CONVENTION TARGETS YOUNG REPUBLICANS

By Jenny Silverman

Daily Cougar

As the date for the Republican Convention nears, many organizations not associated with the Republican Party are planning rallies dealing with a variety of issues.

Andrew Monzon is the president of the College Democrats at UH. He said even though this is a Republican convention, Democrats will be busy. There will be several pro-choice rallies with NOW (National Organization for Women), as well as a fund-raiser at the Menil in support of the National Endowment for the Arts, for which, Monzon stated, the Republicans plan to drastically cut spending.

The Democrats are also having a march for Global Security on Sunday, Aug. 16. The march will begin in Freedman's Town in the Fourth Ward and will finish at Mary Elliot Park in River Oaks.

The topics addressed will include the state of Houston's homeless. Monzon said many homeless people are being jailed to make Houston appear less problematic.

"Just because you put a little make-up on doesn't make the problem go away," he said.

This season, the catch-phrase for the Republican Party has been

"family values." According to Monzon, the Republican Party Platform of Texas defines a family as "a God-ordained institution and should be defined by blood, heterosexual marriage or adoption."

Monzon said this is an incredibly narrow view of what a family is and excludes all gay relationships. For many Democrats, there has been a feeling of exclusion for the 12 years the Republicans have held office, he said, and now they believe it's their turn.

Maria Schmitt, chairman of the College Republicans, believes the real problem is Congress, which has been Democratic, "longer than Fidel Castro has been in power."

She said if a Republican president and a Republican Congress were to work together, government would be able to work more efficiently.

The College Republicans of UH will gather with College Republicans from different universities to hold rallies, she added. Many College Republicans will work in the office of the vice-president, also.

When asked to define "family values," she said it is necessary to "create an atmosphere where families can be helped by public policy."

She believes this does not exclude homosexuals. Rather, she believes Republicans regard homosexuals as equally as heterosexuals.

Regarding the abortion issue, Schmitt said she believes abortion should be kept legal, but it should be easier for people to have babies.

She pointed out that St. Anne's Catholic Church in Houston will shelter a woman throughout her pregnancy and help her put the child up for adoption if she so desires.

The College Republicans plan to ignore pro-choice demonstrators at the convention, she said.

Schmitt echoed her fellow College Republicans' beliefs by stating there is no painless way to balance the budget. Clinton's solutions are simplistic, and he tends to paint an overly rosy picture, she said. In her opinion, Bush's economic policies are more realistic.

She also said Bush has been letting the Democrats get away with slander. She said Bush will "take the kid gloves off at the convention."

Speaking on behalf of the College Republicans, Schmitt said there are no easy answers.

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TASK FORCE TO ADRESS SAFETY ISSUES AT UH

By Rhonda Smith

Daily Cougar

In response to the sexual assaults on campus this summer, President James Pickering appointed members to the newly-implemented UH Sexual Assault Task Force this week.

For the last three weeks, Pickering has met with UH staff and faculty to develop a task force to address the campus' security problems that lead to sexual assault.

The task force is charged with "evaluation of all aspects of the campus that have to do with security and safety for sexual assault," said Cynthia Freeland, director of women's studies and chairwoman of the task force.

Even though the campus' overall crime rate is low, two incidents created fear and concern throughout the campus. Pickering has received numerous letters asking for improvements, Freeland said.

"Although it is dubbed a sexual assault task force, many of the issues will help improve safety in general around campus," said Elwyn Lee, vice president for student affairs and task force member.

The 15 members on the task force will review policies, procedures and programs dealing with sexual assault to make recommendations in an effort to improve existing programs or create new programs where needed.

Providing adequate notification of sexual assaults to campus residents, faculty and staff in a timely manner is one concern of the task force. Task force member Wendy Adair, associate vice president for university relations, is establishing a monthly security newsletter as well as security bulletin boards.

Security newsletters are distributed to the faculty and staff offices, the housing offices and campus activities. Most of these offices post some of the several newsletters they receive on bulletin boards in their buildings. The first security newsletter was put out in July.

The newsletter reports on monthly crime around campus. It provides information such as when and where crimes took place and tips on what can be done to prevent crime.

The task force will look at issues of immediate concern. For example, which areas on campus lack proper security and when and where do people feel most vulnerable.

Campus educational and informational programs will be examined to find areas where improvement is needed.

The task force is limited to issues concerned only with sexual assault, which includes date rape. "There is a relationship between substance abuse and date rape," Lee pointed out.

This means several programs on campus not directly concerned with sexual assault, like the substance abuse education and training program (STEPS) will be reviewed as well. Workshops and pamphlets provided by the Counseling and Testing Staff, the Residential Advisers, the Interfraternity Council and others will be reviewed to make sure they provide necessary information on sexual assault.

Expanding and providing appropriate roles for the Health Center and UH psychological counselors in sexual assault cases will be determined. The task force will work with the UH police department in their treatment of sexual assault victims, also.

Basic security measures on campus will be reviewed. They include emergency call boxes, campus lighting, campus policies and procedures, effectiveness of the UH escort service, controlling access to buildings, dorm security, adequate lock repairs and UH insurance coverage for potential lawsuits.

Policies on UH personnel reporting sexual assault, handling confidential information and occurrences of sexual assault on campus will be considered.

The task force, after looking at the numerous issues, will give its recommendations to Pickering on Dec. 1.

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STATE REP. HEADS UP TASK FORCE TO FIND MIA/POWs

By Ericka Schiche

Daily Cougar

As he tapped on the walls of his dark prison cell, Samuel Johnson sought to communicate with fellow American Prisoners Of War.

Without the benefit of books, pencils, paper or a blackboard, he, along with other prisoners, learned the fundamentals of thermal dynamics. "We unloaded our brains," he said, referring to the makeshift school, in which prisoners also studied "French, Spanish, algebra and other forms of mathematics."

Prior to his term of service in the Air Force, he received a bachelor's degree in business from Southern Methodist University and a master's degree in international affairs from George Washington University.

Since time has eroded his experience, but not his memory of it, Rep. Johnson (R-Texas) considers the affairs of those declared Missing In Action or Prisoner Of War to be of vital importance. Neither his emotional attachment to the issue nor the haze of politics has clouded his thinking, however. "Balancing the budget is by far the most important task that lies ahead," he said.

He probably did not entertain thoughts of working as a public servant often until he reached American soil in the early 1970s.

While imprisoned for seven years in Hanoi, North Vietnam, Johnson endured harrowing experiences and harsh treatment. "I experienced varying forms of harassment and torture."

Focusing on his family, a belief in God and trying to stay alive are things which saw him through to the end of his seven-year imprisonment term, he said of his incarceration with fellow POWs James Stockdale, John McCain and Jeremiah Denton.

Shot down 50 miles north of the Demilitarized Zone in 1966, the then- major in the U.S. Air Force learned to cope with the reality of being held in solitary confinement, situated in a cell which measured about three and one-half feet by eight feet. To keep his "body active and brain sound," Johnson said he walked about five miles in his cell many days.

Johnson, 61, describes the day his feet once again met American soil as "the greatest day of my life." He arrived in February, when three inches of snow blanketed Wichita Falls, Tex. He left Vietnam a colonel, but prior to his retirement from the Air Force in 1979, Johnson achieved the rank of wing commander and later as air division commander.

A highly decorated veteran, Johnson received two Silver Stars, two Legions of Merit, the Distinguished Flying Cross, four Air Medals, two Purple Hearts and three Outstanding Unit Awards for his service.

Instead of flying missions, Johnson is now on the front lines of the MIA/POW issue as co-chairman of the Republican Task Force on American Air Power and co-founder of the Special POW/MIA Task Force.

In office since May of 1991, Johnson recognizes a political cat-and-mouse game when he sees one. When Russian President Boris Yeltsin announced American soldiers might be living behind the now-weakened Iron Curtain, he was one of many skeptics. "I am of the opinion that Yeltsin did use it (making the announcement on June 15) as a manipulative tactic to make Americans more sympathetic to the plight of his country," he said. The announcement coincided with Yeltsin's plea for aid to the Russian Republic.

Although he is hopeful the issue will be eventually resolved, Johnson does not necessarily consider every crusader to be worthy of immediate praise. "I don't think he brought any new information," Johnson said of former unofficial presidential candidate H. Ross Perot, who testified earlier this week during hearings of the Senate Select Committee on POW/MIA Affairs.

"Most of us were fairly certain there were none in Vietnam and there might be some in Cambodia and Laos."

According to government statistics, of 2,266 Americans declared missing after the conclusion of the Vietnam War, 519 have been labelled as soldiers lost in Laos, with about 81 for Cambodia.

As a key member of the task force, Johnson works with Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney to get information on live sightings, receive documents and keep the line of communication between the Pentagon and Congress open.

He is hopeful the seemingly united front, consisting of the Central Intelligence Agency, Defense Intelligence Agency, branches of military service and others will prove stimulating, encouraging Southeast Asian leaders to cooperate fully.

He is knowledgeable of the setbacks which have severely hindered progress on the issue. "President Carter didn't want the issue to surface. He had probably been told the likelihood of finding soldiers alive was remote," he said. "If there was any doubt at all about someone being alive, we should have kept at it in a serious vein."

Stumbling blocks placed by the Khmer Rouge, for example, also pose a problem. Helicopters will probably not be sent into some parts of Cambodia because there is a risk that they (military personnel) will be shot down, Johnson said.

Unlike Laos, he said the governments of Cambodia and Vietnam have been more cooperative, with the latter opening some of its archives. Johnson said there is also a team from the United States currently combing files of some archives in Russia.

He is convinced there is room for improvement, even with the Bush administration, which he considers to be one of the most active of administrations on the issue.

"There are so many questions still unanswered -- so much room for dishonesty and rumor," he said. "This government has some of the best intelligence in the world, but until every person is accounted for . . . every name checked off every list, we must stay involved."

Johnson said, "There will never be a complete resolution to the issue because some families will never give up."

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NEWCOMERS MAKE MARK

by Keith Rollins

Daily Cougar

It's time for the incoming freshmen and transferring junior college recruits to make their mark on the UH football scene.

The new arrivals on campus are taking part in their first week of two-a-days at the Cougar practice fields before being joined by last year's veterans.

Most of these athletes will see little, if any, action in the upcoming season.

However, Head Coach John Jenkins is optimistic about some of these future Cougars, namely, San Francisco community college transfer Keith Jack, wide receiver.

"The guy was the fastest Californian we could find. Besides his quickness on the field, he is very intelligent and a most probable starter," Jenkins said.

QB Kyle Allen, projected third on Jenkins' run-and-shoot depth chart, joined teammate Jack from San Francisco.

Jenkins was smart in this acquisition. If you remember back in '89, the coach was hailed for his recruitment of another speedster from that junior college, Manny Hazard.

Jenkins also plans on transfers, Darryl Kemp from Long Beach and Shadrick Patrick from Lee, to make instant impacts on the defensive line. With the elimination of highly-touted freshman Otis Grant due to academic ineligibilities, the defensive specialists will have an even better chance of making the starting line.

"It was unfortunate to lose Otis (who will be attending UH Downtown this year and returning to the team next year), but these guys will definitely contribute this year," Jenkins said.

On offense, Jenkins said wide receiver transfers Jason McDonald and Donald Moffett will be expected to contribute off the bench.

McDonald makes his switch from all too familiar California, California junior college, specifically, and Moffett turned in his Mississippi Gulf Coast community college jersey for Cougar Red attire.

One of the top quarterback prospects in the United States, freshman Chuck Clements, has the best chance of any rookies to make the team.

Because of his raw youth and inexperience, Jenkins said he "would be most likely red-shirted."

With the recruitment of freshmen offensive linemen Ronnie Price and David Roberts, Jenkins is molding his future running attack.

Price made the Texas Football Magazine Super Team while playing for Deer Park, and Roberts is described as a devastating blocker out of Austin Westlake. Both are 19 and average 6' 6", 265 pounds.

The Cougars' first game is Sept. 5 against Tulsa, a top-20 team last year.

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UH EMPLOYEE CHARGED WITH ASSAULT

By Karen Snelling

Daily Cougar

The Harris County Police Department scoped out UH to make an arrest last week.

An employee of the UH Travel Agency, located in the University Center, was apprehended and arrested by the UH Police Department around 6 p.m. Aug. 5.

Robert Earl Schryer, 27, was arrested for aggravated assault of a Harris County police officer at a previous date, said UHPD Lt. Helia Durant.

Durant was unable to give the name of the officer who was assaulted.

"The UH police were acting on an open, active arrest warrant for a University Center employee," he said.

He explained that UH police were not aware of Schryer's warrant and got involved only because outside police officials cannot arbitrarily apprehend or arrest any suspects without UHPD assistance.

According to Durant, UHPD received instruction from the Harris County Sheriff's Department to arrest Schryer.

Once he was arrested, UHPD turned him over to Harris County officials.

The Harris County Department of Records said Schryer is no longer in jail but was unable to give any more information concerning Schryer's warrant or arrest. Computer records only show that a warrant had been issued.

Samantha Schryer, Schryer's wife and the office manager of the UH Travel Agency, would not make any comment about the arrest. It is a personal issue that directly concerns those involved, she said.

The whereabouts of Schryer are unknown at this time.

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UH WOMEN NETTERS RANKED IN POLL

by Adam King

Daily Cougar

What a way to begin a season!

The UH Women's Volleyball team was placed in the "others to watch" category in Volleyball Magazine's 1992 Pre-season Top 10 poll.

The 1991 squad that went 20-12 to solidify a berth to the NCAA tournament will return five of six starters to this year's team, which is looking to better its performance.

The lady spikers' test will come immediately as they open the season Sept. 3 against the poll's third-ranked team, Hawaii, No. 1 and defending champion UCLA and Illinois, which joined Houston in the "others to watch" category.

UH Coach Bill Walton believes the Cougars will come away from the Hawaii tournament with a 2-1 record.

"You've got to be careful not to let the reputations of those schools be better than those schools actually are," Walton said. "If we win, I think we'll have a chance to go to the final four."

Walton said he would consider the season a failure if the team didn't win at least 80 percent of their 31-game schedule. With that much pressure, how does he motivate the team?

"Defense wins, attitude is everything and you've got to believe in yourself that nobody does it better," Walton said. "Everybody's going to have to play hard every night and they're not going to be able to make any mistakes. If they do, they're gonna lose."

The UH Women's Volleyball team will hold its home opener on Sept. 11 vs. Arizona in Hofheinz Pavilion.

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DOLPHIN DEBATE TURNS INTO FEEDING FRENZY

By Deborah Hensel

Daily Cougar

Stroking him under his chin feels exactly as you might imagine -- as

slick and rubbery as a vinyl bath toy -- if you can imagine a 500-pound bath toy with more intelligence than a dog or chimpanzee.

His name is Whistler, and his "smile," a permanent feature of the dolphin's face, seems to imply he's genuinely glad to see a boatload of humans bearing fish.

The Atlantic bottlenose dolphin, <I>Tursiops truncatis <P>, has been coming into Corpus Christi Bay to feed from the by-catch of shrimping vessels as long as the shrimping industry has been in operation there.

Erv Strong, who has been running Dolphin Connection with his wife, Sonja, for six years, said he talked to one shrimper who claimed to have been feeding dolphins for 80 years.

What the Strongs are doing, then, is nothing new to the dolphins. However, it is causing a heated controversy among marine biologists, animal rights activists, trainers and members of the National Marine Fisheries Service, all of whom claim to know what's best for the animals.

Twice each morning, the Strongs pilot their two boats into the bay, carrying small groups of people who have booked the trip weeks, or even months, in advance. Grandmothers, schoolchildren, politicians, researchers and lately, members of the media, make up the diverse passenger load with one thing in common: They all want to see, feed and touch the dolphins.

Dolphins seem to have a curiosity about humans as well, particularly the children, who are vocally enthusiastic about these intelligent and amiable marine mammals. Sound waves carry through the air and into the water, and the dolphins pick up these vibrations in the area around their jaws.

"You're much more interesting to a dolphin if you're talking to him," Sonja advised.

Erv said they come to meet the boats as much for human contact as for fishy handouts. That certainly seems to be true of Whistler, who continues to surface even after the saltwater snacks of ribbonfish and menhaden are no longer offered.

The fresh, iced-down fish that Sonja gets from the shrimpers is a refreshing treat for them when the water is 80 degrees, according to Erv. During the winter months, the same dolphins approach the boats, but toss the fish away when offered.

On the other side of the boat, Zorro is tailwalking to earn a fish from a fifth-grade boy, just as if he escaped from Sea World only yesterday, These are wild dolphins?

That's one of many reasons why marine biologists like Graham Worthy are concerned about tourists feeding dolphins in open water. Worthy, a professor of marine mammalogy at Texas A & M in Galveston and director of the Texas Marine Mammal Stranding Network, compares it to feeding the bears in Yellowstone National Park.

"We're not allowed to do that either and for good reason, " Worthy said. "When you get into those situations, you're affecting the animal's behavior."

"The problem I have is that when these dolphins get used to approaching boats -- and approach them at random -- there's no guarantee that some person might not throw something harmful to a dolphin," Worthy said.

"There are all kinds of people in this world who are, perhaps, not as concerned about the animals as others. They may toss overboard a hot dog or a tennis ball, which the dolphin might like to play with," Worthy said. "If they ingest these objects, they're going to die."

Worthy said Texas A & M students doing behavioral studies in Corpus Christi Bay have observed dolphins approaching their boats and others, possibly in search of a handout.

Another potential danger, according to Worthy, is to humans who might be tempted to jump into the water with these semi-tame creatures.

"Some of these animals weigh 400 pounds or more," said Worthy. "They're not pure muscle, but they're pretty close." Worthy said dolphins aren't aggressive, but a blow from a tail fluke in the water carries enough impact to break human ribs, arms or necks.

Technically, the Strongs are committing a felony every time they take a boat out to meet the dolphins. The Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 prohibits harassment, killing, maiming, hunting or capturing of marine mammals. In 1991, feeding was added to the list of offenses punishable by a $10,000 fine and one year in prison.

The Strongs say NMFS is cavalier about issuing permits in order to capture for public display or research, but they have encountered red tape and political obstacles in their bid for a permit to study the animals and conduct educational tours.

They have since sued NMFS, which is a part of the Department of Commerce. A federal judge in Corpus Christi has issued a restraining order against NMFS pending further hearings. In his honor, the Strongs have named one of their finny friends "Judge."

More than three-dozen dolphins the Strongs recognize on sight have been named. After a few minutes of observation, the distinctions in their faces and definitive scrape marks they make on each other with their teeth make it easy to tell Whistler from Junebug, Zorro, Bonnie, Judge, Gus, Millie, Nubs and the others gathered around the boat.

The passion the Strongs feel for the rights of marine mammals rubs off on nearly everyone who takes their 45-minute excursion. Erv tells of people who become so committed to the cause of banning captivity, they tear up their Sea World season passes on the spot.

Peggy May, a Corpus Christi resident, said she prefers to see the animals in their own environment and has never been to Sea World. She said her 8-year-old niece was so moved by the Dolphin Connection experience that she wanted to go home and write a letter to President Bush protesting the capture of dolphins.

"Dolphins aren't clowns that should perform for their food," Erv said. "They have a real purpose in life, and all of them are important to their society. We go out into the middle of the bay, and we look back at our city. It's a big city, but it's made up of a lot of little families. The bay itself is also a city made up of families," Erv said.

"It's just that they're a little different from us: They have no material

technology, and they have a specialized body. They can't come on land to visit us, but we can go and see them. Other than that, they have jobs like we do, they have a language like we do, they have sex for pleasure like we do and they have funerals for their lost ones like we do," he said.

"They're on top of the food chain with us; there's nothing out to get them. If you go to Sea World today, you're going to hear the dolphins are better off in a cement box because there are no predators after them," Erv said. "The reality is, out in the wild, there are no predators after them either. The only predator they have has them captive in San Antonio."

An open-water marine park where dolphins can be observed with their families in their natural environment is a more humane and educational alternative to parks like Sea World, the Strongs say. Erv said a think tank in the state capital is now studying the feasibility of such a park on the Gulf Coast.

Dolphin-rights groups like The Dolphin Project in Coconut Grove, Fla., point to specific cases of abuse and high mortality rates of dolphins in captivity, making a strong case for legislation prohibiting it.

Dolphin Project Director Richard O'Barry, who formerly trained dolphins for the television series "Flipper," addressed Congress on July 8 and said the only educational value of "abusement parks" is to teach children that the abuse of animals is acceptable.

Worthy said activists misrepresent the mortality figures.

"The data set these people use to make the negative arguments include data from animals captured in the '60s. Survival rates were poorer then because we didn't understand the animals as well as we do now," Worthy said.

"In the wild, there are animals that can live up to 45 years -- primarily females. Males tend to live until their mid-30s. Those are maximums representing one to two percent of the population. It's like saying a human

lives until their mid-90s. Very few people actually do that," he said.

Worthy also said the gastric ulcers that activists claim are a sign of stress in captive dolphins are a common occurrence in wild dolphins as well.

Almost all corpses recovered by the Texas Marine Mammal Stranding Network have ulcers, he said.

This spring, there were 10 times the normal number of stranded dolphins found in Calhoun and Aransas counties -- 122 between March and May, compared with 15 in 1991. Worthy said tissue samples are still being analyzed to determine a possible reason for the dramatic increase in deaths.

Regarding the captivity issue, Worthy said Sea World takes most of the heat for abuses that more commonly occur in smaller operations with outdated pool systems and water quality problems. Sea World, Worthy said, has state-of-the-art facilities with high-quality nutrition and veterinary care.

For four years, Astroworld has had two dolphins: Rowan, a 35-year-old male, and Cherie, a 7-year-old female, who perform in five shows daily.

The Marine Mammal Inventory, a record of dolphins in captivity, shows that three dolphins -- Cupcake, Stormy and Shasta -- died of chlorine toxicity at Astroworld in February 1985.

Rowan and Cherie are on loan from Marine Animal Productions in Gulfport, Mississippi, a company the activists call "rent-a-dolphin" and single out as having one of the highest mortality rates in the industry.

A bill banning capture is now under consideration by the Florida State Legislature, and the Strongs urge their passengers to sign a petition for a similar law in Texas.

This year, South Carolina became the first state to ban captures, in response to pressure from activists who want the public to realize that intelligent marine mammals aren't disposable water toys or performing circus clowns.

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COUGAR NOISE.....

- ROLLINS RAVINGS

Thank God college football does not possess the ludicrous stipulations the NFL is so widely known for.

You know what I am talking about: hold-outs, contract negotiations and the question of free agency.

Knowing full well that one day, I will be bringing NFL news and happenings to you same people, I am making this judgment out of sorrow to the league. Everything I write about this topic is in vain because of the stubborn owners and players' agents.

Why must teams and players squabble every year, day-in and day-out, about money during pre-season when they should be out on the field?

Oilers GM Mike Holovak, whose team is regarded as one of the finest in the league, has yet to sign four of his most premier players. What's the problem, Mikey?

You know the Oilers will play sub-par ball without the likes of pro- bowl players like the ones you won't sign. So what's the problem? I know those five months in the off-season were short, but a time constraint isn't justifiable.

The players, on the other hand, are just saints -- always ready to go, to make the team be as good as they can be, and to contribute. But hey, they want to be paid sufficiently, which in retrospect -- and out of respect to Lawrence Taylor -- means the highest pay in the league for most egomaniacs playing professional football, the heathens.

For the sake of millions of fans, let's cut out all contract negotiations, and let's follow in the footsteps of the World League of American Football -- the guys known for that helmet-cam.

Each position is given a set wage. Hell, if you do good and stand out among your equally-paid cohorts, then let the advertisers give up the bucks. The athletes can make their living off of endorsements and T-shirt sales.

But then the players' union will say the owners are making all the money. That sounds fair to me; they bought the team, run the team and always have to give out those bothersome Christmas gifts every year.

Bah humbug on all of it; I'll stick with the college scene for now.

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FRANK ON HURRICANES: 'NOT FREAKS OF NATURE'

By Amey Mazurek

The Daily Cougar

Dr. Neil Frank searches the sky for weather patterns before his daily forecasts, but he revealed at his Aug. 6 Hurricane Seminar that his concerns are quite down-to-earth.

"Hurricanes are not freak accidents of nature to cause death and destruction," Frank said. "They have a purpose."

Hurricanes rid the tropics of excess heat by dispersing hot air into the Atlantic, the Gulf or across Mexico into the Pacific. Sometimes the hot air, described by Frank as a giant "bubble," organizes into a tropical depression. From that, it may upgrade to a hurricane within days.

El Nino, which changes the circulation of the oceans, bringing warmer waters to the coast of Peru, wet and mild winters to the U.S., and cooler waters to the Gulf, may have had an impact on the diminished number of storms coming from the tropics this year. It will likely continue into the fall, he said.

Since hurricanes are natural occurrences, Frank does not consider them a problem. "We have a hurricane problem when people build on coasts," he said, especially those who build close to the shorelines.

"Now if you decide to live in California and you build a home close to a fault line, then you shouldn't fuss about earthquakes," he said. "It's the same if you build on Galveston's west end; you shouldn't fuss about hurricanes."

He showed slides of hurricane damage, before-and-after pictures of entire homes that had disappeared in the aftermath of legendary storms like Hugo, Camille (which had a 25-foot-storm surge) and Alicia. He said if a category-five storm hit Galveston, Clear Lake could be under 25 feet of water.

He also pointed out that Houston's buildings lack a standard for building codes and do not provide sufficient protection during a category-one or -two hurricane. "Even in a bad thunderstorm, you can get 100 mph winds," he said.

The cost of improvement on existing buildings would be "only two or three percent more," he said, having checked with builders. "I think we're selling ourselves short."

One of the main dangers of hurricanes, even with minimal 75 mph winds, is flying missiles. To get an idea of the force, Frank said, "Imagine standing on the hood of a car going 75 mph."

Galveston shoreline developers are in danger of losing their property, not just by hurricane, but by receding beachlines on the east end past the seawall -- 10 feet a year goes into the water.

According to Frank, the sea level has risen by one foot worldwide in the past several years. No one knows exactly why. On the global warming theory, Frank took an unusual stance. The only thorough records of temperatures date from the '60s with the advent of weather satellites.

Observations of the ozone layer are few, and ozone itself is not very stable. Ozone is created in the upper atmosphere when the sun hits oxygen molecules. During the summer months, the sun hits closer to the equator, leaving the north pole with thinner ozone.

"From a scientific standpoint," he said, "rising temperatures and holes in the ozone are alarmist statements. We need more evidence."

A native of Kansas, he originally aspired to coach basketball when he enrolled in college. His chemistry professor convinced him to major in science, so that he could coach and teach science. His teaching plans were interrupted, however, when he served in the U.S. Air Force, helping reconnaissance track hurricanes.

He was stationed in Okinawa, where three typhoons buffeted the coast his first summer there.

After the Air Force, he enjoyed the beach while working on his graduate degree at Florida State. In 1961, the federal government offered him a position as head of the National Weather Service Hurricane Center, which he kept for 13 years.

Although he was offered a good retirement plan, Houston's Channel 11 was able to coax him away from Florida.

"It's been downhill ever since," Frank said. He confided to his audience the finer workings of broadcast media. He only has three minutes for his weather forecast, if he's lucky. "When I go on the air, I don't know how much time I've got. I've got to watch time cues . . . The weather forecast is not scripted. If the mayor goes over 30 seconds on his speech, guess who gets cut."

If he has very little time, he ends up reading the "graphics" (maps with temperatures, barometer readings, etc.) without explaining "why weather" (why the weather is behaving in certain ways, such as front patterns and their effects).

"I didn't know the time constraint," he said. "As far as weather presentation, the transition was a lot more difficult than I had anticipated."

"I thought he was very articulate," Jennie Fonte, a member of the audience, said. "He knew his subject. He kept the audience captivated."

 

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