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News Briefs (Nov. 1 - 7)

11/1/2013, 6 a.m.

Feds post food allergy guidelines for schools

ATLANTA (AP) - The federal government is issuing its first guidelines to schools on how to protect children with food allergies. The voluntary advice calls on schools to take such steps as restricting nuts, shellfish or other foods that can cause allergic reactions, and to make sure emergency allergy medicines like EpiPens are available. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention posted the guidelines on its website Wednesday. About 15 states _ and many schools or school districts _ already have policies of their own. But experts say many of their policies are probably not comprehensive. A recent CDC survey estimated that about 1 in 20 U.S. children have food allergies.

CDC guidelines: http://www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/foodallergies/

Senate GOP blocks Housing nominee

WASHINGTON - Senate Republicans blocked the nomination of Rep. Mel Watt, D-N.C. to head the Federal Housing Finance Agency to oversee mortgage lenders Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac at a critical time for the industry. Democrats fell three votes shy of the 60 required to advance his nomination. President Obama nominated the North Carolina Democrat in May to replace acting FHFA director Edward DeMarco. Thursday's filibuster marked the first time since the Civil War that a sitting member of Congress was denied a presidential nomination by the Senate. Senate Republicans opposed Watt's nomination because they prefer the policies advanced by DeMarco, who has been targeted by liberal Democrats and activists for not doing more to advance policies to aid homeowners facing foreclosure.

Source: USA TODAY

Many students left school after losing HOPE grants

ATHENS, Ga. (AP) - More than 11,000 Georgians lost HOPE grants to attend state technical colleges when the state Legislature imposed tougher academic requirements in 2011, and more than half have not re-enrolled in school as of this fall, according to Technical College System of Georgia statistics. As a way of curbing the costs of the lottery-funded HOPE program, state lawmakers in 2011 raised the minimum GPA students had to keep in their first year from 2.0 to 3.0. As a result of the cost-saving measure, 11,471 students in the system's 24 technical colleges lost their HOPE grants. Last year, with lottery revenues up, Gov. Nathan Deal and lawmakers reversed field, restoring the minimum GPA to 2.0 for students this fall.

Design and budget for Falcons stadium approved

ATLANTA (AP) - The design and budget for a new Atlanta Falcons stadium have been approved. The Georgia World Congress Center Authority board of governors on Tuesday unanimously approved the complete schematic design and a preliminary budget of $1.2 billion, up $200 million from the previous estimate. The design was recently completed by an architecture firm. The design team had presented a conceptual design earlier this year, but officials say the new version includes more details. Board chairman Tim Lowe told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that the extra $200 million included in the budget will be covered by the Falcons. Bonds backed by the city's hotel-motel tax are set to cover $200 million of the stadium's cost, while the rest is to be covered by the team, the NFL and personal seat license sales.