SPANISH TELECOURSE WASTES MONEY FOR SOME STUDENTS

by Michelle A. Francis

Daily Cougar Staff

Students who have cable TV in their rooms may have spent money needlessly on video tape rentals last semester.

What they didn't know was that <I>Destinos<P>, a Spanish telecourse required as part of the curriculum for Spanish 1501, Spanish 1502 and Spanish 2301, was aired during prime-time hours on cable TV.

Some students rented tapes of <I>Destinos<P> from the Foreign Language Laboratory for $22, plus a deposit of $20 per semester, while they could have seen those episodes for free in their own homes.

Claire Bartlett, director of the Foreign Language Laboratory, tells students during orientation at the beginning of each semester in the language lab that episodes of <I>Destinos<P> can be viewed in either the language lab or in M. D. Anderson Library. She also tells students that they can make arrangements to rent the tapes if they prefer to view the episodes at home.

Bartlett said episodes are aired on PBS around 6 a.m. Saturdays. However, she said many students informed her that PBS was not always a convenient alternative since episodes aired once a week in the early morning hours, and times seemed to change from episode to episode without the Foreign Language Laboratory's or students' knowledge.

Bartlett also said episodes did not always correspond to the level of Spanish for which a student was enrolled in a particular semester. For example, students in Spanish 1502 would need to start with <I>Destinos<P> Episode 14. However, PBS might start with Episode 1 instead.

When asked why the Foreign Language Laboratory was not informed that <I>Destinos<P> was being shown on other networks, Bartlett said she did not really know the answer, but that the reason might lie in the fact that UH was prohibited from taking first- and second-year programs off campus.

Sandra Frieden, UH director of Interactive Television Programming, did shed some light on this situation. According to Frieden, UH and other public four-year institutions, are prohibited by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board from airing first- and second-year instructional television programs. It is the responsibility of community colleges, like HCC, to get first- and second-year programs on the air.

Frieden said the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board established this rule in order to avoid duplication of aired material that will eventually come out of the pockets of taxpayers. Therefore, when UH and other public four-year institutions start with third-year programs as dictated by the board, the ITV system becomes a partnership between colleges, rather than a competition.

Frieden said HCC has been airing episodes of <I>Destinos<P> for at least the past year. Since HCC and other community colleges are in a partnership with UH and other four-year colleges, it only makes sense that a schedule of showtimes and channels be made available to all interested students. Of course, a quick look in a television guide might do the trick also.

According to Charles Dotson, instructional assistant for the Distance Education Program at HCC, HCC currently airs <I>Destinos<P> on the following channels: Warner Cable (channel 15), TCI Cable (channel 41), Optel Cable (channel 4), PBS or channel 8, and on the Educational Access I channel.

Dotson said all episodes are shown each semester and listings of times and channels <I>Destinos<P> will be shown can be found in the Houston Chronicle's television guide which comes out every Sunday.

So before you spend money next semester renting <I>Destinos<P> to take home, check your TV listings to make sure you are not already receiving it there.

 

*******************************************************

*******************************************************

 

KUHF NOW HOUSTON'S ONLY CLASSICAL STATION

by Bobby Summers

Daily Cougar Staff

KUHF, the University of Houston's FM radio station, expects only a slight increase in listenership as a result of the recent demise of KRTS/KRTK, the only other classical music station in the Houston market, according to KUHF General Manager John Proffitt.

Proffitt, who has been at the helm of KUHF since August 1986, initially refused to talk with The Daily Cougar, saying, "We will have no comment. I'm not going to talk to anyone from the Cougar about anything. There are people at the Cougar in the past who have had an agenda -- a very hostile agenda --toward KUHF."

However, Proffitt eventually relented and granted an interview.

He said he doesn't think much will change as a result of KRTS' folding.

"I think they (the listeners) are already here," Proffitt said. "The people who listened to classical music on KRTS also listened to and supported KUHF. People tell us that when they call in to give their pledges. I am sure there is a very, very small subset of people who only listened to KRTS. That's an exception, though. Most people jump around."

KUHF originally signed on the air in November 1950, and has changed formats several times over the years. The station changed from jazz to classical in March 1986, just a few months before Proffitt came to UH.

He said he thinks KRTS failed for two reasons.

"First, they were unable to attract enough of an audience to justify advertisers coming on board," Proffitt said. "Their audience figures were very poor. Most of the people listening to classical music listen to KUHF. We've consistently had, from the very beginning, two to three times the audience share that KRTS had."

"Audience share" is a measurement compiled by Arbitron, a company that researches a station's listenership. The company publishes its "book" of ratings biannually.

Proffitt said KUHF's Arbitron rating has been level for the past couple of years.

"Because of the size of the sample, classical music has a very small audience compared to country or rock. But there are still 200,000 people in Houston listening to KUHF," he said. "KRTS was consistently under a 1.0 share."

Proffitt said KUHF had a 2.3 share during the last reporting period, a figure that translates to about 196,000 listeners each week. He said KRTS' last rating was 0.6, or about 100,000 listeners each week.

He said KUHF may have a higher Arbitron rating in the fall now that it is the only classical station.

KRTS' second problem, according to Proffitt, was its signal quality. He said even though the station used two different frequencies, 92.1 FM and 97.1 FM, and broadcast from towers in both Alvin and Cleveland, it was still not able to provide even coverage over the Houston area.

Proffitt also suggested that the advertising KRTS did run may have contributed to the station's loss of listeners.

"The commercial classical format goes from a Beethoven symphony or concerto to a commercial jingle with a rap or rock music background. That's the way the commercial comes from the ad agency. You have no choice. If you want the money, you take the tape and you play it," he said. "The people hear that and they punch a button and get KUHF where they are never going to hear a jingle on the air."

Money is the bottom line for both commercial and public broadcast stations, Proffitt said.

He said KUHF generally lost money as a jazz station. However, he said the change to classical music put KUHF in the black.

Proffitt said, "Money-making implies profit-making. But we are a non-profit institution. All of the revenues we raise are put back into the operation. We make ends meet and we are also able to purchase new equipment. But no one here is making more money.

"Right now, we have around $500,000, or about a third of our annual budget as a surplus."

Proffitt said KUHF's annual budget is around $1.7 million.

He also said public stations, both radio and television, are concerned with losing federal grant money as Congress cuts the national budget.

"Although we (KUHF) take little in terms of federal grants, there are stations in other areas, such as KAMU, the station at Texas A&M University, that get almost 35 percent of their budget from federal money," Proffitt said. "When that money goes, they will be really hurting. Everybody is running a little scared right now, wondering what is going to happen when the federal money dries up.

"It has been a policy of mine from the very beginning to wean us away from depending so much on the federal grants. I have emphasized to my staff, we need to build the community support. We have almost 13,000 people who are donors to the station, who are all giving their $60, or their $35. It gives us a much broader base to work from than depending on one or two big grants. If one of them goes, you're screwed."

KUHF, which currently operates in just 800 square feet of office space on the first floor of the Communications Building, plans to move into a new building sometime early in 1998. The proposed building, which will be paid for with funds donated to the university by former UH System Regent John Moores, will house KUHF and KUHT-TV.

 

*******************************************************

*******************************************************

 

VACATIONERS LEAVE PETS TO CRUEL SUMMER

CATS AND DOGS NEED TLC ... FOR A LIFETIME

by Maike van Wijk

Contributing Writer

While people prepare for camping and more exquisite travels, some of their family members will be neglected, starved, even abandoned. This is vacation season.

During the summertime, the percentage of abandoned cats and dogs increases because of family vacations, said Sherry Ferguson, executive director of the Houston Humane Society.

"Unfortunately, animals are a throw-away commodity in our society," she said.

Because most animals, especially cats, go into heat and breed more during the warmer months, the problem is intensified.

"People need to have their animals spayed or neutered; that will bring down the overpopulation drastically," Ferguson said.

The message of spaying and neutering is shared by many animal organizations. According to Harris County Rabies and Animal Control statistics, 104,812 cats and dogs were abandoned last year and sheltered by the Houston SPCA, the City of Houston Bureau of Animal Control, the Harris County Rabies/Animal Control, Citizens for Animal Protection, and the Houston Humane Society. Of those animals, 12,539 were placed in homes, 3,009 were returned to owners with the aid of collar tags, and 85,569 (more than two-thirds) were euthanized.

The Houston Humane Society, a nonprofit, private organization, takes in 17,000 to 18,000 animals yearly and checks them for age, health and temper, Ferguson said. Healthy animals are put up for adoption, but the sick are put to sleep. "That is the best thing to do with those animals," she said.

She said the Humane Society offers neuters and spays for $15, four days a week.

In order to prevent health problems, Ferguson said to keep animals groomed during the summer so they have no hot spots, matted hair or skin diseases like mange.

Heartworm is also a reason for abandonment, Ferguson said.

"It costs about $200 to clear it up, and it is a deadly disease. The pets just need to take a monthly preventive, but unfortunately most people don't do that. In this humid climate, that (preventive) is especially important because the heartworm gets passed on by mosquitos," she said.

Ferguson said people sometimes abandon animals because of control problems.

"If your animal causes obedience problems, take it to obedience classes," she said. "Don't leave them hours and hours alone per day -- they get lonesome, and so they start tearing up things or digging (the yard).

"People should make a conscious decision to keep a pet for its lifetime. Take responsibility for the animal."

Otherwise, the animal should be taken to a shelter, unless the owner can find a good home for it.

"Some people move and can't take their pets, but responsible people make the extra effort to find them a place," Ferguson added.

Responsible owners also abide by the law. Just because children are outside in the summer doesn't mean the dogs should be outside, she said.

"Animals shouldn't be running around (loose). We have a leash law in Houston, and pets need to be confined to their property," she said.

Lynn Scott, administration manager at Citizens for Animal Protection, said that from June 6 to June 11, the Citizens for Animal Protection had 90 owners turn in their pets.

"One family drove up here and already had the suitcases in the luggage rack of their car," she said. "The man turned in their dog. He turned to his kids and said, 'We'll get another dog when we get home.' "

Scott said she was so angry she couldn't say a word. She said the parents' communication of what an animal means starts a cycle that their children will repeat.

Scott, who has been with CAP since the 1970s, said people should never get animals on impulse or just because the children want one. Even worse, she said, is the assumption that the child will be the primary care taker. "They'll do it twice when the animal is new, but that's all," she said.

Scott told about a 12-year-old who had a dog his mother "had nothing to do with." A neighbor found the dog starved to death and brought it to the shelter. They had to euthanize the dog.

"I don't understand that the mother let it starve. The animals are innocent; they haven't done anything. Sometimes I think we're euthanizing the wrong being," Scott said.

People need to expect to take care of an animal for up to 18 years, Scott said. "At adoptions we tell them it's a big responsibility. The kittens and puppies are cute, but kittens climb drapes, and puppies chew, so there is a possibility to have problems," she said.

CAP visits libraries and schools. Scott said, "We try to teach people responsible pet ownership.

"We try to educate the kids, because they'll go home and talk to their parents.

"People should take parenting classes, but I think they should also take pet ownership classes. Unfortunately, we can't force them to do that. They should think before they get a pet, 'What will I do when I go away?', just like they do when they have a baby. This is another family member."

Scott said someone called from an apartment complex about a roaming dog. "It was injured and no one in the complex took responsibility for it. We had to put the dog to sleep, but it could have been saved if someone had called earlier. But everyone was waiting for someone else to do it," she said.

"There's worse things than being put to sleep. The animals don't have to worry about where to get food, about whether they'll be kicked, and they don't get bugs and illnesses. Euthanizing is a humane way to treat them because it's done by someone who loves them and who cares for them. It is hard, but in our organization you have to face up to that fact and can't put it on someone else to do it," Scott said.

The Citizens for Animal Protection is an organization comprised mostly of volunteers and has existed since 1972.

About animal protection organizations, Scott said, "We're the only business working to put ourselves out of business."

 

*******************************************************

*******************************************************

 

STUDENT ATHLETES EXCEL IN CLASSROOM, GPAS INCREASE

Cougar sports services

University of Houston student athletes saw increased academic success during the 1995 spring semester, according to Associate Athletics Director for Academics Janice Hilliard.

There was a 42 percent increase in student athletes with at least a 3.0 grade point average, an accomplishment that gets them on the SWC Commissioner's Honor Roll. Twenty-three of the 71 honorees (an increase of seven since last year) made the UH dean's list with at least a 3.5.

The football team achieved its highest grade point average since the Student Athlete Services Office began compiling the team total in 1988.

Phil Hansel's women's swimming and diving team led all UH teams with a 2.98 and placed 14 individuals on the SWC Honor Roll. Men's track/cross country and baseball added 11 and eight, respectively.

Individually, freshman wide receiver Jason DeGroot, from Santa Fe, carded a perfect 4.0 for the second consecutive semester to lead all UH student athletes this spring. Swimmer Nicola Clegg from Capetown, South Africa, followed close behind with a 3.94 mark.

Hilliard says, "I think we have a better program for freshmen, we now have increased cooperation from the coaches to support us in what we're doing, and we have the resources and the staff to serve the student athletes better than we ever have before."

 

*******************************************************

*******************************************************

 

KLINGLER SIGNS WITH CFL BIRMINGHAM BARRACUDAS

OBNOXIOUS SPORTS EDITOR DEFIES JOURNALISM STANDARDS, ANNOYS EDITOR

by Dominic Corva

Daily Cougar Staff

Very, very little is going on in UH sports during the summer.

I wrote that because lead paragraphs are supposed to get right to the essence of the story. That's lesson one, beginning journalism. The problem is, lesson two is: Don't write if there is no story.

A few things of minor interest have happened, though. Remember Jimmy Klingler? Yeah, the guy who played quarterback here for a while. The same one who left school after his junior year to turn pro. After the NFL said, "No, thanks, the Klingler we do have is a bust and you were never in his class anyway," he managed to get signed by a Canadian Football league team, the Birmingham Barracudas.

Good luck, Jimmy. I wouldn't have stayed in school to endure at least 10 more brutal beatings in the fall. That's not worth the price of anything, much less a free degree from UH.

Hey, don't feel sorry for Klingler. He's going to get paid to play a game for a while. And I bet his starting salary will be more than that of the average college graduate these days. Wouldn't it be nice to get about $40,000 to $50,000 for seasonal work?

Sure, his career will be short-lived. But after that, he will be well-qualified to be a coach somewhere. Lord knows, we need more coaches in the country.

I told you not much was going on.

 

*******************************************************

*******************************************************

 

HOLY FLYING TORPEDOES, BATMAN! <I>FOREVER<P> EVERLASTING BOMB

<I>BATMAN FOREVER<P>

Stars: Val Kilmer, Tommy Lee Jones

2 1/2 stars

Director: Joel Schumacher

by Ray Gayle

Daily Cougar Staff

<I>Batman Forever<P> is like riding on the new Mayan Mind Bender at Astroworld: a lot of hype with no delivery. I've been cheated, bamboozled, run amok.

Before I continue my Bat bashing, let me just tell you that I am the biggest Batman fan in the world. Bruce Wayne has to be the coolest white guy I have ever known. The duality dilemma has always fascinated me. Batman is the most complex character in comic book history.

Since the first <I>Batman<P> movie exploded on the scene in 1989, I have waited with great enthusiasm for the Boy Wonder to make his first appearance. It finally happens six years later, with mixed results.

The movie opens in a promising fashion with Batman coming to the aid of prisoner of "Two-Face," played by Tommy Lee Jones. Joel Schumacher has a penchant for comic-book-style directing, and it does work at times. However, the majority of the fight scenes are blurry and poorly done -- and that's unacceptable. The Two-Face character is never really defined, and that's a shame because Two-Face is one of the most fascinating villains Batman has ever encountered. Jones does a decent job playing Two-Face, but nothing memorable from an Academy Award winner.

On a positive note, Val Kilmer and Jim Carrey do a marvelous job of portraying Batman and The Riddler. It makes you wonder what Val Kilmer was doing back in '89. He makes the perfect Bruce Wayne. Chris O'Donnell takes on the role of Robin and pulls it off rather nicely. Very pleasant surprise here, considering the role was offered to Will Smith and Leonardo DiCaprio among others.

Nicole Kidman plays Dr. Chase Meridan, Bruce Wayne's new love interest. She plays the role as if she couldn't get over the fact that she wasn't the first choice for the part. (That honor goes to Sandra Bullock.)

From a normal standpoint, this is a decent movie. But this is no ordinary movie; this is a $300 million-plus blockbuster. You have to judge it differently and on a harder scale. It's like rating Hakeem Olajuwon and Chucky Brown. If Chucky Brown scores 15 points it's great, he's Chucky, but Hakeem scoring just 15 points is maddening. That's the feeling when viewing this film. You keep waiting for the big payoff, and it never comes. Robin doesn't make his "official" appearance until almost the end of the movie. The story line is weak -- no plot whatsoever.

Oh, and by the way, where is the highly touted soundtrack, which includes blistering performances from U2, Seal, Method Man, Mazzy Star and Massive Attack? Can you believe none of these songs were used until the credits rolled at the end?

For all you real Bat fans out there, you'll have a better time watching the animated series on Saturday mornings.

*******************************************************

*******************************************************

 

BAT-TIGHTS MORE INTERESTING THAN THE FUTURE OF COUGAR ATHLETICS? YOU MAKE THE CALL!

by M. S. Ameen

Daily Cougar Staff

 

If you are a member of the University of Houston community, you have to be concerned with the future of Cougar athletics. Then again, the odds favor that you'd be more interested in seeing Val Kilmer in Bat-tights.

This is the unfortunate dilemma that has plagued the UH Athletics Department in the last few years. Cougar athletic events just haven't been grabbing the crowds, hence the cash, necessary to sustain financial success. This is old, tired news to the majority of the UH community. As a result, the economic trouble has aroused the voices of discontents whose owners salivate like jackals at the thought of scooping up the funding left by a defunct athletic department.

But college athletics, like college education, must compete in the world of big business. Dollars drive the decisions of big business. The Southwest Conference will no longer exist a year from now because somebody wasn't getting to count enough dollars.

But is UH athletics going to be able to turn things around in the Conference USA? Or is the Conference going to be a place for programs to go just before its life support is turned off?

A change in travel itineraries of UH sports teams will do little to quell the apathy toward UH athletics. Potential fans must be convinced that Cougar sports will give them enough enjoyment and excitement to come watch. This is nothing new. The mystery is how the Athletics Department plans to accomplish this.

A new conference will be exciting in its beginnings, but the question is whether it can help UH spark consistent fan interest. It goes without question that winning is good fertilizer for growing fan support. The creation of the new conference offered little reassurance to those skeptics who believe UH athletics is doomed to exhibit action more befitting a vacuum cleaner. At first glance, it appears the new conference will provide interesting basketball competition. However, the prospect for enthralling competition is dim when considering the other sports.

In a less negative vein, Cougar sports has the opportunity of a fresh start. A new philosophy may come out of exposure to new collegiate relations. A change from the stale, feudal atmosphere of the SWC may give UH athletics new life. The potential is there for the CUSA to become a competitive conference. Houston can capitalize, but a new marketing philosophy must be considered.

The task of selling your athletic program is hellacious without enough "W's" to sweeten the deal. However, what many fail to understand is that to have "W's" you need more bodies to witness them. (There will be a lecture on the morality of campuswide involvement and its effect on the success of your campus athletics later in the year.)

Although positive support for UH sports is in the extreme minority on this campus (unless you're standing in the shiny new athletic facility), there is still hope for Cougar athletics. Like the Rockets, you gotta believe.

**********************************************************

**********************************************************

BILL ALLOTS $11,000 TO PURCHASE OF COMPUTERS

SA UNSURE OF WHAT EQUIPMENT TO BUY

by James V. Geluso

Interim Senior Writer

The Students' Association unanimously approved a bill allocating $11,000 to be spent on new computers, but senators at Tuesday night's meeting were unsure of just what they were buying.

Senator Brad Costelo, chairman of the Internal Affairs committee, said he had met with SA Financial Adviser Doug Miller, who provided a list of computer equipment and software SA should buy.

The equipment list included five Macintosh Performa 6115CD computers, which come with CD-ROM drives, a color inkjet printer, and the software packages Microsoft Office 4.2 and Quicken 5.0 for Mac. The total cost of the equipment was listed at $10,204.90.

There was some question as to whether that particular equipment will be available. "I'm not exactly sure that this is the equipment we will get," Costelo said. "If it is not, it will be comparable."

The lack of certainty caused the Senate to recess while the bill was revised. The final version used an estimate of $11,000.

SA President Gio Garibay said the current computers were bought five years ago and need to be upgraded. "It'll make things more efficient in the office," he said. "It's kind of a big expense, but we have the money now, and we might not have it next year."

Senator Caryn Arouty said,

"Computer upgrades are always a good thing and we should never put that down."

Senator Casey McMurtry expressed reservations about the package, trying to delay the bill until the next meeting so more details would be known. But Costelo said the paperwork had to be signed promptly in order to avoid having to buy the pieces one at a time.

"Doug Miller informed us that we need to get this going by July 1. He says this is something that we need, and if he says this is what we need, then I would believe him," Costelo said.

Costelo said the color printer is needed so SA can do some of its own printing.

The Senate also unanimously approved a resolution commending the Houston Rockets for winning their second NBA championship.

Three other pieces of legislation were introduced to the Senate floor. The legislation included the formation of a campuswide food advisory committee and the construction of a new conference room.

A raise for the SA vice president, whose duties were expanded last year when the position was merged with director of personnel, was also introduced.

All three bills, along with a string of 11 committee nominations, were referred to committee.

 

Visit The Daily Cougar