The Tennessean from Nashville, Tennessee on November 6, 1993 · Page 67
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The Tennessean from Nashville, Tennessee · Page 67

Nashville, Tennessee
Issue Date:
Saturday, November 6, 1993
Page 67
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v n it i h 1 ' ""an ri n La hi ii IO u y if ' uu A : 0 Past track record i tells different story ; on disaster agency : By GEORGE GARTIES ' Associated Press I LOS ANGELES The feder- al disaster relief agency, fre- quently criticized as slow and inefficient, is determined that the : Southern California wildfires won't be another public rela-; tions catastrophe. 1 i The Federal Emergency Management Agency opened four : service centers over the week- end in areas hardest-hit by the fires to take applications for ' loans and aid. , FEMA Director James Lee Witt acknowledged the agency had a reputation to overcome. He promised a new can-do era of cooperation with local governments and the insurance Industry and prompt delivery of aid checks. "We are reorganized," Witt said. "We are a new agency." The fire recovery will mark some FEMA firsts: Insurance industry representatives will staff the service centers to advise people about private insurance and coordinate claims. The agency is promising to deliver checks within seven to . 10 days of a claim's approval. FEMA has made this commit-; ment before and failed to deliv- er; Witt said this time would be I different. r ; FEMA will write checks to I people for some losses covered by private insurance in cases . where the insurer can't pay : promptly, said agency spokes- : man Oscar Brooks. The insurer can then reimburse FEMA. "People need money right away. They've gone through . enough losing their homes," ; Brooks said as victims of the Al-tadena fire began filling out forms at the FEMA service cen- . ter in Arcadia, northeast of Los ; Angeles. , The agency offers outright grants and low-interest loans to 1 Individuals and businesses hit by disasters as well as temporary housing money and counseling. r Preliminary damage estimates from the wildfires that I roared through Southern California last week were set at $500 million. Criticism of FEMA generally ; follows disasters nationwide as ; predictably as mudslides follow ' hillside-denuding brush fires in California. , t. Those left homeless by hurri-canes Hugo and Andrew in the ' Southeast and Iniki in Hawaii ' had little good to say about the agency. And a class-action lawsuit by victims of last year's Los TihisaQSSiotis off "Sips, But, police continue looking for girl and bearded abductor I , By MARSHA GINSBURG i ' San Francisco Examiner I PETALUMA, Calif. One tip said Polly Klaas could be found "on a street that begins with a B." ; Another came from a woman I who claimed she was an angel connected to an abduction in a previous life and had the ghost of ; Polly in the room with her. ; ; Occasionally a tip proves useful like the one suggesting authori-', .ties keep their eye on places the I kidnapper might go for a haircut Said volunteer coordinator Geri - Olson: "It was enough for us to think 'Have we sent enough flyers I to barber shops?'" But so far no tip has brought in-" vestigators any closer to cracking the baffling case of 12-year-old ' Polly Klaas, who was abducted from her slumber party Oct 1 by a knife-wielding intruder. ' - The sheer number of tips alone ; is daunting: In the last month, the ; FBI and local police have been in-; undated with more than 6,000 tips ! three times as many as the tips '. that have come in since the unre-; solved disappearance of Amanda ; Nikki Campbell from her Fair-" field, Calif., home in December .1991, and six times as many as po-I lice received before abducted in- ; fant Baby Kerri was found safe in ; a Richmond, Calif., woman's home I last year. I Computerizing the Polly leads ; has yielded discouraging results: ; Only a few have given hope, some I are downright absurd, and many I are vague or useless. ; Scores of people have called saying they've seen the kidnapper i but sorry, they have no name, :W -- ... T.---- V r..-,IL, s 4 & m 1 A beachfront home in Malibu, Calif., burned down while two homes on either side of wildfires this week. .1 1 2v" , i - Rrefighters from the California Youth Topanga Canyon Blvd. In the Malibu, Calif., area this week where they had been battling throughout the night to keep the Old Topanga fire from crossing the road. Angeles riots accused the agency of illegally denying them benefits. But the agency drew favorable reviews for its quick response to the floods last summer in the Midwest Witt, a friend of President Clinton's and former emergency services director in Arkansas, said he's determined to forge a no address, no car description, no license plate number. One Wyoming truck driver told police he was in Spokane three days earlier and another truck driver said he saw a man who looked "exactly" like the abductor composite. "Thank you very much," Petalu-ma police Sgt Mike Kerns later cracked, "we'll get right on that" Investigators are glad the public is involved and keeping an eye out but they have to sift through many bad or mediocre tips to get to the promising ones. While those working on the case declined to share information on any tips they considered promising, they did share some that were not: A tip that Polly was buried near some tall flowers that are purple, her favorite color. A call from a Kansas psychic saying Polly was alive in a field with heavy underbrush, spruce trees and near a pony trail. A call from a man who was convinced his wife's dream about Polly was correct because she had never dreamed about a missing child before. Sheets of paper covered with numerology that supposedly link Polly and other girls who have disappeared in the East Bay. One person told Joe Klaas, Polly's grandfather, that the kidnap is most certainly satanically related because of his endorsement of a book. Circles of Recovery from Satanic Ritual Abuse, which details a 12-step program. Klaas has written several books on 12-step programs. AP Authority sleep along new image. He met Saturday with Gov. Pete Wilson and insurance executives and promised cooperation. One suggestion that emerged: Insurers may pool money they expect to pay their policyholders for removing debris and give it to cities to pay for more efficient community-wide debris cleanups. Mly's still uraissam, Private eye cIcd in to find hsr By PAUL AVERY San Francisco Examiner SAN FRANCISCO San Francisco private eye Hal Lip-set says Polly Klaas' parents have asked him to come into the search for the 12-year-old girl who was kidnapped from her home in Petaluma, Calif., on Oct 1. He said he has no intention of trying to compete or interfere with the small army of police and FBI investigators still working round-the-clock trying to find the girl. Lipset said he has no quarrel with the way the case has been officially investigated. The parents "think, they hope, that maybe I can give a fresh look at it" said Lipset one of the most highly regarded private investigators in the United States. "How can you turn down a "It seems so far-fetched," Klaas said. Authorities collect leads from callers, passersby and the volunteer center, where citizens meticulously take down information on handmade forms and categorize it Investigators next assign priorities to the leads, said police Capt David Long, and each, no matter how vague or silly, is entered into a computer data base so it can be cross-checked under different categories. Even vague sightings could be grouped into a geographic cluster (it AP remained untouched In the wake Fire victims living in harm's way O Babbitt ponders how to prevent another disaster By JEFF BARNARD Associated Press ALTADENA, Calif. Like the summer floods in the Midwest, the Southern California wildfires prove the folly of building homes in the path of natural disasters, says U.S. Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt "The lesson of these fires is we've got to keep the people away from the fire hazard," Babbitt said Saturday during a short stop at a Los Angeles County fire station. "All over the West people are moving into the woods to live. Firefighting is getting more expensive, more hazardous. "It suggests we have to work much more intensively with local government" to deal with the problem seriously, he said. The wildfire that erupted in this Los Angeles suburb Wednesday, one of a series of blazes scattered from Ventura County to the Mexican border, destroyed 118 homes and burned 5,700 acres of chaparral in the San Gabriel Mountains. Damage was estimated at $58.5 million. Angeles National Forest Supervisor Michael L. Rogers, who accompanied Babbitt, said the damage caused by the fires would be dwarfed this winter if heavy rains trigger floods and mudslides on slopes where vegetation has been burned away. "The fire is only the tip of the iceberg," Rogers said. "It may be that the homes we saved may be lost in the floods and debris flows. We're facing a very threatening winter season." Babbitt said the destruction of homes by the wildfires brought to mind the flooding in the Mississippi Valley, where many of the homes destroyed were built on flood-plains. "We've seen it again and again in the Mississippi Valley," Babbitt said. "Now we're going back and asking these same questions. Can't we think more intelligently how to encourage people to live outside the pathway of danger?" 15 plea from the mother and the father of this wonderful child who was so brutally abducted?" Lipset 72, who with a small staff works out of a combined office and home in San Francisco's Pacific Heights district has been involved in thousands of cases in his 45 years as a state-licensed private investigator. In many instances, he has worked closely with law enforcement agencies. "My motivation in this my only motivation is that there is a missing 12-year-old girl, and even though every sort of effort has been made to locate her, a month has gone by and Polly's still missing," Lipset said Tuesday night "Her parents want my assistance, and I have promised them I will do everything I can to find her." that could help pinpoint the abductor's whereabouts. FBI spokesman Rick Smith said a hypothetical good tip would be: "We saw her yesterday in Menlo Park, in a brown station wagon and here's the license plate." Police also say the bearded abductor could have changed his appearance, so that the public needs to be watchful of other clues, including a suspicious person's changed behavior, sudden introversion, or possible absence from work for a long period without a good explanation. HI THE liM FACE OF MOTHER NATURE: Let it grow this month, bearded men say BERKELEY, Calif. A new movement was sprouted by a happily hirsute group with a manly message for their baldfaced brethren: Put down that razor! "It's a liberating feeling," said Kevin O'Hare, "king" of the November Beard Club. "It gets to be kind of a pain having to shave 365 days a year." The club's mission is to get as many people as possible to call a hair-removal hiatus for November. "The simple belief that because life has given us the power to grow facial hair, then, by golly, we should (at least for a month, anyway), is what holds this group together," a news release said. Club members know that some think there's folly in follicles, but they're ready to, well, beard the opposition, said club founder and president Tahd Fretzel. The group's format is fairly simple: Plot strategy in September, recruit in October, take pictures in November, then cap the month off with a display of new growth. Beard bravado was running rampant as Fretzel and O'Hare ("Yes, that is my real name") watched their whiskers wax. "We're men and we do what we want" said O'Hare, who is Fretzel's second in command. So why does he plan to depilate in December? "I promised my girlfriend," he said. PUPPET ON PATROL: Officer to keep pal on duty residents vote SAN FRANCISCO Brendan O'Smarty, the ventriloquist's dummy featured in Proposition BB on the San Francisco ballot, provided a candidate doesn't have to have brains to win election in the city. By a margin of just 2, voters approved the measure, which asked the police chief to allow Officer Bob Geary to carry the puppet with him on patrol. Geary's supervisors had ordered him not to use the dummy without written permission. The initiative asked that Geary be allowed to decide when and where to use the puppet "The voters are saying, 'Give the officer and his puppet a chance,"' said Geary, who has occasionally used the 38-inch wooden dummy, dressed in a full police uniform, as an icebreaker with children and others on his beat O'Smarty spent election night propped on a bench in City Hall, looking wooden and disinterested, while his owner was congratulated on the narrow victory. A MAN'S WORLD: Woman gives up violence after shooting doctor WICHITA, Kan. An anti-abortion activist who admits shooting an abortion doctor says she has had a change of heart Such violence should be left to men, she told a newspaper. "As far as guns and bombs and that kind of thing, I think women should just stay out of the way and let the men do that sort of thing," Rachelle "Shelley" Shannon said this week in the Wichita Eagie. "I didn't think that before. This is my recently developed viewpoint" Dr. George Tiller was shot in both arms as he drove out of his Wichita clinic's parking lot Aug. 19. Shannon, of Grants Pass, Ore., was arrested hours later as she attempted to return a rental car at an Oklahoma City airport Shannon, who is being held on $1 million bail at the Sedgwick County Jail, already had admitted to the shooting in letters to another newspaper. During interviews with the Eagle, Shannon defended her actions. "I'll always know I did the right thing," she said. Shannon, 37, has pleaded innocent to attempted first-degree murder and two counts of aggravated assault Her trial begins Dec. 6. She said she will testify that she shot Tiller, but did nothing wrong. REFUGEE RECORDS: No barriers for Cubans in South Florida invasion MIAMI They come alone, in pairs, in groups of a dozen or so packed onto makeshift rafts; a steady trickle already setting refugee records. It won't take much for that trickle to become a Cuban flood, pouring hundreds of thousands more people into South Florida. "There may not be any way to stop this outflow," Jaime Suchlicki, a University of Miami professor, told business people, community leaders and government officials this week at the second "Post-Castro Miami" planning conference. "There are a lot of people who've been waiting to get out of Cuba for years." Suchlicki, who has analyzed Cuban immigration trends for Dade County planners, said a "Mariel-type" boatlift is one possibility, but that large numbers of Cubans could come through "more subtle" methods such as third countries or the VS. Navy base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. South Florida should brace for 150,000 to 200,000 more refugees over the next year or so as Cuba's economic crisis worsens, he said. The estimated cost of coping with such an influx? Up to $1 billion. The State Department's coordinator for Cuban affairs, Dennis Hays, participated in the daylong meeting on change in Cuba and the implications for South Florida. Hays noted that a federal inter-agency task force has been reviewing immigration contingency plans, "another indication of the seriousness with which we view this situation." Florida officials are also worried that Haiti's political crisis will spur a wave of boatpeople. Gov. Lawton Chiles last month wrote to President Clinton, urging that federal authorities be ready for a Haitian exodus to Florida. Haitian emigration, however, has been curtailed as Coast Guard cutters patrol against refugees while helping Navy ships enforce the United Nations sanctions aimed at restoring democracy in Haiti. Unlike Cubans, who are virtually always granted political asylum, Haitians are usually treated as economic refugees and face interdiction or deportation. K . 1 f :',f ltaiiuiivm ' :y - tffrfi: V"- wisi Ks , j V'iviyr f Tahd Frentzel urges men let it grow in November. to ft

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