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O say can you breathe? Fireworks pollute air, study says

NEW YORK (AP) — July Fourth fireworks fill the skies across the nation with more than sparkling bursts of color. They spew pollution, too.

A study of 315 locations around the country found that the holiday explosions temporarily boosted the levels of airborne microscopic particles that can pose a health risk.

At 9 p.m. and 10 p.m. on July 4, levels of those particles were more than twice normal, on average, researchers found. But they tapered off overnight and fell back to normal by noon on July 5.

Smaller studies have also linked fireworks to particle pollution.

Dian Seidel of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, who reported the results recently in the journal Atmospheric Environment said the study did not look for any resulting effects on health.

But in response to the research, the Environmental Protection Agency noted Tuesday that children, older adults, and people with heart disease, asthma or other lung diseases are considered to be particularly sensitive to particle pollution. The agency recommended that they limit their exposure by watching fireworks from upwind.

"We want everyone to enjoy their local fireworks displays," the agency said in a statement.

State Dept. warns U.S. citizens in Greece of banking disruptions
WASHINGTON (Sinclair Broadcast Group) — As Greece sinks further into financial crisis—unable to pay its roughly €1.6 billion debt to the International Monetary Fund by the June 30 deadline—Americans visiting or living in the southeastern European country will likely feel the impact.

The State Department on Sunday warned U.S. citizens they may experience banking disruptions while in Greece and advised them to carry enough cash to cover emergencies, as banks are expected to remain closed for at least a week under capital controls and ATM withdrawals have been limited for Greeks.

The U.S. Embassy in Athens also advised Americans to avoid rallies and demonstrations concerning Greece’s economic meltdown.

Read the State Department’s full message below:

The State Department alerts U.S. citizens residing in or traveling to Greece of the possibility of disruptions to banking services – including credit-card processing and servicing of ATMs – throughout Greece in light of developments within the local economy. International and local media are reporting that banks will remain closed starting on Monday, June 29, 2015, and that capital controls may be imposed before they re-open. U.S. citizens are encouraged to carry more than one means of payment (cash, debit cards, credit cards), and make sure to have enough cash on hand to cover emergencies and any unexpected delays.

The State Department recommends you maintain a high level of security awareness and avoid political rallies and demonstrations as instances of unrest can occur. Exercise caution and common sense: Avoid the areas of demonstrations, and if you find yourself too close to a demonstration, move in the opposite direction and seek shelter. Even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and possibly escalate into violence.

The U.S. Embassy maintains a website with information about anticipated demonstrations, rallies, and strikes. We encourage all U.S. citizens to review their personal security plans, remain aware of their surroundings, including local events, and monitor local news stations for updates. U.S. citizens should maintain a high level of vigilance and take appropriate steps to enhance their personal security. Exercise vigilance to protect against pickpocketing and secure valuables in hotel rooms when traveling. For additional information, please refer to "Travelers Checklist.

"U.S. citizens traveling to or residing in Greece are encouraged to enroll in the Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program. By enrolling, U.S. citizens make it easier for the Embassy or nearest Consulate to contact them in the case of an emergency. U.S. citizens without Internet access may register directly with the U.S. Embassy in Athens. Regularly monitor the Department’s website where you can find current Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and the Worldwide Caution. Read the Country Specific Information for Greece.

Up-to-date information on security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the United States and Canada or, for callers outside the United States and Canada, a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).

You can also stay up to date by bookmarking our Bureau of Consular Affairs website, which contains the current Travel Warnings and Travel Alerts as well as the Worldwide Caution. You can follow us on Twitter and the Bureau of Consular Affairs page on Facebook as well.You can contact the U.S. Embassy in Athens for general consular assistance and up-to-date information on conditions in Greece.

The U.S. Embassy in Athens is located at 91 Vasilisis Sophias Avenue and is open 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday-Friday, except on Greek and U.S. official holidays and the last Wednesday of every month. The U.S. Embassy in Athens can be reached by e-mail, or by telephone at 210-720-2414, or 210-729-4444 for after-hours emergencies. If you are a U.S. citizen with an after-hours emergency, please call the U.S. Embassy in Athens at 210-729-4444.

Fire Chief says blaze destroys Civic Stadium
EUGENE, Ore. (AP) -- A fire official in Oregon says a spectacular fire has destroyed Eugene's historic Civic Stadium and prompted the temporary evacuation of a nearby two-block area.

Eugene-Springfield Fire Chief Randy Groves said the stadium's dry, seasoned lumber caused the fire to spread quickly Monday evening. He said the cause is under investigation. No one was hurt.The fire was declared under control just after 7 p.m.

Police spokesman John Hankemeier said firefighters called to the stadium at about 5:30 p.m. Monday found flames shooting twice the height of the structure. Smoke was visible throughout the city, which is about 100 miles south of Portland.

The stadium was approved by voters in 1938 during the Great Depression. Labor was provided by the Works Progress Administration, and materials were donated by lumbermen in the area. The Eugene Emeralds, a minor league team, had been a long-time tenant, but vacated in 2009.

Oregon legislature looks to speed up traffic
SALEM, Ore. (AP) -- Slow-poke drivers in passing lanes on Oregon freeways would sometimes have to make way for motorists with heavier right feet under a bill under consideration in the Legislature.

Lawmakers are advancing several traffic-related bills as they push to wrap up the legislative session.

One would designate the left lane on highways as a passing lane when there isn't congestion, requiring slow drivers to move over for faster-moving traffic. That measure passed the Senate on in a 23-6 vote on Monday, sending it back to the House.

Another bill would raise the speed limit on certain stretches of freeway in Eastern Oregon. It would increase Oregon's top speed limit to 70 mph on some stretches of Interstate 84 and Highway 95. That bill is awaiting action in the Ways and Means Committee.

Jackson County to evaluate casino plans
MEDFORD, Ore. (AP) -- Jackson County officials will be examining potential impacts of a proposed casino in Medford.

The Jackson County Board of Commissioners will decide Wednesday whether to authorize a memorandum of understanding between the county and the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs involving the Coquille Indian Tribe's casino proposal.

The tribe's plan includes converting Roxy Ann Lanes bowling alley and the former Kim's restaurant into a casino with video gambling machines.  

Under the agreement, county officials would participate in developing a draft and final Environmental Impact Statement.

Some elected officials have voiced concerns about the casino increasing addictive behavior and crime.

The Coquille Tribe operates a casino north of Coos Bay. They say the casino will bring jobs to Medford and stimulate the economy.

Chobani selected as Greek yogurt provider for school lunches

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Public schools across America will soon offer Greek yogurt as a meat substitute in school lunches beginning this fall.

Chobani, a manufacturer of Greek yogurt, officials announced Monday it had been selected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to supply the yogurt as part of the federal school lunch program.

The USDA decided in April to include Greek yogurt as a permanent option in its school lunch program after classifying it as an approved meat substitute in 2013. Chobani was selected as the exclusive provider after it successfully led a Greek yogurt pilot program over the past year, expanding the program from four to 12 states.

During the first three months of the pilot program, schools in Idaho, New York, Arizona and Tennessee consumed 200,000 pounds of Chobani Greek yogurt. By the time the program was expanded, schools were ordering 700,000 pounds of yogurt.

Company officials did not disclose the value of its USDA contract.

Chobani, which is based in New York and opened a one of the biggest yogurt processing plant in the world in Idaho nearly three years ago, leads the U.S. in Greek yogurt production.

Greek yogurt is a thicker style yogurt that has twice the protein of traditional yogurts and uses hormone-free milk.

"Chobani is a nutrient-intense food and getting children the best nutrition early in life is very important to us," said Robert Post, senior director of Chobani's nutrition and regulatory affairs, in a prepared statement. "Since the very beginning, Chobani has sourced milk from cows not treated with artificial growth hormones."

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Greece's bailout expires, country defaults on IMF payment

ATHENS, Greece (AP) -- A last-ditch effort to extend the bailout went nowhere and Greece has now failed to repay a loan due to the International Monetary Fund, deepening fears over whether it will be able to remain in the eurozone.

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JENNIFER GARNER AND BEN AFFLECK GETTING DIVORCED

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- It's splitsville for Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck.

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GOP 2016-PAUL-MARIJUANA

DENVER (AP) -- Republican presidential candidate Rand Paul is looking for some green from the pot biz.

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IN THE NEWS: US COURT AGREES APPLE VIOLATED ANTITRUST LAW IN E-BOOK ENTRY

NEW YORK (AP) -- Apple says a federal appeals court's conclusion that it violated antitrust law when it entered the electronic books market does nothing to change the fact it did nothing wrong.

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