SINGLE PARENTS OFFERED FREE COUNSELING FOR AT-RISK BOYS

BY KATHY ALLEN

DAILY COUGAR STAFF

Single mothers with young sons who are mildly or moderately disruptive or difficult can receive free help from the UH Psychological Research and Services Center this summer.

The "Parent-Child Partnership Program" provides treatment for boys between the ages of six and nine who exhibit behavior problems at home or school.

"Our summer program is designed to help single mothers who recognize that their youngsters are having a hard time at school. We can work with them during summer vacation in the hopes that there will be improvement in the fall," said Gerald Harris, director of the program.

Behavioral problems addressed in the program include hitting, arguing with peers and disobeying and defying adults. These are things which have the potential for developing into more serious problems in adolescence, Harris said.

In the general population, about 50 to 55 percent of boys in this age group exhibit mild behavior problems. About half of them will work their way out of these problems by the time they reach adolescence.

But the other half (25 percent) may eventually exhibit problems ranging from academic difficulties to interpersonal dysfunction to conduct disorder, the most serious of the behavioral disorders.

Of single-parent children, up to 25 percent will exhibit conduct disorder, placing them on a track toward adult criminal activities, Harris said.

The treatment program strives to stop the disruptive behavior from escalating and to improve youngsters' current functioning.

After an initial screening assessment, a boy may be assigned to a group of five to eight boys. Each group is headed by two therapists, who lead the boys in discussions and role-playing games.

The therapists pose questions to the boys such as: "What do you do if a boy comes up and hits you? What do you do if there's somebody over there, and you'd like to be their friend?" Harris said.

The boys then discuss the issue, list the possibilities and play a game to try out the possibilities to see which ones work.

It's a behavior-oriented program to help them think about their behavior, see that they have choices and consider the consequences before they act.

It focuses on anger-management skills because "that's the hardest," Harris said. "You get angry, and you want to hit."

It helps children understand how to get their needs met without getting themselves in trouble or hurting someone else.

The program also helps children deal with unsolvable problems, such as coping with the fear they feel when they hear gunfire in the neighborhood while they're home alone, Harris said.

While therapists may initially suggest problems to discuss, the boys quickly start suggesting their own problems.

At first, some of the boys are shy and reluctant to participate, but it's not long before they join in because they are interested in working on their problems, Harris said.

The program is limited to six-to-nine-year-olds because children under six typically don't have the cognitive abilities to benefit from the program; children older than nine are typically past the stage of prevention and into the stage of treatment, Harris said.

The program is targeted toward single mothers because they are under a lot of extra stress and are typically underserved by these kinds of services.

"Traditionally, the single parents are the ones who drop out, or they don't show up," because of scheduling or transportation problems, he said.

"Even a lot of the techniques are oriented toward having somebody to back (the parent) up or the idea that you have relief available. So there's not very many programs that say, `As a single parent, in your life, here's how you can make this work better,'" Harris said.

The same is true for the children. "(Most programs) are not oriented toward what it feels like to be in a single-parent family, to feel different, to not have a daddy when most of the other children do," he said.

"Kids will say during the program, `I thought I was the only one.' In reality, there's lots of single-parent families, but it's like it's not good, so you don't talk about it.

"They don't tell each other this on the playground. In fact, they kind of pretend or act like it's not true. They don't want to say they don't have a dad," Harris said.

At the end of the session, children show their appreciation through statements like, "If you have another group, can I be in that one?"

"Emotionally, I think it means a lot to them to have had this opportunity to work on those kinds of issues," Harris said.

The 16 weekly sessions last one and a half hours and are scheduled during evenings and weekends starting in June.

For more information, call the Parent-Child Partnership at the Psychological Research and Services Center at 743-8600.

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AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL BRINGS GUATEMALAN REFUGEES TO SPEAK

BY REBECCA MCPHAIL

DAILY COUGAR STAFF

Amidst reports of torture and kidnapping, the citizens of Guatemala staged a mass exodus from their homeland nearly a decade ago.

Guatemalan refugee Francisco Boiten Rogas attributes the cause to the oppressive government of his country in the early 1980s.

"They practiced a scorched-earth policy," Rogas said in a lecture Thursday at the University Center.

"When they came across corn, they cut it down. When they came across adults, they killed them. When they came across children, they cut them into pieces and threw them against trees," he said.

Patrick Brooks, chair of the Amnesty International UH chapter, agreed with Rogas' assessment of the grim situation.

"Guatemala has one of the worst human rights records in this hemisphere," Brooks said.

According to Brooks, the main problem in the last 10 years has been the mysterious disappearance of scores of civilians.

"Since the early 1980s, 45,000 Guatemalans have disappeared," Brooks said. "That's roughly the capacity of the Astrodome on a medium night of attendance."

Benito Juarez, director of the Houston-based Guatemala Support Network, said despite Guatemala's lack of basic human rights, the refugees are being pressured, on several fronts, to return to their homeland.

"The Mexican government is pressuring them to either depart or become Mexican citizens. Also, the United Nations' Commission for Refugees is cutting aid to the refugees this year," Juarez said.

Members of four refugee groups were at the talk to recount their experiences in the three Mexican refugee camps of Campeche, Ouintana Roo and Chiapas.

Felix Pablo Martin, a refugee and member of Guatemala's religious sector, elaborated on the dismal conditions found in the refugee camps.

"We don't really have the right to be in Mexico, so there is no land for us," he said. "We're paying very high rent for the lands we're using, and we don't have the wood we need to survive. Sometimes, there's no water, even to drink, in the dry season."

After nearly a decade in the camps, Rubio Majia Lopez admits he has not yet become accustomed to his temporary Mexican home.

"After 10 years in the refugee camps, every day, the situation becomes more difficult. We've come to the point in time to make a decision," he said.

Lopez is not alone in his call for action. Members of the refugee camps have banded together and presented the Guatemalan government with a plan of six objectives which must be met in order for the refugees to return to their homeland.

Included in the list is the right to repossession of lands previously held, the right to organize freely within the country and the right to return with international delegates on hand to ensure the safety of the refugees.

The event was sponsored by Amnesty International's UH chapter.

"We were asked to provide a forum for the group to address the community, " Brown said.

According to Juarez, the group of refugees is speaking around the country on a simple premise.

"We're coming to ask the support and solidarity of the U.S. people to help the refugees go back in a safe way," he said.

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UH ACQUIRES A NEW INSURANCE COMPANY

BY CROSBY KING

DAILY COUGAR STAFF

Starting Sept. 1, UH employees will get their insurance from a new source -- the Employee's Retirement Service.

Last year, the Texas Legislature passed House Bill 2, which forces most state universities to join the ERS health-care plan. UH and Texas Tech were given the option to stay with their own plans, but on April 13, the UH System decided unanimously to go with the new service.

About 2,400 UH employees now join more than 220,000 others statewide in being part of ERS, which covers only Texas state employees.

Craig Ness, member of the UH Fringe Benefits Committee, said a change was necessary because current contributions by Provident (the school's health insurer) have not matched the rising costs of health care.

He said UH would benefit from joining ERS because the enlarged group size would cushion any devastating claims. He also stressed that a statewide group insurance plan helped Houston members, where medical costs are higher than in other Texas cities.

ERS is developing a managed care plan, in which a network of doctors would provide a higher rate of reimbursement for patients in the plan. Ness said UH would eventually join such a plan, either with ERS or another

system.

He said the cost of providing coverage for Houstonians increased 21 percent last year, and contributions from Provident did not increase by that amount.

"In the good old salad days," Ness said, "back in the days of Ozzie and Harriet, the employer paid the vast majority of health costs. We're not seeing that much (now)."

Ness said both the health plan rates and employer contributions will be established statewide.

"It's a mixed blessing," he said. "We're losing autonomy. We're losing the right to complain about our own fate."

Along with its group health-care plan, ERS offers life and long-term disability insurance, both of which will be costlier than UH's current plan. Life insurance under ERS is also age-rated (older members pay higher premiums), while the current system uses a single amount for all members.

"The only reason you would want to get both life and long-term disability is if you can't get it on the outside," said Betty Barr, a member of the UH Fringe Benefit Committee.

She said according to Sanus, the university's health maintenance organization, people living in Houston pay about 20 percent more in health care costs than those in other Texas cities, including Dallas. She said this was probably due to the complex research facilities and abundance of specialists in this city.

Barr said UH employees will pay a "blended rate," or a rate common for all members of ERS statewide.

"As long as ERS blends rates," she said, "we will have the benefit of paying the same rates as folks in East Texas."

Barr said the new agreement with ERS is not a contract, but an act of legislation, and it would take a similar act to get out of the arrangement.

Betty Powell, supervisor of employee benefits and records at UH, said her department feels ERS is a better deal for employees than the service they use now. She said she's encountered a lot of people who have been unhappy with the current rates.

Next week: responses to the decision to go with ERS.

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ADMINISTRATION TO HANDLE CRIME ON OWN TERMS

BY CLAY CARPENTER

CONTRIBUTING WRITER

Administrators will soon be reviewing some UHPD arrests on a case-by-case basis to suggest penalties.

When recommendations of the UH Arrest Policy Task Force go into effect in late May or early June, they begin assessing arrests on an individual basis, and no specific guidelines will be written to ensure consistency in the process, said Elwyn Lee, vice president for Student Affairs.

Lee said a goal of the task force was to get away from the kind of rigid guidelines used by police departments, which prescribe specific penalties for particular crimes, regardless of the circumstances surrounding the crimes.

A letter dispatched Wednesday from UH President James Pickering to the faculty describes loose guidelines that will be considered in deciding how to handle a case. The "gravity of an alleged offense," "the alleged offender's connection with the university," "the retrievability of the alleged offender," "availability of appropriate administrative remedy," "potential for restitution" and "prior actions to the extent such records can be legally disclosed" are the considerations listed in Attachment A of the letter.

"What we want in this thing is judgment. You need to think like an educator and not like a criminal lawyer, and then you make the decision," Lee said.

Pickering agrees with Lee. "The (amount) of gravity and the danger the crime imposes are important. There are certain things where education is not at stake. It is at that point you certainly have to let the judicial system take its course," he said.

Pickering said the administration would rather respond to "single, isolated acts of personal behavior" with campus disciplinary measures than prosecution.

He cited the example of a student tearing a page out of a library book as something that might be handled administratively under the new system. "That's not a crime against somebody else. There's no threat of personal injury, there's no deliberate pattern of personal mischief. I think all of us from time to time have acted thoughtlessly," he said.

Lee said he sees the administration dealing only with nonviolent incidents involving minor theft or property damage.

He said no determination has been made on what crimes would be handled administratively, but they would be judged individually, and there would be no set of procedures specifying which types of arrests would be relegated to the administration.

"It's very clear that nobody on our committee intends for us to handle rape. We could do something in addition to (prosecution)," he said.

Lee said the university does not have the resources necessary to punish higher crimes. "We don't have jail cells, for example," he said.

Pickering said the administration would be held liable in the event it took campus disciplinary action instead of prosecuting for a higher crime, such as a rape, and the offender committed the crime a second time.

But the district attorney can always turn down a request to defer an arrest to the administration, Lee said. "Any crime you can commit, particularly on campus, we can probably deal with it administratively, but that doesn't stop anyone from prosecuting," he said.

District Attorney John Holmes, who has expressed doubt about the arrangement, said in certain cases concerning the public interest, he might refuse an administrative request that he not prosecute.

But he said he would not provide a "shopping list" of the kinds of cases he would turn over to the administration. "To say, `in this kind of case, we're not going to prosecute,' that's giving legislative powers to the prosecutor," he said.

Lee said in the new system, Vice President for Administration and Finance Dennis Boyd would review police reports and consult with other administrators of his choice to decide which cases to handle administratively. He would then ask the D.A. not to prosecute.

"The key to the thing is working out a smooth communication system with the D.A.'s office and the campus," he said.

In some cases, the university will wait to decide whether to take campus disciplinary action until after the offender has been prosecuted, said Lee, and the D.A. may do the same.

"When they defer initially, it's possible they could take a wait-and-see attitude," he said.

Once the administration has taken over a case, it will be turned over to the Dean of Students Office, where it is subject to standard procedure. The accused is given a choice of either an administrative hearing or one conducted by the University Hearing Board, a council of students, faculty and staff, said Dean of Students William Munson.

Student records, including disciplinary records, are kept confidential under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (the Buckley Amendment), but students can always request copies of their own disciplinary records, Munson said. The 1990 Campus Security Act requires that all universities report statistics on crimes committed on campus.

Pickering said the reduction in specific information that will be necessitated by the Buckley Amendment is an unfortunate side-effect of the arrangement.

"I'm not sure you can have a perfect system. There are trade-offs. I do think the policy recommendations at the more heart of the report make us a better campus," he said.

Lee said the task force recommendations are "conservative" compared to similar

arrangements at other universities, citing as an example a 1991 case at Southern Methodist University in which a student was found guiltyof rape by a university judicial

board.

Neither the University of Texas nor Texas A & M University have any kind of agreement between their administrations and police departments or district attorneys that

provides for campus disciplinary measures instead of prosecution when an arrest is made.

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DOCTOR DISPELS WARREN COMMISSION'S CLAIMS

CRENSHAW'S BOOK SAYS JFK WAS SHOT FROM THE FRONT, NOT THE BACK

BY ERICKA SCHICHE

DAILY COUGAR STAFF

Although he has given his wife carnations and considers the tea rose to be one of the most beautiful flowers, there is one flower Dr. Charles Crenshaw finds unpleasant to the eye.

When he saw Jacqueline Kennedy's red roses in a stainless-steel kick-bucket in Trauma Room 1 at Dallas' Parkland Memorial Hospital, he nearly lost his composure.

"In that bucket, were the red roses; blood was still dripping down from the head wound down into the roses, and some of the brain tissue that had been almost liquefied fell onto the roses," he said, with traces of sorrow in his voice.

For Crenshaw, the events of November 22-24, 1963, documented in a book entitled JFK: Conspiracy of Silence, have left an indelible imprint on his memory.

During a recent visit to Houston, Crenshaw shared his account of what happened during the treatment of President John F. Kennedy and Lee Harvey Oswald and the events surrounding both murders.

"It symbolized the beauty of nature against the destruction of madmen," he said, of the bucket's contents in a chapter enhancing earlier reports about the trauma procedures used in an effort to revive the president.

"It showed what was left of a presidency, a marriage and a family, the memory of his two children. Never had the stench of murder filled my nostrils as it did at that moment."

Crenshaw said he has no doubt the wounds Kennedy sustained, one to the head and one in the throat region, resulted from shots fired from the front.

Describing the wound in the back of the head as similar to the size of a baseball, he said entry wounds tend to be "small, round, smooth and well-demarcated."

However, the three autopsy attendants who signed the postmortem examination report at Maryland's Bethesda Naval Hospital described the wound in the back of the head as an entry wound, one caused by a projectile that "traversed the cranial capacity in a posterior-anterior direction."

Crenshaw, chairman and director of the Department of Surgery at John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth and professor of surgery at the University of Texas, Southwestern Science Center in Dallas, decided to divulge information pertaining to the assassination when he realized his account could clear up some of the murkiness that has yet to dissipate after 28 years.

"By weaving threads of my personal and medical observations of those incredible events into the ever-growing fabric of historical truth, we (Crenshaw and his assistant writers Jens Hansen and J. Gary Shaw) hope that in some small way, the veil has become less obscured, the perplexing has become clearer and the government's lone-gunman theory is exposed as a preposterous lie," he said in the book's introduction.

Enduring his third year of residency at Parkland with a steely resolve, Crenshaw had no idea how violently and rapidly he would be thrust into the core of American history, he wrote.

Previously, he had received a bachelor of science degree from Baylor University, a master's of science degree from East Texas State University and a doctor of medicine degree from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School. From 1960 to 1961, Crenshaw served as an intern at the Veteran's Administration Hospital in Dallas.

The morning of November 22, 1963, did not foretell the harrowing images that would later fill the pages of newspapers, magazines and broadcasts. After reviewing patient charts and lab tests, eating breakfast, reading the newspaper and performing a gall bladder operation, Crenshaw thought the day would progress smoothly -- with his afternoon and evening free.

But, a few moments after he completed instructions on a medical chart, Crenshaw said he heard an announcement that shocked him.

Dr. Tom Shires, the chief of surgery at Parkland, had been paged. Since Shires had taken a trip to Galveston, Crenshaw answered the page and heard the panicked voice of the in-house operator utter the unimaginable: "The president has been shot!"

"I said, `If you're kidding me, I'll kill you,' and she said, `This is no joke,' so I slammed the phone down and proceeded toward the emergency room.

"The first thing I saw, of course, was the entrance wound in the neck -- before the tracheostomy was done -- and then, immediately, I saw the head wound and knew that it was terrible, but we still went ahead with all of our procedures," he said.

He noted at the time that the president had sustained a four-plus injury, which is the worst possible scenario, but that did not affect the trauma effort.

President Kennedy's size took him aback. "He filled the cart; he was a much bigger man than I had anticipated -- I had seen him only on television," he said.

This was one of the few statements Crenshaw made that is consistent with an autopsy report signed by Cmdr. J.J. Humes. The report described Kennedy as a "muscular, well-developed and well-nourished Caucasian male measuring 72.5 inches and weighing approximately 170 pounds."

After the insertion of an endotracheal tube, Crenshaw began his work as part of the circulation team that performed three cutdowns (insertion of a plastic tube in the vein to give rapid infusion of fluids intravenously) in one arm and both legs, he said.

Ringer's lactate -- a salt-water solution that lowers the temperature of the kidneys, thereby slowing the death of organs caused by oxygen starvation, and facilitates stemming blood loss -- began flowing into the president's body.

Later, after a tracheostomy had been performed, and Dr. Malcolm Perry -- described by Crenshaw as the "captain of the ship" -- conducted closed-chest, cardiac massage on the president, the realization that the nation's 35th president had died finally sunk in, Crenshaw said.

Crenshaw remembers the images of that day vividly. He said he observed the poise of Mrs. Kennedy -- whose pink suit and white gloves had become stained with blood -- as she observed some of the emergency procedures.

The native of Paris, Texas, saw Clinton Hill -- the Secret Service agent who helped Mrs. Kennedy back into the Lincoln limousine after she climbed out -- muttering to himself and "waving a cocked and ready-to-fire .38-caliber pistol."

Just when Crenshaw -- as did many doctors at Parkland -- thought an autopsy would be performed, he said Secret Service agents strong-armed Dr. Earl Rose, chief of forensic pathology. Against Texas law, the body would be transported back to Washington, D.C., for the autopsy.

"He should have been trained as a forensic pathologist," Crenshaw said of Humes, who later burned his autopsy notes. "He didn't call the doctors at Parkland prior to doing the autopsy, and that would have been the best medical way to do it."

The next day, a Saturday, proved to be one of the longest in Crenshaw's career.

Sunday, however, proved to be yet another devastating day in the history of Parkland.

Crenshaw remembers the fight to save Lee Harvey Oswald, who later died due to hemorrhagic shock. "He was walking around to all four of the IVs and changing the blood as quickly as he could," said Crenshaw of Dr. James "Red" Duke, who is now professor of surgery and director of Emergency Medical Services at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston.

Then, Crenshaw said, came the second shocking phone call he would receive during that weekend.

"It was like thunder: He said, `How is the accused assassin doing? And I said, "He's critical; he has lost a lot of blood, but he is holding his own," he said, recalling the conversation he had with President Lyndon Johnson.

Crenshaw said the president ordered him to ask the chief operating surgeon to deliver "a deathbed confession from the accused assassin."

Since that time, the Warren Commission and the Select Committee on Assassinations have failed to reveal what truly happened from a medical standpoint, Crenshaw said. He said an "independent investigation should be done."

The specter of the Kennedy assassination has followed him since those three emotionally taxing days. He admitted that an eerie feeling still overcomes him when he is in a hospital's emergency room and sees a patient

who has the wounds similar to Kennedy's.

Of course, the painful memory of the crimson-red roses still lingers.

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RAPPERS WITH MESSAGE

BY TIFFANY RATHER

CONTRIBUTING WRITER

Their political consciousness is what the rap group, The Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy, is expressing on its CD, Hypocrisy Is The Greatest Luxury.

The CD is packed with eloquent speeches about political, social and economical situations in the world from the duo's lead rapper, Michael Franti. His harsh voice carries a meaning and a message in each rhyme, and his style resembles that of the street rapper, Ice-T.

The second half of The Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy is Rono Tse, who adds a flair to Franti's raps by placing them with a funky, jazzy beat. The CD also has an added industrial sound to it thanks to Tse's musical use of sheet metal, angle grider, tire rims, chains, break drums and steel drums.

The collaboration of Franti and Tse results in a CD that gives a clear indication of the state of the world.

"Satanic Reverses," the first single on the CD, focuses on how the situations in major nations are causing them to lose their political and economic structure. Franti talks about the United States' savings and loan scandal, the OPEC nations' hold on the world's oil economy, the coming down of the Berlin Wall and Japan's reign as the number-one economic power in the '80s, all in the single.

Franti continues in "Satanic Reverses" to predict the outcome of the European countries' economic situation, Hong Kong's political situation and America's social situation, which Franti believes will be run by the Supreme Court.

Franti uses "Famous And Dandy (Like Amos `n' Andy)," another single off the CD, to express his ideas to his race. He preaches that the black community will deteriorate if it continues to be uneducated, undisciplined and underdeveloped.

He raps that black males will continue to go down in social mobility if they keep partaking in the fads that cause them to be stereotyped, the "flavor(s) of the month," such as holding the crotch, wearing huge, gold chains and name-brand tennis shoes, being a thug and gang-banging.

Franti hits home with the message of "Famous And Dandy" (like Amos 'n' Andy) when he raps, "My pocket's so empty, I can feel my testicles / 'Cause I spent all my money / on some plastic African necklaces / And I still don't know what the colors mean... / RED, BLACK, AND GREEN," which suggests that some blacks are wearing the medallions as a fashion statement rather than a symbol of heritage consciousness.

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PROGRAM REACHES OUT TO YOUTH FOR ART'S SAKE

BY REISHA VIRATA

NEWS REPORTER

"Do your own thing and try," is the message Namita Wiggers, curatorial assistant for education at the Blaffer Gallery, wants to get across to children who participate in the UH Reach program.

UH Reach, started in 1989, is a program helping students understand how an object or work of art is created and teaching critical thinking and decision-making skills, Wiggers said.

"It's (the program) fantastic, and I would recommend it to all schools," said Jerry Bell, chair of the Art Department at Austin High School.

"One thing I did notice is that they (the students) liked talking about the artist," Bell said. "I've noticed it has helped a lot of the students remember a lot more things than I'd think they'd remember."

Bell was impressed that some of the children who visited the gallery a second time were able to help others visiting for the first time.

She said many of her students told her they wanted to attend UH after visiting the campus.

The schools taking part are Austin High School, Furr High School, Jackson Middle School, Lanier Middle School and Ryan Middle School, Wiggers said.

Education assistants, about 20 specially trained graduate and undergraduate students from the art department, visit the schools and prepare the students for a trip to the gallery.

The day the students arrive, they tour the gallery and are given time to do an art activity.

Assistants also make a follow-up visit to the school and give the students a more in-depth art activity pertaining to the particular art exhibition they viewed, Wiggers said.

Bell especially liked the education assistant program. She said the education assistants interacted with the children beautifully.

Margaret Dickey, a teacher of exploratory art at Lanier Middle School, said, "I thought it (the program) was terrific, varied. I get a lot of feedback from the students.

"Teaching can be a lonely business, and when you find other individuals who are impassioned (about teaching), it's really nice," she said.

All schools receive UH Reach Kits, which allow teachers to follow up the program in the classroom, Wiggers said. The kits include slides and activities with the emphasis on creativity and imagination.

"It makes a difference to look at a work of art and see that something is simple to their (the students) own terms.

"This (art) is our culture. To understand society, you have to understand art, too," Wiggers said.

The program is geared mainly toward secondary schools so they can experience a college campus and gain an appreciation for art.

UH Reach is funded through the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts Inc.

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BOYFRIEND SHUNNED, CROWD STUNNED

BY GRAM GEMOETS

DAILY COUGAR STAFF

Get hypnotized! Are you feeling sleepy? Well, I'm feeling sleepy. For a really great time this weekend, why not try a hypnosis show?

If you have never seen a hypnotist's show, this is your chance to see people do all sorts of silly things in front of a crowd.

Now, hypnosis has gotten a bad reputation over the years. Television, in particular, portrays it as an evil force which makes people do anything they are told to do.

We have all seen some horror flick where a mad scientist places a lovely blonde under his spell. For the rest of the picture, she is his slave.

But this is just not true. As any hypnotist can tell you, a person under hypnosis will not do anything they wouldn't do in real life. In other words, a hypnotized person is not a robot.

A person has to be willing to be hypnotized.

Ken Whitener, master of the subconscious, will be mesmerizing audiences tonight through Sunday at the Comedy Showcase located at 12547 Gulf Freeway at Fuqua.

I caught the show Wednesday and found it very entertaining. Whitener put the whammy on eight volunteers from the audience.

Before he begins, Whitener invites people to come up on stage. After eliminating a few, the remaining seven or eight sit on stage, and the show begins.

After an induction period including calming music and relaxing suggestions from Whitener, the volunteers soon fell under Whitener's spell.

No, there is no watch swinging back and forth or any bright lights to gaze upon. Whitener asks his subjects to imagine themselves in relaxing situations.

"Imagine yourself floating on a rubber raft on a lazy summer afternoon, floating back and forth," and that sort of thing. Now the first half of the show was pretty routine.

Whitener did everything you would expect a hypnotist to do. People acted like chickens, belly dancers and a few even crooned a song or two, all to the delight of the crowd.

But the second half of the show was the best. If you've never seen a hypnotist, you've got to see this one!

You see, some people make better hypnotic subjects than others. "People who are able to concentrate well make the best subjects," Whitener said.

However, "scared people make poor subjects as well as really drunk people." Whitener further explained that drunk people tend to just pass out.

A select few on stage could be considered good subjects. In fact, one woman in particular was very susceptible to Whitener's spell. Needless to say, she soon became the star of the show.

At one point, she was told to leave the stage and take the seat next to her date. But there was a condition attached. You see, Whitener told her to forget what her date looked like.

As you can imagine, the poor woman was very confused. She wandered around for about five minutes before returning to the stage. Whitener undid that suggestion, but her part in the show was far from over.

It turns out the poor woman was on a first date. How embarrassing!

Next, he told her the man on stage next to her (also under hypnosis) was naked. Well, anyway, you can imagine what came next. The woman turned a bright shade of red and continued staring at the "naked" man.

Showcase patrons were especially lucky to have a bachelorette party among their number. Whitener picked up on this and asked the betrothed to join the show.

Her name was Yvette, and she was a trooper. Under Whitener's direction, Yvette was a great performer. Her chicken-walk was by far better than anyone else's.

Sometimes unwittingly, people not chosen to go on stage also participate in the show. Some patrons find Whitener's spell to be overpowering and get hypnotized while still in the crowd.

Watch out! People at their tables are also apt to be pulled up on stage. When Whitener is through with his subjects on stage, he pulls dozing table-sitters up to join him.

Before and after the show, Whitener was very helpful in explaining just what hypnosis really is.

"Everyone experiences hypnosis every day. It's that feeling when you wake up in the morning or just before you drift off to sleep."

I wondered if it was sometimes difficult to get people to come up on stage. I mean, if you know you are going to be embarrassed, why volunteer?

"It is sometimes harder to get subjects when the crowd has a lot of older people in it. But once one person volunteers, the ice is broken," Whitener said.

He went on to explain that some types of people like getting the attention from being on stage.

"A hypnotist's dream is to get a subject with absolutely no inhibitions."

Shows featuring Whitener, "The World's Funniest Hypnotist," run through this Sunday. Friday's and Saturday's shows start at 8 p.m. and 10:15 p.m. There is only one show on Sunday starting at 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $9.50 on Friday and Saturday and $8 on Sunday. For more information, call the Comedy Showcase at 481-1188.

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FILM FANS FEAST ON FESTIVAL

BY HEATHER MCLATCHIE

CONTRIBUTING WRITER

Great news for film fanatics and connoisseurs alike. WorldFest Houston, formerly the Houston International Film Festival, is back and better than ever.

The festival opens today with the Houston premiere of Waterdance, a drama about a writer coping with his recent and permanent confinement to a wheelchair. The film stars Eric Stoltz and Wesley Snipes and was directed by Neil Jimenez, who wrote River's Edge, and Michael Steinberg.

Friday's event is a black-tie gala, and tickets are $20. The show starts at 8 p.m. at the Museum of Fine Arts.

The bulk of the festival runs through May 4, with more than 130 films from 15 countries to be screened during the eight-day period. Some are films that will open later in the year; others are making the film festival circuit; and still others are experimental works made for the art set.

Three films showing during the next three days expose the vision of the independent filmmaker and are worth a shot if you want to check out a different kind of movie this weekend.

First up, at 7 p.m. Saturday at the AMC Greenway Theatre is Sam & Me, a sweet and funny Canadian film about an unlikely friendship between a pair of outcasts. Nikhil has just arrived in Toronto, expelled from India by his family and sent to his uncle, hoping he will find a job and settle down. Sam Cohen is an aging, embittered man desperately hoping to return to Israel while confined to the care of his son and daughter-in-law.

Sam's son, Morris, hires Nikhil to look after Sam during the day. Initially, Sam wants nothing to do with Nikhil but is forced to accept the young man when he simply will not go away. What follows is a warm and funny friendship as Nikhil draws Sam out of his preoccupation with dying in Israel and incorporates him into his circle of friends.

The film was written by and stars Ranjit Chowdhry as Nikhil. Chowdhry is effective as the bewildered and beleaguered Nikhil and his script conveys the racial strains between the Indians and the Jews in Canada. Peter Boretski hams it up as Sam, and in a supporting role as Nikhil's exasperated uncle is Om Puri, currently starring opposite Patrick Swayze in City of Joy.

Sunday brings some documentary fare your way with The Falls, at 5 p.m. at the Greenway Theatre. The Falls is a co-production of the National Film Board of Canada and the Ontario Film Development Corporation that takes a compelling look at Niagara Falls.

The feature-length documentary examines the falls from a historical, popular and scientific perspective.

There is a history of the falls, dating back to the first reactions of theologians as well as footage of the millions of visitors who flock to Niagara every year. A more somber aspect of the film centers on the pollution and poisoning of the falls and its fish.

Written and directed by Kevin McMahon with a synthesized score by Kurt Swinghammer, The Falls provides an inside look at one of our national treasures.

On Monday, one of the films making its Houston debut is a dark, steamy story of love gone wrong, Lonely Hearts. Eric Roberts and Beverly D'Angelo star as Frank and Alma, a pair of lovers who should have kept walking when they met each other. Alma is a recovering compulsive overeater and Frank is a real estate investor, or so he says.

Alma meets Frank through the lonely hearts column, and they hit it off. Before long, however, Alma has given Frank $5,000 to "invest" in some property for her.

When the phone stops ringing, Alma realizes she has been duped and goes looking for Frank and her money. What she finds, however, is a dangerous and corrupt sleazemeister who doesn't draw a line between right and wrong.

Written by Andrew Lane and R.E. Daniels and directed by Lane, Lonely Hearts is a dark and murderous tale that is all the more frightening because it actually happens.

It's too bad the filmmakers inject a throw-away scene with more humor than the entire film: Eric Roberts eyes up his next victim while at the pool, and she's reading a GQ magazine with Julia Roberts, Eric's upstart younger sister, on the cover. Lonely Hearts debuts at 7 p.m., April 27, at the Greenway Theatre.

Tickets for all showings, except the premiere, are available at the box office of the theater for $6. For additional information on WorldFest or multiple-showing passes, call 965-9955.

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PANEL BLASTS MEDIA'S COVERAGE OF MINORITIES

BY MARCIA MARBURY

CONTRIBUTING WRITER

State Rep. Sylvester Turner and former City Councilman Ben Reyes criticized the media because of their bias toward covering minority candidates and public officials at the 1992 National Association of Black Journalists Region VII conference at the Adams Mark Hotel April 10.

Turner and Reyes said in a panel discussion that the media unfairly scrutinize minority candidates and public figures in newspapers and on television.

"I am convinced that the media doesn't want to see positive minority role models because they often negatively stereotype two minority groups -- African-Americans and Hispanics. The time has come for the media to be held accountable for unjust statements that they make," Turner said to a crowd of more than 100 NABJ members, students and media executives.

Reyes said the media consistently overlook the unjust behavior of white officials.

"A Hispanic Harvard graduate was kicked out of a luncheon by a white Texas state senator for no apparent reason recently," Reyes said. "However, only the Houston Chronicle newspaper wrote a tiny article and placed it on page eight and the news stations didn't even cover the story.

"If a minority official would've done such a thing to a white person, the incident would've been splattered on the front page of the Houston Chronicle and Houston Post, and it probably would've been the lead story of television news that day," he said.

Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price said he believes the media -- which he said is made up of 85 percent white males -- unfairly cover minority candidates and public officials due to their prejudices toward minorities and lack of knowledge about minorities.

James Campbell, an NABJ regional director and Chronicle reporter on the City Hall beat, said that, including himself, there are only six African-American staff reporters.

It's a never-ending battle for us (African-Americans) to prove that we belong in the newsroom. African-American students must be ready to survive and deal with the racism that awaits them," Campbell said.

"Unbalanced Acts," the theme of the NABJ Region VII conference, was an effort to bring together NABJ African-American professional journalists, student members and media executives. More than 100 people paid $20 to attend the conference, including NABJ student members from Texas, Louisiana and Oklahoma.

The discussion was kicked off by three news production personnel who served as panelists for a "How to look and sound on television" panel discussion.

David Goldberg, KHOU-TV production manager, said, "The qualifications of news reporters are, they need to know how to project an image that people would want to become friends with, they need to know how to write and tell a story, have video and audio linkage and three to five years' experience working in the media."

Will Wright, news director of Channel 26 Fox News, said internships are the fastest and most dynamic way students can gain experience and show they are smart.

Bob Schafer, a KHOU-TV production manager, said, "Working in a small television market is a great way to gain experience."

Wright, a 26-year veteran of the news industry, said, "The television news job market has shrunk because advertisers aren't buying commercial time. After the immense covering of the Persian Gulf crisis, advertisers realized they didn't have to advertise on television as much in order to be successful. As a result, commercial prices drastically decreased to $300 from $1,000 for each commercial.

"Students need to know what is going on in the media and be dedicated. I am surprised by the amount of people who are looking for jobs in the media that don't know the news," Wright said.

This is a 24-hour-seven-day-a-week job, Goldberg said.

Wright said news stations usually run campaigns that tell what their television station is all about.

"A person interested in becoming a journalist must learn to become a digger," said Derrill Holly, one of the second panelists and assistant news director of KIKK-95.7 FM radio.

Holly said a digger is a person who finds the people element(s) of the story.

"Newsroom Survival Skills" was the last workshop to preceed a reception held at the Viewpoint Art Gallery.

Gail Anderson, a panelist and Now It Can Be Told news reporter, and three other media panelists, discussed the importance of keeping one's personal life at home. "Never discuss your personal business with co-workers," Anderson said.

Roy Johnson, senior editor of Sports Illustrated magazine and co-chairman of NABJ's Media Monitoring committee, said, "We (African-Americans) won't be taken seriously until we claim a part of this nation. We must begin to build our own businesses and let the media see that the majority of us are different than how we're depicted."

No one said renovating the public's mind was going to be easy, but through hard work, it can be done, he said.

Campbell said he believes the media mostly portrays African-Americans as drug dealers, welfare recipients, teenage parents and high school drop-outs.

There are a lot of African-Americans who pay taxes just like people of other races. I'm one of them," Campbell said.

Meredith Giles, a UH journalism major, said the conference was a success.

"The best parts of the conference were the "How to get your Foot in the Door" panel discussion because it convinced me to stand up for my beliefs, and Johnson's speech because I felt it came from his heart," she said.

All proceeds of the Houston NABJ Region VII conference will go toward scholarships and internships for African-American students pursuing journalism careers or related fields.

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NEW WORLD DISCOVERER TRIED FOR HIS QUENCENTENARY SINS

COUGAR NEWS SERVICE

A mock grand jury at the University of Minnesota's Human Rights Center recently charged Christopher Columbus with murder, theft, slavery, kidnapping, torture, violence, genocide, rape, terrorism and crimes against nature.

The explorer, represented by a Minnesota actor, was indicted by the faux grand jury for crimes committed under his authority as a conquerer of the Americas.

The evidence presented pointed to Columbus' immediate capturing of natives and selling them as slaves, or slaughtering them.

The controversial explorer goes on mock trial Sept. 16 in prelude to festivities commemorating the 500th year after Columbus' historic voyage to the New World.

"We had 23 jury members. We tried to get a mix, a diversity of cultures, genders and professions," said Kristi Rudelius-Palmer, co-director of the Human Rights Center, which is sponsoring the trial.

"We had an explorer, someone who is a counsel to Italy, writers and actors, teachers and professors, and, of course, Native Americans," she said. "The grand jury was a closed session, and it took hours. We didn't expect it to take so long, but everyone had such an interest."

Rudelius-Palmer said the hearing, which was created to "become a bridge between the university and the community, and the upcoming trial have sparked controversy among students and Minneapolis residents.

"We asked the Knights of Columbus for two members on the jury, and they said they couldn't find anyone, but rumor has it that they didn't want to do it," she said.

Columbus, played by actor Ron Schlatter, was advised by his attorneys not to appear at the grand jury hearing. It is not known whether he will testify in his defense at the September trial.

The grand jury tried to judge Columbus by the standards of his day -- for example, a 13th-century Spanish code was discussed -- along with laws written as recently as 1975.

Rudelius-Palmer noted that Columbus will battle two prosecuting attorneys who have special training in American Indian affairs.

Prosecutor Deanna Fairbanks is a Fon du Lac tribal court judge and an American Indian Bar Association board member; Larry Eventhal is a Minneapolis defense attorney, who specializes in American Indian law.

Columbus will be defended by Fredalyn Sison, assistant Ramsey County public defender, and John Stuart, state public defender.

The grand jury hearing and upcoming trial are segments of a series of 12 events entitled, "1492 to 1992: Cross Cultural Perspectives," funded by a grant from the Otto Bremmer Foundation.

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NEW BOOK TAKES STING OUT OF CAMPUS CUISINE

COUGAR NEWS SERVICE

Collegians now have a new guide to edible meals in campus cafeterias.

"Your relationship with cafeteria sandwiches may be getting stale. Maybe it's time for you to start seeing other recipes. Remember, love means never having to say you're hungry."

So reads Tray Gourmet: Be Your Own Chef in the College Cafeteria, a book that promises to make memorable meals out of cafeteria chow.

The 192-page paperback by former Yale University students Larry Berger and Lynn Harris (Lake Isle Press, $10.95) offers simple solutions to ho-hum institutional cooking by relying on the microwave, salad bar and condiments.

Harris and Berger, who shared Yale cafeteria meals together since their freshman year, started the book years ago.

"We had a microwave and a big salad bar ... and we turned it into an advanced art form," Harris said. "We're the ones who realized that the microwave could really go places."

Since publication, the authors have been deluged with similar recipes from throughout the country. "People will call and say, `Oh, I do that,' and send us their recipes," Harris said.

A chapter, for example, is devoted to "Multi-Cultural Tuna" and features a recipe for "Dead White Male Tuna," consisting of "3/4 bowl of plain tuna fish and one heaping soup spoon of mayonnaise."

By adding soy sauce and chopped green pepper, the recipe converts to "Asian Tuna," add curry and it becomes "Indian Tuna," and Dijon mustard and onions transform the dish into "Continental Tuna."

In another chapter, "Rebel Without a Sauce: Rehabilitating Plain Pasta," an "Algerian Pasta" features tuna and raw broccoli, and was created by a contributing Yale student who describes it as "a delightful mix of color and textures."

Some of Berger and Harris' tried-and-true recipes are stunningly simple. For example: "Pie Beta Kappa" is "one slice of pie, any kind, with 2 scoops of ice cream, any kind."

Students can now disguise that inevitable portion of mystery meat served in college cafeterias across the United States.

The book suggests a sauce, for example, to dress up institutional roast beef: Microwave a combination of peanut butter, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, sugar or honey, soy sauce and a dash of ginger.

For bland pork dishes, the book offers a topping of ketchup, lemon juice, cinnamon, red pepper flakes and "as many drops of Tabasco as you dare."

Other recipes in the cleverly illustrated book include Nietzsche's Nachos, Chinese Peanut Pasta, Plato's Pita Pocket, Holy Guacamole, Je Ne Sais Quoi Crepes and Pita Fajitas.

"This thoroughly entertaining book is surprisingly accurate, entirely practical and professionally wrought," said Publisher's Weekly.

The Campus Marketplace said, "This trade paperback would stand on its own as a humor book, but it's far too practical to be dismissed as silly."

Portions of the proceeds of Tray Gourmet will go to the Children's Defense Fund.

Berger, a Rhodes scholar at Oxford in England, graduated summa cum laude in 1990 from Yale, where he won the undergraduate fiction writing competition.

Harris is also a summa cum laude graduate from Yale and is now a free-lance writer. Illustrator Chris Kalb, former graphics editor of the Yale Daily News, graduated from Yale in 1990 with a degree in graphic design.

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REVEREND SPREADS GOSPEL TO DRUG ADDICTS

BY KAREN RICHARD

NEWS REPORTER

In 1988, the Rev. Herchel Smith received a message from God that Jesus saves children from drugs.

That message propelled the former Waller City preacher to organize Enlightened Chapel Ministries Fellowship Home in Houston.

"Enlightened" signifies coming out of darkness and into light, Smith said. The program's street ministry focuses on the downtown area since it is a popular hangout for folks who have hit bottom, Smith said.

"We call it skid row because no one cares about those people down there, and their families have even given up on them," he said.

The ministry shares biblical scriptures with the mostly jobless black men and invites them to participate in the drug program, Smith said. The program's only entrance requirement is a sincere desire to change.

More than 300 men have entered the program.

From the time their day starts at 5:30 a.m., to the time they retire after 11 p.m., they maintain a vigorous work schedule.

Smith, a former army sergeant, has the men installing carpet, refurbishing furniture and appliances, and performing many other labor-related jobs.

The program has switched its emphasis from sheltering the homeless to rehabilitating drug users in a 12-month program, Smith said.

The chapel, located at 7526 Morley St., a home for more than 58 residents, was donated to them in 1989 after they were evicted from the old K-Mart building on Martin Luther King Street. They have renovated it and are now negotiating to buy the property, he said.

Although the program is still in what Smith calls its infancy, it operates several on-site businesses, including auto repair, general construction and a resale shop that provides the program with about 70 percent of its operating costs.

Enlightened Chapel is planning to open an outreach facility for women and children in the Third Ward area and a mentor program for boys, Smith said.

Soloman, an 11-year-old resident, said he didn't believe it when his mother, a single parent, told him if he didn't straighten up, she would put him out. "I was skipping school a lot and being disobedient," he said.

He has been enrolled in the program for 30 days and said he now knows his "job" is to go to school and to respect authority figures.

"Most people don't recognize the name Enlightened Chapel, but know us as the guys on the street corner selling the white T-shirts," Smith said. "The T-shirt and signature logo, `Miracles in Motion,' has taken the forefront during the past year in terms of name recognition," he said.

Because "Miracles in Motion" has received so much media attention, some local property and business owners have responded by donating money and living accommodations, Smith said.

He said his program is different from 12-step programs because of its emphasis on God. "We don't believe in recovery but in deliverance because we deal with the root of the problem," he said. "The inner man needs to be changed, and only the word of God can do that."

Smith said three men are scheduled to graduate this month.

Enlightened Chapel broadcasts can be heard daily from 10:15 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. on Gospel 1360-AM radio.

 

 

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