Walking Papers

“They shook my hand and said, `Merry Christmas, we’ll try to call you back – no promises; no guarantees. Turn in your uniform. See ya.’ It was that cold,” said Bart Sexton, retelling the events after a local United Parcel Service Christmas party last year.

A recently discharged Navy veteran of the

 The alarm is silent. Your wallet is empty. Such is the life of someone who’s been laid off.

By DAVID SPEAKMAN 

“They shook my hand and said, `Merry Christmas, we’ll try to call you back – no promises; no guarantees. Turn in your uniform. See ya.’ It was that cold,” said Bart Sexton, retelling the events after a local United Parcel Service Christmas party last year.

A recently discharged Navy veteran of the Panama invasion and the Gulf War, Sexton said he had been hired at UPS in October 1995. Although startling, his quick holiday-time dismissal was expected – and common. Sexton joined a select group of workers that many industries depend on – seasonal help. These workers, many in the 18- to 30-year-old range, usually are hired in October and become an important part of the corporate team.

When the holidays are over, and things slow down a bit, though, these “migrant workers” of the ’90s are dismissed. The good ones sometimes are called back when future jobs open. But not always.

Sexton knew at the time of hire “the possibility of layoff was an almost certainty.” But that didn’t make him feel any better.

Twentysomethings are bombarded by a series of firsts. First car, first permanent full-time job and, unfortunately, first pink slips.

Young adults are particularly vulnerable to unemployment, according to Gary Gatman, planning director for JobWorks, a northeast Indiana private sector employment and workforce development service based in Fort Wayne.

“Younger workers and part-time workers – usually mothers in two-income households – are among the hardest hit,” Gatman said.

Making matters worse, he said January through March is the most difficult time for the unemployed to find work. In general, the economy tends to slow down during this time period.

Although about the same number of unemployed are processed through JobWorks each month – about 30 in Allen County – Gatman said the program had a 60 percent job placement success rate in December but only a 17 percent success rate for January.

Although both Sears Roebuck & Co. and GTE have announced the possibility of reduction-in-force layoffs, a U.S. Postal Service mail processing center opened last year in Fort Wayne and soon is expected to hire another batch of part- and full-time workers.

Older workers sometimes fear that twentysomethings, who are traditionally paid less than their older counterparts, are a threat to their job security. Gatman said that wasn’t necessarily the case.

“Lower wages (for twentysomethings) is an advantage of sorts,” he said, “but that is offset by less experience. Employers want a proven work and attendance record. Settling for lower wages is not a major benefit.”

Dealing with first-time unemployment can be a scary thing, but it usually isn’t the end of the world. Tim Williams, a 25-year-old former sales administrator at The Essex Group in Fort Wayne, has been dealing with unemployment since he lost his job a year ago.

“First, you look at finances and see what you’re going to be able to pay,” Williams said. “I got rid of my new car, gave up my apartment and scanned the classifieds.”

Then there’s 29-year-old Julia Kirchhausen, who was with the Buffalo, N.Y., Philharmonic from January 1993 to July 1994. During her tenure, she was laid off – twice.

“They sent us registered letters at home,” said Kirchhausen, who has since moved up in the orchestral world and is now the marketing director of the Fort Wayne Philharmonic. “It was very short and photocopied and not personalized at all. It was devastating, even though we knew it was going to happen.

“We knew what the cash flow situation was, and we knew that there wasn’t any,” she continued. “We went on unemployment, which is a humbling experience, because here you are a supposedly professional person who has been to college and done all the right things and has worked hard and worked well.”

And because bills can’t be paid without money, a possible source of funds is unemployment checks from the local Indiana Workforce Development office.

Although some frown on the use of public assistance, Sexton explained: “If you’ve worked, you’ve paid your dues. I don’t plan on living off the system for my entire life. Unemployment claims are a part of a job like medical and dental benefits.”

DEALING WITH DEBT

  • Claiming unemployment
    Why: If you’ve worked at least three months, these checks could keep you from starving or moving back with the parents.
    Where: Indiana Department of Workforce Development, 5821 S. Anthony Blvd.
    Phone: 447-3575
    Hours: 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday
    What to expect: It’s first come, first served. Show up as early as possible. Expect at least two hours of waiting in line, answering a computer questionnaire and waiting to speak to a counselor. The counselor will schedule an appointment for a mandatory 90-minute course. Because of paperwork and red tape, benefits will be delayed at least one week from your application. Bring your social security or green card.
    What you get: Providing you have worked long enough to qualify and your past employer doesn’t deny benefits, you can expect to get between $50 and $217 each week for a maximum of 26 weeks in a one-year period – depending on your former salary. No taxes are taken out. You are required to sign a weekly form that lists at least one company where you are trying to get hired.
  • Food Stamps
    Why: Unemployment checks can’t cover all the bills – especially if you have children.
    Where: Allen County Division of Family and Children (formerly Welfare), 4820 New Haven Ave.
    Phone: 458-6200
    Hours: 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday
    What to expect: Paperwork galore – especially if you don’t live alone. You can’t buy beer or cigarettes with food stamps. Call before showing up to be sure you bring correct identification and other information to the meetings.
    What you get: Specific dollar amounts depend upon demonstrated need.

Condoms available in a wide variety

For many college students, the holiday season is the time to trek home to visit the family, reap loads of gifts and spend time away from that special someone in life.

Before saying goodbye with a last-of-the-year hop in bed, let’s talk about something that may come between you and your partner – the condom.

Condoms have been around

(Ball State Daily News, Page 8, December 14, 1992) 

By TRACEY TIBBETTS
and DAVID SPEAKMAN
Staff Reporters

For many college students, the holiday season is the time to trek home to visit the family, reap loads of gifts and spend time away from that special someone in life.

Before saying goodbye with a last-of-the-year hop in bed, let’s talk about something that may come between you and your partner – the condom.

Condoms have been around for centuries, although the exact origin of the prophylactic is unclear.

Anthropologists have found evidence which proves ancient cultures used such bizarre materials as tree bark, paper and cloth as preventative measures against conception and disease.

Today, condoms are usually made of one of two substances – latex and natural membrane (usually sheep innards).

Beside the fact that the thought of engaging in intimate activity with a piece of dead animal separating the privates may cause one nausea, this type of condom is ineffective at preventing venereal disease. So the focus of this article is on latex, or truly rubber rubbers.

It is important to use condoms for any sexual activity – including oral sex. This could prevent the embarrassment of a sore throat being diagnosed as a case of oral venereal disease. Herpes also is a risk reduced by condom use.

These latex wonders come in two basic categories: lubricated and non-lubricated. Other, more specialized possibilities exist with features like receptacle ended, fitted, ribbed, colored, flavored/scented, super thin, extra strong and extra large.

  • Non-lubricated condoms are probably best for oral sex. the slimy lubricant included with most condoms is not exactly a taste sensation. But for intercourse, these need a lubricant like KY Jelly or a spermicidal alternative to help prevent painful penetration.
  • Lubricated condoms come with out without spermicide. The most-common spermicide is nonoxyl-9, which is detergent-based. Although nonoxyl-9 is helpful in preventing pregnancy and lowering the risk for sexually-transmitted disease, many people are allergic to the substance. Individuals with soap allergies may ant to beware of possible irritation.

After the choice of lubricated and non-lubricated, the fun begins.

  • Colored condoms (or condoms of color) really don’t add much zing to the act. The effect these have vary with color, for example: green makes a penis look diseased, yellow causes a severe jaundiced look, red provides an angry appearance and blue screams of suffocation.
  • Ribbed, pleasure dotted or “rough rider” condoms are usually billed “for her pleasure.” This phrase is a fallacy. Women are not sexually stimulated by vaginal friction. One writer for Details magazine described sex with ribbed condoms as “getting pumped while going over speed bumps.”
  • Super-thin rubbers, especially the Lifestyles brand, tend to break during active or inventive frolicking.
  • Extra-strong (thick) condoms are like wearing mittens while trying to play piano – it isn’t very fun and leads to random, disharmonious banging.
  • Extra-large should not be used by the mere egomaniac since they may fall off and cause a partner to laugh or may come off inside and cause a partner the embarrassment of digging it out.
  • Flavored/scented condoms help alleviate the monotony associated with prolonged oral sex. They also eliminate that distinctive “balloon flavor” of the average rubber. Mint-flavored condoms let users have fresh breath after the acts – a definite plus if you’ve forgotten your tooth brush.

Specialized features may raise the price of a condom. The cost-conscious consumer may find a plain condom, which averages 50 cents, the best buy.

A Verdi Christmas

The second half-century of Texaco-Metropolitan Opera live Saturday afternoon radio broadcasts will begin with Giuseppe Verdi’s La Traviata at 1:30 p.m. Dec. 8 on WBST-FM 92.1.

The broadcast marks the 5th birthday of the Texaco-Metropolitan Opera radio broadcasts, which constitute the longest continuous national sponsorship of a radio program in broadcast history. It was on Dec. 6, 1940, that the very first Texaco-Metropolitan Opera

By DAVID SPEAKMAN
For The Muncie Star  (Page T-15)

The second half-century of Texaco-Metropolitan Opera live Saturday afternoon radio broadcasts will begin with Giuseppe Verdi’s La Traviata at 1:30 p.m. Dec. 8 on WBST-FM 92.1.

The broadcast marks the 5th birthday of the Texaco-Metropolitan Opera radio broadcasts, which constitute the longest continuous national sponsorship of a radio program in broadcast history. It was on Dec. 6, 1940, that the very first Texaco-Metropolitan Opera broadcast was presented, and the opera that historic afternoon was Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro.

The cast for Saturday’s broadcast of La Traviata will feature three American singers in the major roles: Diana Sovierro as Violetta, Jerry Hadley as Alfredo Germont and Brian Schexnayder as his father, Giorgio Garmont. American conductor Rico Saccani will make his Met broadcast debut leading the performance. The announcer is Peter Allen.

To mark this 50th anniversary, WBST is offering a special 1990-1991 Metropolitan Opera broadcast schedule to the readers of The Muncie Star who read this column. All you need to do is write: WBST, Ball State University, Muncie IN 47306-0550 and ask for your free schedule.

Special Stuff

Last week I mentioned that WBST plans on airing about 40 special programs for the December holiday season. Get ready, because next week they will be listed in an easy-reference format.

Today, however, you’ll get a special preview of our holiday music specials that will air Dec. 11 to 25. During these weeks, WBST offers a variety of special programming.

Western Wind: A Celebration of Light, A Jazz Piano Christmas, Handel’s Messiah at St. Thomas Church, the 1990 St. Olaf Christmas Special and An Acoustic Christmas: Steve Wariner and Friends will evoke reveries and reminiscences, from traditional and contemporary to regional and international.

The history and legend of contemporary religious celebrations are woven together with music in the Dec. 18 hour-long special, Western Wind: A Celebration of Light. The acclaimed Western Wind Vocal Ensemble’s unique repertoire includes music and songs representative of the spirituality and significance of the winter solstice, renaissance and Hanukkah.

America’s original art form is the focus of A Jazz Piano Christmas, a 1-hour Dec. 22 special featuring keyboard specialists Billy Taylor, George Shearing, Marian McPartland and other notables from the jazz world. A Jazz Piano Christmas will use the “let’s-take-it-easy” philosophy of its genre for high-energy celebration.

Two musical events that mark the season’s sacred mood are the production of Handel’s Messiah at St. Thomas Church, hosted by Dudley Moore, and the 1990 St. Olaf Christmas Special: Arise ans Set the Captive Free. These specials will be broadcast Dec. 22 and 24, respectively.

Messiah presents original instruments and a men’s and boy’s choir as specified by the 18th-century composer. The ensemble of soloists and instruments, exquisitely blended by Handel, is under the artistic direction of James Richman.

The St. Olaf Choir joins the St. Olaf Orchestra in the all-new musical event – the 1990 St. Olaf Christmas Special. The 90-minute concert features the world famous 400-voice massed choir and 100-member orchestra conducted by Anton Armstrong.

Dec. 23’s An Acoustic Christmas reaffirms the true American spirit with 2 hours of outstanding performances by some of Nashville’s finest musicians and greatest storytellers. Chet Atkins, Emmylou Harris, Maura O’Connell and othres get together in the city where country and western sound began.

The Woman of Japan

At 5:30 tonight on Horizons, host Vertamae Grosvenor explores the world of the modern Japanese woman. While Japan advances as a world power, women in Japan are still struggling to break free from traditional roles, as seen in tonight’s features, “Women in Japan Speak Out.”

During the past 10 years, many Japanese women have been making changes in the office and at home. This program features women from many walks of life – all reflecting on Japan’s complex society from a feminine point of view.

Keillor Does Twain

Thanksgiving is over, and, as of today, there is one month until Christmas. Next Saturday is the start of December, and many people in East Central Indiana are expecting everything from Good tidings to earthquakes this holiday season.

WBST is jam-packed with more than 40 good tidings of special programming this month to celebrate the season. And it all starts at 6 p.m. Saturday.

On

By DAVID SPEAKMAN
For The Muncie Star (Page T-15)

Thanksgiving is over, and, as of today, there is one month until Christmas. Next Saturday is the start of December, and many people in East Central Indiana are expecting everything from Good tidings to earthquakes this holiday season.

WBST is jam-packed with more than 40 good tidings of special programming this month to celebrate the season. And it all starts at 6 p.m. Saturday.

On that day, Garrison Keillor takes his American Radio Company of the Air on location for a live broadcast from the Mark Twain Memorial in Hartford, Conn.

The 2-hour broadcast is the first of 13 tour broadcasts scheduled this season.

How did Garrison Keillor come to select Mark Twain’s famous Hartford home as a broadcast site? The answer rests in part with Keillor and with the executive director of the memorial, John Boyer.

Keillor’s articles for The New Yorker and other publications, and his broadcast for American Public Radio have evoked similarities with Twain in the minds of fans and critics alike. Knowing of that connection, Boyer contacted Keillor during a Connecticut appearance this past summer, and invited him to visit the memorial.

Keillor quietly accepted by coming to Hartford unannounced, buying a ticket and joining a guided tour on his own. Upon his return to New York, he immediately contacted the memorial, asking if his show could broadcast from the Twain home.

According to Chris Tschida, producer of American Radio Company, part of the show will feature music from Twain’s era – the latter part of the 19th century.

“We’re looking at spirituals and other forms of music which Twain would have known and enjoyed. There will be a Keillor monologue as well, undoubtedly tied to Twain themes, plus some other surprises.”

Special guests for the broadcast include the Gregg Smith Quartet, a sub-group of the Gregg Smith Singers, the most recorded vocal choir in the world. Also appearing will be Rob Fisher and the Coffee Club Orchestra and the Broadway Local Theatre Company.

Recovering the Past

Although December looks to be a very good month for our listeners, the last few days of November are alive and kicking.

At 5:30 tonight, Horizons host Vertamae Grosvenor continues her series of in-depth reports on crisis in the lives of our country’s minorities.

“Giving Up the Past: Indian Ceremonial Objects,” tells the story of how traders, geologists, soldiers, anthropologists and sometimes the Indians themselves have stolen or purchased many sacred objects from tribal communities.

For hundreds of years, Native Americans have created ceremonial objects vital to their spiritual life.

This program focuses on Native American tribes attempting to retain and strengthen their ancient cultures by retrieving important ceremonial objects from galleries, private art collections and museums, like the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indian and Western Art in Indianapolis.

In December, Horizons will round out its 1990 season with a colorful array of documentaries exploring the many sides of life in America – past and present.

Horizons will take listeners back to the 1960s to examine the black theater movement, tracking its influence on contemporary dramatic arts.

Other documentaries include as story about a San Francisco-based training program helping troubled youth in American cities and a story by Horizons host Vertamae Grosvenor about popular Zydeco star Queen Ida.