The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on May 26, 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 26, 1998
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Page 3
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TIHE SAUNA JOURNAL Great Plains TUESDAY, MAY 26, 1998 A3 T JUVENILE CRIME Switch in handling young offenders is smooth : Local court offices report few problems transferring oversight of youth from SRS By DAVID CLOUSTON ••The Salina Journal ,, • Nearly a year ago, Kansas changed how it deals with juvenile criminals by creat- ...:ing a new agency, the Kansas Juvenile ._ ^Justice Authority, to oversee the care and custody of young offenders formerly man• aged by state social service workers. . '.The transition of juvenile offenders 'from control of the Department of Social '..•and Rehabilitation Services to the juve- .•nile authority began in March and should ,be concluded next month. In Salina and across Kansas, communi- ,. ty corrections programs have been tabbed to manage the placement and su- ,.:pervision of those youths for the juvenile authority. .....-Notices have been sent to youths and r^their parents about the switch and who will be responsible for their continued care and casework. The transition seems to be proceeding smoothly, local officials say. "We haven't received one phone call. I don't know whether that's good or bad," said Bob Bruner, social work supervisor for the division of children and family services at the Salina Area SRS office. Becky Gassman, chief of social services for the children and family services division, said the massive change statewide has required adjustments on everyone's part. "At this point everything is happening so quickly we've had little time to sit back and reflect. We're going full speed ahead and doing everything we can to make this work," she said. About 60 youth offender cases from the eight counties served by Saline County Community Corrections are being transferred from SRS, Gassman said. Saline County Community Corrections serves the counties of Saline, Ottawa, Jewell, Washington, Lincoln, Cloud, Re- public and Mitchell. The purpose of community corrections is to sanction adult and juvenile offenders in their communities who otherwise would be in prison, or in the case of juveniles, a state youth center. Director of Saline County Community Corrections Annie Grevas said that although the change has meant more work and responsibility for her agency, it should in the long run provide better services for juvenile offenders. Community corrections already was providing intensive supervision for some juveniles, although their care and placement was managed by SRS. "When we're seeing kids three and five times a week, I thought we had a good handle on what services the kid needed. But before, we didn't get to decide. Now we get to decide," Grevas said. "Seeing these youths as often as we do, and going into their homes, who has a better handle than us?" To handle the influx of cases from SRS, Saline County Community Corrections has hired two more supervision officers and has requested $80,000 for three additional staff, Grevas said. Community corrections staff will select services for the youth offenders ranging from intensive supervision, drug and alcohol treatment or out-of-home placements, if necessary. Those services will be provided by contracted private agencies. "We're going to offer the exact same services SRS did with. the same providers," Grevas said. "There will be no switch in providers." However, one area of concern to Saline County District Judge Jerome Hellmer is the so-called "privatization" of services to both juvenile offenders and children in need of foster care. He cited one recent instance, where a group foster-care home in eastern Kansas, Kaw Valley Center, was closed temporarily after state health officials said it was unsafe and too crowded. The home was allowed to reopen after improvements were made and some children were transferred. Hellmer, who handles juvenile cases, said attorneys appointed to represent youth fear sending children into a "black hole," not knowing what programs are available and who the private agencies are that run them. The situation would improve with greater accountability, he said. "If your juvenile is sent to (the Juvenile Justice Authority) and they say you may select from this cafeteria of services,,we would not be so uneasy," he said. .^My slant is generally, competition creates a better product. And when people are required to be accountable for a service, they generally do a better job of it. Privatization is not necessarily a bad thing, and any birthing process is painful." ' Assistant Juvenile Justice Authority Commissioner Richard Kline, Topeka, said state officials are aware of the concerns. An auditing process for those services is being devised. "We want to ensure at that level there's quality in accountable services," Kline said. "That's something we're sensitive to." BRIEFLY Cable pirate comes •dean five years later :•' -MANHATTAN — A cable crook 'with a guilty conscience has come clean with an apologetic letter r and $300 in repentance cash. '• -An unsigned letter, postmarked from Kansas City, Mo., arrived at the TCI cable office in Manhattan earlier this month. "I apologize and ask forgive- -.ngss for my actions," the letter *s£id. "While it is not easy, I feel it is.f ight to pay for the sum of all tfiose involved." Enclosed were 14 $20 bills and ."tw?b$10s. ;!' ''I couldn't believe it when I "saw it," TCI general manager Richard Gofer said. "Are you kidding me?" ' /.the letter-writer said he was a ' sbphomore at Kansas State Uni' versity about five years ago and 'pirated cable TV from an upstairs apartment. ^.-"Unfortunately, this was terri- f bly wrong, however, I didn't fully " consider at the time how we were J cheating your cable company out » of "revenues during this time peri- \ od"' the letter said. ** v w ^ \ Three men drown \ in two Kansas lakes * Three men drowned in two * lakes in Kansas over the Memori» al Day holiday weekend, authori- » ties said. I On Monday, divers recovered * the bodies of two men who appar- » ently drowned in Lake Sarcoxie in Leavenworth County. The victims were identified as James Keith Hpltsclaw, 43, Kansas City, Kan., and William Beets, 45, Linwood, the sheriffs department said. !A witness told authorities he saV the two men struggling in the w^ter about 9 p.m. Sunday. The witness said he tried to reach the men but eventually lost sight of them. '.Tyson Leighty, 18, Wellington, apparently drowned Sunday evening while swimming in Wellington Lake in south-central Kansas, said Police Chief Richard Granger. ,'Leighty swam about 100 yards fr'pm shore to a buoy and then started to swim back but didn't make it, Granger said. Three people killed in weekend crashes •Three people have died in traffic wrecks this Memorial Day weekend, including an Ellis man who was killed when two tractor- triailer units collided in north- central Kansas. ; Charles W. Krueger, 40, was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident Saturday morning oii U.S. Highway 183 near Ellis. The collision occurred when another truck ran a stop sign on a county road and went into the path of Krueger's truck, the Kansas Highway Patrol said. JEarlier Saturday, Roger A. Brake, 27, Kinsley, died when the car he was in rolled off an Edwards County road into a ditch, the patrol said. Phillip G. Cline Jr., 21, TOnganoxie, died Saturday afternoon after the car he was in tried to pass another vehicle on a hill on Kansas Highway 16 in eastern Kansas. Cline's car overturned in a ditch, the patrol said. IThe counting period during the Memorial Day weekend began at 6 p.m. Friday and ended at midnight Monday. Four people died on Kansas roads during the counting period last year. From Wire Service Reports State hopes to return flags to glory they held flying over battlefields By AMY LIGNITZ The Associated Press TOPEKA — Amid the smoke, noise and confusion of the Wilson's Creek battlefield, the men of Company H, 2nd Kansas Infantry, kept their regimental line for the six hours of fighting. Their flag — stars and stripes stitched together by the women of Emporia — told the soldiers where their regiment was on the field. When it was over, four members of Company H were dead, including flagbearer Cpl. Thomas Miller. But the flag was never captured in the battle that ended with Union forces fleeing when they ran low on ammunition. ' When Company H returned to Emporia, the flag, now ragged, bullet-riddled and stained, was handed back to the same weeping Methodist minister who had presented it to the company when it left in 1861. It bore a patch reading "Springfield" to commemorate the Wilson's Creek battle in Missouri. Now the flag hangs in an enclosed display in the dimly lit Kansas Museum of History. It and a few other Civil War flags are backdrops for displays of weapons, cartridge cases, uniforms and 19th century memorabilia. But most of the state's 80 war flags — from the Civil War and the Spanish-American War — aren't in a condition to be displayed. A restoration drive is under way, and with private donations and state funds, the flags are being painstakingly restored. A couple dozen flags remain rolled on their staffs, as they have been for more than 90 years, until experts can unroll them, adding as little damage as possible. Other flags that have been unfurled lie flat in big metal cases in the museum. Some have a just a few tears, but others are in heaps of shreds. Blair Tarr, the curator in charge of the flags, lifted a piece of tissue from one drawer recently. "There's another nightmare," The Associated Press Blair Tarr, curator of flags for the Kansas Museum of History, shows two of the flags that will be stabilized to slow aging. he said. "Really, these flags are in terrible shape," Tarr said, adding that other states are facing the same problem. Many are silk, which turns brittle with age. Painted silk is even more susceptible to damage. Earlier efforts to save the flags with stitching make the job harder. But one by one, the flags are being reconstructed. The flags are covered with a fine mesh overlay, which is stitched around the missing parts. Some of the restoration takes place in the museum. More difficult projects are sent to an expert in Maryland. The average restoration cost is $8,000, depending on the size and condition. Salinan has big role Tarr credits the current push for restoration to Merle J. "Boo" Hodges, a Salina obstetrician and Civil War re-enactor. In 1989, Hodges was hoping to re-create a Civil War flag and asked Tarr to see the original. That was impossible, he learned, because the flag was still furled on the staff— and in such dicey shape the museum didn't want to try to unroll it. "That bothered me," Hodges said. Flags, he said, are symbols of ideals for which earlier generations fought and died. "If you don't take care of them, they go away, and once they're gone, they're gone," Hodges said. "There were people who died holding that flag. "The flag was witness of that horrible struggle, and I hate to see old things that were honored in their day be neglected." The Legislature has allotted $26,000 this year for flag restoration, $22,000 for the fiscal year that starts July 1, and plans are for another $22,000 in fiscal 2000. In addition, Hodges' re-enacting group has raised money to- ward the project, and the museum also has received a $25,000 anonymous donation. Tarr, who gives speeches about the flags, jokes he's traveled more with the Springfield flag than the members of Company H. But reactions have stirred sentimental feelings in Tarr. "It is great to watch people come up to the flags and try to take it all in. There are people who will break into tears. There are people who will stand in mute silence," he said. Fighting for freedom Among the most emotional are descendants of members of the 1st Kansas Colored Infantry, the first black regiment to see battle in the Civil War. The restored flag — blue, with an eagle design — was one of two unveiled on Kansas Day, Jan. 29. "Those who fought under the flag of the 1st Kansas Colored were really fighting for their freedom," Tarr said. White prisoners taken by Confederates would probably be released eventually. Black prisoners would likely be killed. During one battle, the regiment was lured into a trap, getting fired on by three sides, Tarr said. The only way out was through a swamp. Many didn't make it out and were executed. "They got the flag out somehow," Tarr said. In 1866,44 flags were turned over to the state. The remainder were donated at various times. By 1870, the flags were stored in the east wing of the Capitol and were there until 1914, when they were moved with great ceremony to the Memorial Building. In 1905, the flags were unfurled and "dusted," Tarr said, explaining he wasn't sure what the term, written in historical documents, meant. Those still rolled on staffs have not been seen since. "We don't really know what many of them look like," Tarr said. SALINA SCHOOL BOARD Extra grants sought to expand Early Head Start program More than 100 children could be served under program if federal, state funds increase By CAROL LICHTI Tlie Saliiia Journal More pregnant women and children from birth to age 3 will be served through Early Head Start if officials with Heartland Early Learning Center in Salina get approval of state and federal grants to expand the program. The Salina School Board will consider the grant applications during a 5 p.m. meeting today in the district offices, 1511 Gypsum. The board also will consider other grants, hear an update about the schools-to- careers program and discuss the efforts to improve the neighborhood of Schilling Elementary School, 3121 Canterbury. The Early Head Start grants involve state and federal grants that would enable the program to serve 50 children in Saline, 50 in Dickinson and six in Ellsworth counties. Ongoing costs for the program would be about $1.6 million with 25 percent of the funds coming from nonfederal and nonstate sources. The program targets pregnant women or teens and works with them through home visits and other assistance until the child is 3 years old and possibly eligible for Head Start services, which are for 4- to 5-year-olds. In addition to the home visits, the program provides for contracts with child-care providers for training and to ensure quality care. All providers have to meet Head Start, federal and state licensing requirements. "A major concern is the tremendous increase of births to single teens," the grant application states. In Dickinson County, births to single teens have increased 54 percent since 1992. In Saline County, births to single teens have increased 18 percent. Officials also are concerned about the potential for abuse and neglect by young or new parents who haven't been taught proper coping or parenting skills. Other business The board also will consider a grant application for technology that would expand a fiberoptic network between the schools and other agencies in the community such as the county health department and Salina Regional Health Center. The district applied for the grant last year but was turned down. The five-year budget for the project would be $18.9 million with $3.6 million provided by a federal grant. The Salina district's contribution would be $9.3 million over the five years with funds coming from a local-option budget and a possible sales tax for technology. The rest of the funds would come through in-kind donations or from other partners in the network. An election on a sales tax for technology for the schools done through the city's sales tax eligibility could be proposed this fall. 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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