The Battalion. (College Station, Tex.) 1893-current, March 07, 2002, Image 1
THURSDAYMARCH 7. 2002
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TEXAS A&M UNIVERSITY
Comstock lies in
intensive care unit
By Sommer Bunce
John Andrew Comstock, the most severely injured
student in the 1999 Aggie Bonfire collapse, is in
intensive care this week after painful kidney stones
and seizures wracked the sur
Comstock was admitted to St.
Joseph’s Hospital in Bryan
Monday night after he called his
mother and complained of pain in
his side. Dixie Edwards, his moth
er, said a friend drove her son to a
doctor, and then to the hospital.
Once at St. Joseph’s, physi
cians placed him in the intensive
care unit to monitor his seizures, Edwards said.
But, she said, as of Wednesday night, no one was
sure why her son was seizuring and his kidney stones
had yet to be diagnosed.
“He’s in a lot of pain,” Edwards said after visiting
Comstock in his hospital room. “If he does have
stones. Lord knows it’s like giving birth.”
Comstock was on the Bonfire stack in the early
morning hours of Nov. 18, 1999, when the logs
beneath him began to sway and people below ran
from the teetering 60-foot structure. Forty-five feet
up, Comstock grabbed a log in front of him and rode
Seven hours later, the broken but spirited young
man was pulled from the fallen Bonfire and shipped
to the emergency room at the College Station
Medical Center. He spent months in a coma, waking
up just before New Year’s Day 2000 with an ampu
tated left leg, nerve damage from the waist down and
a crushed right hand.
He almost died, he said in August.
After a year-and-a-half of physical therapy,
Comstock returned to campus last fall with an
electric wheelchair and a prosthetic leg for good
days when he had more strength.
And now, his mother says, “I never thought this
would be happening again.”
After Bonfire fell, more tragedy visited
Comstocks’ family. Her other son, Chris, a mid
shipman at the Naval Academy in Annapolis,
Md., was in a motorcycle accident in November
.2001 — two years to the day after John was
trapped under Bonfire.
Like John, Chris may also lose his left leg below
the knee. Edwards said she has tread a path
between Chris' Pensacola, Fla., hospital room and
her Richardson, Texas, home in the past months.
See Comstock on page 2A
group of Army ROTC cadets tour an Army
Chinook transport helicopter at Duncan
Field on Wednesday. The helicopter was
VILLANUEVA • THE BATTALION
one of three that were flown to the field.
The demonstration gave the cadets a
chance to gain hands-on experience.
Negative ads hit media
By Rolando Garcia
The positive tone of the District 31 congres-
iional race turned ugly'Wednesday when Brad
Sarton launched an 1 Ith-hour attack against
opponent Peter Wareing just days before the
Vlarch 12 primary.
* In new television and radio ads. Barton chal
lenges Wareing’s Republican credentials, accusing
:he Houston businessman of contributing money
to Democrats, including outspoken liberal
Congresswoman Shiela Jackson Lee. He also
diarges that Wareing profited from investments
made by the University of Texas System while his
father-in-law served on the UT Board of Regents.
,1 The allegations plagued Wareing during his
unsuccessful bid in 2000 for a Houston-based con
gressional seat, but had gone unmentioned during
this campaign. Jason Johnson, Barton’s campaign
manager, said Barton chose to wait until the last
minute before airing the charges to give Wareing a
chance to come clean with voters.
“Peter Wareing was given an opportunity to be
honest, but his time has run out,” Johnson said.
Barton’s attacks are a desperate attempt to save
a faltering campaign, Wareing said, and diverts
attention from the issues voters care about.
“These issues have been vetted before and are
full of distortions and flat out mistruths,”
According to a 1997 report in the Dallas
Morning News, the University of Texas lost $10
million when International Cargo Network
(ICN), a Houston-based fruit import firm, whose
initial investors included Wareing, went bankrupt
just 10 months after the University’s investment.
Wareing’s father-in-law. Jack Blanton, was a UT
regent when the board approved the deal with
See Campaign on page 2A
By Sarah Darr
A memorial to the 12 Aggies
killed in the 1999 Aggie Bonfire
collapse will be built on the Polo
Fields where the 60-foot structure
once stood, officials said
Jurors of the Texas A&M
Bonfire Memorial Design
Competition chose a circle design
with 12 bronze-lined gates con
nected by 27 panels to represent
the 12 Aggies killed and 27
injured Nov. 18, 1999. Each gate
is positioned toward the home
town of each of the victims.
The total cost of the memorial
will be between $4 million and $7
million, $3 million to $6 million
of which still has to be raised, said
Cynthia Lawson, executive direc
tor of University Relations. $1
million already is available for the
project from interest earned on
contingency funds, she said.
The design was prepared by
Robert L. Shemwell, Class of
1982, of Overland, Inc., along
with team members Jeff Russel,
Ryan Jones, Michael Rey, Steve
Fong and Elizabeth Day.
Design competition juror Jaan
Holt said Shemwell’s design was
chosen because of its originality
and appropriate nature for Texas
and the University.
“This will be a memorial we
are proud to visit, and a place of
remembrance that hit the mark of
the Aggie spirit,” Holt said.
The memorial will continue
the Bonfire tradition of bringing
people together, he added.
A walkway leading to the
memorial will consist of 89 large
granite stones, each representing
a year that Bonfire was built.
Lawson said a building time
line has not yet been established.
The winning design will be on
display in the Memorial Student
Center through March 30 and can
be viewed online at http://bonfire-
JOHN L1VAS • THE BATTALION
Memorial designers stand behind their designs as they are inter
viewed on Wednesday
March primary turnout low RHA searches for unity
O fficials puzzled by low student voting for primaries
By Amy Dosch
registered to vote in the Brazos Valley,
only 415 have participated in early vot
ing for the primaries so far this week.
Snrce; Brazos County Voter Registration Office
RUBEN DELUNA • THE BATTALION
Early voting ends Friday at 8 p.m.
Until then, students can vote in MSC
138 and 146. Lack of student partici
pation and apparent apathy is puzzling,
said Shannon Dubberly, president of
the College Republicans and a sopho
more political science major.
Dubberly said he is frustrated with
students’ unwillingness to accept the
responsibility and privilege of choosing
a candidate to represent them on the
It is doubtful that students will vote
if they have not done so by the time
they leave for spring break, he said.
“The nation is watching, we (the
University) can change the course of
the election,” Dubberly said.
Some students have shown their
passion for the political process, such
as Dustin Greene, a senior in the
Corps of Cadets and a political science
major who, along with a group of
other cadets, set a goal to register the
“We knew this was a big goal,”
Cadets said they saw voter registra
tion cards were passed out throughout
the Coips and each company was
encouraged to register. Current, 90 per
cent of cadets are registered to vote and
efforts to get them to the booths are
still going strong.
Announcements are made everyday
at Duncan Dining Hall, the Corps din
ing facility, reminding the cadets of the
location and dates of voting.
In February, Former Speaker of the
House Newt Gingrich came to A&M
and encouraged students to take the
initiative through voting.
“You can make the difference,”
Gingrich said. “If all of you vote, you
can single-handedly determine the out
come of this election.”
Buddy Winn, Brazos County voter
registrar, said the “ho hum” attitude of
residents in this county has lead to low
A&M is known for the influence it
can carry, not only because of its large
numbers, but because of individual stu
dent involvement, Winn said.
By Araceli V. Garcia
The Go Big Committee, a branch of
the Residence Hall Association, held a
forum Wednesday night to hear student
ideas of how to bring unity back into
University President Dr. Ray M.
Bowen’s decision last month to discontin
ue the 90-year tradition of Bonfire also
affected the residence hall involvement
associated with the tradition.
Since the decision, RHA has been
focusing on the fall semester and ways,
other than looking to future Bonfires, to
recreate dorm unity.
“There is no more unity and spirit in the
halls, [and there will be| no more excuses
for next year,” said Jorge Barrera, presi
dent of RHA, in a previous RHA meeting.
The Go Big Committee is not trying to
replace Bonfire, said Geoff Keogh, a mem
ber of the committee and sophomore busi
ness administration major.
See RHA on page 2A
Opinion Pg. 5B
The bad roommate
Reslife is not responsible for
exposing sex offenders
AggieLife Pg. 3A
Students spend their spring
break on the road
^ .. 75° F
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