The Hays Daily News from Hays, Kansas on June 7, 2006 · Page 3
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The Hays Daily News from Hays, Kansas · Page 3

Hays, Kansas
Issue Date:
Wednesday, June 7, 2006
Page 3
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WEDNESDAY, JUNE 7,2006 REGION AND STATE THE HAYS DAILY NEWS A3 Community remembers teen for love of family, friends, cars By STACIE R. SANDALL HAYS DAILY NEWS ALMENA — The community of Almena is mourning the loss of a local teen who drowned Saturday Josey Dean Shearer, 18, graduated from Northern Valley High School on May 20 and was looking forward to opening his own business in town. Shearer drowned while swimming with friends and family at Keith Sebelius Reserv- ior late that afternoon. "He was good, happy and loved everybody," said his mother, Deana Shearer. "We had a lot of people tell us that if somebody didn't like him, it was because they didn't know him." Shearer His sister, Amy Shearer, said he was entertaining and was the kind of person who couldn't hold a grudge. She will be a junior this fall. "He was very well-liked, by all means," said his father, Randal. Josey Shearer grew up in Almena and was enrolled at North Central Kansas Technical College in Hays to study automotive technology. "He loved to work on cars, and he was working on a car to race," his mother said. "His goal was to open his own business later and have a shop to work on people's cars. He wanted to open a shop at home so he could be in the community." Some of Shearer's favorite things were his mother's shepherd's pie and pizza. Shearer was close to his family, Deana Shearer said, and enjoyed spending time with them. One of his favorite things to do was hang out with friends. "He was the best friend anybody could ever have," Zac Miller said about his best friend of 18 years "He was probably about the best guy in the world." Deana Shearer said her son wouldn't admit to it, but he enjoyed school. He participated in FFA, vocational agriculture, Jr. P.R.I.D.E. and four years of football. Superintendent Bill Lowry, who has known Shearer his whole life, said he was a caring kid who got along with everyone. "He was a hard worker, a good kid and a good student," Lowry said. Around 150 members of the school staff, students and community met Monday. High Plains Mental Health and the local ministerial alliance were on hand for counseling. Shearer was also a member of the Sunflower Pioneer Power Association in Almena and the Sons of the American Legion in Norton. Shearer, his sister, two cousins and two close friends had been swimming at the lake for less than 10 minutes when the accident happened, Amy Shearer said. "Josey and his sister tried to stay close to the shore because they knew they weren't good swimmers," said Deana Shearer. "A couple of the girls swam out to an island. He and his sister pretty much stayed next to shore. They would swim out a little ways and swim back." But her son lost his footing at a drop- off and didn't make it back to higher ground. A call came in to the sheriff's office just before 4 p.m. Saturday concerning a possible drowning. Campers heard several people calling for help and tried to assist, but Shearer couldn't be found. Divers from the Plainville Rescue Squad Diving Team recovered Shearer's body at around 7:30 p.m. The Department of Wildlife and Parks, Prairie Dog State Park rangers, Norton County EMS, Norton Rural Fire Department, Dr. Jeff McKinley and the Norton County Road Department also assisted with the search. Shearer's funeral is 10 a.m. Thursday at Northern Valley High School; burial in Mount Hope Cemetery in Almena. His grandparents are Lonnie and Pat Shearer of Almena, and Norton residents Dean Railsback, Rita and Dennis Minshall, and Jule Shearer. The Josey Shearer Memorial Fund has been set up through Almena State Bank or Enfield Funeral Home of Norton. Reporter Stacie R. Sandall can be reached at (785) 628-1081, ext. 136, or by e-mail at Students fit in extra classes By MICAH MERTES HAYS DAILY NEWS Twenty-six days ago, Fort Hays State University students departed from campus with the satisfaction of another two semesters behind them. For an all- too-short hiatus, the classrooms sat empty and the students spent Memorial Day weekend in lakes, on couches and without academic anxiety. That is over now. Tuesday marked the beginning of the FHSU summer session, a time of students catching up on much-needed credit hours and perhaps trying to avoid the mental atrophy the most carefree of seasons can bring. For the first day of classes, senior Aaron Rockers found himself coming out of the University Book Store having just exchanged $300 for about 25 pounds of text.., "Yeah, that hurt a little bit," he said:' ; ' .'/'.''.,, ! Rockers 'is taking li credit hour's tiiis session — six hours is a full-time load in the summer. "I'm trying to graduate by May next year," he said. "So I have to get some of these classes out of the way." The majority of his classes will take place throughout the month of June only. This means longer class periods. "I'm going to be taking five hours a day for four days a week for the next three weeks," Rockers said. "But it's not that bad. I like summer classes. There's not as much work; you're just in class more." Junior Jessica Blumer is taking only three credit hours this summer, not to meet any particular graduation deadline but just to get the last of her art history classes out of the way. "It starts at 8:55 and runs for about two and a half hours," said Blumer, who just had got out of the class, "I sat in a dark room, watching slides and trying to keep my eyes open." Blumer is not in any hurry to get done, though. "An art major takes awhile," she said with a laugh. "But I love college; I don't want to go out and get a real job. "It's going to be depressing though; seeing all my friends graduate while I'm still stuck." Returning students found campus to be surrounded by construction, Park Street currently is being worked on, and the Sixth and Seventh Street entrances and exits to campus are out of service, interrupting the simple open circuit that usually marks the flow of campus traffic. Rebecca Jaquay has only nine credit hours left to take this summer, and then she's a bonafide graduate. She said that it should be a breeze, except for the construction, which she cites as nothing less than the bane of her existence. Getting onto campus is now an arduous process, she said. "I used to come down Seventh Street, and now I have to take the long way around; I'm not happy about it." Reporter Mlcah Merles can be reached at (785) 628-1801, ext. 139, or by e-mail at Corrections T^PlBPIP. ™ ^P^P«PP?WWPSiF :-'• • - . '• •- • . The Hays Dally News staff takes care with its reporting and writing- But we encourage readers who find an error to contact US at (785) 628-1081. Ask for Patrick Lowry, executive editor, or Mike Corn, managing editor, or e-mail the editors at or STEVEN HAUSLER / Hays Daily News Curtis Leiker waits for his father, Ernie Leiker, to dump the first load of wheat on his truck Tuesday in a field south of Munjor. The Leiker family cut their first field of wheat over the weekend. Harvest starts early in region By DIANE GASPER-O'BRIEN HAYS DAILY NEWS The forecast for a bumper area wheat harvest in 2006 doesn't look good. And while it might not be the bleakest outlook in more than 25 years, it certainly looks like it will rank near the bottom, says Stan Maskus, central area manager for Midland Marketing. "Drought, freeze damage and disease — you combine those three, and it doesn't look good," said Maskus, who has been at Midland Marketing since 1978. Midland Marketing, which operates out of several sites in northwest Kansas, usually hires extra help during harvest, but that number of employees is down this year as well, The central area for Midland Marketing is Hays, Yocemento and Toulon. Midland also operates sites in a "north area," which includes Natoma, Palco, Plainville and Zurich, and a "south area," which is comprised of elevators at Brownell, Hargrave, La Crosse and McCracken. Maskus said that the first load of wheat for this year's harvest came into the Toulon elevator Monday, some cut Sunday by Hays area farmer Ernie Leiker. "That's really early; the earliest I can remember where harvest really got going was June 8 or 9," Maskus said. Leiker's wife, Sandy, said they knew it was early, but that because of the dry weather, their wheat was ready. The Leikers' first cutting yielded 33 bushels to the acre, and their next field yielded 28. "We were very surprised with 33," Sandy Leiker said. "It's gone down from there, but we're still pretty happy. We're just lucky to have wheat. A lot of farmers are cutting it down for feed." Maskus said that he would classify the 1989 wheat harvest as the "worst" in the area since he has worked at Midland Marketing. He hopes 2006 won't be remembered that way. "There is disappointment out there, because in January we had the potential to have a very good crop," he said. "But we had a warm January, and a cold snap in February had some impact. Then, with the drought, it went backwards very fast." "Right now, it's too early to tell," he added. "The next few weeks will tell a lot." Reporter Diane Gasper-O'Brien can be reached at (785) 628-1081, ext. 126, or by e-mail at dobrlen ® Hays chamber changes board-selection process Committee, rather than membership, has power to approve candidates By PHYLLIS J. ZORN HAYS DAILY NEWS The Hays Area Chamber of Commerce has changed its board election process in a move they hope will maintain a well-rounded and representative board. According to Wayne Woofter, chairman of the chamber's board, the chamber bylaws had to be amended to create the new process, which goes into effect with the next board election in October. Candidates will be sought in the July and August newsletters. Any chamber member can recommend a candidate — even himself or herself — to the chamber's nominating committee, Woofter said.'TheitiQmiinat- ing committee will review the, , candidates as well as review applications they have filled out. Once the nominating committee has put together a slate of candidates equal to the number of vacancies, the slate is presented to the board. The board will vote to approve the whole slate or else kick out any candidate that the board cannot approve, Woofter said. He added that the board would need "good reason" to decline to confirm a candidate. "Prior to, there was a nominating committee made up of existing board members and membership at large — five or six people," Woofter said. "They brought a slate of officers that was double the number of vacancies. The board would approve that slate to go on the ballot, and the ballot was sent out to the membership." That vote by the membership as a whole is the most obvious change, Woofter said. "We've added several pieces to this thing that we really think will improve the process," Woofter said. Candidates for the board will be asked to attend an orientation session, where the expectations and time commitment are explained. That will help candidates make an informed decision, Woofter said. "Then we will ask for an application for those interested in pursuing a board membership," Woofter said. Woofter said creating diversity on the board was one of the reasons to change the process, though that might not be obvious. "On the surface, it sounds self- serving," Woofter said. Chamber of Commerce Director Gina Riedel echoed Woofter's comments about the importance of diversity. "We don't want a board that's just all north Vine Street, for example," Riedel said. Riedel added that the process also will allow the board to add people who can bring needed expertise to the organization. Such factors as whether they have been involved with the chamber in the past, whether they have helped with projects, have leadership skills or are respected in the community will be considered, Riedel said. Riedel said that in the past she's heard complaints about the old system because people who were interested and willing to serve were not elected. "I've heard that complaint a lot, that 'You asked me, 1 was willing to serve and then my name was put on this ballot and I wasn't chosen,' " Riedel said. "For the most part it hasn't been that hard for us to find people willing to serve." Rifedel cons^edj seve,ra.} ,$hr ,cham- , . . ( bers of commerce when they reviewed the board election process. "We kind of compare ourselves to Salina, Manhattan, McPherson, Newton, Lawrence, Garden City and Hutchinson," Riedel said. Riedel said the chamber also got pointers from the American Chamber of Commerce Executives and modeled the selection process on the one utilized in Castle Rock, Colo. Pam Ridler, chamber president in Castle Rock, said: "The difference that I think I see is that we do have a voting process." "I am very, very pleased with the way it ended up," Woofter said. Several chamber members, when contacted, declined to comment on the new board election process, but attorney Randy Clinkscales said the process isn't what he's used to seeing. "I don't have any problems with the nomination process," Clinkscales said. "It's similar to other groups I belong to. But the groups I belong to generally, after that is done, the members of the organization are given the opportunity to vote. "I like that procedure," Clinkscales said. Chamber member Patty Stull said she thinks the new process will enhance the board and she's not concerned about no vote of the members. The chamber has an important role in the community and it needs a strong board, Stull said. "I believe truly the chamber of commerce is very vital to the backbone of the community," Stull said. Reporter Phyllis Zom can be reached at (785) 628-1081, ext. 137, or by e-mail at Another Schwaller making name for himself as SUNY president By WILL MANLY HAYS DAILY NEWS Move over, Ed Hammond. You're not the only university president this town has to offer. John E Schwaller, 57, a 1966 graduate of Hays High School, was selected in March to serve as president of the College at Potsdam, in the State University of New York system, Schwaller currently is in transition from his position at the University of Minnesota, Morris, Schwaller where he is vice chancellor for academic affairs and dean. Schwaller has been in higher education since 1969, when he was a graduate teaching assistant at the University of Kansas, but It only occurred to him a few years ago that he might be at the helm of an institution someday. "I realized about six years ago that at some point I could become a college president," Schwaller said. "I was just happy to be a faculty member." Schwaller's parents, Henry Schwaller II and Juliette Schwaller, and a nephew, Henry Schwaller IV, still reside in Hays. Schwaller said his transition into the role won't include any sweeping changes. In fact, he likes SUNY Potsdam pretty much the way it is. "What I've seen I've been impressed with since I've gotten to know the campus," he said. "It's a very healthy campus. My goal for the first few months is to listen and learn, to learn about the hopes and dreams that others have for the institution. I don't want to go in and make any radical changes. I would much rather capitalize on the noticeable strenghths of the institution." Those strengths include an intimate campus of about 4,300 students, a strong cultural presence with more than 300 musical performances per year, and a rich history, Schwaller said. The SUNY system Is the largest university system in the country, with 64 campuses, including Potsdam. Founded in 1816, Potsdam is the oldest. Some university presidents, especially at private institutions, don't have much influence on their campuses. They focus on external relations, Schwaller said. That's not the approach that he wants to take. "I got into higher education because I love to teach," he said. "I'm not really interested in being an external force. I'd much rather be involved with my friends on the campus. I don't want to be just a happy cloud floating across the landscape." SfE*CHWAIJJR,

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