The Pantagraph from Bloomington, Illinois on September 13, 1992 · Page 16
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The Pantagraph from Bloomington, Illinois · Page 16

Bloomington, Illinois
Issue Date:
Sunday, September 13, 1992
Page 16
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C2 THE PANTAGRAPH, Sunday, Sept 13, 1992 .'V . . .X", X Family breaks with KKK, now preaches dangers of hate groups STONE MOUNTAIN, Ga. (AP) -Hard times and bitterness made the Ku Klux Klan an appealing choice for Gary and Jan Ralston. They gave their children no choice at all. In 1988, the life the couple had ' begun two decades earlier as 16-year-old high school dropouts was crumbling. Gary lost his job at a radiator shop. Their church re- jected them as youth ministers be-- cause of their appearance. They had pulled their only daughter out : of school at 14 because she said she was hassled by black students ' for refusing a date with a black boy. "I had a lot of anger in my heart ; at that time," Gary said. "The Klan seemed to listen and they seemed to care." Abandoned friends For the next 3Vi years, Gary and Jan's fierce loyalty to the Klan drove them to abandon friends and . turn on their children. They forced their daughter and a 13-year-old son to join the white supremacist group. An older son who balked was beaten. Their eldest son, Allan, was thrown out of the house after he refused to join and the family learned he was gay. Gary Ralston now acknowledges brooding with , Klan buddies about killing him. "I just couldn't believe they got into an organization that would make anyone want to kill their own flesh and blood," said Allan, now 22. Ultimately, his parents couldn't believe it either. Despite a campaign of anonymous vandalism and threats, the Ralstons now are rebuilding their lives and aggressively trying to steer others from the path they chose. Tell of dangers They take their Klan scrapbook and memorabilia to schools to tell students of the dangers of hate groups. They have appeared on Workers threaten Mexican sites MERIDA, Mexico (AP) - A leading archaeologist recently warned that 500 ancient Mayan sites face destruction this year because of urban development and public-works projects. Speaking at a conference on Mayan scientific research, Thomas Lee of the Chiapas Institute of Culture said 50,000 native sites have been identified on the Yuc- ' atan Peninsula but that at least 10 percent face imminent destruction. He said farming, construction of highways, hydroelectric projects L and new communities are threatening sites in the Mexican states of Yucatan, Campeche, Quintana Roo , and Chiapas. ; "Modernization and technologi-: cal advances are the prime motive for the destruction of our past," ; Lee said. Sites facing destruction include Laguna Francesa, where some 200 Mayan mounds and two ', of the oldest Indian hardball courts in the region are located. , Lee said archaeologists are occasionally able to excavate a site just ahead of the bulldozers, but "we are only able to explore a small part of our archaeological treasures." Peter Schmidt, head of the Yuc-' atan Museum of Anthropology and History, told the conference that the construction of a highway from Merida to the tourist resort of Cancun had already damaged five 1, Mayan sites this year. ploymobll CREATIVE PLAY EVERYDAY (I V 1 fv Entire Lln of Adventura Sett at The Pirate caswa Victorian House Playmobd 1-2-3 Circus A Volkswagen Passat GL Your "Authorized Dealer" SUD's I I N I I I I t H ) G ! N' "At Your Stn icc' FT. JESSE ROAD AT TOWANDA. BLOOMINGTONNORMAL 309-454-1101 100-345-1679 Offered id qittMad (unmrn by VV Get. Inc. Voui pwtJdpMlng deaien und 1IV1192. 44Vmontfi dond-cnd leak. Mot MM on ii,w.w MMir nouomf r aranomnf vevriw mo leduakn 11,950.00 kt any cnmUnaOon of dealer contribution 1 2 SO 00 rcfondaMt ncuHn dmat dut at laaat (rmrian. Mond far 17,192-00. CXher option dealer prep, ttm ftftanflon man. far f0.10mt over tO,000 mWca a t ana nr a television talk shows and say they are negotiating deals for a book and a movie, although they won't discuss details. "I'm sorry for what I've done and what I've put people through while I was Klan," said Gary, who bears a "White Power" Klansman tattoo on his shoulder. He said he'll have it removed eventually. The Ralstons signed up for the Klan during a 1988 membership rally. They chose the militant Southern White Knights chapter and dragged their youngest two children to a nighttime initiation ceremony several weeks later in the north Georgia woods. Shannon, now 19, and her younger brother, Steve, now 17, were ordered to reject their non-white friends and participate in Klan activities. Still kept friends Steve took down his posters of Michael Jordan and hid his rap music tapes. But he refused to abandon his black friends and invited them over to play basketball when his parents weren't home. "I was always afraid the Klan would see it," he said. "But I just couldn't turn my back to all my friends because my parents went to join the Klan." Meanwhile, Gary and Jan were appointed officers of their 200-member chapter. They shouted fiery, racist speeches during rallies and spent all holidays with fellow Klansmen. Gary often received phone calls in the middle of the night, after which he would leave for several hours. He declined to be specific about the outings, but said the mission was to terrorize blacks and other Klan targets. "I never killed no one, I'll put It that way," he said. Sons refused When sons Allan and Bill, now 21, returned home from military duty in 1989, neither wanted to MYSTERIES From C1 Clay also said that when he left the area about 3 a.m. July 14, a heavy canvas tent was standing, but a mere three hours later the same tent was found in shreds, its steel grommets ripped out Other witnesses said daytime searches of the area showed paths tramped down through the tall grass and areas around several trees matted down "like something slept there." The monster apparently got tired of the attention he was getting in the Farmer City area and moved westward where he found a ready source of food in Kickapoo Creek near Heyworth. However, his peace and quiet has been ruined there, too. Several Rantoul teen-agers camping on the creek bank a couple of weeks after the Farmer City sightings spotted the hairy ape and followed him, although at a comfortable distance. After giving up the hunt, the wary teens returned to their campsite, but on the way stumbled across the apeman's feeding area. There they found "half-eaten minnows" and river mussels that had been "ripped apart and scooped clean" by the hungry monster. A few evenings later the creature said its farewell to Central Illinois when three young Waynesville men saw it standing on a hill in a back Camp Corner Oakland Ave. A Rte. 150-Blm. B27-S811 MONTH amm, powar mmm m oaonuaan awfr. upwvn i and anwmer down payment $249.2 Km monevi ptym oevmena knf 111.964.41. Opdon to purch at leaat i Ion rcaponebif (or trauranoe. M km and. hwee mponjMi 1992 VokMvgM m join the Klan. Both also brought home explosive news: Bill was engaged to a Hispanic woman, and Allan was gay. The family says Gary beat Bill several times until he agreed to call off the engagement and joined the Klan. The revelation of Allan's homosexuality prompted Gary to spend a night by the pool, drinking Jack Daniels and telling fellow Klansmen he planned to kill his son. Instead, he and Jan disowned Allan and kicked him out of the house. The Ralstons' loyalty to the KKK began to wane after Jan and Shannon appeared on a "Sally Jesse Raphael" show about mothers and daughters in the Klan. Producers also invited Allan to appear. The audience cheered him for rejecting the Klan and jeered Jan for embracing it When Allan told Jan after the show that he was not returning to Georgia, she feared she would never see her son again. Jan also was struck by an article she read on the flight home about Paul Michael Glaser, the TV actor whose wife has AIDS and whose child died from it "I was reading this and thinking, 'How do I have the audacity to praise God for AIDS?' " she said. "I talked to my husband and said, 'I'm going to come out of the Klan. It's destroying us and it's destroying me to hate.' " Gary also was having doubts. He said he cringed watching Bill deliver a speech at a Klan rally and seeing the "hateful monster" his son had become. Jan agreed to do another "Sally Jesse Raphael" show about leaving the KKK, despite Gary's threats of divorce. But Gary stopped balking when fellow Klansmen began calling the house. "They were threatening my wife while I was still a member," he said. "This was my so-called pasture near Waynesville. In 1977 Central Illinois was invaded by a bunch of big bird sightings big, big bird. Again, it was the end of July: Patsy Burns of the Logan County town of Lawndale reported seeing a huge bird pick up her 10-year-old son Merle, who weighed 70 pounds, and begin to fly off with him. Merle punched the bird and it dropped him. Merle's father Kyle saw two huge birds at the time, and other adults visiting the Burnss reported seeing them, too. Bird experts contacted by The Pantagraph, said no bird in exist-ance could lift 70 pounds. Three days later, about 6 a.m., mail truck driver Harold Stone of Bloomington saw two huge birds between Armington and Delavan. One dropped down and picked up what Stone thought was a baby pig. Clarence Jacobs reported seeing a huge bird fly over his barn near Covell the day before. Estimated wing span on all the birds was reported at 8 to 9 feet Several others reported seeing the big birds in the same general area, the McLean-Logan-Tazewell county corner, and various bird experts believed they could have been eagles or vultures. Brookfield Zoo reported a mar-ibous stork, with a 6Vi-foot wing-span, had escaped, and radio station WJBC offered a $500 reward SEPTEMBER OPerm.. $15Perm .....NOW,7s' Full Set Acrylic Nails Now '10 Wednesday is 'l Haircut Day CALL NOW G)LaC1,C5 454-5000 nr 1604 VISA DRIVE, E, EAST I r Of ill II 4 n iej f you're nearsighted, you know how difficult it is to see without glasses. Radial Keratotomy (R.K.) may be your answer for better vision. . . without glasses or contact lenses. R. K. is a precise microsurgical procedure to correct nearsightedness and astigmatism. FREE SEMINAR we Tire onenng a tree K.K. seminar Tuesday, Sept 15 at 4:30 p.m. to allow you to come and learn about this exciting new technique. Edward L. Colloton, M.D. ye Surqicai 1505 Eastland Drive, Suite 250 Bloomington, Illinois 61701 309662-7700 1 I ! 1 will." : I, l .,; '.' ',,,,,,, r ..... . .... . . w..,. ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, , The Ralston family of Stone Mountain, Ga., with the exception of one son, belonged to the Ku Klux Klan. The family now preaches the danger of hate groups. From left are: Allan, Shannon, Bill, Jan, Steven and Gary. brotherhood that I would have died for conspiring against my wife and kids." Gary never attended another Klan function and denounced the group a few months later in January on "Oprah Winfrey." Today at the Ralston home, Allan is welcome. Steve has his Michael Jordan posters back on the wall. Jan and Shannon plan to take an exam this fall to obtain high school diplomas. for a capture. That was later withdrawn when it was learned capturing a wild bird is illegal. United Press International reported a sighting in Southern Illinois on Aug. 11, and so ended the invasion. But, what if... BIGBIRD GOES ON RAMPAGE Huge Vultures Terrorize Central Illinois Giant birds with dispositions nasty enough to ruin the reputation of the "Sesame Street" character Big Bird have been terrorizing Central Illinois and nearly made a meal of a 10-year-old boy. If it wasn't for the moxie of 10-year-old Merle Burns of Lawndale, he'd be birdfood by now. Merle's mother, Patsy, was alerted to the near tragedy when she heard a bird her son, who was playing with friends in the back yard, scream. Running outside, a terrorized Mrs. Burns arrived just in time to see the biggest bird she'd ever seen swoop out of the sky, grab her 70-pound-son in its talons and start to fly off with him. At first the bird, one of two the Burnses saw, went for another boy, who dove into a small swimming If UES 3RD SUNDAYMARKET SEPT. 20 8 AM-4 PM COLLECTIBLES-CRAFTS Bloomington Fairgrounds RAYCKAFT SOV-4SZ-7VZS SPECIALS!! ...NOW'IO MotvM 30 ast-bM pa Antio UJlauf VOLLiat a imm citato. )- stgdat LANDMAXK MALL, NORMAL ji N U J o R.K. could bring your world I I It! Robert S. Bailer, M.D. Aiiocialei into focus. O . rx-. But life is far from normal. Since they broke with the Klan, the family dog has been fatally poisoned, the windows at Gary's new radiator shop have been shot out twice in one week, and the lining of the backyard pool has been slashed. Police have not caught the vandals. "We always get a call a couple of days later and that's how we know it's the Klan," Jan said. "They say pool to avoid its talons. Then it changed course and grabbed Merle by the shoulder straps of his sleeveless shirt Merle was two feet off the ground when he decided enough was enough and began punching the bird out "I've never seen anything like them before and I hope I never do again," Mrs. Burns said. Her husband Kyle and other visitors also saw the birds, described as "huge and black" with a white ring around their necks. A mail truck driver said he spotted two big birds three days later while driving his route. One stayed high in the air, driver Harold Stone said, while the other one swooped down, dropped its feet, grabbed a baby pig and flew off. "It was a pretty good size bird," said Stone. "At first I thought it was one of them California concords." A McLean County sheriffs police sergeant promised an investigation. REE DENTAL EXAM WITH 2 X-RAYS And CONSULTATION DR. JEFFREY JONES, D.D.S. SatST 454-5830 Do you know a mother - Give a Qlft she will treasure. AlternaCare has a unique program especially designed for the new mother. The first few weeks are the most tiring. Wouldn't it be great to have someone help with laundry, cooking and other children? AlternaCare can help. Call us today. AlternaCare Nursing Service 2703 McGraw Drive, Suite 1 Bloomington, Illinois 61704 ASSOCIATED UNIVERSITY NEUROSURGEONS, S.C. ANNOUNCE THE OPENING OF THEIR BLOOMINGTON OFFICE FOR CONSULTATIVE NEUROLOGICAL SURGERY AT EASTLAND MEDICAL PLAZA 1505 EASTLAND DRIVE BLOOMINGTON, IL 61701 Telephone (309) 676-0766 OFFICE HOURS BY PHYSICIAN REFERRAL: PATRICK W. ELWOOD, M.D. Effective October 1, 1992 Thursdays 9:30 a.m.-1 :30 p.m. J. RICHARD LISTER, M.D. Effective September 14, 1992 Mondays 1 :30 p.m.-5:00 p.m. ..idt ' 'At M stuff like, 'Your dog is d'ead and y'all are next"' The hate mail and threatening phone calls become more frequent after the Ralstons appear on a talk show or grant another interview. Gary has spent nights crouched in his bushes cradling a shotgun. "It might be 10 more days of this. It might be 10 more years," he said. "Not knowing is the terrorizing part" Volunteer amateurs learn to hunt fossils MAYBELL, Colo. (AP) - Their ages may range from 20 to 60, their jobs from engineer to illustrator. But they all have one thing in common: they're fans of fossils. The Denver Museum of Natural History's paleontology certification program isn't the first in the country, but it appears to be one of the most successful. It has trained 40 amateur paleontologists and has contributed 7,800 volunteer hours to the museum. It offers extensive courses in lab work, geology, curating and field work, and when the next group completes their study more than two dozen "para-paleontologists" will be certified. "Ever since I was a kid, I've wanted to do this," said Kim Her-rell, a teacher from Crest Hill Middle School in Douglas County. "Like a lot of people my age, I've always been interested." "Fossils are where you find them. You need patience for this kind of work," Stuckey said. "The rocks are just like a book: They can tell you what happened in the past" Divorce Affordable fees Attorney Frank Hoffman Ph. 827-7667 to - be? CALL 663-2273 EOE V

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