St. Louis Post-Dispatch from St. Louis, Missouri on September 6, 1998 · Page 23
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St. Louis Post-Dispatch from St. Louis, Missouri · Page 23

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St. Louis, Missouri
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Sunday, September 6, 1998
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Page 23
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.3SEP 61998 http:www.stlnet.com ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH METRO SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 6, 1998 C13 Drought is forcing farmers to decide whether to plow on Texans in Rio Grande Valley would relish some rain - even if sent by a hurricane 2002 end to forced busing in Maryland is set The Associated Press GREENBELT, Md. - A federal judge has approved an agreement to phase out a quarter-century of court-ordered busing in Prince George's County in suburban Washington. The settlement last week phases out busing by 2002 in exchange for building more public schools, hiring more teachers and designing an academic plan to improve student performance in the 123,000- student system. Thousands of Prince George's County schoolchildren have been bused since 1972 to schools outside their neighborhood for racial desegregation. But student population in the suburban Washington system has shifted from 70 percent white to nearly 80 percent black in that time. In 1983, the school system created magnet schools to attract students to certain areas and enhanced schools that remained racially isolated. In approving the settlement between the county, the School Board and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, U.S. District Judge Peter Mes-sitte gave up direct control over the 1972 case. Unless the government breaches its commitments, he would close the case entirely in 2002, after 13 neighborhood schools are built and busing is abolished. . , PVi! Z The Baltimore Sun RIO GRANDE VALLEY, Texas Farmers who till the rich soils of this broad river delta along the Mexican border are quietly praying for a disaster a powerful hurricane packing a dozen inches of rain. ,.,Such a storm similar to Tropical Storm Charley, which flooded parts of Texas about 350 miles from here last week would likely cause severe flooding and property damage. But, they insist, that may be the only escape from the disaster they're battling now. ' Despite a scattering of showers across the valley, drought conditions this summer are steadily destroying one of the nation's most fertile farming regions, in deep south Texas, near Brownsville. Once green with an abundance of fat Ruby Red grapefruit, oranges, sugar cane, onions, cucumbers, tomatoes, cotton and aloe vera, the fields that crowd the Valley have decayed into pale squares of dust and stubble. These landscapes are common across Texas this summer, as farmers and ranchers watch their profits burn up in 100-plus-degree temperatures under thin, wispy clouds that deliver no rain. In the suburbs and the cities, the weather has also been severe. It has buckled foundations, scorched lawns and left many communities under severe water restrictions. In the dust that cakes on cars which their owners are discouraged from washing drivers have etched a plaintive request: "Pray for rain." . Texas this summer is bursting with stories of drought-related tragedies, but all suffering is measured against the Rio Grande Valley, which has endured so much disappointing weather for so long. Estimates put losses at nearly $300 million, including $100 million in crops and 14,000 farm-related jobs. "It's the most hard-hit area in Texas," says Rick Perry, Texas' agriculture commissioner, who has spent the last 90 days assessing damage across the state. "This area is now in its fifth year of water-related crop losses." The region is bracing for a sixth. Two reservoirs on the Rio Grande River that provide irrigation water have been at all-time lows, leaving farmers unsure whether water will be available for fall crops. Foundering in debt, many farmers cannot afford to spin the wheel again and risk failure. Tropical storm Charley offered some relief, raising water levels slightly iri the Rio Grande's Falcon and Amistad reservoirs. But dryland crops failed to receive a significant amount of moisture. A powerful storm or several weeks of steady rain is needed to replenish reservoirs and hope, farmers say. "My mother didn't raise a fool. I'm not going to plant anything without rain," says Jerry Florence. He pushes his steel-tip boots into his parched cornfield about 50 miles north of Brownsville, revealing soil hard as concrete. His grandfather moved to the valley in 1931, drawn by the promise of fertile alluvial soils and a year-round growing season. For his grandfather and father, the valley delivered. But for Florence, the land has offered A. THE ASSOCIATED PRESS James Woodward of Texas hugs Leslie Hale of Kansas before receiving a donation of hay. hard lessons in humility and perseverance. When Florence took over the farm in the early 1970s, the family raised crops on more than 5,000 acres. Water for irrigation was cheap and plentiful, allowing him to grow bumper crops of vegetables, cotton and sugar cane. At his farm's peak, Florence owned four tractors and employed 40 people. A series of droughts, freezes, flooding and other agricultural nightmares slowly eroded his farming empire. Water shortages this year caused irrigation costs to jump from $20 per acre to $60 per acre, depleting his savings and forcing him to watch many of his crops wither in the field. Florence struggles to farm 2,000 acres, with two jury-rigged John Deeres. About the only thing guaranteed to grow are his debts now close to $500,000, he says. Each Friday, he wonders whether he will have enough money to pay his remaining four employees. His wife returned to work as a teacher to help make ends meet. ' At night, Florence, a tall, wiry man of 50, sleeps in a trailer beside his thirsty crops, a loaded rifle beside his bed to defend his farm equipment from a rash of thefts in the valley. He is a modern farmer. He holds a graduate degree in microbiology and is a few credits short of a master's degree in business administration. But he has a deep appreciation for farming. "I've only realized lately that I love it," he says. Across the valley, farmers on the brink of bankruptcy are doing the math and asking themselves whether it is time to bow out or risk more debt. The state's 252 counties, which combined are projected to incur $5.8 billion in agriculture-related losses, have been designated agricultural disaster areas by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, making farmers and ranchers eligible for low-interest loans. But loan offers are about as useful as umbrellas in the Rio Grande Valley these days. Farmers here say they cannot afford more debt; they want grants to cover their losses. During a state-sponsored drought workshop in the valley, farmers roll their eyes when low-interest loans are offered. "We're talking to the wrong people," declares one farmer, demanding that farmers lobby Washington to provide grants. 1 hi- Jji! .3 Qumfminicalot Help Back irvi"-rd ' Reload . Home Seaich Guide Security Stop '.f Bookmark J, locdiionjt'p w.v c; miarni edu'fomoadoadin html internet j lookup 'j NwiCool I1 i.l (Feel free to use the banner above to link to our site.) t It V MtKiT! 1 fl ymu,mt$mmm 4 , 'I CIicl- the pictures above to see the .Document: 6 or! . ; . :e loos. ..si' ; THE ASSOCIATE PRESS World Wide Web pages similar to this one have been used on the Internet in an attempt to keep open Mr. Toad's Wild Ride at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom. The company plans to close the ride after Monday and replace it with one featuring Winnie the Pooh.. (..'".' ' , Mr. Toad's pals protest to Disney World i : Park pulls plug on ride iji favor of Winnie the Pooh ! : Reuters News Service I ORLANDO, Ha. - Walt Disney World has been targeted by Southern Baptists, animal-rights activists and anti-homosexual groups, but the biggest protests by far have 'come from fans of Mr. Toad's Wild Ride, which Disney officials said last week would soon join the ash heap of history after 27 years. I .The company will close the ride lafter Monday and replace it with one featuring Winnie the Pooh. ; -'It's just horrible," said Jef Mos-M, a 26-year-ol'A-computer systems administrator from Miami who has led the fight to preserve the ride. "Disney is ruining the park by closing a classic ride in favor of the next big thing." Many of the ride's fans, who have picketed the park weekly since the rumor of Mr. Toad's demise swept their ranks last April, consider the ride a treasured memory of childhood that they enjoyed revisiting as adults. "My parents took me on the ride when I was 4, and I can still remember it," said Wayne Story, of Melbourne, Fla. "Everything else in the Magic Kingdom was all happy, smiley, happy. Mr. Toad was a little more subversive. I still love it." Riders on the low-tech adventure follow the bowler-hatted amphibian from the Kenneth Grahame children's i:ovel "The Wind in the Willows" of; a stolen motorcoach as it crashes into a train. Next stop is Hell, inhabited by red devils and a pitchfork-bearing Satan. "I guess Satan has become too politically charged to include on a children's ride," said Laurie Stacy, 31, who was among the hundreds of self-described "Toadies who have revisited in recent days. On the new Winnie the Pooh ride, which will open next year, riders climb aboard honey pots and meander through a blustery day in the Hundred-Acre-Wood. This was not the first time Disney has closed a ride, but park officials acknowledged no other closing has provoked as much clamor. The "Take Flight" feature at To-morrowland, which is closing to make room for a Buzz Lightyear ride, has not raised a ripple of protest. Autumn Gallery Auction September 14th through September 17th, 6pm Preview Tuesday through Sunday, September 8th through 13th From Noon to 7pm, Tuesday, From 10am to 5pm, Wednesday through Friday From 10am to 4pm, Saturday & From Noon to 4pm, Sunday Join our Preview Gallery Walk at 10am or 3pm with appraiser, Mark Howald ,.f 1 A li'f IB ' i Illustrated Catalogues Si??' Available I j : V' 4, JpWfl r, jf?T Assembled Property from the Estate of Helen Petersen of 20 Portland Place, Saint Louis French Mahogany and gilt bronze pedestal clock, circa 1890, height 7 feet Featuring: over 11 00 lots of fine antique American, English and Continental furniture and decorative -' ' 1 art; an exceptional selection of sil- ' ?1 A f"'-n ""' . ' J vpr naintincTc ipwplrv nnH animal rt - i- : , ,7, ' 1 ' r- "o- J -J . bronzes; Unental decorative art; porcelains, Oriental rugs and wine. 4 From a fine selection of American repousse floral pattern silver C it,! 1 " , ' Pairpoint Puffy Rose Bush Over 1000 bottles oj fine wine table lamp, circa 1905, height 21 " ' WiiiSM" m ..in n i. .... -mm.u, m ,. ,w ,l,uw.wpi..MJav W I I ' I ' PjJl . ' m JM -. v ft 1 flli fl I , i f V' I, . ':J6C: .. f.,.'-;', j'JI "li ffl jf j'' already know.. .a trip to Luckytown J j?0 makes you feel good! So be happy.. .go lucky! S Daa't detaujJ! LgS VUut LuxJuitaurrvtacLcuL! VCXv yj The nation's mly naturally-occurring field of four-leaf clovers... ' I tV Ranked 1 in "livability" last 12 years... , i I - ; j I More than 100,000 new Luckytownians every day...ari(j, ROOM far. mm! '

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