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Leavitt, Powell want rallies to encourage service in Utah

Healthy and literate children. More foster families. More volunteers.

Utah has set some goals, and Wednesday Gov. Mike Leavitt and Retired Gen. Colin Powell hope to inspire Utahns into making real change for the coming millenium.Leavitt is looking for more people like Katherine Hines, who found time to tutor children in reading while also serving as a service missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Hines helped 9-year-old Mary Finley become a better reader. Once a stranger, she now credits "Grandma Hines" for helping her remember to try harder. Her brother, Leland, also reads better thanks to Hines passing along literacy tips to the children's parents.

It's something Leavitt would like more of.

Leavitt hopes 104 town meetings, a world-famous general and his appearance on all seven Utah television stations Wednesday are the first steps toward lighting a fire under Utahns that will hopefully burn through 2000 and beyond.

The name of this game is voluntarism.

Leavitt is calling for 3,000 new foster homes, 12,000 more-literate children, fewer low birth-weight babies, service-oriented teens, safe communities, caring adults and service, service, service.

To kick off the call, Powell, chairman of America's Promise - The Alliance for Youth, will speak at a 1:30 p.m. rally Wednesday. Officials hope thousands will heed the call and converge on Capitol Hill. Ten volunteers will be honored at the rally.

Later that evening Powell will also address the state in a tape-recorded message to run in con-junc-tion with Leavitt's live speech from a rally at West High School. The speech will be broadcast along with Powell's message at 5:30 p.m. At 6:30 p.m., town meetings will be held at 104 Utah high schools.

"We need tens of thousands of people attending these meetings," Leavitt said.

But the meetings will compete for attendance with the fourth game of the World Series between the Cleveland Indians and the Florida Marlins.

"We're hoping people will forego a little entertainment to improve their communities," said Michael Call, executive director of the Utah Commission on Volunteers.

The state's 10 volunteer centers will work as liaisons with communities. For more information on Utah's Promise, call the Utah Commission of Volunteers at 222-2911.