The Hays Daily News from Hays, Kansas on June 13, 2006 · Page 1
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The Hays Daily News from Hays, Kansas · Page 1

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Tuesday, June 13, 2006
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Reugh start THE VOICE OF THE HIGH PLAINS Tuesday June 13,2006 Hays, Kansas 50C Plaintiffs' attorneys: School plan falls $1 billion short TOPEKA (AP) — A recently approved education funding plan falls nearly $1 billion short of meeting public schools' needs over the next three years, attorneys who have sued the state are telling the Kansas Supreme Court. The court plans to hear arguments June 22 on whether the plan, phasing in a $541 million increase in aid over three years, meets constitutional muster. At- torneys for parents and administrators in Dodge City and Salina filed legal arguments Monday. Those attorneys sued the state in 1999, and the Kansas Supreme Court ruled last year that the state had failed to meet its constitutional duty to provide a suitable education to every child. The court concluded the state neither spent enough money on its schools nor distributed the dollars fairly Last month, the plaintiffs' attorneys, led by Alan Rupe, of Wichita, told the court this year's plan was inadequate, even though it came after legislators, under pressure from the justices, approved a $290 million increase in education funding last year. The plaintiffs' arguments Monday represented the first time they had specified exactly how far short they felt this year's plan fell. Gov. Kathleen Sebelius and legislators believe the plan represents a good-faith effort to meet court mandates. They expect the state can afford the additional aid without raising new revenue through higher taxes or expanded gambling for at least two years, possibly longer. Dan Biles, attorney for the State Board of Education, also has filed a brief with the court in support of the latest funding package. But Rupe and his fellow attorneys repeated their argument that legislators didn't base their funding decisions on actual educational costs. When those costs are considered, they said, the gap between what legislators approved and what schools need over the next three years is $985 million. Professional skateboarders' trip to Hays proves to be a ride By MICAH MERTES HAYS DAILY NEWS Crackles and thuds resonated as skaters attempted ollies, aerials, grabs and grinds. Sometimes the skaters fell; sometimes they landed. And along the edges of the arena, fans sat mesmerized as some of their favorite athletes skated before them. On a muggy Monday afternoon, via Harley-Davidson motorcycles, a caravan of 10 professional skateboarders rode into Hays to put their polyurethane wheels to the concrete pavement of the Hays Skate Park, 30th and Sherman. The event was part of cross-coun- , try k interactive skate tour sponsored by'Emerica,'a"sKafeb6a"roTfoo"twear and apparel brand. Hays is the second stop in Emerica's Wild Ride tour, which will end June 21 in Chicago. About 80 Hays residents, mostly teens, attended. "We were just at a massive skate park in Denver yesterday for our first stop on the tour," said Justin Regan, Emerica marketing manager. "So coming to a smaller skate park like this is kind of refreshing. This is the kind of skate park most of these guys grew up skating on." Before performing tricks at the park, the team signed autographs at White Chocolate Experience, 810 Main St. Ryan Wong, an 18-year-old skateboarder of six years, managed to get his hat signed by every one of the skaters. "It's pretty amazing that they're all in Hays," Wong said. "It's a big deal. They're all great, but I'm really here for Andrew Reynolds. He's a big pro." The skateboarders were hungry — eating their first meal of the day (hamburgers) in between tricks — and somewhat worn down, having camped out in Goodland through Sunday night's storm. "It was a pretty gnarly camping FRED HUNT / Hays Daily News ABOVE: Emerica Skate Team member Ed Templeton goes in for a rail slide Monday afternoon during an Emerica skate demo at Aubel-Bickle skate park in Hays. RIGHT: Area skate fans stand beside Team members Braydon Szafranski, Templeton, Andrew Reynolds and Marquis Preston as they watch fellow Emerica skaters perform stunts. trip," Regan said. "We talked to people around there, and they said it was the worst storm that's come through there that they can remember. We kept saying that, 'Well, the rest of the trip will be easy after this.'" SEE SKATE, PAGE A6 Three to compete for Ellis County Commission First District race BY THE HAYS DAILY NEWS The race is on for the Ellis County Commission. County Commissioner Chris Channell, Hays, filed a petition for re-election to the County Commission's First District Monday morning; he will face AREA CANDIDATES: Complete list. PAGE A3. Henry Schwaller IV, Hays, in the Aug. 1 Democratic primary. The winner will go up against Perry Henman, Ellis, in the general election Nov. 7. Henman is the only Republican on the ballot. Henman and Schwaller both filed by paying the $195 filing fee. Schwaller currently is a Hays city commissioner. The First District includes all of Ellis, parts of Hays and most of rural western Ellis County. Unaffiliated candidates have until noon July 31 to file for the office. Such candidates must file by petition with 242 signatures of voters required; Republican and Democratic voters are eligible to sign petitions for independent candidates, but only if they live in that commission district and did not sign Channell's petition. FHSU names Mercer as Education dean Eight-year member of university staff served as interim dean By MICAH MERTES HAYS DAILY Nuws Mercer About 50 students, faculty and community members packed into the tiny desks of the Plymouth Schoolhouse this morning to greet the newest dean of Fort Hays State University. Debbie Mercer, 42, accepted a permanent post as dean of FHSU's College of Education and Technology. "I take great pride in the college," Mercer said. "That pride is grounded in several essential elements. I continually tell people that FHSU is a great place to be. Good students choose FHSU, quality faculty provide personalized instruction and there is a true sense of community on campus." Mercer has served multiple roles at the university since her arrival eight years ago. Most recently, she was interim dean of the college of Education and Technology. She took over the position from Ed Mills in fall '05. "Although Debbie has a focus on action, she knows a dean does not 'run a college,' " said Larry Gould, university provost. "Rather, she recognizes it is her responsibility to foster the work of faculty, staff and students while serving as a part of a senior administrative team, I'm delighted to have her on board." FHSU President Edward H. Hammond shared Gould's enthusiasm as they stood at the head of the schoolhouse. "Larry had told me that this eight-year effort to get the 'right people on the bus' is now complete with the appointment of Dr. Mercer," Hammond.said. "1 look forward to working with the Provost's Council and Deb as they set the context for establishing our new strategic objectives, devise action plans-and help FHSU strike out toward new educational frontiers." Mercer addressed the importance of the College of Education and Technology preparing future teachers for western Kansas and beyond. "We are beginning to feel the teacher shortage, not only in our immediate geographic area, but across the state and nation as well," she said. "While searching for more innovative and efficient ways to prepare educational professionals, the challenge is upholding our own standards of excellence. Quality preparation is perhaps more critical now than at any other time in our history." Mercer earned a doctor of philosophy degree, a master of science degree and two bachelor's degrees from Kansas State University. She also holds teaching licenses in early childhood education, elementary education, middle-level science, K-12 library science and K-12 English as a second language. In addition to being interim dean of the College of Education and Technology, she has also served at FHSU as the assistant dean of professional services, an accreditation coordinator and an associate professor of the department of teacher education. Reporter Micah Merles can be reached at (785) 628-1801, ext. 139, or by e-mail at mmerte8@dallynewa.net. IN THE NEWS Muse lasses $94.5 MNloi lor Iraq whurricine relief WASHINGTON (AP) — The House passed a $94.5 billion bill today to pay for continuing U.S. military operations In Iraq and Afghanistan, hurricane relief, bird flu preparations and border security at home. The House-Senate compromise bill contains $66 billion for the two wars, bringing the cost of the three-year-old war in Iraq to about $320 billion. Operations In Afghanistan have now tallied about $88i pillion, according to trig Congressional Research Service. The bill, which passed by a 351-67 vote, had only minimal debate Monday night. It contains almost $20 bll- ' lion In funds to further deal with the remaining hurricane devastation along the Gulf Coast. Much of the money would go to Louisiana for housing aid, flood control projects and a new veterans hospital in New Orleans. It also provides funding for small-business disaster loans, rebuilding federal facilities and replenishing Federal Emergency Management Agency disaster-relief coffers. LIGHTER SIDE TOKYO (AP) — Soccer Is for birds here —• more specifically the crows. A flock of the birds dressed in soccer jerseys showed off their dribbling and shooting skills at a Japanese zoo as football fever gripped the nation. The four young carrion crows at Tokuyama Zoo In western Japan used their beaks to dribble a miniature ball toward a soccer goal, sometimes tackling each other for possession before scoring, according to head zookeeper Satoru Tanaka. The crows get tidbits every time they score, Tanaka said. "We tried to coach owls and falcons as well, but the crows were the best. They're such Intelligent creatures," he said. The birds have only received about a month's training, he added. The zoo Is now trying to teach the aylan team to pass and take free kicks, according to Tanaka. COMING WEDNESDAY Attorney General Phill Kline is in Hays Tuesday afternoon, INSIDE this <• that A2 Kansas A3 Opinion A4 Community AS Obituaries A6 Financial AS Sports 81 Scoreboard B2 Classifieds 84 Comics 87 Annie's Mailbox 84 Dr. Donohue 84 ODTSIDE LOGUFOIECJIST Tonight, Clear. Lows in the upper 60s. South winds 10 to 15 mph. Expanded weather, page B8. PHONE:

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