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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung: Thursday, December 19, 1996 - Page 4

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   New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung (Newspaper) - December 19, 1996, New Braunfels, Texas                                4 o HeraldZeitung Q Thursday December 19 1996 Opinion To talk with Interim Managing Editor Jim Denery about the Opinion page call 625 9144 Ext 221 Q U O T A B L Our flag is the symbol of our freedom freedom to dishonor as well as honor If it symbolizes anything its that we are free to criticize or attack even our basic Leanne Katz civil liberties activist 1995 D I T O R I A L Putting the U in success Congratulations to David Sansing and Kathy Meurin and the scores of volunteers for United Way Thanks to these outstanding leaders and the people who were willing to take the time to solicit money for the Unit ed Way of Comal County the local goal of has been met However their efforts would have been in vain if it had not been for the generosity of the people of Comal County In the past couple of months the spirit of giving has been raised throughout the county Its important to remember that nearly 99 percent of all money raised will stay right here in Comal County helping to fund the efforts of 28 charitable organizations To Joe Rogers executive director and Laurie Harper administrative assistant and the volunteers whose efforts demonstrate why Comal County is a great place to live Flanagan EMS crews deserve praise thanks Another congratulations is in order to Dr John Flanagan who recently was named Texas EMS Medical Director of the Year Flanagan the medical director for 12 years for the New Braunfels EMS and 10 years for the Canyon Lake EMS was nominated for the honor by the EMS employees Flanagan when asked about the award said the recogni tion belongs not just to him but to the paramedics in the field Congratulations to Flanagan and both EMS departments Todays editorials were written by Publisher and Editor Doug Write us The New Braunfels HeraldZeitung welcomes letters on any public issue The editor reserves the right to correct spelling style punctuation and known factual errors Letters should be kept to 250 words We publish only original mail addressed to the New Braunfels Herald Zeitung bearing the writers signature Also an address and a telephone number which are not for publication must be included Please cite the page number and date of any article that is mentioned Preference is given to writers who have not been published in the pre vious 30 days Mail letters to Letters to the Editor the New Braunfels HeraldZeitung Drawer 311328 New Braunfels Texas 781311328 Fax 210 6251224 New Braunfels HeraldZeitung Editor and Publisher Ext Toney Director of Advertising Ext BantaScott Retail Advertising Manager Ext Osteen Classified Advertising Manager Ext Reininger Business Manager Ext Lee Hall Circulation Director Ext Ann Avery Pressroom Foreman Ext Parnell Interim Managing Editor Ext Denery Published on Sunday mornings and weekday mornings Tuesday through Friday by the New Braunfels llmililZeituiig USPS 377880 707 Lands or Drawer 311328 New liraunfels Comal County Tx 78131 1328 Periodical postage paid by the New Braunfels I leraldZeinutg in New Uraunfels Texas Carrier delivered in Comal and Guadalupc counties three months six months one year Senior Citizen Discounts by carrier delivery only six months one year Mail delivery outside Comal County in Texas three months six months one year Mail outside Texas six months one year Subscribers who have not received a newspaper by Tuesday through Friday or by on Sunday may call 210 6259144 or by weekdays or by II on Sunday POSTMASTER Send address changes to the New Braunfels HeraMZeiiwig Draw er 311328 New Uraunfels Tx 781311328 Opinion Online contact To submit letters and guest columns electronically by way of online services or Internet or to simply contact staff members the managing editors address is DLoveday@AOL.com Texas needs guidelines on genetic testing Under the bills provisions genetictest informa tion cannot be disclosed without authorization from tested individuals Samples of genetic material taken for a test remain the property of the individuals and must be destroyed promptly after the purposes for which they were taken are accomplished The bill prohibits employers from discriminat ing against employees or potential employees on She basis of genetic information or because they declined to submit to genetic testing It also pre vents labor organizations from using genetictest results to exclude or expel members and prohibits employment agencies from practicing genetic dis crimination Additionally SB 98 prohibits insurers from using genetic information to deny limit cancel increase the premiums for or otherwise adversely affect eligibility for insurance coverage It also pro hibits premium commission discrimination based on genetic testing Improper disclosure of genetic test results can have broad effects Genetic information relates to all family members not just to persons tested so test results can negatively affect an entire family As it is possible for gene tests inadvertently to dis close family secrets involving paternity or adop tion they also can reveal medical history that could cause insurance companies to deny coverage to all family members SB 98 includes testresult privacy exceptions if disclosures are authorized under state or federal law for indentifying persons for use in juvenile proceedings inquests or child abuse cases or for establishing blood relatives for the purposes of medical diagnosis paternity As humangenome mapping continues and new genetic tests are developed it is vital that the 75th Texas Legislature address the dual nature of genet ic testing As Francis Collins chief of the federal Human Genome Project explained This is what genetics is all about right now this contrast between rapid and exciting scientific advances that carry enormous promise to alleviate and yet the poten tial for this information to be used in ways that injure peo Patients frequently opt for ignorance over the procure ment of potentially lifesaving information about their genetic Dr Henry Lynch president of the Creighton University Hereditary Cancer Institute observed in a recent article in the Journal of the National Can cer His comment describes patients whose fear of genetic discrimination prompted them to make decisions about gene testing that were not in their best medical interests The National Cancer Institute reports that more than diseases are identified as genetic and passed on in families N Gene tests are available to detect either the dis ease or persons predisposition to Alzheimers dis ease colon cancer cystic fibrosis sickle cell ane mia Huntington disease early onset Cancer and many others Women with a strong Judith Zafffirini Guest Column family history of breast ovarian cancer who inherit a gene mutation for example have as much as an 85 percent risk of developing breast cancer t and a 50 percent risk of developing ovarian cancer often at an early age Doctors also use genetic tests to determine per sons predisposition to heart disease diabetes and other types of cancer Although the number of available genetic tests is increasing rapidly patients may choose not to be tested because they fear results may be released to employers insurers who could use this information to discrim inate in employment practices or insurance cover age Persons in highrisk families may feel com pelled to weigh medical benefits against social risk before deciding to undergo genetic testing By refusing to be tested individuals in highrisk fami lies who carry diseaserelated genes may fail to obtain lifesaving or lifeextending medical care Noncarriers however who believe they are at risk may undergo unnecessary surgery or spend a life time worrying rather than opt for gene testing because they fear genetic discrimination Because I believe that persons should base their decision to undergo genetic testing solely on health issues and that test results should be confidential I profiled Senate Bill 98 on Nov 18 for considera tion during the legislative session that begins in Austin on Jan 14 SB 98 amends the Labor and Insurance codes to protect persons from genetic discrimination thereby encouraging them to be tested so they may benefit from potentially lifesav ing advances in medical technology Judith Zqffirini represents the 21st District in the state Letters to the Editor Court lets technicality defeat purpose off law Editor There is something seriously wrong with our court system This was brought overwhelmingly home to us when we were witnesses in a recent court case Everyone involved in this case knew that the accused were guilty even the judge he even discussed the fact that indeed they had obviously done what they had been accused of doing but he threw the case out because of a technicality and justified letting them off with absolutely no punishment by citing obscure precedents which he admitted had taken him some time to find He seemed quite proud of his intellectual skill in pointing flaw in the way the law had been writ Today in History By The Associated Press Today is Thursday Dec 19 the 354th day of 1996 There are 12 days left in the year Todays Highlight jn History On Dec Charles Dickens classic Yule tide tale A Christmas was first published in England On this data In 1732 Benjamin Franklin began publishing Poor Richards Almanac1 in Philadelphia In 1776 Thomas Paine published his first Amer ican Crisis essay in which he wrote These are the times that try mens In 1777 Gen George Washington led his army of about men to Valley Forge to camp for the winter In workers died in a coal mine explo sion in Jacobs Creek Pa In 1932 the British Broadcasting Corporation began transmitting overseas with its Empire Ser vice to Australia ten and of his own persistence and again his intellectual ability to trace the justifying precedents All this while seeming totally unconcerned that let ting these guys off was a complete mockery of the law They in turn laughed at us at the city officials who had written the law at the policemen involved and of course at the judge howev er proud he was of himself In fact they are still doing what we all went to court about in the first place and doing it 1 believe in wholehearted glee having bested the city govern ment the New Braunfels Police Department and the Municipal Court system Because of this kind of result our courts and our laws are deterrents to no kind of wrongdoing Any perpetrator who has been through the system once knows how fantastically easy it is to get away with anything Can we begin to reform this sys tem Is there any provision for the spirit of the law beyond the letter of the law How can we bring the idea of justice into the courtroom and reverse this trend toward legalistic nit pick ing Gaye Flynn New Braunfels A big thank you to partici pants in Advent Vespers Editor This is the best way I know to send my thanks to all the 91 singers in the Advent Vespers held Dec 1 which was sponsored by the New Braunfels Music Study Club You were magnif icent This was an example of the won derful community spirit and excep tional music talent available to us in this area The singing was awesome The 37th annual presentation of the beautiful sacred music of Christmas told us all what Christmas is really all about Advent Vespers is the oldest continuing event of Festtage Put the date of the 1997 concert on your cal endars now Dec 7 always the first Sunday of December A reminder to all participants in this years rehearsals and concert Please return all the anthems to me at my home or to the office at Cross Luther an or St Paul Lutheran Church atten tion Mrs Frueh God bless you and your celebration of Christmas Melitta Frueh New Braunfels In years ago war broke out in Indochi na as troops under Ho Chi Minn launched wide spread attacks against the French In 1950 Gen Dwight D Eisenhower was named commander of the military forces of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization In 1972 Apollo 17 splashed down in the Pacific winding up the Apollo program of manned lunar landings In 1974 Nelson A Rockefeller was sworn in as the 41st vice president of the United States In 1984 Britain and China signed an accord returning Hong Kong toChinese sovereignty on July 1 1997 Ten years ago The Soviet Union announced it had freed dissident Andrei Sakharov from internal exile and pardoned his wife Yelena Bonner In Washington Lawrence E Walsh was appointed independent counsel to investigate the IranContra affair Five years ago The failed Bank of Credit and Commerce International agreed to settle federal racketeering charges by forfeiting all its assets Patricia Bowman who had accused William Kennedy Smith of raping her told ABCs Prime Time Live she was shocked by his acquittal One year ago The Federal Reserve cut a key interest rate turning fears to cheers on Wall Street a day after the biggest oneday stock plunge in four years Yigal Amir the confessed assassin of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin went on trial A gunman opened fire inside a shoe store in the Bronx a bor ough of New York City killing five people Todays Birthdays Country singer Little Jimmy Dickens is 76 Actress Cicely Tyson is 63 Rhythm andblues singermusician Maurice White Earth Wind and Fire is 55 Actor Tim Reid is 52 Anthro pologist Richard E Leakey is 52 Rock singer Alvin Lee Ten Years After is 52 Musician John McEuen The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band is 51 Actor Robert Urich is 50 Singer Janie Fricke is 49 Actress Jennifer Seals is 33 Actress Alyssa Milano is 24 Thought for Today Politics is the art of pre venting people from taking part in affairs which prop erly concern Paul Valery French poet and critic   

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