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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - January 31, 1996, New Braunfels, Texas 4 Cl Herald-Zeitung Cl Wednesday, January 31,1996 Opinion ■ To talk with Managing Editor Doug Loveday about the Opinion page, call 625-9144, ext. 21 H e t u n g QUOTABLE “Writing is so difficult that I often feel that writers, having had their hell on earth, will escape punishment hereafter.” — Jessamyn West author, 1956 EDITORIALBorder battles Gun play along Rio Grande signals bolder drug traffickers, success of border patrols Less than a month ago, a U.S. border patrol agent was shot and killed in a gun battle with suspected drug traffickers. Early Tuesday morning, another agent found himself between the cross hairs of a smuggler’s gun but escaped injury in a brief shootout near the International Bridge at Eagle Pass. U.S. officials are secretly worried the stepped up violence along the border may be a new tactic drug traffickers are using to intimidate and bully anyone that may try to stop their activities. Others suspect increased patrols in other border states have pushed smugglers-down to Texas, as they search for safe passage for their cargo across the border. But in other areas along the U.S./Mexico border, the problem is not drug traffickers but roving gangs. In several instances, these Mexican gangs have crossed the border and hijacked vehicles and trucks at gun point, stealing their cargo and beating drivers and passengers before escaping back across the Mexican border. Often, they’ll stop a vehicle by firing at it. These raids are still infrequent enough to make officials believe they’re not a trend — not the norm. However, as the violence increases here, and also in other border states (the border patrol in Nogales, Ariz. came under fire for the second time in a week, according to a San Antonio newspaper report), the federal government should move quickly to reinforce agents already on the front lines of defense there. As the U.S. increases its fight against illegal immigration, the more violent of those crossing the border — the drug traffickers — are fighting back with deadly force. Let’s not ask our Border Patrol to wage a fight without the proper equipment and manpower necessary to win. We wouldn’t ask our military forces to do without the best we have (Somalia notwithstanding), so let’s not leave our patrols on the border to fight drug traffickers without our full backing. (Today’s editorial was written by Managing Editor Doug Loveday.) Write us ... The New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung 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 writer’s 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 previous 30 days. Mail letters to: Letters to the Editor do the New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung P.O. Drawer 311328 New Braunfels, Texas 78131-1328 Fax: (210) 625-1224 New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung Editor and Publisher............................................................David    Sullens General Manager/Advertising Director..............................Cheryl    Duvall Managing Editor...........................................................Doug    Loveday Retail Advertising Director..................................................Jack    Osteen Accounting Manager........................................................Mary    Lee Hall Circulation Director....................................................Carol    Ann    Avery Production Director.........................................................Gene    Joyner City Editor.....................................................................Roger    Croteau Published on Sunday mornings and weekday mornings Tuesday through Friday by the New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (USPS 377-880) 707 Landa St. or P.O. Drawer 311328, New Braunfels, Comal County, Tx. 78131-1328. Second class postage paid by the New Braun-[els Herald Zeitung in New Braunfels, Texas Carrier delivered in Comal and Guadalupe counties: three months, $19; six months, $34; one year, $60. Senior Citizen Discounts by carrier delivery only: six months, $30; one year, $56. Mail delivery outside Comal County in Texas: three months, $28.80; six months, $52; one year, $97.50. Mail outside Texas: six months, $75; one year, $112.25. Subscribers who have not received a newspaper by 5:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday or by 7:30 am on Sunday may call (210) 625-9144 or by 7 p.m. weekdays or by 11 a m on Sunday Postmaster: Send address changes to the New Braunfels Herald Zeitung, P.O. Drawer 311328, New Braunfels, Tx. 78131-1328 Opinion Online contact ■ To submit letters and guest columns electronically by way of online services or Internet, or to simply contact staff members, the Herald-Zeitung's address is [email protected] crossing deaths increase Texas holds bragging rights to more miles of railroad and more miles of highways than any other state. But the downside of our impressive railroad infrastructure is that we have more fatalities at our highway railroad crossings than any other state, as well. Even more tragically for Texans, these kinds of accidents are the most avoidable. I first became aware of the need to highlight this safety issue when I was Acting Chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board in 1978. Although the numbers of highway-rail crossing collisions and injuries have gone down nationally since then, over the last several years the sad fact is that in Texas, those numbers have risen. In 1994,58 Texans lost their lives in this senseless way. We Texans have a dangerous tendency to disregard those flashing warning lights and crossing gates. A poll taken by “Operation Lifesaver” last year showed that 45 percent of Texans are willing to cross railroad tracks in the face of flashing warning lights; 30 percent of Texans said going around a lowered crossing gate “can be justified” and 20 percent said it is more acceptable to go through a gated railroad crossing than to run a red light. We Texans can’t keep on racing with death. Last week, in conjunction with the Association of American Railroads, I helped to launch an information campaign to remind Texans of the potential for tragedy at every railroad crossing. The “Highways or Dieways” public information program is a Kay Bailey Hutchison hard-hitting attempt to raise the level of public awareness of this safety problem—and to save some Texans’ lives. We want Texans and other Americans to know that it’s smart to act responsibly at railroad crossings. And we want to make Texans more aware of their 10,681 miles of railroads and nearly 20,000 rail crossings. Nine out of every IO rail-related fatalities result from vehicle-train collisions or involve illegal trespassing on railway private property. By reminding people of the very avoidable dangers inherent in ignoring railroad crossing warnings, I hope we can change the high-risk behavior Texans have been indulging in—we want to make them more cautious the next time they approach a railway crossing. Whether you’re a risk-taker or not, remember: Always expect a train. (Kay Bailey Hutchison is a U.S. senator for Texas.) Wyden calls win a “wake-up” for GOP By BRAD CAIN Associated Press Writer POR ILANO, Ore. (AP) — In an election billed as an early barometer for the national political season. Rep. Ron Wyden won a close race to become Oregon’s first Democratic U S. senator in 30 years, replacing Bob Packwood. Wyden, who survived a dismal performance on a pop quiz and attacks labeling hun a tax-and-spend liberal, says his victory sends a message to the GOP-controlled Congress. "This race does have national implications. Oregonians are saying that this Congress is too extreme on a number of key issues,” Wyden said after winning Tuesday’s special Senate race. In the nation’s first vote-by-mail congressional election, Wyden turned back a strong, well-financed campaign by Gordon Smith, a conservative GOP businessman and legislator. With 99 percent of precincts reporting, Wyden had 568,335 votes or 48 percent, Smith had 551,103 or 47 percent and four other candidates divided the remainder. About half of those responding to a telephone poll said they viewed tile Senate race as a referendum on the GOP congressional agenda or President Clinton’s policies. But voters in the poll blamed Republicans in Congress more than Clinton for the budget crisis — and had more confidence in Clinton to fix it. The telephone poll of 1,192 voters was conducted Thursday through Monday for Voter News Service, a cooperative of the four major TV networks and TheToday In HistoryBy The Associated Press Today is Wednesday, Jan. 31, the 31st day of 1996. There are 335 days left in the year. Today’s Highlight in History: On Jan. 31, 1958, the United States entered die Space Age with its first successful launch of a satellite into orbit, Explorer I. On this date: In 1606, Guy Fawkes, convicted for his part in the Gunpowder Plot against the English Parliament and King James I, was executed. In 1797, composer Franz Schubert was bom in Vienna, AusUia. In 1865, General Robert E. Lee was named General-in-Chief of all the Confederate armies. In 1917, Germany served notice that it was beginning a policy of unrestricted submarine warfare. In 1944, during World War II, U.c forces began invading Kwajalein Atoll and other pat u of the Japan-Analysis Associated Press. Wyden’s victory was an auspicious kickoff to die season for Democrats and a blow to Republicans, who currently have a 53-46 majority in the Senate. It also continued a trend begun last November as Democrats held off GOP efforts to take over Virginia and Maine legislatures and the Kentucky governor- ‘It certainly ought to be a wake-up call to Republicans on issues such as the environment, a woman’s right to choose, and putting some balance in the balanced budget.’— Rep. Ron Wyden new Oregon senator ship. Despite the narrow margin of victory, Wyden said the results show that people believe House Speaker Newt Gingnch and his Republican colleagues have taken things too far. “Ii certainly ought to be a wake-up call to Republicans on issues such as the environment, a woman’s right to choose, and putting some balance in the balanced budget,” said Wyden, who has served in the U.S. House for 15 years. Wyden will serve the nearly four years remaining ese-held Marshall Islands. In 1945, during World War II, Private Eddie Slovik became the only American soldier since the Civil War to be executed for desertion. He was shot by an American firing squad in France. In 1949, die first TV daytime soap opera, “These Are My Children,” was broadcast from the NBC station in Chicago. In 1950, President Truman announced he had ordered development of the hydrogen bomb. In 1971, astronauts Alan B. Shepard Jr., Edgar D. Mitchell and Stuart A. Roosa blasted off aboard Apollo 14, the first U.S. moon flight since the ill-fated mission of Apollo 13. In 1990, McDonald’s Corp. opened its first fast-food restaurant in Moscow. Ten years ago: President Reagan eulogized the seven crew members of the space shuttle Challenger during a memorial service at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, telling the astronauts’ families that “the sacrifice of your loved ones has stirred the soul < I our nation.” in the term of Packwood, who resigned in disgrace last fall after being accused of sexual misconduct. It was not immediately clear when he would be sworn in. Smith never publicly conceded the race, although he did call Wyden to offer his congratulations. A Smith spokesman, Dan Lavey, later said that the Republican has no plans lo run later this year for the seat being vacated by GOP Sen. Mark Hatfield. Voting began three weeks ago, and hours before the 8 p.m. deadline, more than 60 percent of the voters had already cast their ballots. More than 160 drop sites were available around the state for voters who waited too late to mail in their ballots or who simply preferred to vote on “Election Day.” Elections officials estimate the mail-in balloting saved the state SJ million in the primary and general elections. Wyden and Smith spent millions hammering each other over the airwaves and in other forums. Smith, owner of a frozen food company, contributed more than half the $3.7 million his campaign spent. Wyden spent almost $2.8 million, including about $250,000 he lent his campaign. Smith, elected to the stale Senate in 1992 and now president of that chamber, cast himself as a political newcomer, in contrast to the veteran Wyden. He called Wyden a tax-and-spend Democrat who has been in Washington so long he has lost touch with everyday life in Oregon. Wyden portrayed Smith as an anti-abortion extremist and rich polluter who got hundreds of thousands of dollars in federal and state aid to bring his company into compliance with environmental regulations. Five years ago: Army Spc. Melissa Rathbun-Nealy and Army Spc. David Lockett were captured by Iraqi forces near the Kuwaiti-Saudi border; binh were eventually released. Allied forces claimed victory against Iraqi attackers al Khalji, Saudi Arabia. One year ago: President Clinton scrapped a $40 billion rescue plan for Mexico, announcing instead that he would act unilaterally to provide Mexico with $20 billion from a fund normally used to defend the U.S. dollar. Legendary Broadway pruducer-director George Abbott died in Miami Beach, Fla., at age 107. Today’s Birthdays: Actress Carol Channing is 73. Author Norman Mailer is 73. Actress Jean Simmons is 67. Baseball Hall-of-Famer Ernie Banks is 65. Actress Suzanne Pleshette is 59. House Minority Leader Richard A Gephardt, D-Mo., is 55. Actress Jessica Walter is 52. Baseball pitcher Nolan Ryan is 49. Singer Phil Collins is 45. Thought for Today: “Mystics always hope that science will... overtake them.’ — Booth Tarkington ;