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October 02, 1997 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 1997-10-02

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8A - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, October 2, 1997

NATION/WORLD

Teen kills
three,
wounds
'Six ot hers
PEARL, Miss. (AP) - A teen-ager
stabbed his mother to death, then went
to school yesterday with a rifle under
his trench coat and opened fire, killing
his former girlfriend and another stu-
dent and wounding six others, police
said.
Luke Woodham, 16, was distraught
over a breakup with his girlfriend,
Police Chief Bill Slade said, choking
back tears as he talked about the ram-
page in this town of 22,000 people just
outside Jackson.
"He gave us a statement, and his
manifesto was that he felt he had been
wronged," Slade said.
Woodham was arrested as he drove
away in his dead mother's car and was
charged with murder and aggravated
assault.
The shootings at Pearl High School
began about 8:10 a.m. as buses
arrived.
An expressionless Woodham, a
sophomore, entered the large com-
mons area just inside the front door of
the imposing school and immediately
walked up to his former girlfriend, wit-
nesses said. Police said she was the
first fall, followed by three young men
and four young women apparently shot
at random.
"He was shooting anybody he could
find. He shot at me and hit the stair-
case," said Mark Wilkerson, a first-
year student. "I saw fragments going
everywhere."
Students ran screaming into class-
rooms and dived for cover.
"People were laying everywhere
bleeding'" said student Nathan Henry.
"I didn't hear cries. Everybody looked
dead."
Casey King, a ninth grader, said
Woodham talked to at least one of the
wounded.
"He apologized, said he was sorry
and was not shooting anybody in par-
ticular," King said.
Police later found the body of Mary
Woodham, 50, at her home, about a
mile from the school.
The slain students were identified as
Lydia Kaye Dew, 17, and Christina
Menefee, 16. It was unclear which girl

Government stepping
up food safety laws

S

a

WASHINGTON (AP) - Faced with soaring food imports,
disease tainted fruits and vegetables and far fewer safety
inspections, the Clinton administration is moving aggressive-
ly to police the world's food.
Under a plan President Clinton is to announce today, the
government would spend up to $24 million inspecting farms
overseas. Those failing to meet certain food and safety stan-
dards would not be allowed to import to the United States.
U.S. farmers also would face new sanitation guidelines,
The Associated Press has learned, in part to forestall any
complaints that the United States would hold foreign farmers
to higher standards.
Critics charge that the food plan is an effort to counter
opposition to free trade legislation Clinton has pending in
Congress. They argue that the U.S. food supply already is the
world's safest.
"Clearly, being the world food police complicates the trade
environment we operate in," said John Aguirre of the United
Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Association. Risks from produce
are low enough that "this is unwarranted," he added.
But the Food and Drug Administration, which has been
pushing for the changes since 1993, said it hasn't kept pace
with Americans' food supply.
"The whole infrastructure of food safety needs to be
strengthened," said Associate Commissioner William
Hubbard.
FDA figures show budget constraints made its inspec-
tions of domestic food supplies plummet from 21,000 in
1981 to just 5,000 last year. Foreign food imports have
doubled to 2.2 million shipments a year since 1992,
while FDA border inspections were cut in half. A mere 2
percent of imported foods are sampled for contamina-
tion at the docks.
From 1973 through 1987, tainted produce accounted for
just 2 percent of disease outbreaks in which the federal
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention identified a food
culprit - a proportion that jumped to 5 percent of outbreaks
from 1988 through 1991.
Then doctors uncovered pathogens previously unknown in
produce, like the cyclospora in Guatemalan raspberries that
sickened some 1,400 Americans this spring and the E. coli
that contaminated unpasteurized U.S. apple juices.
There is no evidence that imports are more dangerous than
U.S. grown produce, said Morris Potter, CDC's assistant

director of foodborne diseases. "The concern is arising nde
because imports are on the rise,' he said.
Last year, 38 percent of fruits and 12 percent of vegetables
eaten in the United States came from other countries, a dou-
bling since 1986.
Under the Clinton plan, a new corps of FDA inspectors
would check foreign food safety systems and ban imported
fruits and vegetables from countries that don't regulate strict-
ly enough, said an administration official. Such authority is
identical to the Agriculture Department's practice of banning
meat imports from countries that don't have U.S. equivalent
meat regulations.
Key to the produce plan would be "good agricultural pray
tices" that can build safety into a crop. In the case of the
Guatemalan raspberries, it is not known how they were taint-
ed with the parasite cyclospora. Potential protections could
include certifying that fields are irrigated with clean water,
and providing field latrines for berry pickers and teaching
them to wash their hands, explained the administration offi-
cial, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Some U.S. inspection is already done in Mexico to prevent
flies and other pests from entering the United States, but a
Mexican farm official denounced the food safety plan. *
"It is very clear to us that behind all this are economic
interests which want to prevent Mexican vegetables from
entering the U.S.," said Luis Cardenas, of an agriculture
group in the state of Sinaloa, a big tomato producer.
At home, U.S. fruit and vegetable growers would have to
comply with similar standards, everything from testing irri-
gation supplies to hiring farm workers free of such diseases
as hepatitis and composting manure used as fertilizer so any
E. coli is killed, the official said.
Technically, the standards would be just guidelines for US.
farmers, and the FDA plans no new money to enforce them
But the FDA could use lack of compliance against a farm'
if it suspects domestic crop contamination - and farmers
who did follow the guidelines would have some legal protec-.
tion in case of an outbreak.
Worries about unsafe food imports have threatened
Clinton's pending attempts to expand free trade agreements.
Indeed, farmers' groups contend the food plan was rushed out
to save the trade legislation, arguing that today's announce-
ment comes a month before an FDA advisory committee was
set to recommend new food safety measures.

Pearl High School students and parents share emotions over the on-campus
shooting deaths of two classmates and the wounding of six others.
"I didn't hear cries.,Everybody
looked dead."
- Nathan Henry
Shooting witness

had dated Woodham.
Three of the wounded students were
hospitalized. One was in serious con-
dition.
Slade said Mary Woodham, a recep-
tionist who apparently had divorced
her husband about a year ago, was
believed to have died about three hours
before the shootings. Neighbors said
the teen-ager's mother usually took
him to school, but yesterday he got
into the car by himself, hitting a tree
and crossing a neighbor's yard as he
drove away.
In his yearbook photo, a serious
looking Woodham has shoulder length
brown hair and wire rimmed glasses.

"lie always seemed polite, like a
nice guy" said Courtni Thomas, a
senior. "It doesn't seem real that any-
one like him would do this."
The school has no armed guards or
weapons searches.
"We had no idea that anything like
this would ever take place at any of our
schools" said school board attorney
Arthur Jernigan Jr.
Classes were canceled until
Monday, but students were told to
report Friday for counseling.
Weeping students gathered in small
groups outside the school, where the
flag was lowered to half staff. Others
held hands and prayed.

t, 1

f~4le

r~

r

v

AP PHOTO
Adorned with a flower, a poster for 11year old Eddie Werner is attached to a stop sign at the end of his street in Jackson
Township, NJ. Werner was found dead in the woods near his home Monday night.

N

S HA PE
jJ
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Boy strangled while sellmg
door-to-door for fund-raiser

9

TOMS RIVER, N.J. (AP) - Before he was found
strangled near his home, I I-year-old Edward Werner
was eagerly pursuing a set of walkie talkies, the top
prize for selling the most candy and wrapping paper for
his school's PTA.
He was going door to door alone - a practice dis-
couraged by most fund-raising groups - and sales
were going so well he was flashing a $200 wad of bills
to friends.
Yesterday, prosecutors said, Edward was a victim of
his own success, killed for his
money by a 15-year-old boy who
answered the sixth grader's knock ch
on the door. No child s
They say Edward was brought
inside the home, sexually assault- sell, eve
ed and strangled. The older boy
then dragged the boy's 4-foot-Il Presi

The suspect's parents cooperated with investigators and tbe.
boy surrendered to police. He was being held in a juvenijl
detention center and prosecutors will decide within 30 days
whether to try him as an adult. New Jersey has the death
penalty, but it is not used against juveniles.
Edward was among the legions of children around the
nation involved in fund raising, a fact that annoys some.
The policy for all PTAs in the nation states that "chil-
dren should never be exploited or used as fund-raisers,".
said Maryann Kolbeck, president of the New Jersey
PTA. "No child should ever sell;

hould ever
- Maryann Kolbeck
Jdent, New Jersey PTA

ever."
Groups such as the Girl Scots
of America have rules that an adult
should accompany a girl selling or
delivering cookies.
The Association of Fund
Raisers and Direct Sellers, a

inch, 60 pound body into the

woods.
The 15-year-old boy, whose name was not released,
was charged with murder and aggravated sexual assault
in a case that has focused new attention on the wide-
spread practice of using children to raise money for
schools and other nonprofit organizations.
Door-to-door selling is discouraged by the national
PTA, the child's school district, youth organizations, as
well as the multibillion-dollar industry that puts prod-
ucts into the hands of a juvenile sales force.
Instead, the groups suggest children sell to relatives,
friends or close neighbors and have parents sell to co-work-
ers.

trade group representing about
half of the estimated 1,50CI
companies that deal with school and youth groups;
adopted a policy last July saying it does not endorse
door to door sales, said executive director Russell
Lemieux.
"That's really the bulk of sales in fund raising," Lemieux
said. "The instance of a child going door to door is quite
rare."
The association's estimates suggest that schools and non
profit groups make $2 billion a year in profits from product
sales, Lemieux said. He said the need to raise money for chil-
dren's activities, whether it be band uniforms or class trips,
will not go away.

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