Aiken Standard (Newspaper) - March 30, 1989, Aiken, South Carolina
The Du Pont Co. will end its lengthy tenure as operator of the Savannah River Plant this Friday. The built-in risks of the change in contractors and a look at how Du Pont is thanking it employees are featured today in the fifth part of a series on Du Pont’s relationship with Aiken County. Please see Pages 6A and 7A.
A Quick Read
Broom, Shovel Crew Wows Circus Crowds
WASHINGTON (AP) — The kids at the circus gasp at the Whirling Wheel of Death and ooh over the amazing Tahar, the alligator tamer from Morocco, but they usually save their biggest ovations for the lowly elephant sweepers.
That’s show biz.
When the ringmaster at the visiting Ringling Bros, and Barnum & Bailey Circus introduces the next act — “a million pounds of performing pachyderms” —16 elephants lumber gracefully into the spotlight, followed by a half-dozen anonymous men in blue jumpsuits and carrying brooms and shovels.
For the next few minutes, 16 elephants dance through their intricately choreographed routine with sequined showgirls. Meanwhile, the sweepers are performing their own desperate minuet, dodging a swaying trunk or a thundering hoof to keep the three circus rings nice and tidy.
The kids in the bleacher seats, and many of the grownups, howl with delight, especially when a man in blue smilingly holds his shovel under an elephant’s tail.
“Sometimes the sweepers get more applause than the performers get,” said Scottish-born stablemas-ter Tommy Henry, 56, who’s swept up his share of elephant manure during 40 years of circus work.
“The public likes it,” he said. “They think ifs funny. Most of the guys think ifs a big joke.”
A million pounds of performing pachyderms produces a lot of pounds of manure.
Ringling’s entire animal menagerie, in fact, fills a 30-cubic-yard metal trash bin every day.
Cloudy skies today will sweep Aiken with showers and thunderstorms. The high will be in the upper 60s and the low will be in the upper 50s. Thundershowers will continue tonight and Friday.
Please see details on Page 8A.
Mary C. Dobey, Edgefield
Essie L. Williams Fraizer, S. Ozone
Park, N Y.
Albert E. Lewry, Augusta Charles H. Quarles, McCormick Brandy Thomas, Aiken Janice Thomas, Aiken Kylee Thomas, Aiken Lakisha Thomas, Aiken Bobbie Whittle, Salley Howard Williamson, Aiken Ruth A Wooden, Aiken Please see details on Page 3B.
Dear Abby. .......... ...M..........4C
Local Front ......... 1B
Fishermen Join In Oil Spill Cleanup
Willing Takes Stand In Trial
Thursday, March 30, 1989
Aiken, South Carolina
Vol. 122 No. 77
Severance Pay Checks Go Out Today
Checks Not Valid Until Tomorrow
By BRAD SWOPE Staff Writer
The Du Pont Co. will start distributing more than $75 million worth of severance pay checks today at the Savannah River Plant, but the checks won’t be valid until Friday, the company’s last day as contractor.
“The process starts this afternoon. The checks are dated tomorrow. They cannot
be cashed or deposited before Friday, March 31,” James C. Felder, Du Pont spokesman, said this morning.
About 6,500 plant employees are eligible for varying amounts of severance pay, under a formula that provides one week’s pay, at current levels, for each year of service at SRP through Oct. I, 1985. Some senior employees will collect $10,000 or more each.
Du Pont assured its Savannah River employees last summer that they would receive the promised severance pay when the company left SRP, in spite of a growing dispute with the Department of Energy over which one will ultimately foot the bill.
“Every effort’s going to be made to get the checks to them by the end of the day
tomorrow. The process starts today,” Felder said.
The DOE recently refused Du Pont’s request for a $74.6 million advance to cover severance checks.
The DOE says it shouldn’t have to reimburse Du Pent for that severance pay because nearly all of the company’s employees are guaranteed jobs under the new contractor, Westinghouse Savannah River Co.
But Du Pont officials say the severance pay is a legitimate, reimbursable expense under its contract with the department to operate SRP. The company says it will go to court, if necessary, to win reimbursement.
Along with the $74.6 million, Felder said, Du Pont plans to distribute addition
al severance pay to employees who accrued that pay at Du Pont commercial facilities before transferring to SRP. The company plans to pay that portion of severance out of its own pocket. Felder said he didn’t know much it would be.
Felder said the $74.6 million represents before-taxes pay, subject to paycheck withholding.
So the actual paychecks will total less than that amount, but local financial institutions, retailers and other businesses are still bracing for an influx of new cash.
A number of banks, savings and loan associations and credit unions are planning late hours Friday and special Saturday hours in anticipation of the severance pay.
Rushdie Backer, Aide Shot To Death
Staff Photo By Scott Webster
FIFTIES STYLE: The Up With People cast included a medley of music from the American 1950s in their international program Wednesday. More than IOO youths from 18 countries participated in the program. Please see story on Page 1B.
By The Associated Press
BRUSSELS, Belgium — The assassinated spiritual leader of Moslems in three northern European countries was a moderate Saudi who had criticized Iran’s call for the murder of novelist Salman Rushdie. ,
Imam Abdullah al-Ahdal, 36, and aide Salem el-Behir, a 40-year-old Tunisian, were each shot once in the head and once in the neck Wednesday at close range in the imam’s office, police said.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack at Ahdal s mosque. Police said there were no witnesses and that no one heard the gunshots.
Unconfirmed reports said three hooded men were seen jumping from a van, entering the mosque and then exiting. The bodies were found by members of the Islamic community Wednesday evening.
Ahdal had been in Brussels for six years heading the Moslem
community in Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg. Behir, who headed the mosque’s social services and libnry, had lived in the city for about IO years.
On Feb. 14, Iran’s fundamentalist patriarch Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini called on Moslems to seek out and kill Rushdie, a naturalized Briton, for his novel “The Satanic Verses”. Many Moslems consider the book blasphemous.
In a television interview on Feb. 20, the day the 12 European Economic Community countries recalled their ambassadors from Iran in response to the death decree, Ahdal said he agreed that Rushdie’s book was blasphemous.
But he said of Khomeini’s death sentence: “One should not have done that. Rushdie should have first appeared (before an Islamic tribunal). He should have explained himself, defended himself. He should have been asked to
(See RUSHDIE, Page 8A)
/Rain Man' Wins Top Four Oscars
By The Associated Press
LOS ANGELES — In true Hollywood style, a quiet film about the disconnected soul of an autistic “Rain Man” won Oscars for best picture, best original screenplay, best director Barry Levinson and best actor Dustin Hoffman.
“It is for us a Cinderella story. The picture was literally canceled three or four times,” Hoffman said backstage at Wednesday night’s 61st Academy Awards.
List Of Winners
It also had a much-rewritten screenplay and went through four directors over two years.
Jodie Foster, a former child star, won the best actress award and her first Oscar for her emotional portrayal of the angry, traumatized victim of a gang rape in “The Accused.”
(See RAIN MAN’, Page 8A)
THE 61 ST ACADEMY AWARDS
And the Winner is...
FOR BEST PICTURE:
FOR BEST ACTRESS:
FOR BEST ACTOR:
FOR BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS:
|Geena Davis "The Accidental Touristy
FOR BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR:
Kevin Kline "A Fish Called Wanda"
Report: Doctors Should Help Hopelessly
By The Associated Press
BOSTON — Doctors should ease the dying of their hopelessly ill patients by giving them as much pain medicine as they need and even helping them commit suicide, if they wish, a report today concludes.
The report, drawn up by a panel of prominent physicians, contends that doctors have an obligation to help terminally ill patients have “a good death,” just as they help them lead a healthy life.
“We really think that the physician has a responsibility to be actively involved in creating an environment in which a peaceful death can occur,” said Dr. Sidney H. Wanzer, principal author of the report.
The most controversial of the group’s conclusions was that “it is not immoral for a physician to assist in the rational suicide of a terminally ill patient.”
Wanzer said doctors can ethically prescribe sleeping pills or other drugs to dying patients, knowing they will use them for suicide, and even tell them how big a dose is lethal.
The doctors said such assistance is “certainly not rare.” However, they added that if physicians tend to their dying patients’ comfort and dignity, suicide requests should be infrequent.
Two doctors on the 12-member committee disagreed with the suicide guideline.
“I don’t want a blanket statement to say it is not immoral. I can accept that someone else may say it is moral, but I want to be able to say I don’t like this,” said one of the dissenters, Dr. Jan van Eys of the University of Texas System Cancer Center in Houston.
The report is the second from the committee, which was chaired by Dr. Daniel D. Federman of Harvard Medical School, former president of the American Col
lege of Physicians. It was published in today’s New England Journal of Medicine.
Its first report, issued five years ago, also dealt with the ethics of obeying patients’ final wishes, including removing feeding tubes. Some of its recommendations have since been widely adopted by doctors and courts.
The doctors noted that one of the greatest concerns of the dying and their families is that doctors won’t give enough painkillers. They said this fear is largely justified.
The group said that allowing a patient to experience unbearable pain or suffering is unethical medical practice. When death becomes inevitable, the importance of relieving pain outweighs the risk of hastening death.
(See REPORT, Page8A)
Betting Supporters To Stump
By The Associated Press
COLUMBIA — Supporters of Sen. James Waddell’s proposal to legalize betting on horses are expected to be out in full force at this weekend’s Carolina Cup in Camden.
“It’s just an opportunity,” said Elliott D. (Duby) Thompson, a lobbyist for the South Carolina Tourism Council. “We’re not running a public campaign yet, because the legislation that we are supporting calls for a public referendum, and it has to be passed by the General Assembly first.”
“But with these kinds of obvious opportunities coming up, you wouldn’t want to let them go by,” Thompson said.
The measure on pari-mutuel betting on horse races isn’t expected to come up in the General Assembly any time soon, but just the same the tourism council will be passing out brochures and answering questions at the state’s largest outdoor cocktail party.
The Carolina Cup beginning Saturday attracts 40,000 to 50,000 people — many of whom come for social reasons and represent a new audience for pari-mutuel supporters.
Waddell, D-Beaufort and chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, introduced legislation in late February that would allow South Carolinians to bet on horses and dogs at seven tracks across the state.
If the Legislature passes the bill, voters would decide in a November 1990 referendum whether to allow pari-mutuel betting.
Waddell said he hasn’t done anything with the proposal since it was sent to his committee because he doesn’t want people to associate it with a state lottery proposal, which the committee is handling now.