"TREASON"! "TO ARMS... the revisionists are coming, the revisionists are coming..." Caption: Roy Ballard (63) was surprised to learn Wednesday that maintenance workers removed a 10-foot, 3-inch dummy bombshell he installed July 1 between Richland High School's two gyms. The bombshell was a gift from a few alumni to the school, but Richland school Superintendent Rich Semler said Ballard never had proper permission to install the replica.
BRINGING DOWN THE BOMB This story was published 7/19/2001 By Terry Hudson Herald staff writer For 17 days, a 10-foot 3-inch green and yellow dummy bombshell stood in the foyer between Richland High School's two gyms. On Tuesday, school maintenance workers got a little practice in bomb removal. Acetylene torches separated the behemoth shell from its bolted-down support stand. Painted in Richland High colors, it was a gift from a few alumni to the school to further celebrate Hanford's role in national defense. Roy Ballard installed the shell July 1, taking it into the school and bolting it to the concrete floor. But Richland school Superintendent Rich Semler said Ballard never had proper permission and ordered the bombshell removed Tuesday afternoon. He also sent Ballard a letter of explanation. "I'm not going to argue with people about whether or not it should be there," Semler said. "It's just not appropriate for people to come in and drill holes in the floor and put in permanent structures. "We have policies and procedures for gifts. It has to be approved by the board. It's on the agenda for the next board meeting." Ballard said he checked with Richland High Principal Steve Neill and the school's athletic director, Steve Potter. Ballard said he used Potter's keys to get into the school to install the shell. "The one who actually asked for the keys was Steve Neill, and he told (Potter) what I was going to do," Ballard said. "Steve Potter said it would be great to have it in place." But Semler said he talked with Neill and Potter, both of whom recall conversations about the shell but never of giving permission to install it. Ballard has volunteered around the school for years and was a frequent visitor. Neither Potter nor Neill could be reached for comment Wednesday. In any case, the action could once again stir up a controversy in Richland that has raged for years -- whether it's appropriate to have a mushroom cloud as a logo and a nickname of Bombers for the school. The school's symbol and nickname has been the Bombers since 1945, switched from the Beavers a few weeks after nuclear bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, to end World War II. The plutonium in the Nagasaki bomb was made at Hanford's B Reactor. Ballard believes political issues are what led to the removal of the shell. "This politically correct garbage. You have to take it with a grain of salt," Ballard said. "This country is to the point where everything you do has to be OK with everyone else. This is the best country in the world. We do everything for everybody in the world, so I don't agree with a lot of that stuff." Semler said that's the school board's decision. "Certainly the bomb has other significance, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't follow appropriate procedures," Semler said. "It's not my job to dictate or make value judgments, but whether or not we have a bomb in the foyer needs to be presented to the board for discussion. "I've been here four years, and I've never had a problem with the logo. They've been the Bombers for as long as I can remember." Semler did say he has received a number of calls from staff members with their perspectives. Ballard also was irritated after seeing the shell after the bolts were cut by torches. "It will have to be repainted," he said. "They did a lousy job of taking it out." The board plans to discuss the issue at its next meeting, set for Aug. 14. "I'll be there," Ballard said. "I have questions as to why the school has deviated from the vote in 1990 where students and staff voted overwhelmingly to keep the mushroom cloud and bomb." ********************************************