New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - February 16, 1984, New Braunfels, Texas
Scientist critically hurt in nuclear cave-in
LAS VEGAS, Nev. (AP) - Federal officials say they don’t know why an underground nuclear blast collapsed a big chunk of a mountain more than 1,000 feet above, injuring 13 atomic workers including one who said he learned to “walk cm air.”
One man was in critical condition today with injuries he suffered when the 60-by-150-foot piece of Rainier Mesa caved in, dropping IO to 30 feet and swallowing several trailers. Eight workers were hospitalized.
The cave-in Wednesday occurred about three hours after technicians at the government’s sprawling Nevada Test Site detonated a nuclear device of “less than 20 kilotons” said Jim Boyer, a spokesman for the U.S. Department of Energy.
He said the blast was considered “very small.”
The atom bomb that destroyed Hiroshima in World War II, leaving 130,000 people dead, injured or missing, was 20 kilotons — the equivalent of 20,000 tons of TNT.
Another spokesman, Greg Cook, said, “We don’t have anything on the cause yet. There will be a full investigation.”
No radiation leaked from the cave-in or from the test tunnel, Boyer said. The blast went off in a sealed chamber about the height and width of a two-car garage but several times longer, in a tunnel 1,168 feet underground, he said.
The injured workers had returned to the site and were checking data recorded on instruments at ground zero, directly above
the point of the blast, said another Energy Department spokesman, David Miller.
“Some had the ground drop out from under them,” Miller said. “Some were shaken off ladders which led to the top of trailers, and one man apparently was still inside a trailer when it toppled over.”
“I was learning how to walk on air, but the ground got me instead,” one injured worker, describing the accident, said as he arrived on a stretcher into Valley Hospital in Las Vegas. He was taken away before he could give his name.
“Ask the DOE,” another injured worker, Liz McDowell, said when asked what happened. She said test site employees signed pacts with the government stipulating that they not talk about their work.
Texas girl critical, stable after getting new heart, liver
PITTSBURGH (AP) - A 6-year-old girl who received the world’s first heart and liver transplant remained in critical condition today, but seemed comfortable and in good spirits according to her mother.
“She’s nodding yes and no to questions,” Lois Jones said Wednesday of her daughter, Stormie. “I asked her if she was scared because we had to put on (face) masks, and she nodded yes.”
The blond, brown-eyed girl from Cumby, Texas, received the historic operation Tuesday. Doctors at Children’s Hospital said her donated organs appeared to be functioning normally.
“Stormie appears to be following a standard course for both liver transplant patients and heart transplant patients,” said Dr. Basil Zitelli, her pediatrician.
“She’s breathing on her own, although still
attached to a respirator. Her blood pressure is good, and she is being weaned from some of her heart medication,” he said.
The hospital said her condition today was critical but stable.
The liver was producing bile, an indication that it was functioning normally, Zitelli said. Stormie faces a critical period within the next week, “when signs of rejection most frequently appear in heart transplant patients,” he said.
“I’ve been up (to see Stormie) three times today,” the 27-year-old mother said at a news conference Wednesday afternoon. She was accompanied by her fiance, Donnie Millsap.
"Every time we go up we have to scrub our hands... and put on a mask and cap, so I try not to go up too often. But now that she's nodding and all, I’ll be up there more and more,” she said.
Officials probe bogus certificates
BROWNSVILLE (AP) — Immigration officials are seeking the manufacturer of bogus birth certificates being sold from California to Tennessee by at least 40 “street vendors” including four women indicted this week on charges of conspiring to sell phony identification papers.
The women, indicted Wednesday, are part of a multi-state fraud ring that operates as far south as Jalisco, Mexico, authorities said.
Maria A. Zamora, Francisca Sylvia Rodriguez and Maria del Rosario Villarreal face federal charges of conspiring to possess and sell false identification documents and evidence of U.S. citizenship.
Rodriguez and Villarreal are from Rio Grande City and Zamora is a resident of Mission.
The fourth woman listed on the indictment, Lydia Richmond, is currently serving three years in the Federal Correctional Institution at Fort Worth on a postal fraud conviction.
Ms. Richmond was convicted of providing false letters of employment to aid people in obtaining unemployment benefits, according to prison spokeswoman Charlotte Barron.
Authorities said Ms. Richmond, operating out of jail, was a key figure in the birth certificate scheme.
J.L. O’Bryant, assistant director of investigation for the INS in Harlingen, said the indictments followed a year-long investigation dubbed “Operation Starr, because the majority of the documents were Starr County birth registration certificates.”
’ Au thorites expect to make at least three more arrests, but have not yet located the manufacturer of the documents who is thought to be working in Texas Last January, INS officials searched Zamora's home and found 165 identification items including counterfeit birth certificates and phony voter registration cards, O'Bryant said.
He said phony papers were sold for an average of $2,000 each to adult illegal aliens who used them to obtain social security cards, U.S. passports and welfare benefits.
“We intercepted documents produced by this ring from Chula Vista. Calif., to Oak Ridge, Tenn,” O’Bryant said.
Immigration officials have arrested more than 40 illegal aliens who tried to use the phony papers. It is not known how many people successfully used the bogus birth certificates.
“Any criminal who wants identification to do all sorts of illegal things could get documented-up through this group. An identity is an extremely important thing,” said O’Bryant.
Bell to hike rates next week
AUSTIN (AP) — Southwestern Bell Telephone has informed the Public Utility Commission that it is going up on some rates Feb. 23, including an extra $2.75 a month for one-party residence phones Vice president Paul Both said Wednesday that Bell needed the additional money now and could not wait for the PUC to make a decision on the company’s record rate hike request of $1.3 billion.
Bell’s bonded rate increase, which may be put into effect without the PUC’s approval, would total $279.7 million.
One-party business rates would go up $3.85 per month, multi-line business systems would pay $5.10 per month, most customers using Centrex — a business switching system — would pay $2 per line and directory assistance also would cost more.
The directory assistance plan, which would go into effect in March, would reduce the monthly call allowance from IO to three, and the charge for each call over the allowance would go up from 25 cents to 30 cents
Bell’s February increase is in addition to an interim rate increase of $653.3 million, which is being paid by long-distance earners such as ATAT, MCI and Sprint. That increase was approved by the PUC. The bonded rates would be paid by all customers.
A PUC hearing ended recently on Bell’s $1.3 billion rate request, and Roth said, “We would prefer to wait for the PUC’s final order in our pending rate request. However, we find ourselves in a situation in which we must obtain additional revenues from bonded rates, especially since Southwestern Bell is now a stand-alone company.”
Roth referred to the Jan. I court-ordered breakup of American Telephone Ii Telegraph, which made Southwestern Bell a separate company.
He said the total of bonded rates and the interim rates would equal the PUC's staff recommendation that Bell get $$33 million in new revenues.
The staff, however, recommended only a $1 increase in local residential telephone service. Roth said the $2.75 increase reflects “the reality that local rates must increase to meet more of the cost of providing telephone service in today’s economic
He said the bond filed with the PUC pledges that the will refund to customers, with interest,
any bonded rates above the PUC’s final decision in the rate case.
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