The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, September 17, 1997, Page 8, Image 8

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    NASA plans protested
Staff Reporter
If NASA’s plan works, on Oct.
13, an exploration spacecraft carry
ing 72 pounds of plutonium will
blast into space heading for Saturn.
But one activist, who says the risk is
too great, hopes the plan won’t work.
Bill Sulzman, co-founder of
Global Network Against Weapons
and Nuclear Power in Space, has
been on a nationwide campaign to
get the National Aeronautics and
Space Administration to rethink the
launch of the nuclear-powered
Cassini spacecraft.
Sulzman, of Colorado Springs,
Colo., will bring his arguments to
the University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Wednesday night. UNL Nebraskans
for Peace is sponsoring Sulzman’s
speech, which will start at 7 p.m. in
the Nebraska Union.
“Enough last-minute public
pressure may build up in order to
delay the launch until it is modified
for the use of solar energy,” Sulzman
said. “The planet isn’t going any
Sulzman said he’s worried that
engineers and officials are trying to
rush the launch.
Cassini’s departure will be
delayed a week because engineers
found that an air-conditioner line
had been turned up too high, and the
pressure from the air had lifted some
insulation, NASA said.
“It is an unnecessarily dangerous
launch of plutonium into space, and
there is already concern with the
security of the rocket,” Sulzman
said. “Due to this delay, there will be
a real rush to get the launch under
way, further increasing the chances
of human error.”
Don Savage, public affairs offi
cer at NASA headquarters, dis
agrees with Sulzman, saying Cassini
is the most thoroughly reviewed
launch ever implemented by NASA,
and that the necessary repairs have
been made.
“The Cassini mission has been
under review for the past six years by
NASA and the Department of
Energy,” Savage said.
Cassini is scheduled to circle
Venus twice, to pick up speed. It
then will be on a path toward Earth,
traveling at 42,300 mph, and should
bounce off Earth’s atmosphere and
head for Saturn. While circling the
Earth, it will come within seconds of
an inadvertent re-entry into Earth’s
Savage said the chances of re
entry are one in a million. “ (Circling
the Earth) is a maneuver that is very
well understood and very precise,”
Savage said.
Through this mission, NASA
hop#s to gather information about
Saturn’s rings and moons, and obtain
pictures that will be taken with the
Hubble telescope.
Sulzman said although he was in
favor of space exploration, the
chances of an accident are too great
to implement this mission.
“As technology becomes more
complicated, more problems are
likely to arise,” Sulzman said.
NASA has increased the chance
of a Cassini disaster from 1 in 1500
to 1 in 345. And NASA’s Jet
Propulsion Laboratory gives
Cassini’s rocket engines a 1 in 20
chance of failure.
Sulzman said he did not think
that these calculations are depend
“They’re basically doing com
puter projections. Nobody knows
what the outcome is going to be,”
Sulzman said. “But if you put
garbage in, you’ll get garbage out.”
Many researchers agree that
even the smallest leak of plutonium
could have extreme effects on both
humans and wildlife.
But Savage said the plutonium is
stored in canisters that are extremely
secure, and even if there were an
accident, NASA is not expecting any
release of plutonium; besides, such a
plutonium leak could be retrieved.
The dangers of a plutonium spill
or leak depend on how far humans
are from the substance, and how
long they are exposed, said Mary
Bisbee, a radiation safety specialist
with UNL’s Division of
Environmental Health and Safety.
Direct contact with plutonium
can cause radiation sickness, bums
and cancer, if the person is exposed
for a long time, she said.
In the worst case scenario, a
report conducted by NASA estimat
ed the cleanup costs from a leak at
$247 million per square mile.
“The costs of cleanup alone are
incomprehensible,” Sulzman said.
“And often times things don’t always
work as the engineers says they
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Projects To Go
Communities must acknowledge
gang problems, even in Lincoln
By Matthew Watte
Senior Reporter
Denying that gangs exist or
assigning them politically correct
names will not help curb their crimi
nal behavior, a gang expert told law
enforcement officers and school offi
cials Tuesday.
Ken Trump, a consultant for
schools on youth crime and gang
issues, told a regional police confer
ence in Lincoln that he has seen
gangs called “unauthorized social
groups” and “anti-social youth net
working.” No matter the name, com
munities need to honestly address
gangs and their activities, he said.
“The gang problem is going to
continue,” Trump said.
Trump was one of two featured
presentations at “Community
Policing: Projects to Go,” a three-day
conference sponsored by the Lincoln
Police Department and the U.S.
Attorney’s Office.
Lincoln police Capt. Joy Citta
said 185 police officers, school offi
cials and liquor industry members
from four states were attending the
Trump’s 3‘/2-hour presentation,
“Juvenile Crime, Gangs and School
Security,” was filled with slides of
horror stories from across the nation.
He showed the more than 80 people
in the morning session slide after
slide of weapons confiscated in
schools and newspaper articles with
gory headlines of school violence.
The program was skewed toward
larger cities with more gang prob
lems than Lincoln; nevertheless,
Trump warned, teachers and police
officers need to watch for gang sym
bols on notebooks and other belong
There are two major categories of
national gangs, Trump said: the Los
Angeles and the Chicago gangs. The
Bloods and the Crips are from Los
Angeles. Chicago area gangs are the
Folk and the People, which include
major subgroups, or sets, known as
the Gangster Disciples, Latin Kings
and Vice Lords, along with dozens of
other lesser known sets.
Lincoln police Chief Tom Casady
said police now have 480 names in
their gang-member database. The
database is a list of names that have
been tied to gangs. If a name has no
activity reported in one year, it is
removed from the file.
Casady said there are “innumer
able” sets in Lincoln with all kinds of
names. He said youths have claimed
all of the major gangs Trump out
Compared with other cities,
Lincoln’s gang activity is disorga
nized, Casady said, but there have
been all sorts of gang-related crimes.
He said, however, that he thought
gang activity in Lincoln had leveled
“There are fewer visible signs of
the attraction to gang activity,” he
said. “My sense is that real blatant
gang activity is not in favor. My
sense is that it’s more low key.”
Recent blatant gang activity in
Lincoln has been sometimes comi
cal. Last week, Lincoln police report
ed gang graffiti that spelled Crips
wrong twice: Cirps and Crirps.
Trump warned his audience not
to just pass off gang activity as the
actions of “wanna-bes.”
“If you have a wanna-be gang
member break into a gun shop and
steal guns and go out with their
wanna-be gang member friends and
shoot someone, you have a wanna-be
homicide,” he said.
Trump said, however, that com
munities needed to constantly review
how well their programs are working.
“We have to be careful, regardless
of the programs ... to make sure the
relationships are the focus, not the
programs and the buzzwords,” he
said. “What’s more dangerous, the
system or the clients?”
Lincoln council combats
issues of alcohol abuse
By Matthew Waite
Senior Reporter
Lincoln is a national model for
bar owners, police, city officials and
alcohol counselors working together
to make the city more hospitable, a
hospitality expert said Tuesday.
Jim Peters, speaking to more than
80 police officers laid liquor industry
" officials at a Community policing
conference, said the collaboration of
one-time rivals to work out problems
surrounding the serving of alcohol
has other cities following Lincoln’s
The Responsible Hospitality
Council formed jn 1993 and is made
up of officials from the city, the bars,
liquor distributors, counselors4and
the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
The group meets monthly to discuss
how to minimize the risks involved
with alcohol.
“We’ve learned to trust each
other,” said Rand Weise from the
Lincoln Package Beverage
Association. “And argue respectfully
sometimes.” V"
Peters is in Lincoln this week to
speak at “Community Policing:
Projects To Go,” a three-day confer
ence sponsored by the Lincoln Police
Department and the U.S. Attorney’s
office. A group of 185 police offi
cers, school administrators and liquor
industry officials from four states
attended the conference Tuesday.
Peters said in a community, there
are three barriers to responsibility:
■ People don’t know what irre
sponsible behavior is.
■ People know, but they don’t
know how to respond to irresponsible
■ People know, but they don’t
With a system such as Lincoln’s
Responsible Hospitality Council,
officials can combat those barriers
and curb problems such as binge
drinking, drunken driving and liquor
license violations.
According to members of the
council, the Comhusker
Detoxification Center admits 1,500
people annually. Half of those people
come from bars or restaurants.
To try to combat alcohol abuse,
the council convinced bar owners to
ban free shots on birthdays.
Linda Major, alcohol and drug
education coordinator for the
University Health Center’s alcohol
program coordinator, said the ban has
not stopped bar crawls, and the coun
cil is looking at how to combat the
social powers that push students to
drink heavily on birthdays.
Peters said hospitality and the
serving of alcohol was a lubricant for
social and business interactions. He
said unruly drunks hurt business.
“We all benefit,” he said. “All
businesses benefit from a well-run
hospitality industry.”