$50 MILLION DONATION LARGEST, SINGLE EVER

COUGAR ATHLETES SCORE BIG WIN

BY DEBBIE HOUSEL

DAILY COUGAR STAFF

UH administrators announced Tuesday that university alumni John and Rebecca Moores have bestowed a total of $51.4 million on their alma mater -- the single, largest gift ever given to a public university.

"Becky and I were just ordinary students," Mr. Moores said. "Sometimes we went full time and sometimes we went part time. We worked hard, and it was hard for us to get through. We know it's hard, and we just want to make it somewhat easier for other students."

In front of a packed crowd at Tuesday's press conference, UH President Marguerite Ross Barnett said the donation is "one more step forward to make UH a great university in the 21st century."

"I think a lot of people are just like me," Moores said. "If you had a lot of money and you wanted to give it to something, you would do just like I did, and give money to the university."

Moores, 47, was appointed to the UH Board of Regents on Oct. 17 and began his six-year term on Oct. 24.

The $51.4 million gift for UH programs will be divided as follows:

$25 million to create the John and Rebecca Moores Endowment Fund designated to build a state-of-the-art athletic department and a sports-science laboratory; to renovate existing basketball, track, volleyball, tennis and baseball facilities; and to support a new mentorship program linking student-athletes with community leaders.

$11.5 million in support for the River Blindness Foundation, created in conjunction with researchers at the UH College of Optometry. The foundation will be committed to eradicating river blindness spread by parasitic worms, which is a major cause of blindness and death among people in Africa and South America.

$10.2 million to support the UH School of Music, including a new, high-tech concert hall.

$1.1 million to support the Creative Writing Department with fellowships and operating funds.

$1 million to support research in the Texas Center for Superconductivity at UH.

$1 million in operating funds for the M.D. Anderson Libraries on campus, including funds to furnish the student reading area in the library.

$1 million to restore the Cullen Family Fountain on campus.

$500,000 in additional scholarship support.

Barnett said when Moores was told it would take about $250,000 to make the Cullen Fountain functional, Moores said he wanted it fixed completely.

"The fountain was significant to my wife and I as undergraduates because it was a coming of age," Moores said. "We had been married for quite sometime when the Cullen Fountain was installed."

The Moores' both earned their degrees in economics, and John also graduated from the UH Law Center in 1975.

He is the founder and chairman of BMC Software Inc. Earlier this month, Forbes magazine reported Moores' net worth at $440 million.

 

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STUDENT VOTES IN MOCK ELECTION PUT TURNER IN MAYORAL SEAT

BY DAVE DAVIS

DAILY COUGAR STAFF

Anxious UH Republicans, eager to know who the student body thinks should be leading the City of Houston out of its current crime woes, held a mock election; and if past records are any indicator, Houston has a new mayor.

Tuesday's mock election, hosted by the UH College Republicans, resulted in a surprising victory for State Rep. Sylvester Turner over five-time incumbent Mayor Kathy Whitmire and former Metro Director Bob Lanier.

Turner, who is a native of Houston's Acres Homes area, walked away with 46.1 percent of the 285 total votes cast in the election. Lanier finished the race a distant second, with 29.5 percent of the votes and Whitmire, who is seeking an unprecedented sixth term, received a disappointing 17.6 percent of the votes.

The mock mayoral election was the third such election ever sponsored by the College Republicans. Each of the previous efforts resulted in returns almost mirroring actual election results.

Tim Flathers, spokesperson for the College Republicans and one of the organizers of this year's election, said in last year's mock election of the governor's race, the returns resulted in a win for Ann Richards over Clayton Williams by 5 percent, results that were close to actual returns.

Flathers and College Republicans President Mai Spicklemeir both declined to acknowledge who the organization is supporting in the real election, citing conflicts of interest since the mayoral race is a non-partisan election.

This year's ballot also consisted of five propositions concerning term limitations for the mayor and members of city council. And if the results from the mock election adequately represent Houstonians attitudes towards long-term incumbencies, term limiting legislation will be on the rise.

Proposition 1 sets no cap on the number of terms a city official may serve.

Participants in the mock election voted overwhelming against this legislation. However, voters were split on the subsequent proposal, which states, "no person who has already served two full terms shall be able to file for the same office.

Members of the College Republicans also refused to comment on whether or not they support term limitation. However, Latrice Sellers, president of the College Democrats, said their organization has definitely taken a stand on the issue.

 

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MIDDLE EASTERN UH STUDENTS: HOPEFUL, WARY OF PEACE TALKS

BUSH AND GORBY COULD LEARN FROM TALKS ON CAMPUS

BY ANTON P. MONTANO

DAILY COUGAR STAFF

As world leaders begin historic peace conferences today in Madrid, Spain, Palestinian and Israeli groups on campus have already exchanged gifts of stuffed grape leaves and felafel.

The exchange of the ethnic delicacies at UH's Food Fair on Oct. 16 marked a new opening of relations between Palestinian and Israeli groups on campus who remain hopeful, but wary, for progress towards peace at the Madrid conferences, Palestinian and Israeli group leaders said.

The world conferences, co-sponsored by the United States and the Soviet Union, will hope to end the state of war that has existed between Israel and Lebanon, Jordan and Syria since Israel's birth in 1948. A second objective is resolution of Palestinian calls for self-government in Israeli-occupied territory captured in 1967.

"The point is that we Palestinians are serious about establishing a working peace with the Israelis," said Maher Massis, a Palestinian with Jordanian citizenship and a graduate student in political science.

At the Food Fair, students from the New Generation for Palestine and Students for Israel hung a sign with the words "Peace Unto This Land" from a rope strung between the groups' booths.

"Palestinians need to show sincerity by taking steps at the people level," Massis said. "We cannot be signing a paper and have people at each other's necks or this is going to be worthless."

Rabbi Stuart Federon, the executive director of Hillel, a Jewish student group on campus, said the success at the Food Fair was a marked improvement from past encounters between the two campus groups.

"It was fabulously better," Federon said.

The peace conferences in Madrid, however, remain in the back of the students' minds.

"I'm very wary," said Marjorie Goodman, president of Students for Israel. "From talking to Palestinians, I believe they, the people, want peace. But, strong feelings and radicals always seem to clash."

While visiting Israel in 1976, Federon witnessed a terrorist explosion that killed a friend.

"I heard the explosion and saw the smoke rise from the bomb that killed a friend of mine," Federon said. "At the time, I was very sad."

Massis, who was five years old when he evacuated the West Bank village of Taybeh after Israeli troops occupied the region in 1967, said the conferences are a chance for more moderate forces to prevail.

"Israelis and Palestinians have the same problems right now in that there are moderate and extremist groups in intensive competition within each.

"The Palestinian moderate elements are in control right now," Massis said. "But, if this peace process fails, the extremists could gain control throughout the Arab world."

Federon said he would wait for substantive actions before applauding the peace talks.

 

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PROGRAM PROVIDES DATABASE FOR RESEARCHERS

CENTER FOR CRITICAL CULTURAL STUDIES LATE IN COMING, COMPARED TO OTHERS

BY JOHN GRIFFIN

DAILY COUGAR STAFF

As the nation moves in various directions both politically and intellectually, academics, especially at the university level, tend to reflect the nature of such flux within the fabric of institutions.

In the last 10 to 15 years, the influence of a post-modern paradigm set against a prevailing atmosphere of conservatism has resulted in the genesis of programs around the country dealing specifically with the philosophical problems confronting a world as diverse and multifaceted as ours now is.

The Center for Critical Cultural Studies, a university-sanctioned program at UH, has attempted to fill what co-founders John McNamara, associate professor of English, and Les Switzer, communications professor, see as a vital necessity for the academic community.

Their aim in starting the center is to provide a forum, a database in which graduate students and faculty from different disciplines may find scholars working with similar ideas.

Through such cross-disciplinary efforts, Switzer and McNamara hope to see both a breaking down of some of the barriers hampering effective utilization of resources as well as the generation of newer and more-informed projects.

The program, which was given university imprimatur in July of this year, marks an important step forward in the overall scheme of academics here at UH. But the Center for Critical Cultural Studies is not unique, and in comparison to some other programs around the country and the world, it comes as a relative late bloomer.

Peter Garrett, professor of English and communications at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, has been the director of his university's Unit for Criticism and Interpretive Theory for the last six years. Given formal notice by UI in 1981, a full 10 years before the similar UH CFCCS, the UFCIT labored for four years as the Faculty Criticism Seminar before actually becoming an official program.

But Garrett sees increased interest within the academic community as a sign of intellectual good health.

"The unit here at Illinois grew out of a faculty discussion group," Garrett said. "And like the Faculty Criticism Seminar, the Colloquium Theories, a couple of major studies and a conference on Marxism, the common purpose has been to break down the isolation of disciplines and questions of interpretation. Obviously, there is not one theory which fits all disciplines."

While the UH program strongly resembles the one at UI and others around the nation, there is an underlying difference. Switzer and McNamara have a strong post-modern element fueling the engine of their project, concentrating not only on how disciplines can work together, but also looking long and hard at the disciplines themselves.

Garrett sees the UH program as something of an exception to the standard.

"A lot of campuses have what is called a Humanities Center, which is set up for faculty and sometimes graduate research," he said. "But they usually don't have any ideological orientation. With the nature of the subject matter there is usually some kind of politics involved, but no real philosophy which ties everything together."

Although there has been some heated debate recently in various circles, much of it focusing on the terms "politically correct" and "multiculturalism," terms which many conservative proponents feel are a direct result of these types of programs, Garrett has not heard much criticism from the conservative front.

"There hasn't been much negative feedback from any conservative element on campus," he noted, "but students could learn a lot by hearing some of this debate."

Switzer and McNamara's Center for Critical Cultural Studies does illustrate a modicum of change on the intellectual frontier in our part of the country, but it is interesting to compare the number of programs found in other regions of the nation with the South.

The latest membership directory of the Consortium of Humanitie Centers and Institutes, a registry published by the University of California at Irvine that compiles research-oriented programs, lists three programs in the state of Texas, not counting UH.

This number compares favorably with other regions, however, there are no entries at all for Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, Arkansas or Oklahoma -- showing a glaring absence throughout the South.

 

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UH GETS $25 MILLION GIFT FOR LOSS

BY JAVIER GONZALEZ

DAILY COUGAR STAFF

It seemed nothing positive came out of the Houston Cougars' 40-10 humiliation at the the hands of the

Miami Hurricanes in the Orange Bowl on Sept. 12.

But now, Sept. 12 is the turning point in the history of UH

athletics. On that day John and Rebecca Moores decided to help make UH a national power in collegiate athletics.

UH President Marguerite Ross Barnett announced the creation of the $25 millon John and Rebecca Moores Endowment Fund Tuesday at a press conference, as part of a $51.4 million donation by the Moores.

Barnett said the Moores accompanied Barnett and her husband to the Miami-UH game.

"In what seemed like five or six years," Barnett said. "We talked about the school and the team. The Moores asked what it would take to bring the kind of excitement Miami had to Houston.

"I mentioned the improvement of our facilities would help us on the basis of recruiting. I had a modest notion of what it would take to improve our facilities, but he wanted a state-of-the-art facility. Now, I'm glad we lost to Miami -- but I wouldn't say that in front of Coach John Jenkins," Barnett said.

Athletic Director Rudy Davalos called this day "the greatest day in the history of UH athletics."

The endowment will be used to build an athletic facility, which will house a 120-yard multi-purpose practice field to be used by both football and baseball teams.

Also included in the facility will be coaching offices, meeting rooms, a larger weight room and a sports-science laboratory.

Davalos said the most important part of the facility is the 10,000-square-foot study area complete with study carrels, computers and work space.

"This is patterned after the athletic facility at the University of Tennessee," Davalos said. "But ours will be better. It will be the best in the region and maybe the entire country."

Aside from building the new facility, the endowment will provide funds to renovate existing basketball, track, volleyball, tennis and baseball facilities; and to support a new mentorship program linking student-athletes with community leaders and involving the athletes in community outreach activities.

New locker rooms will be installed for the men and women teams at Jeppsen Fieldhouse and Hofheinz Pavilion. Lights installation at Cougar Field and renovation of the tennis courts are among the projects to be undertaken, Davalos said.

Davalos said UH has been competing at a disadvantage for many years. The endowment will allow UH athletics to compete on a level playing field with other schools.

Jenkins said the Cougars will benefit in terms of recruiting because of the new facility.

"For years, we had to recruit only on the basis of our winning tradition," Jenkins said. "We couldn't sell a recruit on our facilities except the Astrodome. Now, we can provide an on-campus atmosphere for our student-athletes, and the study area will help our student-athletes in their pursuit of their degrees."

Barnett said ground-breaking for the athletic facility and a new concert hall for the School of Music will begin in a couple of months. The athletic facility will be located adjacent to the Fouke Athletic Building on Holman Street.

 

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COUGAR CLIPS

Long Distance Boot

UH place kicker Roman Anderson has been named the winner of Touchdown Illustrated's AT&T Long Distance Award.

Anderson turned in a 53-yard field goal, tied for college football's longest this week, earning a scholarship donation in his name to UH.

Anderson, a senior from London, England, hit his 53-yarder in Houston's 27-18 loss to Texas A&M. His kick eclipsed his previous best of 51 yards, establishing a new school record. Anderson holds the Southwest Conference career records for field goals and extra points, and his one extra point extended a streak of 136 consecutive PATs. In honor of Anderson's long-distance performance, AT&T will make a $400 donation to Houston's general scholarship fund in his name.

His kick was tied by another Texas kicker, UTEP's Jason Gillespie, who kicked a 53-yarder in a 20-13 loss to Air Force, and both have been named as winners this week.

The AT&T Long Distance Award Winners are announced each Monday of the season. Touchdown Illustrated also features weekly articles on past, great long-distance performances, as well as a listing of the end-of-season winners in their bowl-week edition.

SWC Supreme Team

Fans have only one week left to vote for the Exxon Southwest Conference Supreme Team, the first fan-selected, all-conference team.

Ballots are available at all participating Exxon stations in Texas and Arkansas. Voting ends Nov. 3.

A sampling of early ballots finds a close race with players from every school in the running for lead positions.

Players named to the Exxon Supreme Team by the fans will be announced Nov. 23.

Racquetball Champion

Tellmond Richter, a 67-year-old Creative Writing graduate student, won the UH Intramural Racquetball Championship on Sunday, Oct. 27.

Richter defeated Garret Cook 15-10 and 15-14 at the racquetball courts in Hofheinz Pavilion.

On Guard

Three members of UH's Fencing Club advanced past preliminary rounds and placed in the top six at the Round Rock Novice Foil Tournament on Saturday, Oct. 26.

Because of the number of fencers, the tournament was divided into two groups. In one group, Anton Pal Montano, a junior majoring in political science, garnered second place. Craig King, a third-year computer science major, captured fifth.

James Ousley, a second-year computer science major, placed fifth in the second group. Freshman Charles Chandler placed eighth, but didn't advance.

Four universities, the Round Rock fencing club and Lyndon Baines Johnson High School in Austin were represented at the tournament. Besides UH, fencers came from Trinity, Southwestern and the University of Texas at Austin.

 

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BRASH BERHARD BURNS AT TOWER

BY JOHN GRIFFIN

DAILY COUGAR STAFF

So I was having my normal sex dream involving Sandra Bernhard, a tight, skimpy, green-sequined dress, a three-piece band and a vociferous crowd. She had just changed clothes right in front of me and was embarking on some outrageous monologue when I woke up and realized, this was no dream! This was stark reality!

Yes, it's true, New York's mistress of cynicism bared her chest, her throat, her soul, giving `til it hurt to a very appreciative and overwhelmingly vocal crowd at the Tower Monday night.

Call her a diva. Call her a comedienne. Call her a pop culture prophet. Call her an aggravating, petulant, whiny, self-absorbed bitch. Call her what you will, but this lady, and let the record show that I did call her a lady, puts on one hell of a show.

Her act is decidely not run-of-the-mill, pulling in elements of schtick, Warholesque pop commentary and playing up the sense of ambiguity, especially sexual, that has come to be the Bernhard trademark.

During the show Bernhard alternates between song and stand-up, with clever segues tying both aspects together. Her seeming disdain for virtually everything encapsulated the tone of her comedy while her singing reflected a potentially sensitive side. But the overarching cynicism she spews about makes it difficult to determine whether or not she is sincere. More than likely that's exactly how she wants it.

Targets for her comedy included anyone involved in the high-fashion industry, the Sharon Tate murders, Joan Didion, Marky Mark and Madonna.

Speaking of Madonna, did anyone really enjoy the backstage, gooey, sappy, "gritty," ego-stroking portions of Truth or Dare? Sure the concert footage was nice, but let's face it, the woman consists of little more than a series of self-indulgant poses if we are to believe what the camera recorded. Really trite.

But I digress.

As cutting as Bernhard's comedy was, her singing was equally impressive. While she will probably never rank in the top five songbirds of the 20th century, she does possess a voice capable of some nifty gymnastics.

Her renditions of Prince's "Little Red Corvette," and CSNY's "Stardust" contained a comical Sarah Vaughan feel. The encore medley with "Ladies Night," "Lady Marmalade," and "Lady Godiva" bubbled with saucy parody of those fabulous disco `70s. She even mangaged an interesting facsimilie of Streisand's "People."

Judging from the audience response, Bernhard's show was a success. A sizeable congregation of gays, lesbians and bisexuals attended the performance and brought her back for two encores.

As one satisfied patron told me after the show, "She speaks to us. It's that simple."

 

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STUDENTS IN PROGRAM ENJOY MYRIAD OF PERKS

BY MICHICA GUILLORY

NEWS REPORTER

The UH Challenger Program does exactly what its name implies -- it challenges students to excel in a college career.

Financial assistance, extended tutoring sessions, academic and personal counseling and social enrichment are all part of the package, Director Frank Anderson said.

But the program, which is federally funded by the Department of Education, has much more to offer.

Applicants to the Challenger program must either come from a low-income family, be a first-generation college student or be physically handicapped, he said.

Though many students could be accepted into the program, acceptance is not as simple as mere qualification. Because membership in the program lasts throughout one's college career, applicants must also go through an interview process to be accepted.

The interview is a precautionary measure to ensure students do not abuse the program benefits. Challenger is only funded to serve 215 students, Anderson said.

"We can't add new people who have ongoing needs if this happens. We determine the appropriateness of the program for the student or the student for the program," he said.

Linda Ballard, financial aid counselor, personally helps members deal with financial problems.

"She is the Challenger program's trouble-shooter," Anderson said.

Ballard also conducts workshops designed to assist the students in preparing their financial packets and advises them on the types of aid available.

One of Challenger's advantages is the tutoring program. Unlike the first-come, first-served 20-minute tutoring sessions offered by Learning Support Services, Challenger members have scheduled one-hour tutoring sessions.

"It's not to suggest the LSS program is weaker, but we have a much smaller target population with only 215 students," Anderson said. "LSS serves the entire UH campus."

A reading, writing and study skills college credit course, worth three credit hours, is available for the program's members. The course is only mandatory for members who scored less than 400 on the verbal section of the SAT, less than 21 on the language portion of the ACT, less than a 40 on the TSWE or have less than a 2.0 grade point average.

Personal counseling is an added plus for members. "We deal with stress-time management. We help students with a lack of self confidence," Anderson said. "Interpersonal issues like spouse, sibling or boyfriend-girlfriend problems are dealt with, too."

Academic advising is also available to members to ensure they have a good mix of classes and a manageable course load.

The program has had its share of successes since it began in 1987. In the fall semester of 1990, the program had nine students on the dean's list, and in the spring semester of 1991, 10 members made the dean's list and no students were on academic probation.

The Challenger Program is not all business and hard work, the group also has award banquets as part of its social enrichment. Having the banquets at places like Ballatori Italian Restaurant "gives the students an opportunity to broaden their horizons," Anderson said. "Some even learn a little social etiquette."

Members have also gone to the Alley Theater to see Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol and to Houston Community College to see The Taming of the Shrew.

 

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FROSH HITS SCHOLARSHIP JACKPOT

SNEED NETS BIG BUCKS IN SEARCH FOR FREE DOLLARS

BY TODD DUPLANTIS

NEWS REPORTER

Thanks to a little motivation and perseverance, freshman engineering major Joetta Sneed has acquired $30,000 in scholarship money before entering UH.

"I think my strength is that I'm motivated and I like to get things done," Sneed said. "I guess my main weakness is not knowing my limit."

Sneed, a 1991 graduate of Longview High School, said she applied for everything she could get.

"If there was something in the newspaper, I applied for it," she said. "If there was something I heard of, I applied for it. I always went to the counselor's office to see what was available."

Charles Donaghey, undergraduate advisor for industrial engineering majors, said this amount of money is literally unheard of.

"I would like to think that no more than 15 percent of students have scholarship money," he said. "But it's about zero percent that have $30,000 in scholarship money."

In September of her senior year in high school, Sneed applied for a Coca-Cola national scholarship. She was then chosen as one of the 3,000 semi-finalists selected from more than 600,000 entries nationwide. Sneed was then asked to answer five essay-style questions.

Sneed said the main question set up a fantasy scenario where you are at a 30th high school class reunion and among your classmates is the president of the United States -- but you are the guest of honor.

The question: Why are you the guest of honor?

"My reply was that I had discovered a cure for cancer and I donated the money to the homeless," Sneed said. "I thanked my teachers who had helped me through high school and college, who gave me the basis for science. That's why I won the Nobel Peace Prize."

Out of the semi-finalist round, Sneed was one of 150 students selected for the scholarship. After an all-expense paid trip to Atlanta, Sneed was one of the 50 students awarded a $20,000 scholarship. Sneed also received a number of other scholarships, including a $6,000 scholarship from UH.

Sneed, currently taking 16 hours at UH, wants to complete her degree and then attend law school.

"Well, it's uncommon, but it's not unknown," Donaghey said. "I think it's a pretty good match for an engineer to get off to law school."

Donaghey said he sees about 10 to 12 new industrial engineering majors each year.

"I would suspect that probably out of the ones that start, maybe 50 percent finish as engineering majors," he said. "A number of them don't finish at all or go someplace else.

"I think that a student who selects a major like that shows some kind of focus. She (Sneed) figured out what she wants to do and set about to do it," Donaghey said.

 

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ECONOMICS TEAM MAKES REAL ESTATE RIDDLE EASIER

PUBLIC SECTOR-PRIVATE SECTOR VENTURE PRODUCES SYSTEM TO ANALYZE MARKET

BY ERICKA SCHICHE

CONTRIBUTING WRITER

Home buyers and sellers interested in solving the real estate puzzle in Houston now have a new source of information in an unlikely place.

UH Economics Chairman Barton Smith has designed a statistical analysis system that will clarify information pertaining to the fluctuating local real estate market.

"The Home Price Report," which will be distributed on a monthly basis to journalists from the print and broadcast media, as well as real estate appraisers, is the first such guide to be produced and distributed in Houston.

The project is a joint venture of UH's Center for Public Policy and Sage Realty Advisors Inc. This union marks the first time a private sector-public sector analysis system has been established in the Center for Public Policy's real estate department.

Sage Realty will contribute the data and serve as sole financial supporter for the ongoing project.

Previously, Everett Crawford, president of Sage Realty, received counseling in the area of real estate market research from Smith. Together, they established the original home price index.

"One way the average person will benefit from this new price index is there will be a clearer picture of what is happening in the Houston real estate market. The average consumer is probably confused when the media reports that the median price for houses fell.

"This should help the person who is either buying or selling a house determine the strengths and weaknesses of subdivisions and observe discernable patterns within the industry," Smith said.

Smith, who divides his time between the UH Center for Public Policy and the economics department, will work with Crawford to analyze data pertaining to the price-per-square-foot averages

for 400 subdivisions in the Houston metropolitan area.

Unveiled at a press briefing luncheon held last Monday afternoon at the UH Hilton, the new real estate price index improves upon the previous one, which was designed for only 31 general geographic sections of Houston, and could only be produced quarterly.

Devising the new analysis system, with the help of Crawford, took about a year, Smith said.

Initially -- for the purpose of analyzing data for the October 1991 issue of "The Home Price Report" -- Crawford and Smith spent a month collecting and analyzing the real estate statistics. The process of analyzing and updating the price indexes will take only four days from now on, Smith said.

The index of home prices lists five submarkets (based on price-per-square-foot averages) and three general geographic areas: inside the loop, inside the beltway and outside the beltway.

The submarkets include less than $30 a square foot, $30-39 a square foot, $40-49 a square foot, $50-$69.99 a square foot and more than $70 a square foot.

The $30-$39 a square foot submarket is currently the strongest in terms of home sales, Smith said.

The primary purpose of the system is to make the assessment of trends in the real estate market a more accurate measure, Smith said.

"When a newspaper publishes a report that indicates the median price for houses fell 13 percent, the statistic is misinterpreted.

"The reason for the decline is linked to the fact that many lower-priced homes were sold in that particular time period," he said.

Crawford, a UH marketing instructor from 1965 to 1968, earned his master's in business administration from UH. He entered the private sector after teaching.

He has worked with Smith since 1984, supplying data for the previous home price index and receiving real estate counseling from Smith.

"This was no sudden decision," Crawford said, referring to his motivation for getting involved in the project.

"I realize UH has the analysis capabilities that we don't have. Sage Reality has access to the data needed for the analysis," he said.

Crawford said real estate appraisers could use the price index to adjust their assessments of property values.

The appraisers will have an easier time adjusting to changes in the local

economy and real estate market, he said.

The most surprising trend in the local real estate market is the decline in sales of properties in such subdivisions as River Oaks and West University Place and the rise in the number of sales in the lower to moderately-priced subdivisions, Smith said. He attributes the decline to a decrease in the number of people moving to Houston who can afford to purchase high-priced homes.

 

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INNOCENTS ACCUSED OF, CONFESS, TO MURDERS

YEARS LATER, RESEARCHER CLEARS THEM OF HEINOUS CRIMES, STATE APOLOGIZES

COUGAR NEWS SERVICE

Charles Duffy found his mother in the basement, a hatchet buried five inches into her forehead, semen on her torn clothes.

The frightened 8-year-old boy ran to a neighbor's house. "Call a doctor," he cried. "Mommy's bleeding. A hatchet fell on her."

In March, 1959, Duffy confessed to police that he killed his 41-year-old widowed mother on Nov.20, 1956.

Duffy became an orphan ward of the court, later adopted by an industrial psychologist who lived in a neighboring town.

Jump back to 1958 -- in another nearby western Pennsylvania town, 13-year-old Jerry Pacek was playing a game of peeping tom. Instead of seeing women undress, the teenager heard his neighbor, 52-year-old Lillian Stevick, moaning in the outdoor darkness.

When he looked to see the cause he found Stevick motionless on the ground, her head battered and blood-covered, her clothes in disarray.

Pacek confessed to the killing and at the age of 14, a jury sentenced him to 10 to 20 years in prison.

Now it's 1989.

Edinboro University of Pennsylvania criminal justice professor Jim Fisher is asked to give a talk about celebrated crimes in Western Pennsylvania.

A student researches some cases in the library. She returns with a handful, including a newpaper clipping about Duffy. A lightbulb goes off in the former FBI agent's head.

"They (police) were really looking for a sex offender and they ended up framing the boy," Fisher said.

Fisher decided to investigate.

After about a year of searching through old coroner office files complete with autopsy reports, police documents, inquest data and preliminary hearing information and crime scene photos -- most obtained at the University of Pittsburgh's Industrial Society Archives -- Fisher found his proof.

Police descriptions of the physical wounds -- especially the buried hatched -- showed the physical impossibility of an 8-year-old boy inflicting such damage.

The coroner's report showed Duffy's mother, Helen Zubryd, scratched her attacker. Duffy had no scratches.

Passengers on a bus leaving the area shortly after the murder described a "moonfaced" man boarding with scratches on his face, talking to himself in disturbed tones. About one year after Duffy's confession, police found this man -- police records revealed he had three prior convictions for sexual assault and had served time in a state hospital.

The man confessed to the Zubryd murder, but because he was mentally ill, police homicide detectives discounted the claim.

Armed with evidence proving Duffy's innocence, Fisher took his case to the Allegheny County district attorney.

This year, Duffy's name has been cleared and Fisher uncovered the identity of the man on the bus, William Spiegel of Pittsburgh, who died in 1967. Fisher and authorities believe Speigel killed Zubryd.

Duffy, a salesman, now lives in Columbus, Ohio.

Through the investigation of Duffy's case, Fisher stumbled across Pacek, the 14-year-old convicted of murdering his neighbor.

"I kept seeing references to Jerry's case," Fisher said. "The same cop who framed (Duffy) was working on his case."

With a note of disbelief still evident in his voice he adds, "I thought, `My God! It looks like they framed this kid, too.'"

Fisher painstaking researched Pacek's case for 18 months.

In Pacek's case, Fisher also tracked down trial transcripts and old detective files in the Allegheny County courthouse.

Most of the information didn't exist, he was told. "You just have to make up your mind that you're going to look until you find the stuff."

He did. Records showed the police interrogated Pacek for 12 to 17 hours during which he maintained his innocence. He confessed the next day when police picked him up again for questioning.

"The just wore me down," Pacek recalled in January.

In addition to records evidence Fisher found, he was also able to work with Pacek, who eventually recalled under hypnosis a detailed description of the man he saw in the shadows the night of the murder.

Fisher now has a suspect in the murder, a man now living in Pittsburgh. The investigation continues.

As a result of Fisher's investigation, on Sept.13 Pennsylvania's five-member Pardons and Parole Board voted unanimously to pardon Pacek, the first such action in Pennsylvania history for a murder case.

Gov. Robert Casey has said publicly he will grant the pardon within the next month.

The board apologized to Pacek for the "atrocious miscarriage of justice" that caused him to spend 10 years in prison.

Now, Fisher is receiving a plethora of requests to take cases, but said none have appealed to him because "you have to be able prove their innocence and prove who did do it. That's a pretty tall order."

For now, Fisher is concentrating on his classses and on writing separate books about the Duffy and Pacek cases.

Pacek, a carpet-layer who lives in a Pittsburgh suburb, is celebrating his vindication.

"I thank God for Jim Fisher," he said early in the ivestigation. After the pardon board's recomendation, he added, "I've waited 33 years for this day. This is the greatest day of my life."

 

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A QUASI-RAP MUSICAL DELIGHT

BY JENNIFER SORUFKA

DAILY COUGAR STAFF

Which is more unusual, a horse with wings and horns or a band featuring a white trumpet-playing, quasi-rapper, a clarinet/saxophone player and a mix master? Both are definitely rare, but the latter just graced the Vatican Saturday in the form of MC 900 FT JESUS.

The night began with a viewing of Bamboo Crisis' methodical performance in their mildly industrial style. If you saw them open for the Hunger at the Vatican a while back, the show Saturday would have been a tad bit familiar. The fact that they play the same spread every gig takes a lot of the variety out of their show, and it would probably be simpler for them just to stand at the door with a copy of their first short album, A Tale from the New World, and not waste their time on stage.

They truly have a unique sound, if not a unique show. The night wasn't a total loss, however, if you got a glimpse of their long-haired teen idol/guitarist Tommy Jackson.

Incision also had a beauty on stage in the form of Mike Pratt, energetic lead singer for the infant band. His flowing locks and washboard stomach entertained the eye as their grinding sound entertained the ear. At only seven months old, the band has already opened for Nine Inch Nails and is about to embark on a tour with the compilation band Pigface. (You can catch them at the Vatican Nov. 30.)

Lead guitarist Kenn Ek, playfully nicknamed "GI John" for wearing his genuinely earned camouflage on stage, commented on the sudden uprising of Incision.

"We got a lot of people's attention quickly, which caused a lot of stress on the band up front. Mike already had the tracks and we fed off of that," Ek said.

They have grudgingly been compared to an industrial Village People, but bassist Mitch Swidan dispelled that notion with his wildly thrashing riffs and head.

The night then progressed to the much more advanced sound of MC 900 FT JESUS, and as the headlining band took over the stage, it was obvious that their music was one of a kind.

Mark Griffin, the lyrical backbone of the band, strove to create their original sound to combat the persistent wave of formalized music that he heard during an extended stint working at a record store.

"After five years of watching records come in that all sounded the same, I thought I could do better than that," he said.

Along with DJ Zero, a mix master he met at the store, the recent addition of reed instrument magician Chris McGuire and drummer John Bush, MC 900 FT JESUS is doing "better" -- and their sound defies categorization. An attempt has been made with "Industrial/funk hip-hop-rap," but what does that mean anyway?

It means unusual.

Griffin's lyrics probe the realms of psychology with a sound so melodic it is a shame to call it rapping. And with the sweet sound of the clarinet or saxophone in the background, you almost forget that Griffin isn't singing.

On stage, the band looks as original as it sounds: McGuire could have just come from a blues cafe, Bush from Haight/Ashbury, DJ Zero from a rap video on MTV, and Griffin from ... an insane asylum? They felt no need to get overly theatrical on stage, for their music shone like the stage lights upon them.

Griffin gets his ideas for songs from almost anything. "Sometimes when I know that I have to write 10 songs in three months, I have to sit down and think," Griffin said. "But ideas can come from just barely hearing a song playing in the next room."

Truly a unique individual and an out-of-the-ordinary talent. I probably won't find any unicorns unless I'm out in the 59 North and Tidwell area, but at least I've caught a glimpse of the mystic MC 900 FT JESUS.

Amen.

Sorry Oral.

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