The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on May 19, 1998 · Page 3
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 3

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Salina, Kansas
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Tuesday, May 19, 1998
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Page 3
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THE SAUNA JOURNAL Great Plains TUESDAY, MAY 19, 1998 A3 ^TRANSPORTATION Road to Nebraska shakes up area drivers Washboard gravel road is cbhtinual focus of complaints tO"Smith County Commission By LINDA MOWERY-DENNING The Salina Journal '• VJ '* ' ' :ISMITH CENTER — Raymond Yenne's friends tell him he'll probably be buried in.the 1975 Ford pickup with more than 1 million miles on its dusty gold body. >,In the spring, starting with corn planting, along the Republican River across the border in Nebraska, the fertilizer merchant and his truck, now on its llth motor, travel on the gravel washboard known as Thornberg Road as many as a doze,n times a day. The 15V2-mile trip between Smith Center and the Kansas-Nebraska line never seems to get easier. Yenne could be blindfolded and know when it was over. ;-'Like one farmer said, 'It's like going train hell into heaven.' There's no reason w'$ ican't have as good of roads as Nebraska; |VYenne said late Monday morning as hisjpickup bumped along Thornberg Road with an anhydrous ammonia tank in tow. "They worked this pretty good this morning. But it's only temporary. By Wednesday or Thursday this road will be right back to where we started." He said as much earlier in the day to Smith County's three commissioners. And he wasn't alone. More than a dozen farmers from north of Smith Center showed up — again — to complain to officials about the poor condition of their roads. About 70 attended a commission meeting four years ago. And the telephones ring often at the courthouse and at the homes of commissioners. Pastor Freda Steele, who ministers to independent community churches at Thornberg, Womer and Reamsville, all north of Smith Center, has even gone to Topeka to talk with officials from the Kansas Department of Transportation. She has been in Smith County for six years and for six years she has worked to get better roads in her part of the county. "It's supposed to be gravel, but it's not maintained enough to call it anything," Steele said of Thornberg Road. "We have older people. It just worries me every • Womer Reamsville Thornburg The long and bumpy road SMITH time I see them get in a car and head for Smith Center. Their reflexes aren't what they used to be." At Monday's commission meeting, residents talked of sometimes going miles out of their way to avoid certain roads. They talked of visitors from Nebraska who refused to risk life and vehicle to shop in Smith Center. They talked of broken axles. And two serious accidents in the past year. Jim Gwennap's mother was 4 miles north of Smith Center on Thornberg Road about a week ago when her car left the gravel. The elderly woman was thrown from her car and spent several days in a Nebraska hospital in intensive care. Gwennap, owner of a hay business, said he couldn't blame the road for his mother's mishap. But he was upset that a county dispatcher allegedly told emergency personnel to go slow because the road was dangerous. "If that was your family member out there, wouldn't you want the emergency personnel to hurry?" Gwennap asked commissioners. Commissioners said money is tight, especially in a rural county with a shrinking tax base. Smith County has an annual budget of $1 million to repair and maintain 1,500 miles of road and more than 300 bridges. Also in the budget are the salaries of 30 county highway workers. Commissioner Paul McCartney, who responded to most of the questions from the rural residents, said other parts of the county also need attention. "I've got other people and other roads to take care of," he said. And he questioned a request to pave Thornberg Road, which has blacktop about a mile north of Smith Center to a cemetery. The rest of the road was returned to gravel so it would be cheaper to maintain. "If we paved your road, your taxes would be so damn high you couldn't afford to pay them," McCartney said. Residents weren't convinced. Yenne said his road could be as good as those in Nebraska if commissioners would authorize the purchase of a different maintenance blade, one with teeth to break past the hard surface. County , workers now use a straight blade and ,, <• "all they do is push the gravel back and •-. forth across the road," Yenne said. He offered to pay for the equipment. • Gwennap suggested more organization — and leadership from county officials. ' "Go to the surrounding counties. Go to 4 •, Nebraska. Find out what they do," he said.V "You need a plan. You need a follow-up'* plan and you need to make sure it's carried out." BRIEFLY Female bicyclist reports nighttime rape "A%oman reported to Salina police she was knocked from her bicycle and raped in the street early Surtday morning. ', Ttie 31-year-old woman said she vtfas riding her bicycle home vfhen the attack occurred in the 100 block of North Kansas Avenue after 2 a.m. (I The woman said she tried to ^cream, but the man threatened $er. "He did not brandish a ^eapon. Afterward, he rode away on his own bicycle. !' The woman suffered a dislocat- etl .shoulder and scrapes. The attacker was described as a white male between the ages of 30 anel 40. He was about 6 feet tall, had a medium build and brown hajr. He was wearing a dark shirt eans. Customer's leg broken in; fight outside bar A Wellington man suffered a brdken leg in a fight in the parking lot of a Salina night club early Supday, and Saline County Sheriffs deputies are searching for twe .suspects. George McCoy, 24, told deputies he~$jas at Randy's night club on west State Street when a man cjame up and started touching Mc- (gby's girlfriend. tf|Later, McCoy said, as he and his friend were leaving the club about $3C£a.m., they were confronted in tjie parking lot by the man and a (gjmpanion. McCoy said they 0uric.hed and kicked him. McCoy's teg -was broken in two places be- Iflwihe knee. He was treated at ^lina Regional Health Center. ^!13he two assailants left in a white station wagon, Saline County Sheriff Glen Kochanowski said. 7?hey were described as black, one about 5 feet, 8 inches tall and the cttjier about 5 feet, 6 inches tall. ^hiy had medium builds. l ( Several appointed to serve on city panels ',;'The Salina City Commission appointed Monday these people to oitf. boards and commissions: '.'. "*~ Susan Duerksen to the Accessibility Advisory Board. I; • Katherine Allison to the Library Board. !• ••• Kristen Stelljes as the youth liaison to the Arts and Humanities Commission. •; >'Laura Seaton as the youth liaison to the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board. i' McCook recommended as site of new prison !• LINCOLN, Neb. — A committee recommended Monday that Nebraska's new $74 million state prison be fcuilt in McCook or Tecumseh. !; The four-member committee de- £ided to recommend both sites to state Corrections Director Harold Clarke, who will decide where to put the 960-bed prison that state officials hope will ease crowding jn the prison system. i Touted by some as an economic toon but opposed by others who (eared an increase in crime and a drop in property values, the prison was the source of heated Debate in several communities. Sixteen communities originally submitted bids for the prison. j McCook scored the highest in ranking finalists. j McCook is north of Oberlin. Tecumseh is in southeast Nebraska, ; From Staff and Wire Reports On a clear day DAVIS TURNER / The Salina Journal Shaded from the blazing sun, Stephen Malstrom watches his daughter Kelly play Monday in the 5A Regional Championship softball game against Salina South High School at the East Crawford Recreation Area. Kelly is a shortstop for Topeka West High School. T COURTS T SALINA CITY COMMISSION Task force OK'd to study pool need But group won't look for swimming pool site or recommend design By CRISTINA JANNEY The Salina Journal The duties of a swimming pool task force created Monday by the Salina City Commission will be limited to a study of pools in Salina and other communities. The task force will not be assigned to look at possible sites for a new Salina pool, or make recommendations on design or financing, said City Manager Dennis Kissinger. Commissioner Alan Jilka asked why the task force would not be assigned to look for a site, and Kissinger responded by saying the size of the project would have to be determined first. Preliminary discussion identi- V FATAL ACCIDENT fied Jerry Ivey Park in south Salina as a potential pool site. The park could accommodate a pool close to the size of the city's other swim pools, but not larger, Kissinger said. He said residents and city officials need good information before a project could be planned or a proposal shaped for presentation to voters. "Someone might like a concept but not the cost, or vice versa," he said. A pool could cost between $1.5 million and $4 million, depending on design and size. Jilka said he also wanted the task force to look at how many Salinans are using a recently built Lindsborg pool. The makeup of the board will be four adults, one youth, one recreation professional and one member of the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, who will lead the group. Steve Snyder, parks and recreation director, and Darron Leiker, assistant to the city manager, also will work on the project. The city clerk will accept applications for the board until June 8, and the mayor will appoint the board on June 15. Other business Also Monday, the commission: • Approved a charter ordinance allowing the city to issue bonds for construction of a $900,000 animal shelter. • Approved an ordinance that would be the second step in the acquisition by force of property needed for the South Ninth Street reconstruction project. • Established a policy to allow special assessments to be paid over 15 years. • Approved a petition filed by John Guyot on behalf of Graves Trust, requesting certain street and utility improvements in the Mariposa Addition, which is near the intersection of Marymount and Cloud streets. • Approved a petition filed by Monty Montee and Danny Huehl, requesting street improvements to Country Oaks Estates in the Schilling residential area. • Approved 1998 subdivision improvements. • Authorized the mayor to execute a supplemental agreement with Wilson & Co., 1700 E. Iron, for design engineering services for the South Ninth Street improvements in an amount not to exceed $10,351. • Authorized the mayor to execute three concession agreements. • Approved a $14,977 change in traffic signals for the South Ninth Street reconstruction project. • Approved bids for vehicle and equipment purchases. Man dies after being injured in car crash Salinan had driven family east of town to watch sun rise Sunday By The Journal Staff A man who had taken his family out to watch the sun rise died Sunday of injuries he suffered when his car, parked on a rural road east of Salina, was struck by another vehicle. His wife and child, and two people in the other vehicle, were injured. The Saline County Sheriffs Office said Terry Worthington, 41, 900 Plaza Drive, parked his car atop a hill on Crawford Street 5 miles east of Salina at about 6:15 a.m. Saturday. The car was struck in the rear by a vehicle driven by Paul Kinderknecht, 16, 521 W. Claflin. Sheriff Glen Kochanowski said Kinderknecht apparently did not see the parked car. He was traveling about 55 miles an hour when the collision occurred. Worthington suffered serious head injuries and was transported to Via Christi St. Francis Hospital in Wichita. He died there about 10 a.m. Sunday, a nursing supervisor said. Worthington's wife, Lisa, 30, and daughter Natalie, 9, received minor injuries, as did Kinderknecht and a passenger, 15-year-old Jeremy Niederw- erder, 1421 E. Ellsworth. AU four were treated at Salina Regional Health Center. Worthington was an information resource specialist for the Salina office of the Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services. The couple were married more than eight years, and have two other children in addition to Natalie, Lisa Worthington said Monday. She said the family had gone out to see the sun rise to kick off a day of activities together. Kochanowski said all occupants of the Worthington vehicle were wearing seat belts, but Kinderknecht and Niederwerder were not. Federal appeal sought Statements in 1995 shooting at fair have been barred from court By OAVID CLOUSTON The Salina Journal In a rare appeal to federal court, Saline County prosecutors will ask that decisions by a Saline county judge and the state's two highest courts be overturned so that statements made by a sus-. pected drive-by shooter can be used to prosecute him. Kansas courts decided that statements made by Jason Vermillion can't be used at his trial because Salina police did not properly inform him of his rights. Vermillion is accused in a 1995 shooting that wounded a woman at the Tri-Rivers Fair. The journey to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver began when Saline County District Judge Dan Boyer ruled that statements Vermillion made to police were illegally obtained. The Kansas Court of Appeals upheld Boyer's decision. That ruling, too, was challenged, but earlier this month the Kansas Supreme Court refused to review the case. At a hearing Monday, Christina Pellant of the Saline County Attorney's office said the prosecution will take the appeal to the federal level. Vermillion, 21, Salina, is charged with aggravated battery and felony possession of a firearm for a drive-by shooting at the Tri- Rivers Fair on Aug. 12,1995. Anita Glendening, Salina, was seriously wounded when she was struck in the head by a ricocheting bullet fragment from the .40-caliber pistol believed used in the shooting. Investigators developed information in January 1997 linking Vermillion to the weapon. He was taken from his job by Salina police in a locked patrol car and questioned at police headquarters in a locked room. .. . He was not given a so-called M}--' randa warning about his constitu-,r tional rights, and officers contin-;! ued to question him despite his rtj-" quest to have an attorney present? 5 Vermillion eventually gave thjrt officers incriminating oral stat^-* ments and a written statemejift about the crime, but did not admit r to being the shooter, said his attorney, James Sweet. - * * Boyer ruled Vermillion's const!-'! tutional rights were violated by. police and, that his statements' could not be used in court. t ,• Pellant said the Kansas attorney^ general's staff would help ask for~ the federal court's review. i" Boyer agreed to delay the crimi- ' nal case. "I think I'll hold it... and let yoir' finish your legal dance on it," hjfe told Pellant. -; Sweet's law partner, Mike Shea-; hon, who stood in for Sweet at the brief hearing Monday, said he was surprised by the prosecution's decision to press the appeal. *. Pellant said the seriousness Qf the case dictated the appeal. Glendening and her husband declined Monday to speak in detail: about their view of the casa,;; though she said "I think doing the right thing." SUGGESTIONS? CALL BEN WEARING, DEPUTY EDITOR, AT (785) 823-6363 OR 1-800-827-6363 OR E-MAIL AT s|bwearlng@saljournal.com

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