MORE AH ELEVATOR MALFUNCTIONS ADD TO ANXIETY

PHYSICAL PLANT DIRECTOR TOM WRAY: 'THERE IS NOTHING UNSAFE ABOUT ANY OF THE ELEVATORS'

 

by Andy Alford

Daily Cougar Staff

<I>To fall: to descend freely by the force of gravity, to become lower in degree or level."

--Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary<P>

Victims of Agnes Arnold Hall's elevator incidents and UH maintenance officials don't agree as to what exactly went wrong while students and faculty rode in AH elevators in the past few weeks, but one thing is certain: It has happened more than once.

The most recent incidents occurred Thursday at about 10:30 p.m. History Professor John M. Hart left his fifth-floor office on his way home to watch UCLA play California.

He rode AH elevator car No. 1 to the sixth floor, when it began to fall to the fourth floor.

"It fell in little jerks," Hart said.

Hart didn't report the incident. "My impression is that no one bothers with those elevators," he said.

Earlier that day, graduate history student and TA Shani O'Neil experienced the same thing with two other students.

O'Neil said she got on the elevator on the fifth floor and rode to the sixth.

"The inner doors opened, but the outer doors stayed shut," O'Neil said.

Then the elevator fell someplace between the third and fourth floors, she said.

"You could hear the brakes kicking in, but it was really odd the way it just floated back up to the fourth floor," O'Neil added.

"I didn't even have time to be scared," she said.

However, O'Neil said she got off the elevator while the other two unidentified students stayed on.

O'Neil reported the incident to Lynn Gillespie, assistant to the Dean of Humanities, Fine Arts and Communication, James Pipkin, who reported it to maintenance.

Lawrence Theriot, physical plant elevator foreman, said the elevators cannot fall.

"Those elevators are counterbalanced by a weight that weighs 40 percent more than the capacity load of the elevator," Theriot said. "The only direction they can fall is up."

J. Holly Sterneckert, Physical Plant associate vice president of Plant Operations, said, "An incident did occur, but I don't believe that the elevator car fell. I don't, based on outside evaluations, believe that it was possible."

Tom Wray, director of the Physical Plant, said the elevator may have passed through a floor, but that it was an electrical problem -- not a problem with the cables or brakes.

"It did not fall," Wray said. "There is nothing unsafe about any of the elevators. The city inspector told us they were safe to use and to operate."

This incident wasn't the first time.

On Feb. 9, Sandra Harris and Nina Tucci, professors in the Department of Modern and Classical Languages, were trapped in AH elevator car No. 2 for 15 minutes after falling two-and-a-half floors, Gillespie said in a previous Daily Cougar story.

Maintenance workers had to manually lower the elevator to the basement, where both faculty were released from the car. No injuries were reported.

That same day, Thomas J. O'Brien, associate professor of history, rescued a student in a wheelchair who was trapped in the AH freight elevator when the door failed to spring open after closing on the student's wheelchair. O'Brien had to climb over the student to punch the "open door" button on the elevator control panel before the door would release the student.

AH has been inspected three times in the last two weeks: once through an audit of all UH campus facilities, once by the manufacturer of the new elevator controls, and lastly, on Wednesday, by a City of Houston elevator inspector.

Sterneckert said the official reports from all of the inspections are not available yet.

However, she said, "Whatever they find, I will address."

O'Neil said with a sigh, "I wish somebody would just give us a straight story and fix it."

All elevator and other maintenance problems in AH should be reported to Gillespie, AH Room 421.

 

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END OF RAMADAN CAN BE MIXED BLESSING FOR SOME STUDENTS

by Shahida Amin

News Reporter

Today Muslims mark the end of Ramadan, a month of fasting, with Eid-ul-Fitr, a "celebration of thanksgiving and peace." Yet many Muslims will not spend the day at prayer, with family and friends, but in class, with professors and classmates.

"Any Muslim you talk to, he or she has to decide what's more important -- classes or Eid prayer," senior chemical engineering major Yasir Kazi said.

As in Kazi's case, the decision becomes a tough one for many Muslims. The student handbook makes the following provisions for religious holy days: "Students whose religious beliefs prohibit class attendance or the completion of specific assignments on designated dates may request an excused absence. If the student notifies the instructor of the classes to be missed due to religious holy days by the 15th calendar day of each semester, the student will be excused."

For Muslim students, however, the problem may not be solved so easily. The Islamic calendar is based on the lunar cycle. Because it depends on the actual sighting of the new moon, the exact day of the celebration cannot be determined ahead of time, according to Muhammad Ata, president of the Islamic Society of Greater Houston.

"The moon must be sighted physically by some reliable person in order for us to stop fasting," said Osman Ali, office coordinator of ISGH.

Ali said Muslims usually find out between 7 p.m. and 11 p.m. on the twenty-ninth day whether Eid will be on the thirtieth day of Ramadan or the first day of the next month. A thin crescent moon must be seen somewhere in the country right after the sun sets, the night before the celebration.

This year, Muslims learned Wednesday night that Eid will be celebrated today. For spring 1995, the deadline for filing a general petition requesting an excused absence for a holy day was Feb. 10.

According to Assistant Dean of Students Kamran Riaz, because of the uncertainty about the day, students can call professors and leave messages on phone mail after learning the exact day of the holiday. Professors, however, will have the final say about the excused absence, so students should discuss the holiday beforehand.

For now, Muslim students who did not file the petition or did not know about it may have to spend the holiday at school.

"The joy of Eid is gone," Kazi said. "The fun of being with your family and friends is gone. It just doesn't feel like Eid."

 

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UH STUDENTS STORM LEGISLATURE TO LOBBY FOR FUNDS

by Daniel Scholl

Daily Cougar Staff

AUSTIN -- Students spent Wednesday in Austin showing the Texas Legislature that they care about their education in hopes of easing the blow of the budget ax.

Wearing T-shirts that each bore a huge "UH" on the front, the Students' Association took about 40 students, parents, alumni and faculty up to the Capitol in a display of force to show legislators that UH students are truly concerned about the funding of their education.

The delegation was recognized by state Rep. Garnet F. Coleman, D-Houston, when it went to the Appropriations Committee, which will begin mark-up of the UH budget Friday.

Carolyn Allen, a parent of a UH student, was given 15 seconds to address the committee. The mission of the group was summed up when she told the committee, "We would like to ask you for your money."

Coleman was pleased by the show of the UH community.

"It shows the effort that is going on down there," he said. "I think any time people get to see individuals they're impacting, it's harder for them to make bad decisions.

"These students understand the process. They're committed to not only their education, but the education of the students after they leave."

SA President Angie Milner agreed with Coleman's assessment of the students who made the trip.

"(The students) have really gotten to know how important it is," she said.

Both Milner and SA Senate Speaker Jeff Fuller said they were happy with the turnout and what it will do for UH when the budgets come up. Also, they both stressed the importance of the fact that the trip was student-sponsored.

Grover Campbell, vice chancellor of governmental relations for the UH System, agreed.

"I think it's a powerful statement," he said. "It hasn't been scripted. Students are doing this on their own."

Milner said the trip, the third one over the last three bienniums, was the most successful and hopes the trend will continue after she is gone.

"(The new SA) needs to make sure UH is in their (the Legislature's) minds all year, every year."

 

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UH EXTENDS WIN STREAK TO 4 GAMES AT NEW BALLPARK

by Richard C. Kroger and

Ryan Carssow

Daily Cougar Staff

The Houston baseball team (8-6) smacked the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs with a doubleheader sweep Wednesday evening at the new Cougar Field, winning the first game 15-7 and the second game 3-2 in extra innings.

UH won the nightcap in dramatic fashion with some last-minute heroics from right fielder Geoffrey Tomlinson, who smacked a line drive to third, enabling Carlos Perez to score the winning run. It was earlier in that same inning that winning pitcher Jason Farrow (2-0) pitched himself out of a jam, stranding two Bulldogs in scoring position.

Although Farrow was in a tight spot, UH head coach Rayner Noble said he never had any thoughts of replacing him.

"He was going to finish. There was never any doubt in my mind; I was going with him," Noble said of Farrow.

The game was marred by strange plays, as the Cougars tied the game at two apiece in the sixth inning, thanks to some heads-up running by Jason Smiga and Tom Maleski. While Bulldog shortstop Mark Doubleday was arguing a questionable call with the umpire, Smiga and Maleski were rounding the bases. Maleski was eventually called back to third, but not before Smiga's run tied up the game and two Bulldog players (Doubleday and Chris Loy) were thrown out for unsportsmanlike conduct.

Although the second game was close, Noble said he would take the win.

"I am proud of the way the team came back," Noble said. "I am proud of what they did tonight."

The first game also didn't start out well for the Cougars, as Louisiana Tech leadoff hitter Drew Pregeant took UH starter Jeremy McClaughry's second pitch of the game deep over the right-field fence. The home run was the first ever hit at the new Cougar Field.

But Houston got that run back, and a few more, in the bottom of the first. Bulldogs starter Jason Martin walked three of the first four batters he faced, and at one point threw nine straight balls. Smiga and Ray Trevino hit back-to-back singles to plate the three walked batters, and designated hitter Brant Romero scored Smiga with a sacrifice fly to right field.

McClaughry was pulled after two outs in the top of the second for righthander Chad Poeck, who struck out three and gave up three runs on five hits in three innings pitched.

But the Cougars added three runs in the second and two in the third, padding the lead to 9-2 and ensuring the win for Poeck (1-1).

Martin (1-1), who didn't finish the first inning, took the loss for Louisiana Tech, but Houston wasn't done scoring.

After the Bulldogs pulled within three at 9-6 in the top of the sixth, UH exploded for six runs in the bottom of the inning, which was highlighted by Romero's two-run dinger -- the first Cougars home run at the new ballpark.

 

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LADY COUGARS DROP 3RD STRAIGHT, FALL TO 5TH

by M. S. Ameen

Daily Cougar Staff

The Houston women's basketball team continued to suffer a woeful slump as it dropped its third straight contest in a 74-53 loss to Texas at the Frank Erwin Center Wednesday night.

As a result, Houston now occupies fifth place in the Conference after its last game, with the Dr. Pepper SWC Classic Tournament a week away.

Despite the apparent blowout, the Cougars made a frenzied effort to get back into the game, closing to within five points at 46-41 with 11:08 left in the second half.

"We made a great run in the second half and showed we are very capable of getting back into a game," said Houston head coach Jessie Kenlaw.

"I thought a couple of crucial calls killed our momentum."

The officiating was a sore toe for both teams, as the referees handed out a total of 31 personal fouls (Houston 16, Texas 15).

Houston's poor shooting from the field in the first half, 28 percent, allowed the Longhorns to build a 15-point lead by halftime.

Texas continued to add to its lead in the second half. Things were looking darkest for the Cougars with 16:03 left in the second, as Longhorn Amie Smith made a layup and extended the lead to 21 points at 44-23.

Houston answered with a furious flurry. The Cougars went on an 18-2 run by outrebounding Texas 27-19 in the second half and outhustling the Longhorns, who momentarily lost intensity.

Texas lapsed a little and began to commit fouls and turn the ball over.

"We didn't give up, ... We played with a lot of intensity. We did a great job battling on the boards," Kenlaw said of her team's comeback.

Alas, turnovers and shoddy shooting from the field would prove too much to overcome. While Texas shot 44 percent from the field for the game, Houston succeeded on only 30 percent of its attempts.

Longhorn Nekeshia Henderson led all scorers with 26.

Houston unfortunately won in the turnover category, 25-13.

The Cougars needed a win and a Southern Methodist loss to move into third place in the Southwest Conference. SMU beat Texas A&M 80-67 in Dallas.

 

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ROUGH RIDIN' AND ROPIN' AT THE RODEO

by Christen Hanlon

Daily Cougar Staff

Whether you're all rodeod out after the first week of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo or not, there are some people who can never quite have enough of it.

University of Houston sociology professors Joe Kotarba and Allen Haney have spent the last year researching what it is that makes rodeo performers saddle up night after night . What they have discovered is that, although riders get thrown, dragged and stepped on, most of them are fit as a fiddle.

Kotarba and Haney have analyzed rodeo cowboys and cowgirls and what injuries they have received through riding. The professors have conducted interviews, both formal and informal, with injured bull and bronco riders everywhere from local rodeos in east Texas to the National Finals of the Justin Bull Riding competition in Houston.

"Most cowboys tend to get injuries related to their specific rodeo event," Kotarba explained. "For example, bareback or bull riders tend to get back and neck injuries. Steer wrestlers and calf ropers tend to injure their legs, knees and ankles. Every female bull rider we talked to last summer had broken an arm, leg or both," Kotarba said.

Because most rodeo riders don't have insurance, Kotarba explained that it is a necessity for them to train and be physically fit. "They may have taken a tad longer than other athletes, but today's rodeo riders train. They use weights, have personal trainers and sometimes even use chiropractors," Kotarba said.

Given the obvious risks involved in rodeo participation, the Professional Rodeo Competition Association has recently instituted an insurance program for its cowboys. "The everyday life of a cowboy involves self-responsibility; he is somewhat of a loner, very practical and does not have either the time or patience to sit around and take care of an injury, " Kotarba said. "The type of health care available to the cowboy fits the culture of Texas and of the rodeo world."

Kotarba and Haney are particularly interested in the recent use of safety vests by bull riders, and are continuing their research into rodeo participants' health problems at this years Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.

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UH STUDENTS AWARDED WRITING FELLOWSHIPS

by Jessica Ellis

Daily Cougar Staff

The UH Creative Writing program announces recipients of scholarships and fellowships, one of which is in honor of the late UH professor Donald Barthelme.

The 1994-95 Michener Fellowship, in memory of Barthelme, was awarded to M.F.A. student Cliff Hudder for his fiction novel-in-progress <I>Looking for Iturbide<P> and to Ph.D. candidate Stewart James for his poetry collection <I>Disturbances in Attention<P>.

Hudder, a B.A. graduate of Texas A&M, has previously received a Delores Welder Mitchell scholarship, a C. Glenn Cambor Fellowship and a Barthelme Memorial Fellowship sponsored by Inprint. His work has been published in The Florida Review and The Alaska Quarterly Review.

The fellowships, worth $17,000 each, are funded by a trust, to which noted author James Michener has pledged royalties from several of his novels, to honor the memory of Barthelme.

They are intended for advanced students in the program, to allow them to spend the following year preparing a book-length manuscript for submission to publishers.

Other awards to the creative writing program students announced this month were five Barthelme Memorial Fellowships sponsored by Inprint, each in the amount of $2,500.

Fiction winners were Claire Lawrence and Denise Wenner. Poetry winners were Gregory Fraser and Mary Jo Mahoney, and the nonfiction winner was Stewart James. Corey Marks was given the Brazos Bookstore/Academy Poets Prize, worth $100, for his poem "Sparrows".

Barthelme was an award-winning writer who taught in the Creative Writing Program until his death in 1989.

He authored 14 books, many of which have been translated into French, German, Italian, Japanese, Spanish and many other languages.

Barthelme received many awards for his accomplishments, including a Guggenheim Fellowship, a National Institute of the Arts and Letters Award, a National Book Award, the Red Short Story Award, a Texas Institute of Arts and Letters Award and membership in the Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters.

 

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<I>GREASE<P> BETTER THAN A SOCK HOP

by Jenalia Moreno

Daily Cougar Staff

When Micky Dolenz of the quirky Monkees started spinning the fifties tunes last night at the Music Hall, the crowd knew that the ever-popular <I>Grease<P> would be a rockin' and rollin' show.

<I>Grease<P>, which started the craze for reviving life in the fifties, first played on Broadway on Valentine's Day in 1972. When the film version of <I>Grease<P> was produced five years later and new songs such as "Hopelessly Devoted to you" were added, <I>Grease<P> became a phenomenon. Every girl wanted to be Sandra D., some of the more rebellious ones wanted to be Rizzo and every boy wanted to be Danny Zuko.

Even every actor on or off Broadway has wanted to play Danny. Richard Gere was one of the understudies for the original Broadway production. Needless to say, the discoing king of the seventies, John Travolta, played Danny in the film version of <I>Grease<P>.

In the NationsBank Houston Broadway production of <I>Grease<P>, Rex Smith (<I>As the World Turns<P>) plays the super-cool greaser Danny Zuko. Smith made his Broadway debut as Danny in the original production of <I>Grease<P>, and, with time, his moves and singing talents have only improved.

The cast of this production of <I>Grease<P> is not only energetic, but has great singing and dancing abilities. Sally Struthers, of <I>All in the Family<P> and "Save the Children" fame, plays Miss Lynch, the stereotypical English teacher who is always eager to give her least favorite students a hard time. When the musical begins, Struthers criticizes an audience member for walking in "tardy." "Haven't learned how to tell time yet, have we? Big hand on the 12, little hand on the eight," she says. From a strict teacher who enforces such high school rules as no gum-chewing, she flowers into a "cool" teacher, singing and dancing with the rest of the gang.

Micky Dolenz personifies the perfect TV personality as Vince Fontaine, reminiscent of the fifties rock 'n' roll guru Dick Clark. In his cow-print jacket and plaid pants, he runs around the theater dancing with audience members. During the musical he occasionally pokes his head out of a radio box on the set to announce song titles and dedications.

Trisha M. Gorman plays Sandra D., the cheerleader virgin who can do no wrong. With such <I>Grease<P> classics as "Summer Nights" and "Look at Me, I'm Sandra Dee," her musical talents really shine through. "Summer Nights," which is sung by the Pink Ladies, Danny and the Burger Palace Boys, is an excellent number in the second scene and prepares the audience for what turns out to be a musical with few flaws.

Bad girl Rizzo is played by Angela Pupello (no, not Brooke Shields, she played Rizzo in New York) and gets to sing along in one of the best numbers in the musical, "Greased Lightnin'." She is the leader of the Pink Ladies. The character that is outstanding in this musical is Frenchy, played by Beth Lipari. "Beauty School Dropout" Lipari plays the perfect Frenchy with her pink hair and annoying, nasal voice.

In addition to the excellent musical numbers in this production, the scenery, costumes and lighting design are also incredible. John Arnone was in charge of the scenic design, which is bathed in bright neon colors. When "Greased Lightnin'" is performed, the actors put a "car" together with several painted cardboard pieces. With the help of Howell Binkley's lighting design, much of the set, such as tires and hula hoops, glows in the dark during several numbers. The costumes include everything from white bobby socks to black leather jackets. And, of course, the beehive hairdos and greasy coifs are present.

Don't miss this fun journey through the fifties. <I>Grease<P> runs through Sunday at the Music Hall. Tickets are $36 to $42. Call 620-3700 for more information.

 

 

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