WAY UP YONDER IN NEW ORLEANS
Plans for a New Orleans domed stadium have collapsed. Judge Oliver Carriere has ruled that the stadium's lease agreement with the state is "illegal and unconstitutional," a decision that may have been influenced by the staggering cost of the project. When Louisiana voters approved the dome idea in 1966, the estimated cost was $35 million, a wad in itself. By the time things got to the go-ahead stage, the estimate had soared to $93.5 million, with overall costs, including interest and amortization over a 35-year period, totaling $231 million, or an imposing $6.6 million a year.
Theoretically, a new hotel-motel tax and income from stadium events would take care of the $6.6 million, but financial advisors cautioned that projected earnings frequently are not realized. The state, meaning the taxpayers, would have to make up any shortage. Opposition to the dome began to grow.
Judge Carriere's ruling is being appealed to the State Supreme Court. If the ruling is upheld, it is hard to see how plans for the domed stadium can ever be revived.
BIG STEP FORWARD
Prerace testing of horses (SCORECARD, Feb. 10), which has been conducted on an experimental basis in Ohio for the past three years, was made mandatory last week by the Ohio Racing Commission, although for the time being testing will be done only at Scioto Downs and Northfield Park, two harness racing tracks where facilities are available. Blood samples of all entries in each race will be examined and any animal showing a positive reaction will be scratched. While postrace urine tests will continue to be made on winners and certain other starters, the prerace tests should all but eliminate drugging scandals.
One problem remains. Standardbreds—harness horses—have undergone most of the actual prerace testing. Some trainers—and particularly those handling Thoroughbreds—argue that their animals are too high-strung to be subjected to the ordeal of having a blood sample taken before a race. But is the careful, scientific extraction of a small sample of blood from the animal's neck really that upsetting? To put it another way, would it be more disturbing to the horse than the Dancer's Image case has been to American racing?
MUMS THE WORD
If you are a football fan and are from Nebraska and like gardening, here is a three-way parlay that sounds like a natural for you: the 1969 spring catalog of the Rocknoll Nursery in Morrow, Ohio is pushing a selection of chrysanthemums called "football mums" that includes varieties named Cheerleader, Cornhusker, Head Coach, Line Coach, Quarterback, Stadium Queen and Nebraska Centennial. Our favorite is Head Coach, described in the catalog as "early deep authoritative purple."
In recent years the state of Washington's Department of Fisheries has required salmon sports fishermen to carry punch cards on which to record their catches. It is not a licensing procedure but simply an effort to obtain a valid count of the number of salmon taken each year by sportsmen.