The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on May 25, 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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Monday, May 25, 1998
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Page 3
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THE SAUNA JOURNAL Great Plains MONDAY, MAY 25, 1998 YCRIME Surge in child abuse vexing to Wichita area Sedgwick County expects friqre than 2,000 cases this year, up from 326 in 1995 6y The Associated Press * WICHITA — A surge in child abuse re- jports in Sedgwick County is causing a •System overload for handling such cases, and court officials and experts warn it eould get worse. "* "Nobody knows why" Sedgwick County is seeing such a rise, said Teresa Markowitz, commissioner of children and family services for the state Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services. "We're trying to look and see what would prompt it." S The courts handled 326 child abuse civ- }1 cases in 1995. This year, officials expect more than 2,000, an increase of more than 500 percent. That's straining the juvenile courts and raising fears the system might falter. Advocates for abused children are calling for more tax money for' legal representation for the children and their indigent parents and possibly a new judge to help the three assigned to juvenile court. The increase can be traced .to the state's heightened commitment to investigate child abuse. The Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services has increased abuse investigators from 200 to 800. The civil cases involve closed-door proceedings in which judges determine the best way to deal with a child or a group of children whose parents have abused or neglected them. Solutions range from returning a child to parents .following counseling to terminating parental rights and placing the child for adoption. Added to the pressure on the courts is SRS's new child protection system, which privatized the management of the state foster care system in 1997. SRS insists that child abuse and neglect cases be resolved within a year. Before, such cases could linger for years as children moved to and from foster care while social workers tried to keep families united by getting special help for the parents and children. Jeanne Andersen, a lawyer hired by the county to represent children in abuse hearings, said she fears the increasing work load could leave children without adequate legal protection. She doesn't have enough time to follow up and make sure the abuse isn't continuing. "My reality is I don't get to see these kids or talk to a social worker or teachers unless someone calls me and says, 'You need to be aware of this,' " she said. "We know kids are being neglected. We know kids are being beaten," Sedgwick County District Attorney Nola Foulston said. "But we're not always getting reports on them." Foulston recently told county commissioners that she needs an extra $400,000 in next year's budget to hire more lawyers and handle paperwork that courts are shifting to her office. But a consultant hired by the court says the problems go deeper and may require more than a one-time infusion of money. The report, prepared by a Pennsylvania firm in late 1997, says the county's juvenile courts are plagued by problems that include staff shortages, lack of accountability and slowness in processing documents. "It was abundantly clear that the Sedg- wick County juvenile court is 'sailing blind' as it tries to navigate through a tumultuous environment," the study stated. The consultant also chastised judges for not providing "strong judicial leadership." State District Judge James Burgess didn't dispute most of the report but said many of the problems cited were already known to the county. The report, he said, lacked specific suggestions. "We wanted some answers," he said. Burgess said the courts are trying to find ways to speed up the process. But increasing case loads can't be solved overnight and will likely require moife money and a larger staff, he said. Andersen, the children's attorney, agreed. "Our problem is that the system is overloaded," she said. "And without money, it s just a big fight over how to do things better." BRIEFLY Wichita residents injured in plane crash : ^AUGUSTA — Four people apparently headed for the Indianapolis 500 auto race suffered r burns early Sunday when their ! twin-engine plane crashed in a ] field near Augusta, ', The Cessna 310 crashed about 3 •a.m. after hitting power lines, : Butler County Sheriff John '.Everett said. ! • "The pilot tells us that at the ;time they took off, it was foggy, •and he became disoriented in the ; fog," Everett said. • . Robert H. Souders, 70, Sharon Bieberle, 39, and Richard Bieber;le, 36, all of Wichita, were in serious condition Sunday at Via : Cliristi Regional Medical Center. •Robert H. Souders Jr., 38, Santa Monica, Calif., was released from !the hospital Sunday. It was not ;kn.own who was the pilot. ; ' The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating. Everett said the plane caught I fire upon impact. All were able to ! get out of the plane, and one per- J 4on went to a nearby farm house | ijor help. i j Information sought on rape of Salman Salina police are asking for the public's help in finding a man •who raped a 31-year-old Salina 1 woman between 2 a.m. and 2:30 a.m. May 17. • The woman was riding her bi'-cycle in the 100 block of North 'Kansas when a man knocked her down, took her to the curb area and raped her. She suffered a separated shoulder and scrapes. ',;.' The suspect is described as •$vhite, 30 to 40 years old, 5-feet-10 »{o' 6:feet tall, with brown hair. Sy&reh he approached the woman 'Sig ^?as wearing a ball cap, a dark blue jeans. After raping , he rode away on a bi- yAnyone with information about lift-rape can call Crimestoppers, "&25-TIPS. Callers aren't required (to; give their names and could be Eligible for rewards of up to . 'Winning Powerball ticket sold in Missouri ;; -A ticket sold in Missouri for the Pawerball game Saturday night matched all six numbers drawn, iiottery officials said Sunday. £v-^Ch e numbers were 1, 15, 16, 35 *&B(J;46. The Powerball was 35. «t ^PUe player matching five num- l&Srs'and the Powerball wins the IfQjrnillion jackpot. Wednesday's jackpot is estimated at $10 mil- '".Tickets that match the first five "nu'mbers, but miss the Powerball, iwjn $100,000 each, and there was £nfe._of those sold in Delaware. -^Kansas is part of the multistate ' gi-v-v Pijjht hits turbulence, forced to make landing : fOKLAHOMA CITY — A us Airways flight from Pittsburgh to Los'Angeles made a medical emergency landing Sunday night }n Oklahoma City after hitting severe turbulence north of Oklahoma City. "•'•' Jeff Bilyeu, airport operations .jofficer at Will Rogers World Air- *qrl in Oklahoma City, said sev- Spifieople were injured when the Shoeing 757 hit severe turbulence ground 7:30 p.m. Sunday, likely caused by severe weather rumbling through the area. " One passenger described the Jurbulence as "very violent." -.'Bilyeu said the injured includ- ed'both passengers and crew members. : : From Staff and Wire Reports Visions of the future Speakers offer advice to Central and South graduates FROM PAGE A1 At Central's ceremony, Perez made the mothers of all the Central graduates stand. "We love you, Moms," Perez said. "You guys are awesome." Dads, other family members, friends and the school's faculty and staff also took turns standing at Perez's request. "We especially want to thank the 'attendance ladies' for believing all our bogus lies," he said. Perez spoke in Spanish to thank his Spanish-speaking family members for their support. Building problems Jennifer Mize, Central's student council president, said she and her classmates endured less-than-ideal conditions in a school that leaks when it rains. "We faced these obstacles together and made the best of what we had," she said. "We're in a community that lacks and doesn't completely understand education and how important it is for our future." She also commended the school's teachers for their dedication, despite the low funding of the Salina School District. "I wish for future students that the city will fund the school district this fall and teachers will be rewarded for their perseverance," she said. The district has been working toward a bond issue for the fall that could build new schools and remodel or expand others. South's graduates didn't bypass the chance to remark about the condition of their school either. "When it's cold outside, it's hot inside," said Henningsen. "When it's hot outside, it's cold inside." Students dodge buckets, and as a drama student, he's been shocked three times by the light board in the school's Little Theatre, he said. "And you can trap 50 people in the parking lot with just one car," he said. Hope isn't enough Sherrer told the South students that they should be full of hope on graduation day but to remember that hope alone won't get them far. "There are a lot of people who hoped they'd be sitting where you are today and they're not here," he said. To make what they want happen, the graduates will, need character, courage and commitment," Sherrer said. "How reliable are you? How honest are you? Is your word worth anything? Do you care about other people?" he asked. But character alone is not enough, he said, urging the graduates to stand up for what they think is right and to be willing to make sacrifices. "Life is never easy," Sherrer said. "Life is good because you make it. Don't box yourself in and let what others DAVIS TURNER / The Salina Journal Salina South High graduate Tai Kerbs showers her classmates with confetti Sunday as the celebration begins in the closing moments of graduation ceremonies at the Bicentennial Center. think of you limit what you can be." Walker asked the Central seniors if they were planning on making money. Nearly all raised their hands. "If your pursuit is just to make money, you'll never get there," he said. "Or if you earn what you want, you'll be in fear you're going to lose it." In addition, the graduates need passion, education and vision to succeed, Walker said. "Life is 10 percent of what happens to you," Walker said. "The other 90 percent is what you choose to do." Tassel-moving time At last, it was time to do what they'd come for. One by one seniors from both schools crossed the Bicentennial Center stage to get a diploma and shake hands with school officials. Horns blared. Relatives cheered. Some supporters stood and held signs. Central graduate James H. Bishop Jr. walked across in lime green shoes. South graduate Chad Norris didn't really walk — instead, he kind of wormed his way — across the stage using all fours. At the direction of their class presidents, the seniors moved their tassels from the left to the right of their mortarboards. Then the confetti, silly string and beach balls began to fly. "It's time to make a new beginning in a life apart from each other," graduate Shusten Turnquist told her classmates in closing Central's ceremony. "There are sad emotions because we don't want to break the ties we've made with each other. But the relationships we founded in four years are unbreakable." T WEATHER Hailstorm hammers i 1 i northwest Kansas ^ Northern Logan County receives five inches of golf ball-sized hail :; By CAROL LICHTI Ttie Salina Journal In northwest Kansas, this year's Memorial Day weekend might be remembered mainly for the hail that has fallen. Five inches of golf ball-sized hail were measured on the ground Sunday afternoon in the northern part of Logan County, 11 miles north of Russell Springs. "That's a lot of hail," said National Weather Service meteoroto- gist Robin Turner. "But it's lat'e May and that's when we usually get the severe storms. Although I think we've had enough." Hail also plummeted parts of Sherman, Wallace, Thomas and Gove counties Sunday, possibly damaging crops. The brunt of the storm missed Salina. The city received 0.01 of an inch of rain and the strongest winds were measured at 20 miles an hour, according to The Salina Journal weather station. The storm system started moving through northwest Kansas Sunday morning, dumping 0.9 of an inch of rain in 30 minutes southwest of Goodland. By afternoon, 30 minutes of nickel-sized hail was reported 10 miles south of Oakley. Hail damaged a satellite dish and broke windows 11 to 17 miles south of Gove. About 6:25 p.m. Sunday, a weak tornado reportedly touched down in an open field one to two miles south of Goodland. No damage was reported. Those reports followed turbulent weather on Saturday and Friday for the northwest part of the state, Turner said. Golf ball-sized hail was reported Saturday afternoon in Oakley and north of Grinnell. On Friday night, hail — some as large as 3 inches in diameter — hammered parts of Cheyenne, Sherman, Rawlins, Graham and Decatur counties. Winds of 60 mph were measured in St. Francis and 90 mph at Cedar Bluffs in Decatur County. Several tornadoes were visible from the National Weather Service office in Goodland, but no damage reports had been made by Sunday. Such severe weather might linger through the middle of the week, according to the National Weather Service. In south-central Kansas, tornado warnings were posted Sunday night for -Kiowa and Barber counties. There were no reports of confirmed tornadoes or injuries. A tornado watch was in effect until midnight Sunday for central and eastern Kansas. Parts of northwest Kansas were under a flash flood watch. Thunderstorms were likely across the state today, with highs in the 70s. Storms were expected in the west tonight, with partly cloudy skies in the east and lows in the 50s. Mostly sunny conditions are likely Tuesday, with highs from the low to mid-80s. The Associated Press contributed to this story. «" n. SUGGESTIONS? CALL BEN WEARING, DEPUTY EDITOR, AT (785) 823-6363 OR 1-800-827-6363 OR E-MAIL AT sjbwearing@saljournal.com

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