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New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung (Newspaper) - October 21, 1997, New Braunfels, Texas HeraldZeitung Q a 5 Congress moves to reform Amtrak WASHINGTON AP Congress embarks this week on an attempt to rescue Amtrak from a crippling strike and a little farther down the tracks fiscal bankruptcy The House on Wednesday takes up legislation aimed at reversing the longterm fortunes of the perennially moneylosing railway by reducing federal controls and giving Amtrak greater authority over routes hiring and labor rules A new board of directors would have a freer hand in changing routes to reflect customer demand and in making investments to boost revenues Passage of the bill which may also come up in the Senate this week would free billion for capital improvements set aside in the balanced budget agreement on the condition that Congress first legislate reforms Without that infusion of money and management overhaul Amtrak the recipient of some billion in federal subsidies since the early 1970s could go bankrupt by next spring But even more urgent is the threat of a strike that could start as early as Oct 29 The Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees after nearly three years of unsuccessful contract talks may go on strike that day to press demands for a wage increase A strike would affect some Amtrak and commuter line riders daily paralyzing rail traffic in the Northeast and driving another stake into Amtraks financial viability President Clinton in August ordered a 60day cooling off period and appointed a presidential emergency board to make recommendations on resolving contract disputes News Briefs Police identify suspect in 1 yearolds kidnapping killing FRIENDSWOOD Texas AP A prime suspect in the abduction and slaying of a teenage girl is now held on unrelated charges six months after her body was found in a retention pond Arrest of the man by Friendswood police in connection with a Webster womans aggravated kidnapping has prompted law officers in nearby La Marque to examine a possible connection in another disappearance Friendswood Police Chief Jared Stout said Monday that the suspect who had been working at a construction site near Laura Kate Smithers home the day she disappeared was arrested Thursday in the kidnapping of a 19yearold woman in Webster Jury decides against players bid AUSTIN AP Sure college football players have shoulder pads helmets and mouthpieces But Kent Waldrep paralyzed in a 1974 Texas Christian University football game says theyre missing protection afforded coaches trainers and every other university employee sufficient medical and disability insurance Waldreps quest to change that has failed at least for now The 43yearold lost his bid Monday to be classified an employee of TCU when he was injured on an Alabama football field nearly 23 years ago That would have made him eligible for workers compensation benefits for the rest of his life State Insurance commissioner orders cuts HOUSTON AP The state is ordering insurance companies to cut rates by million next year in an attempt to give consumers some benefit from lawsuit reform Texas Insurance Commissioner Elton Bomer said Monday that he was ordering cuts of an estimated million for 1996 and million for 1997 Altogether the cuts for the three years bring the insurance impact of tort reform to billion in savings Bomer said in a joint appearance with Gov George W Bush The rollbacks stem from 1995 legislation authored by Rep Mark Stiles DBeaumont mandating that insurance companies pass on to their customers the savings triggered by civil justice reforms The legislative changes included a Football season HeraldZeitung photo by Michael Darnall Javier Nieto Jr tries to ram through his brothers Joshua and Jerik Monday afternoon while playing football with their father Javier Sr on Morningside Drive Texas warned about death penalty rules WASHINGTON AP In an extraordinary warning four Supreme Court justices have told Texas officials their rules in death penalty sentencing may be unfair to some convicted killers Although juries are required to assess a capital defendants future dangerousness before sentencing him said Justice John Paul Stevens he is prohibited from presenting truthful information to the jury about when he would be eligible for parole if sentenced to Three other justices joined Stevens opinion But the four did not vote to hear an appeal by Texas death row inmate Arthur Brown convicted of four drugrelated murders in Houston five years ago The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals had upheld Browns death sentence and the Supreme Court on Monday declined to disturb that ruling The four justices who expressed misgivings with Texas death penalty procedures served notice that theyre carefully watching how the state lets juries choose between death or life in prison for convicted murderers Texas has become the nations far andaway leader in executions with 31 this year of the nationwide total of 59 Since the Supreme Court ended a fouryear legal moratorium on capital punishment in 1976 417 have been executed including 138 in Texas Stevens whose opinion was joined by Justices David H Souter Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen G Breyer noted that Brown would have had to spend 35 years in prison before being eligible for parole if sentenced to life Brown sought to have the jury learn of that fact but was prevented from doing so by Texas law Stevens cited a 1994 Supreme Court ruling that convicted murderers can tell sentencing juries when theres no chance they could be paroled if sentenced to life in prison He said there is obvious tension between that ruling and the Texas rule The Texas rule unquestionably tips the scales in favor of a death sentence that a fully informed jury might not said Stevens Nonetheless the four justices did not disagree with their five colleagues who silently left Browns sentence intact even though only four votes are needed to grant review to such appeals Stevens said their purpose was to drive home the point that the court doesnt always grant review even when it thinks a lower court was wrong The likelihood that the issue will be resolved correctly may increase if this court allows other tribunals to serve as laboratories in which the issue receives further study before it is addressed by this Stevens wrote Meanwhile the Catholic bishops of Texas are urging a public outcry to abolish the death penalty As religious leaders we are deeply concerned that the state of Texas is usurping the sovereign dominion of God over human life by employing capital punishment for heinous the bishops said We implore all citizens to call on our elected officials to reject the violence of the death penalty and replace it with nonlethal means of The Supreme Court case is Brown vs Texas 969187 cap on civil damages and was intended to limit frivoloils lawsuits in Texas Having a heart attack Take an aspirin DALLAS AP Your chest aches You think youre having a heart attack What do you do Consider taking an aspirin The American Heart Association recommends it and according to a report published Tuesday in the associations journal Circulation as many as American lives a year could be saved if everyone followed that advice The heart association first recommended in 1993 that people take one full 325milligram aspirin at the onset of chest pain or other symptoms of a severe heart attack Four years later a followup report shows that not enough people are taking that seemingly simple life saving step Tech receives documents from Westmoreland LUBBOCK Texas AP Retired Gen William Westmorelands highly publicized libel lawsuit against CBS never went to a jury but even the trial judge recognized the cases importance I suggest that the value of this proceeding may have more to do with the record it has created for history than with the verdict it could have District Judge Pierre N Leval said after the 1985 case was dropped On Monday Texas Tech Universitys Vietnam Center received pages of documents from California researcher Larry Berman who assisted The New York Times during its coverage of the case Early voting under way AUSTIN AP Early voting for 4 constitutional amendment election in all 254 Texas counties Under a new law passed by the 1997 Legislature the voting period begins 17 days before Election Day That law gave county clerks the option of starting voting as early as last Saturday with all starting by Monday While encouraging Texans to do their duty the League of Women Voters suggested the time has come to overhaul the 121yearold document and put an end to the long involved amendment ballots The League of Women Voters urges citizens to accept the challenge of becoming informed and voting on Nov said Julie Lowenberg the groups president Flammable well water spurs warnings investigation CLUTE Texas AP Southeast Texas officials are testing well water and issuing warnings after a resident demonstrated that water from his well is flammable You can light my hose Physically light Jerry McCullough told fhe Brazosport Facts on Monday Earlier tests confirmed the presence of methane ethane and propane in the ground water from McCulloughs well Based on those results the Galveston County Health District issued a warning to 150 property owners in the area The letter advises those in the area to consider the use of bottled water for drinking and cooking if their well water appears milky or ignites like McCulloughs water Possible sources for the contamination include a large oil field just south of McCulloughs house a gas pipeline in the area and a nearby landfill He lives outside replacejitwith Alvfri on FM 517 about a mile into which are sufficient to fhe bishops recommend life Galveston County Alvin is about 24 protect society from violent sentences without the possibility of miles south of Houston offenders of human life and public parole as an alternative Texas bishops reiterate opposition to death penalty AUSTIN AP The Catholic bishops of Texas the state that leads the nation in executing convicted murderers are urging a public outcry to change the ultimate penalty As religious leaders we are deeply concerned that the state of Texas is usurping the sovereign dominion of God over human life by employing capital punishment for heinous the bishops said Monday in a statement reiterating their opposition to capital punishment We implore all citizens to call on our elected officials to reject the violence of the death penalty and FALL ALLERGIES Do you have a RUNNY NOSE SNEEZING CONGESTION or ITCHY EYES in September or October If so we need volunteers for an allergy research study involving an investigational medication ADULTS 12 YEARS UP CHILDREN 611 YEARS OLD NO CHARGE FOR Allergy skin testing Physician monitoring Lab tests Qualified patients may be compensated up to CENTRAL TEXAS HEALTH RESEARCH NEW BRAUNFELS TX 78130 6299036 6090900 METRO Lordy Lordy Look Whos 40 Love Lori Ryan Llndsey Names Child Phone Cost Mail or Drop Off The New Braunfels HeraldZeitung 707 Landa New Braunfels TX 78130 DEADLINE Friday October 24
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