COUGARS TAKE SECOND IN NAII

BY JASON LUTHER

DAILY COUGAR STAFF

The Cougars saved their best for last in the final round of the All-America Intercollegiate Invitational, but still came up 12 strokes short of the AAII title Wednesday in Richmond, Texas.

Sophomore Dean Larsson and senior Greg Cox turned in fine performances of 69 and 72, respectively, but the Cougars could not find the consistency to catch Arkansas, finishing second with a three-round score of 887.

Houston Coach Keith Fergus said the Cougars were in the hunt most of the way, but had some difficulties on the back nine.

"(Senior Chris) James had a real good round going," Fergus said. "He was one under going into the back nine, but he hit a double bogey on 16, and it kind of got away from him.

"But that's the way golf can be."

However, Fergus said he was once again pleased with the play of Larsson and Cox.

"Those two guys turned in excellent rounds," Fergus said. "The conditions were real tough, and the course is hard.

"I was real proud of them."

Arkansas, ranked fifth in the nation, was led by Dean Pappas, who shot a 66, the best round of the tournament.

Pappas took the individual title with a three-round total of 209.

Cox (215) placed second and Larsson (217) third in the individual standings.

Larsson's round of 69 was his best performance of the season, eclipsing the 70 he shot at the Crown Colony on Feb. 23 in Lufkin.

Cox's second-place finish in the individual standings was his best finish of the spring season. His previous best was a sixth-place finish at the Border Olympics in Laredo on Feb. 28 and 29.

All in all, Fergus said the AAII was one of the Cougars' best showings of the spring season, but he added that Houston will have to find more consistency throughout the line-up to challenge the big boys in the SWC championships on May 1-3 and the NCAA regional qualifying rounds on May 21-23.

"We've got to have five guys on top of their games in those matches," Fergus said. "It can't be just one or two."

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THEATER MAY HAVE TO CLOSE

BY GRAM GEMOETS AND SALLY POUNCY

DAILY COUGAR STAFF

Stages, Houston's second-largest professional theater, will be forced to vacate its building by April 26 unless something can be done.

Houston investor Jenard Gross and the property owners of the historic Star Engraving building want to oust Stages Theater and The Children's Museum from their Allen Parkway homes in order to build a high-priced, inner-city apartment complex.

At Tuesday's Houston City Council meeting, several friends and employees of Stages pleaded to save the theater from its fate of forced eviction.

It was an emotional scene, as theater representatives told council members that the eviction could mean the death of Stages.

Sidney Berger, the chairman of the UH drama department, told council members of Stages' "importance to Houston's public and artistic communities."

Joining Berger was Emilie (Mimi) Kilgore, chairwoman of the board at Stages. She told the council of Stages' repeated efforts to purchase the property from the developers. "We submitted a bid but never even received a reply," she said.

Kilgore said Stages has made repeated efforts to purchase the space. Each time, however, there was no response from the owners.

James Gladwin, head of Stages' public relations department, said in a later interview that the theater had tried to renew its lease in December but were told they could pay monthly for the space. "Then this came up," Gladwin said.

In a letter read at the council meeting, noted Houston arts patron Dominique de Menil said the theater should remain at its Allen Parkway home.

Located at 3201 Allen Parkway, Stages Repertory Theater opened its doors to Houston theater patrons in 1985. Since then, Stages has delighted young and old audiences alike with its productions.

But if a reprieve is not granted, the theater, which has an annual audience of about 30,000, could be in jeopardy.

Gross Investments refused to comment on the proposed construction when contacted.

"This move is terrible; we have no other place to go. We are in a recognizable space here. Even if we had a place to go, it might cost us our livelihood," a Stages employee said.

"It's not like relocating a drugstore, where you only need square footage," Gladwin said. "People don't understand that it takes a bunch of time, planning and expense to move a theater."

A spokesperson for The Children's Museum of Houston said the museum has been planning to move to a new facility because it had known about the possibility of eviction for quite some time.

The response from the council has of yet not been released, but unless it blocks the eviction, Stages will have to move by April 26.

This move comes at a crucial time during Stages' current spring season. The theater plans to open its newest production, The Perfect Party, next weekend.

City Council members expressed concern, but some indicated they were not certain what action the council would take.

For the present, Stages' fate hangs in the balance. Tuesday's council meeting was its last chance to plead for a reprieve.

"Barring a miracle, City Council's sympathy is our last hope! I guess we could protest, but I doubt that will halt the wheels of progress," a tearful Kilgore commented as she left the meeting last Tuesday night.

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PRARIE VIEW STUDENTS MAY ESCAPE JAIL TERMS

BY REBECCA MCPHAIL

DAILY COUGAR STAFF

Behind-the-scenes plea-bargaining may save 14 Prairie View A & M University students, from possible fines and jail terms.

A grand jury indicted the students and another individual April 2 amid allegations of illegal voting procedures.

Ten people were charged with illegal voting, while the other five were charged with both illegal voting and perjury. Both charges are third- degree felonies and carry penalties of two to 10 years in prison and fines of up to $10,000.

Gene L. Locke, attorney for the 15 defendants, said he was dismayed by the possible punishments.

"Those are incredibly stiff penalties," he said.

However, Waller County District Attorney A.M. McCaig said he and Locke are working together to reach a settlement before the case goes to trial on May 8.

According to Locke, the group's troubles began during the March 10 primaries when they attempted to vote without the proper registration.

Most of the students had registered to vote on campus with various student groups more than 30 days prior to the primary, Locke said.

When the students arrived at the polling site, they found they were not listed as registered voters.

"They knew enough about voting procedures and were intelligent enough to ask to sign an affidavit, which is a legal process allowing you to swear you're a resident of the county and a registered voter," Locke said.

Locke said that other factors may be influencing the case.

"These students, when they vote, can be the balance of power in Waller County. I feel this is an effort to discourage students from voting.

"It is important to note that these students are not part of any organized group, and their actions are not politically motivated. They're only trying to vote, many of them for the first time," he said.

According to McCaig, the students got caught in the middle of a larger legal operation.

"Even before the indictment, our goal wasn't to indict students. Our goal was to find out who was providing misinformation about voting laws and to find out if this misinformation was intentional," he said.

Although no formal charges have been made, McCaig believes the testimony of the Prairie View students has provided valuable information leading to the identification of those responsible for misinforming voters.

"I personally know of three individuals involved," he said.

Locke, like McCaig, believes it is not the students who should be tried.

"The irregularities arise out of the way voters are registered in Waller County," Locke said.

But the two sides hope they will be able to reach an agreement.

"I think I know what Mr. Locke needs, and he knows what I need," McCaig said. "I'm confident we can work something out."

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VAGUE BOMB THREAT SPURS UHPD TO ACTION

BY MICHAEL D. OESER

DAILY COUGAR STAFF

Over the 11 years he has been here, UH Police Assistant Chief Frank Cempa said 10 bomb threats have been made to the UH campus.

Of those 10 threats, no bombs ever went off or were found.

Wednesday, UHPD dispatchers received another one of these calls at 9:25 a.m. and responded to the threat according to standard UHPD procedures.

Lt. Brad Wigtil said a male phoned in the threat saying a bomb was going to go off sometime that evening.

"No specific area was mentioned. No specific time was mentioned. It was a very, very short, concise and vague threat," he said.

Police declined to comment on the nature of the procedures followed in response to the threat, saying they were of a security nature.

The Daily Cougar learned that UHPD notified all colleges on campus, instructing them to notify their subsidiary offices and watch for suspicious packages and activity.

Wigtil said as UHPD is not equipped to handle such situations, "If we were to find anything of a suspicious nature, we would call in the (city) bomb squad."

College of Humanities, Fine Arts and Communication Business Manager Diane Harris said, "We certainly don't want to panic people, and the police receive these calls all the time."

Harris also said whenever threats such as this come in, "You immediately think about who's giving tests tonight."

Cempa said these types of threats usually come around finals time.

Assistant Dean of Students Kathy Anzivino said her office was also notified. Anzivino said it was up to UHPD and the administration to decide whether to alert students or call off classes.

College of Education Business Manager Jarry Booth said, "This is not unusual, and we get these kinds of things all the time. The police handled it in a very appropriate manner, kind of low-keyed."

Booth oversees the room where the Faculty Senate hosted the Spring Convocation Wednesday at noon in Farish Hall.

Distinguished UH Professor of Psychology Richard Evans said there are three categories of motivating factors for people who make these threats.

"It's an interesting phenomenon, and it happens all over the world," he said. "It happens to airlines; it happens to state institutions."

The first category of people do these things as a practical joke, for humor or to upset people, he said. "Like teenagers pulling a Halloween trick."

"The second category is a person trying to draw attention to themselves, usually a lonely, isolated person trying to force the world to pay attention to them," he said. "If they were certain the call would never be reported in the media, they would probably never make the call."

The third category Evans mentioned comprises people who are serious about the threats.

"These people could be seriously disturbed, acting out some emotional problem, but not quite at the point of carrying it out. It could be the first step towards acting it out. Usually not. It's very improbable," he said.

"The third category should never be underestimated. That's why professional law enforcement people always take them seriously, " he said.

FATHER AND INFANT SON NARROWLY ESCAPE TRAGEDY

BY MAYTE SERA

NEWS REPORTER

An 8-month-old baby boy and his father narrowly escaped peril late Tuesday as they were assailed by a flurry of bullets fired by an unknown person wielding a semi-automatic weapon at Entrance five next to the Moody Towers, UH police said.

Though two bullets entered the interior of Felton J. Ransby's car, neither he nor his infant son received any injuries, UHPD Lt. Brad Wigtil said. Apparently, the shooting stemmed from an argument that took place at the University Center, Wigtil said.

Ransby, 23, and his son were driving by the front of the UC, and their access was blocked by four Asian men who were shadow-kick-boxing in the middle of the street, he said.

Ransby honked his horn at the group, and one of them kicked his car, Wigtil said. Ransby then told the group to stop, and one of the men threatened to kill him, he said.

Ransby's wife, Melanie, said her husband told her the men then followed him and his son to Entrance five at the Moody Towers where he was parked, watching a volleyball game in the car.

The suspects paired up in two separate cars, Wigtil said, believed to be a dual-toned, dark Ford Mustang and a small black truck. They fired six to eight shots, three of which struck Ransby's vehicle, then fled the scene, Wigtil said. The shooting was reported to UHPD at about 9:51 p.m.

The bullets missed Ransby and his son, and no injuries were reported. Two bullets entered the interior; one bullet struck the infant's car seat in the back-seat area. Mrs. Ransby said her husband had moved their son, Joshuah, to the front seat when he parked to watch the volleyball game moments before the suspects arrived.

Wigtil said the case is being investigated by the UHPD Investigations Division, and it will be assessed by experts on gang-related crime in the Houston Police Department.

"We are very concerned that these are gang members and will look into avenues to deal with this problem by taking proactive measures," Wigtil said.

According to the UHPD report, the case has been classified as an aggravated assault, a third-degree felony.

Wigtil said anybody who can provide information on the case can call the UHPD Investigations Division at 743-0617, or, in the evening, 743-0600.

 

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