The Hays Daily News from Hays, Kansas on June 16, 2006 · Page 3
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The Hays Daily News from Hays, Kansas · Page 3

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Friday, June 16, 2006
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FRIDAY, JUNE 16,2006 REGION AND STATE THE HAYS DAILY NEWS A3 Corrections The names of candidates for the Rooks County Commission race were incorrect in a Thursday article. They are Robert Schamel, Eleanor B. Buss, Doyle K. Hrabe and Thomas E. Bigge. The Hays Daily News apologizes for the error. The Hays Daily 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 Com, managing editor, or e-mail the editors at plowryedallynewa.net or mcorn edallynawB.net. New Red Cross director no stranger to volunteerism By PHYLLIS J. ZORN HAYS DAILY NEWS The new executive director of the Ellis County Chapter of the American Red Cross is a familiar face in the Ellis County nonprofit sector. Bill Ring, who worked as the service administrator for a local farm implement business for the past three years, is perhaps most widely known as the president of Habitat for Humanity of Ellis County. Ring will continue in his volunteer role as president of Habitat until October, when his term expires and a new president is installed. Then he plans to turn all his attention to the Red Cross. Habitat is now up on its feet, Ring said. He's confident the firm foundation that organization now has and its dedicated volunteers will carry it forward. Ring said he was pleased to get the opportunity to head up a non-profit agency full-time. He's a firm believer in being involved in community service — something he's done since his days as a volunteer firefighter in Florida, where he lived 36 years before coming to Ellis County. Ring and his wife, Denise, and son, Scott, 8, moved to Ellis County after he sold a parts and engine rebuilding shop he ran in Florida for 26 years. Two other children live elsewhere. Bill Jr., 26, lives in Florida and Maggie, 14, lives in Ohio. Ring said after he sold his business in Florida, Denise wanted to return to Hays, where she grew up. She is the daughter of family physician Dr. Norman Hull. "I told her I'd be willing to move to Hays, but I wanted to buy a farm," Ring said. Besides being responsible for services to Ellis County, the chapter is also responsible for disaster services in Trego County, Ring said. That means that if services are needed in Trego County, the Ellis County Chapter must move to assist. One of the first projects Ring wants to tackle is to recruit more volunteers. National statistics point to the significant difference volunteers make. "The backbone of the Red Cross is the volunteer basis," Ring said. "The ratio is 36 volunteers to one paid staff." Ellis County chapter has plenty of room for more, Ring said. "We need volunteers," Ring said. "I'm extending the invitation to anyone who wants to volunteer in Ellis County." Interested people can call the office at (785) 625-2617 for information on volunteering.. Developing a Web site for the Ellis County Chapter also is high on his to-do list, Ring said. Reporter Phyllis Zom can be reached at (785) 628-1081, ext. 137, or by e-mail at phylz@dailynew8.net. Wild, windy West 11 '- ' ........... » • "... M,-„,„,, m-, "' giEVEN HA6ULER7 Hays Dally News Greg Hobbs, an employee with Midwest Energy, carries a banner promoting the upcoming Wild West Festival after high winds brought the banner to the ground Thursday in the 500 block of Main Street. Wind gusts reached around 40 mph Thursday. The banner remained down this morning. S85M ethanol plant to be built in Stevens County Sublette co-op becomes first in southwest Kansas to offer E-85 By TIM VANDENACK THE HUTCHINSON NEWS HUTCHINSON — Add Stevens County to the list of planned ethanol plant sites in southwest Kansas. And add Sublette to the list of locations in the state where E-85, a fuel blend containing 85 percent ethanol, can be purchased. Orion Ethanol of Pratt announced this week it plans to build a 55-million gallon per year ethanol plant just west of Hugoton and adjacent to the Cargill grain elevator. The company is building a plant in Pratt, which should be done by the spring of 2007, and recently announced plans to build two sites in Oklahoma. "We're extremely excited," Stevens County Commissioner Gary Baker said. The plant requires 40 or more full-time employees — each earning $40,000 to $50,000 — Baker said. Orion's plans for Stevens County have been in the works for two years, but those involved "kept it pretty close to the vest" until the various elements came together to avoid a premature announcement, Baker said. Other ethanol plant developers in southwest Kansas have announced plans for new complexes only to see the efforts postponed for a range of reasons. "I think we're pretty positive it's going to happen, yes," Baker said. "I think we're in good shape there." Work on the $85 million Stevens County complex should begin by late 2006 or early 2007 and be finished by early 2008. Orion CEO Richard Jarboe said once it is finished, the firm — which potentially would be in line to receive a property tax abatement from Stevens County — is contemplating another 55-million gallon plant at the same site. Rising oil prices on global markets and new federal standards mandating increased use of renewable fuels — including ethanol — have prompted a flurry of interest in ethanol development. Ethanol, a clean-burning fuel additive made from corn and sorghum that can.be readily produced in the United States, typically is mixed with gasoline. Groundbreaking on an ethanol plant near Garden City took place late last month and plans for other plants are in the works in Se- ward, Grant and Haskell counties. Meanwhile, the Sublette Cooperative started offering E-85 with little fanfare last month at a Cenex station in the Haskell County town. A formal ceremony announcing the move is set for June 27. "We are the leaders," said Terry Presley, the cooperative's petroleum manager. Only 12 sites in Kansas offer E-85, according to the National Ethanol Vehicle Coalition, and the Sublette location is the only one in the southwest section of the state. Though gas containing 10 percent ethanol is fairly common and might be used by most vehicles, E-85 is harder to find and can be used only by "flexible fuel" vehicles. Presley said use of the fuel at the Sublette location is slow thus far, but he hopes that changes as the public becomes more aware of the benefits of ethanol. The Sublette Cenex also offers biodiesel, a mix of diesel and soy oil. The Sublette Cooperative decided to offer E-85 because board members see it as the wave of the future, Presley said, and a means of reducing dependency on foreign oil. "We're really going to be able to kick those foreign imports in the head," he said. Only 2 commisioners hear budget requests By KAREN MIKOLS HAYS DAILY NEWS Even without a quorum at Thursday night's city commission meeting, eight agencies pitched 2007 budget proposals. Vice Mayor Troy Hickman and Commissioner Henry Schwaller IV were the only commissioners present to hear the Downtown Hays Development Corp.'s and Hays Arts Council's proposed uses for the money netted from the Fox Theatre sale. "Because funds received were in large part because of revitalization efforts, we feel the money should be reinvested in downtown Hays," DHDC Vice President Les Brown said. DHDC Coordinator Sabrina William said the money would go toward streetscaping downtown and paying off debt on a building. Brenda Meder, executive director for the Hays Arts Council, also proposed using the Fox money toward expanding the arts center. "As we near the 40th anniversary and, as , things evolve, it •, |, ; -,,,. seems the logical next step," Meder said of acquiring an adjoining building and remodeling the entire space to fit the council's growing needs. No plans are firm yet, but tentative drawings include a Main Street-facing gift gallery, with a permanent collection, three additional galleries and classroom space. The DHDC requested $101,000 for its project, the Hays Arts Council requested $75,000. City Manager Randy Gustafson said about $78,000 is available after expenses are subtracted from the Fox sale. Even though a quorum was not present, Gustafson said many agencies had several representatives lined up for Thursday night's presentations. There also is limited time to present budget requests. The commission will hold a special work session June 29 to review the budget and another work session July 6 to discuss the budget before formally voting on it. Reporter Karen Mlkols can be reached at (785) 628-1081, ext. 143, or by e-mail at Jfmlkols&dallynews.net. l;rtti' ii/LiKl uriiililoo..)" ' .MnitK .01'I 'i (ill II to detail energy plant deal Proposal to be presented to public Thursday By STACIE R. SANDALL HAYS DAILY NEWS OAKLEY — The city of Oakley and Midwest Energy Inc. have hashed out the details of two proposals that would potentially allow the energy company to buy the city's power plant and electrical distribution system. Both entities will put on a presentation at 7 p.m. Thursday at Northwest Kansas Educational Service Center. "(The Oakley City Council) will explain their position and budgetary concerns, and we will present our proposal," said Bob Helm, spokesman for Midwest Energy. "The council needs to make a decision whether to put this to a public vote or not." Helm added that several representatives from the company will be in attendance. After the presentations, the public will be able to ask questions about the proposals. The company has presented a formal agreement for the electrical distribution system. The proposal was for $2.5 million, which includes the power lines, meters, equipment and any unneeded inventory. A $50,000 proposal was made later for the power plant. Oakley Mayor Frank Munk said the public's reaction is "anybody's guess." "I think they need to listen to the facts. Then, in my opinion, it should go to a vote," Munk said. "It belongs to the people. Something of this magnitude needs to be voted on." The purchase still has to be approved by Kansas Corporation Commission and wouldn't go into effect until 2007. Oakley asked Midwest Energy to purchase the system and plant because the system needs rebuilt, which would be a higher cost to the city. Rebuilding the 50-year-old system would have cost between $2 million and $2.5 million, which would mean raising rates. Reporter Stacie R. Sandall can be reached at (785) 628-1081, ext. 136, or by e-mail at 8sandaU9daHynewa.net. Briefs Commissioners vote to ban pet wolves from Barton Co, GREAT BEND (AP) — People won't be allowed to keep wolves or wolf hybrids in Barton County after commissioners voted to ban them. Barton County Administrator Richard Boeckman said he did not know of any wolves or wolf hybrids already in the county. But the Golden Belt Humane Society had warned commissioners earlier this year that someone might eventually try to bring one in. "They mentioned there was some concern people might be thinking about bringing wolves or wolf hybrids into the county," Boeokma^ saW. "Bather than face it after it developed, they thought we should do something be.fqre ttlp>pened." 'Pick Sofceufler, the only com, oppose the ban sioners voted this law was needed. "The bottom line is we don't presently have a problem, nor is there any indication there's going to be at any time in the future, I thought it was, in essence, legislation that we don't really need," Scheufler said. But Bobby King, director xrf the Golden Belt Humane Society, said the county shouldn't wait until a problem develops. "Because they aren't allowed in city limits, people are moving to counties to try to raise these dogs that don't need to be raised," King said. "They are a wild animal; even if a hybrid, they are wild animals. They're accidents waiting to happen." Police dog dies of SOUTH HUTCHJNSQN (HNS) —A hot garage contributed to the death Monday of South Hutchtn-. son Police Department's nar- cotics-sniffing yellow Labrador retriever, Tailey, officials said. The 7-year-old dog died in a garage kennel at the home of her handler, Police Officer Dustin Cooke. The dead dog was brought Monday to Purple Wildcat Ani- . mal Clinic in South Hutchinson, and Veterinarian Dr. Dan Naiman said death "was due probably to the heat stress." City authorities did not request an autopsy, he said. "We attribute it to heat exhaustion," said Lt. Detective Tim Sko- mal, second in command at South Hutchinson Police Department. He noted that Tailey became especially nervous during stormy weather—managing to escape from kennels — so Cooke put the dog in a kennel in his garage. A spokesman for the National Weather Service in Wichita said the weather turned stormy Sunday night. On Monday, temperatures reached a high of 82 de- Mumps outbreak shows sign of decline Dealing with virus offers officials practice for large-scale emergency LAWRENCE (AP) — This year's mumps outbreak in Kansas has allowed health officials to prepare for a more serious emergency, state and local agencies say. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment said as of Monday, the state had 761 confirmed and probable cases in 68 counties. Overall, cases in the state have started to decline in recent weeks, department spokeswoman Sharon Watson said, but she's not sure why. "The decline may have more to do with the timing of the virus in a typical cycle for an outbreak. (The typical cycle) is for it to test a few weeks, peak and then start to taper off," she said. Watson said the outbreak has allowed the department to use its federally mandated incident command structure to relay information to different government agencies in Kansas. It was the first time the state has implemented the structure, which would be used during a flu pandemic or bioterrorism attack, she said. The most common symptoms of mumps are fever, headache and swollen salivary glands under the jaw. It can lead to more severe problems, such as hearing loss, meningitis and testicular damage that can result in sterility Sheryl Tirol-Goodwin, spokeswoman for the Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department, said the mumps outbreak was more of an inconvenience for those infected, as opposed to a more severe or life-threatening illness. "This is obviously something that will help us practice if something bigger should hap- pen," she said. The median age for those infected with the mumps has been 21 in Kansas, and 74 percent of those infected in the state had received at least one measles, mumps and rubella vaccination. Douglas County, home to the University of Kansas, was particularly hard-hit by the outbreak. The Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department said Douglas County has had 274 confirmed or probable mumps cases, surpassing the 245 cases recorded during the mumps epidemic of 1988-89. Through June 2,198 University of Kansas students had been diagnosed with the virus, which is spread by coughing and sneezing. Watson and Tirol-Goodwin said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is looking for causes and trends. Among the issues is the effectiveness of the vaccine given to the age group most affected.

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