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Brownsville Herald (Newspaper) - September 27, 1892, Brownsville, Texas Vol. W7, No. 85 ©1897 The Brownsville Herald. All rights reserved.. THE 4TH OF JULY í 8 9 2 September 27. 199cS ISunday 50 cents daily / $1.25 Sunday UNTERS Task force searches for rugs Page A7 H.S. Football TODAY Rows rocks Hanna Page D1 Birth defects on the rise By TIM LOPES The Brownsville Herald As the afternoon heat rises from the dirt roads of Cameron Park, a soothing breeze stirs the tuft of hair on little Estrella Rodriguez's head. The infant seems to almost smile in her sleep at the distant laughter of children making their way home from school. With teary eyes, Yesenia Rodriguez smiles at her daughter. Neural tube problems near 1991'cluster' levels She refers to her 2-month-old daughter as a "miracle baby". It was two years ago that, at the urging of her doctors and family, Rodriguez chose to terminate a pregnancy rather than give birth to an anen-cephalic baby. "I had no idea what it was. I did n't know about those things until the day they told me my baby had no brain," Rodriguez said. This year, the rate of babies born with neural tube defects in Cameron County through July hit a high rate of 22. That's comparable to the 1991 rate of 27.1, what health officials call the "Brownsville Cluster." The rate through July for 1997 was 9.07. There have been 11 babies bom with neural tube defects so far this year in Cameron County, lowering the rate to 21.3 per 10,000 live births. For Rodriguez, the pain of her experience has yet to fade. What makes it even harder is not knowing how it happened or what caused it. The cause of neural tube defects, which include anencephaly, spina bifida and encephalocele have been the subject of intense scrutiny since the early 1990s when the local Starr Material A reflection of America By NANCY BENAC The Associated Press WASHINGTON — Whatever its role in presidential history, the latest 7-pound stack of documents from prosecutor Kenneth Starr serves as a window on America's pop culture, its conflicted attitudes toward sex and the dizzying pace of the Information Age. The "Titanic" movie craze, the herbal fad ginko, the death-of-Princess-Diana catharsis, even the banned diet drug phen-fen make an appearance in the 3,183 pages of Monica Lewinsky minutiae made public by Congress last week. Where else would the dress have come from than the Gap, fashion source for the khaki-clad masses? Beeper messages ricochet among lawyers, lovers and intermediaries, a sign of the technology-driven times. Faxes, e-mail and Internet gossip chronicle the unraveling story. The two volumes of documents are a kind of time capsule, containing drafts of unsent letters, recollections of private conversations, lists of comings and goings, logs of phone messages and the like. "It will be a great document for a cultural historian," says Warren Belasco, chair of American Studies at the University of Maryland, Bahimore County. While Belasco cautions that the oddities of the Clinton-Lewinsky affair make it anything but typical, echoes of American life are clear in the Starr documents. Blended into legal treatises and document appendices are the torments of young love and the pathos of middle-aged angst. Ms. Lewinsky muses to Clinton about pop singer Sarah McLachlan's lyrics, "I don't know how to let you go." The baby boomer president tells her that his life "was falling apart" when he hit 40, and that he kept a calendar tracking how long he had "been good" about avoiding other women, she says. How Americans react to the Lewinsky stoiy — with everything from shock to a shrug — serves as a sort of Rorschach test for the nation. "I feel sad that we aren't more shaken by the disruption of a mar-(See STARR, Page A12) A day at the races Albert Villegas/The. Brownsville Herald Fans gather to see some of the boats competing at the South Padre Island Boat Grand Prix Saturday. See Race, Page A3. Reading symposium called a model for others By MEL HUFF The Brownsville Herald The second annual Brownsville Reads symposium "went beyond our expectations," co-founder Norma Garza said Friday evening 'This is the model for this country and the world. Wherever I go, I'll mention Brownsville, Texas.' Carolyn Oliver of Hello Friends Putney, Vt. after the event. She said she was especially pleased by the strong community support. "We received many comments that demonstrated a surprising awareness," she said. The group has already started making plans for next year's events, which will include a one-day seminar for board members of public and private universities and principals of public and private schools. "We're just going to focus on the decision-makers next year," she said. "We feci tha the teachers have plenty of information to go on right now." She said the group is also planning a seminar for pediatricians, who are often the first professionals to see children with learning difficulties. Mary Jo Monfils, the Brownsville Independent School District's area administrator for curriculum and instruction, said she visited every workshop and thought the symposium "went very, very well ... I sensed an atmosphere of seriousness, of commitment." Monfils is also on the board of Brownsville Reads. "Our speakers were wonderful," she said, adding, "The principals went out of their way to make the sites attractive." Monfils said last year's symposium had only six presenters, compared to more than 20 this year. Last year the nation's two leading experts in brain research and reading spoke to very large groups, she said. "This year we had smaller groups, so there was more of a sense of concentration," Monfils said. "Of course, that's after a whole year of internalizing the message of restructuring reading," she noted. Brownsville Reads co-founder Elsa Hagan said she,' too, was impressed by the community support. "Lots of people filled out response cards at the dinner," she said. They volunteered money and time, wanted to find out how they could educate themselves, and asked what they could do as members of the business community. Hagan said people from other parts of the Valley .showed strong interest Brownsville's reading program. "We had people from McAllen asking us to come and share our model," she said. Hagan called the response from the presenters "overwhelming." She said when Carolyn Oliver of Hello Friends in Putney, Vt., left, she told Hagan, "This is the model for this country and the world." Hagan said Oliver told her, "Wherever I go, I'll mention Brownsville, Texas." health community noticed the Brownsville Cluster. An increasing number of babies were being born in Brownsville with anencephaly, a fatal condition in which babies are born with partial or no brains. Babies with spina bifida are born with a cyst on the spinal cord, which results in paralysis below the cyst. Encephalocele is a (See DEFECTS, Page A12) Congress approves tax cut $80 billion in election year By CURT ANDERSON The Associated Press WASHINGTON — An $80 billion Republican tax cut calculated to appeal to millions of middle-class Americans, from two-income married couples to financially strapped farmers, passed the House in a unusual Saturday session. President Clinton immediately renewed his threat to veto the elec-tion-year bill because it would spend a small part of the $1.6 trillion budget surplus forecast over the next decade instead of holding all of it until Social Security is safeguarded. "I will insist that we reserve the entire surplus until we have seized this historic opportunity to save Social Security, and veto any bill that doesn't meet that principle," Clinton said during a fund-raising trip to California. But with only six weeks until the congressional elections. Republicans were determined to push through a relatively small tax cut that would remind Voters of their top priorities. The House passed the measure 229-195, sending it to the Senate, where its future is less certain. "Republicans believe that Americans have worked hard for their money and deserve to keep as much of it as possible," House Speaker Newt Gingrich, R-Ga., said in the GOP response to Clinton's weekly radio address. "We want to return your money to you so that you can spend it on your own priorities," the speaker added. The bill, which totals $80 billion over five years, would benefit married couples, farmers, small business operators, working senior citizens, people with modest savings accounts and students saving for private colleges. It also would extend several expiring tax credits sought by big business and would allow school districts to keep more bond proceeds for construction. Crafted for maximum political (See TAXES, Page A12) Tired of same old infections? Try babesiosis or Chagas disease By DANIEL Q.HANEY The Associated Press SAN DIEGO — As though ordinary flu and tuberculosis aren't enough to worry about, specialists at an infectious disease conference are spending the weekend running down a compendium of new and emerging bugs — an assortment of germs that have probably escaped the attention of all but the most committed hypochondriacs. Who, for instance, has given much thought to catching babesiosis? Or Chagas disease? Or a skin infection spread by fish? All of those and more are on the agenda of the American Society for Microbiology's annual meeting on infectious diseases, and all are at least potential worries of anyone living in North America. Some of the diseases arc truly new. Others have always been around but have escaped notice, in part because scientists have not had the technology to identify them until now. Rare as the bugs may seem, experts suspect many of them are much more common than anyone realizes, simply because doctors do not often realize their patients have them. In fact, many who catch these bugs probably get better on their own without ever being properly diagnosed. "With these emerging disease, one problem is getting people to think about them," said Dr. Patricia Conrad of the University of California, Davis. For instance, babesiosis is an unusual but not unheard of tick-bornc infection in the Northeast and Midwest caused by Babesia microti. The single-cell parasite infects red blood cells, leaving victims anemic and feeling like they have the flu. The disease can be life-(See GERMS, Page A12) 6'™38153"00002 O Abby ..............D10 Amusements-Dro Business..........El Calendar........A10 Classified........CI Editorial..........A14 Entertainment ..09 Lifestyle............B1 Obituaries........D8 Outdoors..........E5 Sports..............D1 Valley/state ....Al3 Visit our Web Site at www.brownsvlUeherald.com Don Pedro says: Don PMro walked Into the newsroom wearing tandals and $30 shades. ■Ai« you headed out to the Island?' asked the dty editor. Thafi right; saM the soon-to-be sun-tanned Don. 'I'm off to see the powerboats.' "Enjoy tt while you can. Our luck In misaing the hurrlcanea can't last forever,' saM the dty editor. 'I hear ya,' aaM D.P. and out he went. □ Teacher«, Page A2 □ Vietnam display, PageAS □ lUrtle reieate, Page Al3 □ Hill country. Page Ai?
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