when the debates were scheduled.

Associated Press

200 Ga. Tech students get 'Promise' scholarship

Georgia Tech officials say nearly 200 students are attending the Atlanta university debt-free on a new program aimed at helping low-income students.

The Tech Promise program was launched last year for Georgia students whose families make less than $33,300 annually. The program creates a package of scholarships, grants and work study opportunities so that students can graduate without having to take out student loans.

Many students receive HOPE scholarships, which pay for tuition, but have to take out loans to pay for room and board. Tech's program is designed to address that gap.

The program is first-of-its-kind for a public college in Georgia.

Associated Press

Food allergies increasing in U.S. kids, study says

Food allergies in American children seem to be on the rise, now affecting about 3 million kids, according to the first federal study of the problem.

But experts said that might be because parents are more aware and quicker to have their kids checked out by a doctor.

About 1 in 26 children had food allergies last year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Wednesday. That's up from 1 in 29 kids in 1997.

The 18 percent increase is significant enough to be considered more than a statistical blip, said Amy Branum of the CDC, the study's lead author.

Nobody knows for sure what's driving the increase. A doubling in peanut allergies - noted in earlier studies - is one factor, some experts said. Also, children seems to be taking longer to outgrow milk and egg allergies than they did in decades past.

But also figuring into the equation are parents and doctors who are more likely to consider food as the trigger for symptoms like vomiting, skin rashes and breathing problems.

"A couple of decades ago, it was not uncommon to have kids sick all the time and we just said 'They have a weak stomach' or 'They're sickly,'" said Anne Munoz-Furlong, chief executive of the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network, a Virginia-based advocacy organization.

Parents today are quicker to take their kids to specialists to check out the possibility of food allergies, said Munoz-Furlong, who founded the nonprofit in 1991.

Associated Press

WHAT'S COMING UP ON MACON.COM

- A dog in Laurens County is being treated at a veterinarian's office after being shot and then tortured. We'll tell you more about it.

- Tons of people are getting out to vote early. We'll give you a breakdown of how it's going in Middle Georgia.

VISIT US AGAIN SOON

We invite you to check out our Web site again tomorrow for the Midday Update. Monday through Friday, Online Editor Beth MacFadyen will bring you timely information about what Telegraph staffers are working on, plus news we think you need to know immediately. Send feedback to bmacfadyen@macon.com

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