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Daily Journal: Thursday, December 8, 1977 - Page 1

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   Daily Journal (Newspaper) - December 8, 1977, Fergus Falls, Minnesota                                FERGUS FALLS, MINNESOTAM537 Uncertainty surrounds farm strike Ml VWE1 ADAr It' MINNEAPOLIS (AP) _ Minnesota farmers may stop selling and buying in record numbers next Wednesday on the first day of a national farmers' strike. Or they may not. "It's pretty hard to predict" said Tom Benson, who is run- ning the Minnesota office of the American Agriculture Move- ment in Appleton. "We don't have memberships or dues. Ev- eryone is supposed to do what they can do." The problem with estimates results from the makeup of the radical agriculture group (hat was organized in Colorado last September. About all (hat holds the movement together is a common goal 100 percent of parity pricing and a Dec. 14 strike date. The grassroots movement has publicized its goals in numerous rallies across the nation with farmers driving tractors into towns to illustrate their cause. Minnesota has had its share of rallies, or "tractor- cades" the most recent in Appleton last weekend. On Saturday the growl of tractors will surround the Min- nesota Capitol as tractors con- Walker: Prices may be boosted by middlemen ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) Minnesota Agriculture Com- missioner BiU Walker says there is a danger of middlemen using the upcoming farm strike as an excuse to boost prices at the expense of farmers and consumers alike. Walker said in an interview Wednesday that he strongly supports the strike goals, though stopping short of en- dorsing a no-planting strategy for next spring. "I personally believe they ought to Walker said, adding that bare ground next year would leave farmers with no alternatives. Walker said he will do what he can to make certain middle- men don't reap benefits from the strike at the expense of consumers on the one hand and farmers on the other. "I'm going to be on top of it, making public anybody raising prices and blaming farmers if, in fact, the farmer isn't getting economic the com- missioner said. The American Agriculture Movement, a fast-growing but loosely-organized national net- work of fanners, has scheduled a strike for next Wednesday. The idea is to hold farm com- modities off the market and halt the purchase of farm equipment and supplies in an effort to raise prices paid farm- ers for their product. Walker says he has no idea whether the strike will work. "It's no secret that farmers have never been unified and I don't think the unity they crave will be there said. But he said there is no way to know until after the strike deadline comes. He foresees "no radical over- night change" for consumer prices but that the "cheap food and cheap energy binge" Americans have enjoyed is coming to an end. "Consumers have to start (Waller) Continued on Page 20 WASHINGTON (AP) President Carter can claim an important victory in congressional negotiators' approval of a tax on fuel- wasting cars. But a final agreement on the toughest energy problems seems as elu- sive as ever. If accepted by a second con- ference committee and then by the House and Senate, the auto tax would cost buyers of in- efficient 1979-model cars up to a figure that would soar to as much as on 1985 models. The tax was approved Wednesday by the conference committee on energy taxes. Another part of the com- promise approved by the committee would allow the 19 million motorists who itemize income tax deductions to continue to take a deduction for state and local gasoline taxes. The House had voted to end that tax break. Even with those agreements, it seems unlikely that Congress will be able to wrap up work this year on Carter's energy program. The two energy conference committees still face the tough- est issues of al! the price of natural gas, a tax on domestic crude oil to force conservation and the distribution of revenues from that tax. There appears to be a hard- ening of positions on key issues. Sen. Howard Metzenbaum, who supports Carter's House-approved plan to keep federal controls on the price of natural gas, said, "We have no leeway in our position, abso- lutely no flexibility." Rep. Anthony Moffelt, D- Conn., said an increasing num- ber of House members "would certainly rather have no bill than to move too far toward deregulation" of natural gas prices, which is favored by the Senate. And Sen. Russell B. D- lj., the chief Senate delegate at the tax committee, was sharply critical of the Carter administration for what he called its refusal to com- promise on giving the oil and gas industry additional in- centives to increase production. The House-Senate panel con- sidering natural gas faced an- other session today with little prospect of progress. The tax panel, after approv- ing the auto tax, adjourned un- til next week to give staff members time to work out some proposals for taxing fac- tories and power plants that burn large amounts of oil or natural gas. The vote on the auto tax was the first major agreement reached by the tax conferees in 11 days of meetings. The tax is not expected to save a great deal of energy, only about barrels of oil a day compared to current U.S. consumption of 18 million bar- rels a day. But backers view the tax as a highly visible tool to make Americans aware of the need to conserve fuel. The tax would be paid directly by the buyer of any car that does not meet minimum standards. It would be in ad- dition to a heavy fine on any manufacturer whose fleet of new cars did not meet mileage standards. While the manufac- turer would have to pay that penalty, it would be passed along to customers as higher car prices. On the Inside... verge in St. Paul for an after- noon rally. Again, only vague estiinates on the turnout are available. "If we have a good day, I wouldn't be surprised to see a couple hundred tractors and maybe Benson said. "But if it's cold like today or if we've got a bad snow- storm, attendance will be cut hack quite a bit." The movement's national headquarters in Springfield. Colo., claims 2.5 million farm- ers will follow the dictates of strike leaders. That would be almost 50 percent of the na- tion's farmers and ranchers. Reggy I.usk, a spokesman for the Springfield office, says he thinks the strike will be short and successful. "How long can you go he asks. But other leaders say non- striking farmers could carry1 the nation's requirements for farm goods through winter. The strike could be a long one, they claim. The strike has been endorsed by numerous officials across the country, including the Na- tional Farmers Organization and a number of state groups. In Minnesota, state Agriculture Commissioner Bill Walker Wednesday endorsed the strike, but said he could not support a proposal to delay or eliminate planting next spring. Hep. Richard Nolan, D- Minn., whose sprawling 6th District is almost wholly rural, says the nationwide demon- strations are developing sup- port in Congress. "You don't need 100 percent participation to make it Nolan said of the strike. "All you need are some pace set- ters." Nolan has endorsed the strike, saying the withholding of goods and services "has long been an accepted tool by busi- ness, by labor unions and teacher groups." The first impact of the strike is expected to be on sales of farm supplies, seed, chemicals and implements. At a recent trade show in Fargo, supply dealers from the Upper Mid- west said their winter sales have been dramatically re- duced. One reason has been a dis- astrous year for grain prices, but the impending strike is also {Strike! Continued imPajt 20 Carter claims energy victory A Christmas Carol Fifth and sixth graders al Lincoln School performed Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" at Eisenhower PTA Tuesday evening before a crowd of 175. Scenes clockwise, from the upper left: Bruce Petlerson and his daughter natch. Tory BUdow played Scrooge and Bob Empey played Marty's Ghost. Sixth graders sang carols before the play. Kathy Boss, fifth grade teacher, helps Susan Nelson with her costume. Angels included Debbie Wollan and Rlsa Westergard. Ber- nice Roysland directed the play and Lacy Wing directed the music. (Journal photos by Harley Oyloe) Wholesale prices rise 0.7 pet. WASHINGTON MP> Wholesale prices rose 0.7 per- cent in November as the cost of food continued to climb al a rapid rate, the I.abor Depart- ment said today. The wholesale price increase iras smaller than the 0.6 per- cent gain in October, but it was still enough to contribute sub- stantially to inflation. Farm products rose 3 percent in cost for I be month after a 2.4 percent rise in October and five months of declines before that. The prices of industrial com- modities rose 0.4 percent, com- pared with a 0.6 percent in- crease the month before, in- dicating that food prices have been the main cause of the two- month jump in wholesale prices. Prices paid to wholesalers usually show up later a! retail stores and are considered an early warning of inflation trends. Most of Ihe food price increases had not been reflect- ed at supermarkets in the latest consumer price report for October. Wholesale price increases usually take a few months to show up in the Consumer Price Index, which measures the na- tion's inflation rate. That index ent up a moderate 0.3 percent in each of the last three months. The Ubor Department said the price of finished goods, which may be a more accurate indicator than the Wholesale Price Index, rose 0.4 percent, naif the 0.8 percent increase the month before. This index does not duplicate price changes as they move through all stages of processing. finished consumer foods rose 0.4 percent, the second con- secutive monthly increase after four months of decreases. Prices were higher for beef and veal, fresh and dried vege- tables, dairy products, cereal and bakery products, processed fruits and vegetables and par- ticularly sugar. Prices were lower for roasted coifee, pork, processed poultry and fresh fruits. Prices in consumer durable goods, which are long-lasting products, rose only 9.1 percent, mainly because of smaller rises for jewelry and passenger cars. Prices increased sharply for gasoline and home heating oil but declined for tobacco prod- ucts'. The main reason for the slow- Prices) Continued on Page 20 Abortion funds issue may still come up again WASHINGTON (AP) Con- gress is ending its debate over public payments for poor wom- en's abortions, but members al- ready are predicting that the issue will come up again. After more than four months of bitter argument, the House and Senate agreed Wednesday on conditions for abortion fund- ing through the Medicaid pro- gram, which serves mostly poor people. The agreement freed a J60.2 billion appropriation for the government's major social service agencies and guaran- teed that the employees involved would receive full paychecks before Christmas. Without an agreement on the measure, their checks would have been cut in half as the agencies ran out of payroll money. The dispute arose in con- nection with the funding authorization for the depart- ments of I-abor and Health, Education and Welfare in fiscal year 1978. Ten smaller agencies also depended upon the legislation for their budgets. The compromise calls for abortion payments when a woman might die by going through a full pregnancy, for rape or incest victims" who make prompt reports to law en- forcement or public health au- thor ities and in cases where two doctors certify that a woman would suffer severe and long- lasting physical health damage because of a pregnancy. The House and Senate agreed from Ihe beginning that abor- tion payments should be pro- vided when a pregnant wom- an's life was threatened. But they differed on other points. The Senate wa nted to take the physical and mental health of the woman and the fetus into Witness: Webber said he left for Winona account. The House, in declin- ing to go that far, ruled out en- tirely any exceptions for fetal health and a woman's mental health. The House also insisted on limits to the exemptions for a woman's physical health. The provisions for rape and incest victims were among the most controversial. The House members were willing to pro- vide coversge in case of forced rape. But they opposed the stat- utory rape provision, which covers pregnancies of women below the legal age of coasent. The Senate reluctantly agreed to the reporting require- ments to satisfy House con- cerns that the rape-incest provison would encourage fraud. Weather roundup Travelers advisory tonight. Light snow or flurries becoming windy with con- siderable blowing and drifting snow continuing tonight which "ill make driving hazardous. Bitterly cold tonight. Clear (o partly cloudy and very cold Friday. Northerly winds 25 to 40 mph diminishing a little late lonight. Lows tonight 20 beimv to 30 below. Highs Friday J below to 15 below. Probability of measurable precipitation 20 percent tonight. High Wednesday: 7. -6 1. Precipitation 24 hours ending 8 a.m. today: .04. Sunrise Friday: Low- Temperatures One Year Ago High: G. Low: -13. Since asked. Page 8 Area happenings. Page II On the local scene. Page 12 AUSTIN, Minn. (AP) Bruce Webber told a Center- ville, Wis. bartender he "had to go back to Winona" the night Shirleen Howard was slain in the basement of her home, the bartender toH a jury' at Web- ber's murder trial today. Webber, 36, Rockdale, III., is charged with murder and con- spiracy in Mrs. Howard's death. Donald Howard is charged with hiring Webber to do the killing. Mrs. Dora Black, Center- ville, was one of six witnesses called by the state by midday today. She identified Webber as one of two men sitting in the Acorn Ballroom at 7 p.m. on Aug. 13, when she came to work. She asked the men to stay to listen to a band in the evening. but Webber said she had to go to Winona, she testified. She said Webber left between p.m. and p.m., before two other examination that the Brom- merichs may have come to work early. Brommerich has given a statement to the defense that Webber was still in the bar when he arrived. Mrs. Howard employes, Ervin and Bonnie that Howard came to his home Brommerich came to work. She last when Webber was acknowledged under cross staying there, to discuss the purchase of some power tools. Itiska said he and his wife had been considering the purchase and Webber told them he had arranged for a discount from Howard. Terry Tckippc of Independ- was slain just after 9 p.m. on ence, Iowa, who worked in the night of Aug. 13. Howard's store from March The operators of the Sunshine Bar in Winona, Mr. and Mrs. Robert Mueller, testified early today that they saw Webber in their bar around p.m. and that Howard joined him in a booth for a 20-minute talk. In testimony Wednesday, witnesses said they saw Webber and Howard together before the murder, and lhat Webber was registered al a Winona motel on the night Mrs. Files don't refufe Warren Commission Howard was kitted. Webber's nephew, Roy Riska of Winona, testified Wednesday 1976 to June 1977, testified that Webber had been in the store often in the fall of 1976 for long conversations with Howard in the office or at the back of the store. Tekippe said Webber came to the store "quite regu- larly if not every day, every other day." Howard told him that Webber always carried a weapon, Te- kippe said. He said that in late March or early April he asked to see the weapon and Webber CntinedMPagtM WASHINGTON' (AP) The FBI has opened its files on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy but this has so far not closed the case on two 14- year-old questions: Did I Harvey Oswald mur- der the president on his own? And if so, why? A preliminary reading of the files, released Wednesday, does not refute the Warren Commis- sion conclusion that Oswald acted independently. What does emerge from the pages from the FBI's records another are to be released in January1 is a sharpened picture of the frantic days following Kennedy's mur- der in Dallas on Nov. They show that: two hours of the president's death, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover believed the crime was committed by Os- wald, whom he called "a mean- minded individual in the cat- egory of a nut." as quickly, bureau agents began a hunt of un- precedented magnitude, run- ning down thousands of leads ranging from reports of a Cas- tro-inspired plot to threatening graffiti on lavatory walls. Hoover presided over the in- vestigation, urging speed yet thoroughness by his agents. Al the same time he worked to preserve his bureau's image by- pressuring "our many friends" in the news media. The half-ton of files give a vivid portrait o! a nation sud- denly gone mad. Hundreds thousands of Americans said they had seen or talked with Oswald in almost every part of Ihe country. A woman in Akron, Ohio, said she had asked Oswald to dance with her in a local gin mill shortly before the assassi- nation. Oswald refused and just sat in a chair and cried. So she danced with a "Mr. Huby" in- stead. Others said they had seen Os- wald and Jack Ruby, the Dallas nightclub owner who shot him dead Nov. together in many places. An Atlanta telephone oper- ator reported placing long dis- tance phone calls to Oswald and then Ruby in Dallas early that November. Phone company records showed no such calls. Agents doggedly ran down all such leads. All too often they ended in a blind rat in- frequently, a blind dnmk al- ley. More serious paths led to- ward Fidel Castro, Communist leader of Cuba. The FBI obtain- ed a letter from Havana to Os- wald mentioning money pay- Files) CMtimnlMiPageM   

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