The Monitor from McAllen, Texas on October 20, 2000 · 19
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The Monitor from McAllen, Texas · 19

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McAllen, Texas
Issue Date:
Friday, October 20, 2000
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19
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I CRIME Mission teen-ager arraigned with more charges pending: 2C Valley & State SECTION C Obituaries: 2C PSJA Monitor: 3C Weather Data: IOC FRIDAY, OCTOBER 20, 2000 LITIGATION Former instructor files lawsuit against STCC By JO NAPOLITANO The Monitor McAL,LEN A former literature instructor at South Texas Community College has filed a lawsuit against the school, charging that she was fired after she publicly opposed mandatory standardized testing. Kathleen Dahl, with the support of the Texas Faculty a GOVERNMENT Water board accepts Palm view settlement By RICKEY DAILEY The Monitor AUSTIN The Texas Water Development Board has agreed to accept $7,700 to settle a $77,000 dispute with the city of Palmview over a flawed planning study for a colonia project, a city official said Thursday. "The board members are going to take 10 cents on the dollar to settle this," Palmview city administrator Jesse Lerma said, adding the city also will hire an attorney to recover additional money from engineers contracted to do the work. An aide to state Sen. Judith Zaffirini, who intervened on Palmview's behalf, confirmed the agreement. "The city's only liable for that amount," said Cindy Ellison, Zaffirini's aide, referring to the $7,700. "We think.it will be a good deal all the way around." However, water board executive administrator Craig Pedersen on Thursday denied the existence of a settlement. "The board has not agreed to anything at this point," he said, adding he was unsure why Lerma and Zaffirini believed otherwise. "I told Sen. Zaffirini's staff that we had something I thought we could agree on. Until we have a signed agreement, we're only close. I feel like an agree ment is imminent," Pedersen said. , The board discussed the issue for 45 minutes in executive session Wednesday, under the exemption to the Texas Open Meetings Act that allows governmental bodies to discuss ' See WATER page 10C Association, a statewide advocacy group for college professors, also named STCC President Shirley Reed and development director Ken Bind-seil in the lawsuit. Dahl, who taught at STCC for five years, is suing for back wages, compensatory and punitive damages, and lawyer fees but has not asked for a specific amount. Lori Smith, director for public relations and marketing at STCC, said the college has not yet been served with the lawsuit and could not comment on it. Dahl, who was notified in June that STCC had not renewed her contract, said she would like to return to the college if she would be treated fairly. "My concern was always with the4 students," she said. "I am very committed to working with them." She claims college officials gave her unfavorable reviews that led to her dismissal in retaliation for a letter she had written against standardized tests that was published in a local newspaper. "It's devastating," Dahl said, "but I stand by what I did." She said her reviews improved slightly in the months after the letter was published. But they plummeted again when officials learned she had met with representatives of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, an accrediting agency that evaluates regional colleges and universities. Charles Zucker, executive director of the Texas Faculty Association, said that if Dahl had shared unflattering information about STCC with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, it could have led to a serious investigation of STCC's practices and possibly jeopardized its accreditation. See LAWSUIT page 10C O it? Ik V- "' r-'.. 5 it ' - , - V"X "A v . - - '.it ;; o John SchmidThe Monitor HAZY TRAILS Two McAllen residents start their morning with a walk through the fog Thursday in Bill Schupp Park. CRIME Police investigating missing CPS documents The Monitor EDINBURG Police are investigating the disappearance of nearly 50 documents from a local Child Protective Services office. Employees of the office at 300 East Canton Road noticed that 47 files containing case worker field notes were missing Wednesday evening, said Lois Shull, a director of community relations for the Texas Department of Protective and Regulatory Services. "The documents that are missing are what we refer to as external documents. Most are done on a computer-based system ... these are called pri-.mary files. None of these have been disturbed. The external documents are those we don't generate on the computer, like the notes the caseworkers take," she said. See FILES page 10C CONTROVERSY Donna mayor accused of striking lawyer By TRAVIS M. WHITEHEAD The Monitor DONNA Mayor Lonnie Flores, who was accused two months ago of headbutting a city commissioner, has been accused of assault after an alleged incident that occured about 2 a.m. Thursday at a local bar. f v fH Although a report was V--i.?" 1 filprl with Donna nolice -1 1 . 1 E, 1 ' lne case may lumeu f,J over to the Hidalgo County ;nerin s uepart-ment for investigation. Police said the complaint was filed by Vicente Gonzalez of McAllen, who said he See MAYOR page 10C FLORES GOVERNMENT Health commissioner Archer placed on paid leave after discrimination complaint By JIM VERTUNO The Associated Press AUSTIN Embattled state Health Commissioner William " R e y n " ARCHER Archer III, accused by a fired employee of making racially insensitive remarks to her, was placed on leave of absence Thursday. Gov. George W. Bush, who approved Archer's 1997 nomination and supported him through previous controversies, called Archer's conversation with Dr. Demetria Montgomery "inappropriate." Bush spokeswoman Linda Edwards said the governor supported placing Archer on leave. "Governor Bush believes this was an inappropriate con versation for a supervisor to have with an employee," Edwards said. "It occurred after a series of inappropriate remarks." Montgomery, who is black, was fired from a high-level administrative position last month. She filed a discrimination complaint against Archer this week, just a few months after he was forced, to apologize for comments about Hispanics and teen pregnancy. Her complaint led to renewed calls from Democratic lawmakers for his ouster. Doug McBride, health department spokesman, said Archer would release no comment Thursday on the leave of absence and that he does not plan to resign. Montgomery based her complaint to the state Commission on Human Rights on a February conversation with Archer that she secretly tape-recorded. Montgomery said that Archer subjected her to a humiliating analysis of her "spiritual problems" and referred to her race and to "lynching." Archer can be heard on the tape referring several times to Montgomery's race and said "you are fair (skinned) as a black woman, you get certain privileges in white culture that others don't get for that." Archer also suggested that she had her brains instead of her heart to advance her career and "that's what white people do." In a prepared statement released Wednesday, Archer said he was disappointed the tape was made public. "She invited me to talk about her job problems in a wide-ranging and reflective way," Archer said. "It saddens me to learn that Dr. Montgomery is now attempting to use parts of our conversation, a personal conversation that she requested and secretly recorded, to support a legal action against the state of Texas," Archer said. HEALTH Federal officials forming partnerships as AIDS moves into minority communities The Associated Press SAN ANTONIO Federal health officials are seeking new partnerships with Hispanic and black communities as the AIDS epidemic moves disproportionately into those ethnic groups, U.S. Surgeon . General Dr. David Satcher said on Thursday. Although AIDS and HIV are now striking populations often poor and disenfranchised, the epidemic must remain a national concern for all Americans, Satcher said. "This is America's problem," the surgeon general said during a news conference at St. Mary's University in San Antonio. "Whatever effects the most vulnerable population in this country ultimately impacts us all." 5" to! to if t 0J CiDS The Associated Press Informative Speaker U.S. Surgeon General Dr. David Satcher speaks about the HIV AIDS infection and its impact on Latino communities in the United States during a news conference Thursday in San Antonio. The rate of new HIV infections has fallen dramatically since the 1980s. The number of new cases has fallen from 150,000 a year to about 40,000 during the 1990s as public education See AIDS page 10C I

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