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Daily World from Opelousas, Louisiana • Page 6

Daily Worldi
Opelousas, Louisiana
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6A DAILY WORLD THURSDAY, JUNE 2, 1994 OPINION HARVEY i Aaron Parsons, Publisher Harlan Kirgan, Executive Editor Earl Brown, Controller Bill Brownlee, Advertising Director AI Andrepont, Classified Adv. Mgr. Anne McKinney, Staff Artist John Poirier, Circulation Director Gary Messner, Production Supt. A New York Timet Company Dedicated to a duty I enjoy reading the Daily Leader published in Brook-1 haven, because it introduces me to that area's homefolks one at a time. i That's how I met Brad Tillotson.

1 Brad loves trains. From his mother's earliest re- numbering, baby Brad got excited every time he saw a train. He was utterly fascinated by trains. When Brad was 8, his mother, Linda Sue Tillotson, drove Brad down to Thayer's Crossing in time to watch the Amtrak 4:45 come highballing by. His animated delight was such that his mother from that day has driven Brad to er's Crossing twice a day every day.

For 15 years. You see, Brad was born what we call "retarded" 23 1 years ago. Yet the lad's twice-daily vigil beside the Amtrak tracks has become so significant that the engineer, ap- proaching Thayer's crossing, always blows the train whistle for Brad. And the engineer will wave and perhaps call out, "Hi, Brad. Comin' through.

See you, buddy." One day, the train stopped. And this day, there were two Amtrak officials aboard. It was with their permis- sion that a trainload of passengers was kept waiting while Engineer Wilkinson, Conductor Wahl and the offi- cials got off the train to chat with Brad and present 3J I PffS' ROS1BIK0WSKI i CHAIRMAN Time to act on Haiti few years ago when I was on an assignment in Haiti, a man took me to the back of his pickup truck and pointed to BOB HERBERT Hi-tech for schools Today the St. Landry Parish school superintendent, Raymond Fontenot, is going to present a proposal to bring computer laboratories into the parish's kindergarten through sixth grade classes. The plan is to establish learning laboratories at each of the parish schools.

The cost of doing this is uncertain now. The school system has a million dollars set aside for instructional materials in this area but until bids are taken, the cost won't be known. The plan merits close attention by the board and the public. Computers are ideal learning tools. But there is also a tremendous need for a low-tech version of computers books.

Book needs must be taken care of in the schools. They are basic to learning. But computers promise to also became basic learning tools for students and the parish should start providing them. In an often cash short school system the needs are easy to point out and computers can appear to De a luxury. Computers, like books, are patient.

But computers offer something books don't. That's an element of interactiveness. It's what makes video games attractive to youngsters and even some adults. The interplay between computer software and the user is ideal for grabbing a student's attention and prompting the way along to learning. Proponents of spending the money iif other areas, such as buildings or people, should realize that computers can also be cost-saving in times of personnel while being effective learning tools.

But the board has to study whatever systems are presented to it to make certain they nave room for growth. Just like books, computer software invariably must be updated. This is not an easy decision for the School Board and demands deliberation. two young children. They were sitting in the bed of the truck and both were shivering, although the evening was quite warm.

It was obvious that they were ill. The man said the children were his and he begged me to smuggle them into the United States, where they would be safe and "grow strong." After listening to me explain how that was impossible, the man quietly said thank you, and with an expression of absolute despair, climbed into the cab of the truck and drove away. There was nothing unusual about the condition of the children in the him with a conductor's cap and a shirt with an Amtrak locomotive across the front. The conductor says he later explained to the passengers that the train had to stop to fix "a flat tire." Over the years since, passengers as much as crew look forward to their approach to Thayer's Crossing. All wave; some toss gifts.

Indeed, on the Amtrak's newest route guide, which lists points of interest between Memphis and New Orleans, there is a prominent mention of the Amtrak i mascot who can always be counted upon to wave them on their way. Brad is now 23. His enthusiasm has not waned one whit. His mother says, "He's got to be at that crossing twice a day." When the weather is bad and Mother suggests per- haps he should not go out, Brad will grin and ask, "Do 1 you want me to get fired?" So dutifully, in rain or snow or whatever she deliv- ers Brad to his rendezvous. Brad now has a portable scanner which keeps him in radio contact with the train crew; if the train might be minutes late, he knows how many minutes and why.

i The one night the train was hours late, an Amtrak dispatcher telephoned from Wesson to let him know. And Brad was dutifully at trackside, at Thayer's Crossing at 10 p.m. waving a flashlight. As I say, I enjoy reading the Daily Leader. I get to meet the folks of Brookhaven, Miss.

individually. And even as Amtrak crew and passengers are cheered by the tall lad in his conductor's cap standing atj Thayer's Crossing and waving -1 am encouraged this exceptional young man and by his loving mother. So many of us with so much more give so much less. Paul Harvey is a nationally syndicated columnist. i played in the exploitation of the Haitian people.

This has occurred through U.S. government support both direct and covert for a series of repressive regimes, and through the long-term exploitation of cheap Haitian labor by American businesses. The U.S. has an interest in acknowledging those abuses, and in making the effort to act as a friend rather than an oppressor of the Haitian people. The military in Haiti believes it has won its battle of the wills with the United States.

"Sometimes," said an American military be- Neve1 we were never serious about restbring Aristide, and other times they think we may have been serious but lacked the will. Almost no one, in or out of the Clinton administration, believes that the sanctions alone will drive the military leaders from power. Actually it is wrong to call them military leaders they are thugs, a band of murderers, rapists, terrorists and drug dealers who have all but demolished the fragile democratic infrastructure1. Bob Herbert is a columnist for The New York Times. such hardship for ordinary Haitians while at the same time having so little impact on the renegade government, is both cruel and indefensible.

President Clinton has spelled out why he feels the United States has a special interest in Haiti, and why the use of force to restore Aristide is being considered. Haiti is "in our backyard," Clinton said, and it is the only country in the Western Hemisphere in which the military has seized power from an elected leader. Haiti and Cuba are the only two countries in the hemisphere that are not democratic. Clinton also noted that if democracy was not restored to Haiti, the United States at some point would face an enormous surge of new refugees seeking to settle here. (Keeping those refugees out has been the cornerstone of American policy to date.) Other points of special interest, according to Clinton, include the thousands of Americans who live in Haiti and the one million Haitian-Americans who live here.

Finally, there is the fact that Haiti has become a staging area for drug shipments to the United States. Clinton did not mention the important role the U.S. government has truck, or the plight of their father. Hunger, disease, poverty and ignorance are staples of life in Haiti, a place where centuries of exploitation nave thrown the vast majority of the people intya, thoroughly wretched existence, (f In the two and a half years since President Jean-Bertrand Aristide was ousted in a coup, the misery has only intensified. The combination of ferocious political repression unleashed by the coup leaders and the international sanctions that were" supposed to drive them from power have made a terrible situation worse.

If the United States is going to intervene militarily in Haiti, it should do so soon. Prolonging the sanctions (even the new, improved version), when they are causing Alzheimer's research gets help ASHINGTON Two wealthy philanthropists, strangers brought together by similar family trage MARIANNE MEANS Saying what you think ecause I have no other job skills, I am always HI careful to keep this column as bland and inoffen- i sive as Possible- war Call me a coward, but to me a loss of all dignity and self-respect is vastly preferable to spending the rest of my life bathing in gas station restrooms and wandering around mall parking lots with a "Will Work For Food" sign dangling from my neck. Don't think it can't happen. Just last month, Matt Coker of the Orange County, Daily Pilot had his column taken away because of; a piece he wrote about Richard Nixon. The day before Nixon's funeral, Coker wrote a col- dies, are actually creating what others merely talk about as the 21st century institutional ideal: a private partnership with the federal govern umn that began "DING DONG DICK IS DEAD!" and went on to call the former president a paranoid ALMANAC Today is Thursday, June 2, the 153rd day of 1994.

There are 212 days left in the year. Today's Highlight in History: On June 2, 1953, Queen Elizabeth II of Britain was crowned in Westminster Abbey, 16 months after the death of her father, King George VI. On this date: In 1851, Maine became the first state to enact a law prohibiting alcohol. In 1883, the first non-league baseball game to be played under electric lights took place, in Fort Wayne, Ind. In 1886, President Cleveland married Frances Folsom in a White House ceremony.

Cleveland is, to date, the only president to marry in the executive mansion while in office. In 1924, Congress granted U.S. citizenship to all American Indians. In 1941, baseball's "Iron Horse," Lou Gehrig, died in New York of a degenerative disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. In 1946, the Italian monarchy was abolished in favor of a republic.

In 1966, the U.S. space probe Surveyor 1 landed on the moon and began transmitting detailed photographs of the lunar surface. In 1975, Vice President Nelson Rockefeller said his commission had found no widespread pattern of illegal activities at the Central Intelligence Agency. In 1979, Pope John Paul II arrived in his native Poland on the first visit by a pope to a Communist country. In 1986, for the first time, the public could watch the proceedings of the U.S.

Senate on television as a six-week experiment of televised sessions began. In 1987, President Reagan announced he was nominating economist Alan Greenspan to succeed Paul Volcker as chairman of the Federal Reserve Board. Ten years ago: In Galway, Ireland, President Reagan criticized the Soviet Union during a speech that was cut short by a hailstorm. Five years ago: President Bush returned from a European trip, calling it "a triumph of hope" for a world moving beyond the Cold War. The government reported unemployment had fallen slightly to 5.2 percent the previous month.

the ability of the government and private citizens to bring together the best minds on a problem." "The federal government alone cannot wage the fight against Alzheimer's," she said. Alzheimer's, according to Clinton, is the most expensive and least insured of all serious illnesses. Its victims require long-term, constant care. As the disease progresses, they not only forget who they are and how to perform simple tasks but can become violent and abusive; they must be watched by a responsible caregiver every single moment. Counting medical bills, nursing home and home care expenses and lost productivity, Alzheimer's costs the nation an estimated $90 billion per year.

Yet that doesn't adequately describe the emotional toll on the families involved, who can wind up exhausted mentally, physically and financially. Recent discoveries of abnormal neuron structures in the brains of Alzheimer's victims have provided clues to the cause of the disease. But a cure and effective therapy still escape us. Maybe RockefellerFisher-NIH will ride to the rescue. Let us hope.

Marianne Means is a Washington columnist for Hearst Newspapers. liar who did irreparable harm to these United States of America The same media that helped facilitate his downfall are now giving teary-eyed eulogies to this wretched, wretched man." Coker concluded his (final) column with the words "Goodbye and good riddance." The fact that Coker's editors and publisher had not only read and approved the column but actually mented him on it did not stop them from doing a quick back-pedal once the angry letters and phone calls started pouring in. After hundreds of readers complained and some can- celed their subscriptions, the Daily Pilot apologized and ran a front-page column criticizing Coker's view. Then they killed his column. too, wrote a column about Nixon, but it was a vague, tepid thing that left readers unsure as to whether I despised Nixon or favored seeing his bust chiseled into Mount Rushmore.

The column, much to my relief, generated only two angry letters: One hated the column because I had been' too mean, the other because I had been too nice. ment. The goal is not to make money but to speed up research into the cause of Alzheimer's disease, a mysterious, fatal ailment that literally robs its victims of their minds. The National Institutes of Health spent $287 million on Alzheimer's research last year, a five-fold increase over the past seven years. But it is only 3 percent of the government's total health research budget.

And competition for federal health dollars is intense, as crusaders against various illnesses jostle for public and political attention. AIDs, breast cancer, cystic fibrosis, Alzheimer's and other devastating diseases for which there is no cure must all share a financial pie that is contracting rather than expanding. AIDS, with a huge, vocal constituency, currently absorbs the lion's share of the NIH health budget, totalling more than $1 billion last year. Breast cancer, the focus of complaints about the medical profession's inattention to women's health problems, got slightly less than $230 million. Because they were unhappy with Alzheimer's share of the federal pie, David Rockefeller and Zachary Fisher decided to put some money where their hearts were.

This is no abstract do-good deed for either man, although both have a history of involvement in worthy causes. They know first-hand the pain that Alzheimer's inflicts; Rockefeller's wife died recently of the disease and Fisher's wife has been diagnosed with it. The illness attacks the brain, but it does not discriminate. It does not spare the smart and successful. The retired chairman of Chase Manhattan Bank and the prominent New York real estate developer were not acquainted before they came to share the heavy emotional burdens endured by all families with loved ones suffering from Alz- heimer's.

Rockefeller, 78, and Fisher, 82, now describe each other as new best friends. Theirs could not be a more unique or inspiring collaboration. One is a grandson of John D. Rockefeller, steeped in WASP establishment tradition, riches and power, at the center of the best of everything by hereditary right. The other, a winner of the 1990 Horatio Alger award, is a self-made businessman born to Jewish Russian immigrants.

He went to work to help support the family before he finished high school. Rockefeller, a trustee of the Museum of Modern Art, has moved in rarefied social circles all his life. Fisher, listed by Forbes magazine as worth $400 million or more, has done most of his previous charitable work for military-related causes far from the elite scene of old New York money. Only in America, as we like to say. Through their foundations the two men will give initial donations of $2.5 million each to establish a major private center for research and clinical treatment of Alzheimer's at Rockefeller University in Manhattan, It will bring together existing scattered research programs in private institutions, including programs funded by the National Institute on Aging, which is part of the National Institutes of Health.

More than 4 million Americans suffer from Alzheimer's. It kills some 100,000 victims a year. One of its most famous victims was Rita Hayworth. As the nation ages, the disease is expected to spread, afflicting as many as 10 million people within six years. First Lady Hillary Clinton helped to launch the new partnership, calling it "an example of what we need Nobody else said anything about it, which means that they probably got bored about three paragraphs into it and turned to the Cryptoquip.

While columns of that sort aren't likely to win me any writing awards, they are non-controversial, which seems more and more to be what modern journalism is all about. Part of Coker's problem might have stemmed from the fact that his paper is published in Orange County, one of the most conservative counties in California, not i to mention the county in which Nixon was born and bur-, ied. A columnist from Orange County, saying 1 mean things about Richard Nixon is about as dumb as a columnist from Sarasota County, saying rude things about elderly winter visitors from certain, large, upper-Midwestern states. LETTER POLICY Letters submitted to the Dally World tor publication should be brief and typewritten. Written letters will be accepted when they are easily read.

All letters must be signed and include a telephone number. Letters with a post office box number only are unacceptable. Names can be withheld under certain conditions. All letters are subject to editing. Letters to the Dally World are THOUGHT FOB TODAY "There is a Law that man should love his neighbor as himself.

In a few hundred years it should be as natural to mankind as breathing or the upright gait; but if he does not learn it he must perish. Alfred Alder, Austrian psychoanalyst (1870-1937). David Grimes is a columnist for the Sarasota (Fla.) Herald-Tribune..

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