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TO 4,000 HOMES





The monument

Group tells of plans for flood anniversary By JJ VELASQUEZ THE ZAPATA TIMES

Tasked with hosting the largest family reunion ever, a Zapata group is reaching out to families that were forced to leave the former town site almost 60 years ago.

Flood anniversary

Photo by Cuate Santos | Laredo Morning Times

Laredo artist and sculptor Armando Hinojosa, left, looks at pieces of the Tejano Monument he designed as he stands with one of hundreds of well-wishers who posed with the artists following the unveiling of the monument in Austin on Thursday.

Shiny bronze offers salute to Tejanos’ legacy By JJ VELASQUEZ THE ZAPATA TIMES

AUSTIN — After a misty morning during which a few raindrops fell, the clouds parted and the sun shone on the state Capitol’s newest monument. The Tejano Monument, sculpted by local artist Armando Hinojosa and fi-

nanced in large part by Zapata businessman Renato Ramirez, was unveiled Thursday on the Capitol’s south lawn in front of thousands of people. The 525-square-foot monument depicts wildlife, a vaquero and Spaniard families that settled parts of Texas in the 1500s. The dignitaries who at-

tended Thursday’s unveiling of the multi-statue monument said it would honor the legacy of Hispanics in Texas but also stand as a beacon of hope for the future of Texas and its people. State Rep. Richard Raymond, the master of ceremonies, said it was “significant” that history would show the monu-

ment was unveiled during Gov. Rick Perry’s term. The monument reflects the truth about early Spanish settlers’ contributions to the founding of Texas, said Perry, who attended the ceremony. He said those contributions would continue to mount in a state where a


Discussion began at a town hall meeting Tuesday to introduce Zapata Rising, an event planned for late summer or early fall in 2013, which would fall on the 60th anniversary of the flood that submerged Old Zapata in water. Organizers of the event aim to reunite the townspeople that have long since been removed from the original town. “There was a lot of emotion (at the town hall meeting),” said Jose Garcia, who works for a marketing firm and has been promoting the event online and in-person. “It got carried away because everybody started talking about their experiences.” If the group reaches its goal of reuniting more than 2,585 people, Zapata County would go into the Guinness Book of World Records, Garcia said. Now that the concept has been introduced to the broader Zapata community, the group plans to split its efforts among subcommittees, said Roberto Montes, a volunteer for the organization. Of the task forces the group wants to assemble, Montes said the one charged with reaching out to the families that were displaced is particularly important.

He would also like families without ties to the original town site to get involved. “We are very enthusiastic and passionate about this activity,” Montes said. “We’d like for more people to get involved and get excited.” The group has not set a solid date for its next meeting but plans to hold one two weeks from now. In that meeting, they expect to get closer to setting a date for the reunion, Montes said. The group is looking at holding it in either August or October of 2013.

Eyewitnesses Montes said about 50 people attended Tuesday’s meeting. Many of them shared first- and secondhand accounts of the flood that displaced the citizens living in Zapata and surrounding communities in 1953. County Judge Joe Rathmell said the event has the backing of the county. Several months ago, Commissioners Court passed a resolution that paved the way for the reunion. He said news of the planned reunion was still trickling into the community. “As more people find out about it, we’ll get better participation, I’m sure,” Rathmell said. Anyone wishing to participate can call Graphitiks Advertising Design, the agency marketing Zapata Rising, at 723-4389. For more information, visit (JJ Velasquez may be reached at 728-2567 or


State, Valley unemployment figures show decline ASSOCIATED PRESS

AUSTIN — Texas’ unemployment rate fell for a sixth consecutive month to 7.1 percent in February, and monthly job growth exceeded 20,000 positions for the third straight time, according to state employment agency figures released Friday. Texas Workforce Commission figures in the Rio Grande Valley also showed declining unemployment rates. The McAllenEdinburg-Mission area in February had the highest unemployment rate in the state at

11.1 percent, down from 11.7 percent in January. The Brownsville-Harlingen area registered a 10.9 percent unemployment rate in February, down from January’s 11.5 percent. Upriver, Laredo’s unemployment rate was 7.2 percent, down from January’s 7.6 percent. El Paso fell to 9.6 percent in February, down from January’s 10 percent. Local figures are not seasonally adjusted. Statewide, the jobless rate was down from 7.3 percent in January and has dropped a full

percentage point since August, the commission said. February’s unemployment rate is the lowest since March 2009. The commission says Texas added 27,900 nonfarm jobs in February, and new claims for unemployment dropped 28 percent from January to 69,955. “Texas’ job growth over the past year points to a steady and sustained expansion of our state’s economy,” said commission chairman Tom Pauken. Government was the leading industry in job gains with a jump of 12,800 positions in Feb-

ruary, followed by trade, transportation and utilities at 8,300. Education and health services grew by 3,800 jobs for the sector’s 19th straight month of job growth. Eight of the 11 major job sectors gained positions, “indicating that many different skill sets are in demand,” said commissioner for labor Ronny Congleton. The national unemployment rate has been falling fast as well and is now 8.3 percent. Unemployment rates are adjusted for seasonal trends in

hiring and firing, which most economists believe give a more accurate picture of the job market. Without the seasonal adjustment, the jobless rate in Texas fell to 7.2 percent from 7.6 in January. Midland had the only local unemployment rate below 4 percent for February at 3.8 percent. In South Texas, Corpus Christi’s February unemployment rate was 6.8 percent, down from January’s 7.3 percent, while Victoria had 6.2 percent unemployed, down from 6.6 percent.


Zin brief CALENDAR






TELPAS testing for the 4th grade will take place at Fidel and Andrea R. Villarreal Elementary School. An airway clearance seminar is from 8 a.m. to noon at Laredo Specialty Hospital, 2005 Bustamante St. The class is open to all LVNs, RNs and RTs. Limited space is available. For more information, call -753-5353.

Today is Saturday, March 31, the 91st day of 2012. There are 275 days left in the year. Today’s Highlight in History: On March 31, 1932, Ford Motor Co. publicly unveiled its powerful flathead V8 engine; while not the first eight-cylinder engine, it was the first to be affordable to the general public, and proved very popular. On this date: In 1889, French engineer Gustave Eiffel unfurled the French tricolor from atop the Eiffel Tower, officially marking its completion. In 1931, Notre Dame college football coach Knute Rockne, 43, was killed in the crash of a TWA plane in Bazaar, Kan. In 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Emergency Conservation Work Act, which created the Civilian Conservation Corps. In 1943, the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical “Oklahoma!” opened on Broadway. In 1949, Newfoundland (now called Newfoundland and Labrador) entered confederation as Canada’s tenth province. In 1953, Stanley Kubrick’s first feature film, a war drama titled “Fear and Desire,” premiered in New York. In 1968, President Lyndon B. Johnson stunned the country by announcing at the conclusion of a broadcast address on Vietnam that he would not seek re-election. In 1976, the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that Karen Ann Quinlan, who was in a persistent vegetative state, could be disconnected from her respirator. (Quinlan, who remained unconscious, died in 1985.) In 1986, 167 people died when a Mexicana Airlines Boeing 727 crashed in a remote mountainous region of Mexico. In 1995, Mexican-American singer Selena Quintanilla-Perez, 23, was shot to death in Corpus Christi by the founder of her fan club, Yolanda Saldivar, who was convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison. In 2005, Terri Schiavo, 41, died at a hospice in Pinellas Park, Fla., 13 days after her feeding tube was removed in a wrenching right-to-die dispute. Ten years ago: Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon vowed to smash Palestinian militants in a broadcast speech that came the same day as a suicide bombing in Haifa that killed 15 Israelis. Pope John Paul II used his Easter message to call for an end to violence in the Holy Land. Today’s Birthdays: Actor Richard Chamberlain is 78. Actress Shirley Jones is 78. Country singer-songwriter John D. Loudermilk is 78. Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., is 72. U.S. Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., is 72. Actor Christopher Walken is 69. Comedian Gabe Kaplan is 67. Former Vice President Al Gore is 64. Author David Eisenhower is 64. Actress Rhea Perlman is 64. Actor Ewan McGregor is 41. Thought for Today: “An optimist may see a light where there is none, but why must the pessimist always run to blow it out?” — Rene Descartes, French philosopher (born this date in 1596, died 1650).

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 4 Easter pictures will be taken at Fidel and Andrea R. Villarreal Elementary School, Room 24. Cost is $2. TELPAS testing of the 5th grade will take place at Fidel and Andrea R. Villarreal Elementary School.

FRIDAY, APRIL 6 Easter holiday for Zapata ISD students.

MONDAY, APRIL 9 Last day of Easter holiday for Zapata ISD students.

TUESDAY, APRIL 10 The Zapata County Commissioners Court meets today at 9 a.m. in the Zapata County Courthouse. Last day of Easter holiday for Zapata ISD students.

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 11 The American Cancer Society and Doctors Hospital will offer I Can Cope, a series of educational classes for people with cancer, along with their families and friends. I Can Cope helps patients meet the challenges of cancer by clarifying cancer facts and myths. The classes are offered from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. the second Wednesday of every month at Doctors Hospital in the Women’s Center Conference Room. Classes are free. To RSVP 5232658.

SATURDAY, APRIL 14 Saturday academies will be held at Fidel and Andrea R. Villarreal Elementary School for 3rd grade math and reading, 4th grade math and reading and 5th grade science.

Photo by Weather Underground | AP

This NOAA satellite image taken Friday shows clouds developing across the Central US. That storm system dumped rain and hail in McAllen late Thursday.

Storms close schools ASSOCIATED PRESS

McALLEN — Several school districts in the Rio Grande Valley closed Friday after severe storms packing heavy rains and hail reportedly as large as baseballs battered the area. The McAllen and Mission public schools were among districts shut as National Weather Service officials surveyed damage to determine whether there was a weak tornado on the south side of McAllen. “We’re still looking but we cannot confirm any tornados in McAllen at this time,” Don Butts, science officer with the National Weather Service, said late Friday morning. “It’s just amazing, 10 to 12 hours after the event, we’ve got two to three-foot hail drifts.” The heaviest hail damage was around McAllen as slow-moving storms late Thurs-

day dumped more than 5 inches of rain in some areas and piled up hail 6 inches deep at a one site four miles north of McAllen. In town, cars stalled out in intersections flooded after hail clogged gutters and struggled to escape piles of the icy deposits. Corridors in McAllen resembled the damage of a minor hurricane. Trees were stripped clean of their leaves. Signs were twisted, flags shredded. Parking lots glistened with shards from countless broken car windows and small dirty drifts of hail. Preliminary reports collected by the National Weather Service included quarter-, golf ball- and even one report of baseball-size hail. The airport recorded a top wind gust of 74 mph as thunderstorms advanced from the north. Thousands remained without power Friday morning in McAllen.

SUNDAY, APRIL 15 The 4th annual Falcon Lake Tackle-Bass Blast takes place from 7 a.m. through 2:30 p.m. Call 956-7654866 for more information.

THURSDAY, APRIL 19 Power of the Purse is at 6 p.m. today at La Posada Hotel, 1000 Zaragoza St. It will feature a silent and live auction of purses of every size and style at a cocktail reception to benefit the Girl Scouts of Greater South Texas. Funds raised will support local outreach in Laredo schools. Tickets are $75 each, and sponsorships are available. The council invites all former Girl Scouts to participate. Call Norma at 723-7251 for more information.

SATURDAY, APRIL 21 Saturday academies will be held at Fidel and Andrea R. Villarreal Elementary School for 3rd grade math and reading, 4th grade math and reading and 5th grade science. The March of Dimes March for Babies is from 8 a.m. to noon today. Begun in 1970, it has raised $2 billion to benefit all babies. To register a family or company team, visit http://

Texas firefighter charged with setting wildfire

Home where Holly’s band formed to be preserved

Blogger arrested for posting address online

ABILENE — A volunteer firefighter has been charged with setting a wildfire last year. Taylor Dupree Partain was charged with arson, a second-degree felony, in connection with a May wildfire in Jones County. The 24-year-old has been a lieutenant with the Hamby Volunteer Fire Department. He was arrested last week after a fire at Hamby United Methodist Church.

LUBBOCK — The Lubbock home where Buddy Holly and childhood friend Jerry Allison co-wrote “That’ll Be The Day” is being moved to a site that memorializes the famed 1950s rock and roll pioneer. The house where Allison spent some of his teenage years will find a home at the Buddy Holly Center in Lubbock, said Brooke Witcher, the center’s director of museums and special events.

CLEAR LAKE SHORES — The operator of a suburban Houston blog has been arrested for posting the email address of a city council candidate’s wife and inviting people to send viruses and spam to her email account. Allan Batchelor was free on $2,500 bond following his arrest Wednesday at his home in Clear Lake Shores. He’s charged with misdemeanor online impersonation.

Ex-FLDS leader sentenced to 10 years in prison MIDLAND — A former polygamist leader found guilty of bigamy has been sentenced to 10 years in prison. A Midland County jury sentenced Wendell Loy Nielsen on Friday. He will serve the three sentences concurrently. He was once a top lieutenant to Warren Jeffs in a polygamist group.

THURSDAY, APRIL 26 STAAR testing for 5th-grade science will take place at all Zapata County ISD elementary schools.

Jump in US spending brightens outlook

STAAR testing for 3rd- and 4thgrade reading will take place at all Zapata County ISD elementary schools.

SATURDAY, MAY 19 The Bass Champs tournament takes place from 7 a.m. through 6 p.m. To submit an item for the calendar, send the name of the event, the date, time, location and contact phone number to

CORPUS CHRISTI — The Texas State Securities Board has ordered a Corpus Christi securities adviser pay $719,000 in restitution and serve 10 years of community supervision for withholding information from investors. William Erik Byrne sold about $1 million worth of fraudulent investment contracts. — Compiled from AP reports

Obama: Oil supply enough to keep squeeze on Iran WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama said Friday he was plowing ahead with potential sanctions against countries that keep buying oil from Iran, including allies of the United States, in a deepening campaign to starve Iran of money for its disputed nuclear program. The world oil market is tight but deep enough to keep the squeeze on Iran, Obama ruled.


AUSTIN — Texas’ unemployment rate fell for a sixth consecutive month to 7.1 percent in February, and monthly job growth exceeded 20,000 positions for the third straight time, according to state employment agency figures released Friday. The jobless rate was down from 7.3 percent in January.

Securities adviser hit with $719,000 restitution


TUESDAY, APRIL 24 STAAR testing for 3rd- and 4thgrade math will take place at all Zapata County ISD elementary schools. The trustees of the Zapata County Independent School District will meet a 6 p.m. at the Professional Development Center, 702 E. 1770.

Texas unemployment rate down to 7.1 percent

WASHINGTON — U.S. consumers boosted their spending in February by 0.8 percent, the most in seven months, raising expectations for stronger growth at the start of the year. Americans spent more even as their income barely grew. To make up the difference, many saved less.

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Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney greets the crowd during a campaign stop at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wis., on Friday. Romney leads all other GOP candidates in the race for delegates.

House candidate can note astronaut past on ballot SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A congressional candidate in California’s Central Valley can note

on ballots that he used to be an astronaut. A Sacramento County judge ruled Thursday that Democrat Jose Hernandez can use the ballot designation “astronaut.” He is challenging Rep. Jeff Denham. — Compiled from AP reports

The Zapata Times is distributed on Saturdays to 4,000 households in Zapata County. For subscribers of the Laredo Morning Times and for those who buy the Laredo Morning Times at newsstands, the Zapata Times is inserted. The Zapata Times is free. The Zapata Times is published by the Laredo Morning Times, a division of The Hearst Corporation, P.O. Box 2129, Laredo, Texas 78044. Phone (956) 728-2500. The Zapata office is at 1309 N. U.S. Hwy. 83 at 14th Avenue, Suite 2, Zapata, TX 78076. Call (956) 765-5113 or e-mail


La Joya grad gets 3rd place SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

CORPUS CHRISTI – Irene Cornejo, a 2008 graduate of La Joya High School and former La Joya Jewelettes dance team major, received CORNEJO third place in the soloist competition at the 2012 American Dance/Drill Team Collegiate Championship held March 24 at the University of North Texas. Cornejo, a junior geology major at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, is a member of the Texas A&M-Corpus Christi Islander Dance Team, which took first place in the Division I category during the competition. The team also collected fifth place in the academic championship for classroom performance.


Bank to teach financial literacy SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Fourteen IBC Bank employees recently completed training for the Junior Achievement Zapata/San Ygnacio Pilot Program, scheduled to launch this year for the first time in Zapata. The program will teach JA curriculum to more than 350 students from kindergarten through 12th grades and was made possible thanks to the support of the Guadalupe & Lilia Martinez Foundation. “Year round, IBC Bank teaches elementary through high school students across Texas and Oklahoma saving and spending habits through the Money Buzz financial education program, so we see the Junior Achievement pilot program as an opportunity to expand our financial literacy efforts and invest in the future of Zapata,” said IBC Bank-Zapata CEO Renato Ramirez. JA is the world’s largest organization dedicated to educating students about work readiness, entrepreneurship and financial lit-

Courtesy photo

Zapata employees recently completed training to help launch the Junior Achievement of Laredo’s Zapata/San Ygnacio Pilot Program, which is expected to reach more than 350 K–12 students in the Zapata area during the spring semester. eracy through hands-on programs. JA programs have proven to be successful at raising students’ educational and career aspirations and teaching students to create opportunities to achieve their goals. During the 2011-2012 school year, about 75,000 students are expect-

Deputies seek rifle THE ZAPATA TIMES

Sheriff ’s investigators are asking for help in finding a stolen hunting rifle. On March 26, deputies went to the 2000 block of Carla Street in reference to the rifle. A 46-year-old man reported a stolen a Brown .243 Savage rifle with a Simmons 9x12 scope. It was taken from a residence in the 3000 block of Encino Road. Readers with any information are asked to call the sheriff ’s office at 7659960 or Crime Stoppers at 765-TIPS (8477).

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ed to participate in the education programs throughout South Texas. “Our mission is to in-

spire and prepare young people to succeed in a global economy and IBC Bank has been a strong support-

er of our efforts,” said Oralia Bernal, district director of Junior Achievement of Laredo.






‘Flexibility’ explains the president By JONATHAN GURWITZ SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS

In a murky political world, gaffes provide rare moments of brilliant clarity. “A gaffe,” journalist Michael Kinsley observed, “is when a politician tells the truth — some obvious truth he isn’t supposed to say.” During the 2004 presidential campaign, Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., explained his vote against a supplemental appropriation for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan by saying, “I actually did vote for the $87 billion, before I voted against it.” It cemented the impression of Kerry as a hopeless flip-flopper.

Attracting all More recently, Mitt Romney aide Erik Fehrnstrom explained how his candidate could win the GOP nomination over his more conservative foes and still attract moderate voters in the general election. “It’s almost like an Etch-a-Sketch,” Fehrnstrom said. “You can kind of shake it up, and we start all over again.” It confirmed, secondhand, the perception of many conservatives that Romney lacks a political core. Then there is Barack Obama. In an unguarded moment four years ago, he showed his disdain for Americans who cling to guns or religion. He has repeatedly expressed his frustration that “our Founders designed a system that makes it more difficult to bring about change than I would like sometimes.” If only the president didn’t have to explain his policies to the ignorant masses. If only he were unconstrained by a system of constitutional checks and balances and didn’t need to worry about the approval of Congress or the Supreme Court. A president who harbored such sentiments might whisper to the leader of another nation, and not exactly a friendly one, “This is my last election. After my election, I have more flexibility.”

Unguarded moment When an open microphone caught this candid exchange with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev last week, it authenticated fears about how extreme an Obama presidency unmoored from electoral accountability might be. Obama and Medvedev were discussing a NATO missile-defense system

based in Central Europe intended to guard against the prospective threat from Iranian and North Korean missiles as well as rogue or accidental launches.

Cutting missles Russian cold warriors view the system as an encroachment on their nation’s sovereignty. In Poland and Romania where the interceptors and radar installations eventually would be based, citizens have fresh memories of Russians trampling on their sovereignty. For Obama, who is still pressing the reset button with Russia and accepts as an article of faith that missile defense is offensive, cutting the program is a painless way to trim the defense budget. It was in this context that Obama confided in Medvedev, asking him to relay to Russian Prime Minister and Presidentelect Vladimir Putin that he needed some space to take care of the missile defense problem. Obamabots immediately tried to spin the president’s comments into some brilliant diplomatic commentary about electionyear politics. But the truth of the gaffe is in the clarity of the words he wasn’t supposed to say.

‘Flexibility’ Obama wasn’t talking to Medvedev about how elections influence American policies. He was talking about how his policies would be free from influence after the American elections. “This is my last election. After my election I have more flexibility.” To whom else, beyond the reach of microphones, has Obama pledged his flexibility during a second term in office? And about what other issues, foreign and domestic? As a lame duck, what would a president do who has already strained relations with historic allies, who has run up more debt faster than any predecessor, who has expanded government spending to unprecedented levels and who has threatened to institute a cap-and-trade program under which he said — in another gaffe — “electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket”? If the election gives Obama the flexibility that comes with retirement, the American people won’t have to find out. (Email:


There should be a better way By BILL KING HOUSTON CHRONICLE

Last year marked the 40th anniversary of President Richard Nixon’s declaration of war on drugs. Since then, the country has spent hundreds of billions of dollars attempting to suppress drug use, and millions of Americans have been imprisoned for drugrelated offenses at an inestimable cost to society and the families involved. Has the cost been worth it? Are we winning or losing the war on drugs? That depends largely on who you ask. The federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has published a lengthy booklet entitled “Speaking Out Against Drug Legalization” that defends the criminalization of drugs and the war on drugs in general. In it, the agency argues that overall drug use in the U.S. has fallen by one-third since the 1970s. It cites even more dramatic reductions in the use of specific drugs, such as cocaine, which it claims has fallen by 70 percent. Other groups, such as the Global Commission on Drug Policy, whose members include such notables as former Secretary of State George Shultz and former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker, categorically believe that the war of drugs has been a miserable failure. They

maintain that drug use has been on the increase and that the collateral damage caused by the criminalization of drugs far outweighs any benefits. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a chilling report on deaths from drug overdoses that suggests those arguing that we are losing the war may have the better argument. The CDC found that unintentional deaths from drug overdoses have increased tenfold on a per capita basis (from one in 100,000 to 10 in 100,000) since 1970. Part of the disconnect between the two versions of the argument is attributable to the rapid rise in the abuse of prescription drugs. The DEA has traditionally been focused on drugs that cannot be legally prescribed, such as cocaine and heroin. And there does appear to be some pretty good evidence that the use of those drugs is down. However, the abuse of prescription drugs, primarily opioids, has more than offset that decline. The CDC study shows that the number of deaths from opioid overdoses is now greater than cocaine and heroin combined. Those who favor legalization often compare the situation today to Prohibition, arguing that Prohibition did not work and neither will attempts to crimi-

nalize other drugs. But the case for the proposition that Prohibition did not work is not as clear as one might think. Health statistics from that time are a little sketchy, but seem to show a substantial drop in diseases known at that time to be associated with alcohol, such as cirrhosis. Crimes associated with alcohol also appear to have steeply declined during Prohibition. And one can hardly say that alcohol, while legal today, does not cause serious societal problems. The CDC estimates that excessive drinking causes about 80,000 deaths annually in the U.S. I sat on a local grand jury a few years ago and would estimate that nearly half the cases that came before us involved someone who had too much to drink. The damage caused by our other favorite legal drug, nicotine, is even worse. The CDC estimates that smoking kills more than 400,000 Americans every year. Just because we give up on enforcement and legalize a drug does not mean that problems associated with its abuse and addiction go way. Yet the mere fact that a government agency such as the DEA would publish a lengthy document advocating the continued criminalization makes me nervous. The DEA’s budget this year will be more than $15 bil-

Battle over health, Medicaid WASHINGTON POST

On the last day of oral arguments on President Obama’s health-care law, the Supreme Court grapples with a couple more issues, including whether the law’s expansion of Medicaid unlawfully coerces states to participate. Medicaid is a state-federal program that provides health care to the

disabled and the poor. The president’s health-care initiative expanded Medicaid to include single adults considered indigent under federal poverty standards. Twenty-six states have challenged the expansion as a coercive use of the federal purse. Although Medicaid remains voluntary, the 26 states argue that they are being forced

to acquiesce to the expansion with the threat of losing not only additional federal funds to cover new enrollees but also the billions of Medicaid dollars they already receive. This argument — that the federal government’s generosity in subsidizing Medicaid amounts to coercion — falls flat. States that support the change note in a brief that

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lion. Multiply that many times for all of the state and local law enforcement bureaucracies that make a living off the war on drugs. It reminds me of President Dwight Eisenhower warning in his farewell address of the military-industrial complex. One of our greatest generals turned president warned the country that the military and the defense industry had a financial incentive to exaggerate the threat of communism, to persuade the country to spend vast, unnecessary sums on defense. When you see the DEA publishing a nearly 100page report on why it needs to stay in business, you cannot help but wonder to what degree there is a “drug-law enforcement complex” doing the same thing. One thing on which everyone seems to agree is that there must be a better solution than our current strategy. The estimates of the economic costs of substance abuse and addiction run in the hundreds of billions annually. The cost in human terms is incalculable. We have every incentive to come up with the most efficient program possible to reduce these costs. Is there a better way? There are some options that lie between our current system and outright legalization. (Email:


11.2 million adults would be covered under the expansion. The federal government will pick up almost the whole tab; according to these states, Medicaid enrollment is expected to jump 27 percent by 2019, but average state spending will increase by only 1.4 percent. And states will still have discretion to design programs to meet their needs.



THE BLOTTER BURGLARY A man reported at 5:47 p.m. Thursday in the 600 block of Miraflores Avenue that someone broke into his vehicle and stole an amplifier. A burglary of a habitation was reported at 3:41 p.m. March 22 in the 400 block of Laredo Avenue.

DUI Osiel Alaniz, 20, was arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated at about 7:15 p.m. March 23 at 10th Street and Villa Avenue. The man was taken to the Zapata Regional Jail, where he was later released for court appearance.

DWI Jose Guadalupe de Leon, 44, was arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated with an open container at about 2:30 a.m. March 22 at First Street and Texas 16. The man was taken to the Zapata Regional Jail, where he was held on a

$2,500 bond. Deputies arrested and charged Jose Arnulfo Vargas, 41, with driving while intoxicated at about 8: 15 p.m. March 23 at 17th Avenue and Alamo Street. The man was held at the Zapata Regional Jail on a $5,000 bond.

POSSESSION Luis Daniel Peña, 18, was arrested and charged with possession of marijuana at about 1:15 a.m. Monday in the 600 block of Miraflores Avenue after a traffic stop. Deputies say the man had a plastic baggie containing more than 7 ounces of marijuana. Peña was held at the Zapata Regional Jail on a $65,000 bond. In the same incident, deputies arrested Jose Ruben Peña, 46, and charged him with public intoxication. He was later released to appear in court. A juvenile was detained and charged with possession of a controlled substance shortly before 8 a.m. Thursday at Zapata Middle

School. Deputies turned over the alleged offender to juvenile probation.

RECKLESS DRIVING Francisco Javier Villarreal, 20, was arrested and charged with reckless driving at about 4:30 a.m. Monday at U.S. 83 and Park Drive. The man was held at the Zapata Regional Jail on a $1,500 bond.

RESISTING ARREST Jose Isidro Campos, 29, was arrested at about 9:30 p.m. March 24 in the 1400 block of Guerrero Street after an alleged domestic disturbance. Deputies charged Campos with misdemeanor assault and resisting arrest. He was held at the Zapata Regional Jail on a $10,000 bond.

THEFT A 41-year-old man reported a theft at 5:26 p.m. March 25 at the Zapata County Boat Ramp in the Falcon Lake Estates.

The mind is topic of talk SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Scientist and best-selling author David Eagleman will delve into the mysteries of the subconscious mind as he presents a lecture Thursday at 7 p.m. at Texas A&M International University. Eagleman’s lecture, “Incognito: The Brains Behind the Mind,” will be held at the Center for the Fine and Performing Arts Recital Hall and is part of the A.R. Sánchez Distinguished Lecture Series. It is free and open to the public. In his presentation, Eagleman, often known as the

Carl Sagan of neuroscience, will delve into the question of the subconscious mind and why the conscious mind knows so little about it. If the conscious mind, the part you consider you,

accounts for only a fraction of the brain’s function, what is all the rest doing? This is the question that Eagleman has spent years researching and which he answers in this up-to-theminute talk.




Agenda en Breve NUEVO LAREDO 03/31 — Estación Palabra Gabriel García Márquez presenta: “Bazar de Arte” a las 12 p.m.; Lecturas Antes de Abordar “Feliz Cumpleaños Octavio Paz” a la 1 p.m.; “Celebración del Día Internacional del Libro” a las 2 p.m.; Taller de Creación Literaria con Jacobo Mina a las 3 p.m.; y presentación del libro “¿De qué color es la piel de Dios?” de Eduardo Sandoval Sandoval a las 2 p.m. Eventos gratuitos. 03/31 — Museo para Niños presenta “La Primavera en el Arte” a las 4 p.m. en la Sala de Servicios Educativos del Centro Cultural. Entrada gratuita. 04/01 — Visitas guiadas a los Museos “Reyes Meza” y “De Historia Natural” del Centro Cultural, de 10 a.m. a 7 p.m. Entrada gratuita. 04/03 — Cine Club presenta “Melodías Inolvidables” a las 6 p.m. en el Teatro Lucio Blanco de Casa de la Cultura. Entrada gratuita. 04/03 — Grupo de Teatro Expresión del ITNL presenta la comedia “Cero IVÁN Tres” en el caso Torreblanca, a las 7 p.m. en el Teatro del IMSS. Donación: 20 pesos. 04/04 — Cine Club presenta “De-Lovely” a las 6 p.m. en Estación Palabras. Evento gratuito, exclusivo adolescentes y adultos. 04/10 — Grupo de Teatro Expresión del ITNL presenta la comedia “Cero IVÁN Tres” en el caso Torreblanca, a las 7 p.m. en el Teatro del IMSS. Donación: 20 pesos. 04/11 — Taller de Diseño de Modas para Jóvenes, de 16 a 30 años, en Estación Palabra de 5 p.m. a 7 p.m., hoy, el 12 y 13 de abril. Cupo limitado. Inscribirse llamando al (867) 7127844.

LAREDO 04/01 — Easter Lotería en la Biblioteca Pública de Laredo de 2 p.m. a 4 p.m. en la Sala de Usos Múltiples H-E-B de la biblioteca, 1120 E. Calton. Evento abierto al público en general. 04/01 — Concierto de Baile de Primavera 2012 a las 3 p.m. en el teatro del Guadalupe and Lilia Martinez Fine Arts Center. Abierto al público en general. 04/01 — El pianista Eliud Nevárez presentará un recital de música clásica a las 3 p.m. en el Center for Fine and Performing Arts Recital Hall de TAMIU. Evento gratuito abierto al público en general. 04/04 — Intérpretes de Cámara de TAMIU y el Coro Mixto de LCC participarán en el Concierto de Primavera en el Center for Fine and Performing Arts Recital Hall a las 7:30 p.m. Evento gratuito y abierto al público en general. 04/05 — El escritor David Eagleman, considerado el Carl Sagan de la neurociencia, participará en la Serie de Lecturas A.R. Sanchez a las 7 p.m. en Center for the Fine and Performing Arts Recital Hall de TAMIU. Evento gratuito y abierto al público en general. 04/07 — El grupo mexicano “Maná” ofrece concierto como parte de su gira “Drama y Luz” en Laredo Energy Arena, a las 8 p.m. Adquiera su boleto en, en la taquilla de LEA y por teléfono al 800745-3000. 04/07 — Época de Oro Social Club invita a bailar con Noe Esparza y The Dells, de 9 p.m. a 1 a.m. en el Salón de Baile del Laredo Civic Center. B.Y.O.B. Costo 20 dólares en la puerta. Ganancias se destinarán a becas. Informes en el (956) 724-8702; 718-0024; y, 7239809. — Tiempo de Zapata

Foto de cortesía | Gobierno de Tamaulipas

Exponerse por tiempos prolongados al sol pueden causar problemas graves a la salud de los vacacionistas. Éstas y otras medidas están siendo informadas por el Gobierno de Tamaulipas para que sean tomadas en cuenta durante la Semana Mayor.



Hábitos como limitar la exposición por tiempo prolongado en el sol y alentar un mayor consumo de líquidos, son la respuesta para evitar enfermedades. De ignorarlos, se incrementan las probabilidades de que una persona sufra insolación, quemaduras y golpes de calor. Inician las vacaciones de Semana Santa 2012 y, por tanto, la Secretaría de Salud de Tamaulipas recomendó a la población evitar mantenerse en las áreas soleadas por tiempo prolongado. El Secretario de Salud, Norberto Treviño GarcíaManzo, señaló que dentro del programa Semana Mayor 2012 se busca informar y auxiliar a los vacacionci-

tas en el fortalecimiento de las medidas preventivas. Dijo que se dispondrán de los insumos necesarios para atender de manera inmediata a quienes lo requieran y enfrentar cualquier contingencia. Pidió a la población tomar muchos líquidos como agua potable y en cantidades suficientes para niños y ancianos; usar ropa ligera, de colores claros; protegerse con sombreros, gorros o sombrillas; utilizar cremas con factor de protección solar 15 o más; y dar a los niños Vida Suero Oral. Treviño dijo que al incrementarse la temperatura corporal a más de 41 grados, se produce el golpe de calor, que puede ocasionar fallecimientos si no se trata a tiempo.

En el vehículo Colocar el equipaje de forma que no moleste a la conducción. Durante el viaje evite realizar periodos muy largos de conducción y haga paradas de descanso. No ingiera alcohol y tenga cuidado con la medicación que pueda producir somnolencia. Respete al máximo las normas de tráfico y especialmente los señalamientos y los límites de velocidad. Una vez en el destino, evite relajarse respecto de las medidas de seguridad, los desplazamientos cortos también producen accidentes graves.

En el hotel

Informó también que la insolación aparece después de varios días de exposición a altas temperaturas y cuando no hay una ingesta adecuada de líquidos que permitan la rehidratación, lo cual es frecuente en adultos mayores, hipertensos y cuando se trabaja o hace ejercicio en lugares calurosos. Finalmente, Treviño recomendó seguir las medidas de prevención a fin de evitar cualquier tipo de enfermedades asociadas a las altas temperaturas y solicitar atención médica inmediata si presentan cualquier malestar como pulso acelerado, dolor palpitante de cabeza, mucho sudor, calambres, cansancio, respiración rápida y profunda, mareos, confusión, nauseas, entre otras.

No deje a la vista dinero u objetos de valor y para ello utilice las cajas de seguridad. En las zonas comunes, vigile su equipaje y objetos personales.

En la vía pública No pierda de vista sus pertenencias. Vigile su bolso o cartera en las aglomeraciones. Proteja su cámara de video o fotográfica en los lugares de esparcimiento. Evite los juegos de azar en la calle. Son un fraude. Desconfíe de ayudas sospechosas (aviso de manchas en ropa, de averías en vehículo, etc.). Eluda los negocios fáciles. Podrían ser un timo. Si utiliza algún vehículo, no deje ningún objeto de valor a la vista.

En la playa Cuando vaya a la playa o a la piscina, lleve lo estrictamente necesario y de ser posible, acuda sin objetos de valor. No duerma en la playa. Si lo hace, es aconsejable estar en grupo protegiendo los objetos personales. No dejar nunca solos los objetos personales cuando se va al agua. Existen bolsas herméticas para llevarlas encima. Si no queda más remedio, no perderlos nunca de vista.

Fortalecen Arrancan campañas electorales campaña contra dengue POR MIGUEL TIMOSHENKOV TIEMPO DE ZAPATA


En un esfuerzo estatal, los municipios de la entidad se unieron en una acción simultánea con la Secretaría de Salud de Tamaulipas para sumar esfuerzos en la prevención y en la erradicación del dengue. Se pusieron en marcha las medidas preventivas contra el dengue, en el marco de la jornada nacional de acciones contra la enfermedad. “El interés es mantener baja la incidencia de casos por este padecimiento y recuperar espacios saludables para las familias”, dijo el Secretario de Salud, Norberto Treviño García-Manzo. Según datos de la Secretaría de Salud del Estado, hasta el 26 de marzo estaban confirmados 10 casos de dengue clásico en Tamaulipas. Inclusive, el 2012 es considerado un año epidemiológico, por lo cual se intensificarán las medidas preventivas de control larvario, eliminación de criaderos y fumigación en las 12 jurisdicciones sanitarias del Estado. Durante la campaña se realizarán más de 800 elementos de vectores, que recorrerán unas 130 comunidades y visitarán más de 80,000 viviendas, principalmente en los 13 municipios de mayor incidencia. Uno de los municipios que arrancó con las acciones fue Nuevo Laredo, México, donde la Dirección de Medio Ambiente y Cambio Climático desplazó su personal bajo el Programa Descacharrización Integral Contra el Dengue “Contigo Transformamos el Medio Ambiente”, en las colonias Juárez y Guerrero. En ambas colonias la jornada de limpieza se extendió durante toda esta semana, arribando por sectores, hasta cubrir la totalidad de dichas zonas habitacionales. Se retiraron enseres domésticos de desecho como refrigeradores, salas, lavadoras, botes, baldes y envases inservibles, entre otros. Hoy sábado culminará la jornada visitando el sector de Lincoln a 5 de Febrero, entre Guerrero y Jesús Carranza.

El viernes arrancó la campaña electoral federal para elegir Presidente de México, Senadores y Diputados Federales. En Nuevo Laredo, México, donde se ubica el I Distrito Electoral, cuatro candidatos a la diputación federal habrán de buscar el voto ciudadano. El Distrito Electoral I lo componen Nuevo Laredo, Nueva Ciudad Guerrero, Miguel Alemán, Ciudad Mier y Camargo. “En esta elección federal vimos equidad de género de las mujeres predomino. Solo tres hombres y el resto son mujeres en las candidaturas”, dijo el Consejero Titular del Instituto Federal Electoral (IFE), Manuel Moncada Fuentes. “Hay tres hombres y una mujer como candidata”. En las listas nominales de Nuevo Laredo, actualmente se encuentran registrados 285,000 electores. El total de la lista nominal es de 330,000 votantes. Los candidatos son: Por el Partido Acción Nacional (PAN): Glafiro Salinas Mendiola y su suplente, Verónica González Huerta. Por el Partido Revolucionario Institucio-

nal (PRI): Verónica Flores González y su suplente Patricia López Moreno, de Miguel, Alemán. Por el Movimiento Progresista (que agrupa al Partido de la Revolución Democrática –PRD-, Partido del Trabajo –PT- y Movimiento Ciudadano): Lisbeth Denisse Marín Sánchez y su suplente Pettry Gulianna Gutiérrez. Por el Partido Verde Ecologista (PV): a María Elena de Anda Hernández, así como Nery Guadalupe Calderón Rivera. Por el Partido Nueva Alianza: Bruno Delgado Almaguer y su suplente, Noe Pérez Cedillo. El proceso electoral federal inicia el viernes y deberá concluir el 27 de junio. Las elecciones serán el 1 de julio, instalándose 570 casillas. En la elección federal pasada votó el 45% del padrón electoral. Inclusive, a partir del viernes la publicidad de las obras del gobierno federal, estatal y municipal no podrá contar con difusión oficial. Los candidatos y sus equipos han expresado a través de sus voceros que estarán en disponibilidad de trabajar intensamente para convencer al electorado que sus plataformas políticas marcan las opciones que reclama la comunidad. (Localice a Miguel Timoshenkov en el (956) 728-2583 o en

TORNEO DE PESCA Este fin de semana, sábado 31 de marzo y domingo primero de abril, se celebrará el segundo torneo del Gran Serial de Pesca Deportiva Lobina 2012 en el campamento La Isla de la presa Vicente Guerrero, en el área central de Tamaulipas. En el primer torneo celebrado del 21 al 22 de enero participaron 104 pescadores de Guanajuato, Puebla, San Luis Potosí, Nuevo León y Tamaulipas. Foto de cortesía | Gobierno de Tamaulipas



Perry security bill for presidential run grows By WILL WEISSERT ASSOCIATED PRESS

AUSTIN — Gov. Rick Perry’s failed run for president has cost Texas taxpayers more than $3.6 million — and counting — in travel expenses and overtime pay to agents assigned to his security detail, according to an Associated Press analysis of state reports released Friday. The Texas Department of Public Safety spent more than $1.8 million on airfare, food, fuel, lodging and other travel expenses between Aug. 10 and the end of January as it protected the governor on the campaign trail. That tally includes second-quarter accounts on se-

curity-related travel expenses, as well information from previous months the AP obtained using open records requests. The agency said that though Perry’s campaign is over, the latest figures were, “a snapshot in time as of Feb. 28, so it is possible additional expenses for trips during this time period will be included in the next report.” Perry spent 160 days running for president, formally entering the race in South Carolina on Aug. 13, 2011, and calling off his campaign in the same state on Jan. 19, two days before South Carolina’s primary. Security travel expenses are separate from the more than $1.8 million in over-

time compensation DPS paid agents assigned to Perry and his family between August and January, according to Department of Public Safety records. That total, as of Feb. 27, also could increase as more agents file for previously worked overtime. Perry spokeswoman Catherine Frazier said, “Governor Perry is governor of Texas wherever he travels.” “It’s unfortunate that we live in a world where security is a top concern, but we do,” Frazier said Friday. “Providing security detail to the governor and his family is a policy that goes back many administrations and is no different from when Governor Bush ran

for president.” Indeed, when Perry’s predecessor, George W. Bush, ran for president in 2000, his security detail cost the state nearly $4 million in 1999 and part of 2000, before the Secret Service took over. Perry most frequently traveled to early-voting states, including Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, though he also made fundraising stops in Washington, New York and California. Some of the listed expenses included in-state trips to places such as Dallas and Houston. For security reasons, the state does not reveal how many troopers accompany the governor or how far in advance they arrive at a

destination. The state accounting reports also often list multiple destinations grouped together as part of one trip with single entries for travel expenses — making it difficult to track exactly how many places the governor visited. Still, a December trip to Washington, Des Moines, Iowa, and Boston alone is listed as costing $50,536 in travel expenses for the governor’s security detail. Not included in the security travel expenses or overtime tabs are the 126 days Perry spent outside Texas while running for president, which forced the state to pay the lieutenant governor or Senate pro tem $32,466 as acting governor. When Perry is out-of-

state for a full day, $410.96 in acting governor pay goes to fellow Republican and Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, or, if Dewhurst is also absent, to state Sen. Mike Jackson, R-La Porte. Dewhurst collected $29,589 while Perry was a presidential candidate, and Jackson got $2,876. Perry is paid $150,000 per year, no matter how many days he spends outside Texas. Of the 160 days as a GOP presidential hopeful, Perry had no scheduled state events on 128 of those. And he logged only approximately 27 hours and 30 minutes of actual work time on the 32 days Texas matters did appear on his official schedule.

MONUMENT Continued from Page 1A third of the population identifies as Hispanic. “As I’ve said before, the future of Texas is tied directly to the future of our Hispanic population, and I believe we have a glorious future ahead of us as a state,” Perry said. The monument turns the pages of state history back to the 1500s, when Spanish settlers first arrived in what is now called Texas. The advisory board members, including Ramirez, rallied behind the need they saw to depict their ancestors positively, something seen too rarely in monuments and statues, they said. At minimum, they hoped to reveal the truth about Texas’ origins. State history class curricula do not adequately cover that, said Cayetano Barrera, who came up with the concept for the monument. “It’s kind of like the Bible without the Book of Genesis,” Barrera said at an artist’s reception the night before the unveiling. Efforts to build the monument began in 2000 when, during a visit to the Capitol, Barrera noticed no monuments honoring the legacy of Tejanos. In the sculptures and other artwork that did depict them, he said they were cast negatively — as bandits, in defeat or as poor immigrants. In August 2001, Hinojosa was commissioned to sculpt the piece. Four other artists helped shape the concept and sketched it out in drawings or made sculpted clay models, according to a program handed out at the unveiling. By 2005, funding and authorization had been secured. The board was given the green light on the project, but the question then was where to put it. Perhaps the biggest hurdle the organization behind the Tejano Monument faced was in convincing legislators it was worth a place on the south lawn, in front of the Capitol and where the Battle of the Alamo is memorialized. “We easily could have put it

in the backyard, so to speak,” state Sen. Judith Zaffirini said. “But to put it in that particular location … I consider (the south lawn) the singular most prominent spot on the campus of the Texas Capitol.” In 2009, the Legislature passed a law that allowed the monument to be put in front of the Capitol. Once the location was set, the people behind the monument worked to raise more funds, and Hinojosa worked against an earnest deadline. Barrera and others who breathed life into the project hope the monument’s impact will seep into state public school curricula and textbooks. They also hope it can re-educate adults who studied Stephen F. Austin and Davy Crockett, but none of the Tejano settlers who preceded them. “It’s going to be a chapter in the history of Texas, in the history that’s been omitted,” Barrera said. The retired McAllen physician points to the street names near the Capitol to illustrate his point. Many of them come from Texas rivers, which were named by Spanish settlers. Neches, Colorado, Guadalupe and Trinity are among them. Before Tejano history is injected into the standardized curriculum for the state, though, it must first be approved by the state board of education. That could take years. That’s why the Tejano Monument organization took leftover money for the project and fashioned it into a program for a Tejano history curriculum to be implemented in select school districts. Austin Independent School District was the first to take part in the program. A. Marcus Nelson, superintendent of the Laredo Independent School District, attended the unveiling. Nelson said he spoke with a University of Texas professor about implementing the curriculum at LISD. Regarding the unveiling, Nel-

Photo by Cuate Santos | Laredo Morning Times

Armando Hinojosa, left, poses with Cayetano Barrera, president of the Tejano Monument board of directors, on Thursday morning on the South Lawn of the State Capitol Building in Austin following the unveiling of Hinojosa’s work. son noted the emotion that came over people in the audience as the statues were revealed. He said it reminded him of attending black pride events. “This kind of took me there,” he said. Zaffirini asked every Laredoan at the unveiling to stand and be acknowledged. Zaffirini, who attended high school in Laredo with Hinojosa, recounted stories about him, such as when his wife bought him a 25-cent watercolor set. For Hinojosa, the monument unveiling hadn’t sunk in even after the ceremony. He said he was thankful for the opportunity to sculpt the monument. “There are a lot of good artists out there,” Hinojosa said. “Some get breaks; some don’t. Hopefully a lot of other artists get breaks in their (lives).” Hinojosa’s former students at

the Vidal M. Treviño School of Communications and Fine Arts made the trip to the Capitol, in a reversal of roles. Usually, they said their teacher was the one visiting as he managed time between teaching them and sculpting the statues. They were able to witness the behind-the-scenes work Hinojosa put into the monument. “I hope that one day, all of us students end up doing something as great as he has (done),” said VMT senior Ana Muñoz. Sanjuanita Martinez-Hunter came to Austin on a charter bus of 50 members of the Villa San Agustin de Laredo Genealogical Society. The Drury Inn, where the genealogical society stayed, was full of Laredoans, she said. Martinez-Hunter said she and others in her organization wanted to witness the event, which she said would firmly entrench Tejanos as an integral part of

the state’s history. That history had been ignored, she said. “We’ve always been there,” Martinez-Hunter said of Tejanos. “But now, when tourists come to the Capitol, they will see where Texas actually began — with us.” In the keynote speech, Austin Community College professor Andres Tijerina said Texans take for granted how much their culture is influenced by Tejano and Mexican culture — in their vocabulary, diet, landmarks and values, among other things. He said the history of Texas “cannot be told without the Tejano.” “The discourse is not about bronze or stone,” he said. “The Tejano Monument is a statement.” (JJ Velasquez may be reached at 728-2567 or



‘Military friendly’ colleges prompt concerns By JUSTIN POPE ASSOCIATED PRESS

In press releases and ads, colleges love boasting they’re “military friendly” and “veterans friendly” — and that isn’t just because veterans are good students and campus leaders. It’s also because the expanded Post 9/11 G.I. Bill will pay colleges around $9 billion this year to educate nearly 600,000 veterans, and virtually every school wants to expand its slice of that pie. But some schools touting their spots on proliferating lists of “military friendly” colleges found in magazine guides and websites have few of the attributes educators commonly associate with the claim, such as accepting military credits or having a veterans organization on campus. Many are for-profit schools with low graduation rates. The designations appear on rankings whose rigor varies but whose methods are under fire. Often, they’re also selling ads to the colleges. Some websites help connect military and veteran students with degree programs that may match their interests, but don’t disclose they are lead aggregators paid by the institutions — often for-profit colleges — whose programs they highlight. “They’re not real rankings,” said Tom Tarantino, a veteran who is deputy policy director of the advocacy group Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. “What they are is advertisement catalogues.” Labeling them “a huge problem,” he called for standards to be established for proper use of the term “military friendly schools.” There are signs something like that may happen. But as with the U.S. News & World Report college rankings, demand for

signaling devices to help consumers shortcut complicated choices could make such lists tough to dislodge. Many experts say the lists are symptoms of a wider problem: Service members aren’t getting the advice they need to make sound decisions on using the substantially expanded education benefits. It’s no surprise businesses are stepping into that void. At a large military education conference last month in Florida, some educators criticized the lists and pushed for a sharpened definition of “military friendly” colleges, to be developed either by the federal government or an education coalition called Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges. Meanwhile, Washington is paying increasing attention to the broader problem of veterans getting reliable guidance. In recent weeks a slew of bills on the subject have surfaced. The latest, unveiled Tuesday by Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., is called the “G.I. Bill Consumer Awareness Act” and would push colleges and the Department of Veterans Affairs to disclose more information on questions like licensing and job placement rates, and poli-

The people who suffer from this are the service members ... They see an ad that says, ‘No. 1 ranked school,’ but they don’t say, ‘by whom?’” AMERICAN PUBLIC UNIVERSITY SYSTEM VICE PRESIDENT OF MILITARY PROGRAMS JIM SWEIZER

cies against misleading marketing. Another bill would boost education counseling resources at the department, and separately, 14 senators have asked the department to trademark the term “G.I. Bill” so it will have more power to crack down on misleading advertising. “It’s not only these major lists, but all of these pay-to-play websites that come up with these nefarious rankings,” said Jim Sweizer, vice president of military programs at American Public University System. APUS operates two for-profit online universities, American Military University and American Public University. Founded in 1991, it calls itself the largest provider of education to the military, with two-thirds of its 110,000 students in the Reserves, active duty, or veterans. But last year it boycotted the best-known

“military friendly” list, published by G.I. Jobs magazine, saying the system had too many shortcomings. “The people who suffer from this are the service members who don’t know any better,” Sweizer said. “They see an ad that says, ‘No. 1 ranked school,’ but they don’t say, ‘by whom?’” Officials elsewhere say they don’t like the lists but can’t afford not to be on them, for fear of appearing “military unfriendly.” “Some schools feel ‘I’m

damned if I do, damned if I don’t,’” said Ramona McAfee, assistant dean of military and federal programs and Columbia College in Missouri, a critic whose school still participates. But for some lesserknown colleges, such lists can get their names in front of prospective students — which, they say, expands veterans’ horizons. Last year, when G.I. Jobs magazine published its list, a flurry of colleges shared the news in press releases, and local newspa-

pers often followed with stories. “We certainly aren’t going to change the landscape of our campus by seeking out tons of veterans but we wanted to make sure we were giving them every opportunity and making this transition easier for them,” said Sarah Palace, assistant dean for adult enrollment at one school that put out such a release, the College of Notre Dame in Ohio (not to be confused with the larger University of Notre Dame in Indiana, which also put out a release). The smaller Notre Dame has only about 20 full-time veteran students but hopes to recruit more. Palace listed practices she says make the place military friendly: encouraging transfers, examining military transcripts, working with a local veterans service center.




Hawks soar to 5-0 in district

Zapata does middle school sports right


he basis of any high school program and its success starts even before students step on campus, and it involves how much the district values its middle school programs. Many times, middle school programs are treated like second-class citizens. Some districts hold only a handful of events. Zapata is very fortunate to have strong middle school programs and coaches with the time to spend on making their teams better. Zapata has an “A” and a “B” team and plays a variety of sports, but what I love the most is those teams have full schedules just like


their high school counterparts. In Laredo, that is not the case. Teams only play teams in their school system, so UISD sticks with UISD teams and LISD sticks with LISD teams. Middle school sports are treated differently here in Laredo from where I grew up in the Rio Grande Valley. Everything the high school teams did we also



Courtesy photo

The Zapata boys and girls golf teams each finished in the top five at the Hidalgo Invitational last weekend.

Zapata golf places fifth By CLARA SANDOVAL THE ZAPATA TIMES Photo by Clara Sandoval | The Zapata Times

George Garza has been a stand-out at the mound and the plate for Zapata, which is on a 17-game winning streak in district play.

Zapata starts strong in title defense By CLARA SANDOVAL THE ZAPATA TIMES


he Zapata baseball team hasn’t missed a beat since its last tour of District 32-3A, when it earned a title at the end of the season. The Hawks (9-6, 5-0) are on a 17-game winning streak in district play, dating back to 2011, and

have continued to steamroll through this year. Zapata accomplished this feat with great hitting, tearing the leather off the ball with a solid lineup at the plate. “Right now, we are hitting the ball well and getting on base,” Zapata coach Rene Alvarez said. “Our pitching has also been coming through for us. We just seem to be

getting better as the season goes on with up-beat practices and great games.” Junior third baseman Andy Gonzalez leads the team with a .547 average, four triples, eight doubles and 19 RBI. He has scored 13 runs in district play. Senior Manuel Salinas is not far behind, with a .510 average, four doubles, 17 RBI and 19 runs.

Louie Ramon has a .456 average with four doubles, 13 RBI and 20 runs, and senior Eddie Gonzalez is hitting .500 with five doubles and three RBI. Sophomore sensation Mario Ramirez is right behind Ramon, with a .363 average, a double and 10 runs.


The Zapata golf team is in full swing as teams navigate the preseason in preparation for the District 32-3A golf meet, to be held April 10 at the Tierra Del Sol Golf Course, in Pharr. The Hawks finished fifth in the final standing after the two-day competition out of 13 teams at the Hidalgo Invitational last weekend. On the girls’ side, the Lady Hawks came in second place out of 12 teams behind the strong performance of Leanna Saenz.

“Both teams are working hard and putting extra effort to improve,” Zapata coach Clyde Guerra Jr. said. “I’m extremely proud of all our golfers.” Two golfers have started to emerge for their respective teams and are counted among the best golfers heading into district. Tony Gutierrez and Saenz played a great round of golf last weekend and walked away with some hardware. Gutierrez placed first after shooting 151 for the two-day tournament, beating out 71 golfers.



Zapata tennis ready for district tournament By CLARA SANDOVAL THE ZAPATA TIMES

The time has come to put all that tennis education to the test as the District 32-3A tennis meet unfolds Tuesday and Thursday at the H-E-B Tennis Center at Pendleton Park in Harlingen. This is the first time tennis players will have a whole day’s rest between competition days; a band competition is Wednesday. “It is unusual to skip a day like this tournament will, but there is a concert

band competition being held on Wednesday, April 4, that impacts some of our players and we have the Easter holidays that weekend, so this schedule is what was decided at the meeting,” Zapata coach Robert Alvarez said. La Feria is the clear favorite heading into the meet, as the Lions are coming off an appearance at the 3A state meet. The Lions have been ranked in or near the top 10 in the Texas Tennis Coaches Association poll all year. Last year, La Feria took

eight players to the state tournament, in Austin. “Coach Juan Hernandez does a great job,” Alvarez said. “They have a yearround program. In the fall, he schedules every 4A and 5A team he can to really build up his team’s experience and skills. “Taking eight kids to state when our region is loaded with the likes of Wimberly, Wharton, Boerne, West Columbia and La Vernia is remarkable, but I think our kids


Courtesy photo

The Zapata tennis team competes in the district tournament on Tuesday and Thursday. Team members are (from left) Alex Reyes, Trey Alvarez, Manuel Benavides, Jaime Terjada, Collin Moffet, and (sitting) Chris Davila and Tony Mendoza





HOUSTON — Elvin Hayes hasn’t visited the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame since his induction in 1990, and he even turns down invitations to attend special events affiliated with it. The former University of Houston star will only end his boycott if his college coach is enshrined, but there’s no guarantee that day will ever come. Guy V. Lewis will be passed over again when a new class of inductees is announced before Monday’s national championship game in New Orleans. Many of his former players, including Hayes, Clyde Drexler and Hakeem Olajuwon, have unsuccessfully campaigned for their coach for years, and their frustration builds with each passing year. “It’s a sad situation,” Hayes said, “because when

I look at the people they put in the hall, and then look at coach, and what he accomplished, it just doesn’t make any sense to me.” Television sportscaster Jim Nantz, a Houston alumnus and a recipient of the hall’s Curt Gowdy award, has also gotten involved, writing letters to members of the voting committees on behalf of Lewis, who turned 90 on March 19. “He’s qualified in a million different directions,” Nantz said in a phone interview. “It’s been hanging over his head for a long time.” Lewis has never lobbied much for himself, true to his humble personality, according to Drexler and Lewis’ daughter, Sherry. Now in a wheelchair and in poor health, Lewis no longer does interviews. But Sherry Lewis provided a statement from her father in an email sent to

The Associated Press. “I appreciate the interest,” Guy Lewis said about his exclusion from the hall. “It has not bothered me; it bothers my family.” It’s certainly irked his ex-players, and they say his body of work makes the compelling case for him. Often clutching a red polka-dot towel during games, Lewis won 592 times across 30 seasons in Houston and guided the Cougars to 14 NCAA tournaments and five Final Fours. Houston’s high-flying “Phi Slama Jama” teams of the 1980s made three consecutive Final Fours between1982-84, losing in two championship games. The 1983 loss to North Carolina State is considered one of the greatest upsets in tournament history. It’s a glaring stain on his resume, but his former players don’t think it’s the reason he’s been left out.

“His statistics speak for themselves,” Olajuwon said. “He should be in there. One game should not measure an entire career.” The Cougars lost when Lorenzo Charles snagged Dereck Whittenburg’s airball and dunked it just before the final buzzer. Not even Whittenburg thinks that game should overshadow the rest of Lewis’ accomplishments. “Of course, one of the criteria is winning championships,” said Whittenburg, now an ESPN analyst. “But he’s got such a legacy. Before that game, we (N.C. State) understood what he did with that Houston program, what a team that was.” Whittenburg is involved in making a film about that game, due to be completed by next year. He says the first step in getting Lewis into the Hall of Fame is spreading word of mouth.

ZAPATA SOFTBALL DISMANTLES LA GRULLA IN DISTRICT PLAY Zapata senior catcher Michelle Arce went 2for-3 with an RBI to lead the Lady Hawks to a 14-4 victory over Rio Grande City La Grulla on Tuesday night. Ally Solis went 3-for-4 with two RBI for Zapata, which is 4-1 in district play.

Tannehill’s draft stock on the rise By KRISTIE RIEKEN ASSOCIATED PRESS

COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Ryan Tannehill could be a top 10 pick in next month’s NFL draft, less than two years after lining up as a receiver for Texas A&M. Tannehill returned to his old high school position of quarterback halfway through the 2010 season and caught the attention of NFL scouts despite starting just 19 games behind center for the Aggies. On Thursday, he worked out for representatives of 22 NFL teams, including Seahawks coach Pete Carroll, Miami coach Joe Philbin and Cleveland offensive coordinator Brad Childress. It was their first offseason look at Tannehill after he missed the combine while recovering from foot surgery. Tannehill ran a 40-yard dash and threw about 70 passes, putting on a performance that Carroll said he should be pleased with. “I felt good,” Tannehill said. “The foot felt great moving around, moving in the pocket, escaping. The ball was coming out good and the guys were making plays for me. It was a good day.” Childress, whose Browns have the fourth overall pick, raved about the workout. “He made every throw that he needed to make,” said Childress, who was joined at the workout by Cleveland quarterbacks coach Mark Whipple. “The

leg didn’t look like an issue. It was an impressive workout.” Tannehill is expected to be the third quarterback taken in the draft behind Stanford’s Andrew Luck and Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III of Baylor. Tannehill was moved to receiver as a freshman after losing the quarterback battle. He had 1,453 yards receiving and nine touchdowns in his first two seasons combined at A&M and had 143 yards receiving as a junior before returning to quarterback. “It was a frustrating time for me,” he said of his time at receiver. “I had a lot of fun being able to help the team out at the receiver position, but I still wanted to be a quarterback. So when I finally got that opportunity, I wasn’t going to let it slip.” Tannehill went 12-7 in 1 1/2 years at quarterback. He threw for 1,638 yards and 13 touchdowns in 2010 and had 3,744 yards passing with 29 touchdowns last season. NFL personnel like that he played in an NFL-style system at A&M under former coach Mike Sherman, who coached the Green Bay Packers for several years. “With just 19 starts he can’t possibly know it all,” Childress said. “I think it’s remarkable that a guy that’s a wide receiver could come in and play as proficiently as he did in a bigtime program against bigtime competition.”

Photo by Clara Sandoval | The Zapata Times


SANDOVAL Continued from Page 1B were allowed to do on a smaller scale at the middle school. The high school mascot was the Lady Kats. In middle school, we were the Lady Kits and could not wait to play for the varsity team. As a seventh-grader, I wanted to play at the varsity level as soon as possible and was not afraid to go to the high school and play in open gym against those high school girls. I was on a mission to be on the varsity team as a freshman, and I accomplished that goal. During basketball season, we had a preseason schedule and a district schedule that usually totaled around 20 games. Yes, we played 20 games in seventh grade; in addition, we played in one or two tournaments. I know tournaments are foreign in Laredo; middle schools can’t travel out of town because of budget cuts. Heck, sometimes teams don’t even take buses to games, instead asking the basketball players to meet the coaches at the gym. Zapata middle school sports travel out of town, and they should be lauded for the effort ZCISD makes to include them in their athletic budgets. I never, in my six years of playing organized basketball, had my parents drive me to one single basketball game. We were very driven, instead, to become the seventh grade district champions and prac-

ticed hard. At the end of the season, we had a regular district champion and a tournament district champion because, at the end, they would rank the teams according to their district record and play a double-elimination tournament. Then I arrived in Laredo, where middle school sports are treated like second-class citizens and are played with a small schedule. The two local school districts do not play against each other until the end of season tournament, which was brought in around two years ago. Why not have a real district schedule and have a true Laredo champion, not what we currently have? In Zapata, the middle school has a district champion at the end of the season. This year, Zapata Middle School teams were crowned district champions in cross country, girls’ basketball and tennis. I love when middle schools in Laredo have T-shirts made that say, “City champions,” or that they went undefeated. They might have gone undefeated in the season, but did they play everyone to be the city champion? Probably not. The tournaments UISD and LISD put on for volleyball and basketball at the end of the season are a step in the right direction, but so much more can be done, starting with a mid-

GOLF Continued from Page 1B It was Gutierrez’s first gold medal of the season after being a constant fixture in the top five at other notable tournaments. Gutierrez shot a 78 on his first day to take the lead and finished the second day with a 73. Saenz has been coming into her own as a golfer and continued her season’s success with a fourth-place overall finish. Saenz shot a two-day 179 to claim fourth place out of 74 golfers and pace the Lady Hawks on the course. On her first day of competition, Saenz shot a 94; she stormed back to better her score by nine strokes when she hit an 85 on her second day of golf. On the boys’ team, Ricky Prado shot a 90 on his first day of competition and finished with a strong 86 for the second day with a 176

for the tournament. Victor Garcia had a 100 on his day one and bettered his mark by three strokes for a 97 on the second day of competition for a 197. Ramiro Torres rounded out the Hawks scoring with a 122 on the first day, then improved his mark by 26 strokes for a 94 on the second day for a 216. The girls’ team had Jessenia Garza with a 99 on the first day of competition and 112 to round out her two days, scoring 211. Leann Hughes had a 111 and 110 for 221, while Krysta Lozano shot a 127 on her first day and finished the tournament with a 115, for 242. The Zapata golf team will back in action Wednesday for a pre-district tournament at the Tierra Del Sol Golf Course.

dle school district schedule that includes both school districts. Nowadays it might come down to money. Everyone has heard how tight it is for the next few years, though, so it might not be feasible. I also recall having a full track schedule that included six meets. We were out in the hot sun practicing with the high school runners because we wanted to improve. The middle school track meets were just like the high school’s; we ran Saturday morning, and it lasted all day. We never had a track meet during the school day because they did not want us to miss school. Laredo middle school includes three meets, and they are run on Thursdays, unlike in Zapata, which has a full schedule. All the Zapata Middle School coaches, including Ana Villarreal, Paul Soto, Rene Chapa, Eligio Garcia, Josue Luera, Laura Villarreal, Amanda Perez, Belinda Vela, Yanira Lopez and Gaby Montes, should be lauded for the effort and the dedication they put in to make Zapata High School successful. Next time you see them around Zapata, give them a pat on the back for all their hard work year in and year out. Laredo could really learn from what Zapata does with its middle school programs.

Continued from Page 1B Pitcher Oscar Flores is deadly on the mound but also carries a big stick at the plate, with a .352 average. Sophomore Alfonso Gutierrez has a .385 batting average, three doubles, four RBI and five runs and is also a great defensive player. Designated hitter Rene Alvarez Jr. is totting a .350 batting average with two doubles, a home run, six RBI and eight runs. Guadencio Mata was hitting .545 with six RBI and four runs in eight at-bats before going down with an injury, but he is making a return to the team. George Garza is carrying around a .364 batting average to round out Zapata’s hitters averaging .300 or better. Javi Eruguato is batting .286 for the Hawks. Rounding out the Zapata team are Oscar Gomez, Allen Garcia, Conrad Herrera and David Hinojosa.

TENNIS Continued from Page 1B are looking forward to the challenge. We have really worked hard on conditioning and our skill level this year, so I am optimistic. Even though our team (members are) young, they have more tennis experience than any other team I have had. They have been playing open tournaments since seventh grade and have begun to play USTA tournaments also.” Coaches meet Thursday in La Feria for to discuss district seeding and hold the draw meeting that determines the order of play. The district meet will be held in La Feria. In boys’ singles, sophomores Trey Alvarez and Chris Davila will compete for Zapata. Alvarez drew the top seed, while Port Isabel’s Peter Christiansen, a transfer from Los Fresnos, was the second seed of the tournament. The third seed will be Chris Rodriguez of La Feria. Oliver Salander, of Port Isabel, will be the fourth seed. “Trey has had a good year,” Al-

varez said. “He has won one tournament and advanced to the quarters or semis in all the others except for two, but he won both of those consolation draws. “If the seeding holds, it will make for some exciting tennis.” Davila will open with Rodriguez of La Feria. “Chris has really begun to improve,” Alvarez said. “He has worked on his serve and forehand, and I am hoping he can pull off a surprise or two. He has worked very hard and is improving in all phases of the game.” In boys’ doubles, sophomores Alex Reyes and Manuel Benavides are seeded second. “If everything goes according to plan, they will face Moraida and Warner of La Feria in the semis with a trip to regionals up for grab,” Alvarez said. “They have won one tournament and played some of Laredo’s top teams really close.” Seniors Tony Mendoza and Jaime Tejada also will compete in

the doubles division. Competing in mixed doubles will be sophomores Gabriella Alvarez and Carlos Poblano, who are seeded third. “They also have won a tournament and played well most of the season,” Alvarez said. “They advanced to the quarters last week at the LISD tournament before falling to a real good LBJ team.” Also in the mixed doubles will be juniors Jose Molina and Jackie Umphres. In girls’ singles, seniors Paola Jasso and Dominique Wayda will be competing for a trip to regionals. In girls’ doubles, seniors Daniela Lopez and Jeanna Cabugos and juniors Erica Gonzalez and Christina Medina will represent the Lady Hawks. “These girls have not had the results I would have liked, but the competition in Laredo has been very strong,” Alvarez said. “I think they can do well at our district meet.”



HINTS | BY HELOISE Dear Heloise: Can you please help me? My son was in school, and someone shook a bottle of TYPEWRITER CORRECTION FLUID and got stains all over his brandnew shirt, and he is very upset. Is there anything that can help remove this type of stain? Thank you so much! — Keisha, via email Oh no! Try rubbing a citrus-based, grease-cutting spray cleaner on the stains. This type of cleaner contains petroleum distillates, so work in a well-ventilated area. This hopefully will emulsify, or break apart, the spotting. Then launder as usual. You also can take it to your dry cleaner and say what the stain is. It should be treated as would an oilbased paint stain. Good luck! — Heloise P.S.: If the stains don’t come out, use the shirt as an “artist’s smock”! PET PAL Dear Readers: Kate and Abby in San Antonio sent a picture of their pet, a blue mystery snail named Darryl. They say he’s the best-looking snail to ever exist! He lives in the tank with his friends, a betta fish and a catfish. To see Darryl and our other Pet Pals, visit www. and click on “Pets.” — Heloise STORE HOURS Dear Heloise: Most stores post their hours of operation on their doors. I take a picture with my cellphone of the hours at the stores I shop at frequently so I can check them at a moment’s notice. — Jill in Tustin, Calif. A great way to save time and frustration! — Heloise SHAPELY SHAMPOO BOTTLES Dear Heloise: Shampoo bottles seem designed with no place to grip. I solved


this by pouring my shampoo into a small, empty, plastic honey bottle shaped like a bear. It is easy to hold, doesn’t slip out of your hands, and the lid pops open to dispense the shampoo. Just be careful that the bottle doesn’t find its way back to the kitchen! — Marcia B., Spring, Texas ELECTRIC-BLANKET HINTS Dear Readers: Do you own an electric blanket? Here are some hints about these blankets: Check for signs of wear or damage to the wiring. If you see any, throw the blanket away, and do not use it! It’s a fire hazard. Don’t use safety pins on the blanket; this could lead to shock or fire. Never use an electric blanket with an infant. Completely unfold the blanket before using. Always unplug the blanket after each use. — Heloise CLASSIC LETTER OF THOUGHT Dear Readers: Below is a classic Letter of Thought from the files: Dear Heloise: As soon as my two sons showed the least curiosity to help Mommy, I let them. Now, as older teenagers, doing any household chore, from cooking to cleaning, seems natural. They also know how to do outside chores. My reward? Two appreciative future daughters-inlaw who will someday marry these knowledgeable, willing househusbands! — Donna J., from 1981 — Heloise







Denver altitude may be factor in tourney

History follows Final Four



NEW ORLEANS — Two of the most replayed shots in NCAA tournament history. Two terrible mistakes that are played over and over. Freshmen redeeming the most painful loss in school history. That’s what New Orleans has given college basketball fans in the first four Final Fours it has hosted. No. 5 starts Saturday, and as sure as there will be hot sauce in your jambalaya, you can expect New Orleans to add to its tradition of throwing a great party — on and off the court. To start with the positives, a freshman from North Carolina named Michael Jordan made the first big jumper in 1982. Five years later a junior college transfer from Indiana named Keith Smart hit what turned out to be the game-winner from almost the same spot on the Superdome court. If you haven’t seen either shot, just watch the commercials and teases for college basketball. Jordan, still known as Mike then but with his tongue sticking out just a bit, made his with jumper with 17 seconds to go to give the Tar Heels a 63-62 lead over Georgetown. When those 17 seconds ticked off, North Carolina coach Dean Smith had his first national championship. Jordan’s shot was followed by one of the biggest mistakes ever seen in sports. Georgetown’s Fred Brown had the ball inside


Photo by Susan Ragan | AP

In this April 5, 1993 file photo, Michigan’s Chris Webber stands by as North Carolina’s Eric Montross celebrates during the Tar Heels’ technical foul shots in the final seconds of their title game victory at the Superdome in New Orleans. the midcourt line, setting up the Hoyas’ chance at a win in their first Final Four appearance ever and first in a three-year span with center Patrick Ewing. Inexplicably, Brown turned and flipped the ball to James Worthy of the Tar Heels who was fouled but missed both free throws. One of the lasting images of that NCAA tournament was Georgetown coach John Thompson hugging a disconsolate Brown after the game, telling him the Hoyas wouldn’t have gotten to that point without him. When the Final Four was held in New Orleans in 1993, North Carolina again made it to the championship game, this time facing the Fab Five of Michigan, who were playing for the title for a second straight season. The Tar Heels led 73-71 when Michigan got the ball with 20 seconds to go. Chris Webber, the best of the Wolverines’ young team, took off like a runaway train and

finally stopped in front of his own bench and called a timeout Michigan didn’t have. Under the rules at the time, Michigan was charged with a technical foul and lost possession of the ball. Donald Williams made all four free throws, and North Carolina had another national title in New Orleans that was sealed by another major mistake by its opponent. In one of the most standup news conferences ever, Webber, still a teenager, faced every question thrown at him. “I just called a timeout and we didn’t have one and it probably cost us the game,” he said. “If I’d have known we didn’t have any timeouts left, I wouldn’t have called a timeout.” Steve Fisher was the coach of the Wolverines then. Now the coach at San Diego State, he said Thursday that the NCAA tournament always stirs up memories of that night.

DENVER — The rustcolored sign in the arena’s loading dock serves as both a welcome and a warning for players when they step off the team bus. The greeting part — “Pepsi Center Welcomes You ...” — hardly registers. But the other portion of the message is designed to catch your attention, maybe even making the pulse race a little bit more: “... to the Mile High City. Elevation 5,280 feet.” Purely a mind game, though. A ploy to plant elevation as a seed of doubt when visiting teams arrive. Although this version of the women’s Final Four really is up in the air, the higher altitude shouldn’t bother Baylor, Stanford, Notre Dame or Connecticut on the court over the weekend. That searing sensation in the lungs after a few trips up and down the floor? Think of it as imaginary. The difficulty of taking a deep breath before a crucial free throw late in the game? Again, just a figment. Or so research indicates from high altitude performance technicians, who say proper hydration and nutrition are almost bigger obstacles in thin air than the altitude itself. “If one team is really hung up on elevation — ‘Oh my gosh, we’re at altitude!’ —and loses it mentally, the opposing team who keeps it together mentally can use altitude as a sixth man,” said Scott Drum, associate professor of exercise and sport science and di-

Photo by Rod Aydelotte | AP

Baylor’s Brittney Griner, left, listens as head coach Kim Mulkey speaks during a news conference in Waco on Thursday. Baylor will play Stanford in a Final Four semifinal on Sunday. rector of a high altitude performance lab at Western State College of Colorado in Gunnison, where the elevation is 7,700 feet. “But if they come in and believe in their skills and their readiness, they should be fine. It should not affect their game.” Getting players to buy into that concept, though, is a little more tricky. Because feeling the burn in the lungs is believing. “It definitely is a real thing,” said Irish senior guard Natalie Novosel, whose team faces Big East rival Connecticut on Sunday. “Honestly, at that point, we’re going to have to suck it up and play through it because it’s the biggest stage and we can’t let climate and altitude get in the way.” UConn coach Geno Auriemma thought he had a solution to the altitude situation, only to have his idea quickly quashed by the team doctor. “I suggested turning the oxygen off in the plane on the way over there for about an hour and get them used to sucking for breath,” Auriemma said. “But he advised us not to do that.

“So, I guess we’ll have to deal with it when we get there.” And hopefully not this: headaches, nausea, dizziness and lethargy. Those are all symptoms of acute mountain sickness. But don’t worry, Drum insisted, those signs typically only manifest at 8,000 feet and above. Typically. “If players eat on a regular schedule and drink water, they’ll be fine,” Drum said. “They need to deliberately stay well fed and hydrated.” That could be the secret to reaching college basketball’s mountain top come Tuesday night’s title game. Oh, and minimize distractions. No sightseeing excursions since a wellrested team could be the difference in the championship game. “Everybody is on the same level playing field,” Drum said. “They’re all well trained already, but nobody is well acclimated.” For Baylor coach Kim Mulkey, the altitude presents a different predicament. She was recently diagnosed with Bell’s palsy, a form of facial paralysis.

The Zapata Times 3/31/2012  

The Zapata Times 3/31/2012

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