The Battalion. (College Station, Tex.) 1893-current, December 02, 1987, Image 1

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The Dattalion
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J. 87 No. 65 C1SPS 045360 10 Pages
College Station, Texas
Wednesday, December 2, 1987
louse sail
: will pra
i U.S.-So
' arms,
High court says
no’ to allowing
silent moments
ward hijt
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aid in Ya
and aboit
he schod
hed to It
there wn
Supreme Court on Tuesday re
fused to let New Jersey provide
moments of silence for public
school students but gave no hint
whether similar laws in other states
impermissibly promote school
The court ruled unanimously
that the New Jersey legislators who
sought to press the controversy in
court no longer have the proper
legal standing.
The ruling therefore said noth
ing about the constitutionality of a
1982 New Jersey law that said stu
dents may use the daily silent mo
ments “for quiet and private con
templation or introspection.”
About half the states have simi
lar laws.
A federal appeals court struck
down the New Jersey law, ruling
that it violated the constitutionally
required separation of church and
The issue has been, and most
likely will continue to be, politically
“The constitutional issue is still a
live question,” said Steven F. Mc
Dowell of the Milwaukee-based
Catholic League for Religious and
Civil Rights.
McDowell said the league had
urged the court to uphold the New
law wilt be reviewed by the high
court,” McDowell said.
“With a new justice joining the
that 2,l| erse y law -
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1. The
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seized lit
re Atlanta
court, I believe we will see that law
being upheld,” he said.
"I was concerned the current
court might be evenly divided on
the issue, which would have
upheld the lower court’s ruling,”
McDowell said.
President Reagan has asked the
Senate to confirm Anthony M.
Kennedy, a conservative federal
appeals court judge from Sacra
mento, Calif., to Fill the Supreme
Court vacancy created when Jus
tice Lewis F. Powell retired last
Little is known about Kennedy’s
church-state views.
Kennedy represents Reagan’s
third nomination for the high
court position.
In other decisions, the justices :
• Ruled unanimously in a Vir
ginia case that only government
regulators may sue industrial pol
luters for past violations of the
federal Clean Water Act.
The case has been watched clo
sely by environmental groups
across the nation.
• Voted 8-0 in a case from
Louisiana to narrow the power of
federal judges to overrule labor
arbitrators’ decisions deemed to be
against public policy.
• Ruled unanimously in an
other Louisiana case that the Fed
eral Deposit Insurance Corp., a
government agency, may collect
debts owed to failed banks it takes
over even when the banks misled
the borrowers.
Oh, Christmas tree
Photo by Robert W. Rizzo
Members of the MSC Hospitality Committee sing “Jingle Bells” Tues
day at the ceremony to celebrate the annual lighting of the Christmas
tree that is set up in the lounge of the MSC. A reception was held after
the ceremony.
NASA names 4 firms to construct space station
issy in
>d for fi(t
i Ministn
e free »
:our “clearly superior” companies on Tues-
iay as winners of billions of dollars in con-
plane tin: racts for construction of a space station,
he next major step for U.S. exploration
md use of space.
The contracts eventually may be valued
it $6.5 billion and could provide about
12,000 jobs, officials said.
The contractors selected for the space
station hardware design and development
tre Boeing Aerospace of Huntsville, Ala.;
McDonnell Douglas Astronautics Co. of
Huntington Beach, Calif, and Houston;
General Electric Co., Astro-Space Division,
Valley Forge, Pa., and East Windsor, N.J.,
and Rocketdyne Division of Rockwell Inter
national, Canoga Park, Calif.
“The best minds in the nation went to
work on this project and all of the proposals
we received were outstanding,” said James
Fletcher, the administrator of the National
Aeronautics and Space Administration.
The space station plans call for a perma
nently manned base in earth orbit that
would be in operation in the mid-1990s.
The station would include four habitable
modules, two to be provided by the United
States and one each by Japan and by the
European Space Agency.
NASA has told Congress the total cost of
the station would be $ 14.6 billion.
Boeing was awarded a contract for what
is called Work Package 1. NASA said the
proposed cost for that package in the first
phase of the station is about $750 million. If
a phase II option is added later, another
$25 million would be tacked on.
Work Package 1 includes the space sta
tion laboratory and living modules, along
with life support systems.
McDonnell Douglas won the contract for
Work Package 2 with a proposed cost of
$1.9 billion in phase I and $140 million for
the phase II option.
Work Package 3 was awarded to General
Electric on a cost estimate of $800 million.
This package will include a free-flying plat
form that would orbit in formation with the
space station. It also would include a robotic
satellite-servicing system. A phase II option
could add $570 million to this contract.
Rocketdyne’s estimate for Work Package
4 was $1.6 billion with a phase II add-on
option of $740 million.
The package calls for power generation
and distribution throughout the system.
lost the
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Bryan fire chief put
on probation for job
by manager of city
Couple attempts suicide after jet vanishes
By Richard Williams
Embattled Bryan Fire Chief
Claude Jenkins III will keep his
job with the city of Bryan, but he
has been placed on six-month
“I have reassigned the fire
chief under displinary probation,
and will employ a management
consultant to review all the opera
tions of the department,” City
Manager Ernest Clark said.
Jenkins, who had been put on
administrative leave after all uni
formed personel in the Bryan
Fire Department signed a griev
ance petition and statement of no
confidence in the fire chief, re
fused to comment on the petition
or on the committee’s findings.
The grievance committee
members were Clark, Executive
Director of Personnel Services
Georgia Langston and Police
Chief Charles Phelps.
Bernie Fette, citizen coordina
tor informationist for Bryan, said
the grievance committee spent
over 150 hours looking into the
charges against Jenkins.
After examining the allega
tions, the committee found some
basis for the charge that Jenkins
has destroyed the department’s
morale. The committee found
“the department is at its lowest
morale level in recent years due
to imposed management practi
The committee also found that
some actions by Jenkins “may
have seemed retaliatory in natu
The committee found the rest
of the grievances were either
management perogatives not sub
ject to grievance procedings or
were not supported by conclusive
Bryan firefighters were not in
formed of the decision officially
until a 10 a.m. meeting between
the senior staff of the fire depart
ment and Clark Tuesday. Clark
held another meeting with the
front line supervisors to inform
them of his decision.
Both meetings between Clark
and the firefighters lasted more
than an hour, and during the sec
ond meeting at least five fire
fighters left early. Two of the five
were visibly upset when leaving
the meeting.
Firefighters at the meeting said
they already had heard of the de
cision through an interview Jen
kins had given a reporter from a
radio station.
Mike Donoho, acting deputy
fire chief, said it was unfortunate
Jenkins had talked to the news
media before the firefighters had
learned of the decision.
During that interview Jenkins
said he expected to keep his job
despite all of the firefighters sign
ing a petition saying they did not
feel they could work with him any
longer. Jenkins also had said
there would be changes made in
the department to improve com
munication lines.
Donoho said the firefighters
have been assured they are not
subject to retaliation.
Jenkins said he would be able
to work with the firefighters.
“We’ve got a real good fire de
partment and we’ve got a real
good management team,” Jen
kins said. “Although right now we
have some communications prob
lems, we will be working as pro
fessionals to correct those to give
the city the best possible protec
tion at the most affordable cost.”
But the city probably has not
heard the last from the firefigh
ters.They plan to meet tonight to
decide what action they will take.
Several of the firefighters said
there is a strong possibiliity one
or more lawsuits will be filed
about the matter. No one would
say if the firefighters would file a
suit as a group or if it would be
left to individuals to file.
MANAMA, Bahrain (AP) — A
mysterious Asian couple took suicide
pills Tuesday just before being ques
tioned about a South Korean jetliner
that disappeared over Burma and
may have been bombed.
Officials said the couple boarded
Korean Air flight 858 at Baghdad,
Iraq, where it originated Sunday,
and got off at Abu Dhabi before the
Boeing 707 headed across Asia to
ward Seoul with 115 people aboard.
It vanished near the Burma-Thai-
land border, before a scheduled re
fueling stop in Bangkok. Officials in
Seoul said there were strong suspi
cions a bomb destroyed the aircraft.
The man, who appeared to be
middle aged, died four hours after
biting into a suicide pill concealed in
a cigarette, said Takao Natsume, Ja-
pancting ambassador in Bahrain. He
said the woman, who was younger,
was unconscious in critical condition
at a military hospital but “she will
They had been waiting to be ques
tioned by immigration officials who
stopped them from boarding a
Rome-bound flight. The two were
believed to be either Japanese or Ko
rean and were traveling on forged
Japanese passports.
“Just after swallowing the pills
they both fell on the floor and their
bodies went very stiff,” Ambassador
Natsume said.
Both collapsed “in seconds,” but
the woman apparently survived be
cause she swallowed less of the poi
son hidden in the cigarette filters, he
Japanese and Bahraini officials
said the couple flew from Baghdad
to Abu Dhabi on Flight 858 and
caught a Gulf Air plane to Bahrain,
a Persian Gulf island state, while the
South Korean plane left for Seoul.
South Korea’s government broad
casting service said investigators
were checking possible links between
the mystery woman and Chosen So-
ren, an organization of Koreans liv
ing in Japan that supports commu
nist North Korea.
A&M medical scientists study effects
of harmful bacteria strain on humans
By Jenny Hynes
Researchers in the Texas A&M
College of Medicine’s pathology and
laboratory medicine department are
studying harmful strains of bacteria
and the effects of mycotoxins on hu
Dr. Thomas W. Milligan, an assis
tant professor in the department, is
studying a disease caused by the bac
terium Escherichia coli.
“This organism was previously
thought to be not too important in
causing disease,” he says. “But in the
last two years there’ve been out
breaks of something called hemhor-
rhagic colitis. It’s a diarrheal syndro
About 1,200 types of E. coli have
been identified. While some forms
of the organism occur naturally in
the human digestive system, the type
Milligan is researching was deter
mined to be harmful about two years
ago. Before this time, he says, the se
rotype, or organism type, only rarely
was identified.
“They screened about 3,000 stool
samples prior to 1982 and found
only one with this (organism),” Milli
gan says. “Now we’re finding it
much more commonly.”
Thirteen isolated outbreaks oc
curred in the United States in the
past two years, each involving be
tween 100 and 150 people, he says.
Milligan, who has studied the dis
ease for about a year, says it’s most
often found in nursing-home pa
tients and children in day-care cen
“Most of the outbreaks occur with
older or younger people, but not al
ways,” he says. “Two of the out
breaks were linked to fast-food ham
burger restaurants, and these were
people of all ages.”
The disease can •
be transmitted
from eating un
dercooked beef,
especially ham
burger obtained
from dairy cattle,
or acquired from
other people in
fected with the or
Once the orga
nism enters the
body, the disease
progresses in two
stages. The first
and more mild phase is a diarrheal
syndrome, hemhorrhagic colitis.
“The person is not really sick in
terms of fever,” Milligan says. “The
problem is that about two weeks af
ter having the episode of hemhor
rhagic colitis, a small percentage of
these patients will develop a syn
drome called hemolytic uremic syn
drome. This is what we’re basically
interested in.”
This second stage of the disease
causes a more severe illness, often
ending in death.
“The reason for concern is it has
such a bad outcome,” Milligan says.
“It’s kind of like AIDS in that it has
such a high mortality rate.” Acquired
immune deficiency syndrome is a se
vere and often fatal disease in which
the immune system breaks down
and cannot protect the body against
invading organisms.
Milligan says hemolytic uremic
syndrome causes three major
changes in those affected:
• A drop in the number of white
blood cells, or cells that aid in blood
• Shutdown in kidney function.
• Hemolyzing, or splitting apart,
of the red blood cells.
Milligan says it isn’t yet known
how the organism causes the disease.
“Some people say it makes a toxin
that triggers hemolytic uremic syn
drome,” he says. “That’s one hy
The researcher is working with
patients in the Veterans Administra
tion hospital in Temple to identify
and isolate a toxin from patients
with the syndrome.
But researchers in the depart
ment aren’t limited to working on
only one project.
Dr. Sonja Geerling, a senior lec
turer in the department, is research
ing a more efficient testing process
to detect the sexually-transmitted
disease chlamydia. Geerling also is
working with A&M’s College of Vet
erinary Medicine to study the effects
of mycotoxins on people and ani
“Mycotoxins are naturally occur
ring toxins in fungi,” she says.
The toxins, found worldwide in
grains used to feed animals and in
some food for human consumption,
cause different symptoms in differ
ent animals. Effects on humans in
• Keratitis, or inflammation of
the eye’s cornea.
• Bleeding in the digestive sys
• Liver problems, including liver
Geerling, who has studied myco
toxins for eight years, says liver can
cer is a common long-term effect of
mycotoxins, which act in conjunction
with the Hepatitis B virus. The virus
on its own can cause inflammation of
the liver, but even more serious
problems arise when , mycotoxins
also are present.
“Hepatitis B virus on its own
doesn’t have the same devastating
effect on the liver as the two combi
ned,” she says.
Outside the United States, which
has relatively stringent food-safety
laws, the problem of mycotoxins is
“In some parts of the world, liver
cancer is the most common cancer
there is,” Geerling says.
Mycotoxins may cause liver cancer
by breaking down the body’s im
mune system, she says, allowing tu
mor cells to grow and multiply.