The Facts from Clute, Texas on June 18, 1998 · Page 5
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The Facts from Clute, Texas · Page 5

Clute, Texas
Issue Date:
Thursday, June 18, 1998
Page 5
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THE FACTS Thursday, JUM 18,1998 6A Texans wonder what happened to spring • First day of summer is Sunday HARLINGEN (AP) — When summer officially kicks off Sunday, many Texans will be wondering what happened to spring. Mother Nature seems to have forsaken spring's showers and moderate temperatures in favor of a direct winter-to-summer transition. April and May brought little, if any, rainfall and a recent heat wave brought record-high temperatures. "It has been warmer than normal during the spring months and it's been drier than normal," said Krista Villareal, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Fort Worth. The high temperatures came as a byproduct of high pressure that is hanging over the region, said Richard Hagan, a NWS meteorologist in Brownsville. The Rio Grande Valley, in particular, has yet to see a significant rainfall since early this year, Hagan said. The result: Vegetation began to die, the ground dried out and that helped maintain the high temperatures. "This has been somewhat reminiscent of 1980 when we had real warm overnight temperatures and day temperatures week after week," Hagan said. "This has started like the summer of 1980." That famously long, hot summer brought record high temperatures throughout Texas — weeks upon weeks of 100- plus-degree days. It was the hottest summer on record for the Valley. With temperatures hovering in the 90s and 100s for the last few weeks, Texans have been looking for ways to cool down — and that's good news for places such as Six Flags Hurricane Harbor in Arlington. "We've had this major boom in attendance," said park spokeswoman Michelle Alcala. "Usually water parks like ours do really good when it's hot." South Padre Island's tourism officials had to avert a potential disaster because of haze drifting north from Mexican forest fires in recent weeks. After indications that haze- wary tourists might be canceling hotel reservations for Memorial Day weekend, officials circulated information showing that air quality on South Padre Island was actually better than Houston and Dallas. It apparently worked. "Memorial Day weekend was really good," said Cindy DuBois, spokeswoman for the South Padre Island Convention and Visitors Bureau. The island does not see tourism peak until July, DuBois said, but if early June's any indication, island visitors will have plenty of reason to duck into Gulf of Mexico waters. GM strike idles Arlington plant ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — The General Motors plant in Arlington fell victim Wednesday to strikes in Michigan, shutting down because of a lack of truck parts. About 1,400 hourly workers were idled at the plant, which makes sport utility vehicles and pickups. The workers will lose their GM benefits and aren't eligible for state unemployment benefits or the United Auto Workers' strike fund. They don't know how long they'll be out of work. "They say it could be two weeks. That's what the (UAW) committeeman told me,"' said body shop worker Genaro Alvarado. "General Motors can't handle it more than two weeks. They're losing a lot of money." The 50-year-old married father of two giris said the Arlington workers support the strikers in Flint, Mich., and he is ready to survive without a paycheck. "I was prepared. As soon as I heard there was a strike, 1 prepared. I saved everything,' 1 said Alvarado, who has worked 23 years for GM, the last five at Arlington. But others are plainly worried, said C.E. Williams, the shop committee chairman for UAW Local 276, which represents hourly workers in Arlington. He said some workers will be scrambling to pay the mortgage or rent. Some workers might file for state unemployment benefits, but benefits were denied two years ago when a strike in Ohio caused a two-week shutdown in Arlington. The workers aren't eligible for the UAW strike fund because they're A General Motors employee walks across a mostly empty parking lot at the GM Assembly Plant'in AP photo Arlington Wednesday when the Arlington plant fell victim to strikes in Michigan, not on strike. Dan Flores, a GM spokesman in Michigan, said the Arlington plant closed just before noon Wednesday, although workers could still be seen coming and going. While 1,400 workers were idled, about 440 skilled tradesmen, maintenance workers and managers were to stay initially to finish maintenance work. Another 475 people working at Lear Corp. and Mackie Automotive Systems in Arlington, suppliers of parts to the Arlington plant, also were set to be furloughed until the GM plant reopens. In Wichita Falls, 96 of about 450 workers remain furloughed at the GM subsidiary Delphi Energy and Engine Management plant, which makes exhaust sensors. "There may be some additional folks (furloughed) by the end of the week," said Ben Filer, the plant personnel director. In Mexico, about 18,000 Delphi Automotive Systems workers were affected by Wednesday. Workers were given the option of staying home at reduced pay — workers are not laid off in Mexico. A Delphi spokesman said nearly 25 of its 53 Mexican plants have felt some effect. Lucas happy case's attention HUNTSVILLE (AP) — Confessed serial killer Henry Lee Lucas, maintaining his innocence with two weeks to go before his scheduled execution, said Wednesday he's pleased Gov. George W. Bush wants the state parole board to review his case. "I think it's a good thing," Lucas said from a cage in the visiting area of death row. "I'm glad he's involved in it. I know the truth is going to come out there some time or another, showing that I couldn't have committed the crimes." Lucas, who once confessed to as many as 600 killings, is scheduled for lethal .injection June 30 for the slaying of an unidentified woman whose body was found, wearing only orange socks, near Georgetown in 1979. Although prosecutors say they have no doubt Lucas committed the crime — and he confessed to it numerous times — investigations by the news media and a former attorney general cast some doubt on the conviction. Lucas, dubbed the "one-eyed drifter," has insisted he was working in Florida when the victim, who has become known as "Orange Socks," was murdered. Bush, who ultimately could decide if Lucas lives or dies, said earlier this week he's bothered by questions in the Lucas case and ordered the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles to look into it. "I'm giad he's took it upon himself to do it," Lucas said. "I didn't think under the circumstances, him being in these political fights, that he'd have the courage..." Lucas, at 61 the oldest and arguably most famous of the 453 prisoners on Texas' death row, said he had little confidence in the courts to give him a reprieve. An appeal claiming he is innocent is awaiting review by the U.S. Supreme Court. "I don't think the courts are going to act on it," he said. "According to them, I've received a fair trial. But they don't know what a fair trial is. I was hoping they would take a look at the whole thing and judge me by what they'll see." Lucas acknowledges he may have committed one murder — the killing of his mother in Michigan in 1960, for which he served prison time there. Based on his confessions that began with his arrest in north Texas on a gun possession charge in 1982, he has at least 10 murder convictions, nine of them in Texas. C e ate DAD Father Day is June 21st! r HATHAWAY DRESS SHIRTS Single-needle tailoring, double-stitched cuffs and an exclusive 3-hole button ensure fine quality; cotton/polyester blend offers wrinkle resistance. Made in the U.S.A. Buttondown or point-collar styles. Sizes 15^/33-34 to 17^/34-35. COTTON BLEND 1OO% COTTON gspy V OUT-OKHiS WORLD! SPACE PENS: WRITIN6 INTO THE FUTURE Invented in 1965 for the N.A.S.A. Space Program, the bullet space pen's pressurized ink cartridge will allow it to write upside down, underwater, over grease, in freezing cold or boiling heat, even outer space! Now this historic writing tool can be in your hands; in chrome or matte black, with matching clip, 20.00. The triple-action retractable pen has the same N.A.S.A. technology as the bullet pen, and in addition has pressurized red and black ink ball pens with a .7mm pencil all in one! Stainless steel and chrome with rubberized finger grip. Gift boxed, 35.00. Dillards' welcomes your Dillard's charge, Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover or Diners Club card. SHOP MONDAY-SATURDAY, 10 A.M. TO 9 P.M.; SUNDAY, NOON TO 6 P.M. • Brazos Mall, 297-7201 Dillard's t

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