Aiken Standard, May 30, 1989

Aiken Standard

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Location: Aiken, South Carolina

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Aiken Standard (Newspaper) - May 30, 1989, Aiken, South Carolina ftften County Public Library Sports Pistons Even NBA Series Page 8A A Quick Read Wooden Bridges Making Comeback NORWICH, Vt. (AP) — Wooden bridges, long ago relegated to picture postcard status, are making a comeback as engineers merge today’s technologies with the material of yesteryear. “Wood is so commonplace,” says John Crist, director of the U.S. Forest Service Timber Bridge Program. “It just hasn’t been sexy, like steel and concrete.” With deteriorating bridges on the increase and state and federal highway funds being squeezed, timber is getting a new look from engineers and government planners who for years have favored concrete and steel. Crist and others say new designs for wood allow timber bridges to support the same 40,000-ton trucks as concrete and steel. They also claim wood will last longer, and is cheaper to build and maintain. D.C. Tourism Sags: Weather Or Crime? WASHINGTON (AP) - The years seem to run together for Sara Keren, a vendor who for eight years has made a living snapping pictures of tourists who pose on Pennsylvania Avenue next to a cutout of the president. Keren, sitting on a chair next to a cardboard of President Bush, said she sells about IO photos a day — a figure that has remained constant for years. So, when told official statistics show tourism in the nation’s capital is sagging, she added with a hint of surprise: “I had no idea. I really haven’t noticed any difference from last year to this year. But I hardly ever do.” Figures compiled by the Smithsonian Institution and the National Park Service indicate that tourism is down in Washington during the first four months of 1989 compared with that period last year. Officials put the blame on everything from the weather to the rise in crime. The homicide toll stands at a record 189 so far this year, compared with 122 at this time last year. Weather Sunny Skies Fair skies are forecast tonight with a low in the 60s. Mostly sunny skies are forecast Wednesday with a high in the 90s. Please see details on Page 11A. Deaths Diane Booker, Trenton Virginia F. Corder, Wagener Nancy L. Cousart, Aiken Fred R. Good, Evans, Ga. Charles Alba Fliers, Springfield William D. Smith, Graniteville Please see details on Page 11 A. Inside Today Bridge..............................................5B Calendar...........................................7B Classifieds........................................3B Comics.............................................2B Crossword........................................6B Cryptoquote......................................4B Dear Abby.........................................2B Lewis Grizzard  ......................5A Local Front.......................................1B Obituaries.......................................11A Opinions...........................................4A Sports...............................................8A Television.........................................2B Weather.........................................11A Page 2A Argentina Deciares State Of Siege Lawmakers Hope To Avoid Tax Hike Tuesday, May 30, 1989 Aiken, South Carolina Vol. 122 No. 129 Du Pont Awaits DOE Answer On Pay Court May Settle Severance Dispute By BRAD SWOPE Staff Writer Du Pont Co. officials expect to learn today or Wednesday whether they’ll have to sue the Department of Energy to determine which one pays the tab for $64.4 million in Savannah River Site severance pay. Du Pont distributed the pay to about 6,500 site employees before it withdrew April I as contractor at the nuclear weapons plant. The company sent the bill to local DOE officials for reimbursement, and the department’s 60-day response period will expire Wednesday, said Albert H. Peters, manager of Du Pont’s Aiken office. Department officials previously had refused to advance Du Pont the amount. If they also reject the bill, as expected, it will clear the way for Du Pont to file its threatened lawsuit seeking reimbursement. “I assume we’ll hear something from (DOE) today or tomorrow,” Peters said. \ Du Pont’s next step would be to file suit in federal claims court in Washington, D.C., he said, but declined to speculate when that would occur. The Delaware-based company designed and built the plant, then operated it for nearly 39 years before turning the reins over to Westinghouse Savannah River Co. on April I. DOE officials have previously said SRS severance pay isn’t appropriate, at least not at taxpayers’ expense, because virtually all of the site’s employees were guaranteed comparable jobs and benefits under Westinghouse. But Du Pont officials say severance is an agreed-to, reimbursable benefit under the company’s non-profit contract with the DOE to operate the plant. They say ifs been company policy to pay severance any time one of its facilities changes hands, regardless of whether jobs are lost. Despite the brewing legal dispute, the severance pay provided the Aiken area with an economic windfall. Financial institutions offered special interest rates as they competed for new investment dollars in the days following Du Pont’s withdrawal, and automobile dealers, realtors and retailers braced for new business as well. Proposed Forces Reductions in Europe Sales Tax May Be Decided By Voters AP/ R. Dominguez Summit Ends On Note Of Unity, Pledge For 'New Political Order' By The Associated Press BRUSSELS, Belgium — President Bush and the Western allies hammered out a last-minute compromise over nuclear missiles today and ended unity-minded NATO summit talks pledging “to shape a new political order of peace in Europe.” Bush urged Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev to accept his challenge to intensify negotiations on reducing conventional NATO and Warsaw Pact forces. “I have reason to believe that he knows we’ve been serious,” Bush said. NATO Warm To Cuts.................Page    12A The president said he hoped Gorbachev wiU be persuaded by the “unity of the alliance” behind Bush’s proposals for lowering troop levels to 275,000 on each side and negotiating new ceilings for tanks, aircraft and other conventional weapons on the European continent. “I think it’s a good thing, it’s good for NATO, I happen to think it’s good for the entire free world,” Bush told a televised (Please See SUMMIT, Page 12A) By The Associated Press COLUMBIA — State voters may soon be able to decide if they want to pay a 1-cent sales tax in return for a reduction in property taxes. The state Senate agreed to the socalled local option sales tax Monday, giving local governments a major victory. A similar measure has already passed the House and Gov. Carroll Campbell has said he endorses the concept. As a result, local governments seem certain to win adoption of some new law this year that will end their dependence on property taxes for revenue. “Ifs been a long time coming,” Howard Duvall of the Municipal Association of South Carolina said after the 27-15 vote. City and county officials failed in a bid for the local option sales tax last year when they couldn’t agree on a common position. Opponents tried to delay the bill with a mini-filibuster that lasted until 2 a.m. Friday, when the bill received tentative approval. Any similar attempts were blocked Monday afternoon when the Senate agreed to limit debate. Still, the Senate waded through 25 amendments before passing a bill that left many still dissatisfied. “The bill that passed is not a property tax reform bill,” said Sen. Glenn McConnell, R-Charleston. “It is a vehicle for a back-door tax increase.” McConnell had sought to have property taxes capped after the sales tax money was used for rollbacks, and he favored IOO percent use of the money raised for property tax rollbacks. As passed by the House, the bill allowed counties to increase the sales tax from 5 percent to 6 percent if voters approve. At least half the new money would go to property tax rollbacks and the remainder to cities and counties for general revenue. The Senate adopted several changes, including: ^ Exempting groceries. ^ Requiring that 75 percent of the money raised must be applied to property tax rollbacks. ^ Weighting property tax rollbacks to Rate Burden Shifted To Bad Drivers By The Associated Press COLUMBIA — State lawmakers have approved a package of automobile insurance reforms that could save good drivers up to $86 - if the savings aren’t nullified by expected rate increases. The proposal, which now must be approved by both chambers before going to Gov. Carroll Campbell for his approval, was adopted by a legislative conference committee on Monday. It shifts more cost of insurance onto the backs of bad drivers from good drivers. Good drivers are identified as those who have either no traffic penalties or no more than one ticket for going less than IO mph over the speed limit. But state Insurance Commissioner John Richards said rate increases will almost certainly be approved this summer to become effective in the fall. Rates have not increased since the fall of 1987, he said, and he would not (Please See RATE, Page 12AI give homeowners more tax relief than manufacturers. Requiring counties that collect more than $5 million annually in new tax revenues— believed to number about 13 — to distribute up to 5 percent of their total to counties that collected less than $2 million, estimated to total around 20. (Please See SALES, Page 12A) Students Defy Police In Protest Of Arrests GODDESS Tiananman AP Laserphoto UNVEILED: Beijing university students unveil their Goddess of Democracy in Square. An estimated 100,000 were on hand for the unveiling 4    V    ' By The Associated Press BEIJING — About 1,000 students and workers today rallied outside police headquarters to protest the reported arrests of leaders of a new independent labor union aligned with the student pro-de-mocracy movement. The protesters refused police orders to disperse, while thousands of their colleagues continued to occupy nearby Tiananmen Square after protest leaders failed to resolve a dispute over whether to end the three-week sit-in. The reported arrest of three leaders of the Beijing Independent Workers’ Union was just the latest indication that Communist authorities are getting tough with non-student participants in the movement. The Beijing Daily reported today that police detained ll leaders of the “Flying Tiger Brigade,” a band of 400 motorcyclists that has roared through the city in support of the student protesters. Zhao Pinglu, head of the independent union, said one of its leaders, a 27-year-old official with the national airlines, was grabbed by police Monday. Two other union leaders, both employees of the Ministry of Railways, disappeared and were assumed arrested, Zhao said. Li Zhihuang, wife of railway employee Qian Yiming, said her husband’s work unit claimed he was arrested by police “to find out about the situation at Tiananmen Square,” which students took over to press their six-week-old campaign for a freer society and an end to official corruption. Outside police headquarters, a man who identified himself as chief of Beijing Public Security told a U.S. television crew there that no students had been arrested. He refused comment on whether (Please See STUDENTS, Page 12A) \ ;