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SHORT TAKES

PAINFUL PIERCING
The family of a Chicago girl is suing a beauty salon for allegedly botching her tongue-piercing. The suit alleges that the girl had to have three lymph nodes removed as a result of the piercing. It claims that the salon didn't get the proper consent from the girl, who was 16, nor did it use sterile equipment. After the piercing, the girl got a massive infection in her system, which antibiotics haven't cleared up completely, the suit says.

SO MUCH FOR SHARING
Two suburban Chicago boys sharing a snorkel -- no big deal, huh? According to a lawsuit filed last month in federal court, one of the boy's mothers didn't see it that way. One of the boys was white, the other was black, and here's what a racial-discrimination lawsuit, filed by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of the black boy's mom, alleges:

The boys shared a snorkel at a public swimming pool. When the white mom found out, she demanded that the black boy take a test for HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. The day-care center that took the black boy to the pool told the black mom to get her son tested or he would get booted from day care. The lawsuit says the white mom then was told the test results, which were negative. The day-care center says it was simply trying to solve a dispute between two moms; it also says it only shared test results with the white mom with the other mom's permission. The lawsuit is seeking an unspecified amount of money.

NATURALLY HEALTHFUL?
Sales of herbal medicines are soaring, and now some herb manufacturers are targeting new customers: kids. A North Carolina company, Gaia Herbis, is rolling out 21 new herbal products formulated especially for kids, CNN reports. The herbs are designed to treat everything from toothaches to sore throats. But the new herbs are causing concern among some medical experts, who say more research is needed to see if they are safe for kids. "It can be dangerous to give children herbs without knowing the dosing or what's in the product itself," Stanley Cohen, an Atlanta doctor, told CNN. "There's no regulation right now to require that these products get specific testing in children before they're released."

GROWING UP ... IN IOWA?
We're moving where???

Iowa was chosen the best state to raise a child by the Children's Rights Council. In deciding its rankings, the council considered such factors as rates of divorce, crime, high school graduation and infant deaths.

SEED MONEY
It's hard to avoid those school fund-raisers for school uniforms, class trips, the yearbook, whatever. Now some Wisconsin students have come up with the ultimate excuse for a fund-raiser: They want to see their science experiment get launched into space. The teens, who teamed with Italian students to develop an experiment for lettuce seeds in space, are trying to raise $20,000 to see the space shuttle blast their seeds into orbit. NASA has reserved seats for the students for the shuttle's Oct. 29 launch.

-- Chicago Tribune

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