The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, October 07, 1999, Page 3, Image 3

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    Johanns tackles insurance situation
k Staff writer
Gov. Mike Johanns knows what to do with a
mess: Clean it up.
Johanns said Wednesday he was taking die first
step toward cleaning up the mess he saw in the
state’s handling of health insurance premiums for
state employees married to other state employees.
He said he would request an attorney general’s
opinion about the legality of the current practice of
providing free health insurance to state employees
married to each other.
“State statute says all employees must pay 20
percent of health premiums while the state con
tributes about 80 percent,” Johanns said. “But the
law then goes on to say that the current bargaining
agreement will take precedence. Whatever that
Johanns said the vagueness of the law left
questions about whether the practice of providing
free health insurance to couples was legal.
Johanns said the situation was tricky because
married employees had received the benefit for
about 20 years.
“Obviously they don’t want to lose their cover
age,” Johanns saidT’In our last contract negotia
tions, benefits were almost as important as wages.”
Steve Grasz, Nebraska chief deputy attorney
general, said the governor or any constitutional
official in Nebraska may request die attorney gen
eral’s opinion about Nebraska law.
The opinion may be overturned in court but
serves as a guide to officials for what the law does
and does not allow.
Johanns said his administration will file a
request for the opinion within the week.
He said he would continue to study the prob
lem and will use the attorney general’s opinion in
deciding what action is needed.
He said, depending on the opinion, he antici
pated solving die problem in next year’s contract
negotiations or the next legislative session.
Johanns said it was unfair for some state
employees to receive free coverage while others
had to pay.
“But the tacit approval of this practice has cre
ated an atmosphere where (free health insurance)
is a condition of employment,” Johanns said.
He said he would work to end the practice.
In... contract negotiations,
benefits were almost as
important as wages
Gov. Mike Johanns
“We don’t want to penalize state employees
who marry other state employees,” Johanns said.
‘But this is ridiculous.”
In other news, Johanns named Beverly Neth to
head the state Department of Motor Vehicles. Neth
replaces Ed Wimes, who left the department last
month to enter the private sector.
Police: Player cited for phone theft
By Jake Bleed
Senior staff writer
Lincoln police cited a Nebraska
basketball player Monday for stealing
a cellular phone from a Lincoln Tire
Store in June, officer Katherine
Finnell said.
George Mazyck, a junior college
transfer who also reported a season
ending broken patella Monday, was
cited on suspicion of stealing money
or goods worth less than $300, a mis
demeanor offense.
Police allege he stole the phone
from Graham Tire Company, 1918 0
St., on July 28.
Jim Cheek, assistant manager and
service manager at Graham Tire
Company, said he remembered when
Mazyck and several friends were
waiting by the store’s service desk to
buy a used tire for a black Ford
Cheek said the store was busy
when Mazyck arrived and that he’d
left his cell phone at his desk momen
tarily while helping another customer.
Cheek said the phone was in an
area restricted to employees.
“People don’t go back there,”
Cheek said.
UNL event
status at UNL
DISCUSSION from page 1
Because of low minority
enrollment, several people voiced
; concerns about the responsibili
ties placed on minority students
and faculty.
“The ratio of Caucasians to
minorities on this campus poses a
unique challenge for minority stu
dents and faculty,” said Gail
.Latta, Academic Senate presi
dent. “We ask them to do way too
much, and we place added
demands on them.”
Jessie Myles, a representative
for the National Association for
the Advancement of Colored
People, told participants that
minorities should try to make a
difference even if their numbers
are few.
“We can take a small core of
people and get out there in this
university and make change,” he
“You might have to make
some drastic changes that might
not be popular.”
Overall, the goal of the meet
ing was not to point fingers but to
point out solutions, said William
Olubodun, assistant director of
UNL Student Involvement.
“We need to get beyond find
ing blame,” he said. “We need to
start talking about what it is that
we should do from this point for
ward.” * "
When he returned, both Mazyck
and the phone were gone, Cheek said.
Cheek said he called Aliant
Communications to cancel his cellu
lar phone account after realizing the
phone had been stolen but that the
account was not cut off immediately.
Lela Kalliher, media coordinator
for Alltel, the company which pur
chased Aliant Communications (after
the phone was stolen), said an internal
miscommunication caused Cheek’s
account to remain open.
Cheek said someone then made
more than $500 in calls on the phone,
including one to Cheek’s fiancee.
Cheek said his fiancee’s phone
number and others were loaded into
the cell phone and that someone
called some of the loaded numbers.
“I was lying on (my fiancee’s)
couch two days later, and the phone
rang,” Cheek said.
The ensuing conversation was
brief and rude, Cheek said.
Later, police traced the calls to
Mazyck, Finnell said.
Cheek said he paid between $60
and $70 for the phone, that he was
forced to buy a replacement and that
he planned on suing Mazyck for the
Kalliher said Alltel would not pur
sue the $500 in charges because of the
high number of fraud cases the com
pany handles.
“We have many, many, many
reports of stolen phones,” Kalliher
“It would be very time consuming
and costly to prosecute them all.”
Basketball Operation Director
Nick Joos said he could not comment
on the theft allegation and that only
Head Coach Danny Nee would. Nee
was out of town Wednesday and could
not be reached for comment.
Mike Gooding, a trainer with the
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Athletic Department, said Mazyck
reported a fractured kneecap Monday,
saying it was sore.
The 6-foot-9, 270-pound forward
suffered from a similar injury while
playing for Coffeyville Community
College last year, a Sports
Information press release said.
“We can’t put a finger on when it
happened exactly,” Gooding said.
The press release said the injury
occurred during “preseason work
outs.” L<,
Gooding said Mazyck underwent
surgery Wednesday in St. Elizabeth’s
Hospital in Lincoln to repair the frac
Competition building
in display-making
DISPLAYS from page 1
Friday morning, and many of the par
ticipants will work right up to the
“We’re usually more productive
at night,” said Dale Walker, a sopho
more member of Phi Gamma Delta
The competition is a lot of fun for
everyone involved, said Ryan Felton,
Sigma Alpha Epsilon’s homecoming
chairman. Meeting all the people
who work on displays is one of the
best parts of the competition, Felton
Fraternities and sororities con
struct most of the entries, but the
competition is not limited to the
greek system. Neihardt Residence
Center, Mortar Board and Innocents
Society all have displays this year,
Stowe said.
Felton said he thought the compe
tition would benefit from more resi
dence hall involvement.
One possible reason for the lack
of residence hall involvement is fund
ing. The materials necessary to build
a display can get expensive, therefore
limiting the amount of participation,
Stowe said.
Many contestants are incorporat
ing this year’s homecoming theme,
“The Biggest, The Best, The Last of
the Century” into their displays.
Theta Xi Fraternity, however, is
departing from the theme. The broth
ers are constructing a large papier
mache Tom Green, in hopes the MTV
star will visit their house, said mem
ber Chris Rezac.
The winner of the competition
will be announced at halftime at
Saturday’s football game.
Entrants will be busy finishing
their displays throughout the night.
“We just hope it doesn’t fall
down,” said Zac Gemar, Sigma Nu
Fraternity’s homecoming chairman.
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Flu vaccinations
available at unions
■ University Health
Center offers lower prices
for students and faculty.
By Matthew Beermann
Staff writer
As the days get shorter and the
nights get colder, another unwel
come guest arrives: the flu.
More than 100 million people
catch the flu each year, but it doesn’t
have to happen to you.
Beginning this week, the
University Health Center will be
offering affordable influenza shots to
students and faculty members.
Each Wednesday and Thursday,
the center will have booths from 11
a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Nebraska
Unions to administer the vaccine.
“Just walk up, pay your $8 and
we’ll give you the shot,” said Linda
Rizijs, vaccinations nurse at the
health center.
One of the main ways of con
tracting the flu is in crowded condi
“We've been recommending it to
everyone, since most students are in
crowded housing or crowded class
es,” she said.
The health center was at the
Nebraska East Union on Wednesday
and will be at the Nebraska Union
today. Next week vaccination booths
will be at the union on Wednesday
and the east union Oct. 14.
The need for vaccinations for stu
dents goes well beyond the familiar
flu and tetanus shots.
Take Hepatitis B, for example.
“The current group of college
students is missing its Hepatitis B
shots,” Rizijs said. “They give it rou
tinely to babies now but wasn’t avail
able when this generation was
According to the Centers for
Disease Control, it “can cause loss of
appetite, fatigue, diarrhea, vomiting,
jaundice, liver damage, liver cancer
and death.”
Each year, more than 200,000
people in the United States, mostly
young adults, get infected with the
virus, and 4,000 to 5,000 of those die.
Rizijs said students should find
out whether their vaccinations are up
to date.
“Go back to your family physi
cian, and they should have all of your
information,” she said. “Or check
with your parents; you’d be surprised
at how good of records many moth
ers keep.”
All incoming University of
Nebraska-Lincoln students are
required to have their
Measles/Mumps/Rubella (MMR)
vaccinations. International students
are required to have a PPD, a skin test
that checks for the presence of tuber
In addition, anyone traveling or
studying abroad should also visit the
health center.
“Just tell us what country you’re
going to, we’ll type it into the com
puter and tell you just what you
need,” Rizijs said. “Hepatitis A,
Japanese encephalitis, yellow fever,
you name it, we’ve got it.”
These vaccines are usually tem
porary and thus given only to travel
ers. 'T
Another common concern is
chicken pox, known to doctors as
varicella. Common and usually
harmless to children, it can be
extremely serious in adults. A vac
cine was developed in 1995.
“If you’ve never had chicken
pox, you should very definitely come
in and get the varicella vaccine,”
Rizijs said.
The Hepatitis B vaccine consists
of a series of three shots, costing $20
for persons under 19 and $40 for
adults. The varicella vaccine requires
two doses and costs $54.
For students who have health
insurance, many providers will pay a
portion of vaccination fees. '