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PAG6 4- A, THURSDAY. JUNE 9. 1994
No Lifeline For Those
Who Aren't Reaching
A recent report from the General Accounting Office would
suggest that the country's welfare system is a more urgent place
than its health care delivery system to undertake immediate
While the statistics are hardly surprising to anyone who pays
attention to trends, they are nonetheless disturbing:
? Low-income families begun by adolescent mothers now re
ceive $34 billion a year in food stamps and Medicaid; in 1990,
that figure was $25 billion.
? Single women are the least likely to earn their way out of
? More than half of all mothers receiving Aid to Families
with Dependent Children today had their first child as a teenager.
?Teenage mothers tend to have more children and less educa
tion than ether women on welfare; they aic also much poorer.
It would be difficult to argue against the notion that the prob
lem is one of the most serious threats to American society and
that while welfare may not cause illegitimacy, it is its "economic
The Clinton administration's welfare reform plan, due out
any day now, reportedly would give young mothers two years of
cosh benefits and the education, day care and training they need
to get a job. Those still unemployed after two years on welfare
would be required to enroll in a work program. That plan doesn't
sound significantly different from others which have met with
only limited success, especially in rural areas such as ours.
Rural communities trying to implement such federal man
dates are often stymied by obstacles which are not part of the pic
ture in more urban settings ? lack of public transportation, no
child care available for mothers who work nights or weekends,
economies which are based on small businesses with less sched
uling flexibility, lower pay scales and fewer advancement oppor
tunities than large corporations or government entities have.
The problem demands creative solutions for unique commu
nities such as our own, solutions that depend at least as heavily
on lifestyle changes as potentially wasted dollars. It's time to stop
extending the lifeline to those who refuse to reach for it.
RJR Should Send Old Joe To
The Make-Believe Afterlife
if looacco companies truly are as alarmed as they purport to
be about the prospective criminalization of smoking, then why do
we still have Smoky Joe?
Only someone on the payroll of RJ. Reynolds could, with a
straight face, argue that Old Joe, the hip mascot of Camel ciga
rettes is a marketing tool aimed at adults only.
The cool cartoon camel appeared to have dodged a federal
death sentence last week. A spokesman for an anti-smoking
coalition said the Federal Trade Commission voted 3-2 not to
pursue a petition to ban the Camel aid campaign, called by the
Washington-based Coalition on Smoking OR Health "one of the
most egregious examples... of tobacco advertising aimed at chil
There are legitimate arguments that the war on tobacco is fu
eled by the fact that tobacco products cannot be advertised in
broadcast media, where children are nonetheless routinely pum
meled with positive messages about such other unhealthy habits
as sugar-coated cereals, violence and promiscuity. There are
equally legitimate arguments that the home, and not the govern
ment, is the appropriate vehicle for teaching our children about
the choices they have no choice but to make. Some self-policing
is in order on ail fronts.
If RJR wants to quell the wrath of government and a growing
number of citizens, it should give up the sham that Smoky Joe ?
who proved in one study to be as well-known among 6-year-olds
as Mickey Mouse ? was meant to be something other than a
Pied Piper to innocent kids.
Smoky Joe should go the way of Alf ? to the make-believe
What Proof Exists That You're Really You?
Have you ever tried to prove to a
government bwtai.OA.jr tnat you
?at wijGSS yo? say you ?t?
Try doing it without a birth cer
tificate. It can be a dizzying and
frustrating process. If no urgency is
involved, it may be merely a stimu
lating challenge, like solving a diffi
cult Sunday crossword puzzle. Add
urgency and there's another word
Anyone who entered the world in
the days before hospital births were
routine is liable to have had the
pleasure of creating a paper trail of
proof of their identity.
Look in the files of the Brunswick
County Register of Deeds office, for
example, and there is no record of
my maternal grandfather's birth or
his sister's birth, even though "de
layed" certificate of birth records
exist for all three of his brothers.
Look again and you could find
Sssdsrd birth records foi iwu of my
mother's sisters but not for her nor
the next oldest girl in the family.
They were bom at home, and their
binhs were never recorded at uie
Proof of age is needed for a lot of
things, such as applying for Social
Security benefits. If the state has no
record of your birth, it can take time
and effort to establish that record,
At the Brunswick County Regis
ter of Deeds office you're advised
that you must prove five facts: your
foil name at time of birth, date of
bifih, piacc of birih, rauthct's fuii
maiden name, father's foil name
(unless child is bora out of wed
who, what, where ana when.
Sound* easy enough, but to prove
those facta the stale requires inde
pendent verification. You have to
submit at least three different rec
ords which show the facts to be pro
ven. One may be an affidavit of per
sonal knowledge by someone older
than the applicant who has personal
knowledge of the facts, an older rel
ative, for example.
two of the linec ramus mux be
notarized or certified copies of offi
cial records, all established for at
least five yean if the applicant is
age 5 or older.
All three records must show birth
date or age (and it has to be the
same birthdate/age). TWo of the
three records must show birthplace.
One of the three records must show
the full name of the father and full
maiden name of the mother.
Su wild i uu you uu if jruu woe
one of those young wartime brides
with a marriage license mat suggests
one age and a school record that
? .? ? ? -a m ?
gives anoiner uuuiuatc: ur wuea a
record that identifies the parents
property but gives the wrong dale?
You simply keep searching. If
there's no hospital birth record, no
attending doctor's or midwife's
record, there are still other places to
Time allowing, we could send for
an official record of the U.S. Bureau
of the Census. If the person had a
cniid die birth ceruficaie may indi
cate the parents' ages. A driver's li
cense also indicates birth date.
After that, immunization records,
insurance applications or policies,
employment records, passport, court
records, hospital admission records,
Then there's always the affidavit
of personal knowledge.
By this time you've either proven
you arc who you say, or you simply
no longer know who you are.
f ?Jl?wWiUO? uiUidi ->??i i?*?. d ::i?ub I*?tSl^nJ tO_
Teaching' Is Truly A Test Of One's Mettle
name it the time ? "I cannot relate
"Like I care." I told the 6-foot-2.
250-pound "student" to whom I was
administering the Ifcst of Adult
Basic Education. I'd had it with this
Alpheus, a grown man and a vet
eran of the Vietnam war being "edu
cated" via the G.I. Bill, had spent
the previous three months in my
classroom, known in educatiooese
as The Learning Lab.
The learning lab approach was
simple. You didn't even need a real
teacher to operate one ? that's why I
was there. You simply provided all
the materials someone might need to
learn to read better, let than work at
their own speed, grade their papers
and test their progress every few
One "teacher" could supervise
several dozen reading-deficient stu
dents at any given time. When a stu
dent's test scores indicated 11th- or
12th-grade reading proficiency, he
or she would be ready to enter a cur
riculum course or take the GED test.
But old Alpheus prefaied killing
time to making any overt effort to
improve his reading skills above
fifth-grade level. He came to class a:
8 a.m. daily, just an hour off his
well-paying third-shift job as a ma
chinist, sometimes smelling of beer,
frequently placing his head on the
computer table in front of him and
sleeping until time to move on from
my remedial reading class to his re
medial math lab next door.
I had tried to be patient, encour
aging him to take advantage of the
many thousands of dollars worth of
computers, tapes, tape players, head
sets, games and high-tech toys on
which he was supposed to glide,
"self-paced," into the wonderful
world of adult literacy.
At first I interpreted his macho in
difference as a cover for terrible in
security ? until 1 faced the fact that
he sincerely cared about nothing ex
cept making a D and keeping his
benefits. He didn't get that D from
And then there was Sally, just
three years my senior, sweet and ea
ger to team. I'd know* for years,
had watched her walk aao? the
stage and proudly receive her high
I was surprised to find her in my
class; I was shocked to discover that
she couiti not read.
She "tested out," as the teachers
put it, at a little below third-grade
level. Sue icuignizra words, out not
well enough to read a classified ad, a
newspaper article or the directions
on the back of a cake mix box.
When all the other little girls
Sally's age were starting first grade,
she was at home caring for her
gravely ill mother, serving at surro
gate mama for her little brothers and
sisters. Her mother had died when
she was 11 or 12 years old, and
Sally had started school far the first
time in die fifth or sixth grade.
Determination and pride kept her
afloat in school, she said? that and
the fact that she was so nice, so
well-behaved and so hard-working
that teachers just didn't have the
heart to flunk her and embaiiass her.
She had come to community col
lege to study nursing. It was there
that her reading limitation became
undeniable and she was sent to the
I ranting Lab to improve her skills,
sue u ocen mot, studying mtii ana
reading, for more than a year. Night
after night she worked on her studies
at home; day after day she did
everything she was supposed to do
in cfgg, and then acaae.
Her nuth skills were improving
slowly, but her reading seemed to be
going nowhere. And her husband
was looins his patience with fimdins
Sally's studies when she'd been
there tor a year and wasn't even in
the nursing curriculum yet
I expressed my concents about it
to the more experienced teacher*,
and they sympathized but attend no
solutions. Sally, they said, obviously
had a serious learning disability
which wasn't diagnoaed back in aw
of thoae years she mined At thia
point, we simply didn't have the re
sources to help her much.
My teaching career began and
ended with that quarter in the
Learning Lab. I hadn't set oat to be
there in the first place. The coopera
tive education program for which
I'd been working as a rccrui
ter/oounselor had been de-funded by
the feds, so 1 was offered this
Learning Lab job instead. The mon
ey was good and the hours were rea
sonable, but I couldn't reconcile my
self to anything ebe about the work.
It seemed to me a flawed concept,
that a majority of adults with poor
reading skills could do better if they
worked with equipment instead of
instructors, at their own pace instead
of competing with other It
certainly wasn't working out for Al
pbcus, who was wasting a handful
of taxpayers' money, or Sally, who
?kser?ed a bnicr return on her own
I don't know whether they still
use the learning lab ^nwuach to re
medial reading and math. I'm not
sure 1 want to know.
LETTERS TO THF FDfTQg
Defendant's Wife Is Critical
Of Judge Jenkins' Comments
To the editor:
I am writing this letter because I
feel there is a judge who serves our
county of Brunswick that is very un
fair. This man is Judge Knox
You see, my husband was on trial
last week for (first-degree) murder.
His name is David fiijUi TV imy
had five verdicts to choose from.
They were murder 1, murder 2, vol
untary manslaughter, involuntary
manslaughter and not guilty.
The jury came in with involuntary
became they found the shooting to
be ss accost. b*j; ay frsgfrsnd did
cany a gun into the bar all c4 this
iMppwcd in. By this verdict they
foaad no racism to be involved
When the judge ic.lt weed my
qgpavtfiag factor, and he then sen
tenced him to the maximum term.
At his sentencing, he made a few
very uncalled-for statements that
were meant to do nothing but humil
iate my husband, our family and the
Those comments were, "If I had
my way. Mr. Gilley, you would
serve every day of those 10 years."
Whcs my uiiwau iiukjc anapoiogy
to the family of the deceased, (the
judge) then told him. That was just
one more sorry excuse had had
heard for taking a man's life." He
then went into a very long speech
about D-Day and the killing of Jews
bccsuae of iteir fate.
My husband had a fair trial and an
excellent defense attorney. But I
don't understand Judge Jenkins,
who was supposed to be impartial
and through his comments turned
out to be completely biased. There
were jury members who came into
our attorney's office the next day
and said, "If we had known the
judge was going to be that way, (we)
would have rendered a not guilty
Our whole community is outraged
by this judge. Can anything be done
To the i
in days gone by, though not too
many, this country had the finest
telephone system in the world. Enter
the United Stales Government to
break up the "evil" monopoly. Our
magnificent telephone system was
broken op into what became "re
? What were the results? Some calls
cannot be completed from oce area
to another. Trying to croat company
lines, i.e. "regional alliances," on a
credit card call is an absurdly frus
trating experience. Service is often
interrupted for inordinate lengths of
time. Computerized voices cannot
answer questions, and it is often dif
ficult to reach a live human voice.
An example of the resulting cost
reduction to the American people is
that a collect call from Little River
to Calabash, a distance of less than
one mile, costs $5.25.
Now we have the finest quality
and delivery of health care in this
world. Enter the United States
Government. First step? Create "re
gional alliances." Guess what will
happen to the quality and delivery of
lb the editor.
in reference to the article on Odeil
Williamson in the May 26 bland
Living section, I would like to call
your attention to something yon did
not mention cnneemiiw Mr Wil
Through his generosity the Ocean
Iale Museum of Co? til Carolina be
came a reality with the donation of
land for the building.
The museum is a great
this aid It continues to grow,
school children love it, and
the caliber of the exhibits.
Mr. Williamson, as well as all
for their gifts to the public