The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on June 5, 1998 · Page 11
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 11

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Salina, Kansas
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Friday, June 5, 1998
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Page 11
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JUNE 5, 1998 THE SALIVA JOURNAL BRIEFLY Tax collections signal economy still healthy TOPEKA — Never mind. That's the news from the latest figures for tax collections by the state. • In April, some legislators worried publicly because tax collections were less than expected, by a whopping $36.8 million. But collections in May were good — so good, in fact, that the state no longer is short of its estimates for tax collections. | IMs $25.8 million ahead. • The figures are another signal that the state's economy remains healthy. ;3]hey also are a warning ajgaitist trying to predict a trend fi^om one month's worth of data. £'I don't think we should ever take a lot of encouragement or discouragement from one month's of data," said state Rep. Phil Kline, R-Overland Park, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee. Two children killed in Kansas City house fire KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A house firetthat began on a stove killed a 4-year-old boy and his 3-month- old]5ister in north Kansas City early Thursday, authorities said. The victims were identified as HotJie McGuire and Savannah Parfett, fire department spokesman Brad Humston said. Their father, Robert McGuire, 31, was-in stable condition at a hospital, flumston said. Humston said the fire broke out about 1 a.m. when an aluminum pot that had been left on the stove melted. The children's mother had used the pot to heat a bottle for Savannah. The mother, Phyllis Parrett, was'on the lawn when firefighters arrayed, frantically telling them herchildren and husband were inside the house. Parrett was treated at a hospital and released. Former gubernatorial candidate dead at 82 TOPEKA — Harry Wiles, a Democrat who ran twice for governor and was national commander of the American Legion during America's Bicentennial, has died. Wiles, St. John, died Tuesday at Stafford District Hospital. He was 82. Wiles lost the gubernatorial election to Republican William Awry in 1964, after beating five other Democratic candidates in th£ primary. Wiles captured 47 percent of the vote to Avery's 51 percent, with Prohibition and Conservative parties getting more than 17,000 votes that year. In 1978, Wiles ran for the Demo- critic nomination for governor, bj&3Dst a three-way primary to JofijICarlin, who went on to win thinner al election. ^Jjlarry was a really good long- tuneSDemocrat," said Larry TJ3n'0pir, Democratic national cpmmitteeman for Kansas. "Until his health started failing, you could count on him whenever the Democrats gathered together." Essay pays off for Topeka student TOPEKA — The 10 or 11 hours that David Almeling spent re- starching and writing an essay about a proposed American flag amendment turned out to be a good investment. The Topeka 18-year-old learned Wednesday that he won a $15,000 scholarship for the essay. Almeling, who graduated in May from Washburn Rural High School, beat out 50 other state winners for the top prize in the first-ever Citizens Flag Alliance Essay Contest. The contest was sponsored by a coalition of 126 civic and patriotic organizations led by the Ameri- canjjegion. Preliminary hearing set in murder case PHILLIPSBURG — A Logan woman's preliminary hearing on a charge of murder has been set for later this month, according to the Kansas Attorney General's office. Gyola Diggs, 37, was arrested April 14 and charged with first- degree murder in the death of her husband, Brian Diggs. She was booked into Phillips County jail on'a'$100,000 bond. Diggs posted bond soon after her arrest and remains free. The preliminary hearing has been set for 9 a.m. June 22 at the Phillips County Courthouse in Phillipsburg. Brian Diggs was fatally shot sometime in the early hours of July 31,1997, at his home west of Logan. From Wire Service Reports Great Plains VIEWPOINTS / B2 ALMANAC / B3 FUN / B4 B T MURDER TRIAL Photos by DAVIS TURNER / The Salina Journal Accused murder Tony Hunt, rural Marquette, sheds tears during his testimony Thursday in Saline County District Court. Hunt claims self-defense Accused killer testifies he was recruited to sell drugs, then killed out of fear for family By DAVID CLOUSTON The Salina Journal Accused murderer Tony Hunt felt he had nothing to lose by selling illegal drugs to make extra money. Except that when Hunt failed to sell the drugs quickly enough, the drug supplier, a shadowy figure named Marcus, became angry. Hunt told jurors at his murder trial Thursday that he never saw or spoke directly with Marcus, who lived in California. But he said he feared Marcus and another mysterious drug supplier, known to him as "Hitler" from Oklahoma City, because of what Lamar Williams had said. Williams was an acquaintance of Hunt's who Hunt alleges recruited him to sell drugs. Hunt is accused of shooting to death Williams and trying to kill Williams' wife, Janette Gardenhire, at their residence at 161 Cherry on June 13,1997. She survived. Testimony in the trial in Saline County District Court concluded Thursday. Attorneys are to present their closing arguments this morning before the case is turned over to the jury. Hunt's attorney claims Hunt shot Williams in self-defense because he feared he and his family would be harmed by the drug dealers Williams was connected with. Saline County Attorney Julie McKenna attacked Hunt's story Thursday, saying parts of the tale didn't add up and questioning whether Marcus and Hitler even existed. Hunt, 22, rural Marquette, sobbed repeatedly as he recounted from the witness stand the events leading to the shootings. Hunt said his involvement began in April 1997 when Williams, who was working for Hunt's father's construction company, said he was working on a one-time deal to purchase and resell some drugs to earn extra money. Janette Gardenhire listens to testimony during court proceedings Thursday in the murder trial of Tony Hunt, who is accused of killing Gardenhire's husband, Lamar Williams. According to testimony by Hunt, the deal involved Marcus, a supplier Williams said he knew in California. In April, Williams went to California, under the pretext of visiting a dying grandparent, to meet Marcus. Later, Williams went to Oklahoma City to meet one of Marcus' associates, known as Hitler, and returned with 60 pounds of marijuana. Hunt saw the marijuana, packaged in large bricks, in Williams' bathroom. Williams gave Hunt 10 pounds of the drug to sell, but Hunt could sell just eight pounds. He returned the remaining two pounds and a portion of the profits to Williams. Williams later said the drug suppliers wanted the dealers in Salina, including Hunt, to sell larger quantities, and that scared Hunt, he said, because they hadn't yet sold all the marijuana. Eventually, after Hunt sought to end his involvement, Williams said he had spoken to Marcus, who agreed to let Hunt go if he paid $20,000. If not, Williams suggested the drug suppliers might harm Hunt, rape his girlfriend and kidnap their daughter. McKenna asked Hunt if he had thought that perhaps Williams was skimming profits and making it look like Hunt was shorting the drug suppliers. McKenna also asked about a conversation Hunt had with a friend. The friend suggested Williams was using a ruse about taking Hunt's girlfriend with him to Oklahoma to see Hitler so that Williams could have sex with her. "I'm sorry this is so hard for you to believe," Hunt said twice to McKenna during his testimony. Hunt, his girlfriend and their daughter went to a Minneapolis motel June 12, the day before he was to meet with police to explain the situation. Hunt said he awoke in the middle of the night and decided to go see Williams one more time to see if they could reach an agreement without involving the police. "If you're saying I intentionally went there to kill Lamar and Janette, I didn't," Hunt told McKenna. Nevertheless, Hunt had with him a loaded .357 revolver. Hunt said he pulled the gun and shot Williams, as Williams was bent over tying his shoelaces. McKenna asked if Williams, who also had a gun, was holding the weapon or had threatened Hunt with it earlier. Hunt said Williams had put the gun down, but before coming out he heard him tell Gardenhire he needed his socks and his "heater." Gardenhire testified she never heard Williams say that. She also disagreed with Hunt's version of her shooting. She said he came to her and pushed her down on the bed before shooting her once at close range. Hunt testified he fired one shot at Gardenhire from the doorway of the bedroom. T GREAT RACE Salina to welcome vintage vehicles Great Race participants to make 20-minute pit stop in downtown area By CHAD HAYWORTH The Salina Journal Look quickly at the vintage cars chugging by Saturday morning; they won't be in Salina for long. Starting just after 9 a.m., more than 70 two-person teams will stop downtown in Campbell Plaza as part of the History Channel Great Race, a 14 day, 4,000 mile coast-to- coast trek. The cars will arrive at the plaza — located between Walnut and Iron streets on Santa Fe Avenue — at one-minute intervals. After a 20-minute stop they'll be back on their way toward Emporia. Tiffany Green, sports and special events coordinator for the Salina Area Chamber of Commerce, said she expects about 300 racers, support team members and officials to stop by for a cinnamon roll. "We'll have two live bands and free popcorn and balloons for the spectators," Green said. "Hopefully, it will be a festive atmosphere." The race started Sunday in Tacoma, Wash., and is expected to finish June 13 in Haverhill, Mass. Any car built before 1951 is eligible for entry, and a majority of the entrants drive cars built in the 1930s and '40s. Salina has been an overnight stop twice before for the Great Race, in 1989 and 1991. Both times, the city won awards for being the top host, which netted the Salina Public Library a $5,000 prize each year. The city is eligible for the prize this year. The race draws big crowds at many of its stops. On Tuesday, about 10,000 people turned out for a stop in Ogden, Utah. "We had about 7,000 turn out last time they were here,"Green said of the 1991 overnight stop. "I would guess we would have about 1,000, but it could be as many as 5,000." Teams consisting of a driver and navigator — along with a support crew driving a slightly newer vehicle — try to complete the predetermined course in an exact amount of time. Cars that are early or late lose points. City Commissioner Monte Shadwick, who owns Shooter's Bar and Grill at 107 N. Santa Fe, said he and other downtown merchants don't expect the race stop to be a big moneymaker. "It's really more of an image- building event for downtown," he said. "Frankly, Saturday's event is at a time when many of us won't be open. We'd love to see it come through about 4 p.m." Jeanie Hanson, owner of Forever and Ever Antiques, 108 N. Santa Fe, said her antique store "does fine downtown on Saturdays. But anything that promotes Salina should help business all over town." T KANSAS CITY CELEBRATION KG gearing up for 150th birthday party Weeklong celebration scheduled to begin on Memorial Day 2000 By The Associated Press KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Organizers promise it will be a birthday party to remember. And with $1 million dollars in spending money and two years of planning time, Kansas City's 150th birthday party has potential. A 22-member committee on Wednesday gathered to launch the party-planning, called KC150. The festivities will climax with a weeklong feast beginning on Memorial Day 2000 and ending June 3, 2000. Celebrations will include special events and community projects. For example, the Kansas City Symphony has commissioned composer Robert Kapilow to create an original work. Shawnee Mission East High School, in Johnson County, Kan., has challenged other high schools' theater programs to write and per- form original works involving area history, all leading to a "play off' in 2000. The Community Blood Center plans to collect 150,000 blood donations in 2000. And a Scout group has pledged to maintain a flower island in Prairie Village, Kan. About 100 bankers, politicians and others attended Wednesday's launch of KC150. Patty Carney, KC150 vice chairwoman, had her own idea of how to celebrate. No taxpayer money will be spent on the party, said Bob Kipp, KC150 chairman. Instead, funding will come from a fund endowed by the Hall Family and Ewing Marion Kauffman foundations. The $1 million Legacy fund will provide seed grants to neighborhood groups, schools, local businesses and organizations hoping to help celebrate the anniversary. A nine-person board charged with administering the fund will consider grants as high as $10,000, but encouragement will be given to requests of $5,000 or less. Special torch bearers JEFF COOPER / The Salina Journal Ellsworth Corrections officer Don Rogan carries the Special Olympics torch along Old Highway 40 between Ellsworth and Salina Thursday. Salina police officers carried the torch to Wichita. 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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