The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on April 2, 1998 · Page 9
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 9

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Salina, Kansas
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Thursday, April 2, 1998
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Page 9
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THURSDAY APAIL2, 1998 THE SALiNA JOURNAL Great Plains VIEWPOINTS / B2 ALMANAC / B3 FUN / B4 '•• \ B T CORPORATE HOG LEGISLATION .-I! Senate overwhelmingly approves hog bill Legislation establishes distances between swine operations and homes and wildlife refuges By JOHN HANNA The Associated Press TOPEKA — The Senate overwhelmingly approved Wednesday its answer to the political unrest across the state over large corporate hog feed lots. Supporters deemed the Senate's version a compromise between opponents of corporate hog farming, who would like to prevent new operations from coming to Kansas, and the swine industry, which would prefer relatively minimal changes in state law. The Senate's vote was 33-6. Because the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee made extensive amendments to the bill after the House approved it, that cham- ber must review the Senate's version. They are likely to reject it, leaving the task of drafting a final version to a joint conference committee of three senators and three House members. "I heard a mes- * sage from my con- Legislature stituents: They ( ""- ^QQQ wanted us to work J.^v^u a bill," said Sen. Tim Huelskamp, R- Fowler. "I think we've come up with a reasonable product." Only one Republican, Wichita Sen. Barbara Lawrence voted against the bill. Five Democrats joined her — Donald Biggs of Leavenworth, Paul Feleciano of Wichita, Mark Gilstrap of Kansas City, Anthony Hensley of Topeka and Marge Petty of Topeka. Sen. Jerry Karr, D-Emporia, ab- stained. He noted that he raises hogs and would be affected by the bill's environmental regulations. The 67-page bill would write into Kansas law regulations for operation of large hog farms and require the secretary of the Department of Health and Environment to establish other regulations. The bill establishes distances between swine operations and homes and wildlife refuges based on the size of the hog farm. It requires KDHE to set up rules for carcass disposal and waste management plans. Biggs complained that the bill is too weak, and Feleciano said it did not do enough to give voters the right to decide whether large corporate hog farms are allowed in their counties. Feleciano proposed an amendment that would have allowed voters in 11 counties in which boards of commissioners had consented to corporate hog operations to prevent expansion of those operations. It failed, 21-12. A 1994 law allowed corporate hog farming in counties in which either voters or boards of commissioners approved of such operations. The House's version of a bill included a provision that would require a public vote if commissioners approved of corporate operations. Sen. Stan Clark, R-Oakley, proposed an amendment that would have allowed county commissioners to set limits on the size of corporate hog operations within townships. It failed on a voice vote. "It's outside money and outside people, more or less imposing something on us," Clark said. "We're ski- tish. We want some control over our own destiny." j Other senators criticized attempts to prevent expansion of corporate hog lots or to keep them out of the state. "It'd be really great if we could keep things the way that they are, but I don't think we can," said Sen. Don Steffes, R-McPherson. "Things are changing, and they are probably changing for the better." Biggs told Steffes he questioned whether the McPherson sena£6r would make the same statement if-4 corporation was proposing to build a swine lot with 2 million hogs, in McPherson County. Steffes did : not answer him. Man charged in dog mauling gets probation JUNCTION CITY — A man whose three Rottweiler dogs mauled an 11-year-old boy to death received probation Wednesday. Jeffrey Davidson, 41, was charged with unintentional second-degree murder, but he agreed to plead guilty to lesser charges of involuntary manslaughter to stay out of prison. Davidson was sentenced in Geary County District Court and given extended probation of five years. Sabine Davidson, 27, Davidson's wife, was convicted in January of the more serious charges of unintentional second-degree murder and endangerment of a child. She will spend at least 10 years behind bars before being eligible for parole. The charges against the Davidsons stemmed from the April 24, 1997, mauling of Christopher Wilson, a fifth-grader who was killed by the three dogs while he waited for a school bus with his younger brother. Salina on Brownback's state campaign tour Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., will visit Salina on Tuesday— . the second day of his two-day swing through the state to announce his bid for re-election. He will begin his nine-city tour Monday morning in Topeka and wrap it up Tuesday evening at Wichita. In Salina, Brownback will talk of his re-election plans at a press conference and rally at 9 a.m. at UMB Bank, 100 S. Santa Fe. Other stops Tuesday include Hays and Colby. Brownback will be at Fort Hays State University at 11 a.m. at Memorial Union, and at 1 p.m. at the multipurpose room on the Colby Community College campus. Brownback, a former state secretary of Agriculture, was elected in 1996 to fill out the final two years of Sen. Bob Dole's term after Dole resigned to run for president. Sacred Heart charity auction raises $110,000 More than $110,000 was raised Saturday at the charity auction for the Sacred Heart Junior-Senior High School, including $9,600 paid for a country fish fry for 100 people. The fish fry, which includes live entertainment by the Last National Band, raised more money than any other item. Fifty couples went together for the purchase, said Bill Grevas, development director for the school. The auction, which attracted another sold-out crowd of 550 for the third year in a row, surpassed the $100,000 goal. The money goes directly into the school's operating budget and will be used to help with expenses. The auction raises about one-tenth of the school's annual operating budget. Salina man faces multiple charges Steven M. Hatfield, 48, 527 S. Fifth, was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of aggravated battery, aggravated assault, criminal trespassing and other offenses in connection with an incident Tuesday in the 600 block of Charles. According to Salina police, Hatfield argued with 44-year-old Steven Wagner over a woman acquaintance of the two men. Hatfield allegedly threatened Wagner at his residence with a 45-caliber automatic pistol and struck him with his vehicle. Wagner was not injured. From Staff and Wire Reports Spring stretch The Associated Press With dark clouds looming overhead, flowers blooming in a field near Independence in southeast Kansas appear to be touting the arrival of spring Tuesday. T STATE REVENUE Tax collections continue to swell: state treasury But how will Graves, 4 '..,, Legislature decide to "it would probably even \ spend extra millions? fa an understatement to. By LEW FERGUSON Tlie Associated Press TOPEKA — Gov. Bill Graves and the Legislature got more good financial news Wednesday: state tax collections during March came in nearly $36 million over estimates made last November. That pushed to $61 million the surplus revenue taken in since the state's Consensus Estimating Group made new estimates for the current fiscal year five months ago. The Group, made up of a dozen state fiscal experts and university economists, meets again Friday to projections for GRAVES revise revenue the final three months of the present fiscal year — which ends June 30 — and make its first projection for fiscal year 1999, which beings July 1. Graves and the Legislature must base the fiscal 1999 state budget on the Group's projections. By law, they can spend all of the anticipated revenue except a 7.5 percent reserve for emergencies. "It would probably even be an understatement to say that these are great numbers and good news for Kansas and for Kansans," Graves said Wednesday. "It is clearly a further reflection of how strong this economy is," Graves added. "I think the real question is how does this report impact the public policy that we conduct over the remainder of the legislative session." Graves said he would like to see. more put into kindergarten- through-12th grade education and children's programs. say that these are great ; numbers and good news for Kansas and for Kansans." ; Gov. Bill Graves • - J But neither Graves nor Senate leaders saw much chance the ad-, ditional money will give any buoy, ancy to a plan to restructure high-, er education in Kansas, would cost nearly $150 over four years. , , j "I don't have a sense from ,my conversations with a number of senators — and it's not just ( tne president — that they're of a mind to get fully engaged in the higher education issue," Graves said., , And, he indicated, he isn't going to be pushing the higher ed plan., "I have to do my own analysis of where I want to expend my re* sources in the seven closing days of the session," he said. ., • ., Senate leaders confirmed the, governor's assessment. ••,•.-, "I think it's very doubtful, even, if it comes out of committee, that the resolution (to submit a consii-, tutional amendment abolishing the Board of Regents) could 'get two-thirds support," said Senate. President Dick Bond, R-Overland Park. , i "There is just very limited; in? terest on the part of the Senate in looking at a total change in higher education governance and major, spending with only seven daysileft in the session." . • , Senate Majority Leader Tim Emert, R-Independence, said, -"H is just so complicated and so con-j troversial and we have so little time that I don't think the new: money helps it." ; .; / T AGRICULTURE State farmers plant less wheat and more cotton Planted wheat acreage is down 6 percent — the lowest since 1988 By The Associated Press WICHITA — Kansas farmers appear to have planted less of what they are known for — like wheat and sunflowers — and more of what they aren't known for — like cotton, soybeans and corn. The state has 19.7 million acres of the four major crops — wheat, sorghum, corn and soybeans, according to Kansas Agricultural Statistics crop acreage estimates released Wednesday. That's down 3 percent from last year. The state's wheat acreage is down 6 percent from last year at 10.7 million acres — the lowest planted acreage in Kansas since 1988. Nationally, wheat acreage also dropped 6 percent to 67 million acres. In Kansas, sorghum acres dropped 4 percent to 3.5 million, sunflowers fell 9 percent to 200,000 acres and dry, edible beans decreased 9 percent to 20,000 acres. The biggest percentage increase for any crop was cotton, which jumped 20 percent to 18,000 acres. Corn was up 4 percent to 2.95 million acres, and soybeans increased 2 percent to 2.5 million acres. Oats and barley plantings were unchanged from last year. James Pritchett, a spokesman for the Kansas Wheat Commission, said farmers are planting less wheat because of low prices and recent high yields. The price of wheat dropped to below $4 a bushel last summer and has hovered above $3 per bushel since then. Pritchett said wheat yields have increased because of better wheat varieties, new farming techniques and relatively new federal farm legislation that has allowed farmers to experiment with different crops and technology. Last year, Kansas farmers had planted 3 percent fewer wheat acres than the previous year, but they still harvested the biggest wheat crop in state history. V ELL-SALINE SCHOOL DISTRICT Bond vote in final week Only 51 percent of ballots have been returned By CAROL LICHTI The Salina Journal Saline County Clerk Shirley Jacques has been expecting more mail lately. The number of mail-in ballots for the Ell-Saline School District's $1.6 million bond issue vote hasn't been as high as she anticipated. "We haven't had enough mail-ballot elections in Saline County to really know, but I expected a higher return Jacques said. With Wednesday's mail, the clerk's office had received 51 percent of the ballots mailed to 1,128 registered voters. "A return of 75 (percent) to 85 percent is normal in the state for mail ballots," she said. JACQUES by this time," Ell-Saline Superintendent Bernie White said he is hoping for a return of at least 75 percent. "I am hoping for as high a turnout as possible," he said. The bond issue would allow the district to build an addition to the Ell-Saline Middle and High School in Brookville. The addition is needed, district officials say, because of growth in the district and the need for a larger library and classrooms, additional restrooms and storage and handicapped accessibility. Tho bond payments would be made, in large part, through higher property taxes, although about 31 percent of the cost would come from the state. The property tax increase would be about $62 a year for the owner of a $50,000 home. Voters have until noon Tuesday to return the ballots, Jacques said. To reach the clerk's office through the mail, ballots should be mailed this weekend. Monday could be tod late, Jacques warned. But voters can hand-deliver their ballots to the clerk's office until noort Tuesday. To be counted, the ballots must be marked and the voter must fill out the information on the return envelope, including name, address and a signature. Jacques said some ballots have been returned without the signature and necessary information, which means those votes won't be counted. Anyone registered to vote in the district who didn't receive a ballot may apply for one. For information, call the clerk's office at 826-6550. An election panel will begin counting ballots about 1 p.m. Tuesday. The ballots will be separated from the signed en-, velopes to ensure ballot secre : cy. '} SUGGESTIONS? CALL BEN WEARING, DEPUTY EDITOR, AT (785) 823-6363 OR 1-800-827-6363 OR E-MAIL AT sjbwearlng@saljournal.com

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