Page One

News of the Weird

Monday May 13, 2002

Mother’s Day flowers take long trail to U.S. homes 


ATLANTA — If you’re telling Mom you love her with flowers, that message arrives courtesy of a small army of people, deployed from South America to Miami. 

Most of the roses, carnations, mums and other flora en route to American mothers this week are grown in Colombia and Ecuador, refrigerated, trucked to planes, flown to South Florida and distributed through an elaborate network designed to deliver flowers thousands of miles before they begin to wilt. 

“They can get from the farm to the distributor in Miami in as little as 18 hours,” said Tom O’Malley, vice president of Latin American air cargo for UPS Air Cargo, a subsidiary of Atlanta-based United Parcel Service Inc. 

UPS has moved into the forefront of the flower-flying trade with its acquisition of Miami-based Challenge Air Cargo. The company, since renamed UPS Air Cargo, flies a 14-jet fleet among 16 Latin American countries and the U.S., bringing 110 million pounds of flowers to the U.S. each year. 


Perishables, mostly flowers and vegetables, comprise 80 percent of the company’s import cargo. 

Its two daily flights from Ecuador are partially loaded with flowers year-round, O’Malley said. But in the crunch times — February and the first week of May — UPS Air Cargo’s freighters from Colombia and Ecuador are filled to the brim with flowers to meet the demand. 


Nixon’s daughters quarrel 

over control of library  


YORBA LINDA — The daughters of former President Richard Nixon have always pulled together in the darkest of times, from the Watergate investigation to their father’s 1974 resignation. 

They’ve also been inseparable through happier moments, serving as maids of honor in each other’s weddings and working to promote their father’s legacy. 

But a legal fight over a $19 million gift to the Richard Nixon Library and Birthplace Foundation, the only presidential library that does not receive federal funding, has set the daughters against each other and brought into question the stewardship of the library. 

Published reports have painted it as a feud, saying Julie Nixon Eisenhower and Tricia Nixon Cox had cut off communication. But in interviews with The Associated Press, the two women denied such claims and characterized the dispute as a disagreement they were working to solve. 

“First of all, we were never not speaking. It’s gotten so blown out of proportion. It was a very straightforward difference of opinion,” Eisenhower said. “I think because we were so private and refused to talk about it, these stories just got out of control.” 

Cox agreed, and said the two even continued exchanging birthday cards and letters. 

“I’ve always loved my sister and I always will. We’ve worked together in the past for the things that we believe, and we are going to continue to do that,” she said. 

The disagreement stems from a trust left by longtime Nixon friend Charles “Bebe” Rebozo, who died in 1998. It specified the money go to the library foundation but that expenditures be overseen by a three-person board consisting of the two sisters and family friend Robert Abplanalp. A call to Abplanalp was not immediately returned.