The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on May 14, 1998 · Page 5
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 5

Salina, Kansas
Issue Date:
Thursday, May 14, 1998
Page 5
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tTHE SALINA JOURNAL GREAT PLAINS THURSDAY, MAY 14, 1998 AB Cloud-seeding controversy -Northwest Kansas farmers wonder if program has limited rainfall 'By LINDA MOWERY-DENNING '* Vhe Salina Journal > COLBY — It's a dry year in the northwest •corner of Kansas, and some farmers wonder .whether there is a connection between their " jnoisture-short fields and a cloud-seeding • program started a year ago by the Colby."based Northwest Kansas Groundwater Management District No. 4. f,r-;. Cloud seeding, where airplanes take to the *, skies to sprinkle silver iodide in developing !; storm clouds to encourage rainfall, was ' talked about for years in this part of the (j state. ',, j., Doubters of the program hope to pack sev- ,.i eral hundred farmers into the district office ; .this morning when board members gather I. for their regular monthly meeting. ;:,; The session starts at 10 a.m., but district ^.manager Wayne Bossert said cloud seeding won't be discussed until 1:30 p.m. The issue was added to the agenda after concerns were -raised by area farmers. - They want activity to be suspended until groundwater officials can prove cloud seeding does not limit rainfall. "We don't question that cloud seeding is I -> reducing hail. We just want to make sure it's % n"ot hurting the total precipitation of our ar- ,-eas," one farmer said. "There is a lot of igno- \,"rance as to how this works. I guess we need ^"'tobe educated." Another groundwater management district in southwest Kansas has operated a "We don't question that cloud seeding is reducing hail We just want to make sure it's not hurting the total precipitation of our areas" farmer in northwest Kansas cloud seeding or weather modification program for more than two decades. Since 1997, the district also has had a contract with the Colby organization to seed storm clouds with the goal of increasing rainfall in a target area that currently covers all of Sherman, Thomas and Sheridan counties and parts of Cheyenne, Rawlins, Decatur, Graham, Logan and Gove counties. The eastern edges of three Colorado counties also are included. Bossert said he put together information from the southwest Kansas program and concluded rainfall totals since cloud seeding started in 1975 have increased an average of 6.83 percent at 11 weather stations across the region. "One thing you can clearly say is that it has not been drier since they started seeding in southwest Kansas," he said. "Why it was wetter, no one can say. Was it the seeding? Maybe. Was it a natural wet cycle. Maybe." Patience, please Another certainty for Bossert is that the success or failure of cloud seeding in northwest Kansas cannot be decided after a year. "Everything we ever talked about was that this was going to be a five-year effort. That was the gentlemen's agreement we had," he said. Before the program was implemented, Bossert spent two years visiting county commissioners and others in northwest Kansas about cloud seeding. Organizers conducted 20 public meetings before the program was started in April 1997. Bossert, who was especially taken with a side effect of seeding — hail suppression — said only one person voiced opposition to the proposal at the hearings. The $362,000 the Colby district spends annually on cloud seeding comes from its own budget and the Kansas Water Plan, which funds projects across the state. Bossert said board members will listen to concerns, but he's not sure how much can be done this year. "We're under contract," he said. Bossert said the proper time to raise a funding issue is at the district's budget hearing. The 1999 session will be in August. "All I ask is that these people look at the data and make an informed decision," Bossert said. "It's not enough to say 'I sat on the tractor and saw the plane and the cloud didn't rain.' Just because they saw a plane doesn't mean squat." T DERBY Rutherford Institute sue$ school on behalf of teen Derby student was suspended for sketching Confederate battle flag By The Associated Press WICHITA — The Rutherford Institute sued a school district Wednesday on behalf of a middle school student suspended for sketching a Confederate battle flag on a sheet of paper. T.J. West, 13, was suspended for three days last month under the Derby school district's policy forbidding "racially divisive" materials. He has maintained he drew the flag only at the urging of another student and never intended for it to be seen by anyone else. And his father, Terry West, said T.J. did not understand the racial implications of the flag. The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in Wichita. An official of the Charlottesville, Va.-based Rutherford Institute said the action violated a number of T.J.'s constitutional rights, including the First Amendment right of free speech. "We had to take action against the school, because T.J.'s constitutional rights were being trampled by the school's zero tolerance policy," regional coordinator Jean- Marc Gadoury said. "The Supreme Court has already said that children do not leave their constitutional rights at the door, and this includes free speech rights." ' Y CONCORDIA INVESTIGATION IConcordia official cleared of criminal conduct ;B,y ( LINDA MOWERY-DENNING • TheSpllna Journal : j'CONCORDIA — The attorney ;ix}f~;fbrmer Concordia city manag- Jer Phil Kloster said Wednesday ;his client felt no sense of relief sfftjm an announcement this week fttia'tthe Kansas Bureau of Investi- jgatibn uncovered no criminal con- in connection with his con- I '..- VFrom the very beginning, there Jwas' nothing Phil Kloster did that ; was wrong. It's just another day at ;the office as far as he's con• cgr-ned," Wichita attorney Alan iRupe said. • : But the connection between •{Coster and Concordia was not ^severed when the investigation fended. The two parties, though cleared of wrongdoing, continue through their attorneys to discuss the financial terms of the former city manager's resignation. Rupe said his client, who started his Concordia job in September and still had time remaining on his contract, was forced to quit in February by members of the city commission. "We are still discussing how much he is entitled to under the cancellation of his contract by the city," the attorney said. At the same time, Concordia Mayor Greg Hattan said Concordia officials await the release of a city certificate of deposit Kloster used as collateral for a loan. Watchdog group has concerns It was the use of $100,000 from the $200,000 certificate that sparked KBI involvement. Early this year, Concerned Citizens of Cloud County, a government watchdog group, raised questions about the city manager's contract with Concordia. Following Kloster's resignation, Concerned Citizens took their questions to Cloud County Attorney Robert Walsh, who asked the KBI to conduct an investigation. Walsh said this week, after review of the bureau report and discussion with the Kansas Attorney General's Office, that the conduct of Kloster and the city did not warrant criminal charges. He said any remedies would be civil in nature. MAURE WEIGEI Auto - Home Insurance Phone 827-2906 115 East Iron Mon.-Fri. 8-5:30 Sat. 8-4 827-5581 528 Kenwood Park Drive, Salina, KS For a limited ^^^ time, our terrific selection of hot entrees, fresh vegetables and crisp salads is just $3.99 every weekday from 1 1 am. to 4 p.m. And that includes fresh hot baked goods and dessert. 2351 S. 9th, Salina (Central Mall) toeituU. Offer not villd Memorial Day, May 25,1998 Special Introductory Offer from VIDEO PROFESSOR 9 — The Best Computer Instructor in the World! Computer Learning CD-ROM Video on CD that plays right on your computer! Plus shipping & handling Same Great Video Lesson Now On CD-ROM! 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