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hTeacher gives kidney to former student



Published: Mon, February 10, 2003 @ 12:00 a.m.



hTeacher gives kidneyto former student

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Amy McCloud, 35, gets a hug from Ron Mercier, 68, her former coach and senior class adviser, at Milan High School. Mercier used to give McCloud hall passes in school and advice on the softball field. Now, he's given her a kidney.

Mercier, ran into the woman's father and stepmother last year. He learned that McCloud was spending four hours a day, three days a week on a dialysis machine as she waited for a kidney transplant. Relatives who had offered to help McCloud either weren't compatible or were excluded because of medical history.

Mercier remembered McCloud, who was diagnosed with diabetes at age 15, as a bubbly and bright student who often helped in his classroom. It pained him to learn she had been on a transplant waiting list for more than a year, so he asked what was required in a donor.

It turned out the required special education teacher had the O positive blood needed and the transplant was performed Wednesday.

McCloud was stunned by Mercier's generosity.

"I was like, 'You've got to be kidding me, giving a body part to someone not related to you,"' she said before the operation. "It's overwhelming. How can you ever thank them enough?"

McCloud was in good condition Saturday at the University of Michigan Medical Center, a spokeswoman said. Mercier has been discharged.

Board approves sale

PHILADELPHIA -- Bethlehem Steel's board voted unanimously Saturday to sell its mills to International Steel Group, a deal that could bring the once-mighty industrial giant out of bankruptcy and create the nation's largest steelmaker.

Bethlehem has been reviewing a $1.5 billion offer from Cleveland-based ISG since Jan. 6, and the companies reached an agreement in principle last week after chief executive Robert Miller said he and financial advisers agreed it was "the best value achievable."

The deal will be submitted in one or two weeks to U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New York, Miller said.

"Following the board's affirmative vote this afternoon, Bethlehem will move quickly to finalize the asset purchase agreement with ISG to complete this sale early in the second quarter of this year," Miller said. "This sale will provide a new beginning for our employees and our operations, which will continue without interruption during the change of ownership."

Van Gogh painting sold

TOKYO -- An unsigned painting initially valued at $83 was auctioned off Saturday for $550,000 after it was revealed to be a previously unknown work by Vincent van Gogh.

The hammer fell after only about five minutes. The oil painting, a dark profile of a frowning middle-aged peasant woman in a white bonnet, goes to the owner of a small Japanese art gallery.

The Japanese art house organizing Saturday's sale started the bidding at $41,700 after receiving word late Thursday that the piece was a van Gogh.

Previously the Shinwa Art Auction had estimated the value at $83.

Shinwa President Yoichiro Kurata said Friday he originally didn't think the painting was the real thing. But because the piece resembled several other known peasant woman paintings by van Gogh, he sent it last month to Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam and asked experts there to examine it.

Theater reopens

MOSCOW -- Just over three months ago, it was a hall of death. But Saturday night, cheerful ticket-holders hurried up to the Dubrovka Theater here, their faces alight in anticipation of a good night's entertainment at the reopening of the musical "Nord-Ost."

Among them were few mourners for people who died last October in the theater after Chechen terrorists took the audience and cast hostage. Most came Saturday with the simple wish for an enjoyable evening out.

Security was tight before Saturday's performance. Sniffer dogs and sappers checked the interior before the show, and audience members passed through a metal detector.




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