The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, September 21, 2000, Image 1

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    sr Daily Nebraskan
ASUN passes a bylaw allowing High-flyin’ Robbie “The
it to lobby against the gay Ripper” Richard is not
marriage amendment your typical NU athlete
In News/3 In Sports/10
Abstract paintings
displayed in 1he Rotunda
Art Gallery mix beauty
and Jewish spirituality
In Arts/8
More than pretty: Glass blowing is science
Transparent beakers and
vials line the shelves of room 301
in Hamilton Hall. At a nearby
workbench, a gas torch is aimed
at a Pyrex tube causing the sur
face of the glass to glow first pink
and then orange; all part of the
daily business within the
University of Nebraska
Iincoln’s glass blowing shop.
The man in charge of this
specialized glass studio is
Hadrian Duke. Having spent the
past four years as a scientific
glass blower in the Netherlands,
Duke was recruited to join the
research support staff at UNL
this fall. He arrived in Lincoln
about three weeks ago.
Within the glass shop, Duke
does repair work as well as cus
tom orders for researchers in
chemistry, biology and other
laboratory sciences.
“Having a resident glass
blower enables our research
money to go further,” said John
Belot, assistant professor of
chemistry and faculty member
with the Center for Materials
Research and Analysis.
“A glass shop on campus
enables the department to make
and repair glassware much
cheaper than it would be to
order or subcontract the work
out,” Belot said.
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Please see GLASS on 5 this fall as UNL's scientific glass blower.
* * •
Candidates begin negative blitz
■ Senate debates are expected to
be heated because of Nelson and
Stenberg's squabbling.
As Ben Nelson and Don Stenberg
head into their second Senate debate
tonight in Omaha, the two campaigns’
charges and counter-charges are well
It's a game played out in campaign
advertisements, press conferences,
press releases and sound bites. Some
of it is conducted by the actual cam
paign, some by the candidates’ respec
tive parties through campaign activi
ties financed by unregulated “soft
money” donations.
Although it hasn’t reached the
point of outright mudslinging, the
campaign is beginning to take on
traces of a negative tone. One candi
date attacks the other’s record, and the
other accuses the first of distorting the
facts. And vice versa.
In the past week, for example, the
Nebraska Republican Party has
accused Nelson, the Democratic for
mer governor, of misleading voters
about his record on taxes and Social
Contrary to Nelson’s claims, the
party charges he did not cut taxes for
the average Nebraskan. During his
tenure as governor from 1991-99, the
GOP alleges the overall tax burden on
Nebraskans grew 50 percent, the per
capita tax burden jumped 42 percent
and the average household paid
$1,000 more in taxes.
“Under Ben Nelson, the tax burden
on Nebraska families grew faster than
personal income,” Nebraska
Republican Party chairman Chuck
Sigerson said in a statement. “The
Democrats claim their candidate is a
tax-cutter, but the truth is very much
the opposite. And the truth can stand
for itself.”
Marcia Cady, a spokeswoman for
the Nelson campaign, said the accusa
tion was based on faulty logic. Tax rev
enues grew because the economy
expanded and incomes rose, she said,
not because income tax rates went up.
“If you use the same logic, you
could say Gov. (Mike) Johanns raised
‘The Democrats claim their candidate is a tax-cutter
but the truth is very much the opposite. And the truth
can stand for itself “
Chuck Sigerson
Nebraska Republican Party chairman
income taxes by 13 percent last year,”
she said.
Cady said Nelson signed 39 tax
cutting measures into law, including
income and sales tax cuts. He also
slowed the growth of state spending,
she said.
On Saturday, Stenberg, the
Republican attorney general, criti
cized his opponent for a fund-raising
letter Nelson sent to supporters on
Sept. 8. Stenberg said he disagreed
with two statements in the letter.
“On Social Security,” Nelson wrote,
“my opponent offers a plan that will
destabilize the Social Security system
by withdrawing an estimated $1 tril
lion from the Social Security system
during the next 10 years. This can only
lead to higher payroll taxes, lower ben
efits and higher retirement ages.”
Stenberg said he supported none
of those outcomes. He said his Social
Security proposal, which would allow
younger workers to invest a portion of
their payroll taxes in private invest
ment accounts, would improve the
system by raising beneficiaries’
But whether he acknowledged it or
not, Cady said, Stenberg’s plan would
force the government to adopt some
combination of higher payroll taxes, .
lower benefits and higher retirement
ages because the private investment
accounts would remove money from
the Social Security trust fund.The state
GOP also noted Nelson, despite his
firm opposition to the idea now, told
the McCook Daily Gazette during his
failed 1996 Senate campaign that
using a portion of Social Security for
private retirement accounts might be a
way to expand the middle class.
Please see NEGATIVE on 5
NU raises
A raise in university employees’ health insur
ance premiums could help NU find favor in the
Legislature, but could also take a chunk out of
faculty and staff raises the Board of Regents
approved in July.
The premium costs, effective in January,
could jump as much as 40 percent per month for
some employees.
Despite the significant raise, Harvey Perlman,
University of Nebraska-Lincoln interim chancel
lor, said the insurance hike was not only appro
priate, but required.
“We have no choice,” he said.
Faculty insurance premiums remained stable
over the past few years because of a health-care
reserve fund, Perlman said.
The reserve fund grew from money ear
marked for employee health plans that wasn’t
In the past, administrators faced a choice:
raise premiums and maintain the reserve fund, or
keep insurance costs the same and deplete the
surplus, he said.
Senior administrators decided to maintain
the premiums, which, over time, depleted reserve
funds and created the need for next year's
The premium increase will force employees
to pay about 21 percent of their medical coverage
said Joe Rowson, NU spokesman.
NU employees currently pay 15 percent of
their medical insurance fees.
Perlman admitted rising insurance costs
could turn prospective faculty and staff members
away from UNL.
Anytime you raise costs, it makes tne univer
sity less attractive,” he said.
“But we'd be less competitive if we couldn’t
pay for (faculty and staff) claims.”
Rowson said the hike in insurance costs was
n’t entirely the university’s fault.
Instead, more NU employees are using their
health benefits for treatments and prescription
drugs, he said. Health costs are predicted to rise
by 17 percent, according to the university.
The Legislature also plays a key role in the ris
ing premiums, Rowson said.
Health care costs are included in the universi
ty’s biennial budget submitted to state lawmak
Members of the Legislature like to see the uni
versity pitching in its fair share for health care
costs and the premium increase brings NU
employees in line with their-state employee
counterparts, Rowson said.
Originally the premium increase was to be
spread out among four years, Rowson said.
Administrators decided to hike fees in just
one step, though, to lower the university’s budget
request to the Legislature.
The more the university can show it’s con
tributing to its own health insurance funds, the
more likely the Legislature will find favor on NU’s
budget, he said.
Please see INSURANCE on 5
ALLEY CAT: Sydney Graham walks through the alley at the comer of 7^* and P street on her way home from Lazio's on Wednesday
afternoon. Cloudy skies kept the sun from overpowering the city with its intense heat.
I Weather chills student body
Students had a startling awakening Wednesday
morning when the season’s first major cold front
moved in, causing temperatures to drop into the
“I went to class in shorts and a T-shirt and had to
walk all the way home after class in the cold,” soph
omore business major Joe Agrimson said.
Agrimson and others were caught off guard after
enduring muggy temperatures in the 80s during the
past week.
But it didn t come as much of a surprise to
National Weather Service forecaster David Skerritt
who said the National Weather Service had been
expecting the front.
“It’s nothing unusual... our first cool air masses
usually move down in late September,” Skerritt said.
With normal average temperatures this time of
year in the mid-70s, Skerritt said it was about time
for a cold front to move through.
“It's really the first major pattern change from
the summer weather we’ve enjoyed,’’ Skerritt said. A
threat of rain also looms over the weekend, he said.
“Rain takes a lot of the pollen and weeds out of
the air,” Skerritt said, which should help allergy suf
ferers, who, according to the University Health
Center, have had to endure an unusually harsh
allergy season this year.
Not all have enjoyed this change in the weather
though, as it has meant a change in habits.
V v
Lincoln: t
For mid-September
Avg.High - mid 70s
High -67
Expected low - mid 30s
4 'M."S' i » v-*-'3*-.
Delan Lonowski/DN
"... Given that there are breaks of time between
my classes, instead of spending that time outside, I
have to find an indoor place to pass the time,” soph
omore journalism major Tim Pendrell said.
But some students appreciated the drop in tem
"The cold weather just puts you in the mood for
the start of school and football season. It’s a good
change,” junior political science major Monique
Carter said.
Whether a nice break from the heat or an unwel
come change, no one should pack away their sum
mer clothes yet because it looks like this cold weath
er isn’t here to stay, as temperatures should be back
in the mid- to upper 70s as early as next week,
Skerritt said.
-V A/ V