THE SALINA JOURNAL NATION MONDAY. MAY 7, 2001 A9 T WHITE HOUSE T-BALL T U.S.-CHINA CRISIS U.S. spy plane may be flown out of China The Associated Press President Bush and first lady Laura Bush listen to the national anthem during the Bush administration's first tee-ball game Sunday on the South Lawn of the White House. Promoting baseball Little leaguers make debut on Bush's field of dreams By SCOTT LINDLAW The Associated Press WASHINGTON — "Welcome to baseball in the White House," President Bush cheered before joining about 300 fans crowded onto makeshift bleachers Sunday to watch the spirited debut of tee ball on the South Lawn. "All right, let's play ball," the one-time Little Leaguer and self-described "mediocre" college pitcher said. He placed the first ball on a tee for the opening swing by the Satchel Paige Memphis Red Sox, who took on the Capitol City Rockies. With a solid swing, 8-year-old Martina Adams stroked a single into right field. It was recorded ^by a swarm of photographers and reporters, and broadcast on C- SPAN. ' The 32 boys and girls, ages 5 to 8, scampered across the kid-sized diamond on a sunny spring afternoon. The president joined the^'teams in reciting the Little League anthem, saying, "I will play fair and strive to win, but win or lose, I will always do my best." During the game, Bush sat in the middle of the bleachers next to AU-Star shortstop Nomar Garciaparra of the Boston Red Sox who is sidelined by wrist surgery Bush signed a steady stream of memorabilia. He opened the festivities about 20 minutes after returning from a weekend at the Camp David presidential retreat. He got out of his helicopter, plunged into the crowd of players and their families, autographed baseballs and went into the White House long enough just to change his suit jacket and shoes. For Bush, the game in his own backyard represented a chance to promote baseball, and to again indulge in his passion. The former part-owner of the Texas Rangers met Friday with the World Series champion New York Yankees. He threw out the first pitch at the Milwaukee Brewers' home opener last month. Next month, he will attend the College World Series opener in Omaha, Neb. Trees serve as foul poles He is field is tucked in a secluded spot behind the White House, shielded from the sun and from gawking tourists by a thick canopy of trees. Two trees serve as unofficial foul poles. The field is safely away from the windows. A modest bleacher was placed along the first base line, and a towering news media platform beyond center field. Red, white and blue bunting hung on makeshift feijces. NBC announcer Bob Costas delivered the play-by-play With picnic tables behind the backstop, it was an all-American scene, except for the Secret Service's German shepherds sniffing the duffel bags. Sunday's game was the first in a series planned on the South Lawn. "The president hopes that this initiative spurs interest in baseball and will help promote America's national pastime to people of all ages," a White House statement said. Tee ball is a low-pressure introduction to the game. There is no pitching; batters hit the ball off an upright tube. The left field fence was 80 feet, right field, 85 feet. Bush has had a lifelong interest in the game. He rounded up neighborhood kids for pickup games in Midland, Texas, as a boy formed a prep school stickball league in Andover, Mass., and briefly played baseball at Yale University. Earlier this year he said as a middle reliever on Yale's freshman baseball team, he was "mediocre" at best. "I peaked in Little League in Midland, Texas," Bush said. On Sunday he told the crowd that Gar ciaparra also played in Little League. "I peaked and he didn't," the president joked. $80 million plane was damaged in collision last month By BRIGITTE GREENBERG The Associated Press WASHINGTON — Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said Sunday it may be possible to fly a damaged U.S. surveillance plane from the Chinese military base where it has remained since an April 1 collision with a Chinese fighter. "The preliminary view is that it may be possible to repair it sufficiently to fly it out, but that's not clear yet. We'll know later this week," Rumsfeld told NBC's "Meet the Press." He added President Bush would make the final decision, "but I think that certainly it would be logical it would be flown out." Before a team of technicians began inspecting the $80 million plane last week, it was unknown whether the Navy aircraft had sustained structural damage that would make it unsafe to fly The collision damaged two of the surveillance plane's engines and one of its four propellers. It also caused the plane's nose cone to break off, and pieces of metal punctured parts of the fuselage. The EP-3E collided with the Chinese jet as the U.S. plane was conducting surveillance off China's southern coast. China held the 24-member U.S. crew for 11 days after they made an emergency landing on Hainan RUMSFELD The EP-3E surveillance plane was packed with sensitive electronic eavesdropping equipment used to collect intelligence on China's military. island in southern China. The plane was packed with sensitive electronic eavesdropping equipment used to collect intelligence on China's military U.S. officials have ^said they believe the EP-3E crew managed to destroy the most sensitive information and equipment before they left. . Also Sunday, Rumsfeld took the blame for confusion last week from a Pentagon memo that mistakenly called for the suspension of all U.S. military contacts with China. "There's no question that I made a mistake. A mistake was made," Rumsfeld said on CBS' "Face the Nation." "To the extent there's any fault... to be assigned, it's certainly as much mine as anyone else's and I'm in charge." The memo from Rumsfeld's office to senior military and civilian officials in the Pentagon said the secretary had directed "the suspension of all Department of Defense programs, contacts and activities with the People's Republic of China until further notice." Hours after the memo was reported worldwide by U.S. news organizations, a spokesman for Rumsfeld said the memo was a mistake and an aide had gotten it wrong. Licensed & Bonded For Your Protection. Midwest Security Systems, inc. 1006 E. Iron/Salina, KS 785-825-8157 / 800-732-7863 Nurses / Should strategies change? FROM PAGE A1 , Aiken said hospitals need to •offer pei'sonnel policies and . benefits comparable to those offered by other businesses — such as better advancement, .lifelong learning opportunities 1, and flexible work schedules — .,,/f they are to retain qualified ^.nurses, rather than relying on ' "popular short-term strategies , such as signing bonuses and use of temporary personnel." The American Hospital Association and its affiliated American Organization of Nurse Ex- tii^cutives agree "nurses have jipne of the toughest jobs in CfAmerica," said Pam Thompson,' executive director of the nurse executives' group. Improving working conditions is difficult because of shortages of people qualified for the jobs and financial constraints on the health care industry in general, Thompson said. "We are trying to take.a limited amount of dollars and ... looking at how to use those resources in the best way possible," she said. One of every three hospitals nationally and three of every four hospitals in Pennsylvania are losing money on patient care, partly because of limited reimbursements from Medicaid, Medicare and private insurers, said Roger Baumgarten, spokesman for the Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania. Thompson said more support staff may be needed in hospitals so that nurses "can focus on the jobs they are trained for" That would address one big frustration the study found. More than 40 percent of the U.S. nurses surveyed said they did non-nursing tasks such as delivering food trays or transporting patients. Similar problems were cited, though less frequently, in other countries. 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