The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on January 27, 1996 · Page 9
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 9

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Salina, Kansas
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Saturday, January 27, 1996
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Page 9
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THE SALlNA JOURNAL Great Plains VIEWPOINTS / B2 FASHION / B3 MONEY/ B5 WILDLIFE AND PARKS mployees say legislation won't impair services Bill would split employees pnto two distinct divisions [jo keep funding separate ' By DAVID CLOUSTON | The Saltna Journal ;-; A legislative proposal to better define duties within the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks will help the agency With administrative troubles, but those ifeithin the agency say there shouldn't be any impact on public services. • -'Wildlife and Parks has been under fire because of a diversion of federal funds to pay workers in programs for which the money wasn't intended. The state has had to repay the federal government some of those funds. The problem arose because the agency is funded by multiple sources. State parks employees are funded by fees paid by park users. Employees of the public lands section, which oversees state fishing lakes and wildlife areas, are paid from wildlife fee funds. The agency also gets money from the state general fund. House Bill 2621, before the House Energy and Natural Resources Committee, would keep the agency as a single entity but split employees into two distinct divisions, so that funding would be kept separate. "There just won't be as much overlap. I guess a prime example of that, as park manager at one time I had Kanopolis State Park, Kanopolis Wildlife Area and I was supervisor of the Saline and Ottawa county fishing lakes," said Rick Martin, Kanopolis State Park manager. With all those areas being funded by different fee funds, the bookkeeping was a challenge, he said. "Now that I don't have 5,000 acres of wildlife area and two fishing lakes, I can put more of my concentrated efforts back into the park," Martin said. Those areas are now overseen by the public lands section. The bill on dividing the agency was co- referred to the House Appropriations Committee, meaning if and when it moves out of the energy committee it has to be approved by appropriations before it comes up for a floor vote. The bill is one of about a half-dozen pieces of proposed legislation affecting the parks department, said energy committee chairman Carl Holmes. Among the list are measures to control how the department can enter into contracts with the federal Army Corps of Engineers. Another would require that for every additional acre of ground that wildlife and parks acquires, they would have to give up an acre. "All these bills directly, or indirectly attach to the diversion issue," said Holmes. "This is an agency, a lot of legislators feel, for the last five or six years has been misusing funds the Legislature appropriates." Then-Gov. Mike Hayden consolidated the old Fish and Game Commission and Parks and Resources Authority by execu- tive order in 1987, and the Legislature approved it. Whether there are two agencies or one, both are workable and can serve the public, said Tom Silovsky, Milford State Park manager, who worked under both systems. The single agency, however, was seen as a more efficient use of personnel and equipment. Martin thinks the public won't be affected by administrative reorganization of the agency if it occurs. "Everyone has their same position and has a job they have to do. We still have those same jobs, we still have the same responsibilities we had before," Martin said. "However, it's taken care of administratively in Pratt and Topeka really hasn't affected us." Hays officials attempt to save air service ; HAYS — How does a small rural city keep its air service? City officials in Hays are hoping a $12,000 contribution to a me- iiia campaign urging people to fly US Air Express out of Hays Municipal Airport will do the trick. The campaign is designed to boost the number of monthly air passengers from 300 to 1,100. USAir Express is the only commercial carrier still serving the city, which opened a million-dollar airport terminal in 1990. "Air Midwest, the corporate manager of USAir Express, has said it may leave the city unless board- ings at Hays reach 600 a month by tine end of July, and reach 1,100 a month by .the end of 1996. But fewer than 300 boardings on USAir Express occurred during any month of 1995 — a banner year for air travel at the Hays airport. Animals found dead at Manhattan zoo MANHATTAN — Zoo officials were keeping a close eye on the condition of some rare deer after two dogs apparently got into Sunset Zoological Park and attacked them and several other animals. Three Canada geese and a bar- headed goose in the free-roaming- children's zoo area were found dead Friday. A bar-headed goose, a female llama and two rare western tufted deer were injured, said Angie Fenstermacher, the zoo's marketing and development director. The deer, native to China and exhibited by only seven zoos in the world, were given to Sunset Zoo in 1993 as a gift from the San Diego Zoo. The dogs were discovered in a llama corral. Zoo officials contacted the dogs' owners after they found a telephone number on one of the dog's collars. Fenstermacher said the matter has been turned over to police. Charges reinstated against ex-police chief TOPEKA — The Kansas Supreme Court on Friday reinstated criminal charges dismissed earlier by a lower court against Kenneth Wright, a former Plainville police chief. Wright was indicted in September 1994 on eight counts, including criminal threat, stalking, telephone harassment and theft. Five of those eight counts later were dismissed in Rooks County District Court. In a unanimous opinion authored by Justice Edward Larson, the Supreme Court reversed most of the Rooks County dismissals, reinstating four of the five dropped charges. However, the higher court upheld the Rooks County dismissal of the stalking charge. Independence man killed in accident ' HOLT, Mo. — An Independence, Kan., man was killed when the car he was driving slid on ice into oncoming traffic on Interstate 35 and hit a tractor-trailer. ~ Donald Burt, 71, was pronounced dead at a Liberty hospital less than three hours after the accident Friday morning, the Missouri State Highway Patrol said. The accident occurred about 15 miles northeast of Kansas City. :- From Wire Service Reports Tomorrow's Headlines 825-6OOO Category 6006 '(Call after 7:30 p.m.) Scoopin' snow TOM DORSEY / The Salina Journal David Balaun, building operator at Roosevelt-Lincoln Middle School, 210 W. Mulberry, shovels snow from the sidewalk in front of the school's south entranceway Friday morning. Balaun said he braved single-digit temperatures to "keep it as safe as we can." T LOST AND FOUND Woman recovers bundle of checks Courier lost $528,000 in canceled checks in alley near Salina bank By GORDON D. FIEDLER JR. The Salina Journal Page Loveday was entering the rear door of Santa Fe Pet Co., 227 S. Santa Fe, to buy some dog food shortly before 8 p.m. Thursday when she saw what looked like a bundle of papers in the alley between the pet store and First Bank of Kansas, 235 S. Santa Fe. It seemed obvious that someone had just dropped them, she said, so she figured they'd be back and claim their property. "I went into the store and when I came out they were still there," Loveday said. . T LEGISLATURE LOVEDAY "I said I'd better look at that. It might be important." She unloaded the dog food in her car nearby, retrieved the bundle and went back into the pet store where the light was better. The four-inch thick stack of papers bound with a rubber band were checks. Lots of checks. $528,000 worth of checks. It was obvious that they had come from the bank next door, but at that hour there was no bank official on duty. So Loveday turned in the bundle to the Salina Police Department, which returned it to the bank that night. Bank spokesman Wayne Owen said the checks had already been recorded and were en route to the bank's processor when the bundle apparently was dropped inadvertently by a courier. Loveday received a call that night from a bank official. "They said, 'Thank you very much. We're glad you found it.' That was about it." Graves critical of conservative views Governor wants to stress OOP's unity, not divisive issues By JOHN HANNA The Associated Press TOPEKA — Gov. Bill Graves probably did little Friday to endear himself to conservative members of his own Republican Party. He criticized a proposed state GOP platform that reflects conservative views on issues such as abortion, then suggested that it should not have been drafted at all. He also refused to side with conservative House Republicans in a dispute over a legislative prayer. GRAVES The platform endorses a proposed amendment to the U.S. Constitution to outlaw abortions. It also endorses home schooling and a proposal to create a tax credit for private school costs. "As I've already said to several other people, other than about 20 things, it's a great platform," Graves said. Graves said Republicans ought to stress their unity on budget issues, for less government and spending, rather than "highlighting differences." Republicans began gathering Friday for their weekend Kansas Day festivities. Graves said he planned to attend a meeting today of the state Republican Committee. "We ought to be showcasing those things that we agree on," he said. Graves opposed the drafting of a party platform because, he said, of its potential for creating division. T GREAT PLAINS Tiny town unites to get post office reopened When you nsed to know.. Residents in Logan County community say it's a matter of pride to have own office MONUMENT — The sign on the front window of the small, white building on Monument's wide main street tells visitors they have arrived at something more than a post office. This is a community post office, the only one in this corner of the state, and it stands just off U.S. 40 in far northwest Kansas. The town's fewer than 80 residents united to save the service — one of three businesses in town — after officials with the U.S. Postal Service closed the office in AprU 1994. After months of hard work and political intervention — citizens enlisted the help of Rep. Pat Roberts and Sen. Bob Dole, their representatives in Washington — postal officials offered to farm the job but to the lowest bidder. That turned out to be Delton Hubert, a semi-retired farmer-rancher who has lived in LINDA MOWERY- DENNING The Salina Journal 4 the Monument community since 1950. "None of us wanted to lose our post office. It's a little bit of pride, I guess," he said. And residents like Bill Robinson didn't relish the notion of driving to Oakley, Winona or Colby, towns at least 10 miles away, to find a post office. Robinson works at the local Archer-Daniels-Midland-owned grain elevator and has a crafts business with his wife, Patricia. He also is a coin collector. "It was a community effort to work on the postal service to get this done," Robinson said. "We wanted to keep it because it's a business in town and it's secure mail. I'm not comfortable leaving my mail in the mail box along the highway with everybody in the country driving by. Also, we couldn't get special delivery." The post office reopened this past July as a community venture. The postal service pays Hubert $11,000. a year for operation. With the money, he hires a part-time employee and covers other expenses. And, every so often, Steve Schultz, the postmaster at Winona, 13 miles away, drops by to make sure operations run smoothly. "From a customer standpoint, this appears to be just another small-town post office," said Richard Moore, who is based in Dodge City and manages postal operations in parts of western Kansas. "The community post office is sometimes a win-win situation for the small community and the postal service. Many times the post office is one of the last businesses in a town and it's the last opportunity for the community to remain viable." In the early days, Monument was a place of great hopes. Sometime after 1880, the Union Pacific Railroad tried to lure citizens to its uncluttered landscape with the promise of a town that "has a system of water works, supplied by drive wells through hydrants and is the only town in western Kansas possessing this luxury. "It has the finest location and is destined to be the largest city in western Kansas." In its heyday, Monument had a general store, two hotels, a meat market, two livery and feed stables, a waterworks company, hardware store, express line and pharmacy. But the businesses slowly faded and, in 1966, the school district joined with Oakley and the town lost its high school. Today, a school with grades four, five and six continues to operate. There also is the grain elevator, a part- time body shop — and the post office. Hours have been reduced since it became a community responsibility. It's now open from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. weekdays and 9 to 11 a.m. Saturdays. But the importance of the little white building has not diminished. "This is our community center," Robinson said. "People go in and visit a little and catch up on everything that's happened." Hubert said Monument should serve as an example to other small towns. He said the postal service was probably spending $40,000 a year to keep the post office open before it was taken over by the community. "This has been done around the country, but it had never been done here," he said. "People are just as happy as meadowlarks." SUGGESTIONS? CALL BEN WEARING, DEPUTY EDITOR, AT (913) 823-6363 OR 1-800-827-6363

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