New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - October 12, 2000, New Braunfels, Texas
Thursday, October 12, 2©00 — Herald-Zeitung — Page 3A
Judge orders Ford recall for ignition design flaw
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — A judge took the unprecedented step Wednesday of ordering the recall of as many as 1.7 million Ford cars and trucks sold in California, accusing the automaker of concealing a dangerous design flaw that can cause the vehicles to stall in traffic.
The ruling compounds Ford’s troubles as the automaker tries to steer its way out of the Firestone tire recall crisis.
Ford has insisted all along that the ignition module at issue is safe, and it said it will appeal the ruling, arguing that a California state judge has no authority to issue such an order.
Never before has a U.S. judge ordered an automotive recall.
The device was put on 29 models between 1983 and 1995, including the Taurus, LTD, Ranger, Bronco, Mustang and Escort, according to Ford. During that period, Taurus was one of the top-selling cars in America.
Superior Court Judge Michael E. Ballachey said Ford sold as many as 23 million vehicles with the flaw, but his jurisdiction does not extend beyond California.
Similar class-action suits are pending in Alabama, Maryland, Illinois, Tennessee and Washington.
After the verdict, plaintiffs’ attorney Robert Holstein said the other suits will proceed with the focus on Illinois, where state judges can permit national class-action suits.
Nelda Rohling and her parents were in a 1989 Ford Tempo that was struck by another vehicle on a Texas highway in 1993. Her father was killed and Rohling and her mother were severely injured.
“We started to cross the highway at a stop sign and the car dies,” Rohling said. “Dad’s jiggling, jiggling to get the car on. We were looking at this car coming down on us.”
Rohling said Ford settled their lawsuit without admitting liability.
The automaker has settled dozens of wrongful-death and personal-injury lawsuits nationwide in which a Ford vehicle was suspected of stalling. Ford never admitted any wrongdoing.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration conducted
three probes into stalling of Ford vehicles between 1984 and 1987 and closed the cases after finding no defects, agency spokesman Tim Hurd said Wednesday.
Ballachey said that Ford knew since at least 1982 that the vehicles were prone to stalling, especially when the engine was hot, but failed to alert consumers and repeatedly deceived federal regulators by claiming the modules were safe.
“This case was about concealment of a dangerous condition,” he said.
Government agencies normally order recalls, but Ballachey said state law gives him that power.
Ford disagreed and argued that a recall is unnecessary.
“The record in this case does not demonstrate a safety problem,” Ford attorney Richard Warmer said. “These vehicles are safe.”
Spokesman Jim Cain said “there is nothing to fix.”
“We’re talking about a lot of old cars and old trucks, two-thirds of which have more than 120,000 miles on the odometer,” he said.
Mideast summit attempt fails
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Clinton acknowledged Wednesday that the Mideast summit he hoped to hold quickly had fallen through. Shifting gears, he said “just another meeting” was not the key to restoring calm and reviving Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.
“I wouldn’t overread the fact that there won’t be a big meeting imminently in Egypt,” Clinton said, while still holding out the possibility he or Secretary of State Madeleine Albright might go to the region at some point.
“I don’t think you should overread that as a reflection that either the Israelis or the Palestinians do not want to continue the peace process,” he told reporters at the White House.
Egypt, the projected host, rejected the idea of a summit, and Yasser
Arafat had not warmed to the idea, as well. But Clinton and the State Department declined to assign any blame.
With violence subsiding, and harsh rhetoric also dropping off, administration officials were beginning to look to Israelis and the Palestinians to find their own way back to negotiations on a settlement of their 52-year conflict instead of coaxing them along at a summit.
Still, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak accused the Palestinian Authority Wednesday of encouraging possible' terrorist attacks in Israel. The prime minister noted Arafat had released several Islamic militants from prison in recent days.
Meanwhile, Clinton, without elaboration, said “we’re trying to put a way forward that will
increase the chances that things will stay calm and more peaceful ” In an unusual move, the White House on Sunday declared that Clinton hoped to have a summit promptly in Egypt with the leaders of Israel, the Palestinians, Jordan and Egypt.
As it turned out, the leaders were far from agreement on a summit.
Barak, after some delay, said he was willing to attend. But the Arabs said they preferred holding an Arab League meeting in Cairo Oct. 21 -22 before any summit.
Then Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak rejected the proposal for a quick summit. He said Israel should first stop threatening Palestinians and Arabs, withdraw Israeli troops from Palestinian-held territories and accept an international inquiry into almost two weeks of violence.
Firms urged to take lead in policing net privacy
School board seeks drug test ruling
AMARILLO, Texas (AP) — The Tulia Independent School District voted Tuesday to file a petition forcing U.S. District Judge Mary Lou Robinson to rule on a lawsuit challenging the district’s drug testing policy.
The policy requires all students involved in extracurricular activities to submit to random drug tests.
Superintendent Mike Vinyard said he would contact the district attorney’s office in Houston about filing a writ of mandamus with the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
The writ would require
Robinson to issue a ruling. Robinson heard arguments for the case in August 1999.
Hollister Gardner, 20, and his cousin, Molly Gardner, 16, filed
the suit in January 1997 to protest the Tulia Independent School District’s “mandatory, suspicion-less” drug-testing policy.
The central question in the case is whether the public goal of eradicating drugs overwhelms privacy issues and constitutional protections against illegal searches, according to documents filed in the case.
AUSTIN (AP) — High-tech industry leaders should take the lead and police their own privacy policies so the federal government doesn’t get involved and mandate policies, a Federal Trade Commissioner said Wednesday.
“There are an awful lot of people who would like the government to get in there and do it,” said Commissioner Orson Swindle, noting the industry is best served by self-regulation. It is one of the least regulated industries in the country, he said.
Swindle was part of a five-member panel that discussed the future of Internet privacy regulation. Also included in the panel were Texas Attorney General John Cornyn and former FTC Commissioner Christine Varney. She is an adviser to the Online Privacy Alliance, a group of organizations that support self-regula
Cornyn said industry leaders should be given a charge to lead, adding that he believed Internet privacy was one of the important public issues.
“We could say that George Orwell got it wrong,” Cornyn said. “The problem is not big brother in 1984; it’s big browser.”
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Ora Becker of New Braunfels passed away Tuesday, Oct. IO, 2000, at Eden Home in New Braunfels at the age of 81 years.
Mrs. Becker was bom to Homer E. Hinman and Adela (Zimmerman) Hinman on July 9, 1919, in New Braunfels. She married George E. Becker on Dec. 25, 1940, in New Braunfels, Texas and was a homemaker and a member of St. Paul Lutheran Church in New Braunfels. Mrs. Becker was past president of the Gay Forties of which she joined one year after the chapter was formed.
Survivors include: husband of 59 years, George E. Becker of New Braunfels; one son, Bobby Becker and wife, Nancy, of New Braunfels; daughters Kathy Khazen, wife of the late Ragheb (Roy) Khazen of Austin; Mary Ellen Golightly and husband, Ron, of Universal City; and Nancy Peevyhouse and husband, Mike, of New Braunfels; grandchildren Haidar Khazen of Austin, Patti Rebiz and husband Marc of Beirut, Lebanon; Lana Levy and husband Nelson of Frisco, Texas; Ramzi Khazen of Austin; John Schwarz and wife, Annette, of
New Braunfels; Lora Ewing and husband Steve, of Frisco; Laura Golightly of Ft. Worth; Matthew Golightly and Angela Golightly of Universal City, Allison Becker and Ryan Becker of New Braunfels; great-grandchildren; Nelson Levy, Daniella Levy, Katrina Rebiz; and Sydney Ewing.
Visitation will be from 8 a.m. to. 9 p.m. Thursday and from 8 a.m. to 12 noon Friday. Funeral services are scheduled for 2 p.m. Friday, Oct. 13, 2000, at St. Paul Lutheran Church, with the Rev. Dr. Charles DeHaven officiating. Burial will be in Guadalupe Valley
Memorial Park. Memorials may be given to the Eden Home, Inc. or to St. Paul Lutheran Church.
Doeppenschmidt Funeral Home in New Braunfels
■ 'Zifi • if
Mary Susan Brown passed away Monday, Oct. 9,2000, in Angleton at the age of 44 years. She is survived by her mother, Audrey Brown, of New Braunfels; brother John S. Brown and wife, Nancy, of Richmond; and numerous aunts,
cousins and one uncle. Mary was preceded in death by her father, John F. Brown, in March of 1996. Visitation will be from 8 a.m. until IO a.m. Friday at the Zoeller Funeral Home, with graveside services at 11 a.m. Friday at the Comal Cemetery. The family has
requested that memorial contributions be given to the American Diabetes Association.
Ruth Miller Whatley Curry, age 84, passed away Tuesday, October IO, 2000.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Lawrence L. Whatley Curry, whom she married on April 4, 1939, husband Orvel Curry and her parents, G.G. and Dora Miller. She is survived by her daughters, Linda Robe of Arlington & Kay Farley of Corpus Christi; sons, Gilbert Whatley of Port Townsend, WA & Carlton Whatley of Asheville, NC; brother, Nelson Warren Miller of Papalote, TX; nine grandchildren, eight great-grandchildren and a wealth of nieces, nephews, relatives & friends.
Visitation will be held from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Wednesday,
October 11, 2000 and from 9 a.m. until service time on Thursday, October 12, 2000 at Schertz Funeral Home. Funeral Services will be held at 3 p.m. on Thursday, October 12, 2000 at Schertz Funeral Home with Pastor Robert
Ganaway officiating. Private interment will be in Robstown Memorial Park in Robstown, TX. Anyone so desiring may make memorial donations to a charity of choice. Arrangements are with: Schertz Funeral Home
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Arrangements are pending at Zoeller Funeral Home for Ethel Stella Koester of New Braunfels. She died Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2000, at Eden Home at the age of 102.
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Central Texas Health Research is conducting an asthma study involving an Investigational medication.
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Ready for cycle billing?
It may sound like a small thing, but the way you pay your electric bill can be improved. That’s why PEC is rolling out its latest program—cycle billing. ■ Cycle billing assigns our members to one of four payment cycles. That means that starting in November, your due date could be different. ■ We’re matching the new cycles to your payment history, so if you typically pay your bill the first week of the month, your payment will be due around the same time. ■ We’re making this change to streamline our billing process to be more efficient. The new program also works well with PEC’s Credit Card and Bank Draft Payment Plans. ■ Cycle billing — it’s the latest way PEC is working to be more efficient for its membership.
Electric Cooperative, Inc.