TELLICO DAM (CONT.)
Judging from a statement given to the House Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife Conservation and the Environment by S. David Freeman, the chairman of the TVA, the Tellico Dam on the Little Tennessee River, home of the endangered snail darter (SCORECARD, June 26), may never be completed. Freeman told the subcommittee that he had grown up in Chattanooga and remembered the floods that had damaged the city before the TVA built dams. He also said he had enjoyed the recreational benefits of the TVA lakes and had witnessed the economic growth spurred by TVA power. He then went on to say of the TVA's Tellico project:
"Conventional wisdom would suggest that since the dam has been largely built, the most economical solution would be to complete the project as planned. Everyone seems to be jumping to that conclusion. But I'm not sure. No one has really evaluated the benefits of an alternative that recognizes the economic values of the food production that would be lost and that places some value on the unique historical sites and fish and wildlife that would be destroyed by the dam and reservoir as now planned.
"Perhaps the Tellico project was the best possible project when it was designed decades ago. Maybe it still is. But there have been dramatic changes in land values and in values of society since this project was planned in 1939. And we must remember that the decision will last for centuries, because once a reservoir is formed, the land is ruined and other values destroyed.
"It is not just the snail darter that has been discovered since the Tellico project was started. The nation is beginning to discover that prime farmland is also an endangered species whose value has gone up appreciably. The bottomlands in the Tellico Reservoir now owned by TVA contain some of the best farmland in Tennessee. The Tellico Reservoir also happens to contain the ancestral home of the Cherokee Indian Nation, and preserving these historical sites has been recognized as a value for contemporary society. And a new generation of Tennessee Valley residents has grown up—many of whom place a greater value on canoeing on a free-flowing stretch of river than motorboating on a lake."
James H. Smith Jr., of Camp Hill, Pa., is the founder, president, newsletter editor and chief bankroller of the Jim Smith Society, which he established in 1969 to help build friendships, have some fun and disseminate news through the Jim Smith Newsletter about Jim Smiths everywhere. Starting on July 14, the Jim Smith Society, which now has 652 members worldwide, including three women, will hold its Ninth National Jim Smith Fun Festival at Wentworth-by-the-Sea, a resort near Portsmouth, N.H., owned—right!—by a man named Jim Smith. "World affairs, domestic policy, zero-based budgeting and how to make yak butter better will be sidestepped, if not totally ignored, at our meeting," says founder Jim Smith. Instead the highlight will be the annual Jim Smith softball game, and you shouldn't need a program to know who's on first. But just in case you do, the night before the game there will be a "Meet Jim Smith" party, at which the favorite greeting will be "Say, I remember your name, but I don't recall the face."
Cus D'Amato, who managed Floyd Patterson and Jose Torres to world titles and who is as shrewd a character as can be found in boxing, believes Muhammad Ali will beat Leon Spinks in their return bout in September. "Ali can still fight if he has the motivation," D'Amato says. "His trouble was boredom. Now he has the motivation—he can become the first man to win the heavyweight title three times. After he does that, I expect him to retire. There's no doubt in my mind that he can make millions a year representing American companies, Arab countries, African countries—you name it—by acting as a go-between on business deals. He'll make far more money than he ever did in boxing, because nobody else in the world can open doors in every country and speak directly to the top man."
Reports that a monstrous white shark 25 to 30 feet long is ranging off Montauk, N.Y. on the easternmost tip of Long Island and has twice escaped capture by harpoon have divided people into two camps: those who believe the stories, and those who say they were cooked up to publicize the opening of Jaws 2. Biologist Jack Casey of the National Marine Fisheries Service laboratory in Narragansett, R.I., the most active shark investigator in the Northeast, thinks the stories have substance, although the white's length would make it the biggest ever known. "The fish off Montauk could be 20 feet long, but unless someone showed me for sure, I would doubt 25 or 30 feet," Casey says. "The largest white shark ever reported was 21 feet long and weighed 7,100 pounds. The liver alone weighed 1,000 pounds. A lot of the body weight is given over to the liver for the storage of fats, allowing a shark to go long periods without eating.
"Not many people have the opportunity to look at a large white shark, because they're not abundant anywhere," Casey says. "I once caught a 14-footer that weighed an estimated 1,500 to 1,800 pounds—we couldn't find a scale big enough—and on another occasion, while I was staring at a 7½-foot hammerhead off one side of the boat, my assistant shouted for me to look over the other side. There was a 20-foot-long white shark, the biggest I've ever seen, and I had plenty of time to estimate its length. But there is a tendency to want to make the shark longer, because the girth is just so enormous.
"Montauk is a very unusual place in that it's near deep-water and oceanic fish, and the area off Montauk lies within the nursery ground of the white shark. There are enough 60- to 200-pound white sharks around to say that. The area in which they're generally found this time of year is from Cape Hatteras north to the Gulf of Maine out to 100 fathoms. In both the Atlantic and the Pacific, white sharks tend to occur in temperate waters rather than tropical.
"The smaller white sharks eat a variety of fish, while the large whites seem to eat more mammals, such as seals and porpoises. The white shark has eaten man on occasion, but man is certainly not regular food, because otherwise there would have been more attacks. I wouldn't hesitate to go body-surfing at Montauk during the day, but I wouldn't want to be offshore in a wet suit at night—to name the worst set of circumstances—because I'd look just like a seal.
"White sharks are not a very successful species because if they were, there would be more of them. They probably have few young, and they seem to be slow-growing. The 14-footer I caught was an immature female. The 33 rings on the vertebrae suggested she was 33 years old, but we have no way of knowing for sure.
"When I first heard the report that the shark had been harpooned, I thought that at least if it were caught I could examine it for science and we could learn more. When I heard it got away, I was kind of happy, although I hope it isn't off dying somewhere. I have great feeling for large predators. There are really very few of them, and their size makes them so ecologically vulnerable. But they make the world so much more interesting."
The family of Robert Pineda, the jockey killed in the pileup at Pimlico (SI, May 22), has filed suit against the Maryland Jockey Club, Pimlico General Manager Chick Lang, Trainer Tom Caviness and owner Thomas Pappagallo for $10 million under the Maryland Wrongful Death Act. The suit charges that Easy Edith, the horse that caused the pileup, had been given a large dose of Butazolidin, an anti-inflammatory drug, before the race, and that "when administered in the fashion which it was in this instance, it causes horses' legs to be so numbed that the horse is unable to feel pain from injuries which she may have had prior to the race."
Some authorities say that Bute, which is legal in Maryland, is not a painkiller, that it is not misused and that it is an important aid for trainers in getting horses with so-called minor aches and pains to the starting gate. Others counter that Bute is not only a painkiller but also helps mask the use of other more powerful painkillers that are difficult to detect, and that trainers misuse Bute because racing economics compel them to run unsound horses.
Expert testimony in the suit could go a long way toward settling conflicting claims about the drug.
GOD HELP US
Gerry Craft, the 27-year-old manager of the Boise Buckskins of the Class A Northwest League, who was born again last year, says God is helping him run the team. The club owner, Lanny Moss, a young woman who served as general manager of the Portland Mavericks two seasons ago, says, "Why shouldn't God like baseball?"
Although the Buckskins had lost 11 straight games through last Saturday, neither Craft nor Moss lost faith. "We feel that Christ is just setting the stage for a big boom," Craft said. "He's just testing us right now."
According to Craft, a "miracle" occurred three weeks before spring training started. "God told me Danny Lee Thomas was supposed to play for the Buckskins," Craft says. "I knew nothing about him. I told Lanny, and she went to the Bible and asked God for confirmation. She turned to Psalms 75:6. It says, 'For promotion cometh neither from the east, nor from the west nor from the south.' Danny was north of us, in Spokane." The Buckskins thereupon signed Thomas, who had been with the Milwaukee Brewers in 1976 until he refused to play between sundown Friday and sundown Saturday because of a religious belief.
But if the Lord giveth, the Lord taketh away. Last week, Craft released Brad Kramer, a pitcher-infielder and a nephew of former Packer Guard Jerry Kramer, after God told him to do so. "It didn't have a whole lot to do with his ability as a player, because he had a lot of talent," says Craft. Craft told Moss that God said Kramer had to go, and she turned again to the Bible for confirmation. She says the very first line from Ezekiel 12:3, "Prepare thee stuff for removing," just jumped right out at her.
In a seesaw game at Eugene last week, Craft says, "God told me in the seventh inning we were going to lose. He said, 'Take out players when I tell you to take them out, do what I tell you to do when I tell you to, but be at total peace when you lose. And bear with Me.' "
Craft bore, and the Buckskins blew a 6-4 lead in the bottom of the ninth to lose 7-6.
This season, with each NFL club getting $5 million under a new TV contract, commercial time will jump from 20 minutes a game to 22. And that's not counting the one minute the NFL gives to public service.
Twenty-three minutes is getting up there in shill time, and Val Pinchbeck, the NFL director of broadcasting, concedes there have been complaints. "The networks plan the commercials, not the NFL, but we're constantly studying all TV production," Pinchbeck says. "We want to limit our official breaks—timeouts called by officials—to four or five in a quarter. The other breaks are normal, and one reason why football is such a beautiful TV contest. When you have an abundance of touchdowns and field goals, commercial minutes go swiftly. A scoreless afternoon is a problem."
THEY SAID IT
•Charles Royer, mayor of Seattle, on the free-agent status of SuperSonic Center Marvin Webster: "We should zone Marvin a high rise and tell him he can't leave the city."
•Larry Csonka, Giant fullback, on first seeing the club's No. 1 draft choice, 6'6", 285-pound Offensive Tackle Gordon King of Stanford: "It's good to have a lineman you can look straight in the belly button."