The Galveston Daily News from Galveston, Texas on May 18, 1999 · Page 5
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The Galveston Daily News from Galveston, Texas · Page 5

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Galveston, Texas
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Tuesday, May 18, 1999
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Page 5
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GALVESTON COUNTY, TEXAS TUESDAY, MAY 18, 1999 'lin; DAILY Ni.\\s A5 Schools closed by repeated bomb threats prepare to reopen today The Associated Press ALLEN — The superintendent of Allen schools made an emotional defense Monday of the decision to close schools last week because of bomb threats, and she announced that schools will reopen for limited activities beginning today. Some parents in this Dallas suburb of 26,000 said the decision — first described by district officials as a cancelation of the last two weeks of school — amounted to caving in to those making the threats. Superintendent Barbara Erwin said that as the bomb threats mounted, eventually reaching 12, children and staff became more frightened. "I've had people tell me, 'Barbara, they won.' OK, I give," Erwin said. "If some kid thinks he's won, so be it. But I've got 9,200-some-odd kids home safe, I If some kid thinks he's won, so be it. But I've got 9,200-some-odd kids home safe, and I haven't lost a one, and I've got 1,100 employees alive and well in Allen, Texas." Barbara Erwin superintendent of Allen school district and I haven't lost a one, and I've got 1,100 employees alive and well in Allen, Texas." Since the threats started nearly two weeks ago, three juveniles have been charged. Police believe most of the calls are unrelated, copycat actions. But Erwin said that in light of violence at other schools ~ she referred to the shootings that left 15 dead in a Colorado school last month — officials took the threats seriously. "Every school was going to get a call, and one of them was going to have a real bomb," Erwin said at a press conference. Three 15-year-olds have been charged with making threats. Two face felony false-alarm charges, and a third was charged with misdemeanor criminal mischief. Erwin said the Allen Independent School District will operate on a staggered schedule the next two weeks, with no more than one-third of the district's pupils attending on any given day. She said the district expects to receive more bomb threats, but "with only one-third of our population to evacuate, we can do that safely." The sessions won't resemble normal school days. Instead, the superintendent said, students will take year-end tests, complete unfinished work and attend year-end activities. She said the district has purchased 12 metal detectors for use at middle schools and the district's lone high school. Access also will be limited at elementary schools, she said. School officials said students who do not return for the activities will not be penalized and might make special arrangements with teachers to complete classwork. Erwin said the school board always intended to complete the school year, but she was at a loss to explain why district officials, including its official spokesman, said last week that the rest of the school year would be canceled. Her explanation also conflicted with a statement she made over the weekend that the district's announcement to "suspend all regular classes" was carefully worded as part of a ruse to fool the culprit or culprits. She did not talk about the ruse' at a press conference Monday. Some parents say they still are confused and angry and might not send their children back for the final two weeks of classes. "I'm really scared about it," said Alpha Break, mother of a sixth-grader. "How could I live with myself knowing he might not get a chance to come home?" Al Burke, who has twin daughters that are seniors at Allen High School, said school leaders mishandled the situation from the beginning. "The feeling in the community is one of outrage now with regard to the manner in which school leaders handled this situation," he said. "It has been total confusion." But Kane Boughton, with three ' children in the district, supported the decision to first close, and then reopen the schools. "I helped evacuate three of the schools," she said. "I saw the fear and tension on the kids' faces." She added that she feels confident the district has taken appropriate security measures. Police chief Bill Rushing said Allen schools received 12 bomb threats in about a week, requiring eight evacuations at the high school, two middle schools, an elementary school and one school bus. No bombs have been found. House gives gun-kwsuits bill initial OK The Associated Press AUSTIN - A bill to limit a city's ability to sue gun makers shot through the House on Monday with barely a trace of crossfire. "What we're trying to do is send a real strong signal and say: 'Look, we don't place the blame for crime on an inanimate object. We place it on the criminal.' That's how we do it in Texas," said Rep. Rick Green, R-Dripping Springs. The bill, which received preliminary House approval, already passed the Senate, where it had a harder time. It had to be considered by that chamber on three occasions after some lawmakers expressed doubts about the bill's restrictions. "I was all ready for debate," said Green. "Then — boom — it just goes through." There probably will be more debate as the bill faces final House approval today, he said. Green was not the only lawmaker taken by surprise. At least 30 minutes after the bill passed without debate, Rep. Sylvester Turner, D-Houston, asked the speaker about its status. When told it had been approved, Turner asked if he could "attempt to kill SB717 tomorrow." Turner later urged the House to debate the bill again, since it passed while he was outside the chamber. "When we're talking about guns and when we're talking about pre-empting our cities ... that's an issue that we should at least debate," said Turner, noting that he had amendments that he had planned to propose. But lawmakers voted not to reconsider preliminary approval by a 39-101 margin. The bill faces final approval today, but amendments to change it's language will be harder to tack on. The measure would prohibit Texas governmental units — including cities and counties — from suing firearm or ammunition makers or sellers for damages related to lawful manufacturing or sales to the public. The prohibition would be lifted only if the Legislature approved such a lawsuit in advance. Lawsuits brought by individuals wouldn't be affected by the bill. It also wouldn't prevent breach of contract or warranty lawsuits by governmental bodies that buy firearms or ammunition. The bill comes at a time when a number of U.S. cities have considered suing gun makers to recover the costs of American Heart i Association.* CPR can keep your love alive gun-related violence. "What we're trying to prevent is this new legal theory that says somehow a manufacturer of an inanimate object is liable when a third party outside their control illegally misuses the product," Green said. "Our concern is if we let them do this against the gun makers, next they're going to go after car makers for drunk driving. They're going to go after beef and cattle for heart disease," he said. The legislation has been opposed by some who say it is too restrictive. "It does not make sense to single out one private industry for protection from lawsuits," said Nina Butts, spokeswoman for Texans Against Gun Violence. "There is evidence that the U.S. gun industry has been irresponsible in marketing high fire weapons to minors and criminals. This is the basis of some of the cities' lawsuits," she said. The gun lawsuit bill is SB717. Free Exam ami Consultation with (/its ad We arc oftim asked, "What's the best way of finding out whether or not a doctor of Chiropractic can help my problem?" We believe the answer can be found in a complete twsulimion and examination. And to help find out for sure, we will do a complete consultation and examination (procedures that normally cost up to $120.00) lor FREE*. We will make this special program available through May 31 19W- THESE CONDITIONS ARK SOMK OF THE DANGER SIGNALS: Q Low Itack Bain d Neck Pain CJ Headaches 3 Whiplash ' Q Muscle Spasms Q Work Injuries Q Numhness or Pain in Anns, Hands or Legs U Auto Accidents Q Pain Between Shoulder Blades _ ISLAND CHIROPRACTIC Di: Anello J. D'Ambra 1901 45th Street Galvcston, TX (409) 763-5900 VOtH FMEIMTUL VISIT H7U IVniDE: a A prtraic consultation tilth die Docior. Q A thorough spinal cnmiMion ! U An explanation of our treatment praoslurr if we ddamte chiropractic GUI Mpymi. ! Q A referral to the proper specialist [ if we determine dilrttpraclic can't I licl|) you. i offer raplrcs 05/.M/W. 'Excludes Medicaro & Medicaid Beneficiaries - ra .;. fclP -11 |j$ja'wM you ftink the world of Dad with a p*rsonalizecf it Greetings section. It will realty rnake him proud!* , „ FATHER'S DAY GREETINGS Father's Day, June 20th 2 col. x 2" (with or without photo) JUST 36.00 Greetings Deadline: June 16th - 10am Call Vera or Amy at 685-5224 to place your greetings message, today! •_-< » r. Aiymroii eo.VH.TX* THE Mtf NEWS Malaria could be behind horned toad decline The Associated Press KINGSVILLE - Horned toads, once a popular childhood pet and now a disappearing Texas mascot, might be victims of malaria. "Other lizards in Texas have it," said Scott Henke, a scientist with the Caesar KLeberg Wildlife Institute at A&M- Khigsville. "So it is a good possibility horned lizards do." Malaria could account for the lowered reproductive rate scientists have discovered in the animals, which actually are lizards, not toads. The horned lizards are having half the number of eggs they did 20 years ago. Malaria also would make them weaker and less able to run from predators, Henke said. Henke and fellow scientist Alan Fedynich will spend the summer catching horned lizards to test them for malaria. The scientists will collect lizards from ranches throughout the state. They're so easy to catch that they were popular pets. Children liked them because they looked like little dinosaurs and had the ability to spit blood from pores near their eyes, Fedynich said. "Every older Texan has stories of how they used to catch horned lizards when they were children and keep them as pets," Fedynich said. "There are a lot of people that want to see the horned lizard saved. It is something they care about and want to see continue." Horned lizards don't live east of a line from Fort Worth to Corpus Christi, except in small pockets. The horned lizard was one of the first species listed by Texas as threatened in 1977. The decline in the horned lizard population has been blamed on insecticide use, the overcollection of the lizards as pets, and on imported red ants that drove away other ants that were a food source for the lizards. None of those reasons explains their disappearance throughout so much of the state, however, since each of the potential causes is confined to certain areas, Henke said. Your Locnl Newt Sonrc* Reg.'iygg 1 " $QAO99 Reg. M 899* $ 899 99 *v Reg M999" $00099 Reg. '2399" ^ JLoveseai not pictured)^ $ 1099"| iii( iliiilllte^ It»»tMM^ g iS^fS^M^ •'•--• $w WE r WILL NOT BE. ' UNDERSOLD! •

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