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The Kokomo Tribune from Kokomo, Indiana • Page 7

Kokomo, Indiana
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Wednesday, May 17, 1989 Kokomo (Ind.) Tribune 7 I Chlamydia tests caught in funding crunch BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) Lack of funding could force regional Planned Parenthood clinics to stop testing for the sexually transmitted disease chlamydia, an official says. Money problems already have caused some clinics to limit the testing, said Sandra Andersen, Ex-wife to get benefits INDIANAPOLIS (AP) A Miami County woman is entitled to a portion of her former husband's military retirement benefits because she helped him further his career, the Indiana Court of Appeals says. The appeals panel returned the case to Miami Circuit Court with orders to modify the divorce decree so Virginia Lee Bickel will have a share of the benefits being received by Robert Ray Bickel Jr. The amount was left to the discretion of the trial court.

"Because the Bickels were married for most of Robert's military career and because of the effort expended by Virginia to further Robert's career, we believe the joint efforts of both spouses were invested so that one of them would earn pension rights," the appeals court said. "Following the rationale established by the Supreme Court, we must conclude that at least a portion of the military retirement benefits were acquired by their joint efforts and should have been included in the property division," the court said. The panel's decision Monday overturned its own Jan. 30 ruling that Bickel had acquired the military benefits in his own right and, therefore, those benefits had to be acquired before the couple's final separation to be included in the division of property. The original appellate decision had been based in part on an Indiana Supreme Court opinion involving a similar matter.

But the high court recently reversed its ruling in that 1988 case, determining the pension involved was property acquired by the joint efforts of the couple and, therefore, didn't have to be acquired before the final separation. Bickel was enlisted in the Air Force about two years before his 18-year marriage began. Records indicate Virginia Bickel, a housewife, agreed to her husband's requests to actively participate in military wives' clubs and social activities to help further his career opportunities. Virginia Bickel filed for divorce just before her husband's 20th year of service with the Air Force. He retired and began to receive his military retirement benefits between the time the divorce was requested and was finalized.

Special Judge Thomas G. Wright of Miami Circuit Court divided the property but made no mention of Bickel's military retirement benefits. Former state senator heads group INDIANAPOLIS (AP) Former state Sen. Mike Kendall of Jasper is the new state chairman of Common Cause of Indiana, the group announced today. Kendall, a trial lawyer known for handling environmental, labor and civil rights cases, succeeds Barry Levitt of Indianapolis.

Levitt had been state chairman two years. Kendall was elected to the Indiana Senate in 1978 and made an unsuccessful bid foe the Democratic U.S. Senate nomination in 1982. He was a staff attorney for then 8th District U.S. Rep.

Phil Hayes, D-Evansville, in 1975 and 1976. Kendall, who has had a private law practice since 1976, has represented several southwestern Indiana unions. He also has served with the National Rural Justice Coalition, studying rural court reform in 1985 and 1986. He is a member of the American and Indiana chapters of the Civil Liberties Union and bar associations, the Indiana Trial Lawyers Association and the Plaintiff Employment Lawyers Association. Kendall was elected to the Common Cause position during the group's governing board meeting Saturday in Indianapolis.

Common Cause has more than 3,000 members in Indiana and 280.000 nationwide. paying your Kokomo Tribune carrier promptly each week! executive director of Planned Parenthood of Southern Indiana. "It may become a choice of Pap smears or chlamydia tests, and chlamydia is the newer program," she said Monday. Based in Bloomington, the agency serves 28 counties. The chlamydia tests began about 1V 2 years ago, Andersen said.

Chlamydia is the most prevalent sexually transmitted disease in the United States, affecting an estimated 2 million to 4 million Americans each year, she said. Rarely fatal, it can cause infertility and pregnancy complications in women and can decrease fertility in men. But if detected early, it can be treated with antibiotics. Clinics in Greene, Owen, Brown and Orange counties had to stop chlamydia testing in January when federal funds from the maternal-child health block grant ran out, Andersen said. The test is largely restricted to those people who can pay the $4.30 cost in Monroe and Lawrence counties, where clinics are partially supported by federal and state grants.

In Bloomington, a small grant from the Monroe County Health Department helps defray the costs for some clients who can pay. "In Bedford we don't have any money, so if you can't pay for it you're out of luck," Andersen said. The emphasis being placed on acquired immune deficiency syndrome has affected the amount of money available for chlamydia testing, she said. "At the communicable disease level, all available funds are being poured into AIDS," she said. "So the public dollar is stretched as far as it can stretch." Available federal funds also must be used for education, providing Pap smears and other programs, not just chlamydia testing, she said.

Efforts to treat the disease early are hampered because people often don't show symptoms until the disease is in an advanced stage, health officials say. "My biggest concern about chlamydia is that it's not really being taken seriously by the people infected with it, and for that reason it's really hard to intervene," said Beth Kelly, disease intervention specialist at the Monroe County Health Department. Planned Parenthood Medical Director Dr. Judith Klein said complications can include pelvic inflammatory disease, which can leave scar tissue on the fallopian tubes and thus lead to infertility or problems during pregnancy. In order to prevent chlamydia, people should use the same guidelines recommended for prevention of any other sexually transmitted disease, Klein said.

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