The myth of the broadcasting ban; O’Hair not responsible for the petition that shocked millions

By Joshua Benton
Blade Staff Writer

Page A11

Some might say the true legacy of Madalyn Murray O’Hair is her Supreme Court battle that ended mandatory school prayer. But for employees of the Federal Communications Commission, it’s Petition 2493.

It’s one of the great urban legends of our time: that Ms. O’Hair was petitioning the FCC to ban all religious broadcasting on radio and television. Since 1975, when the rumor started, religious people have been sending letters to the FCC asking them to reject Ms. O’Hair’s efforts.

The problem is: Ms. O’Hair never tried to ban religious broadcasting.

By 1991, the FCC had received more than 25 million pieces of mail opposing the “petition.” At that point, the commission stopped counting, although it estimates it still receives 1 million letters a year.

The origin of Petition 2493 has nothing to do with Ms. O’Hair. In December, 1974, two attorneys unaffiliated with Ms. O’Hair filed a petition asking for regulations on religious organizations taking up a large percentage of reserved educational frequencies on the FM dial and on TV. Their goal was to make it easier for minority owners to gain access to the frequencies.

The petition was assigned number 2493 and was rejected in August, 1975. End of story, right?

Somehow, the petition became associated with Ms. O’Hair, who was then still regularly featured in the media for her efforts to keep religion out of government activities. Churches across the religious spectrum asked their members to send letters to Washington. At one point, 13 FCC employees did nothing but open mail and answer phone calls regarding Petition 2493.

Now, the campaign has moved into the world of e-mail, as well. As one recent e-mail “counterpetition” goes:

“Ms. O’Hare [sic] is also campaigning to remove all CHRISTMAS PROGRAMS, CHRISTMAS SONGS AND CHRISTMAS CAROLS from Public Schools…Christians must unite on this! Please do not take this lightly; we did once and lost prayer in schools and in offices across the nation!!!”

Ms. O’Hair may be dead, but the rumor that she is attempting to lobby the FCC from the grave lives on.

True colors: David Duke returns to his old themes of hate, fear in ugly campaign to represent Louisiana in Congress

By Joshua Benton
Blade Staff Writer

Page A1

AMITE, LA. — There’s a gleam in David Duke’s eyes, a glint of pure joy.

He’s talking about one of his favorite topics: black people, and the evils he says they do.

And he has an audience here at the Amite Fire Hall: 70 working-class white folk who want blame for their problems put somewhere.

“They’re not like you,” he says, his voice rising. “They’re not of your values! Do you want your children to be in a school where rap music is the top music? We’re losing our right to exist!”

One woman in the audience complains that her child’s kindergarten class is mostly black. Mr. Duke says the worst will be in a few years, in high school.

America’s most famous racist and ex-Klansman is running for Congress, and on this night, in this backwoods town, he isn’t holding anything back. Where he once used code words to hide his racism, such as “welfare” or “crime,” he’s being open now.

“I don’t agree with slavery,” he offers. “It was the worst mistake we ever made – not just for them, but for us, in the long run!” His smile is wide. “They’ve benefited from being in this country! You think things are better back in Africa? They’re a lot better off because we brought them here.”

That sort of openness is a far cry from the Duke of old, the Duke who shed his Klan robes for business suits, who spent thousands on plastic surgery, who stopped calling Jews children of Satan in public.

The old way almost worked. Mr. Duke, 48, came close to becoming Louisiana’s governor and senator. He got the majority of the state’s white voters to back him – twice. He became a phenomenon, a mark of shame for the state.

Now, years later, he’s not pretending anymore.

“He’s made a clear decision to try to change the way white people think instead of trying to get their vote,” said Dr. Lance Hill, an academic who has studied Mr. Duke for about 25 years. “He couldn’t care less about being popular now. He wants to lay the groundwork for a Nazi revolution.”

Dr. Hill, executive director of the Southern Institute for Education and Research in New Orleans, thinks he knows why Mr. Duke is so happy at campaign rallies today.

“There’s got to be a lot of pain in holding back what you really feel for all that time,” he says. “It has to be a huge relief not to have to hide it anymore.”

“The race question”

David Duke grew up in New Orleans and first became involved in race issues as a teenager, when he was assigned to write a school paper on segregation. He became convinced that segregation was the only way, and from that moment, Mr. Duke says, “the race question” became his life.

He started out with Nazi groups, with names such as the National Socialist White People’s Party and the White Youth Alliance. He marched around in stormtrooper outfits and hung swastika flags in his college dorm rooms.

Everyone who dealt with Mr. Duke then said he was a bright man. As a sophomore at Louisiana State University, he ranked first in his ROTC class of 3,000, and his commander wrote that he had “outstanding leadership potential.’

But the Army refused to commission him as an officer because of his Nazi antics.

Eventually, he moved from Nazi groups to the Klan, using his “leadership potential” to become grand wizard. In 1980, he quit the Klan to form the National Association for the Advancement of White People, a group he led until 1992.

In 1989, when a state representative in suburban Metairie left his post for a judgeship, a special election was called. Mr. Duke entered. He ran as a Republican and shock ed the world when he came out on top by 227 votes.

Within months of that win, he had announced for the 1990 U.S. Senate race, in which he scored 44 per cent of the vote against a three-term Democratic incumbent. Louisiana’s 30 per cent black population prevented Mr. Duke from reaching the U.S. Senate.

Mr. Duke didn’t give up. In 1991, he ran for governor and pulled a major upset, besting both the incumbent and the Republican nominee to make it into a runoff against former governor Edwin Edwards.

That was the height of Mr. Duke’s political career. He had just dethroned the incumbent governor and finished just two points behind Mr. Edwards. The world’s media descended on Louisiana to cover one of the century’s most outlandish state races: an ex-Klansman and Nazi, running against a womanizing ex-governor indicted on corruption charges.

Bumper stickers began to appear around the state: “Vote for the Crook; It’s important.” Mr. Edwards won in a landslide.

Mr. Duke leapt back into the political fray when U.S. Rep. Bob Livingston resigned in December after an adultery scandal. Mr. Livingston, chairman of the powerful House Appropriations Committee, had been tapped to be the next speaker of the House when Hustler publisher Larry Flynt uncovered tales of adulteries in the congressman’s past.

Mr. Duke made his announcement at a meeting of the National Alliance, which the Anti-Defamation League says is one of the most powerful anti-Semitic groups in the country.

The National Alliance is a group headed by William Pierce, the author of The Turner Diaries, a fictional book which authorities say inspired Timothy McVeigh to blow up the federal building in Oklahoma City in 1995. Mr. Pierce’s 1978 novel describes a future racial war in which the terrorists use a truck-bomb to blow up a federal building in a Midwest city. In 1989, Mr. Duke sold copies of the book out of his state legislative office.

Along with Mr. Duke, voters will be able to choose from: a Rhodes Scholar state representative; the owner of New Orleans’s minor league baseball team; a 33-year-old political rookie running on the fact that he’s still a virgin (“That ought to tell you something about my integrity”); a woman named Dr. Monica Monica; a 6-foot-9, 280-pound state representative, and a 70-year-old former governor who hasn’t won a race in 20 years.

Louisiana has always been the closest thing America has to a banana republic. It has always been more willing than other states to elect colorful men or powerful demagogues to power.

Louisiana is the state, after all, that elected as its governor Earl Long, Huey’s younger brother who was institutionalized in a mental hospital while in office, and Jimmie Davis, the country singer who wrote “You Are My Sunshine.”

The poster child for colorful politicians over the last 30 years has been Mr. Edwards, the charming, brilliant Cajun who was elected governor four times despite his open womanizing and numerous federal investigations he has always managed to evade. (He was most recently indicted on Nov. 6 on racketeering and conspiracy charges.)

Never say `indivisible’

Louisiana’s First District is made up mostly of suburban New Orleans. It’s overwhelmingly white and conservative, but it still manages to have some ideological and economic diversity: from the old-money Republicans of Metairie, to the new-money subdivisions of Lake Pontchartrain’s north shore, to the working-class Reagan Democrats of Tangipahoa Parish. Amite, the site of Mr. Duke’s rally, falls squarely in that last group. It’s a perfect site for a Duke rally: population 4,300, half white, half black, and the economy hasn’t been great. As Mr. Duke’s fans – some farmers, some teachers, some oil industry workers still in their work clothes – file into the bingo hall, the speakers pump out the music of George Strait.

A 24-year-old Duke acolyte opens the rally with a prayer: “Thank you so much, God, for David, and for giving us someone willing to face persecution for us, and for the things we believe.”

Then comes the Pledge of Allegiance. One old man in the audi ence, Herb Price, skips a line of it: “I never say `indivisible,’ because it is divisible. I’d pledge allegiance to the Confederate flag too.”

The acolyte at the podium starts preaching about how things used to be. “Some of you were alive when this country was still great,” he says. “We are a silent majority. This is your support group!”

Then comes the rock music, and the acolyte’s voice gets louder as he introduces “your next Congressman … David Duke!”

Mr. Duke strides in to cheers, shaking a few hands, a broad smile on his face. It doesn’t take long for him to start “defending the rights of European-Americans,” talking about “the plague of black crime,” and calling black leaders “immoral examples for our children.”

The crowd is loving it; Mr. Duke’s a charmer. They cheer when he talks about welfare queens, or when he says the dragging death of a black man in Jasper, Tex., got too much media attention. They laugh when he says black people are in position to have political power: “These are the same people who let O.J. Simpson off the hook!”

And their mood turns dark when Mr. Duke talks about New Orleans, which is majority black. “We’re getting outnumbered in this country,” he says. “Do you want this entire district to be like New Orleans?”

In a congressional district composed largely of people who have fled New Orleans, it can be a powerful message.

European-American

The next day, Mr. Duke is sitting in his living room, petting his tiny white dog, Torry. Mr. Duke lives in a new, upper middle-class subdivision called Beau Rivage just minutes from the 24-mile-long bridge that crosses Lake Pontchartrain.

In his living room, the shades are drawn. During the interview, Mr. Duke repeats many of his racist themes from the night before. He calls for a resegregation of public schools. He assails blacks and Hispanics for “hurting the heritage of European-Americans.”

At the exact moment Mr. Duke is speaking about the problem of black crime in schools, in Colorado two white teenagers with Nazi leanings are running a rampage through Columbine High School. It is April 20, Hitler’s birthday, a day Mr. Duke celebrated with a big party until at least the mid 1980s.

Throughout the interview, Mr. Duke seems reserved and contained. But as it is about to end, he says he wants to share some of the information he has accumulated on a topic he doesn’t discuss on the campaign trail: Jews.

He says he doesn’t want to be quoted about his statements on Jews because “they’re not an issue in this campaign.” But he gets excited as he starts rattling off facts he says prove that Jews have been behind society’s ills.

He doesn’t have to be quoted, because he lays out his beliefs in his autobiography, My Awakening, just published by a small press in Louisiana. Mr. Duke is proud of the book, with its 717 pages and more than 1,000 footnotes. The book is clear about Mr. Duke’s opinions: The Jews are evil.

It includes listings of Jews in high government positions. It asks, “Are Americans so naive as to believe that this cohesive, ethnocentric people of immense wealth do not share information and network with their brethren for their own benefit?”

He also writes that “Communism and Zionism were born from the same Jewish soul,” and that “Any open-minded reader who reads both Mein Kampf and the Talmud would find the Talmud far more intolerant.”

A return to politics

“There’s a guy by the name of Dave Treen here,” the receptionist drones into the telephone to her boss.

Mr. Treen, the former governor of Louisiana, edging back into politics after nearly two decades on the outside, can’t quite believe the young woman doesn’t recognize his name.

“You see how long it’s been?” he says.

David Connor Treen, at age 70, is attempting to revive a political career many thought dead in 1983, when voters decided not to give him another term as governor. But the man considered the forefather of the state’s Republican Party and a champion of good government is back, hoping to save Louisiana from the embarrassment of a Nazi in Congress.

Mr. Treen was Louisiana’s first GOP congressman and governor this century. In office, he gained a reputation for honesty. “Nobody can say anything bad about Dave Treen,” said Susan Powell, a pollster at the University of New Orleans. “He didn’t play the political game very well, but there’s no question about his integrity.”

In 1983, he ran for re-election as governor and lost badly to Mr. Edwards. He’s been out of politics since then but has remained a highly respected figure.

He refuses to say anything bad about Mr. Duke. “I don’t want to talk against any candidate,” he says. “On issues, we obviously have some disagreements: on race, for example. But I’m not going to say anything bad about him. Why is it up to me?”

The state Republican Party, along with some of the candidates in this race, have faced some criticism for not openly opposing Mr. Duke. Critics say that Republicans need the support of Mr. Duke’s hard-core voters too badly to assail their hero.

At a candidate’s forum on Thursday morning, another Republican candidate, Rob Couhig, lashed out at his opponents. “I sit next to David Duke at every one of these deals, and he talks this racist stuff, and nobody stops him,” he said. “He’s not a conservative. He’s not a Republican. He is a guy who just wants to go out and trash America. I’m sick of it.”

Once a phenomenon

The pundits all say that David Duke’s political career is over. After he made his beliefs crystal clear in My Awakening , the last hope disappeared, says Dr. Hill of the Southern Institute.

“It’s almost as if he’s given up any sort of general appeal,” Ms. Howell, the pollster, says. “He’s only left with his hard-core base, and to keep them, he has to be more open about his beliefs to distinguish himself from the other candidates.”

After he was blown away in the 1991 governor’s race, Mr. Duke lost a lot of his appeal, she says. “He was a phenomenon. But you can only be a phenomenon for so long.”

Indeed, issues that Mr. Duke once had all to himself have either become mainstream in the Republican Party or just don’t work as well any longer. Welfare has been reformed. Affirmative action is facing assaults from all over the political spectrum. Crime is down, and the economy is as strong as it’s been in recent years.

“On talk radio, you hear people ridiculing him, people who probably voted for him a few years ago,” Dr. Hill said. “If you talk to people now, they won’t admit they used to support him. His political career is over, done.”

No independent poll has been released publicly in this race. The closest thing has been a poll done by the National Republican Congressional Committee, which put Mr. Duke’s support at 6 per cent, well behind Mr. Treen and trailing four other candidates.

But polls have been notoriously unkind to Mr. Duke in the past. In past elections, voters have been unwilling to admit their Duke support to pollsters. In the 1990 Senate race, polls just before the election put his support in the low 20s, yet he won 44 per cent of the vote.

The next year, polls showed Mr. Duke with just 11 per cent in the 12-candidate governor’s race. When voters pulled their levers, though, he had 32 per cent and a spot in the runoff.

Pollsters have typically doubled Mr. Duke’s stated support to get an idea what his “shadow” vote might be. Congressional campaign scuttlebutt has it that at least one candidate’s internal poll has put Mr. Duke at 10 per cent. That might mean that 20 per cent is a possibility. And if that is the case, in a nine-candidate field there is a chance he could sneak into a runoff with Mr. Treen.

And if that were to happen, the international media would no doubt descend on New Orleans one more time to write about Louisiana politics.

A different drummer

In 1985, Mr. Duke sat down with avowed Nazi Ed Fields at a California convention of Holocaust revisionists. Both men were being interviewed by a doctoral student writing her dissertation on white supremacist groups.

The voices on the tape outline their differing plans. Mr. Fields wanted to be open about their mutual beliefs, but Mr. Duke advocated a more closeted approach.

DUKE: I’m trying to bring new people in, like a drummer. The difference is, if they can call you a Nazi and make it stick – tough, really hard – it’s going to hurt. It’s going to hurt the ability of people to open their minds to what you’re saying. It’s going to hurt your ability to communicate with them. It’s unfortunate it’s like that…

FIELDS: It doesn’t take that many people, though, to start something rolling. Hitler started with seven men.

DUKE: Right, that’s what I’m trying to say to you.

FIELDS: And most people didn’t want to have anything to do with him.

DUKE: Right! And don’t you think it can happen now, if we put the right package together? Don’t you think that there are millions of Americans that are alienated and are looking for something, and the truth is the truth, and give ‘em something to believe in?

Mr. Fields said that, if asked, he would never deny being a Nazi, comparing it to being a Christian in the early days of the Roman Empire. Mr. Duke’s response:

“I wheedle out of it, because I’m a pragmatist.”

Museum visitors find Honest Abe, Clinton share few qualities

By Joshua Benton
Blade Staff Writer

Page 4

FORT WAYNE, IND. — The Senate may have let President Clinton off the hook yesterday, but the children at The Lincoln Museum weren’t so kind.

“President Clinton, he just lies to our country,” said Kevin Hay, 10, a fifth grader at Brentwood Elementary School here. “President Lincoln, he brought our country back together, and he didn’t lie to us.”

Abraham Lincoln turned 190 yesterday, and everyone from senior citizens to schoolchildren were at the museum to learn more about his history of honor and integrity – and to draw a clear contrast between the nation’s 16th president and its 42nd.

“I think Lincoln would probably be ashamed of the state of the presidency today,” said Ron Perkins, a Fort Wayne insurance agent.

The Lincoln Museum is filled with tales of truth-telling, like the time Lincoln, then a shopkeeper, walked for miles to return change to a customer who had forgotten it. Lincoln’s life is treated alternately as a triumphant rise from a hardscrabble youth and a tragedy of Shakespearean proportion.

Mr. Clinton’s early life in Arkansas was certainly rough, but the museum’s visitors said that his current situation is more pathetic than tragic.

“Lincoln did something for us, and Clinton didn’t do nothing,” said 11-year-old D’Andre Douglas, also a fifth grader at Brentwood.

“Clinton’s just brought the presidency to such a low level,” museum docent John Pawlisch said. “It’s too bad. There probably won’t be any museums like this for Clinton.”

Several patrons contrasted the simple grandeur of Lincoln’s speeches, like the Gettysburg Address, to the legalistic banter of the current commander in chief.

“He manipulates words to make things appear how he wants them to,” Karen Perkins, also an insurance agent, said. “There’s no truth or honesty in him.”

The Perkins have lived in Fort Wayne for more than 25 years, but this was their first visit to the museum. They didn’t even realize that yesterday was Lincoln’s birthday, its observance having been cannibalized long ago by Monday’s Presidents’ Day.

But at least one visitor saw the two men’s verbal talents as a similarity, not a difference. “Lincoln really could put emotions into words,” retiree Dot Rademaker said. “With Clinton, you don’t believe everything he says, but he can really put it together well, too.”

Fort Wayne is, at first glance, an odd place to have a Lincoln museum. The only potential link between the city and the man is that he may have changed trains there in 1860.

But when local businessman (and Lincoln fan) Arthur Hall decided to start an insurance company in 1905, he decided to name it The Lincoln National Life Company. In 1931, he started a museum in the president’s honor.

The insurance company announced in November that it would move its corporate headquarters to Philadelphia. But the museum will stay behind.

The day’s festivities were topped off by the appearance of old Abe himself, in the form of Fritz Klein. The museum’s staff called him “the finest Lincoln impersonator working today.” Needless to say, this is his busy time of the year.

Replete with stovepipe hat, the 50-year-old Mr. Klein is entering his 22nd year as a Lincoln impersonator, he ruefully admits that he doesn’t need nearly as much makeup to become the aged president now as he did as a 28-year-old.

Asked for his own impression of the Clinton scandal, Mr. Klein responded diplomatically: “No comment.” But he did say that when he speaks to groups of children, “I always encourage honesty. A free society is built on trust, and as soon as that trust is gone, freedom is gone.”

Mr. Lincoln, reached through Mr. Klein, also declined comment.

Historic building fall to drug store chains across U.S.; Toledo fights over Rite-Aid

By Joshua Benton
Blade Staff Writer

Page B1

The nation’s largest drugstore chains have been battling each other for several years.

But in Toledo, Rite Aid has been mostly alone in its aggressive construction of stand-alone “box” stores.

“Rite Aid is just an irresponsible corporate citizen,” Mayor Carty Finkbeiner said at a recent press conference. “They have given up on mid-street locations and absolutely like piranhas are going after corner locations.”

For the last year, Rite Aid has been replacing many small, neighborhood stores – many of them in strip malls – with larger stores on busy intersections.

Company officials say the move allows consumers to have more choice and convenience. But Mr. Finkbeiner and other Rite Aid opponents say the new stores come at the expense of old, historic buildings torn down for new, characterless hulks.

Most contentious has been the proposed Rite Aid at Broadway and South Avenue. Rite Aid wants to build a “model store” – the 11,000-square-foot box-styled store the company has built 1,000 of in the last three years. It would replace a smaller store Rite Aid operates just a block away.

But building the new store would require the demolition of seven older buildings housing several operating businesses.

So when council approved the demolition last month, Mayor Finkbeiner made a rare use of his veto power to stop it.

Council overrode his veto, 9-3, so the mayor had to try another method. He asked council to issue a 60-day moratorium on the issuance of most demolition permits in the city, saying the move is aimed at stopping Rite Aid from tearing down buildings.

In the last year, Rite Aid has closed stores at Bancroft Street and Upton Avenue and at Dorr Street and Junction Avenue. The company had opened a new store at Monroe Street and Detroit Avenue in 1997, about a mile from the two shuttered stores.

In April, the mayor held a press conference in front of the Dorr Street location, calling the moves an abandonment of the central city. Rite Aid officials said the new Monroe Street store was, in fact, a significant new investment in the central city.

At least two other former Rite Aid stores – at Dorr and Detroit, and in the River East Shopping Center – remain vacant.

Rite Aid is not done with its changes in Toledo. A company spokesperson said that it plans to build at least four more stores in the next year, each replacing an older store.

Rite Aid officials defend their moves, saying that they are all driven by giving consumers what they want: easy access, good parking, and access to convenience foods and other items that just can’t fit in smaller stores.

“A lot of our growth in Toledo is based on upgrading to better service to our customers,’ said Suzanne Mead, vice president of corporate communications. “As the demographics have changed, our strategy has moved toward busier intersections.”

She said that Rite Aid works with local communities in planning stores. The company has made some concessions on the Broadway and South store to make it more fitting for the neighborhood.

Rite Aid will soon be joined by a new player in the local drugstore field. Walgreens, absent from the Toledo market for nearly 30 years, plans a store at Woodville Road and East Broadway.

Midwest battle site thrives; Tippecanoe and Fallen Timbers too: Parks could be alike

By Joshua Benton
Blade Staff Writer

Page 6

BATTLE GROUND, IND. — For Toledoans, it’s a familiar story. An army of the young United States clashes with Indians over who will control the Midwest.

And while the Battle of Tippecanoe ended the same way the Battle of Fallen Timbers had a few years earlier – with an American victory – the land’s subsequent history couldn’t be more different.

“This battle is seared in our American memory,” said Cindy Bedell, manager of the Tippecanoe battlefield museum. “From the moment the battle was over, people wanted to preserve this land.”

In 1811, Tecumseh, one of the great Indian leaders, was assembling the last great organized resistance to white expansion east of the Mississippi River.

Convinced that individual tribes would be defenseless against the encroaching Americans, Tecumseh forged a confederation of thousands of Indians from across the Midwest, to provide a united front. He created a capital for the confederacy and based it on a site about seven miles north of present-day Lafayette, Ind.

The site was called Prophet’s Town, named after Tecumseh’s brother, a religious leader who went by the name The Prophet. More than a thousand young warriors were trained there for the inevitable battle.

White settlers in the area were ill at ease with warriors training nearby, and asked Indiana territorial Gov. William Henry Harrison – a Battle of Fallen Timbers veteran – to intervene. He cobbled together 1,000 men and marched his army to just outside Prophet’s Town.

Tecumseh, an eager diplomat, was not at the camp; he was traveling the South recruiting more tribes into his confederation and had warned his brother not to get involved in a battle until their forces were stronger. The Prophet sent representatives to Harrison’s army. They agreed no hostilities would take place that night. It was Nov. 6, 1811.

Harrison’s men camped for the night and prepared for a meeting between the two sides scheduled for the next day. But The Prophet, full of fiery rhetoric, called his warriors together that night and ordered them to fight, promising them that he would use his spiritual powers to make the white man’s bullets useless.

Just before daybreak, the Indians crept to the Harrison camp and attacked. After two hours of battle, the Indian forces retreated. Perhaps a total of 100 men died.

The next day, Harrison led his men to Prophet’s Town and found it abandoned. He and his men burned it to the ground. Tecumseh returned three months later to find his dreams of confederation in ashes, and hopes of stopping American expansion all but gone.

A few years later, a soldier named John Tipton revisited the site and saw some of the graves had been disturbed. He decided the battleground was worth preserving, and bought it. He donated it to the state in 1836.

Since then, the land has never been developed or even farmed. The Indiana state constitution guarantees that the state will provide for its care. Many of the trees that stood silent witness to the battle still stand today.

A “sleepy little museum” and gift shop was on site for several decades, Ms. Bedell said. But after control of the museum passed to the county historical society, their officials started planning changes.

In 1995, a newly renovated museum opened. It does an admirable job of placing the battle in the context of American history of the period, and takes care to give equal prominence to Native American points of view. In its relatively small space, it does a better job of interpreting its subject than dozens of bigger and better known museums.

“We felt it was very important it wasn’t just to glorify the triumph of the white Americans,” Ms. Bedell said.

The battleground is more famous than most in the Midwest because Harrison went on to be president on a campaign that focused on the battle. Students nationwide learn about his campaign slogan: “Tippecanoe and Tyler too!” (John Tyler, Harrison’s running mate, became president when Harrison died only a month into his term.)

Such history draws people here. The museum, despite not being near a major metropolitan area, attracts well over 30,000 people a year, Ms. Bedell said, including thousands of school children.

On a recent weekday afternoon, the parking lot featured license plates from New York and Georgia, and the guest book’s last three days of entries included notes from visitors from New Zealand, Israel, California, Hawaii, and Maryland.

“They’ve done a great job here,” said visitor Jesse Gill, an Atlanta resident who grew up in southern Illinois. “I remembered the battle from history class growing up, and we just saw the sign [on nearby I-65] and decided to stop.”

More people may be joining him. About a mile from the battlefield museum soon will be a larger facility dedicated to history, the Museums at Prophetstown. Scheduled to open in 2000, the complex will be dedicated to three areas: Native American life, American family farms, and prairie life.

Officials there expect to attract half a million visitors a year; if any thing near that is realized, it would mean a surge in battleground visitors.

A few weeks ago, Ms. Bedell was alarmed to learn that the Fallen Timbers battleground – mentioned in a museum display – was up for development. “That’s a heartbreaker,” she said.

But her emotions ran in the other direction when told that the city of Toledo has decided to save the battlefield, perhaps by diverting millions intended for a city baseball stadium. Preservationists used Tippecanoe’s park as a model for Fallen Timbers.

“Oh, that’s just wonderful,” she said. “I knew it could be done.”

Significant sites in Ohio have become mere history

By Joshua Benton
Blade Staff Writer

Page 1

Patrick Susmilch works at the birthplace of Rutherford B. Hayes, our nation’s 19th president, in Delaware, O.

He sells beef jerky, cheap cigarette lighters, and cassettes of The Best of Conway Twitty.

Souvenirs on-site come in Regular, Premium, and Super Unleaded.

The Hayes birthplace is now a BP gas station.

“People come by and ask, `Where’s the monument?”‘ Mr. Susmilch, 22, said between customers. “I point out the window” – at the tiny stump of a monument 20 feet away – “and say, `That’s it.”‘

“We always hang our head in shame,” said George Cryder, assistant curator for the Delaware County Historical Society. “People come by and say, `You mean you didn’t save it?’ Well, the community went all out and tried, but there really wasn’t enough interest.”

Back in 1928, Delaware citizens fell about $5,000 short of the amount they needed to buy the house the future president grew up in. All that remains is a small plaque, and the occasional Hayes groupie who drops by.

That plaque stands as a mute reminder of the challenges that face those who want to preserve historic sites. Sometimes it’s because of a lack of money; sometimes it’s because of a lack of interest. But many of Ohio’s most important sites have either been lost over the years, or were saved by the skin of their teeth.

Just south of Toledo is a historic site scholars consider one of the country’s most threatened: the location of the Battle of Fallen Timbers, the 1794 conflict that opened up much of the Midwest to the expanding United States.

While dozens of other important battlefields have been preserved across the country, Fallen Timbers advocates have faced an uphill battle, both in convincing the land’s owner, the city of Toledo, that it needs preservation and in raising the millions of dollars it will take to purchase the land.

Getting together all the money and the necessary forces will take some doing. And if it doesn’t work out, and the land where men died is turned into an office park or strip mall, it won’t be the first time that a critical historic site in Ohio has disappeared.

“There are many important places that have been lost over the years,” said Franco Ruffini, the state’s deputy historic preservation officer. “A lot of the time, there just isn’t the money.”
One of the biggest difficulties, experts say, is that Ohioans are taught to believe that their history simply isn’t that important. They’re taught that history happened back East, not here.

“Ohio sort of gets jumped over,” said Dan Thorp, an associate history professor at Virginia Tech University, who specializes in seeing how American historians treat different parts of the country. “Much of history prior to the American Revolution is taught as if it all happened on the East Coast. And then the next thing taught is slavery.”

Professor Thorp traces the anti-midwestern bias to the late 1800s, when the profession of historian was introduced at the nation’s graduate schools. Those schools – places like Yale, Harvard, and Johns Hopkins – were all on the East Coast, and they taught a view of American history that centered on the Atlantic seaboard.

Being first in the field, those early historians wrote the first history textbooks, and from those hoary, century-old texts descends the bias evident today.

“Ohio and many Ohioans have almost an inferiority complex about their history,” said W. Ray Luce, a former state historic preservation officer, who now has a similar position in Georgia. “Ohio has as much in terms of historic resources as any state in the nation.”

Indeed, Ohio ranks third among states in the number of properties listed on the National Register of Historic Places, behind New York and Massachusetts. But that fact, and Ohio’s historic abundance, don’t do much to change the opinions ingrained in people’s minds since grade school.

“It wouldn’t surprise me if there is some collective feeling of inferiority in the Midwest,” Dr. Thorp said. “In the history books, all that’s important happened in the East, then everyone got on wagon trains and headed for California.”

Take the Battle of Fallen Timbers, Mr. Luce said. “In Georgia, we’re very concerned about preserving all our Civil War battle sites,” he said. “Fallen Timbers was as important as any of those battles. It’s a major, major site in American history.”

But until Toledo Mayor Carty Finkbeiner’s change of heart last month, the battlefield was stuck in limbo as the city tried to draw industrial and commercial development to the field where dozens of American soldiers and Native Americans died on Aug. 20, 1794.

The mayor last week advanced a new plan to use $5.5 million in state capital improvement money to buy the Fallen Timbers battlefield site. The mayor had said repeatedly that making money was more important to the city’s interests than its historic significance.

Contrast that with Dr. Thorp’s home state of Virginia: “Virginians are hit over the head with history from the minute they’re born. You can’t throw a cat in Virginia without hitting a Civil War site or a Revolutionary War battleground.”

In Ohio, “you’re just taught about all those presidents and the Wright Brothers,” Dr. Thorp said.

Ah, those presidents. The only state that can lay claim to as many homegrown presidents as Ohio (eight) is Virginia. But Virginia can offer up names like Washington, Jefferson, Madison, and Monroe: revered names all. Ohio can only offer up mediocrities like Hayes, Ulysses Grant, William Howard Taft, James Garfield, and Warren Harding.

Calling Harding mediocre would be one of the biggest compliments he’s received in recent decades. In a 1995 survey of historians, Harding was named the worst president in American history. The main historical debate on his term in office revolves around whether he was corrupt, stupid, or both.

A mere three notches ahead of Harding in the rankings stands Grant; only one Ohioan, McKinley, finished in the top half of the rankings, at 18.

So, at some level, presidential sites in Ohio could be said to be celebrating mediocrity, and some have decided not much is worth celebrating.

Take North Bend, O., near Cincinnati. It’s one of the few places in America that can claim it was home to two presidents: William Henry Harrison and his grandson, Benjamin Harrison.

You might think the village would play up that fact. Nope – all there is to commemorate them is William’s grave and a marker where Benjamin was born. The home was torn down long ago.

Normally, presidents’ homes are preserved simply because a president used to live there. But in Canton, the home of President William McKinley played a role in American history itself. When McKinley ran for president in 1896, he ran his campaign from his home on North Market Street.

Thousands of Americans rode special express trains into Canton from around the nation to listen to McKinley deliver speeches from his front porch, leading to the term Front Porch Campaign.

So, what happened to this home, one of the most historic in Ohio? After Mrs. McKinley’s death in 1907, it was turned into a hospital. When hospital officials wanted to build a new facility on the same spot in the 1920s, they moved the McKinley house to a park.

By the time it was moved, it had fallen into disrepair, and no one in town wanted to pay for its upkeep. In 1935, the city declared it a health hazard, and it was razed.

On the home’s site now sits the monstrous Stark County Public Library, a white modernist building in disrepair only 20 years since its construction. A small plaque at a church next to the library mentions that McKinley once lived nearby.

“You don’t win ‘em all,” said Ron Sterling, executive director of the Canton Preservation Society. “It was a matter of public economics. It’s something that shouldn’t have happened, but it did.”

Roger Bridges, director of the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center in Fremont, counts the loss of Hayes’s birthplace – now that BP station in Delaware – as one of the greatest in Ohio. But he’s not sure things would be any different if it needed saving today.

“Historic homes are terribly expensive to preserve,” he said. “What I’m saying is that there’s no economic justification for saving a site. It’s worth saving for the educational value.”

The biggest concern for anyone trying to save a piece of Ohio’s history is usually money, though, and Ohio doesn’t fare as well as some other states on that count.

In some respects, Ohio’s institutional support is great, preservationists say. Individuals have given plenty of support; Ohio has more National Trust for Historic Preservation members than any other midwestern state. The Ohio Historic Society runs the largest state-supported network of historic sites in the country.

But money isn’t as forthcoming as some say it could be. Ohio ranks fourth in the number of federal dollars received for preservation, but in the 30s in the number of state dollars.

“We’re definitely way behind our surrounding states” in state-level funding, Mr. Ruffini said.

His office receives federal money to look into the historic impact of any project that receives federal funding. If a project plans to tear down a building and gets even one federal dollar, his office must check the project first.

Most other states, including Michigan, Indiana, and Pennsylvania, have a similar program for projects that receive state money. Not Ohio, though, and Mr. Ruffini said that has led to the demolition of some historic structures that did not apply for federal money.

“There have been some really fine turn-of-the-century buildings that have come down, and our office could not be involved,” he said.

Other states, like Mr. Luce’s Georgia, have programs to provide incentives for historic preservation, including tax credits, easements, and freezing appraisal values. Ohio doesn’t.

“There’s very little in the way of state-based legislation to protect sites. For a state that has as much history as Ohio, it’s certainly behind,” said Amos Loveday, Ohio’s state historic preservation officer.

“We get calls every day from people who would like to rehabilitate a historic property but don’t have the money,” Mr. Ruffini said. “We would like to be able to help, but we don’t have the money.”

But even if money weren’t a factor, other reasons exist why certain sites don’t get preserved. Sometimes, there are reasons some people would like to forget history.

At Kent State University, people have been debating for almost 30 years how to commemorate the events of May 4, 1970, when four students were killed by National Guard troops during a peace protest. The four were shot in a campus parking lot, and cars have continued to park where the bodies fell.

It took a march on the president’s office, 2,000 signatures on a petition, and letters from all four families for the university, earlier this summer, to announce it would close off those four parking spots and commemorate them.

Mr. Bridges said preserved sites related to African-Americans, the labor movement, and industrial history are comparatively rare.

“It’s easier to imagine saving a site where some great white male has lived, a great person by the way we’ve always judged people,” he said.

For example, nothing prominent in Toledo reminds people that the first black major league baseball player played here. Moses “Fleet” Walker was a bare-handed catcher when Toledo had a major league team in 1894. After his career ended, baseball instituted the color barrier Jackie Robinson broke in 1947. But there is no Fleet Walker Stadium, or anything else to remember him.

At the site of Toledo’s Auto-Lite strike in 1934, two people were shot and killed by the Ohio National Guard, called in to fight the plant’s union. But only this year have plans moved forward for a statue to commemorate the event.

In Cleveland, a group of preservationists has been working for several years to save Cleveland’s Hulett ore unloaders, the massive iron dinosaurs that once unloaded cargo from Lake Erie ships.

The 1,600-ton Huletts, invented by a Cleveland native, played an enormous part in the industrial development of the entire Great Lakes region by vastly reducing the time and manpower it took to unload iron ore from ships.

Their owners want to tear them down, and some downtown developers argue that the unloaders – which look like giant praying mantises – won’t fit with the entertainment paradise they’d like to see on the lakefront.

That battle is going on, although Clevelanders may need to settle for the new Browns stadium, whose steel framework is designed to evoke the Huletts.

But the battle over the Huletts shows that preservationists no longer focus simply on old homes.

“It used to be, `We’re going to save this building where George Washington slept, and little old ladies will throw tea parties and give tours,”‘ said Sarah Goss Norman, past president of the Ohio Preservation Alliance. “Now, there’s more maintaining of things that have made life pleasant.”

Preservationists in Ohio have plenty of good news, however. When developers threatened the Serpent Mound, one of the greatest prehistoric sites in the country, preservationists battled back with a legal and public relations campaign and stopped condos from being built near the site.

The renovation of buildings like the Valentine Theatre in downtown Toledo shows the ability of state and local governments to form partnerships and put together the huge financial packages often needed to save a site.

In Cincinnati, the grand old train station, Union Terminal, was empty for decades as the city tried in vain to give the Art Deco structure away when it wasn’t considering tearing it down. But in 1988, preservationists convinced Hamilton County voters to approve a $33 million levy for renovations. Together with private money, that funded an enormous fix-up.

Today, the stunning building houses the the city’s historical museum, its natural history museum, and several smaller collections. Next month, a children’s museum opens.

“It was a white elephant for many, many years,” said Chris Bell-Puckett, who works for the Cincinnati Historical Society Library, housed in the building. “Fortunately, someone saw the historic value.”

Earlier this summer, officials reopened Lawnfield, the home of President Garfield in Mentor, O. After decades of disrepair, the estate has been the subject of extensive renovations.

Evidence suggests that these efforts have the support of Ohioans. In a poll done by the University of Cincinnati and released last month, 823 state residents were asked if Civil War and Indian War battlefields should be developed if it would create jobs.

Only 37 per cent said they should be developed, no matter how many jobs they create. Almost 61 per cent said they should not be touched “if the historic character of sites is threatened.”

For Margaret Parker that’s heartening. Ms. Parker, the head of the Meigs County Historical Society, is locked in a battle to save the site of Ohio’s only Civil War clash, the Battle of Buffington Island. In that 1863 conflict, Union troops defeated Morgan’s Raiders, a renegade Confederate band that had run roughshod into Union territory.

But the land the battle was fought on is owned by a private company, Shelly Materials of Thornville, O. The company wants to turn the site into a gravel mine. Ms. Parker, along with a coalition including U.S. Sen. Robert Byrd (D., W.Va.) and local townspeople, has been fighting the company through a permit appeals process. The state has received more than 3,000 letters asking the mining to be stopped. But their appeals are coming to an end; mining could begin next month.

Gettysburg fight not over; Tacky tourism, history still are engaged in great civil war

By Joshua Benton
Blade Staff Writer

Page 7

GETTYSBURG, PA. — It’s become a cliche for journalists to write about “The Second Battle of Gettysburg” everytime there’s some threat to the hallowed battlefield here.

If that were true, they’d be up to the 20th or 30th Battle by now, because this sacred ground has, for the last century, consistently been the target of preservationists’ ire.

They argue, not without cause, that the site of the most important battle ever fought on American soil has been tarnished by mismanagement, garish tourist traps, and a disregard for history.

“There is no question that serious mistakes were made in the placement and construction of facilities at Gettysburg,” said Richard Moe, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation in Washington.

And park officials don’t disagree. With a plan announced last month, they hope they can fix the mistakes of the past.

“I think we can vastly improve the experience of visitors,” park spokesperson Katie Lawhon said.

The Battle of Gettysburg was the turning point of the Civil War, the point of the Confederacy’s northernmost advance. After three days of battle, there were 51,000 casualties, 8,000 of them dead.

But ever since, an embarrassing series of missteps have kept the battlefield from being the shrine it could be. Equally to blame are a lack of funds and a lack of taste.

Congress has never provided park officials with money to build a quality visitor’s center or museum. The current visitor’s center was once a private home park officials bought intending to demolish it. When money for a new center was not forthcoming, they decided to use the house itself. The small facility is packed all summer, and no room exists to display the park’s collection of artifacts.

Hidden away in a series of basement and attic spaces are nearly 1 million guns, battle flags, documents, and other items – all in rooms uncontrolled for heat or humidity and without any fire protection. Mold, dust, and the grit that falls from ceilings have ruined some neglected artifacts.

Without much guidance from a visitor’s center, tourists more often have their Gettysburg experience created by questionable tourist “attractions” that fill the void. Not all are interesting and historically respectful.

* Pickett’s Charge, the site of the battle’s bloody final attack, is within convenient walking distance of General Pickett’s Buffet.

* Nearby are “the most beautiful Dioramas ever created of the Civil War” and the “World Famous LINCOLN Toy Train Collection.”

* There are two wax museums: one the “world’s only complete collection of American Presidents and their First Ladies” (Bill Clinton looks like he’s been mistakenly assigned Jimmy Carter’s teeth and is storing nuts in his cheeks for the winter), and the National Civil War Wax Museum, featuring the “fully dimensional, animated” wax Lincoln delivering his address, perhaps the nation’s most famous speech.

Entire stretches of road through the battleground seem dedicated to the proposition that all signs should be created equally gaudy and neon. It seems as if as many monuments have been erected to bad taste as to war dead.

Perhaps most egregious is the National Tower. In the 1970s, on a private plot of land adjacent to the cemetery where Lincoln spoke, Maryland developer Thomas Ottenstein decided he wanted to build a 300-foot-tall tower to provide tourists, at a price, an overhead view of the battlefield. “A classroom in the sky,” he called it. After three years of court battles, it opened in 1974.

Looking like the unnatural spawn of the Eiffel Tower and a junkyard tin shack, it fills the sky from just about anywhere on the battlefield. In the town of Gettysburg, pop. 7,000, it doesn’t just dominate the skyline; it is the skyline. Tower workers sometimes blare loud music from the base to attract tourists; the music is clearly audible in the Soldiers’ National Cemetery next door.

Columnist George Will has said it is “an affront to the living as well as the dead.” Mr. Moe called it “perhaps the most intrusive and obnoxious structure within the boundaries of any national park in America.”

But try as they might, preservationists, government leaders, and philanthropists have not been able to tear it down after more than two decades of trying.

Dozens of other battles, large and small, have raged throughout the park’s history. An intact field hospital was demolished a few years ago to make way for a Wal-Mart. In 1991, misguided bulldozers mistakenly tore up 7.5 acres of Seminary Ridge – the focus of fighting on the battle’s first day – and nearly caused a hill to collapse. The bulldozers were erroneously sent onto the battlefield to reroute a nearby railroad.

“I think we always try to learn from our mistakes,” Ms. Lawhon said.

Last month, the National Park Service released a draft of its plan to fix Gettysburg’s many problems, acknowledging many mistakes in contrite language.

The plan’s centerpiece is the demolition of the current visitor’s center and the building of a structure in a less obtrusive spot, with plenty of room for the park’s collections. The Cyclorama, a cylindrical building built in the 1960s and now considered an abomination, is scheduled to come down.

Much of the battleground would be returned to the condition it was in at the time of the battle, adding or removing trees and fences to bring them in line with the summer of 1863.

New exhibits would be aimed at doing a better job at explaining the battle’s context, something a visitor could leave the park knowing almost nothing about today.

As for the National Tower, the park service has been granted the legal authority to negotiate with Mr. Ottenstein to purchase it and tear it down. Negotiations have been ongoing, and the park has only about $2 million of the nearly $7 million they estimate it will cost to close the deal.

The whole package – not including the tower – would cost $63.5 million, and faces a public review before it can be adopted.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation issued a statement in support of the plan, but cautioned that the details will “deserve close attention.”

“The plan offers the promise of correcting the mistakes of the past,” Mr. Moe said. “I believe we have all learned the hard lessons of those experiences.”

But Ms. Lawhon is confident the park has got it right this time.

“At one time, people probably thought it was a good idea to build a visitor’s center and a parking lot right on the Union battle line,” she said. “Times have changed.”

My father is not a spy, West Toledo man says

By Joshua Benton
Blade Staff Writer

Page A1

Three months before 50-year-old Douglas Groat was arrested for selling government secrets to two foreign governments, he was in Toledo, playing with his grandchildren.

When Mr. Groat’s son, Shawn, was at work at a glass shop in Perrysburg, the older man watched the two girls, aged 2 and 4, to save his son money on baby-sitting.

It is not the typical image of a turncoat spy, one who the CIA says tried to extort $500,000 from the agency in exchange for his silence and, unsatisfied, leaked information to representatives of two foreign powers.

But that is the image Shawn Groat, 26, of West Toledo, is trying to project of his father, who is in jail facing the death penalty.

“He wouldn’t have done something like this, not to his family,” Shawn Groat said yesterday. “He worked too hard to do that.”

He last spoke to his father about three weeks ago and has been unable to reach him since his arrest Thursday. But he said he knows enough about the case to know his father’s problem with the CIA is less blackmail than frustration about getting retirement money he thinks he is owed.

Shawn Groat offered his version of what he says led to his father’s arrest:

Douglas Groat spent most of his adult life working for the government. He worked for police departments and federal agencies before, one day in 1980, he announced to his family that they were moving to Washington. Shawn was told his dad worked for the U.S. Department of State.

At the CIA, Douglas Groat was a code cracker. His job was to steal and decipher the codes foreign governments use to communicate with one another. He was paid about $70,000 a year.

All was well until 1992, when Special Agent Groat went on a mission – Shawn said he would not say where or with what purpose – and something went wrong. The mission was “compromised,” Shawn Groat said.

After returning from the failed mission, the elder Groat and several others on the mission were asked to take a polygraph test to determine what caused the failure. Mr. Groat refused.

“He knew they’d read it however they wanted,” Shawn Groat said.

He said the other agents failed the test.

Then, because of the polygraph incident, Mr. Groat was put on administrative leave. He continued to receive his full salary but did not report to work.

Then Mr. Groat took a series of jobs, including working for a trucking service in Virginia. He split up with his wife and decided to buy a motor home and roam the country.

For a couple of years, he stayed distant from his family, calling only every few months.

In 1996, he was eligible to receive a pension. When he walked into his office to fill out paperwork, he was fired and told he was being investigated for treason. “The government was just looking for reasons to fire him,” Shawn Groat said.

By this time, he had re-entered his family’s life and began talking regularly to family members while still traveling around the country. He continued to demand his retirement money, to which he claimed he was entitled.

“He was just living off what he had in the bank, and he needed that money,” Shawn Groat said.

He called the CIA offices to plead his case – without success.

Wanting to spend time with his granddaughters, Douglas Groat spent nearly all of November and December, 1997, in Toledo at his son’s house, “just visiting.”

Three weeks ago, the two men talked on the phone. Douglas Groat asked mostly about the divorce Shawn is going through and mentioned he was in Georgia, taking a class on pipeline inspection. A new job could take him near Toledo and his grandchildren.

On Thursday, Douglas Groat went to his office, in one final attempt to collect his retirement. He was arrested.

Shawn learned of the arrest when FBI agents arrived at his home at 10:45 p.m. that night to question him.

Tomorrow night, he’ll leave for Washington to visit his father in jail if authorities allow it.

A CIA spokesman refused to comment on the account.

The son’s version of events is not confirmed by anyone else. But for now, Shawn Groat is more concerned about clearing his father’s name than anything else.

“To know my father, I can’t say what he’s capable of doing,” he said. “But I know he would not sell out the government he had devoted his life to.”

Clergy face flocks shocked by scandal; Local clerics field questions

By Joshua Benton
Blade Staff Writer

Page 8A

Although facts are still hard to come by, local clergy have begun fielding questions from their congregations about the latest Clinton crisis.

“I hear both sides: people who are tired of hearing about the President’s personal life, and people who think, if he’s immoral in this, what does that say about his ability to govern?” said the Rev. John Ebenhoeh, an Oblate of St. Francis de Sales.

The scandal raises a host of issues for clergy, who must respond to churchgoers shocked by allegations the President of the United States received oral sex from a 21-year-old woman, fresh out of college.

“Their concern seems to be a real shaking of beliefs,” said the Rev. David Hyde of Liberty Baptist Church. “They’re upset that this kind of thing could even be accused of our President.

“Our people have been taught to respect the office and pray for him, no matter whether or not you agree with him on an issue,” Mr. Hyde said. “He’s God’s man in that place. Their talk has been, this is a real shame that any of this has to occur at all.”

The Rev. Rebecca Gifford-Mitchell, pastor of Central United Methodist Church, said she is most concerned about Chelsea, the Clintons’ only daughter, who is in the middle of her freshman year at Stanford.

“She’s the one who’s going to be hardest hit emotionally,” she said.

Area clergy suggested that Chelsea distance herself from the maelstrom that has erupted around the allegations, which have the President having sex with a woman only a few years older than Chelsea.

“I would imagine it would get to the point of her remembering who her father has been to her personally, regardless of what reports may be circulating,” Bill Barnard, chaplain at Flower Hospital said.

“She’s going to show her father a great deal of support, and she ought to. I would encourage that,” Mr. Hyde said.

Ms. Gifford-Mitchell said Chelsea should explore her own faith at a time like this, and try to put the accusations in perspective.

“Since she is an adult, she will need to realize that she is an individual outside of what others do, including her parents,” she said.

But Father Ebenhoeh said it may not be as much of a shock to the First Daughter as some might expect. “I think Chelsea already knows there have been many speculations about her father,” Father Ebenhoeh said. “I think she already knows how to deal with this.

“This isn’t coming out of the blue sky. This goes back a long way.”

Press reports have said the President admitted to a lengthy affair with Gennifer Flowers in his recent deposition in the Paula Jones case. His presidency has been marked by what some observers call “bimbo eruptions” and accusations of sexual impropriety.

Mr. Hyde said the Clinton scandal will come up indirectly in his sermon today. He said he will preach about embracing the law of God. “By way of application, it goes to show that there is, in our country, a lack of desire to embrace any kind of moral standard from God,” he said.

Father Ebenhoeh said he would not discuss the scandal in his sermon until the web of allegation produces concrete facts. “The pulpit is not the place to be talking about rumors and accusations,” he said.

Were Monica Lewinsky – the former White House intern in question – her daughter, Ms. Gifford-Mitchell said her reaction would be a mixture of comforting and ire. “My initial reaction would be to support my daughter,” she said. “If the allegations are true, sure there would be anger. It’s obviously a power situation. She is very young.”

She suggested Ms. Lewinsky find someone unreachable by the media, someone with whom she can be sure “that whatever she says is inviolate.”

Even if the scandal proves only to be a series of false accusations, Mr. Hyde said he believes the appearance of impropriety is bad enough.

3 groups selected for casinos in Detroit

By Joshua Benton
Blade Staff Writer

Page 1

DETROIT — For three groups hoping to open casinos in downtown Detroit, yesterday was like hitting the jackpot.

Mayor Dennis Archer announced the three applicants – Atwater/Circus Circus, Greektown, and MGM Grand – that will be allowed to apply for the city’s three casino licenses.

“These groups have all shown commitment to helping revitalize our city’s downtown,” he said.

A proposal from Mirage Resorts, while “simply outstanding,” was eliminated from contention, Mr. Archer told a packed 13th-floor auditorium in the City-County Building downtown.

When the winners were announced, the auditorium’s lower half – filled with city and casino-group officials – responded with uproarious applause and a standing ovation. In the upper tier, however, there was jeering and heckling from African-Americans upset that none of the casinos will be majority-owned by blacks.

Detroit is 76 per cent black.

“It is very disappointing that, in 1997, black people still can not achieve ownership in this city,” said Paul Taylor, a member of The Community Coalition, a group that has called for black casino ownership.

On Nov. 7, Mr. Archer eliminated three applicants from further consideration for licenses, one of them a group led by Detroit cable magnate Don Barden, who is African-American. Supporters of Mr. Barden’s efforts have called Mr. Archer, who is also black, an “Uncle Tom” and a “sell-out.”

The Community Coalition is planning a rally Monday afternoon to protest the choice of finalists. At a planning meeting this week, the group drew more than 2,500 people, member Mary Ann Moss said.

The decision allows the three groups to begin negotiations with the city for development agreements. Once those are drafted, they must be approved by Detroit’s city council and reviewed by the Michigan Gaming Control Board.

The mayor estimated that the agreements could be brought before council by the end of February.

The winning proposals are from:

* Atwater/Circus Circus, a joint venture between a Detroit group led by Herb Strather and Circus Circus, the Las Vegas-based gaming giant. Mr. Strather, who is black, has been called a “sell-out” by some African-Americans for joining forces with Circus Circus, but Mr. Archer defended the move, recalling the adage: “A significant percentage of something is worth more than 100 per cent of nothing.”

The proposed complex includes a 26-story hotel and, the group said, will provide 3,800 jobs and $87.5 million of payroll annually.

* Greektown, a joint venture between a group of businessmen based in the Detroit neighborhood and the Sault Ste. Marie tribe of Chippewa Indians. The tribe runs five casinos in northern Michigan.

Their casino – the only one for which a site has been selected, in the Greektown neighborhood – would include two hotel buildings over 40 stories tall and create 4,000 new jobs, officials said.

* MGM Grand, owners of the Las Vegas casino of the same name. One of its principal investors is William Pickard, Mr. Archer’s college roommate. If built, the $700-million MGM Grand casino in Detroit would include 11 restaurants, create 3,500 jobs, and create $88 million of payroll each year.