The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, December 01, 1998, Page 3, Image 3

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    Hagel vies for GOP leadership
Republicans to cast votes today
on head of senatorial committee
By Brian Carlson
Staff writer
In a secret ballot election today,
Senate Republicans will decide
whether Sen. Chuck Hagel should
replace Sen. Mitch McConnell, R
Ky., as chairman of the National
Republican Senatorial Committee.
Hagel, Nebraska’s freshman sen
ator, announced his candidacy for the
chairmanship last week.
In a letter to colleagues, Hagel
said Republicans’ lackluster perfor
mance in the 1998 elections showed
the NRSC needs new leadership and
new ideas. The GOP failed to
increase its majority in the Senate,
retaining 55 seats to the Democrats’
Hagel said GOP Senate candi
dates can be successful only if they
run positive campaigns that focus on
the issues.
“Issueless campaigns don’t
work,” Hagel said. “Our 1998 issue
less campaign was a deliberate deci
sion ... we had no agenda.
“We can’t just run negative ads
about the opposition. We must give
(the American people) a reason to
vote for our Republican candidates -
not against Democrats.”
Hagel, who has been in the
Senate less than two years, acknowl
edged his colleagues would naturally
have questions about his experience.
Hagel said, though, that fellow
Senate Republicans would not be
taking “a leap of faith” if they elected
He has shown he can win elec
tions, he said, citing come-from
behind victories in the 1996 GOP
Senate primary over Attorney
General Don Stenberg and over Gov.
Ben Nelson in the general election.
Under his leadership, he said, the
Nebraska Republican Party has cap
tured each statewide office except
that of Democratic Sen. Bob Kerrey.
Hagel also pledged to raise the
level of discourse in U.S. politics.
“Our most important responsibil
ity may be to use our majority status
to help clean up the political culture
in America by ‘defining up’ the stan
dards of debate, political discourse
and campaigns,” he said. “I would
like to help lead this challenge.”
Hagel said his first priority
would be to help re-elect the 19
incumbent GOP senators whose
terms expire in 2000. He said he
would represent those senators at
leadership meetings to ensure their
concerns are considered in policy
Hagel also said the NRSC should
We can't just run negative ads about the
opposition. We must give (the American
people) a reason to vote for our Republican
candidates — not against Democrats.”
Chuck Hagel
U.S. senator
focus not simply on raising money,
but on raising it efficiently and
ensuring it is spent wisely.
McConnell, a third-term senator,
has led the National Republican
Senatorial Committee since 1997.
Mike Russell, an NRSC
spokesman for McConnell, said
McConnell had counted votes and
was confident he would be re-elected
“The bottom line is, he did a good
job of raising money and distributing
resources to make many races very
competitive,” he said.
The NRSC didn’t buy into pre
dictions by some political analysts
that the GOP could gain five seats to
achieve a filibuster-proof majority of
60, Russell said.
Down the stretch, he said,
McConnell and the NRSC believed
the election results would fall some
where between no change in seat dis
tribution to a GOP pickup of three
If not for narrow victories by
Democratic candidates in states such
as Nevada and Wisconsin, Russell
said, the GOP could have achieved a
net gain in seats.
Russell also said McConnell was
focused on re-election to the chair
manship rather than changing elec
tion strategy in the future.
McConnell also has been criti
cized for his opposition to efforts to
ban “soft-money” contributions -
donations that can be used by the
party for issue advocacy ads, but not
directly for candidates.
Members of both parties recog
nize the effectiveness of issue advo
cacy ads, Russell said, and it would
be a mistake to abandon them.
“We’re pretty confident of our
vote,” he said. “Hagel and
McConnell have two different
visions and two clearly different
strategies, but I believe in the end the
Republicans in the Senate will vote
to re-elect Mitch McConnell.”
LPD assigns
officers to
stop DWIs
By Josh Funk
Senior staff writer
In response to the annual increase
in drinking during the holidays,
Lincoln Police have stationed extra
officers in problem areas.
The 10 additional officers will be
patrolling areas with high concentra
tions of alcohol sellers on weekends
throughout the holiday season, Sgt.
Dave Hamly said.
Police made 23 drunken driving
arrests last weekend, 16 on Friday
and seven on Saturday.
“This time frame is always a time
of high alcohol consumption,”
Hamly said!
All the officers involved in the
project have been trained to recog
nize drivers who are impaired by
That training has led to a pro
jected 20 percent increase in the
number of DWI arrests this year,
Hamly said.
A grant from the Nebraska Office
of Highway Safety is covering the
costs of the additional officers, who
will help police address holiday
The patrols will focus on different
areas of the city each night.
“We can saturate the city with the
extra officers,” Hamly said.
The holiday enforcement project
will culminate with New Year’s Eve,
which is second only to St. Patrick’s
Day in alcohol offenses.
Hamly encouraged people to use
alternative drivers, designated drivers
or taxi cabs when they are drinking.
And it is important to designate a
sober driver before starting to drink.
Hamly also urged people not to
drive if they have been drinking at all.
“Don’t get behind the wheel if
you have had anything to drink,”
Hamly said. “There is always a dan
ger you might be over the legal limit
and may not be able to judge your
own impairment.”
New gun check
causing hassles
for shop owners
GUNS from page 1
Ammo Sporting Goods, 5601 S.
56th St., said the store finally got its
first background check to work at
3:30 p.m.
“If the system is up and working,
it will be OK,” Gagner said. “But I
doubt it will affect crime.
“There are plenty of places to get
guns illegally.”
Eighty percent of the new checks
are supposed to be instantaneous,
Peschong said. The other 20 percent
of the time it may take a couple days
to check paper records.
If a gun shop does not hear back
from the FBI within three days of
inquiring, the sale will be cleared.
“There were not many guns sold
in this community today,” Peterson
In Nebraska anyone wanting to
buy a handgun must apply for a pur
chase permit with their local police
or sheriff’s office.
Then police do a check of their
background. Now police will also
check with the national system.
Federal law bans gun purchases
by people convicted or under indict
ment for felony charges, fugitives,
the mentally ill, those with dishonor
able military discharges, those who
have renounced U.S. citizenship,
illegal aliens, illegal drug users and
those convicted of domestic vio
lence misdemeanors or who are
under domestic violence restraining
If buyers are approved they will
get their permit in a couple of days,
which they can take to a store to pur
chase a handgun.
That permit can now be used to
purchase a long gun. Permits issued
before Monday will be valid until
their expiration date.
An estimated 12.4 million
firearms of all kinds are sold each
year in the United States. All will be
covered now, plus another 2.5 mil
lion annual pawn shop transactions.
Gun owners who pawn their
guns and later retrieve them also will
undergo a background check.
The Associated Press con
tributed to this report.
Young sworn in as interim mayor
From staff reports
Immediately following the official
resignation of Lincoln’s mayor, the
City Council swore in Lincoln’s
interim leader Monday evening.
Seven-year city councilman and
Lincoln banker Dale Young recited the
oath of office to become mayor of
Lincoln until citywide elections in
Young will replace governor-elect
Mike Johanns, who will move into the
state office in January.
Young, who had decided not to run
for council re-election in May, will fin
ish his city government career as
He said he was selected by the City
Council to avoid a political battle while
choosing from several applicants.
“I just thought it would be an inter
esting way to finish it,” Young said.
Ross Hecht, a Lincoln banker who
has served on several local and state
boards and committees, was sworn in
to fill Young’s council post Monday
Both the City Council seat and
mayoral seat will be open to new candi
dates in May’s general election.
Lincoln Sen. Don Wesely has
already announced he will run for
mayor, and councilwoman Cindy
Johnson is expected to make an official
run for mayor soon.
Randall Reichert, a University of
Nebraska-Lincoln student and an
employee for the Nebraska Education
Telecommunications Commission,
said he also plans to run.
Commission OKs Peru State renovation
PERU from page 1
The only dissenting vote came
from Commissioner John Emery of
Omaha, who questioned the ability of
Peru State and the surrounding com
munity to make the effort necessary
to help Peru State become a valuable
and viable campus.
Much of the talk at the meeting
was on whether Peru State would
commit to make the changes the col
lege needs.
No public testimony was given
against the recommendation, but
Carrol Krause, executive director of
the State Colleges Board of Trustees,
said his board now supported keep
ing the college in Peru, saying it was
best for the college and the region.
“It is our intention to do every
thing possible to make this work,”
Krause said.
Nancy Hoch, president of River
Country Economic Development
Corporation in Nebraska City, said
the town also supported keeping the
college in Peru.
Nebraska City officials had origi
nally supported moving Peru State
within its city limits.
Along with renovating existing
facilities, the commission’s recom
mendation requires the college to
look at ways to improve student
recruitment, retention and graduation
The college’s retention rate from
freshman to sophomore year has
been about 55 percent. The
University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s
It is our intention
to do everything
possible to make
this work
Carrol Krause
executive director of
State Colleges Board of Trustees
retention rate has been about 80 per
To improve Peru State’s statistics,
Krause said, the state colleges board
was asking the Peru State College
Foundation to increase scholarship
Krause said the college also was
looking at admissions standards,
which could increase retention rates.
Commissioner Eric Seacrest of
North Platte said the survival of the
college was dependent on the col
lege’s improvements in those areas
and the amount of money the
Legislature would allocate to college
If in the next four to six years the
Legislature doesn’t allocate the need
ed funds, the next option would be to
shut down Peru State College,
Seacrest said.
Commissioner Dick Davis of
Omaha was confident the college
would survive.
“I would like to give southeast
Nebraska a chance to succeed more
UNL to add film studies
major to arts curriculum
By Lindsay Young
Senior staff writer
GRAND ISLAND - University
of Nebraska-Lincoln students
interested in pursuing a film stud
ies major will have their chance.
The final step in establishing
film studies as a bachelor’s in arts
was taken Monday by the
Coordinating Commission for
Postsecondary Education at its
meeting at Central Community
The commission voted unani
mously to accept the program pro
posal for the major.
In the proposal’s public hear
ing, nobody spoke for or against
the proposal.
The degree, which was
approved by the NU Board of
Regents at its July 25 meeting, will
start in the 1999 fall semester.
The major will be an interdisci
plinary undergraduate major with
in the departments of English, art,
art history, broadcasting, philoso
phy, communication studies and
theater arts and dance.
It requires 30 hours of approved
courses, with four courses serving
as core classes. The core classes
will cover introduction to film his
tory, film genre, film directors and
film theory and criticism.
A minor in film studies has
been and will remain available.
One of the program’s strong
points, according to a commission
evaluation, was that no significant
costs would be associated with
beginning the program. The degree
program will utilize existing cours
es, faculty, library holdings, facili
ties and equipment.
Commissioner Barbara Marcy
of Chadron said the commission’s
academic committee saw no real
flaws with UNL’s film studies pro
gram proposal.
“We think the program is wor
thy of being started.”
than anything else,” Davis said. “I
truly believe they can do the right
Commissioner Barbara Marcy of
Chadron said for that to happen, all
involved have to be committed.
“I do not see us doing a service by
going into this halfheartedly,” she
Krause agreed.
“If we’re going to vote (for the
recommendation), then there has to
be no doubt Peru State will exist 100
years from now.”