SIOUX FALLS, S.D.

State officials to support embattled ‘pink slime’ maker

The leaders of five states a plan visit to the only place where a beef product known as “pink slime” is still made, an effort aimed to support its embattled manufacturer, a company spokesman said Tuesday.

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback and Texas Gov. Rick Perry will visit the one Beef Products Inc. plant that’s still in operation to combat misconceptions and misinformation about the company and its “lean, finely textured beef” product, company spokesman Rich Jochum said.

They’ll be joined at the South Sioux City, Neb., plant on Thursday by Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, Nebraska Lt. Gov. Rick Sheehy and South Dakota Lt. Governor Matt Michels.

Dakota Dunes, S.D.-based Beef Products said Monday it is suspending operations at plants in Texas, Kansas and Iowa where it makes the low-cost beef ingredient from fatty bits of meat left over from other cuts.

The bits are heated and spun to remove most of the fat, and the lean mix then is compressed into blocks and exposed to ammonium hydroxide gas to kill bacteria such as E. coli and salmonella. The result is a product, which has been used for years and meets federal food safety standards, that is as much as 97 percent lean beef.

The company has acknowledged that recent public uproar has cost the company business. Operations have also been reduced at the South Sioux City plant, and company officials said more than 650 people are affected by the shutdowns.

BALTIMORE

Man recovering well after extensive face transplant

After 15 years of wearing a mask and living as a recluse, a 37-year-old Virginia man disfigured in a gun accident got a new face, nose, teeth and jaw in what University of Maryland physicians say is the most extensive face transplant ever performed.

Richard Lee Norris of Hillsville is recovering well after last week’s surgery, beginning to feel his face and already brushing his teeth and shaving, University of Maryland Medical Center officials announced Tuesday. He’s also regained his sense of smell, which he had lost after the accident.

Norris, who was selected from among five possible candidates for the surgery, has been living as a recluse, doing his shopping at night. It’s hoped the transplant will give him his life back, said Dr. Eduardo Rodriguez, the lead surgeon.. Although he now has the donor’s face, he doesn’t resemble the donor, Rodriguez said.

TOPEKA, Kan.

Abortion records in recycling likely won’t lead to charges

A former Kansas abortion provider isn’t likely to face criminal charges for discarding hundreds of patients’ private medical records in a recycling bin outside an elementary school, but anti-abortion lawmakers called Tuesday for the state Legislature to investigate.

Johnson County District Attorney Steve Howe said he doesn’t expect to pursue a criminal case against Krishna Rajanna, who confirmed that he left records from Affordable Medical and Surgical Services in a school recycling bin blocks from his home in the Kansas City suburb of Overland Park. The Kansas City, Kan., clinic closed in 2005, shortly after the State Board of Healing Arts, which regulates physicians, revoked Rajanna’s Kansas medical license.

SAN DIEGO

Bronze Lorax stolen from backyard of Dr. Seuss’ widow

They took the Lorax, made of bronze, the thieves they came, and now he’s gone.

A 2-foot statue of Dr. Seuss’ Lorax character was stolen from the San Diego backyard garden of the 90-year-old widow of the beloved author whose real name was Theodore Geisel.

Audrey Geisel noticed the statue and its tree-stump base were missing from the garden and were likely stolen over the weekend.

Property manager Carl Romero said on Tuesday that he found footprints indicating the thieves had dragged the 300-pound statue to an access road and lifted it over a fence.

He had seen the statue Saturday afternoon, and Geisel noticed it was missing Monday morning.

Audrey Geisel’s daughter Lark Grey Dimond-Cate cast two of the sculptures. One was the lone Seuss character to reside on the family’s property overlooking the Pacific Ocean in La Jolla. The other sits at the Dr. Seuss National Memorial in the author’s hometown, Springfield, Mass. Theodore Geisel died in 1991 at age 87.

RICHMOND, Va.

Spanish wind turbine maker win OK to build prototype

Spanish wind giant Gamesa Energy Inc. has won state approval to build a 479-foot prototype of a wind turbine off Virginia.

The Virginia Marine Resources Commission unanimously approved the 5-megawatt wind turbine in the lower Chesapeake Bay. The project still needs backing of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and a review by the Coast Guard.