INSIDE: School music programs fight for funding, Page 6
Southwest Journalist The University of Texas at Austin
Friday, June 3, 2011 SWJournalist.com
Dow Jones News Fund Center for Editing Excellence
‘Super-toxic’ E. coli infects Europe
Scientists report new germ strain causing illness Associated Press
LONDON — Scientists on Thursday blamed Europe’s worst recorded food-poisoning outbreak on a possibly new “super-toxic” strain of E. coli bacteria. Though suspicion has fallen on raw tomatoes, cucumbers and lettuce as the source of the germ, researchers have been unable to pinpoint the food responsible for the frightening illness, which has killed at least 18 people, sickened more
than 1,600 and spread to least 10 European countries. An alarmingly large number of victims — about 500 — have developed potentially deadly kidney complications. Chinese and German scientists analyzed the DNA of the E. coli bacteria and determined that the strain containing several antibiotic-resistant genes caused the outbreak, according to the China-based laboratory BGI. It said the strain appeared to be a combination of two types of E. coli. “This is a unique strain that has never been isolated from patients before,” said Hilde Kruse, a food safety expert at the World Health Organiza-
tion. The new strain has “various characteristics that make it more virulent and toxin-producing” than the many E. coli strains people naturally carry in their intestines. However, Dr. Robert Tauxe, a foodborne-disease expert at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, questioned whether the strain is truly new, saying it caused a single case in Korea in the 1990s. He said genetic fingerprints may vary from specimen to specimen, but that is not necessarily enough to constitute a new strain. Russia extended a ban on vegetables from Spain and Germany to the entire Europe-
an Union to try to stop the outbreak spreading east, a move the EU quickly called disproportionate and Italy’s farmers denounced as “absurd.” No deaths or infections have been reported in Russia. Previous E. coli outbreaks have mainly hit children and the elderly, but this one is disproportionately affecting adults, especially women. Kruse said there might be something particular about the bacteria strain that makes it more dangerous for adults. Other experts said women tend to eat more produce. Nearly all the sick either live
Please see E. COLI, Page 2
Robert Solsona / Associated Press
Spanish farmers dump their produce outside the German consulate, protesting German accusations they say have unnecessarily damaged their reputation.
Plate guide debuts
AIDS IN AMERICA
Hope for cure after 30 years AIDS patient’s cure an inspiration to all
USDA’s food pyramid trashed
WASHINGTON — There’s a new U.S. symbol for healthful eating. The Agriculture Department unveiled “My Plate” on Thursday, abandoning the food pyramid that guided many Americans but merely confused others. Fruits and vegetables take up half the space in the new guide, and grains and protein make up the remainder. Gone are the old pyramid’s references to sugars, fats or oils. What was once a category called “meat and beans” is now simply “proteins,” making way for seafood and vegetarian options like tofu. Next to the plate is a blue circle for dairy, which could be a glass of milk or a food such as cheese or yogurt. Some critics, including congressional Republicans, have accused the Obama administration of overreaching on regulation, especially
Please see FOOD, Page 2
Money snares talent
Funding OK’d by Texas voters lures researchers TODD ACKERMAN Houston Chronicle
HOUSTON — Houston is loading up on superstar cancer scientists, bankrolled in part by a generously funded state program that’s transforming Texas into the nation’s research center on the deadly disease. Three weeks after an internationally renowned Harvard geneticist was selected as the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center’s next president, Rice University and the Methodist Hospital Research Institute lured five more heavyweights. Four were recruited through the Cancer
Please see CANCER Page 2 SWJP1-2_632011.indd 2
AP Medical Writer
unday marks 30 years since the first AIDS cases were reported in the United States. This anniversary brings fresh hope for something many had come to think was impossible: finding a cure.
MARY CLARE JALONICK
WAR ON CANCER
Ben Margot / Associated Press
A red ribbon rests upon San Francisco’s Twin Peaks on May 22 to honor those who have died from AIDS. More than 25 million people have died of the disease since the first cases were reported in Los Angeles in 1981.
The example is Timothy Ray Brown of San Francisco, the first person in the world apparently cured of AIDS. His treatment isn’t practical for wide use, but there are encouraging signs that other approaches might someday lead to a cure, or at least allow some people to control HIV without needing daily medication. “I want to pull out all the stops to go for it,” though cure is still a very difficult goal, said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Brown Allergy and Infectious Diseases. For now, the focus remains on preventing new infections. With recent progress on novel ways to do that and a partially effective vaccine, “we’re starting to get the feel that we can really get our arms around this pandemic,” Fauci said. More than 33 million people have HIV now, including more than 1 million in the United States. About 2 million people die of the disease each year, mostly in poor countries that lack treatment. In the U.S., newly diagnosed patients have a life expectancy only a few months shorter than people without HIV. Modern drugs are much easier to take, and many patients get by on a single pill a day. But it wasn’t that way in 1995, when Brown learned he had HIV. He went on and off medicines because of side effects but was holding his own until 2006, when he was diagnosed with leukemia, a problem unrelated to HIV. Dr. Gero Huetter, a blood cancer expert at the University of Berlin, knew that a transplant of blood stem cells (doctors previously used bone marrow) was the best hope for curing Brown’s cancer. But he aimed even higher. “I remembered something I had read in a 1996 report from a study of people who were exposed to HIV but didn’t get infected,” Huetter said. These people had gene mutations that provide natural resistance
Please see AIDS, Page 2
Romney announces GOP presidential bid HOLLY RAMER Associated Press
STRATHAM, N.H. — Just as Mitt Romney declared Thursday that he’s in, it suddenly looks like he’ll have more company in his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination. While Romney made his candidacy official in New Hampshire, political heavyweights Sarah Palin and Rudy Giuliani caused a stir of their own with visits to the first-inthe-nation primary state. And rumblings from Texas Gov. Rick Perry, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota further undercut Romney’s standing as the closest thing the GOP has to a front-runner. Romney previewed a campaign message focused on the economic woes that top
voters’ concerns: rising gas prices, stubbornly high unemployment and persistent foreclosures. It’s a pitch tailored to conservatives with great sway in picking the GOP’s presidential nominee in Iowa and South Carolina and the independents who are the largest political bloc in New Hampshire. It is as much a statement on his viability as an indictment of Obama’s leadership. “Barack Obama has failed America,” Romney said as he began his second White House bid. Romney said Obama has spent his first three years in office apologizing to the world for the United States’ greatness, undercutting Israel and borrowing Europeanstyle economic policies. He cast Obama as beholden to
Democratic interest groups and indifferent to out-of-work Americans. He said Obama’s policy in Afghanistan was wrong, his spending too high and his administration sought power through regulation and fiat. “This president’s first answer to every problem is to take power from you.,” Romney said. Romney’s strengths are substantial: He’s well-known, and he’s an experienced campaigner. He has a personal fortune and an existing network of donors. He has a successful businessman’s record. But his challenges are big, too. They include a record of changing positions on social issues including abortion and gay rights, shifts that have left conservatives questioning his sincerity.
Jim Cole / Associated Press
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, accompanied by his wife Ann, arrives to announce his 2012 candidacy for president June 2 in Stratham, N.H. Romney’s campaign focuses on economic problems relevant to voters. The former business executive’s record of changing positions on social issues have made conservatives skeptical of his sincerity. 6/3/11 8:45 AM
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Friday, June 3, 2011
LAW & ORDER
Rapist gets life for 18-year kidnapping Victim forced to live in shed LISA LEFF
Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press
Nancy Garrido stands at the hearing for Jaycee Dugard’s kidnapping as her husband, Phillip Garrido, looks on in the background. Phillip Garrido was on parole for a rape at the time of Dugard’s abduction in 1991.
PLACERVILLE, Calif. — A serial sex offender was ordered Thursday to spend the rest of his life in prison after the California woman he kidnapped, raped and held captive for 18 years said he and his wife stole her life. Victim Jaycee Dugard was 11 when she was abducted by Phillip and Nancy Garrido. She gave birth to two daughters fathered by Garrido while he held her in a secret backyard compound. El Dorado County Superior Judge Douglas Phimister imposed the maximum possible
sentence of 431 years to life on 60-year-old Phillip Garrido, calling his treatment of Dugard evil and reprehensible. Phillip Garrido pleaded guilty to kidnapping and 13 sexual assault charges, including six counts of rape and seven counts of committing lewd acts captured on video. His plea was part of a deal with prosecutors that saw Nancy Garrido, 55, sentenced to 36 years to life after pleading guilty to kidnapping and rape. The deal was designed, in part, to spare Dugard and her children from having to testify at a trial. Dugard has strived to preserve her privacy since she was identified during a chance
meeting with Phillip Garrido’s parole officer. The defendants were arrested in August 2009 after Phillip Garrido inexplicably brought his ragtag clan to a meeting with his parole officer, who had no idea the convicted rapist had been living with a young woman and two girls he described as his nieces. Her reappearance proved a costly embarrassment for California parole officials. The state last year paid Dugard a $20 million settlement under which officials acknowledged repeated mistakes were made by parole agents responsible for monitoring Garrido. California has since increased monitoring of sex offenders.
AIDS: Scientists test gene-therapy treatment —Continued from Page 1 to the virus. About 1 percent of whites have them, and Huetter proposed searching for a person who also was a tissue match for Brown. But transplants are grueling. Many cancer patients die from such attempts and Brown wasn’t willing to risk it. Months later, the return of leukemia changed his mind. Brown discussed the transplant with his boss “and she said, ‘wow, this is amazing. Because you have leukemia, you could be cured of HIV.’” A registry turned up more than 200 possible donors and Huetter started testing them for the HIV resistance gene. He hit pay dirt at No. 61 — a German man living in the United States, around 25 years old. A year after Brown’s 2007 transplant, his leukemia returned but HIV did not. He had a second transplant in March 2008 from the same donor. Now 45, Brown needs no medicines. “He’s now four years off his antiretroviral therapy and we have no evidence of HIV in any tissue or blood that we have tested,” even places where the virus can lie dormant for many years,
Huetter said. Brown’s success inspired scientists to try a similar but less harsh tactic: modifying some of a patient’s infection-fighting blood cells to contain the mutation and resist HIV. In theory, this would strengthen the immune system enough that people would no longer need to take HIV drugs to keep the virus suppressed. Scientists recently tried this gene therapy in a couple dozen patients, including Matthew Sharp of suburban San Francisco. More than six months later, the number of his infectionfighting blood cells is “still significantly higher than baseline,” he said. It will take more time to know if gene therapy works and is safe. Experiments on dozens of patients are under way, including some where patients go off their HIV medicines and doctors watch to see if the modified cells control the virus. The results so far on the cell counts “are all wonderful findings but they could all amount to nothing” unless HIV stays suppressed, said Dr. Jacob Lalezari, director of Quest Clinical Research in San Francisco who is leading one of the studies.
Eric Risberg / Associated Press
Timothy Ray Brown is the only man ever known to have been apparently cured of AIDS. He stands with his dog, Jack, on Treasure Island in San Francisco. The approach also is not practical for poor countries. “I wouldn’t want people to think that gene therapy is going to be something you can do on 33 million people,” said Fauci.Other promising approaches to
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Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT), the $3 billion initiative voters approved in 2007. All five of the hires are members of the National Academy of Sciences, the nation’s most distinguished organization of scientists. Their addition increases Houston’s total to 17, and the state’s to 61. Less than two years into the 10-year program, the Texas cancer institute has recruited 24 cancer researchers, a mix of powerhouse scientists, “rising stars” and first-time faculty. It provided $25 million of the four new recruits’ packages — institutions match the funding — drawing from a war chest one recruit calls “gamechanging.” “It’s a strong shot in the arm,” said Dr. Ronald DePinho, incoming M.D. Anderson president. He said the program is one of several factors that convinced him to leave Boston for Houston. “It’s already garnered a significant amount of attention, and you ain’t seen nothing yet.” Mouse geneticists Neal Copeland and Nancy Jenkins have identified genes associated with numerous diseases. CPRIT expects to add as many as half a dozen more recruits by July, then fare better in the program’s second biennium. At that time, its allocation grows from $450 million for the past two years to the full $600 million authorized by voters. The money comes from bonds and is unaffected by the state’s revenue shortfall. CPRIT has provided more than $350 million in grants to Texas scientists since 2009.
E. COLI: Women hit hard
FOOD: New guide offered as eating plan
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when it comes to new rules that tell schools what children can eat on campus. But the plate is supposed to be a suggestion, not a direction, said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “We are not telling people what to eat, we are giving them a guide,” he said. Vilsack said the new round chart shows that nutrition doesn’t have to be complicated. Obesity rates have skyrocketed after almost 20 years of leaders preaching good eating through a food pyramid the department now says was overly complex. He showed off the new plate with first lady Michelle Obama, who has made healthful diets for chil-
a cure try new ways to attack the dormant virus problem, he said. “There are paths forward now” to a day when people with AIDS might be cured, said Dr. Michael Horberg, president of the HIV Medicine Association.
CANCER: New hires nationally recognized
Susan Walsh /Associated Press
The new USDA plate is divided into four sections of slightly different sizes. The vegetable and grains are the largest. dren a priority. The servings don’t have to be proportional, say officials who developed the symbol. Every person has different nutritional needs, based on age, health and other factors. The graphic is based on new department dietary guidelines released in January, which are revised every five years. Those
guidelines tell people to drastically reduce salt and continue limiting saturated fats. Marion Nestle, professor of nutrition, food studies, and public health at New York University, said there are already a lot of symbols out there telling people what to eat. “This brings it all together,” she said.
in Germany or recently traveled there. The WHO recommends that to avoid food-borne illnesses, people wash their hands, keep raw meat separate from other foods, thoroughly cook their food, and wash fruits and vegetables, especially if eaten raw. Experts also recommend peeling raw fruits and vegetables if possible. Paul Hunter, a professor of health protection at the University of England of East Anglia said the number of new cases would probably slow to a trickle in the next few days. The incubation period for this type of E. coli is about three to eight days. “Salads have a relatively short shelf life and it’s likely the contaminated food would have been consumed in one to two weeks,” Hunter said. Hunter warned the outbreak could continue if there
is secondary transmission of the disease, which often happens when children are infected. E. coli is present in feces and can be spread by sloppy bathroom habits, such as failure to wash one’s hands. Meanwhile, Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero slammed the European Commission and Germany for singling out the country’s produce early on as a possible source of the outbreak and said the government would demand “conclusive explanations and sufficient reparations.” The outbreak is already considered the third-largest involving E. coli in recent world history, and it may be the deadliest. Twelve people died in a 1996 Japanese outbreak that reportedly sickened more than 9,000, and seven died in a Canadian outbreak in 2000.
IS EUROPEAN E. COLI HEADING FOR THE U.S.? ✔✔Authorities don’t know the source of the European infection yet, but cucumbers, tomatoes and leafy lettuce grown there are suspected. ✔✔There’s no reason to stop eating fresh vegetables in the United States at this point. ✔✔It’s impossible to test for every illness-causing strain of E. coli, even ones we know about. ✔✔Different strains known as “the other E. colis” were sickening people well before the European bug emerged.
DOW JONES WORKSHOP
Students finish News Fund pre-internship training at UT Eleven college students and recent college graduates are headed to paid copy editing internships on daily newspapers and an online news service after completing 10 days of intensive preparation at the University of Texas at Austin. The interns are among a select group of 81 undergraduate and graduate students placed in internships in copy editing, business reporting and online journalism. They are part of a competitive national program funded by the News Fund, a foundation of the Dow Jones Company, and participating newspapers. More than 600 students applied for the program. The School of Journalism at UT Austin, one of five pre-internship training sites for copy editors and designers, has been part of the News Fund program since 1997. Participants in the UT workshop were involved in newspaper copy editing, design and production assignments and online journalism. NewspaSWJP1-2_632011.indd 3
per professionals, visiting faculty and UT journalism faculty moderated the sessions. In the latter half of the preinternship training, participants produced three issues of a live, model newspaper, the Southwest Journalist, and a companion online product, swjournalist.com. The Austin American-Statesman provided printing services for the newspaper. The UT-News Fund interns will serve internships of 10-14 weeks. Participants in the UT Austin workshop, including their universities and host news organizations, are Kelly Belton, Louisiana Tech UniversityThe El Paso Times; Kenneth Contrata, University of Arizona-The Denver Post; Celia Darrough, University of Oregon-The Record of StocktonSan Joaquin, Calif.; Geoffrey DeCanio, University of Texas at Austin-California Watch; Carol Fan, UCLA-San Francisco Chronicle; Katie Goodwin, University of Nevada-San
Francisco Chronicle; Leslie Hansen, University of Texas at Austin-The Beaumont Enterprise; Margaux Henquinet, University of Missouri-The Tribune, San Luis Obispo, Calif.; Nicole Hill, University of Oklahoma-Austin AmericanStatesman; Chris Lusk, University of Oklahoma-The Dallas Morning News; and Nora Simon, University of OregonThe Oregonian, Portland. Grants from the News Fund and contributions from participating newspapers cover the cost of the workshops, including instruction, housing, meals and transportation for participants. Participating newspapers in turn pay interns a weekly wage for their work during the internship. Students returning to their universities after the internships are eligible for a $1,000 scholarship provided by the News Fund. Directing the UT workshop were S. Griffin Singer, director; Beth Butler and George Sylvie, assistant directors; and Sonia
Interns from the Dow Jones News Fund copy editing workshop underwent intensive training at University of Texas at Austin before heading to internships at various news organizations. Reyes-Krempin, administrative assistant of the UT School of Journalism. Faculty included Amy Zerba of the University of Florida, formerly with CNN.com, Atlanta, Ga. and the Austin American-Statesman; Richard Holden, executive director
of the Newspaper Fund; and Bradley Wilson, coordinator of student media advising at North Carolina State University. Drew Marcks, assistant managing editor of the Austin American-Statesman, coordinated the interns’ visit to that newspaper.
Similar Newspaper Fund pre-internship training centers for copy editors and designers are at the University of Missouri, the University of Nebraska, Penn State University and Temple University. An online editing program is at Western Kentucky University. 6/3/11 8:45 AM
Mladic has cancer, says his lawyer THE HAGUE, Netherlands — Ratko Mladic’s lawyer says he can prove the war-crimes suspect has been battling cancer. Serbian deputy war crimes prosecutor Bruno Vekaric has called it a hoax. The lawyer showed a doctors’ diagnosis saying that Mladic was in a Serbia hospital between April 20 and July 18, 2009. The document does not disclose the names of the hospital and the doctors who allegedly treated Mladic, and his name appears only at the top of the certificate. The lawyer gave a copy of the letter to a judge and prosecutors in Serbia hours before his unsuccessful bid Tuesday to prevent Mladic’s extradition to The Hague for war crimes prosecution.
Southwest Journalist — Page 3
Friday, June 3, 2011
Tribesmen join fight as rivals clash Associated Press
SAN‘A, Yemen — Thousands of tribesmen threatened to descend on Yemen’s capital, San‘a, to join the battle against forces loyal to President Ali Abdullah Saleh as the country slid deeper into an all-out fight for power. Government forces in San‘a unleashed some of the heaviest shelling yet against their tribal rivals in a dramatic esca-
lation of the conflict. For months, youth-led protesters have tried to drive out Saleh peacefully. But their campaign has been overtaken and transformed into an armed showdown between Yemen’s two most powerful families, the president’s and the alAhmar clan. The al-Ahmar family heads the country’s strongest tribal confederation, which has vowed to topple Saleh after 33
years in power. Their nearly two-week battle in San‘a raises the dangerous potential that tribal fighting could spread. Tribes hold deep loyalty among Yemen’s 25 million people. A member’s death can easily draw relatives into a spiral of violence. Tribesmen attacked security forces in the city of Taiz, south of the capital. Saleh’s security forces have cracked down on street protesters, killing more
than 100 since February. Until now, tribal fighters had stayed out of the fray. Thursday’s attack suggests other tribes may be joining the fighting between Saleh and al-Ahmar. The hundreds of thousands who have been holding daily protests in the capital and other cities had taken their inspiration from peaceful uprisings that toppled the leaders of Egypt and Tunisia. Amid maneuvering by the
country’s power players, the youth activists leading the protests were trying to adhere to their strategy, a peaceful campaign for democratic change. Organizers confirmed their commitment to “peaceful protest and peaceful revolution until the regime falls,” said activist Bushra al-Muktari. As for the armed men clashing in the city with security forces, “we know nothing about them,” she said.
Teens accused of selling babies LAGOS, Nigeria — At least 32 pregnant teenagers were arrested at an illegal clinic after being accused of planning to sell their babies into the growing child trafficking trade. Police also arrested the clinic’s director and accused him of buying the babies from the young mothers and selling them for a generous profit to childless couples. “One of the girls told us that mothers sell their babies for $160 to $190,” police chief Bala Hassan said. An anti-trafficking agency spokesman said that the babies can then be resold for up to $6,400, depending on gender. Child trafficking carries a penalty of 14 years to life imprisonment.
Original Nazi sign retired from gate WARSAW, Poland — The notorious sign that once spanned Auschwitz’s main gate will not return to its original spot after being repaired from the damage it suffered during a 2009 theft. The sign bearing the Nazis’ cynical slogan “Arbeit Macht Frei” (Work Sets You Free) will instead be displayed in a planned exhibition hall at the site of the death camp. The sign was stolen in December 2009 and was cut into several pieces. Now welded back together and otherwise restored almost to its previous state, the sign was presented last month. A replica of the sign now hangs in its place.
UK cheese truck has a meltdown LONDON — British fire crews say a truck carrying a 24-ton cargo of cheese burst into flames on a rural southwest England road. Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue service said the fire spread rapidly through the truck and set its consignment of cheese alight. The fire department believes the blaze was caused by a vehicle fault. The driver had been headed for a mechanic to have a problem fixed. No one was reported hurt in the incident.
Tweets resolve defamation case KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — Fahmi Fadzil, a Malaysian social activist, is apologizing on Twitter in an unusual settlement with BluInc Media in a defamation case. Fadzil claimed on Twitter in January that his pregnant friend had been poorly treated by her employers at a magazine run by BluInc Media. The company’s lawyers sent him a letter demanding financial damages and an apology in major newspapers. Syahredzan said Fahmi settled the case by agreeing to apologize 100 times in three days on Twitter. He has more than 4,200 followers. “I’ve DEFAMED Blu Inc Media and Female Magazine. My tweets on their policies are untrue. I retract those words and hereby apologize,” Fahmi tweeted. —Associated Press
Sebastian Scheiner / Associated Press
Israeli soldiers and Orthodox Jewish men pray at Joseph’s Tomb in the The area underscores religious and political tension between Israelis Arab-controlled West Bank city of Nablus during their monthly pilgrimage and Palestinians. Israelis view it as their right to visit their holy lands, and on Monday. A month ago, a Jewish man was killed by Palestinian police. Palestinians view the pilgrimage as an attempt to gain political power.
Act of faith, politics in West Bank Monthly Israeli pilgrimage to Arab city highlights conflict MATTI FRIEDMAN Associated Press
NABLUS, West Bank — Just after midnight Monday, convoys of buses carrying 1,600 Jewish worshippers drove into the Arab city of Nablus for prayers at Joseph’s Tomb. Escorted by army jeeps and ground troops, it was the biggest group to reach the site since the military began regularly allowing visits four years ago. The lead bus was crammed with Orthodox Jews in long black coats, settler teens in jeans and girls in long skirts. When the buses moved into Nablus, 40 miles north of Jerusalem, Israeli soldiers in battle gear were securing the route. The organizers see visits to the holy gravesite of the biblical Joseph as a mix of religious duty, assertion of ownership and show of force. For many observant Jews, Nablus is part of the biblical land promised to the Jews by God. “These are our roots,” said Gilad Levanon, a 22-year-old Jewish seminary student who visited this week. “We have a strong belief that this is our role in this world — to continue the path of our fathers, despite momentary interference.”
Sebastian Scheiner / Associated Press
Rabbi Eliezer Berland leaves after praying at Joseph’s Tomb in Nablus. The monthly Jewish pilgrimage draws thousands of worshippers. Joseph’s Tomb, a modest stone building holy to Jews in the midst of this Arab city, is becoming an increasingly volatile friction point, drawing growing numbers of pilgrims on nighttime prayer visits, unnerving Palestinian residents and putting Israel’s military into conflict with some of the worshippers it is meant to protect. Monthly trips by religious Jews to this largely hostile city, coordinated with Palestinian secu-
rity forces, emphasize the complexity of the Holy Land’s religious landscape and the sometimes deadly intersection of the sacred and the political. Palestinians view the pilgrimages as an attempt by Israeli extremists to create a foothold inside the city, one of the main autonomous zones established by the interim peace accords of the 1990s. The Palestinians hope to make the entire West Bank, captured by Israel in the 1967 ArabIsraeli War, part of a future independent state. “If a believer wants to worship God, he can do that from any place,” said Zuheir Dubei, 58, a Nablus mosque preacher, “not only from a place like Joseph’s Tomb where blood can be shed.” Palestinian security forces leave the streets when the worshippers go in to avoid clashes with the Israelis. The first to leap out when the bus pulled up outside the domed tomb was a young man with red sidelocks who wore the long black gabardine of the Bratslav Hasidic sect. He sprinted for the tomb, joined by streams of worshippers who poured out of the buses, ran through the gate and pressed ecstatically into the small room that houses the grave marker to chant psalms. Some visitors openly lamented how they could not freely access the tomb. “We’re still coming at night, like dogs,” one bearded man said.
Champion of the Irish unemployed Dublin man uses billboard to promote self for interviews SHAWN POGATCHNIK Associated Press
DUBLIN — Tens of thousands of Irish people are leaving their debt-shattered land because they can’t find work. But one frustrated job hunter, 26-year-old Feilim Mac An Iomaire, has refused — and captured the nation’s imagination with an inventive PR stunt highlighting his plight. “SAVE ME FROM EMIGRATION,” reads Mac An Iomaire’s Dublin billboard, the focal point for a social media-driven campaign that advertises his 10-month search for work and desire to stay in Ireland. The effort cost him about $2,900 and gave him a priceless global spotlight for his skills as a marketer. Two days after rebranding himself as an Irish everyman named “Jobless Paddy,” Mac An Iomaire (pronounced mac uh-o-mora) appears to have achieved his goal of landing a good job, most likely in Dub-
lin, by the end of the month. Between calls, tweets and Facebook posts from wellwishers and tipsters, Mac An Iomaire put on his best jacket Thursday for the first of potentially dozens of job interviews. After working for a year in a Sydney hostel, Mac An Iomaire returned to Ireland in August, full of optimism. He had a few thousand dollars set aside as he started a conventional job search in marketing. More than 100 applications yielded only two interviews, typical in a country suffering nearly 15 percent unemployment and experiencing its biggest emigration wave since the 1980s. More than 50,000 people, mostly 20-something university graduates, may leave by the end of the year. The billboard, placed strategically on Merrion Road — Dublin’s Beverly Hills — piqued media interest and set the Internet alight. Commuters slow down to see the ad. “That’s a work of genius. Exactly the kind of brains we need to keep in Ireland. There’s an army of out-of-work Paddies, but only one Jobless
Environmental activist killed over logging Associated Press
Peter Morrison / Associated Press
Feilim Mac An Iomaire marketed himself as the unemployed Irish everyman on the verge of leaving the country. He’s already gotten a few interviews from his well-placed billboard. Paddy,” said accountant David Daly, 39, who stopped to photograph the billboard. “It’s so professional, it makes you want to find out who’s behind it. ... He’s got guts,” said secretary Maire Quinn, 32, who snapped a photo of the billboard on her cell phone. Mac An Iomaire acknowledges his pitch was calculated, in part, to appeal to Ireland’s
hurt national pride. He included the Gaelic hurling stick because it’s a symbol of nationalism for any Irishman. “I just love this country. Being away for a year in Australia really brought home to me how special Ireland is, what a massive village it is,” he said. “This is my home. If I had to leave again, it would be with a heavy heart.”
RIO DE JANEIRO — Another rural activist was found shot to death in the Amazon on Thursday, just three days after Brazil’s leaders discussed how to stop the region’s deadly disputes over logging and protect those whose lives are threatened. More than 1,150 rural activists have been slain in Brazil over the past 20 years. Two witnesses tried to take the wounded activist to a hospital but were stopped by gunmen in another car who got out and finished off the victim, the police chief of southeastern Para told Globo TV’s G1 website. The victim was identified only by his first name, Marcos. Hired gunmen carry out most of the killings on behalf of loggers, ranchers and farmers who want to silence protests over land rights and illegal logging in the environmentally sensitive region. 6/3/11 8:46 AM
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Friday, June 3, 2011
Tornadoes stun East Coast, kill 3 STEPHEN SINGER Associated Press
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — The Rev. Bob Marrone was pained to see the steeple of his 137-year-old church shattered and strewn on the grass in the Massachusetts town of Monson. But, he knows he’s more fortunate than some of his neighbors who lost their homes after tornadoes tore through the state, killing at least three people and injuring about 200. “I can see the plywood of roofs and see houses where most of the house is gone,” said Marrone, pastor of The First Church of Monson. “The road that runs up in front of my house,” he said, “There’s so many trees down, it’s completely impassable.” Residents of 18 communities in central and western Massachusetts woke to widespread damage Thursday, a day after at least two late-afternoon tornadoes shocked emergency officials with their suddenness and violence and caused the state’s first tornado-related deaths in 16 years. “You have to see it to believe it,” Gov. Deval Patrick said after a tour of Monson, a town of fewer than 10,000 residents near the Connecticut border. “Houses have been lifted up off their Rick Cinclair / Worcester Telegram & Gazette foundations and in some cases totally Ron Weston, right, comforts his daughter Heather Dickinson as Devin Dickinson tries to help on Thursday, the day after destroyed or moved several feet.” a tornado touched down in Brimfield, Mass. The tornado struck 18 communities in central and western Massachusetts. Two people were killed in West Springfield and another in Brimfield, baddest I’ve seen.” authorities said. One death in West office. He heard screams to get away along the New York state border. Severe thunderstorms in MassachuAt the bar, Pashko said, the owner Springfield was a woman who used her from the windows, and he and the setts are not unusual, but strong tor- told people to get away from the winbody to shield her 15-year-old daugh- other workers ran away just in time. The governor declared a state of nadoes ripping a path through cities dow as patrons saw the storm on TV. ter in a bathtub in their apartment, Patemergency and called 1,000 National the size of Springfield are, said Peter “To see it live on TV when I’m five rick said. The daughter survived. One tornado was dramatically cap- Guardsmen after the storms, which Judge of the Massachusetts Emergency football fields away is better than being outside,” Pashko said. tured on a mounted video camera as brought scenes of devastation more fa- Management Agency. miliar in the South and “We’d been monitoring the weather it tore through SpringMidwest to a part of the all day and by early afternoon, nobody field, a city of more than BY THE NUMBERS country where such vio- was overly concerned,” Judge said. 150,000 about 90 miles SEE MORE ONLINE lent weather isn’t a way The storm hit as workers were startwest of Boston. ✔✔Visit SWJournalist.com people killed of life. ing the evening commute home. Police The storm pulverized to view a photo gallery Experts planned to closed some highway ramps leading and sheared off the tops ✔✔200 people injured assess damage by air into Springfield. of roofs on Main Street in ✔✔16 years since the last tornadoBob Pashko, of West Springfield, said Springfield. A debris-filled funnel swept and land Thursday to determine the related death in Massachusetts into downtown, then swirled across the number and strength of the tornadoes, he was returning from his doctor’s office National Weather Service meteorologist when the storm started and he went to a Connecticut River. ✔✔18 communities affected downtown bar to wait for a ride. District Attorney Mark Mastroianni Benjamin Sipprell said. ✔✔3 years since the last tornado in The last killer tornado in Massachu“The next thing you know, the TV said he and other staff members narrowly escaped injury when plate glass setts was on May 29, 1995, when three says a tornado hit the railroad bridge in the state windows shattered and blew into his people died in Great Barrington, a town West Springfield,” Pashko said. “It’s the
Weiner frank in photo explanation ANDREW MIGA Associated Press
K athy Willens / Associated Press
Keith Amstrong, left, 6, Markquis, 11, and their sister, Teyonce, 7, play by a Harlem Deal$ store in New York while waiting for their grandmother to exit on May 29. Deal$ stores are owned by Dollar Tree, which sells a variety of items for $1. Dollar stores pose the biggest threat to Walmart, which is building new express stores and adding new inventory to compete.
Walmart revamps stores
Chain attempts return to top after losing customers ANNE D’INNOCENZIO Associated Press
NEW YORK — Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is in a race against time to give the people what they want before they get comfortable shopping elsewhere. Shoppers who switched to other stores when Walmart decided to ditch best-selling toothbrush brands, craft supplies and bolts of fabric may be hard to win back. The company has taken nine months to restore thousands of grocery items it dumped from its shelves two years ago. The idea was to tidy up stores for the wealthier customers it had won during the recession. Walmart says it will take until the end of the year to restock the rest of the store with items that were removed. That will go toward restoring Walmart’s ability to provide one-stop shopping, which could be a SWJP4_632011.indd 1
plus as shoppers make fewer trips to save on gasoline. “The customer, for the most part, is still in the store shopping, but they started doing some more shopping elsewhere, and we want to bring them back,” said Wal-Mart Stores Inc.’s chief financial officer Charles Holley during a Citi Global Consumer Conference last week. Walmart is increasingly “caught in the middle” between dollar stores and more expensive stores, Wall Street Strategies analyst Brian Sozzi said. “Now, it’s trying to return to its roots, but it’s facing old competitors — the dollar stores — that are getting much better.” Shares of Walmart have tracked closer to its profits than its domestic sales this past year, and its international business has propped up revenue and profits. Walmart shares are up 7 over the past
12 months. Walmart stores account for 62 percent of the company’s revenue; international makes up 26 percent. While not committing to a specific time frame for turning around its domestic revenue, Wal-Mart has said it expects results to continue to improve as the year goes on. To address the increasing threat of dollar stores, Walmart will open the first of up to 20 Walmart Express stores planned for this year. These stores are a tenth the size of a supercenter, or about the size of a typical drug store. Walmart Express is aimed at taking out one of dollar stores’ advantages: proximity to where people live. High gas prices have made that even more important. “They’re looking for value. We have value. They’re looking for convenience. We are certainly convenient,” President and CEO Bob Sasser said.
he customer, for the most part, is still in the store shopping, but they started doing some more shopping elsewhere, and we want to bring them back. —CHARLES HOLLEY, WALMART CFO
WASHINGTON — Rep. Anthony Weiner’s pun-laden media blitz aimed at ending the furor over a lewd photo sent from his Twitter account seemed to have done half the job. He may have convinced the public that he didn’t send Weiner the photo, but his uncertainty and humor attempts regarding whether the picture was of him is keeping the scandal alive. Media outlets including the New York Daily News said his refusal to let law enforcement investigate was suspicious. Weiner said he had hired a private security firm to inves-
tigate the alleged hacking and an attorney to advise him on what actions should be taken. “If it turns out there’s something larger going on here, we’ll take the requisite steps,” he said. The sexually suggestive photo was posted Friday and sent to a female college student, Gennette Cordova, in Seattle. Cordova said the photo was sent from a hacker who has “harassed me many times after the congressman followed me on Twitter a month or so ago.” Weiner said he misjudged the furor the photo would cause and has declared he will not talk about it anymore. Democrats are upset over the situation, calling it a distraction. Some residents have said they regret voting for Weiner.
More states allow the liquefying of corpses Associated Press COLUMBUS, Ohio — When the 91-year-old World War II veteran died in February after a cancer battle, Hal Shrimp’s body tissue was dissolved using heat and lye, turning it into a liquid that could be poured down a drain and a dry bone residue given to relatives, who plan to scatter it in his honor. His family in Ohio saw it as a more environmentally friendly option than cremation. Ohio is the only state where the method, alkaline hydrolysis, has been used in the funeral industry, but others are increasingly allowing for it, spurred by a push from interested crematories and equipment manufacturers or by a desire to have regulations ready if the process comes to their regions.
Proponents say it has lower operating costs and is greener because it does not cause incineration emissions. Skeptics question the social implications of sending someone’s remains down the drain, and whether it’s safe for the environment and public health. Changes taking effect this year will allow alkaline hydrolysis in Kansas, Maryland and Colorado. It was already legal in Florida, Maine, Minnesota and Oregon. New York and California are considering allowing it.
Flooding spreads westward
GRAND COULEE DAM, Wash. — The giant concrete dams of the Pacific Northwest are overflowing with water. States across the West are bracing for major flooding once a record mountain snowpack starts melting. Warmer temperatures could send water gushing into rivers, streams and low-lying communities. Such an event can overload Northern California’s extensive system of dams and flood bypasses. Sacramento is the city at greatest risk of flooding in California. The National Weather Service predicts this will be one of the top five water years in history in the Pacific Northwest, said Gina Baltrush of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Auction ends for Unabomber items SAN FRANCISCO — An unusual weeks-long auction of the Unabomber’s property meant to benefit his victims ended Thursday. U.S. District Court Judge Garland Burrell Jr. ordered the online auction of Ted Kaczynski’s personal items such as his hooded sweat shirt, sunglasses and handwritten “manifesto” railing against technology. The judge ordered Kaczynski to pay $15 million to his bombing victims in addition to serving life without parole. The auction proceeds will contribute to that total. The 69-year-old pleaded guilty in 1998 to setting 16 explosions that killed three people, including two in Sacramento, Calif., and injured 23 others in various parts of the country.
S.D. residents asked to evacuate DAKOTA DUNES, S.D. — South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard asked residents in threatened areas in the state capital as well as residents of Dakota Dunes to evacuate by Thursday night because of a prolonged period of Missouri River flooding. The evacuation is voluntary. Daugaard said 800 of the 1,100 homes in Dakota Dunes could be subject to flooding. About 2,000 people and 800 homes and businesses are threatened by flooding far upstream in Pierre, with several hundred more people in Fort Pierre’s flood zone.
Arizona gunman kills 5, then self YUMA, Ariz. — Authorities have confirmed that one of the people killed Thursday in a southwest Arizona shooting spree was a Yuma attorney. Yuma Police Chief Jerry Geier said the gunman walked into the law office of Jerrold Shelley in the downtown area and shot and killed Shelley sometime Thursday morning. Police earlier identified the suspected shooter as 73-year-old Carey Hal Dyess. Authorities say Dyess killed four other people elsewhere in Yuma County and wounded one person before fatally shooting himself. The wounded person was flown to a Phoenix-area hospital. The other victims’ names were not released.
NY Times names first woman editor NEW YORK — The executive editor of The New York Times, Bill Keller, will step down this summer after eight years on the job. Managing editor Jill Abramson will replace Keller. She is the first woman to hold the newspaper’s top editing post. Abramson, 57, joined the Times in 1997 after working for nearly a decade at The Wall Street Journal. She was the Times’ Washington editor and bureau chief before Keller picked her to become the managing editor in 2003. She said in a statement that she was grateful for the opportunity to lead the paper, calling it “a dream job.” The changes are effective Sept. 6. —Associated Press 6/3/11 8:47 AM
Southwest Journalist — Page 5
Friday, June 3, 2011
ACROSS THE BORDER
Clements’ memory honored
Mexican drug war death toll debated
DALLAS — Friends and supporters of former Texas Gov. Bill Clements gathered at a public memorial service Thursday to pay tribute to the state’s first Republican governor since Reconstruction. The man whom Gov. Rick Perry has called the father of the modern-day Texas Republican Party died Sunday at the age of 94 after a long illness. Inaugurated in 1979, Clements served two terms as governor despite losing his first re-election bid. The oilman ran Texas under the belief that state government should operate like a big business.
Dems seek power in new districts AUSTIN — Republican lawmakers listened Thursday as Democrats and minority activists complained about a draft of the congressional redistricting map they say will diminish the power of minority voters. Texas will add four new congressional seats next year because of rapid population growth, giving the state 36 seats in the U.S. House. Republicans Rep. Burt Solomons and Sen. Kel Seliger have produced a map to ensure the GOP will continue to dominate the Texas congressional delegation. A Democratic proposal would give two seats to Latino communities and one to an African-American community.
State gas prices down 7 cents IRVING, Texas — Retail gasoline prices in Texas have fallen for a third straight week, slipping 7 cents to average $3.63 a gallon. AAA Texas on Thursday reported the average price per gallon nationally is down 3 cents, reaching $3.78 this week. The association said the declines are because of a recent drop in crude oil prices, plus lower wholesale gasoline prices. The cheapest price at the pump in Texas is $3.54 a gallon in Beaumont. El Paso has the state’s most expensive gasoline, averaging $3.68 a gallon.
Girl electrocuted after swimming BROWNSVILLE, Texas — An 8-year-old girl in South Texas has died after touching an exposed electrical wire shortly after swimming at a neighbor’s pool. Cameron County Sheriff Omar Lucio said Anali Alamillo was still wet from swimming when found unconscious by her older brother outside their Brownsville home. Lucio said the girl was declared dead Tuesday night after being transported to Valley Regional Medical Center. Lucio said the Alamillo family had a washing machine in the yard, and the girl came in contact with some loose electrical wires. He said the death appears to have been an accident. An autopsy has been ordered.
Prison guard caught with drugs HOUSTON — A Texas prison guard is facing a federal drug charge after being arrested during an undercover sting operation. Prosecutors said Alejandro Smith was arrested Wednesday after receiving a duffel bag containing a kilo of heroin from an undercover officer at a parking lot in Huntsville, north of Houston. Authorities said they began investigating the 21-yearold after getting a tip from a confidential source that he was providing contraband to prisoners. Smith is a guard at the Texas Department of Criminal Justice’s Eastham Unit in Lovelady, located about 100 miles north of Houston. —Associated Press SWJP5_632011.indd 1
Government still quiet on numbers E. EDUARDO CASTILLO Associated Press
MEXICO CITY — The debate over how many people have died in Mexico’s 4 1/2-yearold drug war is intensifying as the government remains silent over the death total. The last official count, more than 34,600 dead, came almost six months ago, and the number of lives lost is undoubtedly far higher, with daily reports of slayings and shootouts in drug hot spots, many not far from the Texas border. Some Mexican news media are reporting that their counts show the death toll has risen past 40,000, a number that includes rival gang members killed in turf battles, as well as innocent bystanders, extortion victims, police and soldiers. The most recent official count came in January, when the government released a database of drug-related deaths as a gesture of openness about President Felipe Calderon’s military assault on drug cartels, which began as he took office in December 2006. Government officials also had occasionally released updated numbers in past years when pressed by the news media. But they have not given or updated any figures since the database was released. The government also has cut back on the public dialogues with activists and non-
Bernandino Hernandez / Associated Press
A soldier investigates a car where two men were killed after a gun-battle with federal police in Acapulco, Mexico, on May 29. The Mexican government has not released an official count of how many people have died in the country’s drug war since January, when numbers were more than 34,600. Some think the death toll may have already risen past 40,000. governmental organizations it started last year. Mass graves holding more than 400 corpses were discovered in two northern Mexico states in April and May, and thousands of people have protested against the violence in several Mexican cities. Anti-crime activist Francisco Torres said Wednesday
that the lack of openness on the issue only increases Mexicans’ insecurity. “Transparency, and the chance that it will eventually create accountability, is fundamental for making the public feel we live in a nation of laws,” said Torres, who heads the group Mexico United
Against Crime. But Mexico’s federal security spokesman, Alejandro Poire, refused to confirm or deny the updated figures or to release a new count when asked earlier this week. Security consultant Eduardo Guerrero Gutierrez wrote in the June issue of Nexos maga-
zine that he believes the figure has already surpassed 40,000. The issue isn’t just a mathematical question for poet Javier Sicilia, whose son was killed along with six friends on March 28 in Cuernavaca, a resort and industrial city south of Mexico City. Prosecutors say drug gang members killed them after a couple of Sicilia’s friends had a scuffle with the gangsters 10 days before. Sicilia, who also believes the total death toll is now about 40,000, has mounted a series of protests against the drugwar violence and has proposed writing the names of the dead on plaques at the spots where they were killed throughout the country. Jorge Chabat, an expert in Mexico who studies the drug trade, said releasing the figures has a cost for the government. “Obviously, if the number is high, it provides a tool to identify the problem, but it also opens the government to criticism,” Chabat said. Many critics say that Calderon’s offensive was launched without adequate preparation, strategy or understanding of how strong the cartels had become. The government has launched an ad campaign branding those accusations as false. Roy Campos, president of the polling firm Mitofsky, said it would be understandable if the government stopped releasing figures if it had some strategic reason to do so.
Shuttle era to end soon No Daughters SETH BORENSTEIN Associated Press
HOUSTON — And now there is only one. The final crew of the space shuttle Endeavour has arrived home to a cheering crowd of hundreds of coworkers and families. It was Endeavour’s final flight after 19 years. Just one more space shuttle flight remains, putting an end to 30 years of Florida shuttle launches and more than 535 million miles of orbits controlled at Houston’s Johnson Space Center. Now a sense of melancholy has permeated the community that calls itself “the space shuttle family.” George Mueller, the man considered “the father of the space shuttle,” explained why he’s not going to watch the final launch next month. “It’s like going to a funeral. I’m never enthusiastic about funerals,” said Mueller, who at 92 is still flying cross-country to talk about space. But he’s not going to Cape Canaveral, Fla., to watch the liftoff of Atlantis on July 8. In regions that identify so closely with the space program — cities like Houston and Cape Canaveral — the end of the shuttle era is an emotional punch in the gut. From orbit Monday, Endeavour Commander Mark Kelly, pilot Gregory Johnson and astronaut Drew Feustel all used the word “bittersweet” to describe their feelings. “It’ll be sad to see it retired,” Kelly said. “But we are looking forward to new spacecraft, new destinations. We’re all ex-
cited about the future.” Some people are trying to bask in the remarkable achievements of the shuttle program, like launching and fixing the Hubble Space Telescope and building the International Space Station. Rice University scholar Neal Lane, who was President Bill Clinton’s science adviser, said the shuttle’s impending retirement “marks the end of an era. It’s an example of one of America’s greatest peacetime accomplishments. It’s a sad time for many, but it’s a time to celebrate and remember.” Some of NASA’s old-timers
Chris O’Meara / Associated Press
The space shuttle Atlantis sits on Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Pad 39-A June 1 in Cape Canaveral, Fla. Atlantis is being prepared for a July 8 mission that will bring a close to the space shuttle program.
are not celebrating, however. Christopher Kraft, the legendary engineer who began Mission Control nearly 50 years ago and presided over the initial shuttle flights, expressed pride, melancholy and anger all in little more than a minute. “It’s a sad day for the country. I’ll be damned proud of what I did,” Kraft said. “We’re all very proud of what we’ve done. But I think we recognize that the country is the one that will suffer — not us.” The plan to retire the space shuttle was made by President George W. Bush in 2004. Bush wanted to replace it with new spacecraft that would return astronauts to the moon. But the Bush moon plan ran into money and technical problems and couldn’t meet its schedule. President Barack Obama canceled it last year and replaced with a plan to go to an asteroid by 2025 and ultimately go on to Mars. But those plans are far from detailed. NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, a former shuttle commander, chokes up when talking about the end of the shuttle fleet: “For me it’s personal, and to be quite honest, it’s quite emotional.” But Bolden views the new space plan as “an opportunity to go back and do a do-over ... go beyond low Earth orbit and explore our solar system and other planets.” Mueller iwould have none of that: “It’s the end of a career, not the beginning of a new one. What we lack is the beginning of a new one.”
left for Alamo? Associated Press
SAN ANTONIO — A faction of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas, a prominent women’s legacy group, want to walk away from the Alamo, the San Antonio ExpressNews reported. The group has cared for the San Antonio shrine to Texas independence for more than a century, and some members want to turn the responsibility over to the state and turn its focus to a new headquartersmuseum complex in Austin. “Some members are tired of operating the Alamo entirely (and) want to give it up and concentrate on DRT” and the museum project, the group’s President General Karen Thompson wrote in an email to its 26-member board. The email went out after the Legislature approved a bill that would put the Alamo under state control and have
Alamo activities subject to the supervision of the General Land Office. The bill awaits Gov. Rick Perry’s action. Under the law, the state would take over the Alamo if it cannot agree to a new arrangement with the 7,000-member group by Jan. 1 for the Alamo’s management. Kathleen Carter of San Antonio, one of the Daughters, told the Express-News that she’s “dumbfounded” that a faction of 20 to 30 members from cities outside San Antonio was seriously proposing walking away from the Alamo. “To give up the Alamo is to give up everything we’ve worked for,” she said. Meanwhile, Alamo staffers are excited about the “level of professionalism that will come” with state management and the DRT remaining as caretakers, said state Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, D-San Antonio.
City of San Antonio
Some caretakers of the Alamo want to give it up to the state.
Need china? Alleged Ponzi schemer might be of help Associated Press HOUSTON — Hundreds of items from the Houston office of disgraced financier R. Allen Stanford, including a Baccarat crystal eagle that retails for $55,000, will be auctioned as part of efforts to recoup some of the billions of dollars he is accused of bilking in a Ponzi scheme. The spoils to be auctioned Saturday by Seth Worstell Auction Co. also include a more than century-old Victorianstyle personal desk and more than two dozen handguns
intended to arm a personal security force, the Houston Chronicle reported Thursday. A preview is scheduled today at the company’s warehouse in an industrial part of Houston. Stanford is accused of cheating investors out of $7 billion and faces several federal charges, including mail fraud, wire fraud and conspiracy. He remains in custody and is scheduled to stand trial in September in Houston. As of Jan. 31, a court-appointed receiver had retrieved $188 million from Stanford
bank accounts and through the sale of his investments and real estate, the newspaper said. The proceeds will help pay lawyers and investors. “(Stanford) was clever, a very clever promoter,” said Harry Worstell, the auctioneer’s father who has spent decades in the sales business. Other auction items include a mahogany conference table with a matching set of 10 leather chairs, a lectern bearing the eagle logo of Stanford’s company, computer equipment and about 1,150 bottles of wine, champagne and spir-
its, with an estimated $60,000 to $70,000 retail value. “There’s boxes and boxes of Baccarat china,” the younger Worstell said. “Every glass would cost $100 to replace.” The auction list also includes about 100 company coffee mugs. Harry Worstell said he understands the public interest in having something once owned by Stanford, which could become a good investment. “Anybody who wants to own a piece of Stanford should be here,” he said.
Items to be sold ✔✔A 19th century Victorianstyle personal desk ✔✔A mahogony conference table with 10 matching hickory leather chairs ✔✔30 still-in-the-box Glock 9mm handguns ✔✔A complete fine china set for 50 people ✔✔A 2007 Chevrolet Suburban LTZ with less than 16,000 miles ✔✔100 or so company coffee mugs 6/3/11 8:48 AM
Page 6 —
Ode to hope
Friday, June 3, 2011
Nidalis Burgos keeps her eye on the conductor as she plays the violin during a rehearsal for the Lafayette Specialty School after-school orchestra May 5 in Chicago. The school’s music program is funded by Merit School of Music, a Chicago nonprofit organization founded in 1979, but hard times have forced the organization to cut its financial support to Lafayette’s orchestra program from covering 70 percent of the cost to 60 percent. To make up for the lost funding, Lafayette’s principal has turned to fundraising — asking donors to contribute enough money to make the program self-sustaining. Charles Rex Arbogast / Associated Press
Inner-city Chicago school fights to save music program
BY MARTHA IRVINE ASSOCIATED PRESS
he violin isn’t pretty, but its scratched frame has been well-loved by the girl who cradles it now, and those who played it before her. Her mother calls it her daughter’s “soul mate.” Nidalis Burgos doesn’t own the instrument. It is on loan from her school, where the seventh-grader packs the violin up each weekday to bring it home. The 13-year-old practices anywhere she can — in A lot of principals have resigned themselves to the conher bedroom, in the kitchen, on her back porch so she stant struggles their arts programs face. But Shrode has decan hear the sound reverberate off the brick apartment cided to try something different, something creative. buildings that line the alley. Usually, she warms up with The school always had bake sales and sold concert tick“Ode to Joy,” her mother’s favorite song, and a fitting theme ets, CDs and T-shirts to raise money for the program. But for a girl who truly seems to love playing. what if they and their students could get donors to give “Music brings a little peace to the mind,” Nidalis said. enough money to make the program self-sustaining? Her frame is so tiny that she plays a vioSome call it a crazy idea, especially in a lin three-quarters the standard size. But low-income neighborhood where people when she plays it, she feels big. have little to give to a program like this. t’s at that afterThat is a common feeling among the But Shrode wants to try. She wants the school part of the 85 students who play in the after-school music program to not only survive, but day where the string orchestras at the Lafayette Speto grow to accommodate the many stukids all come together cialty School, a public school in Chicago’s dents on the program’s waiting list. Humboldt Park, where more than 90 perand really make a cent of the students come from poverty. wonderful experience. This is a place where it’s not always easy —ARTURS WEIBLE, to be a kid, where gang members often At 3 p.m. each school day, orchestra MUSIC TEACHER are seen on street corners, and where too students head to a large classroom for many students are witnesses to violence. practice. At first, the room is a mix of “They live in one of the wealthiest cities stringed instruments being tuned and and wealthiest nations in the world, and some of these stu- rowdy students coming down from the dramas of the day. dents have barely anything,” Principal Trisha Shrode said. Then music teacher Arturs Weible stands before them, “Some of them don’t have clean clothes. They don’t have his voice booming orders to sit down and settle in. items for school.” Weible is one of four instructors who run the after-school Here, a music program is not just a music program. For orchestras of students ranging from third- to eighth-gradmany students, it is a way out of the neighborhood, to a ers. Though not all are friends, they understand they are better high school and, in some cases, a better life. part of a group — something that rarely happens during That is why Shrode and her staff are working so hard to the school day, he said. save it, but it remains to be seen whether they can do that. “It’s at that after-school part of the day where the kids all come together and really make a wonderful experience,” Weible said. When he begins conducting, discord slowly turns to harThese are difficult times for arts programs. Across the mony. Weible shouts and smiles when he likes something country, music programs often are seen as expendable. his students play together. His enthusiasm is infectious In wealthier Colts Neck, N.J., for instance, the high school with his students. When he is around, they’re more likely is losing its choral program. to sit up a bit straighter and to keep one another in check. “It’s very discouraging,” said Debra Nemeth-Tarby, a “Nobody works harder than Mr. Weible,” said Nidalis, teacher in the district who is all too used to the economic who is well aware that her teacher also has second and cycles that often imperil the arts before other subjects. third jobs, giving private music lessons at his home and Some districts already have laid off music teachers. More teaching university classes on weekends. teachers are waiting for school budgets to be finalized to On Fridays, Weible is often at the school until 5 p.m. with see if they’ll still have jobs in the fall. Some districts have a group of “all stars,” students who have become orchestra delayed the start of instrumental-music classes to fifth or leaders. Nidalis is one of them. sixth grade, instead of fourth. “It’s a gentler way to cut — but it’s still a cut,” said Mary Leuhrsen, executive director of the National Association of Music Merchants’ philanthropic foundation. In Chicago at the Lafayette school, Shrode and her staff have had their own share of budget pain. In recent years, she has circulated a survey to ask teachers which programs they most wanted to keep. Each time, the after-school orchestra program has come up first or second on the list. So she has cut programs such as full-day kindergarten instead. But now there are new funding challenges. The nonprofit Merit School of Music, which started Lafayette’s after-school orchestra program a decade ago, notified Shrode that it would have to cut its financial support, from covering about 70 percent of the annual cost to covering 60 percent. Duffie Adelson, Merit’s president, blamed a Charles Rex Arbogast / Associated Press fundraising climate that is difficult at best. Next year, Lafayette must spend about $46,000, which Music teacher Arturs Weible, background, plays along partly covers pay for teachers and instrument upkeep and with students during a rehearsal for an after-school replacement. That’s an increase of more than $10,000 in orchestra in Chicago. Weible is one of four instructors the school’s cost from the previous year. who runs the after-school orchestras.
“Knowing how hard he works makes me want to work harder, too,” she said. Her mom, Rousemary Vega, marvels at the difference the Merit music program has made at the school. It’s the reason she has her children stay there, she said. Vega said she has big dreams for Nidalis, her oldest child. But first things first — Nidalis will likely be concertmistress for the advanced after-school orchestra in the fall, making her the student leader and teacher assistant. It will be yet another accomplishment for a girl whose room already is lined with awards — for honor roll, the science fair, pompom squad and perfect attendance. They are the kind of honors that help students get into some of the more highly sought-after public high schools in Chicago. Nidalis said she hopes to get into Lane Tech High School on Chicago’s North Side. She’d like to play in the orchestra there. Eventually, she’d like to go to law school.
So far, the Lafayette school’s fundraisers have brought in more than $6,000, while a neighborhood nonprofit called Reason to Give is well over halfway to its goal of raising another $5,000 for the music program, Shrode said. That will cover the cuts made in the Merit budget — but Shrode eventually would like to raise enough money to cover the entire cost to the school. For the young musicians at Lafayette, all that matters is that there is enough money so they can keep playing, as they did in May at a Merit festival at Chicago’s downtown Orchestra Hall. The morning of the concert, students rushed onto yellow school buses with their instruments, eager for their chance to play on the big stage. Some of the youngest students, on their first visit to Orchestra Hall, stared up at the ornate ceiling as they waited to play. Others fidgeted. One accidentally plucked a string. Nidalis played with an advanced group that included students from other schools with Merit programs. When the group finished its three songs, all of the students proudly took a bow. “We rock!” Nidalis shouted, as they walked backstage and out of the auditorium. She removed her shoes and skipped giddily through the hallways, the sound of applause and whistles still echoing behind her.
Charles Rex Arbogast / Associated Press
Janaye Moore holds her violin during a rehearsal for the after-school orchestra at Lafayette Specialty School on May 5 in Chicago. Moore is one of 85 students who play in the school’s orchestra located in inner-city Chicago.
6/3/11 8:46 AM