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Filler `er up

Higher gasoline costs drive up wholesale prices, energy bills increase National, 10A

Madness continues

A Palestinian woman blew herself up in a crowded outdoor market International, 11A

Spring sports

Lady Bulldogs top United for first place; district track meets here today Sports, 1B

Laredo Morning Times

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SATURDAY April 13, 2002 BY FABIOLA SANCHEZ Associated Press Writer CARACAS, Venezuela -- Venezuela's military tapped a leading businessman Friday to replace former leftist president Hugo Chavez, whose combative rule was ended by army commanders after a bloody repression of a huge street protest. Pedro Carmona -- a figure straight from the economic elite Chavez had demonized during his three-year rule -- said he would hold legislative and presidential elections within a year to replace Chavez. The ousted president, who could face charges for the deaths of protesters, was being held in an army base after being taken from his palace before dawn. The former paratrooper's strong-arm drive to

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121st Year - Number 348 / 48 pages

After day of bloodshed

Venezuela's military picks businessman leader

impose a "revolution" had polarized Venezuela, and his friendships with Cuba's Fidel Castro and Iraq's Saddam Hussein had angered the United States. Carmona promised an end to anti-Chavez strikes that had severely cut oil production by Venezuela, the third biggest supplier to the United States and the world's fourth biggest oil exporter. (See *LEADER Page 14A)

AP Photo/Ricardo Mazalan

REFUGE: An opponent of ousted President Hugo Chavez argues with a police officer guarding the entrance to the Cuban Embassy in Caracas, Venezuela, Friday.

`Once a Tiger, always a Tiger'

Exoticas cited for deadline bust

BY TRICIA CORTEZ Times staff writer The city cited the owners of Exoticas, on Friday for failing to comply with a cityimposed Jan. 27 deadline to relocate its sexually oriented business away from a residential area. The exotic dance club, off the intersection of I-35 and Shiloh Road, will be cited for a class C misdemeanor, which carries a maximum $2,000 fine. Co-owner Kenny Smart said he and fellow co-owner Elizabeth Jimenez will request another extension from the city to relocate, but said he was surprised by the city's move. "We did not get any notice from the city or the Planning Department that something had expired, which is normally the process," Smart said from his Exoticas club in Pharr. "My attorney is in constant contact with (city Planning Director) Keith Selman. We talk to them almost monthly, so it was a little surprising," he said. "We were given three years to relocate, and we've been working on the platting process for about two years. And they (city) know what the hold-ups are," he added. Exoticas will be relocated west of I-35, just north of the Great Lakes Chemical Corporation off I-35 and Mines Road. When the city annexed the property around the current Exoticas in 1998, it issued a legal nonconforming use, "which is a one year grace period to become legal," Building Services Director Benny Salinas said. The establishment had one year to comply with certain requirements for a sexually oriented business, which includes its distance from a church, school or residential area. "In this case, they were too close to a residential district, so they were given one year to recover their investment and generate (See *EXOTICAS Page 14A)

Times staff photo by CUATE SANTOS

Ten former outstanding students of Martin High School, designated Tiger Legends, pose Friday with their awards prior to the start of a presentation program in Tiger Gym. From left are Neo Gutierrez, Ph.D.; Teofilo Esquivel; Jose Sepulveda; Jose Garcia; Petra Tijerina Campos, representing her husband honoree, the late Arturo Campos; Diana Rodriguez; Hector Liendo; Dr. Pedro Castañda, Irving Greenblum and Benigno (Benny) Garcia.

Tiger Legends honored at presentation

From staff reports Ten former students of Martin High School, one honored posthumously, heard the applause of family, friends, MHS faculty and students Friday at the school's annual Tiger Legends presentation. The posthumous recognition was for the late Arturo Campos, who died last year in Seabrook, Texas, after a notable career as an electrical engineer with the NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston. Introduced as Tiger Legends for 2002 are Irvin Greenblum, 1946; Benny Garcia, 1950; Arturo Campos and Neo Gutierrez, PhD., 1952; Teofilo Esquivel, 1960; Jose Garcia and Jose Sepulveda, 1959; Judge Hector Liendo, 1968; Dr. Pedro Castañeda, 1961; and Diana Rodriguez, 1976. The Tiger Legends were escorted by members of the Tigerettes as the Martin Band played the Tiger Fight Song. Martin Principal Frances Wawroski and Adriana Guzman, mistress of ceremonies, welcomed the Tiger Legends and guests. Colors were presented by Martin ROTC cadets. Brian Poplin, student council president, led the singing of the national anthem. The Tiger Legend honorees were introduced individually by student presenters. Lisa Martinez introduced Greenblum; Jose Luis Garcia, Benny Garcia; Victor Linares, Arturo R. Campos; Annabel Guevara, Neo Gutierrez; Melissa Peña, Teofilo Esquivel; Belinda Garcia, Jose Garcia; Cynthia Jasso, Jose Sepulveda; Stephanie Sanchez, Hector Liendo; Monica Sandoval, Dr. Pedro Castañeda; Angelica Ramirez, Diana Rodriguez. A break in the program featured a cheerleaders and Tigerettes performance. The program concluded with the unveiling of a Tiger Legend plaque. The marker bears the names of former Martin High students recognized since the program was started eight years ago. The presenters read from prepared texts, detailing each Tiger Legend's schooling, honors, (See *LEGENDS Page 14A)

Lift program gets new wheels

BY JAVIER BARROSO Times staff writer Laredoans registered with El Metro's El Lift program will enjoy rides in new vehicles starting Tuesday. Robert Eads, El Metro public information officer, said El Metro recently acquired 18 new vehicles for its El Lift program, which services physically challenged clients. "The great thing about this is that we had a fleet of 17 or 18 (vehicles) already and we received 18, so we are doing a clean replacement on all of them," Eads said. "We will also be keeping a couple of the older ones for backup." The vehicles, which cost about $55,000 each, were designed for use by people with disabilities who cannot drive or use El Metro buses. These clients can call El Lift when they need to go somewhere. For example, when people have a doctor's appointment, they will be picked up from their residence and dropped off at the doctor's office. Once the appointment is over, people can call El Lift to be taken home. According to Eads, more than 4,000 people are registered on El Lift program, and the purchase of the new vehicles was financed through grants. The new vehicles are going to be presented to the Laredo City Council on Monday, and by Tuesday they will be on the street. For more information about El Lift services, call 795-2290 or visit the second floor of the Transit Center, 1301 Farragut. (Times staff writer Javier Barroso can be reached at 728-2582 or by e-mail at [email protected])

Times staff photo by CUATE SANTOS

NEW LIFTS: El Metro acquires 18 new lift vehicles for physically challenged clients.

DO YOU KNOW

ANGIE RAMOS? A teacher at a local academy, she enjoys working with children and playing sports.

TODAY'S TIMES

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