The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, February 06, 1998, Page 2, Image 2

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    Test center funding debated
By Todd Anderson
Assignment Reporter
State investment in an electronics
testing center at the University of
Nebraska Technology Park would
open the door to long-term economic
development, businessmen and
administrators said during the
Appropriations Committee hearing
Five speakers testified in favor of
LB 1173, a bill sponsored by Lincoln
Sen. Ron Raikes, which would give $5
million to Southeast Community
College to build the center and buy
high-tech equipment
Jack Huck, president of Southeast
Community College, said the center
would be a catalyst for growth in
“This is an opportunity for a strong
economic development model that
may have spinoffs in other industries,”
he said.
In addition, he said, overseeing the
construction and maintenance of the
site would fit within the role and mis
sion of SCC by providing hands-on
experience for students and employees
in electronics field.
The community college would
own the center, which would be locat
ed in northwest Lincoln’s Tech Park.
Joel Young, vice president of engi
neering and marketing for Transcrypt
International, located in Tech Park,
said his company would save more
than $100,000 a year in testing expens
es by using the facility.
The center would not only attract
revenue from electronics businesses in
other states, he said, but workers from
other states would have more incentive >
to relocate to Nebraska.
He said private businesses had dis
cussed the possibility of funding a cen
ter on their own, but the project would
be more productive with the involve
ment of public and private sectors.
“The educational aspects and the
cooperation of our community col
lege, the university and private indus
try working together are a critical cata
lyst for helping to attract qualified
workers to the state,” he said.
The committee took no action on
the bill.
Sex offenders post-prison fates argued
By Brian Carlson
Senior Reporter
When probable repeat sex offend
ers finish their prison sentences, they
should serve time in mental institu
tions rather than threaten the public,
supporters of LB 1096 argued
The bill, presented in a hearing of
the Legislature’s Health and Human
Services Committee, would require
sex offenders to be examined by men
tal health professionals before being
If the offender was found to be
mentally ill or to have a mental abnor
mality making repeated offenses like
ly, the offender could face civil com
mitment and mental health treatment
in a mental health facility.
Mental health professionals, how
ever, said their industry is not
equipped to protect the public from sex
offenders when the criminal justice
system fails to do so.
Nebraska Attorney General Don
Stenberg said the proposal was in
response to a Supreme Court ruling
last year upholding a similar statute in
“With respect to sexually violent
offenders, Nebraska citizens deserve
much more protection,” he said “Only
when these extremely dangerous
predators are confined where they do
not have access to potential victims ;
will Nebraska citizens enjoy the mea
sure of safety that the law can and
should provide” .
Stenberg said LB1096 would com- ,
plement related pieces of legislation
being considered in 1998. ,
LB323 would increase punish
ments for repeat sexual offenders; ;
LB204, known as “Megan’s Law,” i
would provide for public notification |
when sex offenders are released.
But opponents objected to
LB 1096, saying it was an attempt to ]
dump the failures of the criminal jus- ;
tice system into the lap of the state’s j
mental health system.
J. Rock Johnson of the National ]
Alliance for the Mentally HI said die ;
bill recklessly equated mental abnor- ;
malities with true mental illness. i
The bill could also divert mental
health facilities’ funding from needy :
patients, she said.
Invoking William Joinings Bryan, <
Johnson said, “We will not be cruci
fied on a cross of punishment and i
incarceration.” i
Terry Davis, a psychiatrist repre
senting the Nebraska Psychiatric
Association, said the mingling of men
tal health patients and sex offenders
would pose a threat to patients’ safety.
Davis also questioned the effec
tiveness of mental health treatment for
sex offenders, saying results had been
Davis said he thought the bilT!s true
purpose is not to rehabilitate sex
sffenders but to quarantine them Sum
he public - a task better suited for the
criminal justice system.
Eric Evans, deputy director of
Nebraska Advocacy Services, said die
3ill stigmatized mental health patients
)y wrongly equating mental illness
with violent behavior.
“This does extreme injustice to
leople who are mentally ill and their
families by codifying this stigma in
state statute,” he said.
But Sen. Kate Witek, Health and
Human Services Committee member
ind bill co-sponsor, $^ thepfopd&ar '
irose out of public dissatisfaction with
he handling of released sex offenders.
After a failure to secure increased
sentences for sex offenders, Witek
said, bill drafters resorted to the civil
commitment option.
“It’s more of a frustration than any
hing else causing people to turn to that
Student fees may rise to pay for union
CFAfrom page! _
dent, said, “If you want to stop cigarette
sales, you have a right to do it, but don’t
ask students to pay for it”
But Swanson said it was contradic
tory for university entities, such as the
University Health Center and Campus
Recreation Center to promote wellness,
but sell tobacco at the union. ,
If tobacco sales continued, a 7.4 per
cent increase would be requested.
If $35,500 from a National Bank of
Commerce lease was given to the union
instead of the university’s general fund,
the 7.4 percent could be reduced to 5.6
percent, Swanson said.
When NBC’s lease ended in 1996,
hey bid again, which gave the union an
additional $35,500 to occupy the space
again and, more importantly, provide
the ATM machines, which are the two
most used AIM machines in the stale.
At that time a university policy was
stalled requiring revalues like this to be
returned to the UNL general fund.
But Chancellor James Moeser
allowed the union to keep this money
because of the decline in revenue the
union would experience during its cur
rent construction, which is scheduled to
end in September.
With the completion of the new
union, the NBC lease money will go
back into the general fund.
If the budget passes, student fees
would increase by $24 per semester,
which would be added to the $207 pa
semester now paid. The Association of
Students for the University ofNebraska
and Moeser will have to approve the
amount CFA passes Thursday.
CFA members also asked if the ser
vices their fees would pay for would be
die ones they wanted.
Much of the $178,092 the union
requested would pay for an art gallery
and increased space and services of the
Student Involvement office.
Kendall Swenson, chairman of
CFA, asked if the art gallery would be a
way to improve the university and its
image, rather than reflect the real wants
af students here now.
But Swanson said the union was
there to “offer something for every
body.” The majority may not want an art
gallery, Swanson said, bin a lot of ser
vices at the union now are designed to
benefit the minority.
Swanson said CFA members might
not be giving students enough credit
“Don’t underestimate the fact that
your fellow students might head for the
food court one day and sneak into the
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China, France oppose
strike to end Iraq crisis
DAunuAu, iraq (Ar; —
Diplomatic attempts to solve the
Iraq crisis picked up speed
Thursday, while China and France
registered strong new opposition
to an American military strike.
Russian President Boris Yeltsin
declared that “we shall not allow”
an American attack.
Diplomats from Russia,
France, Turkey and the Arab
League — as well as an envoy of
PLO leader Yasser Arafat —
pressed Iraq to compromise on
U.N. demands to inspect “sensi
tive sites,” including President
Saddam Hussein’s palaces, to head
off a threatened U.S. strike.
Thus far, varying forms of
compromise offers reportedly dis
cussed have not provided a way
out of the crisis. The United States
and Britain, virtually alone among
major powers in advocating the
use of force, insist on the long
standing U.N. demand of unfet
tered access to all sites.
“We have stood together ...
before in the face of tyranny,”
Prime Minister Tony Blair said
after a Washington meeting with
President Clinton.
‘Today, in the face of the threat
from Saddam Hussein, we must
stand together once more. We
want a diplomatic solution to the
crisis, but die success or failure of
diplomacy rests on Saddam. If he
fails to respond, then he knows
that the threat of force is there, and
it is real”
Shortly before Blair’s com
ments, the USS Independence
accompanied by a submarine and
, . four other American ships, sailed
~4nto4h&Persian Gulf. Another
2,000 Marines on Navy ships with
infantry and combat aircraft
aboard were heading toward the
gulf to join 24,000 American
Iraq has been sparring for
weeks with the United Nations
over weapons inspections. It has
barred members of the U.N.
Special Commission, which over
sees the inspections from certain
sites including Saddam’s palaces,
on grounds they would infringe on
Iraqi sovereignty.
The Security Council has said
punishing economic sanctions,
imposed after Iraq’s 1990 invasion
of Kuwait, which led to die Persian
Gulf War, will not be lifted until
the commission certifies it has
destroyed its weapons of mass
destruction. Iraq claims it has
done so.
Since March 1996, inspectors
have visited 63 sites where they
believed the Iraqis were hiding
contraband. Inspectors were
delayed from entering 38 of the
sites and flady denied access to 14
others in the name of national
We must not allow
a strike by force,
an American strike.
I told Clinton
about it.”
Boris Yeltsin
Russian president
Yeltsin, directing unusually
critical remarks at Clinton for the
second straight day, renewed
warnings that U.S. bombing raids
against Iraq could spark a world
“We must not allow a strike by
force, an American strike. I told
Clinton about it No, we shall not
allow that,” Yeltsin said in
It wasn’t clear how Russia
intends to block an American
attack. Yeltsin aides ruled out
Russian retaliation, and although
Russia has veto power in the U.N.
Security Council, the U.S. has said
it doesn’t require further-council
approval to attack Iraq.
French Foreign Minister
Hubert Vedrine made clear that
France will not join in any US.-led
strike on Iraq now, telling Europe
1 radio that diplomatic means to *
nrpecnrp remain An
airstrike, he said, “would not
resolve the problems”
Chinese Foreign Minister Qian
Qichen, speaking, on state-run *
television, also Said he told
Secretary of State Madeleine
Albright that any military strike
could make matters worse.
The Iraqi Parliament, mean
while, held an emergency session
Thursday but refrained from
action, with lawmakers saying
they will give diplomacy a chance
to resolve the crisis.
Saddam discussed the crisis
with his ruling Revolutionary
Command Council, the official
Iraqi News Agency said. It gave no
details, other than to say he out
lined the mediation efforts.
Iraq reportedly has offered to
allow U.N. inspectors access to
eight disputed sites for about a
month — a plan that U.S. and
British officials have said does not
go far enough.
British Foreign Secretary
Robin Cook, trying to line up sup
port for a strike during visits to
Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, said
“there are some interesting pro
posals there, although they do not
match up to our requirement of
full compliance.”
Penguin chicks hatched
in captivity at Omaha zoo
OMAHA (AP) — King penguins
arely are hatched in captivity, so
here was a lot to celebrate after a sec
>nd chick arrived last weekend at the
rlenry Doorly Zoo.
Associate zoo director Randy
Wisthoff said captive king penguins
isually are hatched at specialized Sea
World facilities. The Omaha zoo also
latched a king penguin last March.
The wrinkly chick began pecking
hrough its eggshell on Jan. 30 and
jmerged on Sunday.
The bird, coveted by a fine brown
iown, is small enough to fit into a
lair of cupped hands. It weighed 6.8
ounces Thursday, up one half-ounce
from Tuesday.
Wisthoff said eventually, king
penguins stand 30 to 36 inches tall
and weigh 40 to 50 pounds. The chick
will shed its baby down between 4
months and one year, replacing it
with black, white and brilliant orange
feathers. Its high-pitched whine will
evolve into a deep-trumpeting call.
Handlers don’t know the chick’s
gender since birds offer few outward
indications. Unless there is a need to
know, such as transfer to another zoo,
Wisthoff said, zoo keepers let nature
take its course.
“You let them figure it out,” he
said. “They know.”