Joe Olson not only wants to beat the system, he wants to improve it.

Olson, a civil engineer from Tomball, has a plan to install a commuter system in Houston.

Never mind the fact that former Mayor Kathy Whitmire had a monorail plan in place and that Mayor Lanier has a track-sharing plan.

Olson said his plan is more functional, cleaner, safer and cheaper.

In a presentation to a UH engineering class last week, Olson spoke of his designs for a safe, 100-mile-per gallon, plastic car shaped like an egg that bounces on impact; a building taller than the Sears Tower; and a 25-acre lake he has plans for on Buffalo Bayou, but the plan that obviously excites him is the rail plan.

Olson wants to install a rail-line running north-south, instead of east-west, as does the Metro plan. Olson's plan would have a train on tracks running from north of Intercontinental Airport, through downtown, the medical center and to Hobby Airport.

Olson's idea, if implemented, would serve seven colleges and universities, as well as all of downtown.

Instead of running a subway, which is the current plan, Olson proposes tracks a few feet below street level.

Main Street, which would have a stop, could be turned into "a marble-lined, glass-covered, air-conditioned shopping mall."

He claims the system would attract convention business, seminar programs at the universities and the Texas Medical Center and would be utilized extensively by travelers.

He said, of the current plans of politicians, "Houston's leaders have intentionally wasted a decade and $80 million on failed railway planning."

Olson said of Whitmire's plan for the monorail, "At $80 million per mile, nine years of construction time and an average speed of 13 miles per hour, this was arguably the worst mass-transit plan in American history."

His analysis of the liquefied natural gas being offered as an alternative to diesel-engine pollution is hardly less scathing. Olson said natural gas is extremely explosive and has half the available energy of gas and diesel.

"At $75,000 per bus for conversion, this is an expensive and unbelievably dangerous alternative," he said.

His system would be electrically driven and use existing road rights-of-way, in addition to having twice the average speed, twice the initial miles and three times the ridership of Whitmire's monorail.

His system would also be in service in half the time and take care of the pollution problems that would be caused by the track-sharing proposal, he said.







Wayne Sigler, UH's dean of admissions and assistant vice president for Enrollment Services, has decided to accept a position at the University of Minnesota.

"I'm not leaving because of any dissatisfaction with UH," he said. "I've spent a lot of nights pacing the floor making this decision. I feel a lot of sadness leaving my friends behind."

Sigler is looking forward to his new position as the director of admissions.

"The University of Minnesota is a new university with a number of issues that appeal to me. That's not to imply that there's not a lot to do here, but... after you've done the same things for 10 years, sometimes it's time for a new challenge."

"Do they know what a ball of fire they'll be dealing with?" Susan Zwieg, assistant director for school and college relations, said.

"He's got a lot of energy, and he puts it into his job."

Zwieg has worked with Sigler for about six years. "I think he needs to go on to new challenges. He's always thinking of new ways to do things."

"He is a perfectionist and a focused person," she said. "Because of him, we've learned -- sometimes the hard way -- to be more focused."

"He is very personable," she said. "He makes it a point to be that way with everyone he meets -- he doesn't just turn it on and off."

Zwieg said Sigler has used the theory of demographic clustering to enhance UH's marketing image. When social and economic forces influence markets, they create new markets, and the clustering of different demographics is part of that phenomenon, Zwieg said.

"When I came here, I hadn't been exposed to admissions," she said. "He appointed me to be in charge of student recruitment. He knows his job... and he has lots of expertise. He's taught me a whole lot about marketing in a big city like Houston."

Sigler's last day at UH is July 31. He begins his job at the University of Minnesota in the middle of August.

Because of time constraints, not all of his family is able to move together. His wife is a teacher and will look for a new teaching position in Minnesota.

"Our son will be joining us," he said, "but our daughter, who goes to UH, is trying to figure out if she can transfer to the University of Minnesota."






Carol Ann Alvarado often thought of ways to protect herself if she were ever attacked.

She listened attentively to talk shows about surviving crime and to what other women said about surviving life-threatening situations.

She ran through different scenarios in her mind, preparing herself -- just in case.

Just in case came last Thursday.

At approximately 6:05 p.m., Alvarado entered the women's bathroom, number 324, on the 3rd floor of Agnes Arnold Hall. She went into a stall and shut the door, but did not lock it immediately.

"I started to unbutton my skirt with one hand and lock the door with my other. My skirt was around my hips, my panties showing, when this guy burst in."

The assailant, a Hispanic male in his early 20s, was described as slender, about 120 lbs., 5' 6" tall with black, thick, straight, collar-length hair.

He was wearing loose-fitting blue jeans, black tennis shoes and a navy blue T-shirt. Alvarado noticed that his hands and forearms had large veins that protruded.

"He said, `I'm going to get you, bitch,' and he tore at my underwear. He ripped them."

Alvarado had rehearsed in her mind so many times what she would do if she were attacked, that what she did next was almost a reflex action.

"I pushed his arms off. I was trying to kick him between his legs. You know, in the groin. I don't know where I got him, but I got him."

Alvarado said before resisting, she checked to see if he had a weapon of any kind.

"I saw that he didn't, and that gave me the courage to fight back."

The assailant fled, and Alvarado pulled her clothes on as quickly as she could and ran after him to see where he had gone.

"I didn't see him. He must have run down the stairs. I screamed, `Help me! Somebody help me!' two or three times, but I guess no one heard. Those escalators are pretty loud."

Alvarado was crying and in shock. She ran across to the African-American Studies office and called UH police from there.

She is sure her attacker intended to rape her.

"I know it. I could just tell."

She said her attacker did not look like the composite drawing being circulated by campus police of the man who recently raped a UH freshman.

UHPD Lieutenant Brad Wigtil said the way Alvarado prepared herself is one of the best things anyone -- male or female -- can do to protect themselves.

"We are all vulnerable to crime in this society. We need to run through scenarios in our minds. This will help people not to panic as much.

"For example, what would you do if you were sitting at a red light, and someone approached your car, and they had a gun in their hand?

"These mind rehearsals make you more prepared," Wigtil said.

If anyone sees the man who attacked Alvarado or has any additional information about this attack, please call UH police at 743-0600.






Sunday night, the members of the Houston-based Cougar Divers, who train at UH, came home.

The team members, still nursing wounds they incurred in a Friday night wreck on the Florida Turnpike, still plan to compete again.

"Carol (Langdoc), 18, has an ankle and neck sprain, but she will dive again," Mary Langdoc, Carol's mother, said.

"It will be some time before she dives again though because you can never tell about sprains."

Langdoc said she taped the newscast for Carol.

"Carol said the accident was worse than what was shown," Langdoc said. "The news did not show the water. If they hadn't hit the sign, it (the accident) would have been much worse.

"They were very lucky," Langdoc added.

The dive team is not affiliated with UH.

"The Cougar Divers has no official connection to the university," Eric Miller, director of UH's Media Relations, said.

"Jane Figueiredo (UH Women's Dive Coach) is the team's coach, and we give them permission to use the pool."

The dive team was en route to Orlando, Fla., when the accident occurred.

"They (the team) go every year to the Swimming Hall of Fame in Orlando (for training)," UH Swimming Coach Debra Hansel said.

There were 14 people in the van when it crashed.

"There were 12 divers and two adults in the van," Hansel said. "The divers were from 12 to 19 years old."

Only one person was injured seriously enough to stay behind.

"Patricia Figueiredo (Jane's mother) is out of intensive care," Hansel said. "She has a broken elbow and foot and will have surgery this week. And she may need a blood transfusion."

The Cougar Divers were founded 10 years ago by former UH Swimming Coach Dave Parrington and have produced many talented divers over the years, Hansel said.

"Linda Pesseck, who is trying out for the Olympic dive team, was in the program," Hansel said.

Carol Langdoc will be attending Duke University this year where she will be on their dive team, Langdoc said.

The Cougar Divers accept students from all over Houston who want to improve their diving, Hansel said.






Seven months ago, when Yvonne McNeilly-Arceo began walking half-an-hour every day to strengthen her abdomen and legs, looking well-proportioned was the furthest thing from her mind.

McNeilly-Arceo, 32, was like many other pregnant women today who are choosing to exercise during and after their pregnancies.

"I exercised because I was preparing for delivery, and it made me less sluggish. My stamina was better because I was more energetic," said the mother of two.

A registered nurse at St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital, McNeilly-Arceo thinks exercise for pregnant women is best during the second of the three trimesters.

"The best time to exercise is the second trimester (four to six months pregnant)," she said.

The fetus' basic body parts, such as eyes, ears, etc., have been formed, and the fetus is growing, she said.

The last trimester, when a woman is seven to nine months pregnant, is the worst time to exercise because it is considered high risk.

Pregnant women could more easily miscarry due to additional weight from the fetus on the lower joints, knees and ankles, McNeilly-Arceo said.

Guiseppina Reginato, a mother of three -- including an eleven-pound, five-ounce baby boy born Friday -- said she exercised to stay in shape and stave off boredom.

"I did a little bit of everything. I used exercise bikes, did aerobics and liked to play volleyball," she said.

Renee Collins, a 10-year fitness/exercise instructor who has taught exercise to pregnant women and who had a son six weeks ago, said she taught classes up to the day of delivery of her 4-year-old daughter.

But the Chancellors' Racquet and Fitness Club employee said she stopped doing tone and floor exercises at about eight months when pregnant with her son.

"Pregnant women who exercise may need to increase their caloric intake to compensate for calories burned during exercise," said Professor Nancy Butte, an associate professor of pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine.

According to the Children's Nutrition Research Center, the increased caloric intake should be 300 calories a day for pregnant women.

However, Butte said, such recommendations may not be high enough for exercising moms.

Pregnant women, especially, need to supplement their diets by taking iron and calcium nutrients.

"They (fetuses) feed off of you like a parasite and make your body deficient," McNeilly-Arceo said.

Reginato, who said her regular weight is 117 pounds, said she weighed in at 162 pounds because she loved big steaks and, "ate all of the time."

Butte is conducting a study on 80 pregnant volunteers between the ages of 18 and 35 to examine the effects of exercise on the birth weights of infants, breast-feeding performance and maternal weight changes.

The study, which began in February and is scheduled to run at least until February 1997, hopes to ensure "we could adjust calories for athletically-inclined pregnant and breast-feeding women, and make sure mom and her infant meet their nutritional needs," Butte said.

McNeilly-Arceo said she engaged in breast-feeding with her daughter, but after her daughter developed jaundice -- a yellow pigmentation of the skin due to liver failure -- she stopped.

"Breast-feeding was an agonizing experience," she said.

Reginato said she plans on breast-feeding her 11-pound newborn and has breast-fed her other two children.

"Breast-feeding hurts about 10 days, but it feels okay afterward," she said.

Although breast-feeding may hurt for a few days, the post-partum period can last as long as six weeks.

McNeilly-Arceo said women should begin to exercise right after the baby is born because the body's muscles are stressed and flabby.

"I started exercising four weeks after the baby," Collins said.

Reginato said she plans to begin exercising soon.

"Even though I didn't begin exercising right after my last baby was born, I plan now to exercise," McNeilly-Arceo said.






UH civil and environmental engineering majors are searching for gold in Colorado via concrete canoes.

After winning first and second place overall in the regional competition of concrete canoe races in Fort Worth, 25 engineering students will be attending the national competition at the University of Colorado in Fort Collins, Col., on June 20.

They will be competing against 19 other universities such as Louisiana State University, the University of California at Berkeley and Washington State.

This competition involves students designing, building and racing concrete canoes, engineering Professor Ted Cleveland said.

"This project takes a great deal of time. The students are required to prepare a technical report, including the canoe's design, cost estimates of materials and man-hours expected to complete construction," he said.

Cleveland said the students are then judged on the design quality of the canoes as well as actually winning the races.

Senior civil engineering majors Luis Jimenez and Ben Strider designed and built the canoes for this year's competitions.

Building one canoe takes about two weeks of working every day. The work involves making a mold, forming the canoe and painting it, Jimenez said.

The canoes, after being made from cement, water, expanded shale and various admixtures, are given about three coats of paint, Strider said.

Strider said preparations for the 1992 competitions began with creating scale models last October. They completed their first canoe in January.

UH raced two canoes named Stress and Strain at Fort Worth on April 25 against schools such as Texas A & M, the University of Texas at Austin, the University of Texas at San Antonio and the University of La Salle in Mexico City.

The canoe Stress faced some foul play from UH's strongest competitor, UT at San Antonio, when the team tried to ram Stress with its own canoe.

However, Texas A & M was no challenge because its canoe sank at the first corner, Strider said.

Besides the overall championship, UH won first in the Men's and Women's Long Distance and the Women's and Co-ed Sprint.

In Colorado, UH will be racing a second canoe named Stress which is approximately 115 pounds and 19 feet, Jimenez said.

The UH team will be racing for scholarship awards of $5,000, $2,500 and $1500, engineering Professor Jerry Rogers said.

Maurice Morvant and Tom Johnson will be racing for the men's team, and Tiffany Cleek and Siddika Demir will be racing for the women's team, Rogers said.

Two of these students will race for the co-ed team, but which two will race has yet to be decided, he said.

Rogers said these students have set high goals for themselves. They plan to out-do their performance in the 1989 Nationals when they won fifth overall and first in the Men's Sprint, he said.

The canoes are designed by students only, and professors can offer advice only when asked, Cleveland said.

The project's purpose is for the students to learn how to manage an engineering construction project and how to solicit resources from the community, Cleveland said. "Most of the materials for the canoes have been donated to us by various sponsors," he said.

This project has been conducted for the past 17 years and is sponsored by the American Society of Civil Engineers and Masters Builders Inc.






Although the Woodlands supplied a backdrop of tranquility, the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion was anything but tranquil as The Cure took the stage last Wednesday night. Not even the threat of rain dampened the crowd's spirit and by the time the sun set, a crowd had gathered covering every inch of grass with butts and blankets.

As the lights dimmed, and the fog swirled, 25,000 eyeballs locked on the stage, and there was The Cure.

Walking onto the stage, Robert Smith humbly accepted a fan's gift of flowers. In fact, the crowd was full of equally smitten fans.

The band kept the crowd enthralled with current favorites from their latest effort, Wish, as well as some older hits.

Even though the acoustics were poor, and the volume was set too high, the sound remained surprisingly clear.

Stage-lighting was a main emphasis. Lasers, mixed with heavy fog, accented the entire band.

Toward the end of their ten-minute encore, a moved fan rushed the stage and attached herself to Smith, refusing to leave. Meanwhile, Smith's live guitar continued emitting the cries of a damned soul.

The two romped onstage, even falling down at one point, until she was escorted off. A better ending could not have been written.






Students will be helping the library whether they want to or not.

The Students' Association voted unanimously to approve a bill that will add a student library fee of $15 per semester and $7.50 per summer semester for the next three years.

SA voted on this bill, which will begin next fall, after two-thirds of the voting student body approved of the fee in a referendum presented in the spring SA elections.

However, not all students approve.

"It's an extra way of getting money out of us," Rodrigo Chaves, a graduate student in administration and supervision, said.

The administration should take the responsibility to fund the library rather than the students, he said.

Junior pre-optometry major and M.D. Anderson Library reference desk worker Phi Luu suggested a lower fee.

"Even though I work here, I don't use the library. I mainly come here to study," she said, and added she would get no use out of the fee.

Some students are against an extra fee because they don't use all of the facilities they already pay for, said Fouad Eid, a sophomore mechanical engineering major.

"I'm sure students would like to swap fees of unused facilities for the library fee," he said.

This fee, plus the administration's contributions, will be used to improve the library's poor condition, Don Easterling, senior economics major and chairman of SA's Library Committee, said.

Easterling said the UH administration has agreed to match the student fee by increasing library funding each year for the next three years, so it will eventually be 100 percent of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board's recommendation.

The coordinating board's '91-'92 library-funding recommendation was approximately 110 percent of the UH state budget, but the library only received 86 percent, he said.

UH was the only university out of its closest rivals, such as Texas A & M, the University of Texas and the University of North Texas, to give its library less than 100 percent of the coordinating board's recommendation, Easterling said.

The library is suffering because of lack of funding, and this new fee "will be a way students can say they want the library to be better," he said.

Easterling and Lloyd Jacobson, a student in the Graduate School of Social Work, wrote the bill mandating the student fee and an increase in administration funding.

Easterling said the student fee, will give the library $1.1 million to work with.

Plans to improve the library include buying more books, hiring more staff and expanding the computer services, he said.

"I understand the students' apprehension and can sympathize because I'm a student, too," Easterling said.

However, the fee will be worth it because students will have a better chance of finding books they need, and they won't have to wait for hours to take a turn on a computer, he said.

"The fee shows a vote of student confidence in the library," Joe Kirkendall, library graphics specialist, said.

Rose Kinseisen, a graduate student in the College of Education, said although the library is poor compared to other libraries such as Texas A & M, $15 is too much money for some students.

If what students pay isn't enough, the administration should reconsider how they allocate funds, senior architecture major Cheryl Caldwell said.

There are other organizations, such as athletics, that get more money but give less to students' education, she said.

"Everybody is not into sports, but everybody has to come to the library sooner or later," she said.

Every student will be paying the fee for the next three years. After that, SA will vote on whether to continue the fee.







With pomp and circumstance, U.S. Highway 59 was designated the Lloyd Bentsen Highway Monday.

In two ceremonies in Laredo and Victoria, Sen. Bentsen will unveil signs bearing his name.

"Local dignitaries and politicians will attend," Jeff Carmack, public affairs officer at the Texas Department of Transportation, said.

"This is in recognition for all the things he's (Bentsen) done for Texas."

U.S. 59 from the intersection of Interstate 45, in Houston, to Interstate 35, in Laredo, is now named after Sen. Bentsen, Carmack said.

"This is a significant event," President of the Victoria Chamber of Commerce Robert Martin said. "This type of attention will help the community."

Angela Shipton, of the Laredo Economic Foundation, said they sent invitations to the founding fathers and local dignitaries for the unveiling and the 15-minute reception following the event.

"I have been working on this (the unveiling) for about a month," Shipton said. "We sent out 50 invitations, and the public is invited."

The bill naming the highway was sponsored by state Rep. David Cain, D-Dallas, who is on the Transportation Committee and chairman of the State Affairs Committee.

The bill was passed in the summer of 1991 by the 72nd Texas Legislature, said a spokesperson for Sen. Bentsen.

"For all the to-do, it's not that big a deal," Carmack said. "There is not a whole lot of money involved. It's not a new project, and they're not improving the highway.

"If the signs aren't already up, then they will erect new signs," Carmack said. "The bill states there will be no more than one sign every 100 miles."

A press release from Sen. Bentsen, about the event said he pushed through a law which helped Texas keep 90 cents on every dollar spent on the gasoline tax.

The statement also said Congress agreed to create the "Bentsen Bonus Allocation," which adjusts funding for states like Texas that have consistently been shortchanged under the Interstate Highway program because they have put more money into highway taxes than they receive. In the same statement, Sen. Bentsen said this bonus will mean $676 million for highway and transit projects in Texas for the next six years. These funds will provide 360,000 jobs for Texas, the statement added.

"He's (Sen. Bentsen) been working to increase Texas' share of highway funds that are distributed nationally," a Bentsen spokesman said.

"They chose (U.S. Highway) 59 because Sen. Bentsen grew up down there."

Carmack said the only other highway he knew of which was named after someone who is still living is the Nolan Ryan Expressway in Alvin.

The senator also attended the ground-breaking ceremony on Monday for the widening of U.S. Highway 281 between San Antonio and McAllen, the spokesman for Sen. Bentsen added.

Sen. Bentsen was elected in 1970 and is up for re-election in 1994. He is also the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee.






A small, bronze plaque rests in a newly planted flowerbed on one corner of the campus. On a sunny day, the embossed words shine brilliantly: "Dedicated to the memory of Marguerite Ross Barnett - Eighth President of the University of Houston."

Of the late president's many accomplishments, one idea she never saw come to fruition was the beautification of the campus. Appropriately, the first such project celebrated her legacy.

About 60 people from the university community attended Friday's dedication in which the plaque was unveiled. The blossoms had been planted under the trees on the north side of the Heyne Building.

After the ceremony, Elwyn Lee, vice president for Student Affairs, said the plaque and flowers helped keep Barnett's memory alive.

"I was very close to Dr. Barnett," he said. "I think for the short time she was here, she made a tremendous impact on the university.

"Having the plaque makes me think perhaps we ought to have a larger sense of history of the university as all other great universities."

Lee said having "little pockets of exceptional beauty" around the campus would ad to its attractiveness.

The flowerbed is the brainchild of Harrel Rodgers, dean of the College of Social Sciences, who said the faculty, staff and alumni picked up the $5,000 tab. He said he hoped other UH organizations would sponsor more projects.

"It's a pretty campus, but there's a great deal to be done when you look around," he said. "There's an awful lot of things that you could do to make the campus even more beautiful."

Rodgers added he would like to see about 25 beautification projects planted around the campus. He said he got the idea for the projects before last year's Economic summit at Rice and UH.

Rodgers said he heard most members of the host committee felt uneasy about holding the President's Thank-You Party at UH because they were under the impression the campus was unattractive.

The gala, attended by seven world leaders, including President Bush, was eventually held on the lawn in front of the library.

Rodgers said he suspected many of those members had only driven around the campus instead of venturing onto the grounds.

Rodgers said it is important to pay for the projects with funds not earmarked for education purposes. This meant UH should approach individuals for gifts, he said.

"Some people will feel comfortable to make donations for beautification projects who don't make contributions to anything else," he said.

Herb Collier, executive director of the Physical Plant, said five or six more projects were in the planning stages.

Collier said UH might consider planting an oak grove in Lynn Eusan Park. He said the new trees would replace the older ones as the died off.

Donna Smith, a secretary in the psychology department, said she would have many chances to see the new flowers when leaving her office in the Heyne Building.

"I've never met (Barnett)," she said, "but I felt she was a very positive force for the university."






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