Hepatitis outbreak leads to new R.I. scholarship

By Nicole Lauer

The law firm that assisted Rock Island and Milan residents in the 2009 outbreak of the Hepatitis A virus traced to a Milan McDonald’s has donated $25,000 to the Rock Island-Milan Education Foundation.

Food safety law firm Marler Clark donated the funds to the foundation in October with the goal of fostering student interest in science-related careers. The funds will provide scholarships for Rock Island High School students pursuing science-related college degrees.

District spokeswoman Holly Sparkman said the first $2,000 award to a senior is expected to be made next spring. She anticipates, over time, 12 or 13 students will receive the annual $2,000 award from the funds.

A district news release stated the law firm focuses on victims of foodborne illness. The scholarships are designed to encourage future students to improve future food safety, according to Marler Clark managing partner Bill Marler.

Rock Island High School principal Robert Mason said the new scholarship is a boon for students.

“It is our sincere desire for students at Rock Island High School who are interested in pursuing a college degree in the science field to take advantage of this generous opportunity,” he said.