VIEWPOINT

Budget talks between the Clinton administration and the GOP-controlled Congress are stalled, the chances that any budget agreement will be worked out by the end of this week-when Shutdown III is set to start-look dismal.

The concept of a flat tax is all the rage, and I haven’t a clue what that will mean to my family.

Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie Presley are splitting up.

Mid-January is that sometimes depressing time after New Year’s resolutions have been broken but before you’ve washed away the memory of making those resolutions.

In the midst of all this bleak news, I thought I’d share some of the better news about the wireless industry that crosses my desk.

Because RCR focuses on the business and financial news, as well as regulatory news of the wireless communications industry, we don’t always have the space to print “lighter” news. But here are a few of the “nicer” news releases that came across my desk this week.

For nearly a year, more than a dozen abused women in Wisconsin have been using loaned cellular phones from Cellulink in emergencies. The phones are preprogrammed to call 911 and other police numbers and are signed out to women in particularly dangerous situations. When one or two of the phones aren’t loaned out, they are kept at the shelter to be used when the victims have to appear in court or fill out restraining orders against their abusers.

Ned Sparks of Loveland, Colo., was rock climbing recently at a nearby park when he took a fall head first, slamming his skull beneath the weight of his body into solid rock. What could have been a tragedy was prevented through the quick actions of his climbing partner and the close proximity of a call box, one of about a dozen cellular telephone stations in the area that provide remote access to emergency services. Ned, who was rushed to the hospital in less than an hour, was back at work after three months recuperating.

In speaking with a deaf woman this week, she explained to me what wireless access has meant in her life. Imagine the freedom that must come with being able to carry around a somewhat modified cellular handset and suddenly have instant access to the rest of the world.

And finally, check out the story on Page Alltel Mobile Communications Inc. had a billboard advertising campaign in Little Rock, Ark., that proved too successful. The billboard featured a mannequin hanging from a cellular phone antenna dangling about 75 feet above the ground to demonstrate the theme that cellular is a life saver. But the company had to take down the mannequin after motorists called 911 to report the “emergency.”

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