by Michael P. Martin

News Reporter

The Houston Post shuts down. Final exams and term papers loom. You are overdosed on caffeine and underdosed on sleep. What's next?

A flea invasion!

"Houston's hot and humid climate means fleas are always with us," said Dr. Granville Wright, a veterinarian with the Alief Animal Hospital. "But the mild winter has allowed most of the flea eggs and larvae to make it though unscathed. That means the coming invasion will be worse than it usually is."

Fleas can make both you and your pets uncomfortable, Wright said, but there is more danger for animals and humans than most people realize.

"Pets, especially those who are allergic to fleas, can scratch themselves raw," he said, "and those raw spots can become infected."

Worse, said Wright, is the fact that fleas carry tapeworm larvae, and your pet can get a bad case of worms from swallowing one.

So can you.

"I know it sounds disgusting -- swallowing a flea -- but it does happen," Wright said. "I know of one case where a young child with hands sticky from candy petted a dog and got a flea stuck to his hand. The child ended up with tapeworms. We think we know how."

Tape worms in people and pets are easily treated, Wright said, but the best treatment is prevention.

"The newest method is a pill that you can give your dog each month that interrupts the reproductive cycle of biting fleas," Wright said. "A liquid for cats containing the same medicine should be on the market shortly."

Other than that, he said, there are the four traditional methods: bathing, dipping, spraying and dusting. He also noted that all four methods have both good and bad points.

"If you bathe your pet every three or four days with flea shampoo, you interrupt the reproduction cycle of the flea and they disappear," Wright said. "Of course, that's a lot of work."

Dipping works well, he said, but dips are stronger and cannot be used more than once every 10 days. Fleas that survive, he said, can still reproduce on that schedule.

Spraying works well on pets, as long as they are of the short-haired variety, Wright said. "Of course, you might find that pets don't like being sprayed very much."

Flea powders work, but Wright said they are best for outdoor pets.

"If dusted pets come inside, you're going to find powder on everything," he warned.

To protect the family, Wright suggested spraying yards with Durzban and dusting carpets and furniture with boric acid. "But be sure to follow the directions carefully," he said.

Of course, you can let the professionals do it for you.

Thomas Haney owns three large dogs, and they live more indoors than out.

"We use a professional pest-control service that concentrates on fleas," he said. "We don't have fleas. Of course, we also bathe and dip all three dogs as often as we safely can."

What about cats? Helen Mann owns three, and she advised that, for your own safety, you don't try to bathe or spray them. She has, however, found a way to get flea powder on them without losing any blood or skin.

"I call it the 'shake-and-bake' method," she said. "I open a large pillow case and place the cat on it with the rim folded at its feet. I powder the cat thoroughly, and quickly lift the pillow case over the cat and gather it around the cat's neck, leaving its head exposed. When I rub the pillowcase over the cat, the powder gets rubbed in. I don't touch the cat, and the cat's claws don't touch me -- if I'm careful."

Mann said she doesn't have a flea problem because she works hard not to have one. "I work very carefully, too," she said.







by Roslyn Lang

Daily Cougar Staff

Thursday's bomb threat, which caused the evacuation of 2,500 people at the UH-Downtown campus, prompted some students there to question campus crisis management policy.

Pam Laycock, a junior computer information systems major, said, "I thought (the evacuation) was handled very haphazardly."

Doug Phillips, a senior secondary education major, agreed. "It was very disorganized. There was a lot of confusion; no one knew what to do -- it wasn't handled well. A cadet told us to evacuate the building but wouldn't say why," Phillips said.

Laycock said, "People were all over outside. Some were going back inside the building to get their belongings. Some were going over to the Spaghetti Warehouse. Some weren't told to go over there until 30 or 40 minutes later. Some were never told at all."

Lt. Michael VanCourt with UHPD-Downtown said, "The main thing today was that we did not want to cause mass panic. We went floor by floor, starting at the top, announcing that everyone was to go to the Spaghetti Warehouse. "The big problem was students standing around campus. I, myself, got on the bull-horn and told them to go to the Spaghetti Warehouse or to go home if they did not have any more classes," he said.

"We handled (the evacuation) in an orderly fashion. We could have gotten on the (public address system), but you can imagine 200 to 300 students crowding out of one door," said VanCourt.

Laycock said, "Everybody took it as a joke. Some people said it was probably someone wanting to get out of taking a test."

Phillips said, "If it had been serious, we would have been in trouble. If it was serious, they should have closed the street."

Laycock said, "I wanted to talk to a senator and raise this issue. Cars and buses were still driving by. Wheelchairs were going down the street -- that raises questions about evacuation policy for the handicapped."

Robert Gonzales, a junior pre-law major and a SA senator at the downtown campus, said, "The emergency evacuation plan is definitely in need of review and examination so that individuals in the building can be cleared out in an appropriate fashion, without widespread panic."

Max Castillo, president of UH-Downtown, could not be reached for comment on the students' complaints or on the policy.

Lt. Skip Durant at UHPD said all campus policies are different, but that at the main campus, police follow the guidelines in the UH Emergency Operation Manual. Decisions regarding evacuations are made by the president or his authorized representative in connection with the executive staff, he said.

"All threats are taken seriously," Durant said.

UHPD does a systematic floor-by-floor search, soliciting the assistance of people in charge to identify suspicious or strange-looking packages, and if anything is found, efforts are coordinated with the environmental safety department, he said.

Geri Konigsberg, director of Media Relations at UH's main campus said, "A crisis plan is in place. Procedures are in place."

The procedure at the main campus is to first call the police, though that does not mean an evacuation would be called for, she said. Because of the nature of the world right now, threats should be taken seriously, but people should know to use common sense about when to evacuate, she said.

"(UH-Downtown) is a couple of blocks away from federal buildings, and they have a reason to be skittish downtown," Konigsberg said.







by Roslyn Lang

Daily Cougar Staff

In the wake of the bombing of the A.P. Murrah federal building in Oklahoma City, the deadliest in the United States in 75 years, copycat threats have been phoned in to more than 20 buildings in Houston.

UH-Downtown experienced one of those threats at 8:20 a.m. Wednesday, said JoAnn DeForest, director of communications at UH-Downtown.

"A call came into the Information Office that there was a bomb on campus and it would go off in a few hours," she said.

University police evacuated 2,500 people from the campus and secured the building to make sure everyone was safe. At 11 a.m., police said the building could be reoccupied, DeForest said. The Mickey Leland Federal Building was also evacuated because of a bomb threat, she said.

Ricky Miller, a senior accounting major, said, "At about 8:30 (a.m.) an officer came to our room and got the professor. The professor said there was a bomb threat and that we were to evacuate the building. The whole campus was to go to the Spaghetti Warehouse.

"The university paid for cokes, so we sat around and talked until it was announced we could go back to class at about 10:45 a.m."

At a press conference held Thursday at the Houston Police Department, Dennis Storemski, assistant chief of the Tactical Command Division, said, "As expected, there is a great deal of concern from the media, the private sector and the public. Precautions are being taken, but there is no cause for fear and no need for panic."

Normally, there are one or two bomb threats called in during a day. In the last day and a half there have been 10 or 20 times more, Storemski said.

"All of the calls have been threats and all have been unfounded. After a terrorist threat, it is not unusual for (copycat threats) to happen. There are people out there who think this is funny," he said.

Miller said, "It was probably a copycat thing or someone wanting to get out of taking a test. I didn't really take it that seriously."

Storemski said the best resource during a bomb threat is the occupants of the building. "It's always the building's decision to evacuate," he said.

He said that occupants of the buildings are in the best position to notice suspicious-looking packages or people.

Storemski said each and every bomb threat will be investigated and the department takes them very seriously. HPD has offered bomb-smelling dogs and essentially all resources to work in full cooperation with federal agencies, he said.

"We're paying close attention to the situation and are prepared to deal with it. The HPD is in constant contact with all the appropriate federal agencies," Storemski said.

The department is looking for patterns in the threats, but it is hard to say at this point, he said. No arrests have been made.

Gaynelle Jones, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Texas, said, "The U.S. Attorney's office will accept those cases presented to us in which there is evidence of willful threats being made against life and property, and we will prosecute to the fullest extent of the law."







by William German

Daily Cougar Staff

Two games on the Houston Cougars baseball schedule loomed large at the beginning of the year: a Friday night and Saturday afternoon contest, both at the No. 11 Oklahoma Sooners' L. Dale Mitchell Park in Norman, Okla.

Those dates have now arrived. Perhaps the Cougars have arrived with them.

After taking a dreary 1-13 Southwest Conference record into Fort Worth last weekend, Houston responded with a 2-2 split at Texas Christian, including a comeback from being down 14-2 after three innings.

A 15-3 victory over struggling Texas Southern came Monday at Cougar Field, giving UH (3-15 in the SWC) a 21-24 overall record.

Oklahoma (28-10, 15-5 in the Big Eight) is coming off a 9-3 victory over Oral Roberts Tuesday and a 1-0 win vs. Missouri Southern Thursday.

"There's teams in the (SWC) that are comparable to OU," Cougars head coach Rayner Noble said. "They've got a fine ballclub, but we've been playing clubs like them all year long. If we don't beat ourselves, we'll be fine."

Today's 6:35 p.m start will see Houston lefthander Kevin Boyd (1-2, 2.81 ERA) face a true freshman in the Sooners' Jeff Andra (6-1, 4.41).

Saturday at 1 p.m., either righthander Jason Farrow (4-4, 3.38) or southpaw John Box (3-3, 4.47) will go for the Cougars against OU's Russell Ortiz (1-1, 5.97).

Farrow was the star at TCU, ringing up 10 hits in 15 at-bats and giving up just one hit and one run in 8 2/3 innings pitched.

"(Farrow) was just outstanding," Noble said. "He did the things we've expected of him all year."

The transfer from Stephen F. Austin is batting an even .300 with two homers and 30 RBIs, tying him for the team lead in the latter category with first baseman Carlos Perez.

"He slumped for a while," Noble said of Farrow, who was batting .256 coming into the TCU series. "We've got him where he's not jumping at the plate as much, staying within himself."






by Frank McGowan

and Valérie C. Fouché

Daily Cougar Staff

This weekend, the UH Opera Theatre will continue its annual tradition -- the performance of its spring shows at Miller Outdoor Theatre. This year Jacques Offenbach's <I>The Tales of Hoffmann<P> will be presented.

People who are not familiar with opera will be pleasantly surprised when they see this performance. Some tend to think that it is irrelevant to them in some way, but when they give it a chance it really is not.

"There is always something you can relate to in the characters, and certainly something that will touch your heart. Well, at least your funny bone," senior vocal performance major Celeste Martino said. Martino will perform the lead role of Olympia on Friday evening. Julia Kay will be perform the role of Olympia the second night.

Directed by UH opera professor Arnold "Buck" Ross, <I>The Tales of Hoffmann<P> is a tale of a romantic writer's love for one woman, Stella. Hoffman demonstrates her different characteristics through three stories: Olympia, the sweet but scary mechanical doll; Antonia, a young aspiring singer; and Giulietta, the sexy accomplice of the Devil who tries to steal the soul of Hoffmann.

The performance is a Venetian gondola ride through a funhouse filled with music, mirrors, and devilish medicine. The special effects create ambience from scene to scene through moving scenery, lights and a full orchestra. The set design is brilliant and the period costumes are of exceptional quality. The UH orchestra, is led by conductor Peter Jacoby.

The shows are double-cast so that the Saturday performance will have different performers. This casting affords many students the opportunity to learn and perform a role on a professional stage.

Some of the performers have professional experience. Terry O'Brien, singing the title role of Hoffmann on Saturday, has performed in such opera houses as Opera Delaware. Tina Rodriguez, singing Friday night as Giulietta, sang with the Des Moines Metro Opera, and Mary Hines, who sings with her as Antonia, has sung with the Seagle Opera Company in upstate New York.

All of the students have gained recognition for their accomplishments and performances. Elizabeth Wiles (Saturday's Antonia) is the first-place winner of the Tuesday Musical Club of Houston's 1995 Vocal Scholarship Award. Celeste Martino (Friday's Olympia) has performed in many concerts across Europe, particularly in Italy. Beth Williams, the 1994 winner of the Houston Enrico Caruso Award for singers, is performing dual roles: Giulietta on Saturday night and Antonia's mother's ghost on both evenings.

<I>Hoffmann<P> will be presented April 21-22 at 8 p.m. The opera will be performed in French with English surtitles. Tickets are free for both performances and are available at the door or can be reserved by calling 520-3290. Tickets for lawn seating are not required.






by Sean Fitzpatrick

Daily Cougar Staff

Although our neighbors seven hours down the Gulf Coast in New Orleans seemingly have cornered the market on throw-everything-in-the-pot musical synthesizing, Houston boasts a growing world- music scene that, with time, has begun to develop, on its own modest terms, a unique voice. Bacchanal, the newest performing member of the Houston world beat community, caused a minor stir at the Westheimer Arts Festival and looks to build its fan base at its opening-slot gig on the World Beat stage of the Houston International Festival Sunday.

Truth be told, Bacchanal's personnel have been tooling around the Houston scene for some time. The latest incarnation of Bacchanal came into being not long after the demise of world-beaters Ethnic Rain (the only band ever to get my tuckus voluntarily off a barstool and onto the dance floor). Bassist Steve Navarro, recently added drummer Josh English and lead vocalist Laurie Powling made the leap into the already formed, waiting-for-a-creative-transplant Bacchanal.

Bacchanal's sizzling hour-long set at the Westheimer Arts Festival (on a nonsanctioned stage next to the Daiquiri Factory) worked as a crash course in the band's eclectic sensibility. Straight-up covers of world-beat chestnuts like Tito Puente's "Oye Como Va" rub up against zydeco (Beausoleil's "Bon Temps Rouler"), reggae (the Wailers Band's "Rice and Peas") and hopping originals like the funk-influenced "I Can't Go For That" (NOT the Hall and Oates song).

Navarro and English hold everything together underneath, freeing percussionists Jose Trevino and Moremi Modikuani to alternately take their own side trips and push the rest of the band. The punchy four-piece horn section bows to the almighty beat, as does rhythm/lead guitarist Bob Parkans.

Luckily, little of Ethnic Rain's crushing political agenda made the transition (I'm sorry, but it's hard to dance when the vocalist is singing about children being shot down like beasts). The original material, whether written before the new lineup was solidified or after, is the most consistently interesting. At its most effective, the music's culture of origin ceases to matter. No small achievement.

Four horns, three (count em'!) percussionists, two guitarists and one wailing vocalist. What more could you ask for? Tickets to the festival are $3 in advance and $5 at the gate. Bacchanal will be performing at 1 p.m.





Photo by Tricia Garcia

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers performed to a sold-out crowd on Tuesday at Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion.

by Deanna Koshkin

Daily Cougar Staff

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers rocked the Pavilion Tuesday night to an enthusiastic sold-out crowd.

Three years after releasing its album <I>Into the Great Wide Open<P>, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers have finally taken it to the road. After putting forth memorable songs from that album such as "Learning to Fly," which was inspired by the bleakness of the Persian Gulf War, and the title track, "Into the Great Wide Open," Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers took the stage by storm.

Playing tracks from its <I>Greatest Hits<P> album, Petty adds in two unreleased songs, including his infamous song about marijuana, "Mary Jane's Last Dance," and "Something in the Air." Petty also includes various songs from <I>Full Moon Fever<P>, his triple-platinum debut solo album.

Tom Petty also included songs from <I>Wildflowers<P>, his recently released solo album. Petty's solo songs offer more emotion and reality than the average attempts of middle-aged rock stars trying to maintain their youth by wearing skin-tight leather pants, boots and makeup. Sporting torn jeans and a sparkly white shirt, Petty seems to have grown up musically where The Rolling Stones and Aerosmith still insist on reliving their teen-age years and belting out songs about young women and booze.

From soft bluegrass to hard, fast rock, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers performed all genres with style and pizazz.

Even though the concert was a smash, there was one disappointment. Though Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers performed the majority of their memorable hits, the group seemed to have forgotten "Don't Come Around Here No More," its 80s Alice in Wonderland hit that drew in fans from around the world.

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