UH BUSINESS STUDENTS HELP USO IMPROVE PUBLIC IMAGE

BY REBECCA DEATON

DAILY COUGAR STAFF

A group of UH business students is working on a project to help soldiers returning from the Middle East and their families.

When Professor Bette Stead asked her business students to conduct public service organization feasibility and marketing studies, three students selected the United Service Organization.

Senior management major Sharail Haywood said the non-profit charitable organization seemed the logical choice when the nation had just gone to war.

"It seemed so appropriate at the time," Haywood said. "We wanted to get involved in the war effort."

Once the students took a closer look at the agency, they decided the USO needed publicity most. Most Houstonians are unaware there is a local USO chapter actively involved in numerous programs for service members and their families, Haywood said.

Peggy Urich, USO director, said it is important the organization receive publicity to maintain an active base of volunteers to man its numerous programs and fund-raising committees.

"Believe me, half the battle is developing the plan," Urich said.

The local USO chapter develops and implements programs to serve needs of the military community in Harris, Ft. Bend, Montgomery and Galveston counties.

The organization maintains a center at Houston Intercontinental Airport to provide a home away from home for service members and their families. Within the airport facility, the USO provides complimentary refreshments, baggage storage and nursery facilities, telephones and general information.

The organization also provides military personnel and their families with financial assistance and an outreach program that provides relocation services for service members new to Houston.

In addition to these support services, the Houston USO also provides the traditional social activities for visiting military groups and local military units.

After familiarizing themselves with the USO, the students decided to capitalize on opportunities to inform Houstonians about services the organization offers in both war and peace times.

"They don't just want to be known as an organization that comes into existence during a war," Haywood said. "They do a lot of things outside wartime."

Students Ledetria Thomas and D'Andrea Jones worked with Haywood to update the organization's existing brochure and develop a newsletter for military posted in Houston. They are also developing a radio advertisement to increase public awareness of the organization's services, Haywood said.

The students should finish their project within the next two weeks, when they will submit their recommendations to the USO in the form of a proposal. If the program is successful, it could open the door for other UH students.

"Once we have worked successfully with them, we hope to go to the communications department for a public relations intern," Urich said.

 

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RIBBON PAINTERS ARRAIGNED, FACE POSSIBLE $200 IN FINES

BY CHUCK BELL

NEWS REPORTER

A UH student and a teaching assistant were arraigned Tuesday on class C criminal mischief charges for smearing symbolic Iraqi blood on yellow ribbons around campus.

Victoria Bouroncle and Roy Casagranda were caught spraying red paint on their hands and fingerpainting the ribbons March 14. The ribbons were posted by the College Republicans to show support for U.S. troops stationed in the Persian Gulf.

The College Republicans decided to press charges against Bouroncle and Casagranda for knowingly and intentionally destroying the Republicans' private property.

"I did it because I found the use of the yellow ribbon on trees, which are part of nature, obscene," Bouroncle said.

"Besides, when you make a marking on a political statement like the ribbons," she said, "you're being creative, not destructive."

College Republicans President Mai Spickelmier said politics is not the issue.

"We put up 28 ribbons to represent the 28 UH students who were left here to serve in the military," she said. "If they want to, they can go and buy their own ribbons and put blood on them and post them."

She said no one has the right to destroy other people's property.

"They have their right to freedom of expression, but when they start destroying other people's property, that's wrong," she said.

Spickelmeir said that she and other College Republicans would also be glad to debate any of the war protestors if an agenda could be agreed upon.

Bouroncle and Casagranda pleaded not guilty to the charges and requested a jury trial.

"I want to appeal to a higher law," said Bouroncle. "If what you do is just, you're not guilty.'

UH Police Department Chief Frank Cempa said the two face a maximum fine of $200 each plus court costs.

Students' Association Vice President Andrew Monzon said he he respects both groups' opinions, but said they could have handled the situation differently.

"I didn't agree with what they (Bouroncle and Casagranda) did," he said. "If they wanted to make a statement they could have brought their own ribbons. They (the College Republicans) should seek an apology rather than press charges."

"One hundred thousand Iraqi civilians were slaughtered by United States troops," said non-student Raphael Renteria, the Texas coordinator of the Revolutionary Journalist's Tour, Revolutionary Communist Party member and former program director at KPFT Radio.

"Untold thousands more will die from cholera and other diseases because of the destruction. These are the actions of troops we're told to support," he said.

The United States is raping the Iraqi people and that is a crime, said Renteria. "You can't separate the troop from the crime any more than you can separate the rape from the rapist," he said.

"The College Republicans won't face us on a political level," said Renteria. "We've challenged them to a debate and they refused. They're hiding behind this charge and that is cowardly. Yellow is a fitting color for those f--kers."

 

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NO BILL OF HEALTH

TEXAS MEDICAL ASSOCIATION

The state's health-care delivery system is at risk of being overwhelmed by the cost of uncompensated care despite efforts of the medical community to meet the needs of the poor, a report issued by a physician task force concludes.

The Texas Medical Association Task Force on Indigent Health Care urges improved availability of health insurance and expanded Medicaid eligibility to reduce the number of medically indigent Texans.

"The health-care system is being strained to its limits by uncompensated care delivered to uninsured and under-insured Texans," the report states. "The damage done to the health-care delivery system because of escalating uncompensated care levels is hard to estimate but must be addressed."

More than three million Texans have no health insurance and another 3.73 million cannot pay the difference between what they are billed and what insurance pays.

Figures compiled by the task force show that Texas physicians provided $159 million in uncompensated care in 1987. According to a recent state auditor's report, $4.9 billion was spent on the medically indigent in 1988.

"In spite of these vast contributions to our complex health-care delivery system, Texans still face numerous barriers to receiving both basic health and mental health care," the report states.

Among those barriers are the lack of health insurance coverage, inadequate coverage for the poor under Medicaid, low reimbursement rates for physicians and other health-care providers, and a shortage of physicians in rural and inner city areas. The task force recommends legislative action to make health insurance more affordable and available for the working poor, expand Medicaid eligibility to cover more of those who live below the federal poverty level, provide full benefits under Medicaid for treatment of mental illness, and increase Medicaid physician fees and reduce administrative hassles to encourage physicians to participate in the program.

Other recommendations include legislative and regulatory action to encourage physicians to practice in medically underserved areas and action by physicians to encourage colleagues to take more responsibility to provide care to all Texans.

Texas Medical Association

 

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PHYSICAL PLANT EMPLOYEES SAY SYSTEM IS UNJUST

BY KEITH MATIS

DAILY COUGAR STAFF

There are some angry workers at the Physical Plant.

Fifteen Physical Plant employees, in a meeting with The Daily Cougar, said they sent a four-page statement of grievances, signed by 75 workers, to President Marguerite Ross Barnett in November.

"Employee morale at UH has reached not only an all-time low, it is rapidly approaching critical mass," begins the statement that lists 20 points of contention with management on their working conditions.

Among the injustices alleged in the statement are the "unjust system of apportioning merit raises;" having to work on legal holidays for straight time rather than time and a half; having to pay regular parking rates; the "disparity in the ratio of public-to-private sector pay rates from one shop to another ... (and) tremendous gap in pay rates between foremen and workers;" and lack of "a non-ambiguous, clearly defined (worker's) policy covering the entire university system."

The workers who met with The Cougar said they would speak only on condition of anonymity.

"Everybody here is jeopardizing their job (by being here)," one of the workers said.

The workers expressed concern, saying there is a pattern of harassment by Physical Plant management of employees who speak out against perceived injustices.

The workers said their representatives met with interim Senior Vice President Robert Kerley in February and will meet with him again later this month.

Kerley said he first saw the statement when worker representatives gave him a copy on Jan. 23, at which time he assigned interim Director of Human Resources Sara Goodwin to research the issues it raised.

As a result, he said, much progress was made when he formally met with the representatives on Feb. 15.

"We went over all twenty items. Over half of the items we said we would research further and then we would meet again. I owe it to them," he said.

Goodwin said former Vice President for Administration and Finance Sharon Richardson had originally been handling the matter.

Richardson, who has since been reassigned to the position of vice president for Academic Operations, and Barnett were both unavailable for comment.

"I believe that they (workers) are acting very responsibly." Kerley said. "They're not trying to mau-mau me or exert unfair or undue pressure."

Kerley said he found some of the items to be well-founded, especially those concerning pay.

"Some of these problems have no solution. They require something that takes the shape of an `S' with two vertical lines through it," he said.

Workers who met with The Cougar, however, said it's not so much the pay itself, as the unfairness of pay increases.

"The Physical Plant had $29,000 for merit raises last year. Half of that went to raises for management," one said.

Goodwin confirmed that allegation was true.

And the workers say they aren't dissatisfied because of a particular issue, but generally with the treatment they say they receive on the job.

"If we step out of line, we get the kind of treatment D.K. got," one said, referring to Dana King, a plumber who has a law suit pending against the university alleging harassment and lack of due process in his firing in 1989.

"People can't make a living any more, then they got to take their b.s. on top of it," one worker said.

 

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SA HOPES TO IMPROVE RELATIONS WITH STUDENTS

BY TROY CHRISTENSEN

NEWS REPORTER

The 28th Students' Association unanimously voted Monday to pass a resolution promoting SA relations with fraternities and sororities and to recognize Greek Week.

The resolution was written by new SA President Michael Berry, who said Greek organizations represent a significant number of students on campus. Berry said promoting ties to these groups would help foster accountability and accessibility to the SA, two of his campaign goals.

Berry also suggested the SA publish a biweekly newsletter to report its actions and set up tables around campus to allow students to ask SA members questions as other avenues for increasing its accessibility.

"Before the election, I heard someone say, `I don't want to vote. SA doesn't do anything for me. In fact, SA doesn't do anything,'" Berry said. "I hope that isn't true. However, we must change students' perceptions about the SA."

Senator for Social Sciences Michael Green said he also wants to change student opinion about the SA.

"(SA) does not have the respect by the student body that it deserves," Green said. "This was shown by the election turnout, which was pathetic to say the least."

New Senate Vice President Andrew Monzon said about 2,300 students, or about 7 percent, of the student body voted in the March SA elections.

Monzon said the SA'a potential to become a catalyst for change depends on individual senators. He said senators should not depend on himself and Berry for ideas, but should speak with constituents and college administrators to find out what changes are necessary.

Dean of Students William Munson, who also addressed the group, said input from senators is valued at UH.

"Being a senator will get you into a lot of doors here as long as you have logical comments to make," Munson said.

Munson also said it is important for senators to define realistic goals and write flexible legislation, as well as be persistent in working with faculty and administration.

In other action, acting SA Secretary Nandita Venkateswaran was unanimously elected to the position of executive assistant and former SA President Wendy Trachte was unanimously voted to the Academic Council.

Business for the next SA meeting April 8 will include a debate on a resolution written by Senator Lee Grooms to encourage student input on future UH housing project decisions and election of this year's speaker of the senate.

 

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JOB OUTLOOK CAUSES PANIC FOR SOME, BUT OTHERS PARTY

COUGAR NEWS SERVICE

With a 3.3 grade-point average and many activities and part-time jobs to her credit, Sharon Seaman would seem to be an ideal recruit for one of the hundreds of companies that hire college seniors each year.

But after interviews with 12 companies, Seaman, a senior marketing major at the University of Colorado (CU), still hasn't found a job.

"It's a very stressful situation," Seaman said of her search, which started last semester.

Seaman is not alone.

Graduating seniors around the country report having an unusually hard time lining up their first post-graduate job this term.

Various campuses report students beginning to send out resumes scattershot to companies. Some students reportedly have simply stopped looking for work until economic conditions improve.

The student job outlook "took a turn for the worse last winter," said Dawn Oberman, a statistical services specialist with the College Placement Council (CPC), a Pennsylvania-based group that tracks recruiting and hiring of college graduates nationwide.

Corporate recruiters have either sharply curtailed the numbers of campuses they visited this semester or stopped interviewing seniors altogether.

Carolyn Henning, director of career services at Santa Clara University in California, did not know the exact number of corporations that had canceled interviews at Santa Clara, but said the companies that did come to recruit seemed to have fewer openings to fill.

A large number of firms ended up not coming for interviews they had scheduled at American University in Washington D.C., said Jon Markus, a human resource management and sociology major who has been interviewing since last semester.

"My impression overall is that the market, especially around here, isn't very good," he added.

A national survey supports this impression.

Michigan State University's annual survey of 549 employers released last December found that company hiring quotas for the Class of 1991 had dropped 9.8 percent since the year before.

Moreover, Class of 1990 quotas had dropped 13.3 percent from 1989.

The recession "has companies reevaluating their needs," explained Oberman.

So college placement counselors are encouraging students to do everything possible to make themselves more marketable to the decreasing number of recruiters coming to campus.

"We're spending a lot more individual time with students," said Marilyn Mackes, director of career services at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania.

"We're really trying to be aggressive during a time when things are kind of tight," she said.

Seaman has been making contacts through the school's College of Business and Administration.

"The promising interviews" have come through the business school, she said.

Markus has been sending resumes to companies that haven't come to campus.

Some students "may not be as worried about (the job picture) as they should be," said Henning.

Students are also looking into other options including graduate school and the Peace Corps' Teach for America, a program that encourages recent graduates to go into teaching.

In fact, dozens of graduate schools reported in early March that they are wading through an unusually high number of applications for next fall.

But for the students who are pinning their hopes on a career with a company, time is starting to run out.

"I've been told if I haven't found a job by summer, don't even bother to look until after summer," said Markus, who would like to stay in Washington.

Seaman said she is trying to keep her options open as to where she might live, but wants to find a job where she is happy.

"A group of my friends have been hired, so they're partying," she said.

"Another group of us is panicking."

 

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COOGS CRUSH SHSU

BY MIKE ROSEN

DAILY COUGAR STAFF

The power hitting of Steve Ousley and James Wambach, along with a six-man pitching regime propelled the Cougars to a 10-4 win over Sam Houston State in Huntsville Tuesday.

Ousley broke open the game in the first with a three-run blast, his fifth longball of the year, to give Houston the early lead.

The Bearkats steadily crossed the paystation, however, sending a man home in each of the first four innings. They tied the score at 4-4 in the fourth on secondbaseman John Carmichael's RBI ground out.

The game stayed deadlocked until the seventh when first baseman Wambach cracked his sixth home run of the season off Bearkat reliever Butch Sewell, giving the Cougars a 6-4 lead.

Houston continued its attack in the ninth, scoring four more runs off Greg Hammond.

Ousley, Wambach and shortstop Scott Sheldon led the Cougars' 13-hit attack with two each, including two homers and three doubles. Ousley and Wamback combined for seven RBIs on the day.

Jason Hart started on the mound for the Cougars, but barely pitched into the second inning. After pitching three scoreless innings of one-hit ball to shut down Arkansas Saturday, the freshman gave up two runs on three hits in one inning of work, and didn't get a decision.

After Neil Atkinson and John Creech threw the second and third frame, senior Ben Weber pitched four strong innings to pick up his fifth win of the year (5-2). He allowed only one run (on the Carmichael grounder), two hits and struck out three.

Seniors Bobby Stone and Al Benavides each pitched one scoreless inning to close out the game.

Sewell took the loss for the Bearkats.

The 26-9 Cougars return home for a weekend series with TCU, beginning with a single game Friday.

 

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U.S. GYMNASTS, KAROLYI FACE ROMANIANS AT HOFHEINZ

BY MIKE ROSEN

DAILY COUGAR STAFF

Fifteen years ago famed gymnastics instructor Bela Karolyi coached Nadia Comaneci to a record seven gold medals for the Romanian Olympic team. Ten years ago he defected to America, where he has turned the U.S. team into a fierce competitor.

And this weekend he will face his home country on the gym floor for the first time ever, when the U.S. and Romanian women's national teams square off at Hofheinz Pavilion.

The 1991 International Challenge: USA vs. Romania, is the only show-down between the two gymnastics powers before the 1991 World Championships this September in Indianapolis. And it's the first time the countries have squared off in 14 years, when Karolyi coached his now-opposition.

The gymnastics legend says there are many reasons why he is looking forward to Saturday's meet, but none have to do with retaliation against his native country. He considers the current Romanian team to be among the strongest in the world and he can't wait to face them.

"I want to face a challenge, I want to face a test, then we can take over that position. And if we do, I know we're going to have a very good chance at winning the world championship," Karolyi said.

But the reasons for wanting this victory also stem from Karolyi's belief in his new country, and he feels the United States has something to prove to the rest of the world.

"Back in the old times American kids were considered too spoiled, too rich, the ones who were not taking in the hard preparation. That they go to a certain point and then give up easier," Karolyi said through his still thick Romanian accent.

"And I knew that wasn't the truth," he said. "I know these kids are just as hungry for fame and fortune, and if they are led right they're going to get to it."

1984 Olympic Champion Mary Lou Retton, also coached by Karolyi, will serve as team captain for the American group of 12.

"I'm so proud of American gymnastics and where our team is going," Retton said. "If my working with our team can help prepare us for this meet and for the future I'm delighted to do it."

The USA competitors range from 13 to 18 years of age, and from 4-foot-5 to 5-foot-1 in height. They come from across the country to train with Karolyi at his ranch in Houston.

Perhaps the surprise of the team is 15-year-old Betty Okino from Elmhurst, Ill. The 10th-grader began gymnastics at the relatively late age of eight, but has progressed rapidly.

Okino recently gained national attention at the 1991 McDonald's American Cup, setting a new all-around record and scoring a perfect 10 in the vault.

Four-foot-five Kim Zmeskal is another of Karolyi's bunch to keep a close eye on.

The 15-year-old Houstonian won the McDonald's American Cup in 1990, and led her team to a silver medal at the Goodwill Games that year.

"America's Newest Darling," as Zmeskal is called, scored one of her five career perfect 10s at the American Cup this year.

The International Challenge begins at 12:30 p.m. Saturday at Hofheinz. It will be aired live on NBC as part of the Olympic Showcase.

 

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PRENATAL CARE

CITY OF HOUSTON

Financial assistance eligibility should be a little easier for disadvantaged, pregnant women in Houston for another year.

The Houston City Council has approved an extension grant from the Texas Gulf Coast Chapter of the March of Dimes Birth Defect Foundation in the amount of $25,000 to fund a project called "P.I.E.S.": A Pilot Project to Integrate Financial Eligibility Screening in Houston and Harris County.

The project resulted from a 1987 study which concluded that the complexity of eligibility screening was a major barrier to health services for medically and financially indigent pregnant women.

Approximately 15,000 babies are delivered annually to indigent women at Lyndon B. Johnson Hospital. In 1988 the neonatal intensive care unit spent $20 million of local tax funding to render medical care to infants. The study estimates that approximately half of that amount could have been avoided had the mothers received prenatal care.

Instead of going to four to six different offices throughout the city, women can come to one of three sites to be evaluated for food stamps; Medicaid; Aid For Dependent Children, a state welfare grant for children, and W.I.C., a nutrition program for mother and child.

Registration and eligibility interviews are conducted at three sites throughtout the city: the Northeast Registration Center at 7100 North Loop East, the Pasadena Center at 1029 Strawberry Road and the Lyons Avenue Health Center at 5602 Lyons Avenue.

For more information, please contact the March of Dimes (623-2020), or the Mayor's Communications Office (247-1864).

City of Houston

 

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PLOP PLOP, FIZZ

RESEARCH FOR HEALTH, INC.

So you have stomach pain or discomfort? Heartburn, gas or a bloated feeling? A burning sensation or a bitter taste in your mouth? You may have an ulcer.

ReSearch For Health, Inc., is currently conducting several medication studies for the treatment of ulcers. Volunteers are needed. For more information call 932-1234.

ReSearch for Health, Inc.

 

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UH ACTRESS AWAITS STARDOM

BY SALLY POUNCY

DAILY COUGAR STAFF

Juggling a full-time class schedule while working in professional theaters around Houston, has given Junior Gina McCulloch confidence that her future holds nothing less than success.

"I have no doubts about my success," said McCulloch, a theater arts major.

McCulloch appeared most recently in the Host production of We the People, More Than a Black Experience. McCulloch describes her character as "the token white girl" in the production because she portrayed multiple Anglo-Saxon characters in the play.

McCulloch, who has been acting since she was four years old, credits her aunt for introducing her to the profession.

"I started doing theater when we lived in Los Angeles," she said. "My aunt got me involved in little things around town."

Since then, McCulloch has been honing her talent by studying diligently and searching for fresh, challenging parts.

Since she is not a member of a professional actors union, McCulloch hesitates to call herself a "professional" actress.

"Even though I receive money (for acting in professional theater), I do not consider myself to be a professional actress," she said.

McCulloch said she may someday go back to Los Angeles, but would try the Big Apple first.

"I want to go to New York, because I want to get the experience of working with true professionals," she said. McCulloch hopes to be in New York within two or three years of graduation.

Working earnestly towards her goal, McCulloch will soon appear in the first production of Legalized Wisdom, a play written by Krissy Whicoff. The play will be performed at the UH Wortham Theater on April 26.

McCulloch also will be assistant director for The Importance of Being Earnest, running April 12-21, also at the UH Wortham.

Even though competition is a reality to McCulloch, the actress tries not to think about it.

"All I think about is doing honest work with integrity," she said. "I don't have to be famous ... I just want to do the work and have people believe me."

 

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PANEL CALLS FOR CONTROL OF RUNAWAY ATHLETICS

COUGAR NEWS SERVICE

College presidents must regain control of runaway athletic departments that don't help athletes and produce uneducated students with dim futures, a private organization declared recently.

The report, made March 17, follows a spate of reform measures introduced in a number of state legislatures in February and March and promises to add momentum to the fitful big-time college sports reform movement.

College athletes "are brought in, used and then discarded like so much rubbish on the scrap heap of humanity," said the Rev. Theodore Hesburgh, president emeritus of the University of Notre Dame and co-chairman of the Knight Foundation Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics.

Fourteen of the commission's 22 members are current or former college presidents.

The panel said administrations need to take direct control of their athletic program, require that student athletes get an education and make sure that the finances of the athletic programs are controlled by the university, not the coaches or athletic directors.

Indians University Professor Murray Sperber, author of Sports, Inc., a book chronicling the problems with college sports, didn't think the proposals would hold much weight.

"It has a lot of symbolic meaning, but the real meaning remains to be seen. The NCAA has a history of unraveling these reform attempts," Sperber said.

"We would love to put the sleaziness of intercollegiate athletics to rest today," Hesburgh said.

Just two months earlier, at the annual National Collegiate Athletic Association convention in Memphis, Tenn., members passed several changes aimed at reform.

Among other reforms, representatives voted to slash the number of scholarships in each sport, eliminate athlete-only dorms, require academic counseling for athletes recruited at Division I schools, shorten practice time and playing seasons, and require more money to be spent on sports other than men's basketball and football.

At the same time, legislators in Nebraska, Colorado, Nevada and Illinois introduced bills that would allow schools in their states to financially help student-athletes, who often must practice 40 hours a week before even starting to study.

The commission asked campuses to adopt no-pass-no-play rules.

Schools should not let students play if their academic progress wouldn't allow them to graduate within five years, the members said.

Worried about the millions of dollars raised by outside "booster clubs" and shoe and equipment firms, the panel also warned schools to take direct control of their athletic departments' funds.

"At their worst, big-time college athletics appear to have lost their bearings," the commission report said.

"We sense that public concern about abuse is growing. The public appears ready to believe that many institutions achieve their athletic goals not through honest effort, but through equivocation, not by hard work and sacrifice, but by hook and crook," it said.

The commission found that academic and financial problems "are so deep-rooted and long-standing they must be understood to be systemic. They can no longer be swept under the rug or kept under control by tinkering around the edges. Because these problems are so widespread, nothing short of a new structure holds much promise for resorting intercollegiate athletics to their proper place in the university."

A university president, it said, "cannot be a figurehead whose leadership applies elsewhere in the university but not in the athletics department."

 

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LOW INTEREST LOANS SAVE VETERANS MONEY

 

 

The recent decline in interest rates may be good news for some veterans. Declining rates usually mean that high interest loans can be refinanced at lower rates, therefore saving veterans thousands of dollars.

Texas has about 11,500 outstanding VA home loans with interest rates above 12 percent, said Ted W. Myatt, director of Houston VA Regional Office. Myatt estimates the balances on these mortgages are more than $600 million.

For example, if your original loan was $70,000 and you had an interest rate of 13 percent for 30 years, your monthly payment of principal and interest is $774.34. If the same amount was closed today at VA's current rate of 9 percent, the payment would be only $563.24, a savings of $211.10 a month or $75,996 over 30 years.

There may be substantial closing costs involved. However, many mortgage lenders offer these loans with no out-of-pocket cost to the veteran.

For more information, call toll free 1-800-827-2021, or in the Houston area, 664-4664.

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