The San Bernardino County Sun from San Bernardino, California on July 2, 1981 · Page 13
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The San Bernardino County Sun from San Bernardino, California · Page 13

San Bernardino, California
Issue Date:
Thursday, July 2, 1981
Page 13
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TJrt., Jy'y 2, 1 II 1 ta lip , i ' C v I .V s li vf j - , . li .t:-l:- fewfe- uto'!Si,-i J i in y mi 1 1 li in i J 1 ,4 ; C from block grants AP Wlrspftoto The control room of the new $5 million computerized fire control system at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas. Computers monitor MGM Grand LAS VEGAS (AP) MGM Grand Hotel officials showed off their new computerized $5 million life safety system Wednesday in the partially refurbished resort where 84 persons died in a massive fire last year. The system, part of the $50 million fire remodeling project at the massive hotel, ties in hundreds of smoke detectors and 30,500 sprinkler heads to a main fire control room were two operators constantly monitor 1,900 different locations. "We hope it's never needed," said MGM spokesman Bill Bray, "but we are dedicated to making the MGM Grand one of the safest hotels in the world." While hundreds of workmen scurried around the hotel preparing for the scheduled July 30 reopening, members of the news media were given a tour of the Strip resort, site of the second worst hotel fire in the nation's history. . Fire officials blamed an electrical short in the delicatessen area for the blaze that roared through the massive casino and sent deadly smoke pouring throughout the 26-story hotel in the early morning hours last Nov. 21. The fire killed 84 persons and injured 700 others, and left the hotel as a defendant in suits filed by survivors and relatives of the victims asking for hundreds of millions of dollars in damages. "We can't talk about the fire now," said Bray. "It is all in litigation and our attorneys have told us not to discuss it at all." ; Designed and installed by Johnson Controls of Milwaukee, Wis., the heart of the new fire alarm system is the control room where two computers, one a backup unit, constantly monitor every area of the huge resort. The computer is programmed to automatically activate up to 1,000 different life safety functions to halt the spread of fire or smoke and help guide hotel occupants to safety. At the first sign of fire or smoke, sensors located throughout the resort activate lights on a 20-foot graphics panel in the fire control room, showing operators the exact problem and location of the trouble. The computers activate alarms and assure hotel guests via an intercom tape that the resort is aware of a problem and instruct guests to turn to a closed-circuit television channel showing them what to do in an emergency. At the same time, the fire department is alerted and operators can close off lobby doors and return elevators to the main floor to help contain any spread of smoke or flame. When reopened later this month, the MGM will feature 2,851 guest rooms, including 762 rooms in a new addition, and a 60,000 square foot casino area. Billed as the world's largest resort hotel in interior space, the hotel cost $136 million when it opened in December 1973. New York Tims News Service WASHINGTON Two California congressmen, a liberal Democrat and a conservative Republican, worked quietly and separately last week to remove foster care and selected health programs from the block grants that are the heart of President Reagan's "new federalism" plan to shift power to the states. Rep. John H. Rousselot, one of' the most conservative legislators in the House, reportedly resisted strong White House pressures and thwarted moves to return responsibility to the states for foster care of children, a key program in the block grant for social services proposed by the Reagan administration. "I'm a great believer in block grants but I honestly didn't think that foster care should be lost in it," Rousselot said in a telephone interview from his district office in Arcadia. "The basic point is to try to get these kids into a good family and not get lost in the system, as we once had. Many states just weren't keeping track." . . A second representative, Henry A. Waxman, blunted several key administration proposals by leading his subcommittee on health and the environment to oppose inclusion in the block grant of such health programs as childhood immunization, venereal disease control and community and migrant health centers. Instead these programs, whose proposed authorizations this year total $916 million, will be kept out of the block grants and remain separate, federally-controlled categorical programs. Programs that were kept in the block grant, including maternal and child health care, fluoridation and rat control and alcohol and drug abuse programs, totaled $696 million. Waxman, who is in Los Angeles for the holiday recess, said in a telephone interview: "We consolidated some block grants where it was appropriate, where states were already involved. But in these other programs we would have taken successful federal efforts and split them into 50 separate programs. It made no sense." "Transferring some of these programs into block grants would have been just harmful," Waxman added. He said migrant and community health centers as well as family planning programs would wither in many states, if the states were given control. "One of the reasons the administration wanted to put family planning in the block grant is to give right-to-life groups a chance to eliminate family planning," Wax-man said. Block grants have emerged as a keystone to the administration's promise to reverse years of growing federal involvement in social programs and to return control of these measures to the states. Reagan has urged the consolidation of categorical grants for some 500 specific programs into six unrestricted block grants that would go directly to the states to divide as they please among various programs. However, the block grant proposals have stirred some resistance in the House. The issue of what programs to include in the block grant concept will be resolved in a House-Senate conference this month. Reflecting the administration's approach, the Republican-controlled Senate included most of these programs within block grants. What spurred Rousselot and others was legislation approved last year in the House that sought federal protection over the care of. 500,000 foster children. The legislation, the Adoption Assistance and Child Welfare Act, was passed by a vote of 401 to 2 after years of efforts to please conservatives as well as liberals. Its aim was, essentially to overhaul the "Dickensian world in which children were kept drugged, beaten, tied to beds and got lost in the jungle of foster care," according to Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., a sponsor of the measure. The act, which would have been eviscerated under the Administration's block grant proposals, provided fiscal incentives to state and local governments to provide family counseling and emergency child care in the home and to prevent unnecessary removal of children. Beyond this, the measure required that children in foster care be placed in reasonable proximity to their families. I , ; I Ji ) U U srl ivy J U J i wfl 1 !j :z.' s. . g-j iftra lovv 5 mg. "tar", 0 5 mg. nicotine av. cer ciqarette bv FTC method. i

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