The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, January 30, 1997, Page 6, Image 6

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    Bill would limit school age gap
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By Erin Schulte
Senior Reporter
The Comhusker football coaches
aren’t the only people in the state to
practice red-shirting.
Sen. Roger Wehrbein of Plattsmouth
said too many parents “red-shirt” their
5-year-olds and wait until they’re almost
6 to send them to kindergarten.
At the same time, Wehrbein said,
“More and more 4-year-olds are being
mshed into kindergarten.”
The two-year age gap can cause
problems in the classroom and place
an undue burden on teachers, Wehrbein
said when he pitched LB 174 to the
education committee Tuesday.
The bill would move the cutoff
birthdate for children entering kinder
garten from Oct. 15 to Aug. 1, which
he hoped would decrease the age gap.
Four-year-olds with birthdays in Au
gust, September and October would
have to wait until the next academic
year under the bill’s provisions, as well.
Several kindergarten teachers tes
tified in support of the bill, and said the
age level wasn’t the only problem —
emotional, intellectual and physical lev
els caused problems, too.
Kay Vonderschmidt, who has taught
kindergarten for 20 years, said just because
kids knew their letters and numbers ditto’t
justify entrance to kindergarten.
“As a society, we’re really starting
to pressure kids,” Vonderschmidt said.
A few opposed the bill, saying it
wouldn’t make much difference, and
that children’s developmental levels
would vary regardless of new entry
date restrictions.
“No matter where we move the date,
there will always be a 12-month varia
tion,” said Carolyn Law, an Omaha el
ementary school principal. “The range
tends to slow down by the third grade.”
Washington to take stand for first time
TRIAL from page 1
inside, bought some liquor and
walked outside.
As they walked to their car, Cole
and some associates drove up. Brown
said Cole tried picking a fight.
Brown said he and Washington
got in their car and drove away.
Brown said that later he, Wash
ington and Abdul Muhammed de
cided to go to the Kwik Shop to buy
some snacks. Brown said that when
they tried leaving the store, Cole was
there shouting “fighting words.”
Brown said Muhammed threw
the first punch at Cole, which started a
fight. Brown later jumped in.
When Brown let up, he backed off tc
make another charge at Cole, Brown said.
That was when the first shot sounded.
Brown said he did not see who fired
the first shot, and was running away cm the
second and third. He did not call police,
and got a ride home from where he ran—
only three blocks from his apartment
“It’s not that common where I live
to go back to tell the police,” Browr
said. “I was scared, and I just don’l
talk to the police.”
Another defense witness said she saw
another man, Jason Narcisse, come
to the Kwik Shop several times. Mary
Caldwell, a Kwik Shop assistant man
ager, said Narcisse’s car, a red Honda
Prelude, left the Kwik Shop moments
after the shooting.
She said Narcisse came back hours
after the shooting. She said he was
wearing a red basketball tank top.
Three prosecution witnesses, who
said Washington was the gunman, de
scribed the former football player as
wearing a red tank top. Video evi
dence shown by the defense showed
Washington wearing a black T-shirt.
Firefighters could get higher wages
uiNiury irom page 1
the same desire as always to protect
j the city.
However, the morale and attitude
The fire department had always held faith
in the city and trusted its officials’ lead
ership, he said, but lately, members of
the department have found fewer rea
sons to trust Lincoln’s government
Mayor Johanns said that while he
comparably !<>w wages ofLisiofa
firefighters, other factors were involved
in the delayed decision.
“The benefits for Lincoln
firefighters are truly outstanding,” said
Johanns, citing time off and insurance
for Lincoln firefighters, which are bet
ter than most packages at fire depart
ments in the comparison cities.
Lincoln firefighters also receive
complete uniforms, extensive insur
ance, sickleave, longevity pay, vaca
tion timiNRhd pension benefits.
Under their insurance plans,
firefighters get 73 percent to 100 per
cent of health insurance and 50 percent
of dental insurance premiums paid.
The firefighters’ longevity pay gives
those who have been there longest the
highest raises.
Despite this, many firefighters think
that the city council doesn’t care about
them, Spadt said. He said many
firefighters think Lincoln residents
should get more than that.
“Citizens expect and deserve our
services in full.”
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