THURSDAY, JUNE 8,2006 REGION AND STATE THE HAYS DAILY NEWS A3 State education administrators named before board approves By SARAH KESSINOER HARRIS NEWS SERVICE TOPEKA — At a Wednesday press conference, state Education Commissioner Bob Corkins announced he had hired two experienced school administrators as new deputy commissioners. The move came as a surprise to some state school board members, who have not yet voted on the positions. Despite placing the new hires on the payroll, Corkins said he would follow board Corkins policy and ask members to vote on them at next week's monthly meeting. Board member Bill Wagnon, D-Topeka, said the actions raise questions about the department's direction. "I think the jury is out on whether or not this reorganization will accomplish what the commissioner thinks," Wagnon said. Corkins named Thomas Foster, former head of the department's school improvement and accreditation team, as deputy commissioner of learning services. He replaces Alexa Posny, who left earlier this year for a high-ranking position at the U.S. Department of Education. The second post went to Larry Englebrick, a former assistant superintendent for the Kansas City school district. He will oversee a new division of school innovations, which Corkins said would aid Kansas schools with reform. Corkins explained that the new division, with 40 employees, would seek to share examples of innovation and efficiency among school districts. The examples would be grounded in data-based research, he said. "An adaptable, flexible, open-minded approach to finding what works for specific students in specific schools will characterize the work of this division," he said. One example cited was the Kansas City district's "First Things First," a nationally recognized model for successful urban schools. He also cited the Leavenworth district's nutrition and wellness program, which has spawned notably better behavior and performance at one grade school. Board member Sue Gamble, R- Shawnee, expressed concern, though, that officials also could target more radical reforms — specifically to change charter school law in Kansas as well as add a state voucher program. Vouchers would allow tax dollars to subsidize students at private schools, a highly controversial issue in public education circles. Board President Steve Abrams said last week that Corkins had consulted with him on the new division and that a small part of it could be focused on charters and vouchers. Corkins confirmed that Wednesday. Along with Corkins and Dale Dennis, the deputy commissioner of fiscal services, the two new officials make up a senior management team, which oversees a department of about 250 employees. Cost of the announced reorganization will be in the range of $200,000, Corkins said. Both men named as deputies have experience in teaching and school administration. They come in contrast to Corkins, an attorney who lacks a professional education background. Corkins was hired last year by a school board deeply split, 6-4, between a right-wing majority and a moderate minority. At Wednesday's press event, Gamble implied Corkins should have waited to make the changes. "I think anybody who comes on board, particularly who has the lack of experience this commissioner had, should wait at least a year before any changes are made," Gamble said. "Anybody, regardless of experience level, is well served to do that." Corkins said it was not premature to announce restructuring. His own hiring announcement came before the board voted to approve it, he told reporters. Gamble disputed that later, noting Corkins' hiring actually was announced after the board vote. "In my 35 years of being on elected boards I've never known an executive to take this kind of action," Gamble said. "I'm surprised and concerned about it." Briefs Eighth Street project ahead of schedule Construction on Eighth Street continues to run ahead of schedule. Alan Moore, project manager for APAC, said four of the nine phases are complete. "We feel we're more than 55 percent done with the project," he said. Phase E, which runs from Main to Oak, opened 35 days ahead of schedule. Construction begins today from Ash to Elm. This is an abbreviated schedule, taking 71 days instead of the scheduled 95. Moore said APAC hopes to continue in an expedient manner. This could mean combining projects from Oak to east of Pine. With the new street comes some decorative lighting from Fort to Oak. Moore said shipping is scheduled for July. "As the electrical equipment becomes available we will get it installed," Moore said. "We have placed all the infrastructure to accommodate that." Election filing deadline • The filing deadline for candi-. dates for the 2006 election is noon Monday. Offices open this year include Kansas House of Representatives, U.S. representatives, district court judges, state treasurer, governor, state Board of Education members, commissioner of insurance, district magistrate judges, attorney general, and various county commissioners, township clerks and precinct committee people. The primary election is Aug. 1. The general election is Nov. 7. Two arrested, await charges for attack, robbery Douglas Lamar Willeford, 23, Oklahoma City, Okla., and Tyrel Curtis Wilson, 18, Hays, were arrested on suspicion of attacking Nauman Haq, 25, Hays. The two also allegedly robbed a second victim, Mohsen Mahmood, 25, Hays. "It's two separate cases," said Lt. Don Scheibler. Early Saturday morning, Willeford and Curtis' alleged attack took place because Haq owed them money. Mahmood passed by and gave the two $100 if Haq would receive no further harm. "The payment was made out of fear for further injury," Scheibler said. "That meets the statutes of a robbery." Haq was taken to Hays Medical Center for his injuries and transferred to Wesley Medical Center, Wichita: Willeford and Wilson's charges are pending with the Ellis County District Court. Bond was set at $20,000. Willeford posted bond and was released from the Ellis County Jail. Wilson remains in jail. Beer here JAMIE ROPER / Hays Dally News Dennis Schumacher works on a new shelter Wednesday in Frontier Park. The shelter, scheduled for completion today, will house the beer garden for this year's Wild West Festival. Cancer doesn't keep Dreiling from degree FHSU student one of 3 survivors speaking at Relay for Life By PHYLLIS J. ZORN HAYS DAILY NEWS Jesse Dreiling was diagnosed with cancer a month after he walked into a Fort Hays State University classroom. Five years later, he is a featured speaker at this year's Ellis County Relay for Life. Dreiling is currently completing the last requirement for his bachelor's degree in medical diagnostic imaging with a summer internship at Salina Regional Health Center. Then he'll take his test to get his MRI technologist certificate. Dreiling said the tumor in his throat was discovered when he went to the student health center because of a sore throat. Patti Scott, director of the Student Health Center, remembers Dreiling well. Cancer isn't the typical college freshman ailment. Early on, it appeared that the cancer had metastasized to his lungs, Scott said. "At that time, his parents were told to enjoy Christmas because it was going to be his last one," Scott said. Further testing at Houston's MD Anderson hospital showed it had not metastasized, though. The first specialist Dreiling saw was an ear, nose and throat specialist in Salina. The Salina physician scheduled Dreiling for a tonsillectomy the following day. "It turned out the tumor was behind my tonsils; so he just snipped it out," Dreiling said. "He said there's a really, really small chance it might be a sarcoma. He called back the next afternoon. It was a sarcoma." That set Dreiling's cancer voyage in motion. "It was kind of a whirlwind of a time. Things happened pretty fast," Dreiling said. There were visits to physicians in Houston and physicians in Salina. MD Anderson mapped out the treatment plan and Dreiling had chemotherapy in Salina. Then there were 45 radiation treatments. He returned to FHSU the next fall. "I've gotten a scholarship every year from the American Cancer Society — $1,000 every year," Dreiling said. "They've played a role in helping me get through school." Dreiling will be one of three featured speakers at the 2006 Ellis County Relay for Life. The other featured speakers are cancer survivors Lanita Smith and Bob Kuhn. The annual fund-raiser for the American Cancer Society is scheduled from 7 p.m. Friday to 7 a.m. Saturday at Felten Middle School in Hays. There are 35 teams registered for this Former sale barn owner plans to pay off debts SOUTH HUTCHINSON (AP) — Four months after a series of bad checks led to an Investigation of Central Livestock Corp., former owner Mac Frederick said he plans to pay off his debts. Frederick recently sold the barn to twin brothers Ronald and Donald Jordan, who closed on the complex Monday and have already conducted their first sale there. Frederick said a chunk of the $248,546 he received for the barn will be distributed evenly among ranchers who are owed money. "What we've been doing for the past four months is trying to get the consigners paid," Frederick said. "And finally, we can do that." The barn has been closed since Feb. 14, when auditors with the U.S. Department of Agriculture began investigating its finances and cattlemen complained about checks from the business bouncing. Top job Sandon Slaubaugh, of Reif Welding, Plainvllle, left, tosses a safety rope as William Glbbs, right, also of Relf Welding, and Doug Ewert, of Etek Group Inc., Hays, prepare to descend Tuesday from the Hays water tower near Sternberg Museum of Natural History. The workers were on the structure Installing a base for a communications tower. STEVEN HAUSLER Hay« Dally N«w« Airport boardings near 1,000 BY THE HAYS DAILY NEWS More passengers continue to fly the friendly skies from Hays. Hays Regional Airport Manager Terry Urban said enplanements from May were just shy of 1,000. "That's the largest month we've had in years — maybe ever," Urban said. "I don't have records back as far back. But for the '80s and '90s, this is the best yet." Some charter flights bump the numbers over 1,000, which puts the airport on pace for a record year. Compared to the same time last year, numbers are up 22 percent. Great Lakes increased 42 percent in May and U.S. Airways Express decreased 1 percent. "May is up about 200 passengers than a good month in the past," Urban said."If this continues, if we can continue to keep boardings up. we might hit the f |t magic lb,6bfl boarding's! ft you 1 'can do that, you're guaranteed Airport Improvement Program funds." The passengers are diverse, ranging from business to students to vacationers. "In May, there are a lot of people vacationing and are back to flying," Urban said. "Students flying are not only from Fort Hays State University, but high school students going home to Ecuador and Germany. It's amazing how the world has gotten smaller and we're part of it." year's event, said Kim Peach, co-sponsor of this year's Relay for Life along with Mary Rohlf. Last year's Relay For Life brought out 30 teams and raised about $80,000, Peach said. Over 40 baskets will be up for auction this year. "Even businesses throughout town have donated baskets that don't have a team," Peach said. Musical entertainment will include Midnight Productions deejay service, Thomas More-Prep high school's Chapel Choir and a youth choir from First Baptist Church, Childersburg, Ala., Rohlf said. "We also have Jackie Creamer's Vision Dance Team," Rohlf said. Dreiling said his experience had the effect of putting the rest of life into perspective. "One big thing we learned is that with any big situation, things could always be worse," Dreiling said. "I've become extremely laid- back. Maybe too laid-back at times. It takes a lot to get me upset anymore." If his July return trip to Houston shows him cancer-free, it will be his fourth anniversary "The recurrence of this kind of cancer is really high but everything went exactly as it should," Dreiling said. Reporter Phyllis Zorn can be reached at (785) 628-1081, ext. 137, or by e-mail at phylz0dallynaws.net. Senator backs off from claim TOPEKA (AP) — A senator today backed off his earlier sworn statement that suggested Senate President Steve Morris' might have had more extensive discussions with the Kansas Supreme Court about school funding legislation than previously disclosed. Sen. Pat Apple, R-Louisburg, told a House committee that he might have been wrong when he told the attorney general's office that Morris had a conversation "possibly in February" in which Morris acknowledged having "backdoor communication" with the court, which has ordered lawmakers to increase school funding. Morris, R-Hugoton, has acknowledged having a conversation with Justice Lawton Nuss about school finance legislation in the works at the time, but Morris said the discussion was brief and took place March 1. Justices are prohibited from discussing pending cases with outsiders, and Nuss has since withdrawn from the school finance litigation. He still faces an ethics complaint. On Thursday, Apple said he didn't mean to contradict Morris' version of events. "So many of the weeks run together," Apple said while testifying under oath before the committee investigating whether the March l conversation Involving Morris, R-Hugoton; Sen. Pete Brungardt. R-Salina; and Nuss influenced passage of a three- year, $541 million school finance plan, which the court must approve. Apple, who was the first witness before the committee, said his conversation with Morris "very well could have been to the first week of March."
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