Gaston Gazette (Newspaper) - March 11, 1995, Gastonia, North Carolina • ' V- TJ m ^ — II.'. 4 » » t, n u -, SATURDAY, MARCH 11, 1995 Fr^ay remits Ï Virginia/ 77 lia Tech $7 UNC Ctemson Maryland Florida State WakeEarest 17 Duke 70 ^ Today's matchups Virginia vs. Wake Forest 1:3p p.m. UNC vs. Maryland 4 p.m. 7t 71 64 PAUE 10 "TSaoSaîSTPrSSs Rundolph Chlldf«s hudclto> with teammate». Jane Love/The Gazette Gaston, nation liacli to worli Finding a job getting easier in Gaston By Sally Kuhl Gazette Staff Reporter GASTONIA - Finding a job is easy today in Greater Gaston. So easy in fact, an economist at a local college says the employed are seeking better jobs. At the Gastonia office of the state Employment Security Commission, Tim Beam said job orders are up 33 percent from a year ago. "We've probably got more jobs than we h^ve folks to fit the jobs," said Beam, assistant manager. So even while Gaston's unemployment rate sits at 3.8 percent — well below the 5 percent benchmark generally regarded as full employment - a flood of people apply for jobs when well-known companies move to town. For example, The Home Depot received about 6,000 applications for the 155 jobs at the new Gastonia store on Franklin Boulevard. "They are not all unemployed people who are applying for those jobs," said John Connaughton, an economist at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. "They are people who are looking for better jobs who are already employed." Explosive growth in Gaston's retail and service sectors seems unaffected by a low jobless rate. Connaughton said low employment rates point to a healthy economy that can attract new business and industry, even when there is a tight labor market. Please see J0BS/2A Restaurants like Red Lobster, under construction in Gastonia, add to the job base. Gazette photos by John Clark The Home Depot employees work in the garden center at the newly opened store. Unemployment Rates The unemployment rates in February for major industrial states as reported Friday by the Labor Department: ■California, 7.3%, down from 8.2% in January. ■ Florida, 5.3%, unchanged. K Massachusetts, 5.4%, down from 6.0%. ■Michigan, 5.6%, up from 5.5%. »New York, 6.1%, up from 6.0%. ■North Carolina, 4.6%, up from 3.8%. aTexas, 5.1%, down from 5.8%. Randy Eiwin Jr./The Gazette Nation's unemployment improves to 5.4 percent WASHINGTON (AP) - The nation's unemployment rate improved dramatically last month, falling to 5.4 percent as increased jobs for secretaries, restaurant workers and other service employees jumped by the largest amount in nearly a year. Wall Street rallied on the news, pushing stock prices to record levels. The Labor Department said today that total payroll employment grew by 318,000 workers in February, the best showing since November, with much of the strength coming in a big jump in business hiring of temporary office workers. The drop of 0.3 percentage point in the unemployment rate pushed the jobless level back down to a 4-year low. It had been at 5.4 percent in December, but took a sharp spurt upward in Jan uary. Please see RATE/2A FINAL SPORTS EDITION The latest nev.s and scores from the 25 CENTS House passes law bill Measure completes Republicans' proposal for U.S. legal system WASHINGTON (AP) - Wrapping up a sweeping series of recommended changes in the nation's legal system, the House passed Republican legislation Friday that would make it easier for businesses to prevail in product-liability cases and harder for consumers to win certain damage awards. Final passage on a vote of 265-161 sent ¿¿-ru^ the measure, along "The people with two companion are important bills, to an uncertain fate in the Senate. and they will benefit. The business they will benefit.* J Henry Hyde, R-lll. Judiciary Committee chairman White House spokesman Mike McCurry said the package of bills community is "doesn't do enough . j. to protect the inter- important and ests of the American consumer," and consumer groups and the nation's trial lawyers vowed to press for substantial changes. In addition to establishing a first-ever nationwide standard of proof in product-liability cases and capping punitive damages in all civil suits brought in state and federal courts, the measure passed Friday grants special relief in two categories. It puts a $250,000 cap on pain and suffering awards in medical malpractice cases, and immunizes the makers of Food and Drug Administration-approved drugs and medical devices from paying punitive damages, which are designed to punish and deter future misconduct. Please see BILL72A Michael Jordan quits baseball CHICAGO (AP) - Bye-bye baseball, hello roundball? Michael Jordan ended his brief run at a baseball career Friday, clearing the way for his return to the Chicago Bulls and the sport he defined with mid-air grace and flare. Talk of Jordan's future clogged the airwaves and dominated the coffee shop conversations again Friday in a city craving for more of its most famous Jordan sports figure. M.J. wasn't at a pregame shootaround at the Bulls' practice facility in suburban Deerfield. His appearances there the previous three days prompted speculation about his return. But later in the day Jordan was spotted going Please see J0RDAN/2A O.J. Simpson Trial Why'did O.J. Simpson have a long-handled shovel, a towel and a large, heavy-duty plastic bag in the back of his bloodstained car on the nighr his wife and her friend were killed? That is part of what jurors were left to contemplate from Police Det. Mark Fuh>man's testimony Friday. Page 4A INDEX Fuhrman Abby/ 2D Bulletin Board/ 2D Business/ 4-68 Classified/3D-8E Comics/ 6-7C Crossword/ 70 Faith/1-2D • • • 5 sections/ 40 pages Call us Gastonia/864-3291 Lincolnton/735-4616 Charlotte/825-5158 Fax/867-6988 Hometown/ IB Horoscope/ 60 Movies/ 80 Opinion/2B Obituaries/7 B Sports/1-80 Television/60 • • The Gazette Is a recyclable product. Sunny High 65 Low 41« Details/ 2A Who's to blame? Some say talk show may be responsible for man's death NEW YORK (AP) - A talk show focusing on "Secret Admirers" led to the killing of one guest, allegedly by another. Is "The Jenny Jones Show" to blame? And was this a tragedy just waiting to happen? Yes to both questions, according to talk-show critics, who argue that anything goes to boost ratings. "What we have here," said Patricia Aufderheide, a communication professor at American University, "is the retailing of emotional conflict for the casual pleasure of viewers. The consequence is human tragedy." Jonathan T. Schmitz, 24, pleaded innocent Friday to first-degree murder in the death of 32-year-old Scott Amedure. He was held without bond. Amedure, described by a neighbor as a talk-show fan, had been at Monday's taping to disclose his affection for Schmitz during the hourlong "Jenny Jones" episode titled "Secret Admirers." Three days later, he was dead of two shotgun blasts to the chest. Police ¿aid Schmitz, who surrendered moments after the shooting, told them that his experience on the talk show had "eaten away" at him. A statement from Jim Paratore, president of "Jones" syndicator Tele-pictures Productions, insisted Friday "there was no wrongdoing on anyone's part connected with the show," which is currently not scheduled to be aired. But the chain of events provided fodder for talk-show critics who charge that guests are put in unexpected and upsetting situations for the sake of lively TV. The shooting "says something about the morality of people who would play one person off another Please see SH0W/2A Coming Sunday: ^ Are you obsessed with O.J?