The Battalion. (College Station, Tex.) 1893-current, August 27, 1986, Image 19

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    Wednesday, August 27, 1986/The Battalion/Page 3B
r ohn Birch Society plagued
y $9 million budget deficit
■ BELMONT, Mass. (AP) — The
■hn Birch Society, for 28 years the
Biding edge, of a conservative
n Boveinent that has blossomed in the
saiHeagan years, has come upon hard
' times.
I The group that crusaded against
heij. big government and a world com-
dedBunist conspiracy is staggering with
[a $9 million deficit and for the first
| time is appealing widely for f inancial
In addition, the question of how
toil piuch to criticize President Reagan
[as sparked an internal battle that
turned the widow of society
fcunder Robert F. Welch against the
roup’s new leadership.
“1 have nothing to do with the so-
etyl The people who are running it
idil.aic not standing on what it started
lout to be at all,” said Marian P.
f'elch, in her 80s and living in a re-
Brement home in Weston, 10 miles
Bum the Boston suburb of Belmont
I that her husband made Birch head
A member and former large con-
Sjpibutor, Dr. Charles Proven, is con-
■idering starting a rival organization.
■ “The society has completely
■hanged direction,” said Proven, a
Thysician in McKeesport, Pa. “It is
test contacts
engineered for a state of collapse.”
Welch, whose husband once ac
cused President Dwight D. Eisen-
hower of being a “a dedicated, con
scious agent of the communist
conspiracy,” says her complaints in
clude the way the new Birch mag
azine, The New American, regularly
bashes Reagan.
In an August issue, for example.
The New American said Reagan has
allowed the erosion of the U.S. mili
tary’s ability to fight while “saying
what he knows the average Ameri
cans citizen wants to hear about de
Welch said, “They are tearing him
apart.” When her husband died last
year, she was assistant managing edi
tor of American Opinion, the
monthly founded by her husband.
The publication was dropped nine
months after his death for the new
weekly, costing her her editorial
Charles R. Armour, a 23-year so
ciety employee who became its new
president in June, said the organiza
tion is the same as when Welch
founded it. The new magazine is ex
amining the “Reagan record instead
of his rhetoric,” he said. “We have
the obligation to lay this on the line.”
A tougher editorial stance, how
ever, has not yielded higher circula
tion. The number of readers has
dropped from 50,000 to about
30,000, says Armour, and it now ap
pears twice monthly instead of
weekly. Armour concedes the need
to tone down some of its rhetoric.
The membership of the society it
self is “several tens of thousands, not
more than 50,000,” said society
spokesman John J. McManus, de
clining to be more specific.
Former society chairman A. Clif
ford Barker of Newport News, Va.,
who introduced the new magazine
last fall, lost his job after a June
showdown at an executive council
meeting in Cincinnati. He was not
Ten days before his removal, a let
ter over his name to members ur
gently appealed for money, saying
staff members were unpaid and ex
penses were exceeding income by
840,000 a week.
“The situation is so critical,” said
the letter, “the future of your orga
nization is on the line.”
The loss of major contributors
through businesses reverses and
death was blamed for the financial
on rabbits
Throwaway materials
go into man’s models
J at J
HOUSTON (AP) — University of
louston researchers are hoping
lontact lenses being tested on rabbits
pnd designed to protect humans
jrom ultraviolet rays of the sun will
pe available to the public by next
“It’s a soft contact lens that has the
^bility to absorb ultraviolet radiation
the first I know of anywhere in
Jhe world,” Dr. Donald Craves Pitts,
iuniversity scientist, says.
Pitts, a professor of environ men
ial optometry and visual science,
Lsed similar research with rabbits in
[he 1960s to find ways to protect as
tronauts’ eyes from radiation in
space and on the moon.
Pitts’ UVX lens is intended for
people who abuse their eyes at the
beach or poolside, particularly in
[sunny climates like Texas.
About 40 rabbits have custom-
Jfitted UVX contact lenses. Rabbits
jare used because their tearing sys
tems are superior to humans, who
|must blink to keep eyes lubricated,
(Pitts says.
ing scale models of historical build
ings sounds like serious business.
But there is something light-hearted
in the materials Wayne Sherrod uses
for his replicas — Frosted Flakes
boxes. Breeze detergent boxes, re
cord album covers and milk jugs.
Sherrod had set his hobby aside
for nearly eight years until some
skeptical friends — building models
of rockhouses using matchsticks and
pebbles — didn’t seem to take his
high school hobby seriously.
To prove the replicas can be made
of the throw-away materials, Sher
rod pulled his dusty collection from
the shelves and took it to the friends.
One look at the detailed work and
the skeptics were believing.
Returning to the craft, Sherrod
hopes to finish a project that had
several obstacles when he began in
Sherrod wants to complete a rep
lica of the Baptist Church that used
to be on Tarleton Avenue, but the
fate of the church and a large house
that was adjacent to the structure
seems to be a mystery.
One project that Sherrod didn’t
have trouble with was a replica of the
Old Presbyterian Church.
Sherrod measured the dimen
sions while the structure was being
moved to the local museum
grounds. He actually helped with
the church’s belfry which gave him
more insight, and he was able to con
struct the interior of the chapel.
The model, with lighting inside,
has been on display at the relocated
church, at an antique shop and other
places, Sherrod said.
Stephenville High School art stu
dents for the past seven years recog
nize Sherrod’s work by another
model that he donated to art instruc
tor June Visstzky.
The replica is the only one Sher
rod has created that isn’t of a local
landmark, but the model is familar
to people all the same.
It’s a scale replica of The
Munsters television show’s haunted
house. The model is used by Ms. Vis-
sotzky’s students as a study reference
in architecture.
How does one create a replica of
something that’s only flashed across
the TV screen occasionally?
“I watched the Munsters a lot and
sketched real fast,” Sherrod said,
“You’ve got about a 30-second shot
of the house every day.”
Six Flags’ birthday marks
1125 years, 52 million visitors
as a
ire son
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ARLINGTON (AP) — Twenty-
[five years and 52 million people ago,
^there were more cows than kids
roaming the banks of Johnson Creek
and the rustic old Waggoner DDD
iRanch north of town.
And probably as many cows as
jkids knew that the Texas mystique
was forged from beneath the six
flags of Spain, France, Mexico, the
IRepublic of Texas, the Confederacy
land the United States.
That changed in August 1961
[with the opening of a squeaky clean,
multimillion-dollar theme park mid-
pay between Dallas and Fort Worth.
Called Six Flags over Texas, the
105-acre family entertainment cen-
]ter opened with a staff of 600 and an
[all-inclusive ticket price of $2.75 for
jadults and $2.25 for children.
Today, the park has doubled in
jsize, employs 2,500 people, enter
tains an average of 15,000 visitors
[daily at $14.95 and $7.95 apiece and
lexpects to draw more than 2.5 mil
lion by the end of October.
“Based on attendance alone, it is
[the largest tourist attraction in the
state,” says Six Flags publicist Bruce
Neal, who has been with the park 17
years. “There is no place else in
Texas where 2.6 million people went
last year.”
A toast then to Six Flags as it cele
brates a $600,000 silver anniversary
and reigns as the flagship of Six
Flags Corp., a network of seven ma
jor theme parks sprinkled across
The Arlington entertainment cen
ter was the first of the nation’s re
gional theme parks, so-called be
cause it drew most of its customers
from the Southwest. Neal says there
are more than 30 such parks scat
tered around the country today and
all bear earmarks of the Texas origi
California’s Disneyland opened
six years earlier, lures visitors from
around the world and remains in a
class pretty much its own, challenged
only by its sister park, Disney World
in Florida.
Half a dozen major hotel chains
have moved into the Arlington area
to accommodate visitors to Six Flags,
the nearby water and wildlife parks,
a wax museum and the born-again
Texas Rangers baseball club.
“These are all clean acts,” said
Neal. “With Dallas to the east and
Fort Worth to the west, there’s just a
heck of a lot to do, and a large part
of it is family oriented.”
After pioneering the world’s first
Log Flume and the first tubular rail
roller coaster, the Runaway Mine
Train, Six Flags introduced the first
modern parachute ride, the Texas
Chute Out, and the world’s first
freefall ride, the Texas Cliffhanger,
Neal said.
To celebrate its anniversary, the
park opened what it calls the Av
alanche Bobsled and expanded the
Music Mill Amphitheater to more
than 10,000 seats.
Despite the changes, general man
ager Bob Bennett says Six Flags has
retained the three principles upon
which it was founded: a wholesome
atmosphere, immaculate cleanliness
and a staff of young students. Beer
and booze are no-nos.
■ouple lives in a zoo — literally
I Pat Hoctor and his wife, Sharon, are
J living in a lion’s den.
When their house burned down
last winter, the couple took tempo
rary refuge in a building next door
normally used for raising their new-
[born exotic animals.
But with young cougar cubs in the
j makeshift living room, bobcat babies
[on the way and new exotics arriving
[almost daily, rebuilding their house
[has taken second priority.
“And with zoos opening and clos
ing, this is a many-faceted business,”
[Hoctor says. “Most of the time this
[place sounds like a bookie joint.”
Hoctor says he is one of about 200
[active dealers in the United States
[who make a living from breeding
[and trading wild animals.
Hoctor and his wife also publish
|The Animal Finders’ Guide, a na-
Itionally distributed publication
[where exotic breeders can sell their
[animals to collectors and zoos.
“Most zoos are living museums —
they don’t want babies,” he said. “It’s
not a good breeding environment
because the animals have all these
people staring at them all the time.”
Hoctor’s yard has proven to be a
successful breeding ground. The
stars of his collection are three ligers
— a hybrid breed of his lion and ti
ger. Hoctor says there are few other
ligers in the world.
Wandering around Hoctor’s
property, one takes in a scene more
like the African bush than rural
farmland in central Indiana.
Brush-tailed porcupines bristle in
suspicion at strangers. Toucans
screech a questionable welcome.
Squirrel monkeys scream and a tiger
The public at one time was wel
come to visit, Hoctor says, but liabil
ity insurance rates make that impos
sible now.
“We raise certain animals here,
but I capture and haul every species”
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for private owners who have hun
dreds of acres of animals such as elk,
deer or buffalo that must be relo
cated, he says.
Indiana, surprisingly, is a fairly
good area to raise such wild animals,
Hoctor says.
“There are places that would be a
little better for some of them, but as
vou get warmer, you get more dis
ease and insects,” he says.
“Winters create tremendous prob
lems, though,” he adds. “We have to
chip the ice out of water pails, or if a
female is going to drop her baby, we
have to get her inside. My bedroom
is my lion den for a while each win
The personal dangers involved in
raising exotic animals are evident all
over Hoctor’s skin: “If you can’t see
the tendons in your hand or the
holes in your leg or see your couch
torn to shreds, you shouldn’t be in
this business,” he says matter-of-
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