The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on October 12, 1997 · Page 6
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 6

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Salina, Kansas
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Sunday, October 12, 1997
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Page 6
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SUNDAY, OCTOBER 12, 1997 NEWS THE SAUNA JOURNAL V HURRICANE PAULINE Canyon becomes raging river of death Reborn river buries homes, drags dozens of residents to sea By JAMES ANDERSON and NIKO PRICE Tlie Associated Press ACAPULCO, Mexico — As Acapulco slept, rain began to fall high above the five-star hotels, soaking steep hillsides. Water joined water, mud joined mud, and a lethal torrent took shape. Boulders barreled down a long, dry riverbed toward crowded settlements. In an instant, a river was reborn, dragging hundreds of flimsy shacks away, burying concrete homes, and sweeping dozens of lives toward the sea. The river began forming in Pancho Villa Canyon, high on the hills above Acapulco's crescent bay. The latest settlers had arrived only two years ago, their tarpaper huts clinging to the canyon's steep slopes. Now the homes and many who lived in them are gone, swept away by the rains after Hurricane Pauline raked these hills before dawn Thursday, sending tons of mud and man-sized boulders, beds and the people in them, and cars and utility poles tumbling down. "Earthquake! The earth's shaking! Get out! Get out!" Marisela Ramirez yelled to her sleeping husband, Concepcion, and brother Armando. Leaving everything behind, they raced to a hilltop and waited out the storm for eight hours in an open-air shack, listening to the rumble of boulders tumbling, and the cries for help below. With little official warning, thousands of residents were ill- prepared for the rebirth of the Camarones River, a dry gulch that for years had been built up- The Associated Press Residents of Acapulco attempt to cross a downed bridge Saturday over the river that flooded the city when Hurricane Pauline passed through, leaving hundreds homeless. on before Pauline dumped 16 inches of rain. Decades ago, the city had paved over the dry riverbed close to the coast and settlements began climbing the hills. Eight residents of the upper canyon didn't make it out, the Ramirez family said. Their bodies were swept downhill toward a housing project, where soldiers dug in thick brown mud for more victims Saturday. 'We couldn't do a thing' As if unleashing years of pent- up fury, the torrent raged on, smashing apart a primary school and obliterating all traces of the road that once wound for five miles down this canyon. A gloomy fog descended, rising .only at daybreak |to a canyon of carnage. ; In the crowded f almas del Sol neighborhood, sleeping people were caught unaware. A 50-yard- wide bridge was washed away, as was the modest home of a woman known to her neighbors as La Guera. A neighbor, Rafael Santamaria, said her body was later found in the bay; her son Ismael was still missing. ; Santamaria and his family were sleeping at 2 a.m. when the house they had lived in for 35 years began shaking violently. Boulders crashed 1 against the foundations, and the family cowered on the second floor, with no escape. "It was an earthquake, but an earthquake that lasted four hours," Santamaria said. "We heard people being dragged down the river screaming, and we couldn't do a thing," said his daughter, Francisca Alvarez, 30. Next, Satamaria said, there was a miracle: A boulder and a giant tree trunk wedged against the two-story house, forming a dike of neck-deep mud that piled up five cars, power cables and rocks. It spared their lives. "It was a gift from God," said Santamaria, 56. "When I looked around to see what had happened, I cried. I vomited. But I thanked God for our lives." Raging torrent of mud In the Progreso neighborhood, halfway down the hill, 20-year- old Hugo Vicente Baena awoke at 5 a.m. The walls were shaking, and he heard a roar. Still groggy, he stepped out of bed in his underwear and wondered about the water rising around his feet. He splashed upstairs to where his mother lives, and from her balcony surveyed the gully below. A gully no longer. It was a raging, 8-foot-deep torrent of mud, filled with boulders that crashed against the wall of his room. "I saw eight cars being swept down as if they were toys." He woke his mother and two sisters and the family huddled together, watching as the walls of Baena's room shook and then collapsed, allowing the river to wash into the first floor below. It was time to flee. Jumping from roof to roof, they made their way to higher ground.' "With time you can replace anything, except your life," said the mother, Marcela Baena Araujo, 35. She returned Saturday to gape at the hole in front of the still stately white house where a bridge had been. A crumpled block of metal — two Volkswagen Beetles and a pickup truck — rested not far from a concrete box holding an altar to the Virgin of Guadalupe, Mexico's patron saint. It was empty. "The virgin is in my house," she said, barefoot and wearing a long, dirty T-shirt with an image of Tweety bird. Amid the half-buried TV, broken guitar and muddy rags that had been some kind of clothing, a green-and-gold statue pokes out of the mud, its hands clasped in prayer. The statue of the Virgin had no head. t CLINTON ADDRESS Anti-drug campaign endorsed By The Associated Press WASHINGTON — Heralding a new $195 million anti-drug ad campaign, President Clinton blamed pop culture for glamorizing illegal drug use and said government must step in to "reach our children with the right message before it's too late." ! In his weekly radio broadcast Saturday, the president said drug use has nearly tripled among eighth-graders while the number of anti-drug public service ads has fallen by more than a third. ; "Movies, music videos and magazines have filled the gap ... too often with warped images of ;a dream world where drugs are cool," Clinton said. On Friday, the president signed a spending bill that contains $195 million for what he called "an Unprecedented, high-profile, prime- time media campaign to reach every child in America." He urged business leaders across America to match the funds to expand the program. And to the entertainment industry,, he urged: "Never glorify drugs. But more important, tell our children the truth. Show them that drug use is really a death sentence." Stop In & Fill Up! 1-135 & Crawford • Crawford & Ohio., I-70 & N. 9th OPEN 24 HOURS...ATM :jr NASA Robotic spacecraft to orbit Saturn ; Cassini mission will be carrying 72 pounds of radioactive plutonium ByMARCIAOUNN Wlie Associated Press CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — NASA's biggest, costliest interplanetary explorer ever, Cassini "promises the best look yet at Saturn, its enticing rings and icy 'moons, especially the colossal Titan. The two-story robotic spacecraft is meant to orbit Saturn 74 times and sweep past Titan, its largest moon, 45 times — unprecedented feats. What's more, it will release a probe to land on Titan, another momentous first. The exceedingly ambitious 11- year, $3.4 billion mission, however, is being overshadowed by plu- .tonium power. Cassini, to be launched Monday, 'holds 72 pounds of highly radioactive plutonium, the most ever carried by a spacecraft. That nuclear f*\ A £] f"°] ~WT^~T~V i The Cassini spacecraft will use • /% ^ ^ I l^l I i "gravity assist" flybys, twice past \ Wj v/m.^J^J Ml ^ A i Venus and once past Earth and MiccirtM rr» CATIIDM I Jupiter, to propel it to Saturn. A look MISSION TO SATURN -: a t the route ofthe spacecraft: Venus flyby: June 1999 *The Cassini spacecraft will travel 2 billion mites to reach Saturn . Maneuver: December 1998 Saturn arrival: July 2004 Launch: Oct.13, 1997 Earth flyby: August 1999 Jupiter flyby: December 2000 Source: Jet Propulsion Laboratory load has pitted scientist against scientist, even NASA employee against NASA employee. Opponents, including some past and present Kennedy Space Center workers, fear plutonium could AP/Justln Gilbert be showered on Earth in the event of an accident. Two environmental and peace groups went to a federal court in Hawaii in a last-ditch attempt to halt Monday's liftoff, .but the judge denied their request Saturday; such a tactic also failed to stop NASA's launch of the plutonium-powered Galileo to Jupiter in 1989. Proponents argue that even if the unmanned Titan 4-B rocket explodes, little if any plutonium would be released arid radiation exposure would be minimal. The chance of Cassini re-entering the atmosphere and releasing plutonium is less than 1-in-l million, government statistics say. "I don't worry about the safety of it," said Richard Spehalski, program manager for the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. "I'd rather talk about the mission and the science," he added. "The mission is about knowledge, and using a power source like this is a proven technology. It's been demonstrated to be safe." The plutonium-238 dioxide is needed to power the fleet of top-of- the-line science instruments aboard Cassini, due to arrive at Saturn in 2004 after a seven-year, 2,2 billion-mile journey via Venus, Earth and Jupiter. Lunch Monday-Friday 11 am - 4 pm vJver 80 homemade recipe items to choose from everyday! * All Yoii Can Eat Buffet * Chicken Fried Steak * Luncheon Sirloin * Chopped Sirloin Banquet Room available for up to 100 people WESTERNI Beef selections come with buffet, . salad bar, bakery and dessert. 1708 W. Crawford, Salina Kalic ObiTiiiudlcr .AsiiMditi Vice 1'inidi'NI 'i u'ws n\ bunking t \IH : I if/uc Barbara Williams /iin Si'ivid'/li'f oj Ixinltinv i'.\/JU iniu' Kimbi'rly Scluiiidl I year of bunting cxperleiite Glen Sleyer liui'nuil Aiiililoi Itl yuan uj banking expct tcncc I'nciiir lU'Uli l.uumi^ (.MM Sftll'lUIV / van (i/ /Km/tin^; CA/n'tit'iuv Saiuly Ausfluilz .t'dii Adininist t t>) blinking t'-

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