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SALINA Ityjan triumph _ Southeast upsets Tournament Abilene Cowboys in invitational /C1 Family ties Salinan Eric Stein and family to perform concert/D1 ENCOREl • Watch Roberts run: first district congressman makes it official / B1 • ASlieS tO Cash: Brookville man's WWII ashtray could be worth $25 / A5 • : INSIDE ,»>/;•' High: 24 INK 15 Not quite as cold or windy today — and the sun might shine, too / B3 Classified/C4 ^ Comics/B4 Deaths /A7 Encorel / D1 Great Plains/B1 Money/A6 Sports/C1 Viewpoints /B2 Salina Journal JANUARY 19, 1996 SALINA, KANSAS 50 cents BRRR! Kansans cope with cold and blustery winds By DAVID CLOUSTON The Saltna Journal Because his apartment at 217 S. Fourth is near the railroad tracks, Jason Thayer first figured the noise he was hearing was a train. "I thought it was a train going a little too fast and hooking up with a car," Thayer said late Thursday morning. It wasn't. The noise was the wind peeling the metal roof from his apartment building. The wind drove the roof across a parking lot and slammed it against the side of a neighboring apartment building. No one was hurt, but cars belonging to Thayer, Shellie Spain and another apartment resident were damaged. "Now we know what it sounds like to a sardine let out of a can — riiiiiiippppp!" said Spain, a friend of Thayer's who had stopped to visit. A plywood layer of the roof was left in place sb residents were able to remain in their apartments, said Mike Peterson, the city's director of building permits See WEATHER, Page A2 Photos by KELLY PRESNELL/The Salina Journal Saline County rural firefighter Bob Blomqulst gets a faceful of smoke Thursday as he cuts a ventilation hole with a chalnsaw In the roof of a home on west Stlmmel Road. House catches fire after pipe-thawing Highway Patrol troopers take measurements near an overturned tractor-trailer Thursday morning just east of Salina's Ohio Street on Interstate 70. By GORDON D. FIEDLER JR. The Salina Journal A hand-held propane torch used to thaw a frozen water pipe was the apparent cause of a fire Thursday afternoon at the Fred and Phyllis Thomas home, 4760 W. Stimmel Road. The fire was centered in a utility area at the back of the house, where homeowner Fred Thomas said he was attempting to warm the water line leading to the hot water tank. A damage estimate was not available Thursday night. Thomas said the line was frozen when he came home at 12:30 p.m. Thursday's high temperature stayed in the single digits. A stiff northwest wind pushed the wind chill factor to more than minus-40 degrees Fahrenheit. Thomas worked on the frozen pipe for about 90 minutes. "I had the water running by about quarter after two," he said. He noticed smoke sometime after 3 p.m. As rural fire personnel from fire districts three and seven arrived, pennants of heavy smoke, carried by the gusty winds, were unfurling along the south side of the house. The wind threatened to drive the fire through the rest of the residence, but fire fighters managed to keep it from spreading much beyond the utility area. Most of the heat damage was contained in the utility room, a bathroom and bedroom, according to District No. 3 Fire Chief Mark Summerfeld. The harsh conditions were a concern for Summerfeld. "The most important thing is keeping the firefighters warm and keeping the fire hoses from freezing," he said. No one was injured in the fire. Thomas, his wife and their children, Jeremiah, 15, and Jessica, 13, escaped unharmed. One of the Thomases neighbors, House fire House fire at g ,4760W,StimmeTr]d, Herman Sublom, who lives about a half-mile away, offered the family a place to stay. Thomas said they'll probably accept his offer until the family makes other arrangements. T LEGISLATURE Panel supports 70 mph Supporters expect some legislators to want even higher limits By The Associated Press TOPEKA — Motorists would be able to drive at 70 mph on four- lane interstates in Kansas and 65 mph on two-lane highways under a bill endorsed Thursday by a House panel. On an unrecorded voice vote, the Transportation Committee sent the measure to the House, which is expected to debate it next week. Supporters expect attempts will be made to increase the top limit to 75 mph. The bill includes a 10 mph "buffer" for speeders. People can receive a ticket for exceeding the speed limit, but it would not be considered a moving violation or show up on their driving record unless they exceed the speed limit by more than 10 mph. Insurance companies oppose such buffers in state law because violations cannot be used to increase rates. However, Rep. Kenneth King, R- Leon, the committee chairman, said the buffer was a compromise that made it possible for some people to vote for the measure. The 10-mph buffer, which would be for both 75 and 65 mph limits, was offered by Rep. Gene Shore, R- Johnson. He said many people in flat southwest Kansas would rather have no speed limits at all. "You can see 20 miles out there in a lot of places," Shore said. During a hearing Tuesday, he suggested that Kansas follow Montana's lead of placing "reasonable and prudent" speed limits on the state highways. "The buffer was the secret to drawing everyone together," King said. T RUSSIA WASHINGTON Yeltsin: Most of the Chechen hostages are free The Associated Press A Russian soldier checks the belongings of a dead Chechen soldier Thursday In a southern Russian village. By The Associated Press KEMSI-YURT, Russia — Boris Yeltsin declared a bitter victory Thursday over Chechen rebels: They were wiped out by Russian troops and most of their hostages survived an assault that turned a tiny village into a wasteland of cinders and corpses sprawled in snowy ditches. His account attempted to put a humiliating and politically costly episode in the best possible light but could not be confirmed. Photographers al-' lowed into Pervomayskaya after the four-day assault found bloodied bodies lying in makeshift bunkers alongside rows of rifles and stacks of ammunition boxes. Those images may bolster Yeltsin's image for taking a tough line against well-armed rebels — or they majr increase the perception that* the country is on the brink of chaos and the Chechen war is a mistake. There was no immediate reaction from rebel forces to Yeltsin's remarks, and it was not clear if they had reached rebel sympathizers who were holding a Turkish ferry hostage and threatening to kill the Russians aboard. Trying to explain why a huge Russian force took so long to defeat a band of no more than 250 rebels, Yeltsin claimed the village masked a giant underground rebel base with concrete gun emplacements. The claim about Per- vomayskaya, a remote hamlet of simple brick houses, seemed highly unlikely. Chechen separatists humiliated Russia last week when they slipped past the border into the neighboring Russian republic of Dagestan, seizing hostages to press their demand that Moscow pull its troops out of Chechnya. After a five-day standoff in Pervomayskaya near Chech- nya's border, Russian troops stormed the village on Monday, unleashing their tanks, artillery and helicopter gun- ships on the gunmen surrounded there. Dole and Clinton square off over balanced budget V ENTERTAINMENT Irreconcilable differences Surprise! Lisa Marie Presley files for divorce from Michael Jackson By The Associated Press LOS ANGELES — So much for "Yes, Yes, Yes!" Lisa Marie Presley-Jackson has dumped Michael Jackson, saying they've been separated for more than a month and there's no hope of saving their marriage. In Los Angeles Superior Court Thursday, Elvis' only child filed for dissolution of marriage, citing the only reason she is legally obligated to — irreconcilable differences. "Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie Presley have mutually agreed to go their separate ways. However they remain good friends," said Jackson's publicist. Marriages don't get much weirder than this. Tabloids went wild when the 27-year-old mother of two hitched up with Jackson, a 37-year- old bachelor with some pesky image problems, in a secret ceremony in the Dominican Republic in 1994. The snickering began immediately. The wedding — where both bride and groom wore black — was a sham, the tabloids said. Presley, a Scientologist, must have married the reclusive singer for the money or to give him credibility after the child molestation fiasco. Her attorney, John P. Coale, wouldn't say Thursday whether they had a prenuptial agreement, but as sole heir to Elvis 1 $100 million estate, she's hardly wanting for cash. "There are no disputes as to property or anything else," Coale said. "It's going to be a very simple and clean divorce and they're going to remain friends." File Lisa Marie and Michael are splitting. Party leaders dueling for public support in budget stalemate By The Associated Press WASHINGTON — President Clinton and Republican leaders competed for public support in their budget impasse Tuesday, with each side saying it wanted to resume negotiations but that the other was being unreasonable. A day after a GOP cancellation of a White House bargaining session left the future of the talks in deep doubt, the administration and Republicans each used news conferences and blizzards of statistical charts to demonstrate their flexibility during weeks of so-far fruitless bargaining. Each also insisted that they remained dedicated to the goal of balancing the budget in seven years and paring taxes. The Clinton administration, meanwhile, has offered to reduce the capital gains tax, dropping the top rate to 20 percent and virtually erasing the levy on sales of homes, said a GOP congressional source, speaking on condition of anonymity. "To the Republicans in Congress, let me say again, 'My door is open,'" Clinton told reporters at the White House. "It is open. It will stay open. I have spent 50 hours on this working with them, and I am committed to continuing to work with them until we get the job done." "It's nothing but a revolving door," responded Senate Majority The Associated Press Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole exchanged barbs with the President over the budget Thursday. Leader Bob Dole, R-Kan., who said Clinton had rejected good-faith GOP offers time and time again. He said the president had already decided that "the talks have ended," adding, "He's already starting to lay the groundwork for 1996, his re-election bid." The partisan exchanges illustrated both parties' reluctance to be seen as scuttling budget negotiations, which have eluded an agreement since they began in November. But with no new sessions scheduled, officials on both sides said privately that prospects for a budget deal this year were dim. And they had all but ruled out reaching an accord before the president's State of the Union address on Tuesday.