Arizona Republic from Phoenix, Arizona on April 1, 2006 · Page 279
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Arizona Republic from Phoenix, Arizona · Page 279

Phoenix, Arizona
Issue Date:
Saturday, April 1, 2006
Page 279
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6 THE CHANDLER REPUBLIC WEEKEND EDITION, APRIL 1, 2006 Probe leads to Covance fine CHANDLER NEWS PETA upset by small size of USDA penalty By Luci Scott WCI.SCOTT(iARIZ0NAREPUBLIC.C0M The USDA has fined drug-testing company Covance, which has plans to build in Chandler, after an investigation prompted by an animal rights group's allegations of animal abuse at the company's Vienna, Va., facility. Covance says the citations were minor and that the offending employee, accused of mishandling lab monkeys, no longer works for the company. Covance was fined $8,720 for 16 citations, three of which involved lab monkeys. The others concerned administrative issues and equipment "None of the issues cited by the USDA were pervasive or endemic," said Wendel Barr, a senior vice president with Covance. "While we don't agree with all of those citations, the company has agreed to (the fine) and we've already taken corrective action." The investigation was conducted last year but the settlement was just announced. Inspectors spent weeks at the facility and also viewed a videotape taken by a member of the group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. The PETA member had gone undercover and worked at the Covance facility for 11 months. The video taken inside the Covance lab is "We do believe the issues cited were very minor, and I think the fine is probably an indication of the view of severity.'' Wendel Barr Covance senior vice president on PETA's Web site. PETA spokeswoman Mary Beth Sweet-land said the group is unhappy with the fine, calling it too small. "I think that the thousands of people who watch this video would assume that Covance would be fined a thousand times the amount that they were fined by the USDA," Sweetland said. "The USDA is always aiding laboratories and making life difficult for those who take the time and the care to expose violations," she added. The animal-related citations involved a technician yelling at a primate and using more force than necessary to put a primate back into its cage. "The three citations ... were a total of three seconds out of 80 hours of tape," Covance spokeswoman Camilla Strongin said. The third citation was prompted by the video showing the technician putting his hand behind a primate's head and apparently tapping or hitting, depending on who is describing the action. "The view was that the contact probably was not warranted," Barr said. Another citation had to do with a technician incorrectly measuring an animal for a cage. Barr described Covance's training for its technicians as "exhaustive" and "robust." "We do believe the issues cited were very minor, and I think the fine is probably an indication of the view of severity," Barr said. Covance has purchased 38 acres on Price Road north of Queen Creek Road in Chandler but has yet to ask the city for rezoning. If it builds a facility in Chandler, the USDA will conduct similar unannounced yearly inspections. Regular audits also are done by the FDA and Covance's customers, which are drug companies, Barr said. USDA spokesman Darby Holladay said the agency takes all complaints seriously and follow through to "seek an outcome that makes sure that licensees or registrants are in compliance with the Animal Welfare Act." PETA's Sweetland said thaf s not enough. "Just like minimal standards of care in the Animal Welfare Act, the USDA also metes out very minimal fines to offenders." Plenty of room for home improvement By Eugene Mulero EUGENE MUlEROaARIZONAREPUBUC COM In southeast Chandler, Lowe's and Home Depot are new neighbors. The two home improvement warehouses sit directly across from each on Arizona Avenue just south of Queen Creek Road, giving shoppers the kind of choice found in few other places in the country. Ifs a prime location, in the heart of the city's booming real estate market an area of existing houses along with new developments still being built. Fulton Ranch, Chandler's last large-scale master-planned community, is going in next door. But as area residents shop for hammers, power tools or flooring, they must make a choice: Blue (Lowe's) or Orange (Home Depot)? Sun Lakes resident Ralph Braun couldn't decide Friday morning. So he shopped at both. Braun stopped at Lowe's to pick up several home accessories. What he couldn't find at Lowe's, he figured he could find at Home Depot. "I don't have a preference," Braun said. "I go back and forth to see which one carries something I need." In less than two months, Braun will travel with his wife back to their home state of Minnesota. Before that, there's work to be done on his Sun Lakes home. Alison Markes was at Home Depot on Fri- Battle for the buck The home-improvement giants compete in south Chandler Sntdiga, Sportspkx Queen Creek Rd. Home lowe's Depot w - - a) mesa"! n jTEMPE i ; um I I! I- ll MaP I -it- j. i area y-1 I CHANDLER I Si - mm Ocotillo Rd. Chandler Heights Rd. Source: Lowe's, Home Depot CARLOS ESPINOSATHE REPUBLIC day morning with her two young daughters. She bought patio accessories for a barbecue she's planning to host this weekend. At the store, she opted for the shopping cart shaped like a car to push her daughters. She doesn't see Home Depot as being a better store than Lowe's. "It was on the way, I didn't feel like turning around," Markes said. "They both have the same stuff." Lowe's shoppers, like Sun Lakes resident Walter Orlick, agree. "I don't care where I go," Orlick said. "I needed supplies. I came to Lowe's." The differences are minute. Lowe's tends to carry more home accessories and large appliances. Home Depot still leans heavily on tools, equipment and home repair. Both have extensive garden centers. Donna DeVoe, a spokeswoman at the nearby Ocotillo Community Association, has seen more residents improving their homes. They're doing everything from remodeling their kitchens, redesigning their back yards to installing new tile or carpet. "It's almost as if, right now, everybody is doing something to their homes," DeVoe said. Managers at both stores are banking on Chandler residents continuing the trend. Lowe's opened in December. Home Depot debuted in March. Home Depot is the bigger company. But as the country's second-largest home improvement chain, Lowe's added 150 stores in 2005 and plans another 150 this year. "We both focus on customer service and cater to the do-it-yourselfers," said Cami O'Kelly, an assistant manager at Home Depot. Ultimately, store officials urge shoppers to forget any Pepsi challenge assumptions, pitting the two against each other. This corner of town, they say, is big enough for both. Pooja Paode (right) was the winner of the Maricopa County spelling bee and Shelley Xu was runner-up. 2 to defend Chandler's spelling supremacy District had 2002, 2003 state champs By Doug Carroll DOUG.CARROUARIZONAREPUBLIC.COM The reputation of the Chandler Unified School District as a breeding, ground for champion spellers is on the line today. Pooja Paode and Shelley Xu, both students in the district, will be among the competitors at the Arizona State Spelling Bee, to be at 1 p.m. at the studios of KAET-TV (Channel 8) on the Arizona State University campus in Tempe. Chandler had state champions in 2002 with Varun Ra-jan and in 2003 with Gavin King. The state winner will advance to the Scripps National Spelling Bee on May 29-June 2 in Washington, D.C. Each county in Arizona will be represented in the state bee by one speller, except for Maricopa County (12 spellers) and Pima County (two). The bee, which is open to the public, is sponsored by the Arizona Educational Foundation. It will be taped for telecast at 5 p.m. April 23 and 11 p.m. April 25 on Channel 8. Paode, a sixth-grader at Shumway Elementary, and Xu, a seventh-grader at Santan Junior High, finished 1-2 in regional competition Feb. 18 in Queen Creek. In the Chandler district bee Jan. 27, Xu was the winner and Paode the runner-up.

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