FLEMING'S NEW FIRE ALARM SYSTEM TO GO ON-LINE

by Jennifer Smith

Daily Cougar Staff

The new fire alarm system for the Fleming Building will be on-line Friday, said Timothy Ryan, director of the UH Environmental and Physical Safety Department.

Ryan also said there are low-occupancy buildings on campus devoid of fire-warming systems, including the Hazardous Waste Disposal unit.

Friday will be the first time there will be an operating fire-warning system in the Fleming Building this semester.

Fleming is the building in which a large number of the undergraduate chemistry lab classes are held. There are many volatile chemicals contained in the building, both in storage and in use by students.

Fleming has been without a fire alarm system since late December, Ryan said.

There are signs in the Fleming Building communicating the absence of a fire alarm system, which ask that in case of a fire that doors be shut.

Ryan said there are a number of buildings on campus that do not have fire alarm systems.

He said these buildings fit into a category called storage or part-time occupancy.

One example is the Hazardous Waste Disposal unit, Ryan said.

Harry Stenvall, a technical manager in the Environmental and Physical Safety Department, said the unit does not have a fire alarm system or a fire suppression, or sprinkler, system because in case of fire, it would more likely do more environmental harm than good to spread these hazardous chemicals by flooding them with water.

Danny Snell, coordinator of the Hazardous Materials group at the Houston Fire Department, said (what would be appropriate to do) would depend on where the Hazardous Waste Disposal unit is located and whether conventional suppression means would create a runoff problem.

The installation of the new system in Fleming is part of a half-million-dollar project to install a campus-wide fire-warning system.

Ryan said Feb. 1 that the work orders to install the new system had already been written when the existing fire alarm system in Fleming went out. "(It was) fortunate that we had planned (this replacement)," Ryan said.

Ryan described the new system now being installed as a "state-of-the-art Simplex system."

Ryan said that with the new system, if a fire alarm goes off, (the system) IDs the specific location of the alarm.

It is a voice system, he said, adding that a voice warning seems to be more calming than the traditional alarms.

"Panic is ... the major killer in a fire," he said.

The new system also has two types of replacement power systems in case of an emergency, Ryan added, both an emergency power system and a battery backup.

The new system is to be installed in the athletic/alumni complex, now under construction, as well as in the Roy Cullen and E. Cullen buildings, he said.

Ryan said the Environmental and Physical Safety Department uses a host of criteria to decide whether a building is safe for occupancy. For fire safety guidelines, the university complies with the National Fire Protection Agency's regulations, he said.

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TOTE THAT MIRAGE, LIFT THAT PASEO: PARKING GRACE PERIOD TO END

by Blanca Hernandez

Contributing Writer

Break parking ends Feb. 13 -- meaning if your university parking decal is not on your vehicle, the vehicle will be ticketed.

"We are not enforcing parking violations for lack of decals in student lots until Feb. 13," said Gerald Hagan, director of the university's Parking and Transportation Department.

Hagan added that students should receive their parking decals in the mail by Friday. If they do not, students should go to Parking and Transportation.

"A lack of a decal is not a towable offense, but (the owner of the car) will be issued a ticket. If the vehicle is not identified with a user or has accumulated four or more parking tickets, it will be towed."

Adam Martinez, a parking enforcement assistant, said an average of 15 cars a day are towed for parking violations during peak seasons.

"Most tows result from students parking in reserved and handicapped spaces," Martinez said. "When the owner of the parking space calls and complains, they tow the vehicle."

The reserved parking spaces are paid individually by faculty or staff on an annual basis.

"They pay top dollar for those spaces, and they have a right to have someone's car removed," Hagan said.

The primary reasons for towing are for safety and extreme abuse, Hagan added.

"Parking in fire zones, blocking traffic flow, handicapped zones -- we need to keep those clear for people who need them, and excessive unpaid parking violations mean abuse of privileges.

"The way the system looks at it, everybody pays for fairness in parking; we look at it as taking something from somebody else," Hagan added. "It's the ultimate means of fairness for our parking system. Without enforcement, we'd be out of control."

According to Hagan, on average, about 2,348 total parking violations are issued per month. Since the parking data base was created two years ago, 493 cars have accumulated on the campus tow list -- parking violators' vehicles who have not been identified to any registrants. Some license plate numbers have up to 15 parking violations listed.

If the ticket is not appealed or paid, it doubles in face value, Martinez said. Regular parking violations are $15, reserved space violations are $55, and fire zone and handicapped violations are $65, plus a $40 tow fee for each. However, after four unpaid parking citations are received, the car is placed on the tow list. The owner of the vehicle has 21 days to pay or appeal.

If students cannot pay their fines, they can sign an agreement that the fine can be placed on their university account fee bill.

The "open parking" policy applies only to those students with student decals to park in the faculty/staff parking area, gated and ungated, as long as it is not in restricted spaces, for convenience and safety purposes during night classes.

"Parking is a mess, but after the 13th, things will smooth out," Martinez said.

 

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COUGARS SQUEAK BY RICE

Houston wins 5th in a row to take 2nd place in SWC

by Jason Paul Ramírez

Daily Cougar Staff

This time, it wasn't enough.

With the clock winding down and Rice trailing the Houston Lady Cougars 69-65, Owls guard Lacey Guinn spotted up on the right baseline and fired in a 3-pointer to cut the Houston lead to 69-68.

One problem: The horn sounded just as the trey went down and the Cougars escaped with the one-point win Tuesday night in Rice's Autry Court, putting UH in sole possession of second place in the SWC behind conference leader, No. 4 Texas Tech.

For Guinn (20 points), it was her sixth 3-pointer of the night, which tied a Rice school record.

And the scenario was reminiscent of the first time the Owls (7-11, 4-4 in the Southwest Conference) and Cougars (11-9, 5-3) hooked up this year -- when Rice guard Kim LaLonde threw in a turnaround jumper with four seconds left to give the Owls an 88-87 victory.

However, LaLonde was held to just five points Tuesday night and was befuddled by a pressing Houston defense that gave Rice fits in the second half.

"Our defensive intensity picked up a lot in the second half," Houston coach Jessie Kenlaw said. "There were several moments when we were up and down and wouldn't dictate the action and attack the basket."

Trailing 33-26 at the half and 43-34 with 15:13 left to play, the Cougars went on one of their patented runs that are becoming all too familiar during their current five-game winning streak.

The Cougars scored the next 15 points in a row and completed their run at the 8:48 mark, having outscored the Owls 21-3.

It was the third time in their last four conference games that Houston had gone on a string of at least 11 unanswered points.

The spurt was mostly the result of a technical foul on Rice coach Cristy McKinney with 13:02 left.

Owls center Nicki Manzo committed a foul on Houston's Stacey Johnson with Rice up 43-39 and McKinney was livid.

Johnson, who earlier Tuesday was named SWC Player of the Week for an SWC-record fourth time this season, tied the game by converting the two technical free throws and both freebies that resulted from Manzo's hack.

Johnson finished with 18 points, 13 in the second half, and had a game-high six steals.

Adding to the Cougars' revival was Cougars sophomore forward Pat Luckey, who scored 24 points and had 11 rebounds.

"I had a stupid technical and we weren't handling their pressure defense," McKinney said. "Johnson tried harder in the second half too."

 

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UH BASEBALL STARTS SEASON IN LOUISIANA

by Richard C. Kroger

Daily Cougar Staff

The Houston Cougars baseball team, a rough mixture of new and old players, kicks off its season today in Lake Charles, La. against the McNeese State Cowboys.

UH is led by senior third baseman Tom Maleski who boasted a .349 batting average last season before succumbing to a hamstring injury. Right-handed pitcher Bo Hernandez (2-2 last season) will be on the mound for the Cougars, who look to improve on last year's 30-26 record.

Hopes for this season fall largely on the 16 new players the Cougars will be fielding this spring. Among the first-time Cougars are Houston Baptist transfer Brant Romero (first base), who in practice this fall demonstrated his ability to hit with power, something the Cougars were lacking last season.

Also seeing his way into a Cougars uniform is shortstop defensive specialist and Sam Houston State transfer Jason Smiga.

First-year UH head coach Rayner Noble said he hopes his squad can surprise its Southwest Conference opponents this year, but feels their chances are average at best.

"I have a gut feeling that we can finish in the (No.) 4 or (No.) 5 hole," he said. "I think that in order for us to do any better than that, the guys will have to have career years."

The Cowboys were 41-17 last season, and are 1-1 after a doubleheader split with Houston Baptist this season.

 

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OWLS WON'T SEE A JALOPY IN FORD

by William German

Daily Cougar Staff

When Houston Cougars head basketball coach Alvin Brooks made out his wish list after a loss to Rice in the Southwest Conference opener, the two biggest items were better inside play and a scorer to complement Tim Moore.

Little did he know he had both all along, in one player, no less.

Junior college transfer forward Kirk Ford has traded the proverbial glasses and button-down shirt for the red cape and "S" recently, helping the Cougars (6-13, 3-4 in the SWC) transform an eight-game slide into a three-game winning streak.

Ford and his team will put their streak on the line tonight when they face the Rice Owls (9-9, 4-3) at 7:35 in Autry Court.

"Coach Brooks has got me working the high post and a lot of teams are giving me the open shot," Ford said of his improved play.

"I think I'm running the court real well and getting a lot of the easy layups, just working in the system of the team offense."

Through 12 non-conference games and two SWC games, Ford was averaging just 8.2 points and shooting an even 40 percent from the floor.

He began to turn it around Jan. 18 against Texas Tech, hitting six of nine shots for 12 points, then went for 15 in a close loss to Texas A&M.

During the win streak, he has scored 25, 22, and 25 points against Baylor, Southern Methodist and Texas respectively, going a collective 25-of-43 (.581) from the field and 20-of-26 (.769) at the free-throw line.

He has showed an ability to nail the medium-range jumpshot and drive past defenders. Fouling him doesn't help. Ford is second in the SWC from the charity stripe, shooting .790.

"I think I'm playing with a lot more confidence than I did at the beginning of the year," Ford said. "I've gotten a better feel for what Division I ball is about."

The 6-7 native of Lafayette, La. played for two years at Midland Junior College, where he averaged 12.9 points and five rebounds a contest in 1993-94, his last year there.

His numbers this season now stand at 11.4 points, 5.1 rebounds and a .472 field-goal percentage, not bad for a first season of big-time college play.

Last time out against Rice, Houston's Tim Moore was held scoreless in the first half against the Owls, so Ford could be an important player tonight.

"I thought (Moore) took himself out of a lot of plays in the first half," Brooks said about the first game. "He was playing too far out on the perimeter."

Rice head coach Willis Wilson said after the game, "(Starting forward) Jesse Cravens did a nice job of forcing (Moore) up off the lane just a little bit farther than where he likes to catch the ball.

"When he did catch it, we tried to force him to shoot over the top."

On the whole, the Owls look to slow the ball down and win in the half court, seemingly a detriment to the Cougars' transition game, which killed Texas last Wednesday.

"We didn't rebound the ball as well as we have been," Brooks said of the first meeting. "It's hard to run when you don't rebound well."

 

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UH GOLFERS TAKE SIXTH

Houston took sixth place in the PING Arizona Intercollegiate in Tucson with a 13-over-par 865 for the three-round tournament.

Shawn Savage shot a 68 on the final day to finish tied for sixth with a 3-under-par 210. Anders Hansen was eighth with a 211.

 

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A CENTURY OF COMICS -- CARTOONS FOR ALL AGES

by Christen Hanlon

Daily Cougar Staff

In February of 1895, the New York World tested its new yellow ink by printing it in the nightgown of a bald waif-like character drawn by cartoonist Richard Outcault. The publication of this character, dubbed "The Yellow Kid" by readers, marked the beginning of the first comic strip.

A century later, comics have evolved into a billion-dollar industry which created the likes of <I>Superman<P>, <I>Batman<P>, <I>Spiderman<P> and countless other characters.

Comic stores all over the Houston area obviously have reason to celebrate. Two of these stores, House of Comix and Midnight Comics are taking this 100-year anniversary seriously and providing their customers with special events and entertainment throughout the month.

Eloy Garza, co-owner of House of Comix, said that he got started in the comic business out of a hobby. "I began collecting comics and I always had a dream of opening a store someday."

Garza also said that House of Comix, located at 1920 West 18th Street, sells many products.

"We sell everything including pogs, action figures, books, toys and games. We try to suit all audiences," Garza said.

Comics have achieved a higher profile than ever in recent years, thanks largely to the success of blockbuster films based on titles like Dark Horse Comics' <I>The Mask<P> (starring Jim Carrey), <I>Timecop<P> (Jean-Claude Van Damme), and DC Comics' enduring Dark Knight Detective, <I>Batman<P>.

"When it comes to comics and movies, most people immediately think about those recent hits," store manager Gilbert Paredes observed. "But, like comic books, the connection between the two really originated in the 1930s, when Batman, Captain Marvel, Captain America and many other characters starred in their own weekly movie serials. There's always been, and will continue to be, an audience for the larger-than-life adventure you can find in comics."

For those of you who seek comic adventure and amusement, House of Comix is for you. In February it will offer its customers a wide variety of commemorative items through "Previews", the most widely used catalog among comic retailers and readers alike. "Previews" is celebrating the occasion with a special section devoted to the finest graphic novels, reference works, trade paper backs and card products available in comics today.

Sunday, House of Comix will be donating auction items for the Grand Carnival ’95, a comic book convention in Houston.

"It will be held at the Holiday Inn by the Hobby Airport at Interstate-45 South. Auction items will be such things as 'Strange Tales Annual' (valued at $350) and even a 'Web of Spiderman' comic book signed by the artist Charles Bess which is valued at about $50," Garza said.

The store's assistant manager, Abel Garza, feels a lot has changed for the better in the comic book industry. "In the last 100 years, a wide variety of books have evolved to suit readers of all ages and tastes. They are all offered here at the House of Comix."

For more information about upcoming events at House of Comix, contact the store at 861-1147.

If what you need is a comic store that is entertaining as well as informative then head on over to Midnight Comics. John Simons, Keith Heutzenroeder and Joe Zaucha run the store located at 13155 Westheimer #134 (at Synott Road next to the Windchime Dollar Theater).

The three owners say their store caters to customers of all ages by selling many products. "We let the customers decide which merchandise is the best," Heutzenroeder said. "Midnight Comics has remained a popular store because of our availability to the customer and our service. People like it that we stay open until midnight six days a week." The business began when the three decided they wanted to open their own store. Zaucha and Simons had known each other for about 20 years in Michigan and when they moved to Texas met Heutzenroeder.

"We decided this would be a fun job and we could be our own bosses. It is a dream job and we knew that we could do it right," Simons said.

Midnight Comics sells a variety of products including posters, T-shirts, cards, games and pogs. For those interested, the store offers many different contests that are open to the public. These include magic gaming, pog tournaments and Jyhad gaming. Prizes worth $80-$100 are given for the winner of each tournament.

One special feature that everyone at Midnight Comics is excited about this month is a comic book signing with Terry Moore, author of <I>Strangers in Paradise<P>.

Moore, who writes and illustrates his own comic books, gears the books to men and women mainly between the ages of 20-25. He got the name of his comic from an old song by Tony Bennett, Moore said. He also replied that it took a great deal of time to get to where he is today. "I'm one of those guys that just sat at the kitchen table and drew every night. For several years I tried to get into newspapers strips without succeeding."

Moore said that he didn't think about writing again until his son began getting interested in comics. "Something snapped in my head and I knew I wanted to do this. Nothing was going to stop me," Moore said.

Moore, who was recently highlighted on a special presentation by KUHT-TV, channel 8, will be signing comic books at Midnight Comics from 1-6 p.m. on February 18th.

For more information call Midnight Comics at 293-0226.

 

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BUTT TRUMPET'S <I>ENEMA<P> A PLEASANT EXPERIENCE

photo by Lisa Johnson/EMI Records

Butt Trumpet proves punk rock music is still alive with <I>Primitive Enema<P>.

by Renee Feltz

Daily Cougar Staff

It might be fun trying to figure out what a butt trumpet is. Is it a musical instrument? Well, kind of. Is it a metal cone that is inserted into a certain body opening in order to create a horn-like sound? No, not really. Is it a band from California with obnoxious lyrics? Bingo.

With such a colorful name, this band attracts attention. Luckily, the music the group plays is worthy of such notice. While the new "punk explosion" is persuading your teenage brother to call himself a "melodramatic fool," and the local high school now has another breed of green-haired misfits, those of us who remember small-time, local punk music are becoming more and more discontented.

However, if we took the time, we'd discover that punk, in its most satisfying form, is still alive.

Punk still exists in two main forms: in the music itself, and in spirit. True punk promotes self expression, and if those who are trying to play it manage this self-expression, they are on the right track.

Such statements are strong, and they deserve evidence. Example A would be Butt Trumpet. On its album <I>Primitive Enema<P>, punk rock is played with enough bad attitude to keep the band off MTV forever.

Also, many of what could be called mandatory elements are contained within it. For example, none of the songs are very long; only two are longer than three minutes.

The always-enjoyable tradition of using as many disgusting images in both the music and the packaging is dutifully recognized. Complementing this format was the giant influence of Jello Biafra (of the Dead Kennedys), in both style and subject matter.

The songs themselves are enjoyable. They are generally fast and to the point, yet still long enough to express more than a sound byte. The riffs are catchy, and the sentiment in the lyrics is fun to recognize. Indeed, the lyric sheet is almost reason enough itself for this review to be favorable: "So-called artists hang at Copymat, duplicating each others' crap. Virgins singing about sex, we stole this song from X."

One aspect of the album is unsatisfying. On "I Left My Flannel in Seattle," the subject is hardly explored. Many of the songs appear to be recorded as pure jokes, and there could have been less of this type of song. For example, songs like "Dead Dogs," with lyrics such as "Dead dogs, dead dogs, dead dogs in my garage" are not very stimulating. On the whole, however, the album was enjoyable, and Butt Trumpet did a pretty good job of capturing the gist of punk rock.

The CD booklet contains some interesting information. First of all, the small-time label that <I>Primitive Enema<P> was released on is actually a division of Capitol Records. Also intriguing was the 90210 zip code of the band's address. Finally, the thank-you notes acknowledged EMOS, Stinkerbell, Spunk and Green Day.

 

 

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