The March of Dimes held what it billed as its “inaugural Blue Jean Ball” on Friday at the Star, Idaho ranch of Gov. Butch Otter. Sponsored by the Employers Insurance Fund, the event raised more than $70,000 through ticket sales and silent and live auctions; the proceeds will go to research, education and community outreach regarding premature infants. The organization said the funds will help prevent premature births, and noted that the rate of premature birth has increased 29 percent in the past two decades, and the average hospital cost for each prematurely born baby is more than $79,000.
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