Clipped From The Salina Journal

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 - Letters Stop fort expansion The possible...
Letters Stop fort expansion The possible expansion of Fort Riley should have Salina area residents up in arms. One of the four expansion sites being considered is in Ottawa County and is barely a dozen miles from Salina as the crow flies. Another site is just up the road. The residents in the Junction City and Manhattan area know far too well what it is like to have an "impact zone," such as they propose to make near Salina, in the area. They hear the constant volley of gunfire as the soldiers practice their maneuvers 250 days a year north of Junction City. Miles away, in Manhattan, the thunder created by the rain of firing has one looking to the sky to see if a storm is rolling in. The ground shakes, the china closet rattles, cracks creep into the plaster and the firing continues. According to Mark Meseke, public affairs officer at Fort Riley, "These new helicopters and tanks require more area. They are capable of doing more — they have more firepower and are faster." So, it seems the thunder in Salina may get to be even louder than that endured in Manhattan. But there are some business men in Junction City who don't mind the noise caused by the firing. Those are the ones who recently visited the Pentagon to push for expansion of Fort Riley. There is no indication the fort will be closed if expansion is not approved. Yet, the Junction City Chamber of, Commerce is pushing for expansion, but not at the expense of Geary County. Jim Carrico, Junction City chamber president, suggests other sites, including an old air base in Salina! Carrico says the chamber's involvement in expansion is merely "to advance the commercial, industrial and civic interests of Junction City." Surely the Salina area residents are not willing to give up the quality of environment they now enjoy just so some Junction City businessmen can pad their pockets. Traveling east from Salina on Interstate 70 has been a pleasure drive since the interstate was opened. But what will it be like when the Big Red One clogs the interstate with their new M-l tanks, their new Bradley fighting vehicles, their big trucks and all those jeeps? What good will all that heavy equipment do to a road already in need of repair? The sky is quiet now, but imagine those 18 new Black Hawk helicopters, which cost no less than $4.6 million each, hovering about. And what will happen a few years from now, when the newly acquired 80,000 acres of rich farm and grass land is abused beyond the Army's liking? Will they condemn an adjacent 80,000 acres closer to Salina? According to Col. Gary LaGrange, garrison commander, the expansion is necessary because, "Much of the land is covered with artillery rounds and is full of duds.'' He says "The training areas in the pastures have been eroded such that they are on the verge of a dust bowl. We must rest that land.'' LaGrange said that if the fort does not expand it could use simulators or increase training at sites in other states. At Fort Irwin, Calif., the Army seeks to acquire 240,000 acres of mostly desert land and is fighting an animal rights group that wants to keep the land for the desert tortoise, which was recently declared an endangered species. In Washington, the proposed expansion of Fort Lewis into an unpopulated high desert has been fought by those interested in preserving some rare plants and Indian burial grounds. In Kansas, it is the farmers and ranchers who are endangered. Not only would the expansion kill wildlife, kill much of the grass and trees, erode the soil and cause wildlife to flee to safety, it would disrupt the way of life of those in the surrounding area. Indians and settlers are buried on the proposed sites. But it is the living we should be fighting for, not only for our sake but for the children, and for generations to come. By writing as many Kansas delegates as possible, maybe this expansion can be stopped. -BETTY LARSON Kansas City Recall county officials Due to the farce of the 1990 Saline County reappraisal, I think we, the residents of Saline County, should recall all elected county officials involved in any way with the new reappraisal and recall county administrator Dana Morse, and should sue Saline County for all loss of wages and expenses due to appealing this new reappraisal. - J. NEIL JEDNORALSKI 2216Brookwood Quotation If advertising encourages people to live beyond their means, so does matrimony. — Bruce Barton

Clipped from
  1. The Salina Journal,
  2. 25 Apr 1990, Wed,
  3. Page 4

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