The Battalion. (College Station, Tex.) 1893-current, April 30, 1987, Image 6

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    Page 6AThe Battalion/Thursday, April 30, 1987
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through May 1,1987.
Disabled persons receive jobs
from gardening service in Bryan
By Sherry Copeland
Geranium Junction Garden Cen
ter in Bryan is well known for its
beautiful foliage and reasonable
prices. But there is one service the
nursery provides that is sometimes
overlooked -— job employment for
the disabled.
Since 1982, Geranium Junction
has been operating as a non-profit
organization. Its purpose is to pro
vide employment and training for
persons with disabilities, says Rich
ard Muse, director of Geranium
The main source of funding is
provided by the Texas Rehabilita
tion Commission with additional
funds coming from the United Way.
“Our job is to facilitate the tran
sition so it isn’t so abrupt,” Muse
says. “We know that persons with
more severe disabilities do better if
they are able to learn skills in a natu
ral environment compared to an iso
lated one.”
The idea originated primarily
from within the horticulture indus
try, Muse says.
“Initially the employees started
out working in the garden center,”
he says. “But prior to my coming to
the center in January, it branched
out into lawn and landscape mainte
Muse says the goal is to diversify
the program’s basic operation. In
March, a training program was de
veloped for individuals who are un
der 22 and have disabilities. Work
ing in conjunction with both the
Bryan and College Station school
districts’ special education pro
grams, they are trained in vehicle
maintenance and fleet washing for
the Brazos Transit System.
“We are looking at a transition for
youth with disabilities from school to
The high school’s job primarily is
to prepare people for college or to
teach vocational skills for job entry-
level positions, Muse says.
"Most often, persons with disabili
ties don’t access those tegular voca
tional programs,” Muse says. “U-
sually, it is because they don’t have
the basic math or language skills to
get into a regular class.”
Geranium Junction provides
training for persons, no matter what
“The most important thing is that we stay within this
community and can continue to meet its needs. We are
here to provide employment to persons with disabili
ties, not to make dollars ourselves or give things away
free. ”
— Richard Muse, director of Geranium Junction
glasses hack on I no longer am hand
H apped. Basically, I no longer have
a disability either.
“No one has a handicap until ha
disability prevents him from doinj
Muse employs 15 people whi
each work 30 hours a weekeilherai
the retail garden center, in law.
maintenance or as ileet washers
Once employees gain specific com
petent ies. Muse says lie tries to platt
them in a community job with tit
i ities ol Bryan or College Station.
M use has six staff members wort
ing for him who function assupervi-
soi s and managers.
work,” Muse says. “Historically, per
sons with more severe disabilities
graduate from high school, go home
and sit. There is a waiting list for em
ployment or none available at all. We
are trying to bridge that gap.”
Muse says persons with disabilities
are eligible for a free and appropri
ate educaton up to the age of 21.
“What usually happens is when
they turn 18, or once they go
through the cycle with their class
peers, they are considered to be
graduated,” Muse says.
their disability — physical or mental
In the future. Muse says, the pro
gram will focus on persons with se
vere disabilities.
Muse says most people don’t un
derstand the difterence between
handicapped and disabled.
"Without my glasses, I have a vi
sual impairment — a visual disabili
ty,” he says. “Consequently, in order
for me to read a calendar across the
room, I am handicapped liecause of
my disability to see it without a visual
aid, my glasses. But when 1 put my
I have a fantastic staff workins
here,” Muse says. “They are w
dedicated to the job. Iheyarepe^
pie. Our employees are people also
I think one would find our staffjxs-
siblv more tolerant of certain beb
ioi s or actions than most individual!
But at the same time, they havei
spec ial job to do and they know this'
Muse is very excited about ei-
paneling operations at Geranium:
"1 he most important thing is tlui
we stay within this community anil
can continue to meet its needs,'
Muse says. “We are here to providt
( mployment to persons with disabili
ties, not to make dollars ourselvesot
give things away free."
Senate elects new speaker,
urges return of stolen signs
By Christi Daugherty
Staff Writer
Senator Jay Hays defeated the
former chairman of the Rules and
Regulations Committee in an intra-
Senate election for the position of
speaker of the Texas A&M Student
Senate during the Senate meeting
Wednesday evening.
Former chairman Clay Baker sug
gested in his campaign speech that
the Senate should re-evaluate its role
as a representative for the student
body and said it was time for the
Senate to go to the students for in
put rather than waiting for the stu
dents to come to it.
In his speech, Hays said that dur
ing his time on the Senate he had
come to the realization that the Sen
ate could not seriously alter the uni
versity in a short period of time but
could attempt to slowly change it for
the better.
“T he bottom line is we’re not
going to change the university in a
year,” Hays said. “I’m not going to
change it. Student Government is
not going to change it.
“But if you look at what we did
last year — the bills we passed and
the legislation we started — if we just
build on what we started, and follow
up on our legislation, we can really
make a difference.”
Hays was endorsed by 1986-87
Senate Speaker Miles Bradshaw,
who emphasized Hays’ support of
the doomed Senate Reform Bill that
would have altered the composition
of the Senate in the hopes of in
creased involvement. Bradshaw said
that the new attendance bill passed
last month, which also shares that
goal, was written by Hays. He said
that showed Hays’ determination to
improve the Senate.
Also at the meeting, Garrett Lee-
son, a junior finance major, was
elected to the position of speaker
pro tempore, and Pat O’Neal, a
sophomore finance and accounting
major, w r as elected as chairman of
the Rules and Regulations Commit
Student Body President Mason
Hogan introduced his three ap
pointments for executive vice presi
dents — Renee Dix, vice president in
charge of programs, Brian Banner,
vice president in charge of adminis
tration, and Jody Kay Manley, vice
president of development. All were
approved and sworn in.
||| f
Barge filled
with garbage
still in Gulf
Fit 1
iway by Mexico, Belia
In legislative action, the Senate
passed a resolution calling on A&M
students to return street and traffic
signs that College Station Police say
have been stolen in the past year.
Mike Hachtman, the student lia-
son on the College Station City
Council, authored the bill that was
written in coordination with the
Council and offers amnesty to those
who voluntarily return the signs.
and font U.S. states, a barge
with 3,000 tons of New York gar
bage wandered the Gulf of Mo-
ico on Wednesday, waiting oui
the search for a place todumpin
unwelcome cargo.
Paul E
picks i
“We’re circling in internationi
waters with no place to go," Bob
Cwinn, agent for the owner ol
the tugboat guiding the barge
Harvey Gulf International Mr
i ine of Harvey, La., told theA’en
( )tleans Fitries-Picayune.
T he tiny Central Americaa
country of Belize on Tuesdat
joined Mexico, Louisiana, Nonii
Carolina, Alabama and Missis
sippi in refusing to accept tk
ioicide am
in A&M (
Accused murderer of Houston woman
granted reprieve from lethal injection
ire more t
ire get ling
ide work:
fated wit!
Chrissy Hi
terming 5
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Orders to go 690-0046
*?>*»*> in’*?* fr*** —
HUNTSVILLE (AP) — A New York man
once imprisoned for drowning his 3-year-old son
won a stay Wednesday that blocked his scheduled
lethal injection after midnight for the 1982 rob
bery-slaying of a prominent Houston theater
Clifford X. Phillips, 52, who prefers to be
called by the Islamic name of Abdullah Bashir,
submitted a handwritten appeal to U.S. District
Judge Gabrille MacDonald, claiming ineffective
assistance of counsel during an earlier part of his
appeal process. The judge set a May 4 hearing to
consider his request.
The state would not challenge the stay, said
Bob Walt of the enforcement division of the
Texas attorney general’s office.
Phillips, when told of the reprieve, told prison
officials, “Thank you.” The court order came
about eight hours before the scheduled injection.
Phillips insisted he did not intend to strangle
Iris Siff, who was working late the night of Jan.
12, 1982 at the Alley Theater.
“I had to protect my own well-being and
safety,” Phillips said in a recent death row inter
view. “I just wanted her to extend me a few dol
lars. I don’t know what motivated her to react.
It’s hard for me to determine. I didn’t provoke
Phillips strangled Siff, 58, with his hands and
with a cord from a nearby telephone.
“She started kicking, she went wild,” he said.
Phillips’ chances for a reprieve appeared to
dim a week ago when the Supreme Court ruled
in a major capital punishment case out of
Georgia that although blacks were more likely to
get the death penalty for killing whites, the law
was not unconstitutional. Phillips is black. Siff
was white.
Phillips ate breakfast at 3 a.m. Wednesday,
then read his Koran several times before he was
transferred to a small holding cell adjacent to the
death chamber. He requested a final meal of fish,
french fries, peas, bread and milk.
His mood was described by prison officials as
Phillips, a Buffalo, N.Y., general contractor,
came to Houston in late 1981 and found work at
the Alley Theater as a security guard. He was
fired, however, when he locked himself out of
the place one night.
In a confession to police, he said he sneaked
into the downtown Houston playhouse and
strangled Siff when she resisted a holdup at
«on with .<
had worked at the theater for some I
years as both a perfor mer and administratorawl
was working late that night, filling out a govem
ment gi ant application.
ate' '"Di
I estimony at his trial showed he stole ik
woman’s television, fur coat, jewelry, lote bat
and Lincoln Continental. Police arrested himn
Los Angeles on a Houston arson cliarge
three weeks after (he slaying.
Phillips’ record goes hack to 1951 withanar
rest in Buffalo as a wayward minor and
arrests for burglary, larceny and disorderly con
include: P r( )'
He served seven years in prison in NewYorl
1 P
alter being convicted in 19/0 of killing his I-
year-old son by forcing water down the cl
throat. The child’s body was found in a suitcase rid
in the Bronx. The conviction later was reversed
hut lie pleaded guilty to manslaughter
than face trial again, records showed.
He was arrested in California for burningas ia s
abandoned meat market in Houston.
ees ha
[an when
State H
ohnson s;
Bses in co
fadons last
Woman weaver puts animal hair into artwork
HEREFORD (AP) — Priscilla
Flam says it was the lean years of
graduate school that led to an inno
vation she is still using in her art
“I read where some lady used hair
from her angora cats to create sweat
ers, and finally it dawned on me that
the sacks of hair I regularly hi ushed
off my dog might be put to good
use,” Ham says. “Someone had given
me poor-quality wool, so I decided to
incorporate the dog hair in with my
Weaving is just one of the artistic
pursuits for which she was recently
honored with a display at the Deaf
Smith County Chamber of Com
merce. Woven wall hangings, porce
lain sculpure vessels, batik, water
colors and pottery were among her
creations shown in the Chamber’s
artist-of-the-month exhibit.
Ham moved to Hereford last No
vember with her husband, Sid, and
their 3-year-old daughter, Lenzy.
“So many women marry and have
children and neglect their own inter
ests,” Ham says. “When Lenzy ar
rived, I was determined to never
give up the things I enjoy so much
just because I have a baby.”
Born in Amarillo, the 34-year-old
artist is a graduate of Amarillo High
School and Amarillo Junior College.
She has a bachelor of fine arts de
gree from West Texas State Univer
sity, majoring in pottery design and
“It seemed I was always taking art
classes, but I never considered my
self as having the temperament of an
artist,” she says. “In fact, I was a
business major at WTSU until the
accounting courses dissuaded me.
So, in my senior year at WTSU, I
tried art. I went from clay, sculp
tures, pottery, into weaving.”
In 1976 she married Ham, who at
that time owned the “Last Water
West Restaurant” -in Amarillo. Get
ting married slowed Ham down
from 18 hours to 8 hours a day for
art work.
She says her husband was sup
portive and understanding; often
their bathtub would be full of un-
‘ washed wool, soaking to remove im
The couple enrolled in graduate
schools at Texas Tech University,
she working on her master’s degree
in fine arts while he went to law
“This was the period when we
were really short of money,” she re
calls. “Sid built me a large loom of
maple sticks using directions out of a
book; a ready-built one would have
cost 10 times as much. Sid was in
charge of the coffee concession and
worked in the law school library
while I sold pottery and an occa
sional blanket or pillow. The dog
hair came in handy when we were
trying to make ends meet,” she says.
Ham says she still sometimes sells
some of her work, but says she’s too
sentimental to part with items made
from the hair of her 12-year-old St.
Bernard, Sir.
She is willing to share her skills.
“Weaving is a dying art form,” she
Ham says although she sometimes
uses pre-spun wool, usually she spins
her own wool or dog hair, first wash
ing and drying it, then blending the
fibers in a drum carder. She spins it
on a bobbin and then dyes the fiber.
“I use natural ingredients to ma|
the desired color oi dye, suchasctf
tain plants, berries, or nuts. I ill
use mordants mixed in with raid
berries, citrus peels, rose hips
hugs, and cochineals. Coffee
a rich brown color, and beige
created from onions,” she said
Ham says one day she w
to have a spinner’s garden,
the plants specially used for hf 1
Next to weaving, pottery is her ft
vorite pasttime.
The Hams’ basement is
pottery. Several pieces are coi |i
structed using her special douH*
walled technique. “I impressed 1
pi ssors with my double-wall
cor. pt; they didn’t know what
think!” she exclaims.
T lie Hams’ garage houses W
1200-pound kiln. “I was extreme
nervous about moving it from Ait
arillo and getting it here in
piece; I haven’t tried it yet, sol
Home st;
“p eligi
a y in Dec