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Edwardsville, Illinois,November 8, 2010

Metro East Edition

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Teen mom stuggles through tough times By Staff Reporter

Eighteen year-old Ashley Goetz plays with her daughter, Madeline, in November. (Amy Burgess | The Observer)

Short people may have it tough in the workplace Research shows relationship between height and earnings By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS A few years ago, entertainer Randy Newman sang: “Short people got no reason to live.” It’s not that bad for short people, but a new University of Florida study concludes that short people may be shortchanged in salary, status and respect when compared to taller counterparts. “Height matters for career success,” said Timothy Judge, a UF management professor whose research is scheduled to be published in the spring issue of the Journal of Applied Psychology. Judge and Daniel Cable, a business professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel-Hill, analyzed the results of three studies in the United States and one in Great Britain which followed thousands of participants from childhood to adulthood, examining details of their work and personal lives. Judge’s study found a direct correlation between height and earnings. Every inch of height amounted to about $789 more a year in pay. A person who is 6 feet tall, versus 5-5, could be expected to earn about $5,525 more each year. That could mean a huge difference over 30 years of work, he said. The average height of Americans is about 5 feet 9 inches for men, about 5-4 for women. Height was associated with subjective ratings of work performance, such as supervisors’ evaluations of how ef-

fective someone is on the job. Being tall may have the effect of boosting employees’ self-confidence, helping to make them more successful, as well as prompting people to ascribe more status and respect to a tall person, he said. The relationship between height and earnings was particularly strong in sales and management positions, Judge said. The research showed that height was even more important than gender in determining income, and its significance does not decline as a person ages. However, the situation is not hopeless for short people, because hard work and intelligence are more important that height, Judge said. “But short people may start out as disadvantaged.” The researchers really don’t know why height is valued in society. Their best guess is that its a remnant of evolutionary origins, when humans lived among animals, which use size as an index of power and strength when making “fight or flight” decisions, he said. Sara Rynes, a professor in the department of management and organizations at the University of Iowa, said the research raises some interesting issues, including the decision by an increasing number of parents to give their children growth hormones. The bias that Drs. Judge and Cable See SHORT PEOPLE p. 5


Coal company faces difficult decisions By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS CARBONDALE, Ill. - A bankrupt Kentucky coal company is asking union miners across Southern Illinois and other states to accept big contract cuts that could hit retirees hard, union officials said Thursday. Horizon Natural Resources, which is reorganizing under Chapter 11 bankruptcy rules, is asking the United Mine Workers of America to cut health benefits in the union’s national contract and accept other rollbacks, union spokesman Doug Gibson said Thursday. “They are big cuts, and we’re doing our best to get them off the table,” Gibson said. He declined to specify the level of cuts the company is seeking while negotiations are ongoing. The proposed cuts, which a federal bankruptcy judge must ultimately approve, would affect 1,000 active and 3,400 retired miners from Horizon’s

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mines in Illinois, Colorado, Kentucky, Indiana and West Virginia, the union said. Horizon, based in Ashland, Ky., filed for bankruptcy protection in November of last year. It operates 26 mines, company spokeswoman Kellie Roth said. Horizon, formerly AEI Resources, owns the Zeigler No. 11 mine near Coulterville, Ill., and formerly owned the Old Ben mine near Benton, Ill., which employed miners in far Southern Illinois for much of the last century. Joe Angleton, the UMWA’s president of District 12, which includes most of Horizon’s operations, said retirees’ pensions wouldn’t be affected by any cutbacks because they are federally insured. But health care is a different matter, he said. “We’ll spend whatever it takes and use whatever legal resources (we must) to make sure we get everyone what they have coming,” he said.

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“I always wanted kids,” said Ashley Goetz, “but not at 16.” It was two weeks before her 16th birthday that Goetz got sick on a Ferris wheel, looked at the calendar, put two and two together and bought a home pregnancy test. Then, she went to the Health Department for confirmation. But for three months after that, both Goetz and her boyfriend stayed in denial. She didn’t tell her friends, her parents or her employer that she was pregnant. “I didn’t want to think about it,” she said. Eventually, she didn’t have a choice. Other girls at Karns High School made fun of her when she was throwing up with morning sickness. Her coworkers started noticing her weight gain. Her mother wrote her a letter, asking point-blank if she was pregnant. When she admitted it, her father, deeply disappointed, didn’t speak to her until after the baby was born. The birth of Madeline Grace was relatively easy, Goetz said. But what came after, as much as she loves her daughter, has been anything but easy for Goetz. Long days These days, teens no longer make up the majority of unmarried mothers, as they did 30 years ago. Even though

Illinois’s teen pregnancy rate is 15th among states, the number of teen pregnancies statewide, as in most of the rest of the country, has steadily declined over the past decade. Last year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, looking at 2006 data, reported the first increase in the U.S. teen pregnancy rate in 15 years. In Madison County, the numbers have fluctuated slightly from year to year. The year 2008 saw seven births to girls age 10-14, 173 to girls 15-17 (93 percent of whom were unmarried) and 390 to 18- and 19-year-olds (20 percent of whom were married). Those numbers are slightly higher than 2007’s, but lower than 2006’s. The East Illinois Region, the 15 counties around Madison, shows a similar trend. Goetz thinks some teenage girls who see their peers with babies want to have babies themselves. Her own best friend had a baby shortly before Goetz, and many of their friends had babies afterward, she said. Through Florence Crittenton’s peer-to-peer education group STARS, “Students Teaching And Respecting Sexuality,” Goetz is happy to tell them just how hard it is. Goetz had her baby in April 2008 and was eligible for six weeks of homebound instruction through Madison County Schools. Still, she went to Karns High once a week to ask

Meth court produces promising results

Janice Sidewell and Rick Cantwell have been reunited with their kids, Damien, 2, and Angel, 9. (Michael Tercha | The Observer) By Liza Stein Observer Reporter PITTSFIELD, Ill. -- Janice Sidwell stood and proudly told a Pike County circuit judge that her children were finally home. Two rows of methamphetamine users applauded. “Congratulations,” Judge Michael Roseberry told her. “Good job.” Sidwell, 39, then grabbed a bag of Reese’s Pieces from a candy bowl on the edge of the witness stand, a reward for her son and daughter. Sidwell and the children’s father had been caught twice for selling and using meth. They had served prison time and lost custody of the children. And if the couple had remained in the criminal justice system, they would

likely still be in prison today, in a cycle of drug abuse and incarceration that is a common path. Instead, with the help of prosecutors and a judge, they ended up in Pike County’s drug court, an administrative office that has become, for all intents and purposes, a meth court, devoted to alternative responses to methamphetamine crimes. Like most drug courts, meth court is in some ways a kinder, gentler approach. For non-violent offenders, the court offers a chance to avoid prison time and provides a much fuller safety net, directing addicts to drug counseling, mental health treatment, even parenting classes. To address the long-lasting effects of methamphetamine and the tenacity of meth addiction, Pike County, about 270 miles southwest of Chicago, has gone a

step further, with longer periods of supervision and exceptional levels of intervention. That not only helps users beat the habit, experts say, but also improves chances to reunify families such as Sidwell’s. Sidwell entered meth court in December 2004 and has been clean since, said Barb Allensworth, Pike County’s chief probation officer. This month Sidwell regained legal custody of her children. “Come hell or high water, she wanted her children back,” Allensworth said. Though a judge typically runs drug courts, it is not an adversarial process but rather a venue for teams of probation officers, counselors and attorneys to find a common plan. How they carry out that plan, and how much individual attention is possible, can depend on where the drug court is located. In a Chicago drug court, where 150 people fight mostly cocaine and heroin addictions, there are no chocolates. While Pike County requires 18 sober months to graduate, a Chicago participant can graduate after six clean months, according to Cook County Drug Court Coordinator Susan Stanger. “We have such an urban setting, to hold people that long when we have a high caseload is not practical,” Stanger said. But for all its special treatment, some offenders in rural Pike County say their drug court can be harder than prison. The intense regimen--daily drug testing, frequent counseling, proof of employment, financial plans, even a neat and up-to-date appointment book--requires a level of commitment some offenders can’t handle. See METH COURT p. 7

her teachers for help keeping up with her studies. When school started back up, Goetz would wake up at 5 a.m., after having fed her baby at midnight, 1 a.m. and 2 a.m. She’d have her boyfriend drive her to Karns, while she slept in the car, in time for her 7 a.m. class, which allowed her to leave earlier to care for her baby. Many days, she struggled to stay awake in her classes. Then, when she got home, “I had homework and reports,” she said. “My teachers didn’t care that I had her. They still made me write the papers and read the books.” Programs that help There were things that made Goetz’s life easier. Florence Crittenton’s weekly Children and Parenting Skills group was one. The agency provides the groups in six Madison County Schools, including Karns, as well as in some surrounding counties. It provided useful information, Goetz said, and the support of other teen parents was invaluable. “It’s tailored to the kids in each group,” said Jessica Snapp of Crittenton, who said 120 Madison County students attended the parenting classes last year. “We focus on issues that they’re dealing with.” Snapp said the group leaders can pull See TEEN MOM p. 6

Mysterious plane incident results in one dead NEW YORK -- Alexander Siess was on a recent flight from Mexico City to Paris when, authorities say, he became so unruly the pilot made an emergency landing at Kennedy International Airport. Minutes after the 767 jet touched down, the 25-year-old Austrian was dead. The circumstances of the littlenoticed death last weekend -- which may have involved alcohol and a violent struggle -- remain murky. An autopsy on Siess was inconclusive; toxicology and other tests were pending. “We’ve been told it’s an open investigation and we should wait for the outcome,” said Gregor Csorsz, spokesman for the Austrian consulate in Manhattan, which notified Siess’ parents about his death. Csorsz said Siess was a student from St. Anton, but knew nothing else about his background. Calls to the parents’ home in Austria on Friday went unanswered. Another Austrian official in New York, Sigurd Pacher, said that the victim’s brother traveled to the city, but was too upset to talk. “He’s still trying to cope with what happened,” said Pacher, who did not See PLANE INCIDENT p. 3

Senate could face major changes in upcoming election

Election Day has special significance for the leaders of both parties. (Doug Mills | Associated Press) Jim VandeHei and John Bresnahan Associated Press Voters will do much more than decide control of Congress next week: They will determine whether the most

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powerful political figures in Washington are up, out or ousted from their leadership jobs. Nancy Pelosi, the most powerful House speaker in decades, is in serious danger of losing her job, either by Democrats' surrendering the majority

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or by emerging with a margin too thin to protect her. John Boehner is a cinch to replace her if Republicans win back power — but expectations are running so high, his job could be on the line if they fall short. Harry Reid, a less formidable and less polished leader than Pelosi, could easily lose either his race — a 50-50 proposition at this point — or, less likely, his 10-seat majority. If the Senate falls, Mitch McConnell would become majority leader and inherit arguably the worst leadership job in Washington: running the Senate with a meaningless margin and squeezed by a bunch of tea party senators hellbent on stiffing the establishment. All of these dramas will play out in the hours and days after the results roll in. Publicly, all of the leaders — as well other lawmakers watching their backs or contemplating a power grab — insist they spend little time gaming out the post-election scramble. Privately, everyone in leadership is, well, gaming See SENATE ELECTION p. 4

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Hundreds of Afghan soldiers surrounded Kabul’s main prison Sunday after rioting inmates seized control of much of the facility in an uprising that officials blamed on al Qaeda and Taliban militants. (Musadeq Sadeq | AP)

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