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About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (Feb. 26, 2001)
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grueling night at
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Victim rights bill awaits enforcement
BY JILL CONNER
Two months ago, Randy
Reeves would have embraced a
bill heard Friday in front of the
LB847, introduced by Sen.
Kermit Brashear of Omaha,
called for enforcement of a
Victims Bill of Rights statute
voted into Nebraska’s constitu
tion five years ago.
But because the legislature
never passed a law to enact it,
the bill could not be relied on in
The committee took no
action on the bill Friday.
Reeves, 44, was sentenced to
death for the murders ofVictoria
Lamm and Janet Mesner inside
a Quaker meeting house in 1980.
The Nebraska Supreme
Court stayed his execution in
January of 1999, two days away
from his execution date. The
court ordered a re-sentencing.
The victim’s rights bill says
victims should be told of crimi
nal proceedings as well as be
allowed to attend the trial and
make statements at hearings.
Gus Lamm, Victoria Lamm’s
husband and Audrey Lamm, her
daughter, were denied the
chance to speak to the Board of
Brashear said LB847 was
introduced partly because of the
“It provides a remedy to pur
sue a civil action to seek an
injunction to enforce those
rights,” Brashear said.
TWo people testified in sup
port of the bill, and no one spoke
The Pardons Board voted
against a commutation hearing,
which also would have allowed
the Lamms to speak before the
Assistant Attorney General
Kirk Brown said in his opening
oral arguments at the Pardons
Board hearing that the right to
speak in front of a high court
Brown said the Legislature
has not passed a law for the
enforcement of the victims’
rights amendment in the state’s
Although it is too late for the
Lamms, their attorney, Paula
Hutchinson, was at the hearing
Friday to speak in support of the
“Victims that have a differ
ent philosophy (about the death
penalty) are orphans in the
criminal justice system,”
Hutchinson said. “It’s been
worse than neglect - it’s a situa
tion where the individuals have
been treated with contempt."
Hutchinson said the courts
only wanted to help the victims
when victims wanted to help the
“If you support the death
penalty, then they'll let you testi
fy,” she said.
But the family of Janet
Mesner supported the bill
because of a different reason.
Don Marsh, second cousin
to Janet Mesner, defended
LB847 because he felt it was a
way for the Mesner family to
gain some recognition for their
opposition to the death penalty.
“We felt that Janet Mesner’s
family had not been well repre
sented by the members of the
family who wanted to support
the decision,” Marsh said.
Marsh and Dale Mesner,
another second cousin to Janet
Mesner, sent a petition in oppo
sition of Randy Reeves’ execu
tion to extended family mem
bers across the country.
Marsh said they have
received more than 80 signa
tures on the petition, from fami
ly members of all religious back
grounds, some for and others
against the death penalty.
“We will feel better if it is a
life sentence instead of execu
BY MARC SALEME
A year ago, UNL student Stephanie Watkins com
peted in UNL’s International Business Plan
Watkins, who graduated from the University of
Nebraska- Lincoln last year, now runs her own dance
On Friday, Watkins spoke to students who, like
her, are vying to open their own businesses.
Watkins spoke at the 14th annual competition
held at the Comhusker Hotel, 333 S. 13th St
Terry Sebora, director of the Nebraska Center for
Entrepreneurship, described the competition as a
weekend celebration of free enterprise in Nebraska.
The Nebraska Center for Entrepreneurship is
geared toward helping UNL students start their own
Sebora said students came from all over the world
- the farthest coming from Bangkok, Thailand - to use
At the weekend competition, students present
their own business plans to judges in hopes of win
ning money to help start companies. The conference
also featured a productivity improvement competi
tion and several business workshops.
The goal of all this was to drive students to create,
to educate students and to improve students’
chances of success in the business realm, Sebora said.
“Most students have the idea of taking a good job
to make money,” he said. “We want to maybe infect
some of you - give you the idea that you can create a
job instead of just taking one.”
The competition is split into two divisions: gradu
ate and undergraduate students.
The graduate section yields awards of $10,000 for
first place, $3,000 for second place, $2,000 for third
^ace and $500 for an honorable mention.
The top prize for undergraduate students was
One of last year’s winners from UNL, Watkins
returned as a workshop speaker.
Watkins was a business major and dancer for
UNL’s Scarlets team. She took third prize for her
dance studio business idea.
Watkins’ said her award money was not necessar
ily vital to the launching of her dance studio.
“I was going to do it,” she said. "I didn’t care
whether (anyone else) liked it or not”
But die cash was definitely helpful, she said, as
she budgeted $60,000 to get the studio up and run
She now has a flourishing operation, Nebraska
Dance, located near 114th and Dodge streets in
Omaha, where she instructs more than 200 students a
week in jazz, tap, ballet and dance team dancing.
She has one other teacher at the studio who
teaches hip-hop dance classes.
The studio was originally to be called The Edge
Dance and Fitness Company, she said. She changed
the name to Nebraska Dance.
“I wanted to name it after Nebraska because
when we go to competitions, I want our name to be
recognized as from Nebraska,” she said.
Watkins said it was hard for her to believe her
business had become such a success.
"It's crazy to think that last year at this time I was
here competing” she said.
m a ■
date, lives with
has a map show
everyone in her
house 's from,
to open doors of
dents living off
Government for the people
ASUN candidate seeks to eliminate an elite-run government
BY GEORGE GREEN
Angela Clements, NUForce presi
dential candidate, might need to get a
She’ll need the heavy machinery to
break down barriers she said put the
student government into the hands of
an elite few.
In fact, Clements said the universi
ty’s bastion of "untapped diversity”
prompted her to run for the student
government's highest perch.
“The student government histori
cally has been dominated by elite
groups on campus,” she said.
And each year, candidates have to
cater to the dominant groups if they
want to win, she said.
But this year, Clements said she
was “going to open up the process” to
all university students.
With more people participating,
Clements said candidates could take
home victories without pandering to
entrenched groups like fraternities and
Clements, though, said she didn’t
have a beef with the greek system; she
just wanted to open more doors of
opportunity for non-greek students.
Specifically, Clements said she
wanted to enfranchise off-campus stu
dents,'minority groups and others
caught outside of the loop by adding
more seats to the Association of
Students of the University of Nebraska
Under Clements’ plan, ASUN
would allocate seats to minority groups
on campus such as the Afrikan People’s
Erick Kinyungu, NUForce’s first
vice presidential candidate, said
Clements was dedicated to reaching
out to people.
Kinyungu said Clements’ penchant
for incorporating others was most
apparent when she visited with people
“Her ability to relate to people is a
big thing,” he said.
Clements started talking with oth
ers as soon as she landed on campus by
nabbing a seat on the student advisory
board for the College of Arts and
From that point on, Clements said,
she also began to notice how much
diversity the campus had.
An interest in diversity issues land
ed Clements’ mug on the front pages of
papers across the state last year when
Initiative 416 hit the ballot
The initiative, which passed over
whelmingly, explicitly banned mar
riage between people of the same gen
Clements formed and led a group,
United Students Against 416, to battle
Even though the initiative passed,
Clements said her experience with the
issue was good.
“It was very inspiring,” she said.
The ballot proposal dropped her
into the thick of state government and
gave her first-hand experience in form
ing coalitions among different people,
These skills will be valuable in
shaping a new governing body, if elect
ed, she said.
But a taste of bureaucratic business
wasn’t the best thing she received from
her battle against the initiative,
Rather, she said watching other
students ban together was the greatest
reward for her work.
m u m
“It was good to see students getting
excited about something they believe
in,” she said.
Clements’ work on 416 also gave
her the chance to learn how to survive
political battle wounds, a lesson that
has proven valuable over the last week,
When Clements’ campaign
watched its second vice presidential
candidate get axed in a scandal over
signatures, Clements said she had to
remember how to take bad news.
And more importantly, she realized
she needed to stay focused on the
important things, she said.
“In both cases (416 and the cam
paign scandal), the vision and the fun
damental aspects of what we were try
ing to achieve still remained intact,”
In her campaign, Clements cited
beefing up the authority of advisory
boards and grassroots groups as part of
the vision she keeps in the front of her
Clements believes these smaller
groups - not just elected students - are
Please see CLEMENTS on 3
Malaysian night brings culture s traditional dance,fashion to the union
Baratha Natyam performs an Indian classical dance Sunday night
at Malaysian Night2001.
BY USA BhHRNS
Smoke pours onto the stage.
The crowd roars and cheers as men
pose in their native dress.
Senior Keith Leong takes center
stage and smiles, posing in a traditional
The women parade into the fash
ion show swishing their long, colorful
skirts. They dance moving down the
long red carpet
The mood changes slightly, and
Keerun Kamble takes the stage.
Her gold jewelry jangles. Her head
piece glitter shines, and the smile never
leaves her face. Her body moves pre
cisely with the music, and the bells on
her ankles mark her step.
The women dressed in formal
gowns and the men in suit and tie cre
ate an atmosphere like a big party.
The annual Malaysian night is well
under way in the Nebraska Union
Organized by the Nebraska
University Malaysian Student
Association, the event, held Sunday, is a
long standing tradition.
“We hope to educate and entertain
by showing our identity here, saidYow
Lian Tay, president of NUMSA. “We
want to help the community under
stand that we are part of this communi
ty and we have something to share.”
For many students, this was their
opportunity to shine.
For Leong, a senior management
information systems major from
Penang, and Mary-Ann Ee, a junior
finance major from Kuala Lumpur, this
performance is a time to unite with
“It’s a chance to meet new people in
a form of reunion,” Leong said. “There
is a great spirit oi community tnat
comes from this night”
Ee enjoyed the diversity of the occa
“We are all from different places,”
Ee said. “But we combine and are able
to cultivate others’ talents.”
Each person brings a different style
Kamble, a sophomore biology and
pre-med major, has been involved in
the festivities for the past three years.
Please see MALAYSIA on 3
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