The World Almanac E-Newsletter
Volume 3, Number 1 - January 2003
What's in this issue?
January 1 - Cotton Bowl, Dallas, TX; Gator Bowl, Jacksonville, FL; Outback Bowl, Tampa, FL; Rose Bowl, Pasadena, FL; Sugar Bowl, New Orleans, LA; Mummers Parade, Philadelphia, PA; Tournament of Roses Parade, Pasadena, CA
January 1 - New Year's Day; St. Basil's Day
This Day in History - January
FEATURED LOCATION OF THE MONTH: SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA
Location: Western California, coextensive with San Francisco County. Incorporated as a city 1850. Famous for its beautiful setting, San Francisco is primarily located on the northern tip of a peninsula at the entrance to San Francisco Bay and is bordered by the Pacific Ocean on the west, Golden Gate Strait on the north, San Francisco Bay on the east, and San Bruno Mountain on the south. It includes Alcatraz, Angel, Treasure, and Yerba Buena islands.
Population (2000 Census): 776,733
Mayor: Willie L. Brown Jr.
January Temperatures: Normal high of 55.6 degrees; Normal low of 41.8 degrees
Colleges & Universities: Academy of Art College; California College of Arts & Crafts; City College of San Francisco; Golden Gate University; Heald College; New College of California; San Francisco Art Institute; San Francisco Conservatory of Music; San Francisco State University; University of California at San Francisco; University of California Hastings College of Law; University of San Francisco
Events: SF Sketchfest (sketch comedy festival; January 2-26); Berlin and Beyond Film Festival (January 9-15); East-West Shrine Game (January 11); Dine-About-Town 2003 (January 11-31); San Francisco International Art Exposition (January 17-20); San Francisco Sports and Boat Show (January 17-26); Martin Luther King Jr. Youth and Family Day (January 18); 13th Anniversary of the Sea Lion's Arrival at Pier 39 (January 19); AMA Supercross Series (January 25); Chinese New Year Parade And Celebration (January 25-February 16); San Francisco Half Marathon & 5K (January 26); San Francisco Ballet Gala Opening (January 29); Bon Appétit Wine & Spirit Focus (January 31)
Sports teams: San Francisco Giants (baseball); San Francisco 49ers (football)
Museums: Asian Art Museum of San Francisco; California Academy of Sciences; California Palace of the Legion of Honor; Cartoon Art Museum; Chinese Historical Society of America; de Young Museum; Exploratorium; Geological Museum; Golden Gate Railroad Museum; Henry Wilson Coil Masonic Library & Museum; International Museum of Women; Magnes Museum; Mexican Museum; Musée Mécanique; Museo Italoamericano; Museum of Craft and Folk Art; Museum of the City of San Francisco; Presidio Museum; Ripley's Believe It or Not! Museum; San Francisco Airport Museum; San Francisco Art Institute; San Francisco Cable Car Museum; San Francisco Fire Department Museum; San Francisco Maritime Museum; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; San Francisco Performing Arts Library and Museum; Wells Fargo History Museum; Zeum (hands-on art and technology center)
Places to visit: Alcatraz Island; Aquarium of the Bay; cable cars; The Cannery; Chinatown; the Civic Center (including City Hall, the Opera House, and Davies Symphony Hall); Coit Memorial Tower on Telegraph Hill; Fisherman's Wharf (with the nearby Hyde Street Pier of Historic Ships and the Ferry Building); Fort Point National Historic Site; Geary Street theater district; Ghirardelli Square; Golden Gate Bridge; Golden Gate Park (including the Japanese Tea Garden and the de Young Museum); Mission Dolores (founded 1776); Old St. Mary's Cathedral; Pacific Bell Park (home of the San Francisco Giants baseball team); the Presidio (a former U.S. military reservation now part of Golden Gate National Recreation Area); San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park; San Francisco Zoo; Steinhart Aquarium; 3Com Park (formerly Candlestick Park--home of the San Francisco 49ers football team); Transamerica Pyramid (with an observation area on the 27th floor); Yerba Buena Center for the Arts
Tallest Building: Transamerica Pyramid (853 feet, 48 stories)
History: The community was settled in 1776, when the Spanish officer Juan Bautista de Anza founded a fort (presidio) here to guard the entrance to San Francisco Bay. Later that year Father Junípero Serra established the Misión San Francisco de Asís (now called Mission Dolores) nearby. Little happened in either location, and in the 1830s a third settlement began at Yerba Buena Cove, near the present site of Portsmouth Square in the northeastern part of the city. The U.S. took Yerba Buena from Mexico in 1846, renaming it San Francisco in 1847.
In 1848 gold was discovered in the interior of California, near Sacramento, and the ensuing gold rush rapidly transformed San Francisco into a booming community. The city developed as a port and supply point and became an early governmental and cultural center. It was noted for its cosmopolitan population and for the lawlessness of some sections, particularly the so-called Barbary Coast area. In 1869 the transcontinental railroad reached the Bay Area. By 1900 San Francisco had more than 340,000 inhabitants.
On April 18, 1906, an earthquake shook the city and caused a fire that raged for three days, destroying almost all of San Francisco's downtown and much of the residential area. The city was rebuilt quickly and in 1915 played host to the Panama-Pacific International Exposition. During World War II, San Francisco was a major shipbuilding center, and in 1945 the city was the site of an international conference that drafted the UN Charter. In the 1960s and '70s many large, modern buildings were constructed here, and a number of residential areas were revitalized. Parts of the city were badly damaged by an earthquake in 1989, but the city has since recovered significantly.
Birthplace of: photographer Ansel Adams (1902); actress Lisa Bonet (1967); actor Benjamin Bratt (1963); Supreme Court justice Stephen Breyer (1938); politician Jerry Brown (1938); TV commentator Tucker Carlson (1969); comedian Margaret Cho (1968); prizefighter James J. Corbett (1866); TV executive Barry Diller (1942); dancer Isadora Duncan (1878); actor/director Clint Eastwood (1930); U.S. representative Sam Farr (1941); U.S. senator Dianne Feinstein (1933); poet Robert Frost (1874); actor Danny Glover (1947); cartoonist Rube Goldberg (1883); actor Josh Hartnett (1978); writer Robert Hass (1941); newspaper publisher William Randolph Hearst (1863); writer Shirley Jackson (1919); Apple Computer founder Steve Jobs (1955); former White House intern Monica Lewinsky (1973); writer Jack London (1876); singer Courtney Love (1964); former secretary of defense/World Bank president Robert McNamara (1916); actor Rob Schneider (1963); actor Liev Schreiber (1967); actress Alicia Silverstone (1976); former football player/murder defendant O.J. Simpson (1947); actress Courtney Thorne-Smith (1968); cookbook writer and Gertrude Stein companion Alice B. Toklas (1877); model Christy Turlington (1969); former secretary of defense Caspar Weinberger (1917); actress Daphne Zuniga (1962)
Arledge, Roone, 71, television industry executive who revolutionized TV sports coverage at ABC before running the network's news division for two decades; New York, NY, Dec. 5, 2002.
Berrigan, Philip, 79, onetime Catholic priest who with his brother and fellow priest Daniel Berrigan helped lead the antiwar movement in the U.S. during the Vietnam War; Baltimore, MD, Dec. 6, 2002.
Brian, Mary, 96, an actress in silent films and talkies, who starred in the 1924 film Peter Pan, and one of the earliest western talkies, The Virginians, in 1929 with Gary Cooper; Del Mar, CA, Dec 30, 2002.
Brown, Dee, 94, librarian turned historian and author whose book Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee (1970) helped shatter the prevailing view that white settlers of the American West had been noble pioneers confronted by hordes of savage Indians; Little Rock, AR, Dec. 12, 2002.
Dejmek, Kazimierz, 78, stage director in Poland, whose work sparked a student-led revolt against the communist government; Warsaw, Poland, Dec. 31, 2002.
Hill, George Roy, 81, director of such well-known Hollywood films as Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969) and The Sting(1973), both of which starred Paul Newman and Robert Redford; New York, NY, Dec. 27, 2002.
Ne Win, 91, military ruler of Burma (now Myanmar), 1962-88; Yangon, Myanmar, Dec. 5, 2002.
Ritts, Herb, 50, photographer known for his flattering, mostly black-and-white images of celebrities from all walks of life and for his glorification of young, athletic bodies, both male and female; Los Angeles, CA, Dec. 26, 2002.
Strummer, Joe, 50, guitarist and vocalist with the British punk-rock band the Clash, one of the dominant forces in popular music in the late 1970s and early 1980s; Broomfield, England, Dec. 22, 2002.
Special Feature: "Peace With Honor" in Vietnam
By Erik Gopel
On January 23, 1973-thirty years ago this month- President Richard Nixon's special adviser, Henry Kissinger, and North Vietnam's chief negotiator, Le Duc Tho, agreed on an historic and controversial cease-fire accord aimed at ending the war in Vietnam. Nixon announced the agreement in a televised address that night, broadcast simultaneously in the U.S. and Hanoi, saying the accords reached in Paris would "end the war and bring peace with honor in Vietnam and Southeast Asia." Representatives of the U.S., North Vietnam, South Vietnam, and the Viet Cong formally signed the accords on January 27, and the cease-fire went into effect the next day. Thirty years later, it is for historians to decide whether or not this peace was in fact honorable, or even peace at all.
The Vietnam War exemplified the political turmoil that plagued the post-colonial regions of the world in the years following World War II, and became a major theater of the Cold War that pitted two diametrically opposed ideologies against each other-capitalism and communism. For the North Vietnamese, the war was a struggle against Western influence, for the South, it was a battle for self-determination. In the end, the U.S. and South Vietnamese governments failed to realize their political goals, and the effects on the people of Indochina and the U.S. were enormous.
Communism and the Legacy of the French
While the peak period of American involvement in the Vietnam War spanned from 1964 to 1973, the U.S. began to play a role in the conflict far earlier, during the French-Indochina War. In 1945, a coalition of nationalist and communist forces founded and led by the Moscow-trained communist Ho Chi Minh known as the "Viet Minh" had seized the capital city of Hanoi and forced the abdication of pro-French emperor Bao Dai. They established the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, with Ho Chi Minh as president. Tensions ensued with France, Vietnam's colonial ruler, and war broke out in 1946
In 1949, the French backed the creation of the Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam) with a pro-French regime in the capital, Saigon (now Ho Chi Minh City) led by Bao Dai. U.S. President Harry Truman, fearing the rise of communism in Southeast Asia, began sending arms to pro-French forces in southern Vietnam in 1950. The French-Indochina War ended in 1954, when the French surrendered after a 55-day siege at the army base Dien Bien Phu. The accords that ended the war temporarily divided the country at the 17th parallel, with control of the northern region given to the communist Viet Minh, while the South was governed by the western-backed Bao Dai.
Diem, the Viet Cong, and the Civil War
The U.S. and the Saigon government did not accept these accords, and President Dwight D. Eisenhower, whose administration was intently focused on preventing the so-called "domino effect," (the theory that if one country fell to communism, its neighbors would follow) provided aid and U.S. military advisers to the South Vietnamese forces. In 1955, Bao Dai was deposed, and Ngo Dinh Diem was elected to lead the government in Saigon. North Vietnam expressed its intention to unify the country under the communist Hanoi government.
Within the next few years, groups of communist insurgents known as the Viet Nam Cong San, or "Viet Cong," who had fled the south after the Geneva accords, began to return, infiltrating the border and attacking American and South Vietnamese army installations. In 1961, to aid the South Vietnamese against the Viet Cong, President John F. Kennedy sent 400 troops as advisers to South Vietnam; by the following year the number had grown to 11,200.
On November 1, 1963, the Diem regime was overthrown in a military coup. Three weeks later, Kennedy was assassinated and Vice President Lyndon Baines Johnson assumed the U.S. presidency. Over the next 18 months, ten different governments controlled Saigon. Finally, in 1965, a stable government was formed by Gen. Nguyen Van Thieu and Gen. Nguyen Cao Ky. Thieu was elected president in September 1967.
Escalation and "McNamara's War"
The South now faced several threats: the North Vietnamese army regulars, the Northern-trained Viet Cong in the South, and pro-communist groups in Laos and Cambodia. However, the involvement of significant numbers of U.S. troops did not begin until the Gulf of Tonkin incident. On August 4, 1964, North Vietnamese torpedo boats reportedly attacked two U.S. destroyers in the waters off North Vietnam; days later the U.S. Senate approved the so-called Tonkin Gulf Resolution. The measure allowed President Lyndon B. Johnson to send fighter jets to South Vietnam and begin a retaliatory bombing campaign in the North. At that point, President Johnson was heavily influenced by Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, who favored an aggressive policy of engaging the enemy in South Vietnam on the ground coupled with a relentless bombing campaign in the north. Between 1965 and 1968, the war escalated dramatically, and by 1968, there were over 500,000 U.S. troops stationed in Vietnam. The war was often pejoratively referred to as "McNamara's War."
In 1967, however, McNamara seemed to change his opinion of the war effort, opposing Johnson's requests to expand bombing in North Vietnam. McNamara left his position the following year. In his 1995 book, In Retrospect: The Tragedy and Lessons of Vietnam, McNamara wrote that U.S. policy in Vietnam had been "wrong, terribly wrong," and that the U.S. should have withdrawn its troops in 1963.
The Tet Offensive and Conflict in the U.S.
In February 1968, the Viet Cong launched a large and highly coordinated surprise attack known as the Tet Offensive (for the Lunar New Year holiday by that name), temporarily occupying many of the provincial capitals in South Vietnam. Though the communist forces were quickly driven out of the areas, the incident evoked doubts by many in the U.S. Congress about the progress and cost of the war. President Johnson could no longer ignore the increasing public unpopularity of the war. During a nationally televised address on March 31, 1968, Johnson announced both his intention to scale down the war in Vietnam and the shocking news that he would not seek the nomination for another term as president. In May, he ordered peace talks to begin in Paris between U.S. and North Vietnamese representatives.
Sentiments against the war in Vietnam were fueled by the unprecedented and widespread media coverage. For the first time, the horrors of war, were broadcast into the living rooms of American families, by news correspondents, who traveled with the troops and recorded their daily activities and military engagements. As the toll of victims began to mount, networks scrolled the names of the fallen nightly on the evening news, and professors and student activists read their names to crowds gathered on the campuses of the nation's colleges and universities.
In 1968 social turmoil erupted in the U.S., with the deaths of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Senator Robert Kennedy, who were both outspoken critics of the war. News of war atrocities committed by American soldiers, most notably the My Lai incident in 1968, fueled even greater anti-war sentiment. Nixon, former Vice President under Eisenhower and a staunch anti-communist, won the presidential election that year, promising to work towards peace in Vietnam.
Anti-war protests, most of which were held by college and university students at campuses and in major cities, climaxed at about the same time in the U.S. and in Europe. The shootings at Kent State in 1970, as National Guardsmen sent in to quell demonstrators killed four students and wounded 11 others, horrified the nation. The printing of the Pentagon Papers in June 1971 by the New York Times revealed thousands of pages of policy decisions made by the Johnson administration that had never been disclosed to or approved by Congress, including prior knowledge of Diem's 1963 ouster, covert activities in Laos and bombing in North Vietnam as early as 1965. Many in the U.S. feared that the war was spreading throughout Southeast Asia, as Americans began fighting in Laos and Cambodia, following the communist uprisings that took place there in the early 1970s. In fact, bombing campaigns in Cambodia lasting approximately 15 months, in 1969 and 1970, had been undertaken by Nixon without public knowledge.
Nixon and "Vietnamization"
Even after Ho Chi Minh's death in 1969, an end to the war seemed nowhere in sight. Upon taking office in 1969, President Nixon had announced his plans for the "Vietnamization" of the war. This entailed gradually transferring the burden of military combat back to the South Vietnamese, while decreasing the number of U.S. troops in Vietnam. Although Nixon set forth his plans in June to withdraw up to 100,000 troops in stages by the end of the year, he strongly believed that a "precipitate withdrawal" of American troops would not only be disastrous in Vietnam, but also compromise U.S. credibility and integrity as a leader in international affairs. Meanwhile, North Vietnam was demanding a complete withdrawal of American troops from Vietnam. Before Vietnamization began, American forces peaked at 541,000 in 1969.
An Honorable Peace?
Over the next three years, the war re-escalated, and significant fighting spread to neighboring Laos and Cambodia. Large-scale bombing raids of the North resumed in 1971. Substantial steps towards resolving the conflict did not appear until 1972, when Nixon announced more peace initiatives. Serious negotiations began in an unprecedented four-day series of private talks in October 1972 between Kissinger, Tho, and Xuan Thuy, Hanoi's chief delegate to the ongoing negotiations. They established a nine-point peace plan, with the hope of completing a cease-fire that would end the fighting in Vietnam, withdraw American troops, and exchange all prisoners. However, the negotiations were delayed until December.
Because some conditions, set by the Vietnamese government were rejected by the North, the December talks adjourned without an agreement. In order to put pressure on the North Vietnamese to return to the negotiations, the U.S. began a highly controversial bombing campaign of the North, the heaviest yet of the war, mainly in the cities of Hanoi and Haiphong. President Nixon ordered the bombing above the 20th parallel to cease on December 30; Kissinger and Tho agreed to resume their negotiations on January 8, 1973. But Nixon's order did not halt bombing below the 20th parallel in North Vietnam, nor in Cambodia or Laos.
Nixon suspended all military action against North Vietnam on January 15. After nearly 4 years of negotiations, an agreement based on the nine-point plan, devised in October 1972, was initialed by Kissinger and Tho on January 23. The U.S. had 60 days to withdraw all forces from South Vietnam and dismantle its military bases there. The accord also called for the return of all American P.O.W.s being held in Indochina, (estimated at the time to be about 500, but in reality was closer to 2,300). It also allowed some 145,000 North Vietnamese troops to remain South Vietnam, with the stipulation that they could not be replaced.
A plan for peace efforts in Cambodia and Laos was also included, calling for an end to military activity by both sides there. A new National Council of National Reconciliation and Concord would oversee new elections in South Vietnam.
Nixon promised that the U.S. would "continue to recognize the government of the Republic of Vietnam as the sole legitimate government of South Vietnam," and assured the Thieu government that the U.S. would aid South Vietnam in the event of any major treaty violations by the North or the Viet Cong.
The January 23 peace agreement in fact did not last long, plagued with repeated truce violations that by June had claimed thousands of military and civilian lives. After more talks between Kissinger and Tho, a revised peace plan was signed on June 13, 1973. This plan, agreed to by all four of the parties originally involved in the peace plan, called for another cease-fire to begin at noon on June 15.
Kissinger called it an "amplification and consolidation" of the original January peace plan. But it provided no specific language regarding the removal of North Vietnamese troops from South Vietnam, nor did it bar the U.S. from continuing its bombing of Cambodia.
Even this agreement proved to be doomed. Events in the U.S.--the tax-evasion conviction of Vice President Spiro T. Agnew and the Watergate scandal--eventually forced the resignations of the U.S. president and vice president, preventing the administration from honoring the treaty and coming to the aid of the South Vietnamese.
Fighting resumed in January 1974, with North Vietnamese troops and Viet Cong in place in the South. Thieu ordered his troops to attack Viet Cong-held positions. The North Vietnamese and Viet Cong took control of provincial capitals in the South through the end of 1974 and the beginning of 1975.
On April 30, 1975, North Vietnamese tanks broke through the gates of the Thieu palace in Saigon, and the South Vietnamese government surrendered. The U.S. abandoned its embassy there, evacuating the staff by helicopter. While about 55,000 South Vietnamese were able to escape on U.S. aircraft and helicopters, hundreds of thousands of South Vietnamese were left with nowhere to go.
A Troubled Legacy
The legacy of the Vietnam War was nothing less than tragic. Nearly 2 million Vietnamese lost their lives, while America's losses were 58,193 killed and about 153,303 wounded (an additional 150,332 wounded did not require hospital care). The landscape in Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos had been destroyed by years of massive bombing and defoliation. The communists reunited Vietnam into one country, and diplomatic ties were severed between it and the U.S. for almost 20 years. An estimated 12 million people in Indochina became refugees; about a half million, known as the "boat people," fled the country by sea. It is estimated that 10 to 15 percent died in the attempt.
The instability created by the war affected the entire region. Although the accords of 1973 included plans to promote peace in Vietnam's troubled neighbors, Cambodia and Laos, which had been dragged into the war while internally fighting their own civil wars, events in both countries quickly deteriorated.
In the U.S., veterans of the war found themselves vilified upon their arrival home, victims of the backlash against the war. Many suffered serious psychological effects of the unconventional warfare in which they had participated, with above-average trends of narcotic use, homelessness, and suicide.
Although relations between the U.S. and Vietnam were normalized in 1995, the war still remains controversial. Kissinger and Le Duc Tho had been awarded the 1973 Nobel Peace Prize. Tho declined the award, saying that true peace had not yet been reached in Vietnam. Kissinger accepted, despite a great deal of protest worldwide, and went on to become Secretary of State. At a press conference shortly after the fall of Saigon in 1975, Kissinger spoke publicly about the peace he helped negotiate: "I see no purpose now in reviewing that particular history. Within the context of the time, it seemed the right thing to do."
New Euro Coins Irritate
Since they came into circulation at the beginning of 2002, 1-Euro and 2-Euro coins, the currency of the European Union (EU), have been irritating humans, but scientists could not determine why. Researchers have now discovered the source of the irritation. Euro coins are made out of nickel, and when they are exposed to human sweat, they produce an electric current that erodes the nickel and releases the metal in levels that are hundreds of times the amount allowed by EU laws.
The Euro is the currency used by approximately 300 million people in the European Union. The EU began in 1950 after the Second World War to create a more unified Europe. The principal objectives of the EU are to create a federation of countries, much like the United States, that stand together to protect their own rights, geopolitical interests, and economic markets. There are currently 15 members of the EU, and at the beginning of 2002, twelve of them gave up their own currencies to create one common economic system and use the Euro. Those countries are Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, and Spain. Though the values of both currencies fluctuate daily, one Euro is approximately equal in value to one United States dollar.
The nickel irritation problem is with the 1- and 2-Euro coins. The other coins of smaller denomination do not contain nickel, and larger denominations are paper money. Each coin is made up of an outer ring and a circular inner "pill." The 1-Euro ring is made of a yellow alloy called nickel brass. An alloy is a molecular mixture of two or more metals, such as brass, which is an alloy of zinc and copper. Nickel brass is copper mixed with 20% zinc and 5% nickel by weight. The 1-Euro pill is made of a white alloy called cupro-nickel that is copper combined with 25% nickel by weight. The design of the 2-Euro coin is the reverse of the 1-Euro. The ring is cupro-nickel and the pill of nickel brass. Though the yellow metal, the nickel brass, has less nickel than the white metal, the cupro-nickel, the yellow metal dissolves at least five times faster than the white, so they both corrode at the same rate. Many of the countries in the EU wanted all the coins to be free of nickel, because of the prevalence of nickel allergies. However, nickel does have some value because it makes the coins magnetic, which helps vending machines to identify coins. Also, making the coins out of the two different alloys makes them harder to counterfeit.
Researchers at the University of Zurich in Switzerland discovered that when the alloys are covered with human sweat, they develop a different mixture of ions at the border between the two metals. An ion is an atom or a group of atoms that has acquired a net electric charge by gaining or losing one or more of its electrons. As the ions seek equilibrium, they create a tiny electrical current of approximately 30-40 millivolts, units that are used to measure one thousandth of a volt of electricity. Though small, this electrical current corrodes the coins that already have a predisposition to ooze nickel. The coins then proceed to release the nickel at 240 to 320 times the rate allowed by the European Union Nickel Directive, a law that was passed in 1994, that designates how much nickel can be released by items that are in prolonged contact with skin, such as earrings and watches. Coins aren't usually tested, because they are rarely in prolonged contact with skin. However, the corroding process that happens between the two alloys actually happens faster than if the coin were pure nickel. The resulting itching and redness can affect up to 30% of the population. According to Andrew Finlay, consultant dermatologist at the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff, nickel is the most important allergen in the environment, because people come into contact with it so frequently -- in jewelry, clothing, coins, even jean studs.
In December 2001, researchers announced that the Euro coins released nickel when soaked in artificial human sweat. The experiment was conducted by Frank Nestle and his colleagues at the University of Zurich. They bathed a coin in artificial human sweat for 36 hours and it became brown and corroded. When a Swiss 1-franc coin was subjected to the same treatment, there was not corrosion evident on the coin. The Swiss 1-franc is 25% nickel and 75% copper, but it does not have an interaction between two metals. The researchers also taped the coins to the hands of seven people with nickel allergies for 48 and 72 hours. All of the people developed dermatitis, an itchy rash.
Despite the fact that many people are affected by nickel sensitivity, the Euro problem will not have much of an effect on the public at large. "Short contact with these coins, as in day-to-day usage, will most likely have no health impact," said Nestle. However, Werner Aberer of the University of Graz in Austria believes workers who handle money frequently, like shopkeepers or bus conductors, will end up taking more sick days and changing jobs over time because they do experience prolonged contact with the coins. And though it will not affect everybody, many believe that the EU should have taken their own laws into consideration when designing the coins. "I deeply believe that not all the steps were taken to guarantee the safety of the coins for the consumer," said Aberer.
Special Report: U.S. Census Analysis Tracks 100 Years of Change
At the start of the 20th century, most of the U.S. population was male, under 23 years old, lived outside metropolitan areas and rented their homes. Nearly half lived in a household with five or more other persons.
One hundred years later, most of the population was female, at least 35 years old, lived in metro areas and owned their homes. Most lived alone or in a household with one or two other people.
These are some of the broad-scale changes included in a Census Bureau special report released December 17th. The report analyzes data gathered in 11 censuses stretching from 1900 to 2000. The subjects covered are from the Census 2000 short-form questionnaire. Titled Demographic Trends in the 20th Century and released during the bureau's 100th anniversary year, the report tracks trends in population, housing and household data for the nation, regions and states.
"Our goal was to produce a publication that appeals to people interested in the demographic changes that shaped our nation in the 20th century and to those interested in the numbers underlying those trends," said Frank Hobbs, who co-authored the report with Nicole Stoops. "We hope it will serve as a valuable reference work for years to come."
Some highlights of the report:
Population size and geographic distribution
- The U.S. population grew by more than 205 million people during the century, more than tripling from 76 million in 1900 to 281 million in 2000.
- As the population grew, the geographical population center shifted 324 miles west and 101 miles south, from Bartholomew County, Ind., in 1900 to its current location in Phelps County, Mo.
- In every decade of the century, the West's population grew faster than the populations of the other three regions.
- Florida's population rank rose more than that of any other state, catapulting it from 33rd to 4th place in state rankings. Iowa's population ranking plummeted the furthest, from 10th in the nation in 1900 to 30th in 2000.
Age and sex
- Children under 5 years old represented the largest five-year age group in 1900 and again in 1950; but in 2000 the largest groups were 35 to 39 and 40 to 44.
- The percentage of the U.S. population age 65 and over increased in every census from 1900 (4.1 percent) to 1990 (12.6 percent), then declined for the first time in Census 2000 to 12.4 percent.
- From 1900 to 1960, the South had the highest proportion of children under 15 and the lowest proportion of people 65 and over, making it the country's "youngest" region. The West grabbed that title in the latter part of the century.
Race and Hispanic origin
- At the beginning of the century, 1-in-8 U.S. residents was of a race other than white; at the end of the century, the ratio was 1-in-4.
- The black population remained concentrated in the South and the Asian and Pacific Islander population in the West through the century, but these regional concentrations declined sharply by 2000.
- Among the races, the American Indian and Alaska Native population had the highest percentage under age 15 for most of the 20th century.
- From 1980 to 2000, the Hispanic-origin population, which may be of any race, more than doubled.
- The total minority population people of Hispanic origin or of races other than white increased by 88 percent between 1980 and 2000 while the non-Hispanic white population grew by only 7.9 percent.
Housing and household size
- In 1950, for the first time, more than half of all occupied housing units were owned instead of rented. The homeownership rate increased until 1980, decreased slightly in the 1980s and then rose again to its highest level of the century in 2000 66 percent.
- The 1930s was the only decade when the proportion of owner-occupied housing units declined in every region. The largest increase in homeownership rates for each region then occurred in the next decade when the economy recovered from the Depression and experienced post-World War II prosperity.
- Between 1950 and 2000, married-couple households declined from more than three-fourths of all households to just over one-half.
- The proportional share of one-person households increased more than households of any other size. In 1950, one-person households represented 1-in-10 households; by 2000, they comprised 1-in-4.
Bush Shakes Up His Economic Team - Pres. George W. Bush Dec.6 obtained the resignation of 2 of his top economic advisers, Treasury Sec. Paul O'Neill and Lawrence Lindsey, chairman of the National Economic Council. On Dec. 9 , Bush nominated Paul Snow, the chairman of CSX Corp., a railroad conglomerate, as Treasury secretary. On Dec. 12 he chose Stephen Friedman, former chairman of Goldman Sachs Group Inc., to succeed Lindsey.
While O'Neill and Lindsey were in office the economy had slipped into a brief recession from which it was making only a sluggish recovery. Reportedly, Bush had concluded that neither was an effective advocate for administration policies, a significant factor inasmuch as he planned to propose another tax-cut package in January. O'Neill had become known for his blunt, off-the-cuff public statements.
On Dec. 10, Bush nominated William Donaldson to succeed Harvey Pitt, who had resigned in November as chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission. Donaldson was a founder of the investment-banking firm of Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette and had served as chairman of the New York Stock Exchange.
Democrats Hold U.S. Senate Seat in Louisiana - U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu (D) was reelected in a runoff election in Louisiana, Dec. 7. She defeated her Republican opponent, Suzanne Terrell, 52% to 48%. The 2 had been the leaders in a 9-candidate field, Nov. 5. Landrieu benefited from a large turnout of black voters. Her victory meant that the new Senate that would convene in January would contain 51 Republicans, 48 Democrats, and 1 independent.
Two more House contests were resolved. In another Louisiana runoff, Dec. 7 , Rodney Alexander, a Democrat, prevailed narrowly in the 5th Congressional District. In Colorado, Dec. 10, following a recount, Bob Beauprez, a Republican, was declared the winner in the state's new 7th CD. The new House would contain 229 Republicans, 204 Democrats, and one independent. One more election, to fill a vacancy, would take place in Hawaii in January.
United Airlines Files for Bankruptcy - UAL Corp., the parent of United Airlines, filed for bankruptcy in Chicago Dec. 9 . United, the largest U.S. airline ever to file for bankruptcy, said it was losing $22 million per day. The action came after the Air Transportation Stabilization Board, Dec. 4 , rejected the company's request for $1.8 billion in loan guarantees, saying United's business plan was not financially sound. In bankruptcy, the airline would continue to operate and would honor frequent flier miles. Executives Dec. 10 called for reducing the size of the fleet and further pay cuts for employees, steps aimed at bringing the company out of bankruptcy in 18 months.
Gore Rules Out 2004 Bid for Presidency - Former Vice Pres. Al Gore announced Dec. 15 that he would not seek the Democratic nomination for president in 2004. Gore had narrowly lost the presidency to George Bush in 2000. Public opinion polls showed that he had more support than any other possible candidate for the 2004 Democratic nomination. Gore said Dec. 15 that if he ran against Bush again, the focus would be on the past, but that some other Democratic candidate could do better at focusing on the future.
Kissinger Resigns as Head of Terror Investigation - Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger resigned Dec. 13 as chairman of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks. Congress had created the commission in November to investigate the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States. Kissinger said that compliance with a Congressional rule that he must disclose his clients would result in the collapse of his consulting firm, Kissinger Associates. (The firm reportedly had clients from the Mideast, as well as major U.S. corporations, and some Kissinger critics said he would suffer from conflicts of interest, a charge Kissinger disputed.) On Dec. 11, former Sen. George Mitchell (D, Me) resigned as vice chairman of the commission, saying that the position would take too much time and might require that he resign from his law firm. Democrats Dec. 11 named former Rep. Lee Hamilton (D, IN) as vice chair. On Dec. 16 , Pres. George W. Bush named former New Jersey Gov. Thomas Kean, a Republican, as the new chairman.
Bush Announces Plan to Vaccinate Many Against Smallpox - Saying he believed that hostile nations had stockpiled the smallpox virus, Pres. George W. Bush announced Dec. 13 that many Americans would soon get a vaccination against the disease. Smallpox had been eradicated worldwide for more than 20 years. Bush's plan called for 500,000 armed forces personnel to be vaccinated immediately. These vaccinations would be mandatory. The vaccine would also be offered, beginning in January, to health care workers, police officers, firefighters, and other emergency workers. The vaccine posed a serious health threat to a very small percentage of recipients.
U.S. to Build Missile Defense Shield - Pres. George W. Bush Dec. 17 ordered the Pentagon to proceed with construction by 2004 of a limited missile defense shield. The defensive shield had been discussed for year, but this was the first deadline to be set. Six land-based missile interceptors would be built in Alaska and California within 2 years. Ten more would be added in Alaska in 2005. Up to 30 smaller interceptors would be stationed on Navy ships.
Lott Resigns as Senate Majority Leader After Furor - Sen. Trent Lott of Mississippi, who had just been chosen by his Republican colleagues to serve as majority leader in the new Congress, resigned as leader Dec. 20 as a result of a furor over a statement he had made 2 weeks earlier. Lott had previously served as majority leader until the Democrats gained a temporary majority in 2001. On Dec. 5, Lott attended the 100th birthday party of Sen. Strom Thurmond (R, SC), the oldest and longest-serving (48 years) senator in U.S. history. He had not sought reelection in November. At the birthday celebration, Lott recalled Thurmond's run for president in 1948 as a minor-party candidate who opposed racial integration. Lott noted that his state, Mississippi, had voted for Thurmond, adding: "And if the rest of the country had followed our lead, we wouldn't have had all these problems over the years, either." Thurmond had carried 4 states.
A lengthy public debate ensued, with many political leaders denying that Lott was a racist while others said he should resign. Lott apologized several times; his earliest apology, however, was viewed by many as inadequate and showing a lack of awareness of how offensive his comments were. Later, as the issue refused to go away, he exhibited greater contrition, saying in a radio interview, Dec. 11 , for example, that his remarks were "terrible" and "insensitive," and that "I don't accept these policies of the past at all." In a speech Dec. 12 , Pres. George W. Bush deplored Lott's initial statement, saying "Any suggestion that the segregated past was acceptable or positive is offensive and it is wrong." Lott's situation was made more difficult when previous similar statements were brought to light.
On Dec. 15, Sen. Don Nickles (OK), who ranked 2d to Lott in the GOP Senate leadership, called for a new vote on who should be majority leader. He said Lott had been weakened and that several other senators could be effective as leader. Republican senators decided, Dec. 16, to have a new vote on majority leader on Jan. 6. On Dec. 18, Sec. of State Colin Powell and Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida expressed concerns about Lott. On Dec. 19 , Sen. Bill Frist (TN) indicated that he would challenge Lott for majority leader. In bowing out Dec. 20, Lott said he would not resign from the Senate itself. On Dec. 23, in a conference call in which 48 Republican senators participated, Frist was elected majority leader by acclamation. Prior to his first election to the Senate, in 1994, Frist, a medical doctor, had specialized in human-heart transplants.
Weapons Inspectors Visit Many Sites in Iraq - UN weapons inspectors spent a month visiting many sites in Iraq in search of any evidence that Iraq was building or in possession of weapons of mass destruction. Sec. of State Colin Powell said Dec. 3 that the inspectors were "off to a good start." On Dec. 3 , inspectors paid a surprise visit to one of Pres. Saddam Hussein's many palaces, which prompted an Iraqi complaint Dec. 4 and a restatement that the country contained no weapons of mass destruction. On Dec. 7, Iraq provided a document required by the November UN resolution. It purported to be a full report on any programs related to the production of weapons of mass destruction. Copies went to the UN inspection commission, the International Atomic Energy Agency, and the 5 permanent members of the UN Security Council. The great length of the report, 12,000 pages, required many days for review. By Dec. 12, 98 inspectors were searching Iraqi facilities.
Some 330 members of about 50 Iraqi opposition groups met in London, Dec. 14-17 to plan for a new government in the event Hussein was ousted. They approved creating a transitional national assembly and a 3-person council to govern until a new constitution was written and parliamentary elections were held.
Sec. of State Colin Powell said Dec. 19that Iraq was in "material breach" of UN resolutions, and risked war if it continued a pattern of lying and lack of cooperation that he found in the Dec. 7 document. On Dec. 23, for at least the 3d time, Iraq shot down an unmanned U.S. surveillance plane. On Dec. 26, after Iraqi planes crossed into a no-flight zone, U.S. and British planes bombed a military command center southeast of Baghdad. On Dec. 31, the U.S. Army announced that it was sending thousands more soldiers from the Third Infantry Division in Georgia to Kuwait in the largest single ground deployment to the Persian Gulf since the war there in 1991
Israeli-Palestinian Death Toll Continues to Rise - On Dec .3, Israeli soldiers shot and killed a 95-year-old Palestinian woman in a taxi near Ramallah; the Israelis said they had shot at the taxi's tires when it refused to stop in a restricted zone. On Dec. 6, during a raid on alleged terrorist targets in a refugee camp in Gaza, Israeli forces killed 10 Palestinians, including 2 UN employees. In a series of incidents Dec. 26, Israeli troops killed 8 Palestinians and wounded 30, while 4 soldiers were wounded. On Dec. 27, Palestinians shot and killed 4 Jewish seminary students in a West Bank settlement; 2 of the assailants were killed. In separate incidents Dec. 28 and 29 a Palestinian girl and a boy were killed by Israeli gunfire; on Dec. 30 four Palestinians died in encounters with Israeli forces.
Spain Seizes North Korean Ship with Missiles - Two Spanish warships Dec.9 stopped an unmarked North Korean cargo ship in the Gulf of Aden. Boarding the ship, the Spaniards found 15 Scud missiles, conventional warheads, and rocket fuel. Spain gave control of the ship to the United States, which determined, Dec.11 , that the missiles had been ordered by the government of Yemen. The United States, which had long criticized North Korea for selling weapons, allowed the ship to deliver the missiles.
North Korea's Actions Raise International Tensions - North Korea said Dec. 12 that it would reactivate a nuclear reactor that had stood idle since 1994. A downward spiral in North Korea's international standing had begun in October, when the communist state acknowledged the existence of a secret nuclear-weapons program. This violation of a 1994 agreement prompted the United States, Japan, South Korea, and the European Union to suspend fuel oil supplies. In resuming operation of the nuclear reactor, North Korea said it was the only way to produce electricity following the fuel oil suspension. It was thought that the plant, in Yongbyon, could produce enough plutonium to make one or 2 nuclear weapons each year.
The International Atomic Energy Agency said Dec. 21 that North Korea had disabled monitors that the agency had placed on the Yongbyon reactor. North Korea, Dec. 22, confirmed that report. It also said Dec. 22 that it had removed monitors from a pond where spent nuclear fuel rods were stored, thereby frustrating efforts to determine if North Korea was utilizing plutonium for nuclear weapons. After breaking seals on Dec. 22 barring entry to the building, North Korea the next day started to reopen a plutonium reprocessing plant. North Korea warned Dec. 24 of an "uncontrollable catastrophe" if the United States failed to participate in a negotiated settlement of the nuclear-related issues. On Dec. 27, North Korea said it would expel all international nuclear inspectors. Pres. Bush, Dec. 31, drew a sharp distinction between the nuclear standoff with North Korea and his confrontation with Iraq, saying he was certain that weapons projects in North Korea could be stopped "peacefully, through diplomacy." At the same time, North Korea, Dec. 31, strongly suggesting it would withdraw from the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.
European Union Opens Doors to 10 New Members - At a Dec. 12-13 summit in Copenhagen, Denmark, the European Union formally invited 10 nations to join its ranks in 2004. The new members included 3 former republics of the Soviet Union-Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. Five others had formerly been ruled by communist governments-the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, and Slovenia. The other 2 were Cyprus and Malta. However, EU leaders Dec. 13 turned down Turkey's request to set a date for accession talks.
South Korea Elects a New President - Roh Moo Hyun, a lawyer and candidate of the ruling Millenium Democratic Party, was elected president of South Korea Dec. 19. He would succeed Kim Dae Jung, who was ineligible to serve more than one 5-year term. Roh had pledged to follow Kim's policy of engagement with North Korea. In that, he appeared at odds with the policy of the United States, which was taking a firmer stance against that communist regime. Roh defeated Lee Hoi Chang, who favored suspending assistance to North Korea until it became more cooperative on issues that included arms control.
U.S. Paratrooper Killed in Afghanistan - On Dec. 21, for the first time in 7 months, an American was killed by enemy fire in Afghanistan. Sgt. Steven Checo was shot during an exchange with gunmen near the Pakistani border. Attacks on U.S. military personnel had increased in Afghanistan in recent months.
Iran, Russia Sign Accord on Nuclear Plant - Iran and Russia signed an agreement, Dec. 25, to complete a nuclear power plant in southern Iran. They also agreed to consider the building of a 2d plant in Iran. Russia promised to provide fuel for the reactor. The United States, concerned that Iran might be planning to build nuclear weapons, believed that Iran had no need for peaceful uses of nuclear energy because of its large oil and gas reserves.
Chechen Rebels Bomb Government Offices, Kill 52 - Chechen militants seeking independence from Russia drove a truck and an off-road vehicle at the pro-Russian Chechen government offices in Grozny, the capital, Dec. 27 . The suicide bombers killed at least 52 and wounded scores as they set off 2 tremendous blasts that tore a crater more than 12 feet deep near the entrance.
Kenyans Reject Ruling Party after 4 Decades - The political party of Pres. Daniel Arap Moi, which had led Kenya since independence in 1963, was decisively defeated in the Dec. 29 presidential election. Moi, president for 24 years but ineligible to run again under the constitution, had chosen Uhuru Kenyatta, son of the country's first president, Jomo Kenyatta, to succeed him, but he got only about 20% of the vote, to 63% won by the opposition party leader, Mwai Kibaki. The latter had served Moi as finance minister and vice president before breaking with him. Kibaki vowed to fight against corruption and poverty.
3 American Missionaries Slain in Yemen- A lone gunman, thought to be linked to the Yemeni group Islamic Jihad, killed 3 Americans working in a missionary hospital in Jibla, Yemen, Dec. 30. The 3 slain missionaries were William Koehn, 60, Kathleen Gariety, 53, and and Martha Myers, 57; a 4th American, Donald Caswell, was also shot and seriously injured, but was expected to recover. All 4 worked for the Southern Baptist International Mission Board.
The gunman was captured at the scene and reportedly said he had carried out the attack for his religion. He was identified at Ali Abdulrazzak al-Kamel, a student at al-Iman university in Yemen.
Cardinal Law, Under Fire, Resigns as Boston Archbishop - Cardinal Bernard Law, in an announcement made at the Vatican Dec. 13, resigned as archbishop of Boston. For a year he had been under growing criticism for his role in protecting priests who had been accused of abusing children. On Dec. 3, lawyers for victims of abuse began releasing damaging personnel documents, as ordered by Suffolk County Superior Court. They revealed varied and widespread improper behavior by priests in the archdiocese. On Dec. 8, 58 priests in the archdiocese released a letter in which they called on Law to step down. A lay group, Voice of the Faithful, voted Dec. 11 to call on Law to resign. About 450 plaintiffs were suing the archdiocese, seeking damages of about $100 million. In resigning, Law asked forgiveness from those "who have suffered from my shortcomings and mistakes."
Earlier, on Dec. 10, the Roman Catholic diocese of Manchester, NH, reached an agreement with state Atty. Gen. Philip McLaughlin, admitting responsibility for failing to protect children from abusive priests. The diocese agreed to an annual audit by the attorney general's office to determine if it was complying with its own policy. Under the settlement, an accused priest would be removed from contact with children. The diocese still faced 80 civil lawsuits, and individual priests could face criminal charges.
Report of a Human Clone Met With Skepticism - A scientist affiliated with a sect announced Dec. 27 that a 31-year-old woman had given birth Dec. 26 to the world's first human clone. The scientist, Dr. Brigitte Boisselier, said in Hollywood, FL, that the birth had occurred outside the United States, and that tests on the mother, an American, and her daughter would show that they had identical DNA. She said the procedure had been done by a private company, Clonaid, affiliated with the sect, the Raelians. The sect believes that space visitors created the human race by cloning. Authorities on the cloning of animals expressed doubt that DNA tests would uphold the claim. Pres. George W. Bush renewed his plea for a ban on human cloning.
In the 2002 Div. I Women's College Cup held Dec. 8 in Austin, TX, Portland took its 1st NCAA soccer title with a 2-1 sudden-death overtime win over defending champion Santa Clara. Christine Sinclair scored both goals for the Pilots.
On Dec. 12, Penn State's Larry Johnson won the Maxwell Award as the nation's top all-around player in college football. Johnson also received the Walter Camp Award as the most outstanding player and the Doak Walker Award as the top running back. On Dec. 14, University of Southern California quarterback Carson Palmer won the Heisman Trophy.
In the Div. I Men's College Cup on Dec. 15 in Dallas, TX, UCLA defeated Stanford, 1-0, to win its first-ever men's soccer championship. It was the 3rd time this season that UCLA defeated their Pacific 10 Conference rival by a score of 1-0.
In the 2002 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo held Dec. 6-15 in Las Vegas, NV, Trevor Brazile of Anson, TX, won the all-around world championship. Other world champions were Blue Stone, Ogden, UT, bull riding; Bobby Mote, Redmond, OR, bareback riding; Sid Steiner, Bastrop, TX, steer wrestling; Speed Williams, Jacksonville, FL, & Rich Skelton, Llano, TX, team roping; Glen O'Neill, Didsbury, Alberta, Can., saddle bronco riding; Fred Whitfield, Hockley, TX, calf roping; Charmayne James, Athens, TX, barrel racing.
In the New Orleans Bowl, Dec. 17, North Texas defeated Cincinnati, 24-19.
Marshall defeated Louisville, 38-15, in the GMAC Bowl (Mobile, AL) on Dec. 18.
On Dec. 23, Texas Tech won the Tangerine Bowl (Orlando, FL), 55-15, over Clemson.
On Dec. 25, Tulane beat Hawaii, 36-28, in the Hawaii Bowl and UCLA won the Las Vegas Bowl, 27-13, over New Mexico.
In the Insight Bowl (formerly the Insight.com Bowl) in Tempe, AZ, Dec. 26, Pittsburgh defeated Oregon ST. 38-13. Also on Dec. 26, Boston College won the Motor City Bowl (Detroit, MI), 51-25, over Toledo.
In the Holiday Bowl (San Diego, CA) Dec. 27, Kansas St. topped Arizona St., 34-27. Also on Dec. 27, Mississippi defeated Nebraska, 27-23, to win the Independence Bowl (Shreveport, LA) and Oklahoma St. outscored Southern Miss 33-23, to win the Houston Bowl
Wisconsin won the Alamo Bowl (San Antonio, TX) in overtime, defeating Colorado, 31-28 on Dec. 28 and Virginia took the Continental Tire Bowl over West Virginia by a score of 48-22.
On Dec. 30, Wake Forest won the Seattle Bowl, 38-17, over Oregon and Minnesota claimed the Music City Bowl (Nashville, TN), 29-14, over Arkansas.
On Dec. 31 , Virginia Tech defeated Air Force, 20-13, in the San Francisco Bowl; Maryland won the Peach Bowl (Atlanta, GA), 30-3, over Tennessee; Freson St. defeated Georgia Tech, 30-21, in the Silicon Valley Classic; Texas Christian defeated Colorado St., 17-3, in the Liberty Bowl (Memphis, TN); Purdue won the Sun Bowl (El Paso, TX), 24-24, over Washington; and Boise St. won the Humanitarian Bowl (Boise, ID), defeating Iowa St., 34-16.
OFFBEAT NEWS STORIES
- Kevin Seabrooke
Talk of the Towns
Falling interest rates in 2002 led many in the U.S. to refinance their existing home or buy a new one. On December 27, an unidentified individual took that trend to the extreme by buying the entire town of Bridgeville, California, on the internet auction site, eBay. The bidding started at a modest $5,000 for the 82-acre town, advertised as a "fixer-upper," located about 260 miles north of San Francisco. Bidders from around the world sent the price rocketing up over the Christmas holiday, culminating with a winning bid of $1.78 million. The sale of Bridgeville, which has 670 residents and its own zip code, included four cabins, nine houses, and a cemetery. Neither the town's bridge, built in 1925 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, nor its school were sold. The winning offer was still to be verified as of December 30.
But bidders who fell short shouldn't despair. Playa, New Mexico, is still available for only $3.2 million. Located in the mountains of southwestern New Mexico, at an altitude of 4,500 feet, the former mining company town includes 259 homes, 25 apartments, a community center, bank, post office, fire station, medical facility (including ambulances), and two churches. Additional amenities on the 1,840 acre site include a rodeo arena, tennis courts, swimming pools, and an airstrip. The town was all but abandoned in 1999 when Phelps Dodge closed down a nearby copper smelter.
Talk of the Towns, Part 2
No municipalities were on the auction block in Michigan or Kansas, but a couple of towns in those states did undergo significant change in December 2002. Omer, Michigan's smallest city (population: 337) got even smaller when Cheryl and Kevin Perry and her parents moved to Arenac Township. But the Perry family didn't leave their houses. Upset at having to pay Omer $40 a year in water tax for service they don't receive, they asked that their land be transferred out of the city of Omer and into the surrounding Arenac Township. The two communities voted 82-58 in favor of the request to transfer. Omer officials said they didn't have the money to extend the water line to the Perry property.
Meanwhile, the residents of tiny Countryside, Kansas, moved their entire town - sort of. The six-square-block town voted itself out of existence on December 3. The Kansas City suburb will merge with Mission, Kansas, which completely surrounds it. Lower taxes and improved services were the main reasons the resolution passed 127 to 69. Mission approved the proposed merger on December 11.
Howard Ashman, 1950-1991, (U.S.) Little Shop of Horrors; The Little Mermaid.
Edward A. Thomas, Editor in Chief
Happy New Year! Did you make any resolutions for 2003? Have you thought at all about helping others less fortunate than yourself? I believe that we can all make a difference in people's lives, and that it is an important thing to do. That difference can range from making someone laugh, to raising money, or volunteering your time. In the United States, there is a website, Network for Good http://www.networkforgood.org that makes online giving and volunteering easy. You can either pick a variety of causes, and search for the right one for you, or if volunteering, simply pick a general interest, along with your zip code, and learn what's available in your neighborhoods. Planetedu is a website that offers volunteer opportunities worldwide: http://www.planetedu.com/category/volunteer/.
On January 1st, the 114th Tournament of Roses parade will take place in Pasadena, California. This years theme will be Children's Dreams, Wishes and Imagination, and will feature beautiful and impressive floral floats and marching bands from around the U.S.A. The 89th Rose Bowl football game will follow the parade. To learn more about the history of the Tournament of Roses, begun by members of Pasadena's Valley Hunt Club in 1890, visit http://www.tournamentofroses.com/.
"Should auld acquaintance be forgot, And never brought to mind? Should auld acquaintance be forgot, And days of auld lang syne?" Who can forget Guy Lombardo and his Royal Canadians (granted, he has been dead since 1977) performing the traditional New Years Eve song, "Auld Lang Syne?" The song is actually an old Scottish tune, which poet Robert Burns transcribed, reworked and adapted into five verses and chorus. To learn more about the song, and Burns visit http://www.robertburns.org/encyclopedia/AuldLangSyne.5.html.
Who remembers Edward A. Thomas, that famous signer of the Declaration of Independence? Oh come on now, the name, it does sound familiar, doesn't it? I have a copy of the declaration right here at my desk, and right underneath Georgia's George Walton, is one Edward A. Thomas. Still not making sense to you? Okay, well, at the National Archive, you can join the signers of the Declaration of Independence, and actually print out a copy (you'll need a high speed connection to print in color) for yourself. Visit: http://www.archives.gov/exhibit_hall/charters_of_freedom/declaration/join_the_signers/join_the_signers.html and hit the line that says "Sign the Declaration."
Google, a favorite search engine of mine, has some interesting statistical information for web users with its 2002 Year-End Zeitgeist at http://www.google.com/press/zeitgeist.html. I didn't know what "zeitgeist" meant, but they explain, "...it comes from the German "Zeit" meaning "time" and "Geist" meaning "spirit." The term is defined in English by Merriam-Webster's Collegiate® Dictionary as "the general intellectual, moral, and cultural climate of an era." What they have done is review the 55 billion searches done at the site, over the past year from around the world, and provide lists and graphs showing what's popular, and what's losing steam. And you learn new things, like exactly what Las Ketchup is.
Oddest website of the month: Toilegami http://www.toilegami.com/
World Almanac E-Newsletter
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