The Hays Daily News from Hays, Kansas on June 14, 2006 · Page 3
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The Hays Daily News from Hays, Kansas · Page 3

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Wednesday, June 14, 2006
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WEDNESDAY, JUNE 14,2006 REGION AND STATE THE HAYS DAILY NEWS A3 Corrections The name of an area candidate for office was misspelled in Tuesday's paper. Eleanor B. Buss is running for Rooks County Commission. The Hays Daily News apologizes for the error. The Hays Dally News staff takes care with its reporting and writing. But if we make a mistake, we want to know about it so we can let readers know the correct information. We encourage readers who find an error to contact us at (785) 6281081. Ask for Patrick Lowry, executive editor, or Mike Corn, managing editor, or e-mail the editors at plowry0aallynewa.net or mcorn 0dallynews.net. N,W, Kansans help design top tractor By STACIE R. SANDALL HAYS DAILY NEWS For the sixth time in eight years, the Kansas State University Powercat Tractors Design Team has come out on top in tractor-designing competition. The team was victorious June 1 through 4 in the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers International Quarter-Scale Tractor Student Design Competition in Peoria, 111. K-State competed against 28 teams from the U.S. and Canada with a team of 20 members. Four team members were from northwest Kansas — team captain Jace Chipperfield, Goodland, Jeff Wessel, Dresden, Bradley Stewart, Hoxie, and Eric Bussen, Wallace. Team members are undergraduates in biological and agricultural engineering, agricultural technology management and mechanical and nuclear engineering. Chipperfield said companies such as John Deere and Case IH help sponsor the competition to give future engineers real world experience in designing equipment from fabrication to the sales pitch. The contest consisted of a tractor pull, written design report and oral presentation. "We had a lot of experience on the teairtl'iCWptferiield Said. "Most of them have been doing it for years so we were able to do well on the oral and written presentations." During the oral presentation, teams tried to sell the design to a hypothetical company. Each team was to use unmodified, 16-horsepower Briggs-and Stratton engines and Bridge- stone/Firestone tires, and the maximum weight was 900 pounds. Everything else was left to the teams' imaginations. This was the first year teams were allowed to use more than one engine. ' "« K-State's 875-pound purple tractor was the only one able to pull off four engines with four- wheel drive and keep under the weight limit. Chipperfield said it was that design feature that set ' them apart from the others. K-State is the only school that has ranked in the top three continuously since 1999. This is the competition's ninth year, Reporter Stacie R. Sandall can be reached at (785) 628-1081, ext. 136, or by e-mail at ssandall@dallynews.net. Budget requests to county contain surprises Arts center renovation, fuel costs, business incubator sources of proposed increases By KAREN MIKOLS HAYS DAILY NEWS After hearing more than two dozen budget proposals Monday and Tuesday, Ellis County commissioners will begin to sort out the more than $16 million in requests. "I think the majority of the requests were probably what we expected to see," Chairman Christopher Channell said. "Some of the requests were surprising." The surprises included increases from the Hays Arts Council and the Ellis County Coalition for Economic Development. Brenda Meder, executive director for the Hays Arts Council, requested $2,500 as she did the last two years. But in addition to the regular money, she asked for a onetime allocation of $10,000 to assist with renovation and expansion. "We're now on the verge of our 40th anniversary and it's time to take the huge step," Meder said. "The details are not firm yet, but we want to do this in 2007 and can provide the details as they become available." One option includes purchasing the space currently occupied by Tumbleweed Crossing, 1010 Main. Meder said the cost to acquire the building and renovate will likely be in excess of $200,000. Mike Michaelis, executive director for the Ellis County Coalition for Economic Development, asked for the other big increase, about 65 percent. The $140,000 request includes $50,000 to begin a business incubator. He said a set of rules needs to be developed, then a director for the incubator would need to be hired. The hiring process could begin in six months. Michaelis warned the commission an incubator would need at least 10 years to measure its success. Other county departments included modest increases. Many department heads attributed the hike to increasing fuel costs. Kerry McCue, director of Ellis County Emergency Medical Services, added $9,100 for fuel. This increase is a 30-percent in- crease from fuel last year, but balanced out to an overall 2-percent increase. "If you can tell me what to do with fuel, I'd gladly take your advice," McCue said. "We, as a county, need to be proactive for those of us who rely on fuel." The cry was echoed with most other departments, including Ellis County Rural Fire, Public Works and Ellis County Emergency Management, to name a few. Most departments requested single-digit increases. Some factored in employee raises, others did not. Information is not complete for the in- house job study, which could increase county employees wages. "I'm certain we'll have some sort of cost- of-living adjustment," Channell said. "We're trying to get workers on a pay scale that's competitive for where they should be." To average out to the 3.36 percent overall budget increase, a few departments could experience budget decreases. Notably down is the community college fund, which was completely eliminated. It was previously $24,000 and had been used as a contribution for county residents attending community colleges. Harvest activity Also down is the election budget. Alberta Klaus, county clerk and election officer, said 2007 is not a big election year. That accounts for the nearly 46-percent decrease in her budget. The commission will discuss the budget at Monday's meeting before sending it the auditor. Channell said he and his fellow commissioners will try to keep the mill levy at 36.302 — last year's level. "We have one of the lowest mill levies for northwest Kansas counties and we'll try to keep it that way," Channell said. "I know our per-capita spending is the lowest of the northwest Kansas counties. We'll try to keep our eye on that to provide what is needed, but keep the tax costs low." In other action Monday, the commission: • Unanimously approved paying $5,000 for a right of way from Union Pacific at Old U.S. Highway 40 and Canterbury. • Heard monthly rural fire and EMS reports. Reporter Karen Mlkols can be reached at (785) 628-1081, ext. 143, or by e-mail at kmlkols@dallynew8.net. STEVEN HAUSLER / Hays Dally News David Wilson, an employee of Golden Belt Cooperative, hangs up his broom after unloading a truck full of winter wheat Tuesday in Ellis. Recent rains and high humidity has temporarily slowed harvest activity, but conditions are expected to improve this week. Agencies increase budget requests to city of Hays Libraty parking to be reviewed at work session By KAREN MIKOLS HAYS DAILY NEWS The Hays City Commission will hear budget requests during the work session at 5:30 p.m. Thursday at City Hall, 1507 Main. Eight agencies will request nearly $670,000 from the city, about $255,000 more than the city granted for 2006. Most of the increases are onetime requests. The largest increase is from the Downtown Development District, with an extra $101,000 in the budget for downtown streetscaping. Other requests will include downtown players. The Hays Arts Council will present a request for $75,000 to expand and renovate the gallery space. The Ellis County Coalition for Economic Development is also asking for more money, to establish a business incubator. The request is for $50,000 for the incubator. Other items for discussion include: • Review of the angle parking in front of the Hays Public Library. Eighteen stalls were painted. • Engineering agreement for Ruder Engineering and Survey- ing for the design and inspection of sanitary sewer improvements along General Hays Road north of 48th Street. The agreement is for about $8,300. • Adjustment to chip seal street maintenance. • Follow up of city/county meeting. Reporter Karen Mikols can be reached at (785) 628-1081, ext. 143, or by e-mail at kmlkols & dallynews.net. Briefs Norton woman injured in crash at construction zone PHILLIPSBURG — A Norton woman was injured Tuesday in a two-vehicle accident 5 miles west of Phillipsburg on U.S. Highway 36. Hendrene E. Bailey, 87, Norton, and Richard L. Sidles, 62, Great Bend, were eastbound at around 1:10 p.m. and came to a Kansas Department of Transportation work zone. According to the Kansas Highway Patrol, Sidles stopped for the flagman and Bailey's vehicle rear ended him. Bailey was taken to Phillips County Hospital, but Sidles was uninjured. Water line flushing to continue in Hays City of Hays crews will continue flushing the water distribution rUnes.by/aperatiog selected-flip fry' I , l continue for approximately one week. Flushing operations will begin north of 13th Street east of Vine to Canterbury up to 27th. There might be slight discoloration of the water, but it poses no health risks. Questions can be directed to the Public Works Utilities Division at 628-7380. Former deputy to be sworn in as Smith Co. sheriff SMITH CENTER — Bruce Lehman, former Lincoln County deputy, will be sworn in as Smith County Sheriff at noon Thursday at Smith County Courthouse. Lehman beat out six other candidates to be elected by the Republican Central Committee for the position nearly a week ago. He has been in law enforcement since 1987. Lehman will be among several candidates on the Aug. 1 primary ballot. The winner of the Republican contest at the primary level will advance to the general election in November. Nursing schotl programs vie for Regains money Downtown group provides business assistance WICHITA (AP) —More than 11,000 registered nurses need to graduate from professional programs in the next four years to stem Kansas' nursing shortage, and colleges and universities are vying for the funds to train them, officials said Tuesday. Last month, the Kansas Legislature approved a 10- year, $30 million initiative by the Kansas Board of Regents to boost the training programs for registered nurses by 25 percent. Wichita State University and Butler Community College are among the contenders hoping to'attract a portion of the $3.4 million in special grant money set to be doled out next month. "We've done a very good job of recruiting individuals into nursing programs," said Blake Flanders, the Regents' career and technical education director. "The proJWejn: has been an issue of program capacity. Our programs ment of Labor forecasts Kansas will need 11,350 new registered nurses to keep pace with demand and fill existing positions freed up through retirement. Last academic year, almost 500 students were turned away from 12 Kansas baccalaureate nursing programs, according to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing. Despite Wichita State's efforts to increase the university's enrollment for its nursing programs, by 50 percent this year, officials said there are still 77 students on the school's waiting list. Administrators at Sutler • Community College in El Dorado said the school added one- third more students to its nursing program through an online learning initiative two yews • ago, which costs about $H6,opo more a year. The first group of students, who've gone through • tha* Program ^ graduate to December, oldcleils said. . Kanaae lawmakers request- ty to incase dents pass through the state's ^public nursing programs year sp part of the Re- Recruiting new stores left to developer, Liberty Group By PHYLLIS J. ZORN HAYS DAILY NEWS It can be tough to make a go of a downtown retail business, but programs are available to assist Hays retailers. The Downtown Hays Development Corp. used to have a standing committe for recruitment and retention of downtown businesses, but they stopped meeting about a year and a half ago, said Sabrina William, downtown Hays coordinator for the Hays Area Chamber of Commerce. "There really isn't a committee anymore," William said. "We kind of discussed using an arm of Ellis County Economic Development for that." That's in part because several vacant buildings are owned by Chuck Comeau and the Liberty group. The Liberty Group, founded by Comeau, is the developer for the first six building renovations in the Chestnut ' Street District. "There was a concern that if we tried to recruit businesses, it wouldn't work," William said. That's because Comeau and the Liberty Group have specific ideas what types of businesses they want to recruit, William said. If the committee recruited the "wrong kind" of businesses, the deal wouldn't work out, William said. "It got to the point where they just felt like their hands were tied," she said, William said that despite the foundering of the committee, downtown merchants still have access to programs that can assist them. "If someone felt they needed some assistance, I would hope they would contact the office and ask for me or Mike Michaelis," William said. Michaelis is executive director of the Ellis County Coalition for Economic Development. William said several programs remain available and working to boost traffic in the downtown area. "I work very closely with the chamber and coalition to assist businesses in every way we can," William said. "We feel we provide good assistance through our tools and programs; however it is the responsibility of the property and business owners to take advantage of the programs we offer, educate themselves and become involved." The programs include conducting tours that promote the downtown area and encourage spending time and money downtown; coordinating marketing activities; organizing joint promotions; and providing advertising design assistance, William said. DHDC also has worked to acquire historic district status, which will leverage tax credits for fixing up property. They offer free architectural design assistance and some funding for approved facade enhancements, William said. A merchants committee meets weekly to address downtown issues, William said. Michaelis said that although his primary focus is manufacturing, he draws on his experience in retail to help retail businesses. "They need to have a business plan written before they go into business," Michaelis said. "That's part of the reason of writing one is to make darn sure it will work." Retailers face an onslaught of changes in their market climate and must be adaptable to deal with them, Michaelis said. "There's a variety of things. The market changes," Michaelis said. Having difficulty keeping up with all those market changes isn't unique to small business, Michaelis points out. "Look at GM and Ford — big, huge businesses that can't keep up," Michaelis said. Michaelis said downtown events help bring people to the downtown area, where they might spend money — but there's no guarantee. "In my time at the Mall we had some great events going on there, but it doesn't always translate into sales for the stores," Michelis said. There are 166 properties in the area served by the DHDC, Williams said. Of them, 10 are vacant. Two of those — the Strand Theater building, most recently the Goodwill Store, and the Opera House — are being renovated. Two others are preparing to open this year, William said. The Liberty Group owns 21 of the properties, William said. Michaelis said that besides help available from the chamber of commerce and the coalition, the Small Business Development Center works one-on-one with small businesses, and there Is no charge for their assistance. Reporter Phyllis Zorn can be reached at (785) 628-1081, ext. 137, or by e-mail at

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