INSIDE: Youngest finalist to compete in spelling bee, Page 4 Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Southwest Journalist The University of Texas at Austin
Dow Jones News Fund Center for Editing Excellence
Mitt Romney secures presidential nomination Democratic Proposals 45% reporting Proposition 1: Texas high school graduates who lived in state for three years and lived here continuously for the last year should be eligible for in-state tuition at public universities and gain legal status through higher education or military service For: 86% Against: 14% Proposition 2: Texas Legislature should fund colleges so tuition and fees are affordable to Texans For: 92% Against: 8%
Mary Altaffer / Contributor
Mitt Romney secured the Republican presidential nomination, winning at least 88 delegates in the Texas primary Tuesday. He now has the 1,144 needed to clinch the nomination at the Aug. 22 Republican National Convention.
Texas primaries give candidate needed push
Santorum Gingrich Romney Upcoming
GOP candidates’ victories by state
For: 74% Against: 26%
Republican Proposals 45% reporting Proposition 1: State should fund education by allowing parents to choose their child’s school and save taxpayer dollars.
STEPHEN OHLEMACHER Associated Press
WASHINGTON — Mitt Romney clinched the Republican presidential nomination Tuesday with a win in the Texas primary, a triumph of endurance for a candidate who came up short four years ago and had to fight hard this year as voters flirted with a carousel of GOP rivals. According to the Associated Press count, Romney surpassed the 1,144 delegates needed to win the nomination by winning at least 88 delegates in the Texas primary. The former Massachusetts governor has reached the nomination milestone with a steady message of concern about the U.S. economy, a campaign organization that dwarfed those of his GOP foes and a fundraising operation second only to that of his Democratic opponent in the general election, President Barack Obama. “I am honored that Americans across the country have given their support to my candidacy, and I am humbled to have won enough delegates to become the Republican Party’s 2012 presidential nominee,” Romney said in a statement. Romney said his party has united with the goal of putting the failures of the last three-and-a-half years behind itself. “I have no illusions about the difficulties of the task before us,” he said. “But whatever challenges lie ahead, we will settle for nothing less than
Proposition 3: Texas Legislature should allow Texans to vote to legalize casino gambling with funds going to education
Doggett sweeps district primary Wealthy incumbent criticized for funding gap as Texas congressional candidates compete for new seats Associated Press U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett won the Democratic primary in the newly created 35th Congressional District, where the nine-term congressman sought re-election after his former district was redrawn to favor Republicans. Doggett defeated two Hispanic challengers in a solidly Hispanic district that stretches from Austin to San Antonio. His opponents criticized the Doggett lawyer for not running elsewhere and taking on Republicans with his $3 million in campaign funds. Doggett defeated Sylvia Romo, a former state Please see DOGGETT, Page 2
Dewhurst may face a runoff
Primary results roll in; contentious race may continue to second round MICHAEL GRACZYK
Against: 16% Jose D. Enriquez III / Southwest Journalist
Romney secured 31 out 50 states, in addition to a few a U.S. territories. Six more states have not held their primaries.
HISPANIC VOTE ON THE RISE ✔✔For more election coverage, visit www.swjournalist.com ✔✔Despite a rapidly growing population, Hispanics don’t see themselves reflected in elections. Read more on page 5. getting America back on the path to full employment and prosperity.” Romney must now fire up conservatives who still doubt him while persuading swing voters that he can do a better job of fixing the nation’s struggling economy than Obama. In Obama, he faces a well-funded candidate with a proven campaign team in an election that will be heavily influenced by the economy. “It’s these economic indicators that will more or less trump any good or bad that Romney potentially got out of primary season,” said Josh Putnam, a Davidson College political science assistant professor. Romney spent Tuesday evening at a Las Vegas fundraiser with Don-
ald Trump, who has been renewing discredited suggestions that Obama wasn’t born in the United States. Romney said he believes Obama was born in America but has yet to condemn Trump’s repeated insinuations to the contrary. “If Mitt Romney lacks the backbone to stand up to a charlatan like Donald Trump because he’s so concerned about lining his campaign’s pockets, what does that say about the kind of president he would be?” Obama’s deputy campaign manager, Stephanie Cutter, said in a statement. “I don’t agree with all the people who support me,” Romney said when asked Monday about Trump’s contentions. “And my guess is they don’t all agree with everything I believe in.” Trump told CNN in an interview Tuesday that he and Romney talk about other issues — jobs, China, oil and more — and not about Obama’s place of birth or the validity of his birth certificate. Please see ROMNEY, Page 2
Proposition 2: Congre ss should repeal Obamacare and reject government health care and intrude upon the doctor-patient relationship. For: 91% Against: 9% Proposition 3: Government should not restrict the content of public prayer. For: 93 % Against: 7% Proposition 4: Out of control spending should be stopped at all levels of federal and state government. For: 94% Against: 6% Proposition 5: Texas Legislature should redraw lines for Congress and Legislative districts in its upcoming session. For: 76%
DALLAS — Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst grabbed a double-digit percentage lead Tuesday evening over eight other challengers as early results rolled in for the state’s contentious Republican primary to replace retiring Texas U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison. The Senate race, the most watched among hundreds of races, was shaping up to be a two-man contest between mainstream Republican Dewhurst, who counted Gov. Rick Perry among his backers, and fiery attorney and tea party favorite Ted Cruz, a former Texas solicitor general. Despite the early lead, Dewhurst could be headed for a Dewhurst runoff. He was still shy of the majority needed to avoid another contest for the nomination in July. The secretary of state’s office said more than 13 million Texans were registered to vote, but several polling places indicated voters stayed away, perhaps because of the heat, the confusion about a rescheduled primary date, and Memorial Day weekend travels that kept some folks away from home. “We’re all trying to find where the voters are,” Ellen Rusch, whose husband was seeking nomination for a judge’s position, lamented from a suburban Dallas polling place. Polling officials reported seeing just dozens of people out of thousands registered to vote.
Please see PRIMARY, Page 2
Deals with banks pack punch to college students’ wallets Report shows schools, banks rake in millions from hefty card fees DANIEL WAGNER
t took Mario Parker-Milligan less than a semester to decide he was paying too many fees to Higher One, the company hired by his college to pay out students’ financial aid on debit cards.
Four years after he opted out, his classmates still face more than a dozen fees — for replacement cards, using the cards as all-purpose debit cards and using an ATM other than the two on-campus kiosks owned by the company. “They sold it as a faster, cheaper way for the college to get students their money,” said Parker-Milligan, 23, Lane Community College student body president in Eugene, Ore.
As many as 900 colleges are pushing students into using payment cards that carry hefty costs, sometimes even to get to their financial aid money, according to a report to be released Wednesday by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group Higher Education Fund. Colleges and banks rake in millions from the fees, often through secretive deals and sometimes in apparent violation of federal law, according
to the report. More than two out of five U.S. higher-education students attend schools that have deals with financial companies, according to the report. The fees add to the mountain of debt many students already take on to get a diploma. U.S. student debt tops $1 trillion, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Student loans have sur-
passed credit cards as the biggest source of unsecured debt in America, according to the bureau. Among the fees charged by Higher One, according to its website, is a $50 “lack of documentation fee” for students who fail to submit certain paperwork. The Education Department called the charging of such fees “unallowable” in guidance to financial aid officers issued last month.
Higher One founder and Chief Operating Officer Miles Lasater said in an emailed statement the company takes compliance with the government’s rules “very seriously.” “We are committed to providing good value accounts that are designed for college students,” he said, and students must review the company’s fee list when they sign Please see CARDS, Page 2
C O NT I N U E D F ROM PAG E 1
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May 30, 2012
Unprecedented cyberattack rocks Middle East Suspicion cast on Israel as possible originator of sophisticated virus AMY TEIBEL Associated Press
LONDON — A computer virus that can eavesdrop on computer users and their coworkers and filch information from nearby cellphones hit Iran and other Middle East countries, experts said Tuesday, and fingers pointed to Israel. The Russian Internet security firm Kaspersky Lab ZAO
said the “Flame” virus is unprecedented in size, complexity and versatility. “It can be used to spy on everything that a user is doing,” researcher Roel Schouwenberg said. The virus has particularly affected computers in Iran, and Kaspersky’s conclusion that it was crafted at the behest of a national government fueled speculation it could be part of an Israeli-backed sabotage campaign against Iran. Schouwenberg said evidence suggests the people behind Flame helped craft Stux-
ROMNEY: Candidate ‘honored’ by support
Romney’s opponents fought back: Gingrich called him a liar, and Santorum said Romney was “the worst Republican in the country” to run against Obama. Gingrich and Santorum assailed Romney’s work at Bain Capital, the private equity firm he co-founded, saying —Continued from Page 1 the firm sometimes made millions at the expense of workers Republicans won’t officially and jobs. It is a line of attack nominate Romney until late that Obama has promised to August at the GOP national carry all the way to November. convention in Tampa, Fla. On Feb. 7 Santorum swept Romney has 1,174 convention all three contests in Missouri, delegates. Colorado and Minnesota, raisThe 152 delegates in Texas ing questions about Romney’s are awarded in proportion to status as the front-runner. Afthe statewide vote. ter a 17-day break in the votRomney, 65, is clinching the ing, Romney responded with presidential nomination later wins in Arizona, Michigan and in the calendar than any re- Washington state before escent Republican candidate — sentially locking up the nomibut not quite as late as Obama nation on March 6, this year’s in 2008. Obama clinched the version of Super Tuesday. Democratic Romney nomination on has been in e is as June 3, 2008, at general-elecgood a the end of an tion mode for candidate epic primary weeks, raisas he’s ever going battle with ing money to be. Whatever Hillary Rodand focusing you say about him, ham Clinton. on Obama, he was better than Four years ago, largely ignoreverybody else in John McCain ing the primathe race. reached the ries since his — Rich Galen threshold on c om p e tito r s March 4, after dropped out Romney had dropped out of or stopped campaigning. Santhe race a month earlier. torum suspended his camThis year’s primary fight was paign April 10, and Gingrich extended by a back-loaded left the race weeks later. primary calendar, new GOP Both initially offered tepid rules that generally awarded endorsements of Romney, but fewer delegates for winning a on Sunday Gingrich gave a state, and a Republican elec- full-throated defense of Romtorate that built up several ney’s campaign, saying on other candidates before set- NBC’s “Meet the Press” that tling on Romney. he was “totally committed to Rick Perry, Herman Cain, Romney’s election.” Newt Gingrich, Rick SantoTexas Rep. Ron Paul said on rum and Trump all sat atop May 14 he would no longer the Republican field at some compete in primaries, though point. Minnesota Rep. Mi- his supporters are still workchelle Bachmann peaked for ing to gain national delegates a short time, too. But Rom- at state conventions. ney outlasted them all, even Rich Galen, a Republican as some GOP voters and tea strategist who has been unparty backers questioned his aligned in the 2012 race, said conservative credentials. the long primary fight should The primary race started in help Romney fine-tune his January with Santorum, the campaign organization. former Pennsylvania senator, “Romney’s been running narrowly edging Romney in for president for six years. He the Iowa caucuses. Romney is as good a candidate as he’s rebounded with a big win ever going to be,” Galen said. in New Hampshire before “Whatever you say about him, Gingrich, the former House he was better than everybody speaker, won South Carolina. else in the race.” Romney responded with a Associated Press writer Steve barrage of negative ads against Peoples contributed to this reGingrich in Florida and got a port from Colorado. much-needed 14-point win.
THE VIRUS CAN: ✔✔Activate a computer’s audio system to listen in on Skype calls or office chatter ✔✔Take screenshots ✔✔Log keystrokes ✔✔Steal data from Bluetooth enabled cellphones net, a virus believed to have been created by Israel believed to attack nuclear centrifuges in Iran in 2010. Many suspect Stuxnet was the work of Israeli
intelligence. A unit of the Iranian communications and information technology ministry said it has produced an anti-virus capable of removing Flame from its computers. Israel’s vice premier did little to deflect suspicion about the country’s possible involvement in the attack. “Whoever sees the Iranian threat as a significant threat is likely to take various steps, including these, to hobble it,” Moshe Yaalon told Army Radio. Researchers not involved in
Flame’s discovery were more skeptical of its sophistication than Kaspersky. Colorado-based Webroot said the virus wasn’t as complex or as stealthy as Stuxnet and was an easy threat to identify. Udi Mokady, chief executive of Cyber-Ark, an Israeli information security developer, said he believes only Israel, the United States, China and Russia have the know-how to develop such a weapon. It’s not clear exactly what the virus was targeting, but Kaspersky said it detected the
program in hundreds of computers, mainly in Iran but also in Israel, the Palestinian territories, Sudan, Syria, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and Egypt. The company said the victims range from individuals to state-related organizations and educational institutions. As for Flame’s purpose, “maybe it’s just espionage,” Schouwenberg said. “Maybe it’s also sabotage.” Teibel reported from Jerusalem. Associated Press writers Diaa Hadid in Jerusalem and Lolita Baldor in Washington also contributed to this report.
PRIMARY: Turnout low despite high-profile races —Continued from Page 1 Anette Fay, 50, of Richardson, a German immigrant who looked forward to voting for president for the first time, was taken aback when she arrived to vote. “I thought there would be lines,” she said. The presidential primary topped the Texas ticket, but the GOP U.S. Senate race drew the greatest attention in the weeks
leading up to election day.Also vying for the GOP senatorial nomination were former Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert, who billed himself as a fiscally conservative businessman, and ex-NFL running back and ESPN announcer Craig James, who struggled to gain traction. Dewhurst has overseen the Texas Senate as lieutenant governor since 2003, but Cruz claimed Dewhurst was too moderate for sometimes
showing a willingness to compromise with Democratic state senators to ensure the flow of legislation. Cruz drew support from former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint and national limitedgovernment groups including the Club For Growth — support Dewhurst dismissed as outsiders meddling in state politics. On the Democratic side, for-
mer state Rep. Paul Sadler led three opponents but was far from avoiding a runoff. Texas’ booming population meant it added four new seats in Congress, while new redistricting maps drawn by the Republican-dominated state Legislature — and a subsequent legal fight over whether they fairly represented minority voters — reshaped many existing districts.
CARDS: Few pick other route —Continued from Page 1 up for an account. Among the fees charged to students who open Higher One accounts are $50 if an account is overdrawn for more than 45 days, $10 per month if the student stops us-
ing his account for six months, $29 to $38 for overdrawing an account with a recurring bill payment and 50 cents to use a PIN instead of a signature system at a retail store. Higher One has agreements with 520 campuses that enroll more than 4.3 million students, about one-fifth of the students enrolled in college nationwide, according to public filings. Wells Fargo and US Bank combined have deals with schools that enroll 3.7 million, the report said.
Eric Gay / Associated Press
U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Texas, center, holds a picture of a slice of pie as he participates in an art fair in San Antonio. The soaring Hispanic population in Texas may not help Hispanic congressional hopefuls in the state’s primary elections. Two of the new districts are predominately Hispanic.
DOGGETT: Minorities playing bigger role lawmaker and tax assessor in Bexar County. District 35 is one of four new U.S. House seats in Texas and was drawn to allow minorities to elect their preferred candidate, as the state saw an
increase in the Hispanic population. Doggett says there was no chance for a Democrat to win in four other Austin-area districts that lean Republican. Longtime U.S. Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson of District 30 also survived a primary challenge Tuesday, easily beating two Democratic challengers. Johnson’s victory was among the first congressional races called during a statewide primary that could change the face of Texas in Congress. Along the Texas coast, Republican U.S. Rep. Blake Farenthold beat three challengers in the GOP primary.
Farenthold will face an easier general election than in 2010, as the Republican-controlled Legislature gave Farenthold a more GOP-friendly district when redrawing the state’s political boundaries last summer. Ron Paul will retire from Congress after more than 20 years, but the failed presidential candidate hasn’t endorsed any of the nine candidates vying for the GOP nomination in the South Texas district. The crowded Republican field for Paul’s seat raises the likelihood of a July runoff. The likely Democratic nominee is
former U.S. Rep. Nick Lampson, whose candidacy could make the U.S. House race a rare general election toss-up in Texas. Voters in the new 33rd Congressional District stretching across Dallas and Fort Worth will pick a winner with 15 Democrats vying for the open seat. Former state lawmaker Domingo Garcia and Mark Veasey, a black state lawmaker who won endorsement from The Dallas Morning News and Fort Worth Star-Telegram, have the most name recognition.
Lane Community College’s president, Mary Spilde, said the real problem is a “lack of adequate public funding.” “Many institutions are looking at ways to streamline and to do things that we’re good at, which is education and learning, and not banking,” she said. Programs like Higher One’s shift the cost of handing out financial aid money from universities to fee-paying students, said Rich Williams, the report’s lead author.
“For decades, student aid was distributed without fees,” Williams said. “Now bank middlemen are making out like bandits using campus cards to siphon off millions of student aid dollars.” Students can opt out of the programs and choose direct deposit or paper checks to receive their aid but few do. In the end, students feel locked into accounts before they have a chance to shop for a better deal, Parker-Milligan
said. Many banks are willing to pay universities for the privilege. Under its contract with Huntington Bank, Ohio State University will receive $25 million over 15 years, plus a sweetener of $100 million in loans and investments for the neighborhoods around campus, according to the report. Florida State receives a portion of every ATM fee paid by a student, according to the report. It’s difficult to get a full picture of how much money the
schools are getting because most of them refuse to release their contracts with banks. Only a handful were available to the report’s authors. Ohio State and Florida State didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment. The National Association of College and University Business Officers didn’t respond to requests for comment.
— Continued from Page 1
Southwest Journalist S. Griffin Singer
Director UT Center for Editing Excellence
Assistant Director UT Center for Editing Excellence
Assistant Director Kent State University
Volume 15 — May 30-June 1, 2012 Center for Editing Excellence School of Journalism The University of Texas at Austin
University of Arizona The Los Angeles Times
Faculty Austin American-Statesman
Sonia Reyes Krempin
Administrative Assistant UT Austin School of Journalism Faculty Dow Jones News Fund
Matthew Bryan Bastible
University of Texas at Arlington Beaumont Enterprise
2012 Dow Jones News Fund Interns Kristina Bui
Jose D. Enriquez III
University of Texas at Arlington The Dallas Morning News
Tor N. Haugan
University of Montana-Missoula Bay Area News Group
Long Beach City College San Francisco Chronicle
Del Rio News-Herald Del Rio, Texas
Bryan Scott Dugan
University of Oklahoma San Luis Obispo Tribume
Faculty Midwestern State University Faculty University of Florida
University of Oregon The Oregonian, Portland
Purdue University Austin American-Statesman
University of Texas at Austin Idaho Falls Post Register
University of Nevada-Las Vegas San Francisco Chronicle
La Salle University The Denver Post
The Southwest Journalist is a teaching publication of the Dow Jones News Fund and the Center for Editing Excellence at The University of Texas at Austin. The Southwest Journalist is edited and designed by students attending the 2012 preinternship training program funded by a grant from the News Fund and news organizations hosting the interns. Printing of the Southwest Journalist by the Austin American-Statesman is gratefully acknowledged.
Europeans lose faith in euro
Southwest Journalist — Page 3
I NT E R NATIONAL
May 30, 2012
EUROPE Marco Vasini / Associated Press
A woman holds an umbrella to make shade for an elderly woman who was evacuated from a nearby hospital in Mirandola, Italy Tuesday. A powerful earthquake rocked the city, leaving at least 16 dead and 200 injured. One person is listed as missing.
LONDON — The debt crisis that has ravaged Europe for the best part of three years has exposed a dislike of a single currency but little desire to abandon it, the Pew Research Center reported Tuesday. A survey across eight European Union countries indicated that the region’s financial problems have triggered full-blown fears about the future of Europe as a political project. Pew said the crisis of confidence is evident in the economy and in the euro, which was launched in 1999 and is now used by 17 countries. Finding little appetite for abandoning the euro, the survey revealed a heavy skepticism over Europe’s single currency. More people in France, Italy and Spain think the euro has been more damaging than beneficial. Among the five euro countries surveyed there wasn’t one more than 50 percent of those polled thought the currency has been beneficial.
An Italian firefighter and a dog search the debris of a collapsed house in Cavezzo, Italy Tuesday. The 5.8 magnitude earthquake hit the region especially hard, as it was recovering from a previous earthquake that happened just nine days before. That earthquake left more than 14,000 people homeless. The region had not been hit with an earthquake of high magnitude since 1501 and scientists do not know why the region was hit with two large earthquakes in such a short period.
British court to decide Assange extradition case LONDON — Britain’s Supreme Court is expected to rule Wednesday on the possible extradition of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to Sweden. Assange, 40, has spent the better part of two years fighting extradition attempts after two women accused him of molestation and rape in Sweden. Assange denies wrongdoing, saying the sex was consensual, but has refused to go to Sweden, saying he doesn’t think he’ll get a fair trial there. Assange’s lawyers argue that the warrant was improperly filed. Assange is best known for revealing hundreds of thousands of secret U.S. documents.
Danish brothers charged with terrorism COPENHAGEN, Denmark — Two Danish brothers originally from Somalia were given four weeks of pre-trial detention Tuesday after they were arrested on suspicion of plotting a terror attack. The PET security service said it suspected the older brother, 23, also received terror training from the Somali militant group al-Shabab. They were arrested late Monday. Both men pleaded not guilty at a custody hearing Tuesday. The two brothers — who cannot be named under a court order — came to Denmark 16 years ago and are Danish citizens, the agency said. The investigation had been ongoing for a long time when authorities moved to arrest them. PET said the men had been talking about methods, targets and different types of weapons and were believed to be “in the process of preparing an act of terror.”
Italian workers killed in quake S
ALBERTO ARSIE Associated Press
AN FELICE SUL PANARO, Italy — Workers at the small machinery company had just returned for their first shift following Italy’s powerful and deadly quake earlier this month when another one struck Tuesday morning, collapsing the roof. At least three employees at the factory — two immigrants and an Italian engineer checking the building’s stability — were among those killed in the second quake in nine days to strike a region of Italy that hadn’t considered itself quake prone. By late Tuesday, the death toll stood at 16, with one person missing. Some 350 people also were injured in the 5.8 magnitude quake north of Bologna in Emilia Romagna, one of Italy’s more productive regions, agri-
culturally and industrially. Factories, barns and churches fell, dealing a second blow to a region where thousands remained homeless from the May 20 temblor, much stronger in intensity, at 6.0 magnitude. The two quakes struck one of the most productive regions in Italy at a particularly crucial moment, as the country faces enormous pressure to grow its economy to stave off the continent’s debt crisis. The area encompassing the cities of Modena, Mantua and Bologna is prized for its super car production,
May 20 quake. In both, the dead were largely and disproportionately workers killed by collapsing factories and warehouses. Co-workers of Mohamed Azeris, a Moroccan immigrant and father of two who died in the just-reopened factory, claim he was forced back to work as a shift supervisor or faced losing his job. A local union representative had demanded an investigation. “Another earthquake — unfortunately during the day — that means people were inside working, so I think that an investigation will need to be opened here to check who cleared as safe these companies to understand who’s responsible for this,” Erminio Veronesi told The Associated Press. Colleen Barry, Frances D’Emilio and Malcolm Ritter contributed to this report
Gunmen targeted vulnerable, poor in Syrian massacre Victims shot at close range
Nature reserve in works in Dominican Republic SAN FRANCISCO DE MACORIS, Dominican Republic — The elusive Bicknell’s thrush songbird has inspired the creation of a nature reserve in the Dominican Republic. The reserve is taking shape in an overgrown former cattle ranch of about 1,000 acres. Conservation-minded Dominican and U.S. investors have acquired the plot as a pilot project, hoping to protect what they say is a biodiversity hotspot that’s home to many threatened species. Among those species is the thrush, because it occupies a narrow range of habitat that’s under pressure on both sides of its migratory route, said Chris Rimmer, an ornithologist at the Vermont Center for Ecostudies and expert on the Bicknell’s thrush. He said the preserve will also protect other species. Rimmer contributed to the foundation of the nature reserve. The country’s environment minister will inaugurate the reserve project on June 5.
churning out Ferraris, Maseratis and Lamborghinis; its world-famous Parmesan cheese, and less well-known but critical to the economy: machinery companies. Like the May 20 quake, many of the dead in Tuesday’s temblor were workers inside huge warehouses, many of them prefabricated, that house factories. Inspectors have been determining which are safe to re-enter, but economic pressure has sped up renewed production — perhaps prematurely. Seven people were killed in the
Khin Maung Win / Associated Press
Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi arrives at Yangon International Airport in Myanmar to depart for Bangkok Tuesday. This is her first trip out of Myanmar in 24 years. She is free to travel now that her party has entered parliasment.
Myanmar activist free to travel Democracy advocate to travel West after 24 years in homeland JOCELYN GECKER Associated Press
BANGKOK — Myanmar democracy activist and longtime political prisoner 66-year-old Aung San Suu Kyi is resuming world travels, arriving Tuesday night in neighboring Thailand after 24 years in confinement. With the installation of an elected government last year and her party’s entrance into parliament this year, she can claim at least partial success for her long fight and feel the freedom to explore the world. Suu Kyi is to spend several days in Thailand, meeting
with poor migrant workers and war refugees from her homeland, as well as international movers and shakers at the World Economic Forum on East Asia. She’ll return to Myanmar briefly and head to Europe in mid-June, with stops including Geneva and Oslo — to formally accept the Nobel Peace Prize she won 21 years ago. In Dublin, she’ll share a stage with U2 frontman Bono, a staunch Suu Kyi supporter, at a concert in her honor, according to Irish media. In England, she has been given the rare honor of addressing both houses of Parliament. France’s Foreign Ministry says she also plans to stop in Paris. The tour marks Suu Kyi’s latest step in a stunning trajecto-
ry from housewife to political prisoner to opposition leader in Parliament, as Myanmar opens to the outside world and sheds a half century of military rule, with President Thein Sein getting her back for am ambitious program of reforms. Earlier Tuesday, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh met with Suu Kyi in Yangon, saying her “life and her struggle, her determination has inspired millions of people all over the world” and inviting her to visit his country. The last time Suu Kyi flew abroad was in April 1988, when she traveled from London to Myanmar to nurse her dying mother. She became a political prisoner after protesting the nation’s military regime.
of fear of reprisals. Assad’s government often deploys militias that carry out military-style attacks. They frequently work closely with soldiers and security ELIZABETH A. KENNEDY Associated Press forces, but the regime never BEIRUT — Eyewitness ac- acknowledges their existence, counts from the Syrian mas- allowing it to deny responsacre emerged Tuesday, de- sibility for their actions. On scribing shadowy gunmen Tuesday, the U.N.’s human slaughtering whole families in rights office said most of the their homes and targeting the 108 victims of the Houla masmost vulnerable in poor farm- sacre were shot at close range. ing villages. Western nations The U.N. report indicated that expelled Syrian diplomats in most of the dead were killed a coordinated move against execution-style, with fewer President Bashar Assad’s re- than 20 people cut down by gime over the killing of more regime shelling. Deaths from heavy artilthan 100 people. Survivors of the Houla mas- lery can be blamed on regime sacre blamed pro-regime forces with relative confidence because gunmen for at rebel fighters least some of hey went after do not have the carnage. the women, such weapons. “It’s very hard children and But it is more for me to deelderly.” difficult to describe what I — Anonymous resident termine who saw, the images Houla , Syria is behind the were incredibly disturbing,” a Houla resident close-range killings — particwho hid in his home during ularly as Syria sharply restricts the massacre told The Associ- media access. On Tuesday, the U.N.’s huated Press on Tuesday. “Women, children without heads, man rights office said most of their brains or stomachs spill- the 108 victims of the Houla massacre were shot at close ing out.” He said the pro-regime range. The U.N. report indigunmen, known as shabiha, cated that most of the dead targeted the most vulnerable were killed execution-stylein the farming villages that down by regime shelling. “At this point, it looks like make up Houla, a poor area in Homs province. “They went entire families were shot in after the women, children their houses,” said Rupert and elderly,” he said, asking Colville, a U.N. spokesperson. that his name not be used out
NAT IO NA L
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Market losing faith MAE ANDERSON Associated Press
NEW YORK — Americans grew gloomier about the economy in May, causing consumer confidence to suffer its biggest decline in eight months and ending a period of steady optimism. Worries about jobs and housing rattled consumers, even though gas prices are falling. The numbers suggest Americans will need to see more encouraging economic signs before their concerns start to dissipate. The Conference Board, a private research group, reported Tuesday that its Consumer Confidence Index fell to 64.9, down from a revised 68.7 in April. Analysts had expected the index to climb to 70. The May figure, which represents the biggest drop since a 6-point October decline, is now at its lowest level since January. Mark Vitner, an economist at Wells Fargo, said May’s reading is disappointing but consistent with the sluggish recovery so far. “In some ways, it’s a microcosm of the whole economic recovery,” he said. A clearer picture of the jobs market will emerge Friday, when May employment figures are due. The unemployment rate is expected to stay at 8.1 percent for May according to FactSet. Mark Olwick, a designer at Microsoft in Seattle, said he still has concerns about the economy. “I’m cautiously more confident,” he said, “but there is still significant work to be done, especially around banking reform, job creation and gas price speculation.”
May 30, 2012
Tadpoles and spelling bees Virginia 6-year-old waltzes into spotlight JOSEPH WHITE Associated Press
McLEAN, Va. — The youngest person ever to qualify for the National Spelling Bee was running around in a stream, hunting for rocks. Suddenly, she chargedng up the bank and headedfor her mother. “Hold on to that basalt,” Lori Anne Madison said. Her mother, Sorina Madison, held onto the rock and soon was carrying more basalt and ahunk of quartz. “I can’t carry the entire park,” she eventually told her daughter. Never mind. By then Lori Anne had joined up with more friends and taken on a different quest, searching for snails, slugs, tadpoles, water striders, baby snakes and more as they splashed in the waters on a sunny day. “A water worm! It’s alive,” Lori Anne said, her shoes soaked from more than an hour of exploring. “I need it in my collection. It’s wonderful.” In the last few weeks, she has won major awards in swimming and math, but one accomplishment has made her an overnight national celebrity. This week, the precocious girl from Lake Ridge, Va., will be onstage with youngsters more than twice her age and size as one of 278 spellers who has qualified for the Scripps National Spelling Bee. She hit milestones early, walking and talking well before others in her playgroup. She was reading before she was 2. She swims four times a week, keeping pace with 10-year-old boys, and wants to be in the Olympics. When her mother tried to enroll her in a private school
‘Tangled up’ in gold
Jacquelyn Martin / Associated Press
Six-year-old National Spelling Bee finalist Lori Anne Madison searches for tadpoles Friday in Virginia. Lori Anne is the youngest finalist ever. The 2012 finals begin today. for the gifted, the headmas- with well-formed diction ter said Lori Anne was too and a touch of know-it-all advanced to accommodate. confidence. “Once she started reading, “She out-argues both of that’s when people started us, and my husband is a trial looking strange at us, in li- lawyer,” Sorina said with a braries, evlaugh. erywhere, Now there’s t was she’s actuanother wrinintimidating. But ally fluently kle: Spelling I’m happy for reading at 2, bee fame. her. She loves it and and at 2 and When Lori she does it because a half she Anne spelled it’s a passion. was read“vaquero” to — Sorina Madison ing chapwin the reter books,” gional bee, Sorina said she set a new standard in the Lori Anne now studies at national bee’s 87-year hishome, mastering topics oth- tory. er kids her age won’t touch. “It was shocking,” Sorina She wants to be an astrobi- said. “I didn’t expect all the ologist, a combination of her media attention. We’re pritwo favorite subjects. vate people. We’re regular And shespeaks quickly, people. It was intimidating.
But I’m happy for her. She loves it and she does it because it’s a passion — and we never push her into anything and want her to make her own choices.” Interviews can be boring for a 6-year-old, so she pulled the plug, telling her mother: “I want to go back to being a kid and playing with my friends.” So a detente was reached. Lori Anne was more than happy to let a reporter and photographer from The Associated Press tag along at a picnic with other gifted home-schooled children, but she craftily steered any questions about spelling back toward the joint pursuit of slimy things in the creek. Asked to spell her favorite word, she raced through the letters of “sprachgefuhl” like a blur. Asked to spell it backward, she paused a bit and took her time, but she got it right. “It’s even crazier backwards than it is forwards,” she said with a giggle, her hand holding a collection jar and her eyes focused on the wet rocks. “Now let’s look for some slugs or snails.” Regardless of outcome in the national bee, just being there is a unique accomplishment, and making it beyond the preliminaries on Tuesday and Wednesday would be another stunning development. The veteran spellers, some as old as 15, study hours daily over many months to master complex words. Lori Anne? She likes to study while jumping on her trampoline, with her mother calling out words. “She doesn’t sit at a table for hours to study anything. I mean, she’s 6,” Sorina said with a laugh.
Snakebots meet surgery
Doctors can now perform intricate inner operations with tiny tethered robots KEVIN BEGOS
Charles Dharapak / Associated Press
President Barack Obama presents musician Bob Dylan with a Medal of Freedom Tuesday during a ceremony at the White House. The award is given every year to people who have contributed to the country’s national interests. John Glenn and author Toni Morrison were also honored.
Witness recounts man eating another’s face Associated Press MIAMI — A witness says a naked man chewing on the face of another naked man on a downtown highway ramp kept eating and growled at a police officer who fatally shot him to stop the attack. Larry Vega told WSVN-TV in Miami that he was riding his bicycle Saturday afternoon off the causeway that connects downtown Miami with Miami Beach when he saw the attack at the bridge’s off-ramp. “The guy was, like, tearing him to pieces with his mouth, so I told him, ‘Get off!’” Vega said. “The guy just kept eating the other guy away, like, ripping his skin.” The slain man was identified by the Miami-Dade County Medical Examiner’s
office as Rudy Eugene, 31, Miami television station WFOR reported. Vega flagged down a police officer, who he said repeatedly ordered the attacker to get off the victim. The attacker picked up his head and growled at the officer, Vega said. As the attack continued, Vega said, the officer shot the attacker, who continued chewing the victim’s face. The officer fired again, killing the attacker. Miami police have released few details about the attack, other than confirming that there was a fatal officer-involved shooting. The name of the victim had not been immediately determined by authorities, said Detective William Moreno. Vega said the victim appeared gravely injured.
PITTSBURGH — Imagine a tiny snake robot crawling through your body, helping a surgeon identify diseases and perform operations. It’s not science fiction. Scientists and doctors are using the creeping metallic tools to perform surgery on prostate cancer as well as hearts and other diseased organs. The snakebots carry tiny cameras, scissors and forceps, and even more advanced sensors are in the works. For now, they’re powered by tethers that humans control. But experts say the day is coming when some robots will roam the body on their own. “It won’t be very long before we have robots that are nanobots, meaning they will actually be inside the body without tethers,” said Dr. Michael Argenziano, the Chief of Adult Cardiac Surgery at New York-Presbyterian Hospital and Columbia University Medical Center in New York. Argenziano was involved with some of the first U.S. Food and Drug Administration clinical trials on robotic heart surgery more than 10 years ago. Now he says snake robots have become a commonly used tool that gives surgeons a whole new perspective. “It’s like the ability to have little hands inside Keith Srakocic / Associated Press the patients, as if the surgeon had been shrunk, Scientists and doctors are using the snake and was working on the heart valve,” he said. robots’ creeping metallic tools to perform But Argenziano and experts in robotics say surgery on hearts, as shown on this model at the new creations work best when they’re Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Melon University. designed for very specific tasks. “The robot is a tools to perform thousands of prostate operatool. It is no different in that sense than a scaltions. He said the precision of the tiny robotic pel. It’s really a master-slave device,” he said. tool is vital to cutting out cancerous tumors, as Howie Choset has been researching and well as to seeing exactly what nerves to leave building robots, particularly snake robots, at intact. Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Mellon University for Argenziano noted that robots aren’t a magic years. cure. “The robot is good at certain things and Choset thinks his snake robot and othit’s not good at other things,” he said. Studies ers similar to it help reduce medical costs by have found that the cost efmaking complex surgeries fectiveness of surgical robots faster and easier. Choset says varies greatly. his new design is smaller and Choset also has built larger more flexible than earlier snake robots designed for models: The diameter of the search and rescue or explorahead is smaller than a dime. tion. They can climb poles or The size of surgical robots trees and then look around allows surgeons to operate through a camera in the head, with far less damage to the and slither through places body, helping the patient heal humans can’t reach. faster. For example, instead “We sent our snake robots of opening the entire chest into these caves off the coast during heart surgery, a small of the Red Sea to look for incision is made and the evidence of ancient Egyptian robot crawls inside to the ships,” he said. “To me archaeproper spot. The new snakebots being ology is like search and rescue, Dr. Ashutosh Tewari of Weill developed by doctors can test but everyone’s been dead for Cornell Medical College in blood and examine nerves. 5,000 years.” New York has used robotic
US court declines Taser case WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court has decided it will not review the appropriateness of stun guns used by police on suspects. The high court on Tuesday refused to hear appeals from police in Hawaii and Washington or people who got stun-gunned by officers. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said officers could not be sued in federal court. But judges also said the officers used excessive force by using stun guns.
High-end retail group reports significant profits DALLAS — Upscale retailer Neiman Marcus Inc. said Tuesday its third-quarter profit grew 35 percent as stronger consumer demand allowed it to cut back on discounts. For the quarter ending April 28, the privately held company earned $62.6 million, up from $46.2 million in the same quarter last year. Sales rose 7.5 percent to $1.06 billion from $983.8 million. Dallas-based Neiman Marcus, which operates websites and stores under its namesake as well as one Bergdorf Goodman location in New York, said its revenue at stores open at least a year increased 6.7 percent.
Court sentences former star for non-payment ORANGE, Calif. — Former NBA star Dennis Rodman was sentenced in family court Tuesday to 104 hours of community service on four counts of contempt for failing to pay child support.
Court Commissioner Barry Michaelson also placed Rodman on three years of informal probation. The sentence includes the condition that Rodman pay current child and spousal support obligations. The sentencing put an end to one of the disputes in the long-running case. On Tuesday, the towering former star rebounder said he’d do whatever community service was required near his home in Florida, possibly working with children, and did not begrudge his former wife.
‘Malcolm X’ biographer’s son wants valued letter ALBANY, N.Y. — The son of Malcolm X’s biographer is asking Syracuse University to hand over a letter in which the slain activist writes about his shifting views on race relations, saying his family is the rightful owner. Malcolm X wrote to Alex Haley, his collaborator for “The Autobiography of Malcolm X,” from Saudi Arabia in April 1964, about 10 months before he was gunned down at a New York City hotel ballroom. The publisher of the autobiography later gave the letter to Syracuse University as part of a larger cache of papers to be used by researchers. But Haley’s son, William Haley, said the publisher never had legal title to the letter and could not give it away. His lawyer said Tuesday he plans to make a legal demand this week for the letter, which he thinks is worth at least $650,000.
Corruption trial continues as judge, attorneys meet GREENSBORO, N.C. — The jury in the John Edwards campaign corruption trial deliberated for a seventh day after a judge gave the panel a warning not to talk about the case over the weekend. Jurors reconvened Tuesday morning. The judge met in a closed courtroom Friday with attorneys to talk about a problem with a juror, but she did not elaborate. The judge again met with the attorneys behind closed doors Tuesday, but discussions were not made public. Some alternate jurors wore matching shirts last week, and one was said to be flirting with Edwards. Edwards faces six charges involving money provided by two wealthy donors to help hide his pregnant mistress.
2 charges dismissed for Clemens
Southwest Journalist — Page 5
TE X A S / SO UTH W E ST
May 30, 2012
Hispanic population boom a bust
WASHINGTON — The judge in the Roger Clemens perjury trial has dismissed two of the obstructive acts in the charges against the former pitcher. Clemens remains charged with two counts of perjury and three counts of making false statements before Congress, along with 13 other obstructive acts. All relate to Clemens’ testimony at a 2008 hearing and his deposition that preceded it. The deposition was part of a probe into steroid usage in professional baseball. One of the statements dismissed was Clemens’ contention that he had “no idea” that former Sen. George Mitchell wanted to talk with him in preparation for the 2007 Mitchell Report on drugs in baseball. Prosecutors rested their case Monday. The judge ruled against Clemens’ request for a dismissal of all charges.
Judge grants police access to Manson files PLANO, Texas — A state judge has ruled that Los Angeles police are entitled to recordings of conversations between a Manson family member and his attorney. U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Brenda T. Rhoades granted the request Tuesday, allowing officers to obtain eight audio tapes of talks between Charles “Tex” Watson and attorney Bill Boyd. Watson is serving a life sentence for his role in the 1969 Tate-La Bianca murders. He made the tapes available to his co-author for the 1978 book, “Will You Die for Me?” Now, police want to see whether Watson described any unsolved killings in the conversations. Rhoades’ ruling came despite an objection from Watson’s current attorney, who argued Watson didn’t waive attorney-client privilege when making the book deal.
After 14-hour standoff, man plunges to death DALLAS — A man who threatened to shoot officers during a 14-hour standoff in a construction crane was unarmed, police said Tuesday. Lee Thomas Jr., 44, of Dallas, fell to his death early Tuesday, about 14 hours after he climbed into the crane towering over the Southern Methodist University campus. Thomas said he was armed and threatened to shoot anyone who approached him, police said. Assistant Chief Thomas Lawrence said no weapon was found. Thomas was “a person of interest” in the hijacking Monday of a truck, but he hadn’t been conclusively linked, Lawrence said. The truck was found near the crane, Deputy Chief Randall Blankenbaker said. About midday Monday, Thomas scrambled up the crane and into its cab. “I don’t know if anyone can say why he went up there,” Blankenbaker said. “It might make sense that he was trying to elude capture,” but no determination has been made.
Thousands lose power after late-night storms DALLAS — Utility officials say Monday night storms in Texas have left more than 6,700 homes and businesses without electricity. Crews from Dallas-based Oncor Electric worked Tuesday afternoon to restore power in a stretch as far north as Wichita Falls, south to Waco and west to Midland-Odessa. Most of the sites without electricity, which at one point left as many as 17,000 customers without power, are in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Authorities say some homes in the Brownwood area suffered roof damage, downed trees and power lines. No injuries were immediately reported.
— Associated Press
Eric Gay / AP Photo
Incumbent U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett, left, who handily won renomination Hispanic. Results were undecided late Tuesday in a second district. HispanTuesday, took one of four new congressional districts that are predominantly ics had hoped to exert more political muscle with growing numbers.
Redistricting blamed for continued lack of representation PAUL J. WEBER
AN ANTONIO — One is a black real estate agent and the other a white millionaire. One won nonination and the other is in a battle to go to Congress for the two new districts created to reflect Texas’ soaring Hispanic population, That’s not exactly what Hispanic leaders pictured, and some are disheartened after incumbent U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett won easily. The number of Hispanics in Texas grew by 2.8 million in the last decade — second only to California — and drove a population boom that rewarded the state with a total of four new U.S. House seats. Yet in Tuesday’s primaries, Texas voters likely put no more Hispanics on the path to Congress than the six the state has sent since 1997. The reasons illustrate why more population doesn’t necessarily mean more political power in an ethnically diverse state. In this case, the way the new districts were mapped by a Republican-controlled legislature, combined with the natural advantages enjoyed by political veterans who already are well established, has left a group of eager Hispanic candidates facing formidable opponents from other races. “Cheated. We’re cheated. Are we going to wait another 10 years?” said Sylvia Romo, a Hispanic former state lawmaker running against the wealthy Rep. Lloyd Doggett.
After Doggett’s victory Tuesday, some Hispanic leaders already are beginning to look toward the next election cycle, when they hope pending legal challenges will bring about helpful changes in the district maps. Between 2000 and 2010, Hispanics accounted for three out of every five new Texas residents. Nearly 38 percent of the state’s population is now Hispanic. Population gains have been reflected in the number of Hispanic officeholders elected in down-ballot races from the legislature to school boards — up 46 percent to about 2,500 between 1996 and 2010. Yet gains on Capitol Hill have not kept pace. The six Hispanic members represent about a fifth of the state’s 32 congressional seats. Low voter registration and turnout among Hispanic residents has long played a part in sapping Hispanic representation. But Hispanic Democrats had expected the new congressional districts, which were based on the 2010 Census, to help them flex more demographic muscle. Two of the four new districts were drawn as minority-opportunity seats, touching on four major cities with large Latino populations: Fort Worth, Dallas, San Antonio and Austin. About 60 percent of the voting-age population in both districts is Hispanic. Domingo Garcia, who was attempting to become the first Hispanic elected to Congress from Dallas, said
BY THE NUMBERS ✔✔2.8 million Hispanics added to Texas population in the last decade ✔✔4 new Texas seats in the U.S. House, resulting from state’s population boom ✔✔38 percent of state’s current population is Hispanic ✔✔20 percent of registered voters are Hispanic ✔✔6 Hispanics account for a fifth of the state’s 32 congressional seats
the elections were a key test of Latino voting power in 2012. “It would be breaking that glass barrier in terms of what Texas really looks like.” But the boundaries set up races with two strong Democrats — Doggett, 65, who has served in Congress since 1995, and Mark Veasey, a black state lawmaker and real estate agent, who has a solid political base and the endorsement of both major newspapers in the district, The Dallas Morning News and Fort Worth StarTelegram. His state House district overlaps about a third of the new congressional district where his biggest challenger is Garcia. Doggett had a campaign treasury of $2.8 million. Romo didn’t announce her candidacy until February and started with only $20,000. Doggett advertised and campaigned actively in the district, arguing he must be doing something right for Republicans to try to remap him out of office. The Hispanic candidates did not openly woo voters with their ethnici-
ty. And some voters say they wouldn’t vote on that basis anyway. “To me, what difference does it make?” said teacher Diana Ramirez, 32, who met Doggett this month in San Antonio’s downtown La Villita district, where he was campaigning at an art fair. Doggett said he did not cost Texas another Hispanic face in Congress by competing in the predominantly Hispanic district rather than in a neighboring GOP-friendly one drawn by the Legislature. Luis Vera, an attorney for the League of United Latin American Citizens, which was among the groups that sued the state over the redistricting maps, said Hispanics were “stabbed in the back” by how blacks and Latinos wound up with a single district in North Texas instead of having one for each. But Vera also said Hispanics must improve their low voter turnout to shape elections. Hispanics account for only 20 percent of registered voters.
Training for transitions Dallas teen builds ‘sweet’ launcher
Houston school offers the autistic a path to college
School pep rally inspires design of candy cannon
JEANNIE KEVER Houston Chronicle
HOUSTON — Riley Simpson could have become a statistic, one of the growing number of people with autism who leave school only to discover the next step toward independence remains just beyond their grasp. Instead, Simpson has found something entirely different: Dinner parties. Job interview tips. Freedom. “When everyone laughs, it’s because we understand each other,” he said as he shared dinner with friends. “We have the same experiences in life.” Simpson, 18, will graduate this spring from the Monarch School, a therapeutic day school in west Houston. Monarch serves students with attention deficit disorder, Tourette Syndrome, traumatic brain injury, and mood, anxiety and seizure disorders transition from prekindergarten through high school and offers a post-graduate program with internships, help finding jobs and, for some students, the transition to college. It has
The Dallas Morning News
/ houston chronicle
Riley Simpson and 27-year-old artist Kate Matthiesen, left, are part of the Monarch School’s transitional living program. a cluster of homes near campus where students live with a house parent. Early diagnosis and intervention of autism have eased the hallmark behaviors of some children, said Linda Holloway, who chairs the department of rehabilitation, social work and addictions at the University of North Texas. Too often, she said, progress ends when students leave school. “We talk about this black hole after graduation,” she said. “Too many ... don’t know about the resources out there.” Unemployment and underemployment among adults with autism is as high as 90
percent, according to Lisa Goring, vice president for family services at the advocacy group Autism Speaks. That helps to explain why lifetime costs to care for a person with autism are $1.4 million, according to the University of Pennsylvania and the London School of Economics. The cost rises to $2.3 million for those who also have a cognitive disability. Simpson had his first job interview last month. And while he didn’t get the job, he felt good about applying. “They liked me,” he said. “They wanted to go full time. I did really good, though.”
DALLAS — As he sat at a pep rally in 2009, Aden Shank got tired of seeing the cheerleaders toss candy weakly into the crowds. The goodies only reached the first few rows. Aden didn’t get any treats. Aden was annoyed. So Aden thought “I want to make something that will launch candy.” “I get ideas like this all the time,” he said. First, he concocted a device of PVC pipes, rubber bands and hot glue. Over time, he’s transformed it into a glossy crossbow called the Cheer Launcher. Candy is stuffed into a paper tube and placed onto the contraption. Pull back a large latex band, let it go and watch the candy soar. Woodrow’s cheerleaders have begun using the Cheer Launcher — now, the candy flies with ease. But the Cheer Launcher has gained attention beyond the
East Dallas school. Aden, who created a business plan for his invention, was honored last month in New York with a teen entrepreneurial award from the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship. Last October, he competed at the network’s National Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge. Aden, 17, says he’s applied for a patent. “Cheerleaders, crossbows, candy, money — it doesn’t get any better than that,” he said. But to take his invention to the next level, he needs help. He wants to talk with a manufacturer to figure out how to mass-produce the device. He’d like advice from an engineer, too. “We either go big or go home,” he said. Aden has sold five to 10 Cheer Launchers for $99.99 each. “Sounds better than $100,” he said. He says they’re ideal for high schools or floats at parades. No matter what happens with his invention, Aden said, the Cheer Launcher will play a prominent role in his college applications. “I plan to leverage this — a lot.”
T R AV E L
Page 6 —
May 30, 2012
Michael Penn / Associated Press
In her new kayak, Misty Butler takes her dog, Bridger, on Mendenhall Lake in Juneau, Alaska. Chunks of ice from Mendenhall Glacier float in the water.
Discover Denali Navigating the Alaskan landscape BY BECKY BOHRER ASSOCIATED PRESS
his is an enchanting but unforgiving landscape, where adventurers far more experienced than I have gotten lost or hurt. The dangers — weather and bears among them — can even be deadly.
So it’s not surprising that my plans to hike solo here led to raised eyebrows — and admonitions to please be careful. While I’m no novice to back country trips, Denali National Park and Preserve in Alaska is different, namely in that there are virtually no marked trails here. I had no interest in doing anything dangerous; I just wanted to go on some challenging hikes and enjoy my surroundings. I planned to stick to day hikes, as my camping skills aren’t great, and I came up with a list of places to explore from two prior, brief trips here, conversations with park workers and bus drivers, and a study of maps: Thorofare Pass, Polychrome Mountain, Stony Dome, Cathedral Mountain and Mount Healy. Throughout the summer tourist season, shuttle buses provide the primary means of access to the park, with the 92-mile road closed to most personal vehicles past mile 15. One of the most popular ways to see the park beyond mile 15 is by bus, where you can view wildlife through the windows and with stops to experience the park through
Becky Bohrer / Associated Press
A bald eagle perches atop a buoy where sea lions are resting, near Auke Bay, Alaska, about 20 minutes from the capital city of Juneau.
short walks. You can also hop on and off the green buses, going off on your own to explore before catching a later bus back. I would advise reservations, as buses can fill up fast. I carried a bus schedule with me, so I knew when the last buses of the day would run. In my backpack, I also had rain pants, water and energy bars, additional supplies and a whistle, in case I needed to make noise to announce my presence to wildlife. For my first day I planned to go to Thorofare Pass, which meant a four-hour bus ride into Denali. Rain drizzled down, but it cleared up as the bus moved deeper into the park. We saw five bears — including three right beside the dirt road, as opposed to farther off in the distance — and a fantastic view of Mount McKinley, North America’s tallest peak. Thorofare Pass isn’t a technically challenging hike — none of my hikes were. But it was a fun hike up and a welcome workout for my antsy legs after the ride in. The best part was running the ridge line and drinking in views of the mountain before it was partially obscured by clouds. Unfortunately, I encountered a group of loud hikers on my way down. I hike for the solitude and fellowship with nature. This was a buzzkill. I knew I didn’t want nearly as long a bus ride the next day. I was eager to run off on my own and spend as much time outside as possible. The bus trip started off agonizingly slow with people yelling “Stop!” to glimpse birds that seemed microscopic without high-powered binoculars. I rolled my eyes in frustration. My attitude turned around fast, though, when the next “Stop!” was called out for a lynx sauntering across a sandbar.
I decided to bolt at Polychrome, a routine stop for the buses. It wasn’t long before the sound of traffic melted away, and I was all alone. It was incredible: vistas drenched in the colors of fall — yellow, orange, brown, rust — and more ridge line to run. The wind in the area, though, was quite strong, literally clearing my nostrils. As the day wore on, I found walking the road to be a great pleasure and had no problem catching a bus when I was finally ready to do so. I drove on my third day from the motel I was staying at about a mile outside of the park to Savage River. The area is as far inside the park as most cars can go. There is a mountain and ridge line behind the rangers’ station that I was interested in trying, so I started up in sometimes spongy, uneven terrain. It looked pretty straightforward, but the higher I got, the higher the brambles and thicket got. Soon I was among vegetation taller than I, branches clawing at my skin and clothes. I grew claustrophobic and frustrated, and decided to cut my losses, descending to a social trail — a path worn away by hikers — along the river. I’d been that way before with my boyfriend and felt comfortable pressing on, even as the trail grew faint. It was beautiful, and I hadn’t seen anyone since I set out. On the way back, I wound up on a trail that led to large boulders jutting out into the river. This wasn’t right; I’d taken the wrong fork in the trail as I picked it back up. I backtracked, moving higher in hopes of picking up the trail. No luck, just a ledge with a decent drop. Higher still, same result. My heart had started to beat fast as I scrambled higher still, wondering how I could have been so stupid. When I picked
the path back up, I was so relieved I practically skipped. I got one last hike in on my last day before the four-hour drive to Anchorage to catch my flight. I decided on going to Mount Healy. Noisy traffic accompanies the trail, which is near the park entrance. But I had the place virtually to myself, and after a bit of a scramble near the ridge line, I caught sight of a group of Dall sheep. I accomplished what I’d hoped to accomplish — leaving tired and smiling — and couldn’t help but think about all the things I wanted to do on my next journey through the Alaskan wilderness.
Becky Bohrer / Associated Press
A bear walks across the tundra at Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska. Hundreds of bears make their homes in the 9,000 miles of park terrain.
IF YOU GO ... LOCATION
Shuttle buses begin running to the Eielson Visitor Center on June 1. The entire park road will be open to buses, conditions permitting, starting June 8. Shuttle buses are scheduled to run through Sept. 13. Ticket prices and terms vary. See details at http://www.reservedenali.com.
Morino Grill is the only restaurant near Denali’s entrance. The National Park Service says Riley Creek Mercantile sells pre-packaged food, and the Wilderness Access Center sells snacks. There are restaurants and other stores along Highway 3, outside of the park.
For off-trail hikers, the park recommends: • carrying adequate food and water, and a way to treat water • wearing appropriate clothing • preparing for bad weather • avoiding high ridges and exposed areas in a storm • packing rescue supplies
The May 30, 2012 edition of the Southwest Journalist produced by the Dow Jones News Fund Center for Editing Excellence at the University of...
Published on Oct 6, 2012
The May 30, 2012 edition of the Southwest Journalist produced by the Dow Jones News Fund Center for Editing Excellence at the University of...