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Stories this week at WFU

By Jacob McConnico
February 24, 2005

N.C. ONE OF TEN REMAINING NON-LOTTERY STATES IN U.S. — As the 2005 North Carolina General Assembly turns once again to consider a state lottery, legislators will be conscious of the fact that the number of non-lottery states declined by one this past November, when Oklahoma became the 40th state to approve a lottery, says John Dinan, Zachary T. Smith Associate Professor of Political Science at Wake Forest. This leaves North Carolina as one of 10 non-lottery states in the United States, and one of four such states in the South. "Although opposition to the lottery is generally quite strong among conservative citizens and lawmakers who decry the moral consequences of lottery playing – it's no surprise that nine of the ten non-lottery states voted Republican in the 2004 presidential election – opposition in North Carolina has also been led by liberals who fear the regressive financial effects of lotteries on the poorest citizens," Dinan said. An expert on voter behavior, Dinan has tracked lottery legislation across the country and is available to provide expert commentary on the lottery question in North Carolina.

Contact: Jacob McConnico, or 336-758-5237.

BUSH'S GUEST WORKER PROGRAM – WHO WOULD IT BENEFIT? — Wake Forest economics expert Robert Whaples says the Bush administration's plan to offer temporary citizenship to illegal immigrants currently working in the United States would likely benefit three groups: immigrants already living here, low-skilled immigrants not yet living here and middle-to-higher income Americans. "The program would allow immigrants already living here to move into more attractive jobs and would likely attract even more low-skilled immigrants to the United States," said Whaples, associate professor of economics at Wake Forest. This trend would benefit middle-to-higher income Americans by increasing the demand for services they provide and decreasing the prices they pay for goods and services commonly provided by immigrants – such as construction and repairs. Whaples says less-educated Americans would probably not benefit from Bush's proposal. "The overall impact would probably increase competition for less-educated Americans, whose wages would rise by less than they otherwise would in our expanding economy."

Contact: Maggie Barrett, or 336-758-5237.

PLATINUM HOLDS PROMISE FOR CANCER THERAPY — Ulrich Bierbach, an assistant professor of chemistry at Wake Forest, and his eight-member research group are focused on finding platinum-based therapies for various forms of cancer. Encouraged by the successful use of a platinum compound called cisplatin, which kills testicular cancer cells and is the only chemotherapeutic compound known to definitively cure a form of cancer, the group has committed to researching the use of platinum compounds on other types of tumors. Cisplatin helped restore the health of champion bicyclist Lance Armstrong after his testicular cancer had spread to his brain and lungs, and Bierbach and his group believe platinum holds promise for treating other forms of cancer. "My personal goal is to get a compound into clinical trials in two to three years," Bierbach said. His research is funded by a four-year, $901,000 grant from the National Cancer Institute. His research group collaborates closely with scientists at Wake Forest's School of Medicine and the Comprehensive Cancer Center at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, where Bierbach holds a joint appointment.

Contact: Jacob McConnico, or 336-758-5237.

WFU STUDENTS HOST PANCAKE BREAKFAST FOR TSUNAMI RELIEF — The Student Leadership Council of Wake Forest University's Divinity School will host a benefit pancake breakfast between 8:30 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. March 1 in the Lower Auditorium of Wingate Hall. All proceeds will go to the American Red Cross Tsunami Relief Fund. According to organizers, the fundraiser was initiated because media coverage of the tsunami disaster continues to slowly diminish, but the amount of work needed to finish rebuilding remains significant. The all-you-can-eat breakfast will include pancakes, eggs, bacon, grits, juice, milk and Starbucks coffee. Cost is $3 per person. Additional donations will be accepted. A brief prayer will be held for survivors and the rebuilding process at 9 a.m. Money raised from this event will be combined with the more than $9,000 that Wake Forest students have raised through other campus-wide events and distributed to the American Red Cross.

Contact: Pam Barrett, or 336-758-5237.

DIPLOMACY OFFERS BEST BET FOR PROGRESS IN N. KOREA — China, one of North Korea's strongest allies and its main trading partner, will likely play a big role in efforts to bring North Korea back to a multilateral negotiation table, said Wei-chin Lee, professor of political science at Wake Forest University and an expert on politics in China and Taiwan. "These recent developments probably will not create too much impact on U.S. policy toward North Korea due to the United States' extensive military involvement in Iraq and the Iranian nuclear issue," Lee said. "It seems that China will play a significant role, assuming that China wants to use the North Korean issue to be a bargaining chip to influence U.S. policy toward Taiwan, and assuming that China does not want to see the rise of a stronger Japan in military capability in the region." Lee said the United States should pursue a multilateral approach to the North Korean issue and should urge China to take a more active role to pressure North Korea to come back to the negotiation table.

Contact: Jacob McConnico, or 336-758-5237.

WAKE FOREST STUDENT COLLECTS PROM DRESSES FOR HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS — Wake Forest junior Kelly Williamson knows that for many high school girls, the perfect prom dress is financially out of reach. That is why Williamson, who is from Gastonia, started the first campus-wide prom dress drive at Wake Forest. The drive is sponsored by Wake Forest's Volunteer Service Corps, the Wake Forest chapter of Delta Sigma Theta sorority and The Salvation Army Thrift Store. Williamson, a member of Delta Sigma Theta, says she already has some dresses and has received verbal promises of more donations. "Lots of girls have told me they have more dresses at home, and will bring them back after spring break," Williamson said. On Feb. 28, Williamson will take her first collection of dresses to The Salvation Army Thrift Store at 4239 Patterson Avenue in Winston-Salem, where high school students can buy them for discount prices. Williamson plans to take another group of dresses to the thrift store after Wake Forest students return from spring break.

Contact: Maggie Barrett, or 336-758-5237.

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