The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on January 30, 1996 · Page 3
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 3

Salina, Kansas
Issue Date:
Tuesday, January 30, 1996
Page 3
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THE SALINA JOURNAL Great Plains TUESDAY, JANUARY 30, 1996 A3 T CITY GOVERNMENT commission could gain power Proposal would allow local group to make decisions about construction projects By DAN ENGLAND The Sallna Journal A proposal that would give Salina gov- 'erning bodies the power to determine .'whether a construction project would ad, ( yersely affect a property listed on state or national historical registers is being con' sidered by city officials. ; If the Salina Heritage Commission ruled that the property would be adverse- .ly affected, the project could be delayed or killed. The heritage commission will discuss the proposal at 4 p.m. Wednesday in Room 103 of the City-County Building. City staff will listen to the commission's comments and report back to the Salina City Commission in February. The State Historic Preservation Office now reviews all construction projects that affect register properties. The office falls under the State Historic Preservation Act enacted by the Kansas Legislature in 1977. The proposal would switch that responsibility to the heritage commission. But its decision wouldn't be final. The developer or building owner push- ing the project could appeal an adverse ruling to the state office. If the office agrees with the commission, and the developer again appeals, the project would go before the city commission, which would have to decide whether "no feasible and prudent alternative" exists to the project. If no alternative existed, the developer could procee'd with the project. One of the more controversial aspects of the 1977 law has been that it covers properties within a radius of 500 feet of the registered property. So, for example, the commission could vote down the demolition of a small building 300 feet away from the Smoky Hill Museum building at 211 W. Iron. "It protects properties that aren't on the historical register," said Roy Dudark, director of planning and development. The big advantage to the proposal is that it streamlines the process, Dudark said. "You wouldn't have to wait to send it to the state and then wait for their response," he said. Salina's historical buildings aren't often threatened, Dudark said. The last one he can remember is the downtown building on the northeast corner of Seventh and Iron streets. The owner wanted to demolish it but withdrew his request after the state determined that it would affect the environ- ment of the nearby Smoky Hill Museum. That building has since been sold and is being renovated. But the question is whether the Heritage Commission, which isn't typically involved in controversial issues, would feel comfortable reviewing projects that would directly affect a listed historic property. Architect Warren Ediger, a member of the commission for almost three years, said the commission could handle the controversy. "But on the more disputed ones, we could call in the state for input or send it on," he said. "I think this proposal is for the more routine decisions." BRIEFLY Police seek handgun that had been stolen . A handgun — possibly loaded .,— might be lying in the brush somewhere on Ninth Street. . S.alina police Friday arrested a .14-year-old boy who, they said, .admitted to stealing a ,45-caliber handgun and an ammunition clip. . .The items reportedly were hidden •in brush. Assistant Police Chief Glen • .Kochanowski said if the gun is .found, the finder should not •touch it and should call the Sali,na Police Department, 826-7210, or Crimestoppers, 825-TIPS. Kochanowski said the gun be- 4onged to Mona Johnson and was .taken from 314 S. Ninth between . Jan. 22 and Jan. 26. It was valued •at $150. Police said an ammunition clip was stolen along with the gun. -, Police began talking to the boy , after officials at Roosevelt-Lin- ,coln Middle School told them .-about a boy who had talked of ^bringing a gun to school. „ Kochanowski said the gun was not taken to the school. , Officers arrested James Lister, 14,163 N. Cherry, on charges of burglary and misdemeanor theft. He was being held in the Saline 'County Juvenile Detention Center. House votes to extend tax moratorium . TOPEKA — A bill that could 'save Kansas employers another '$150 million by allowing them to avoid paying unemployment taxes for a third year won House ap- 'proval Monday. • The vote was 121-0. The bill • went to the Senate, which also must approve it for it to become Jaw. ;"> Gov. Bill Graves has urged the • Legislature to extend a two-year ', moratorium approved last year : for 1996 and 1997. v;, Employers pay the tax into a C;fund that finances unemployment /benefits for jobless workers. The • fund has a surplus of $688 mil•I lion. '.Panel sought to check • into weights agency ; .; TOPEKA — Senate Majority • Leader Jerry Karr asked Senate ! President Bud Burke on Monday ; to create a special legislative '•committee to look into problems 'in the Weights and Measures Di!; vision in the Department of Agri• culture. '. "While Secretary (Allie) Devine i; has been extremely cooperative, I ;• believe a select committee with I subpoena powers will be very im;; portant for full hearing and in;• vestigation to be complete," Karr, •' an Emporia Democrat, said in a ':•. letter to Burke that Karr made ••• public. Six communities receive police grants The city of Wichita has been awarded $375,000 to hire five police officers in a federal program that also involved grants to five other Kansas communities. Given money to hire one additional officer each were Blue Rapids Police Department, $50,425; Fort Hays State University, $75,000; Garden Plain Police Department, $63,055; Kingman County Sheriffs Department, $48,638; and the Logan County Sheriff's Department, $43,888. : The money is part of $77.4 million that the U.S. Justice Department earmarked to put 100,000 additional officers on the street. From Staff and Wire Reports 'i'Whan you need to know. Tomorrow's Headlines 825-6OOO Category 6006 (Call attar 7:30 p.m.) The Associated Press Al Kerschen, owner of several Wichita halfway houses, says restricting the houses to nonresidential areas would be a mistake. Halfway houses criticized Judges concerned about lack of regulation for growing number of houses in Wichita By The Associated Press W ICHITA — It stiU sounds like a bright idea. Take low-level criminals out of crowded jails and put them in a controlled environment where they have to get jobs and pay rent or go back to jail. The plan cost taxpayers nothing, and even saved the cost of building more jails. Criminals could get counseling while learning responsibility. And judges who had worked with halfway houses before said such arrangements could work". That was two years ago. Now judges in Wichita and Sedgwick counties have stopped sending criminals to halfway homes after about 30 such houses have appeared in Wichita, and are trying to figure out how to control an industry that, until now, has not been subject to any rules. "I am totally guilty in assuming there was some kind of agency that regulated halfway houses," said District Court Judge Rebecca Pilshaw. "I feel sort of stupid." Neighbors of the privately run homes have complained of loitering, drinking, late-night disturbances and public urination by the criminals who live there. Law enforcement officials routinely encounter drug deals and fights inside the houses, and have reported instances of stabbings and gun possession. Former residents charge that many operators exploit the criminals, and some operators acknowledge there is little attempt at rehabilitation. Halfway houses are not a new idea, and several are well-established in Wichita. The difference is that the older houses are operated by the government, and must adhere to strict rules. The only rules that govern new halfway homes in Kansas are local zoning laws. There are no insurance requirements, no staffing requirements, no training requirements and virtually no limit on the number of people who can be put in a single house. Even if residents break rules, some operators will not turn them in for fear of losing the rent payment. "It is harder to open a beauty shop in Wichita than it is to open a halfway house for criminals," said Bill Fox, who serves on the board of the federal halfway house in Wichita. So the judges are thinking of regulating the houses themselves. "It's not the kind of thing that we, the court, would necessarily like to go out and get into," said Ron Rogg, the District Court's administrative judge. "But on the other hand, it seemed like we couldn't ignore it and go along and do nothing." District Court Judge Richard Ballinger, who heads the committee studying halfway houses, said riot all halfway houses in the Wichita area are poorly run. "Some of them are run in a very professional fashion," he said. "They have qualified people, they have experienced people, they have treatment facilities. And we also have halfway houses where someone just decided to buy a condemned house and rent out rooms for $50 a week to make some money on the side. On paper we don't know which one's which." Lynn Dickerson operates Behavioral Consultants, which has five houses in Wichita with about 80 residents, most of them men. He said he has $500,000 in insurance, he requires breath-alcohol testing of all his residents and has staff members in the houses 24 hours a day. Dickerson said any new standards need to be reasonable and need to focus on what is happening in the houses, not where the houses are located. Zoning them out of neighborhoods would only move the problems out of sight. "If they put some crazy standards on us, you couldn't pay for it and I can't pay for it," he said, "If they overreact, you lose the tool you have in the first place." That would not bother a lot of critics of the houses. "People are being taken advantage of," said Cyrel Foote, a former halfway house worker and community activist. "Anyone can open one up. Felons can run them. Felons are running them." David Chapman, a 29-year-old Wichita resident who said he's been in most of the city's halfway houses at one time or another, agreed. "You're at the mercy of the owners," he said. Chapman, who said he was convicted of involuntary manslaughter nearly 10 years ago, said he's had food stamps taken from him and then was charged for meals in the houses. Owners have even leaned on him for extra money, he said, with the threat that they would try to get him sent back to jail. Some residents can't take it, Chapman said. They just walk away from the houses, figuring even the risk of time behind bars or time in another halfway house is better. "It's just a scam, that's all it is," Foote said. "The number of people who go back through the houses is very high. This is basically just moving people around." T SUNSET SCHOOL Veterans, students team up Children to perform patriotic program in state Capitol rotunda By CAROL LICHTI The Salina Journal Back in November, Janice Krause told her Sunset Elementary School fifth-grade choir students -that their hard work for a canceled Veterans Day parade •would pay off. "Even if they didn't see it then, some fruit will come from this," she told the youngsters then. But even Krause didn't realize how true her words would become. The Sunset fifth-graders will perform Friday at noon on the second floor of the state Capitol rotunda in Topeka. The program has already won the admiration of local veterans, who saw it in November and are paying for the Topeka trip. "They will perform patriotic- musical numbers and songs for which they have adapted their own words to show their appreciation for the veterans," Krause said. The students have invited veterans, the governor, legislators and other state officials to Friday's performance, which will be filmed for the Salina public access channel. Today, veterans from the Salina Area POW-MIA, Sons of the American Legion Squadron No. 62 and the Leslie W. Krebs Post No. 62 American Legion will present the students with $300 for the trip. They will also present each student a certificate of appreciation. The gifts resulted from a relationship between the students and veterans that developed because of the program, Krause said. "It's as if they've adopted us," she said. The students have adopted the veterans as well, almost like grandparents, she said. Many of the veterans shared their personal stories with the students. "There have been some tender moments," Krause said. "One veteran wrote a letter saying it was the first time anyone had said 'thank you' in 50 years." And since the invitation to Topeka, offers of assistance keep coming in — this time from Topeka veterans organizations. So many offers have come in the school has had to turn some down because of time restraints. But it's the kind of problem school officials like, said Sunset principal Steve Thompson. "It's been a terrific experience for our students," he said. T HIGH-SPEED CHASE Salinan arrested after chase Driver faces numerous charges after trooper was spit on at hospital By The Journal Staff A Kansas Highway Patrol trooper chased a car at speeds up to 110 miles an hour for more than two miles Sunday before the fleeing car crossed the median of Interstate 70 and crashed into a guard rail. Trooper Bill Goodness said he clocked the car traveling at 97 mph on Interstate 70 near the Niles Road exit about 8:20 p.m. Sunday. The car was weaving in and out of traffic, Goodness said. The trooper followed the car east for about 10 miles, into Dickinson County, before turning on his lights and sirens and attempting to stop the driver. Goodness said the car sped up and led him on a 2.5-miie chase before the driver lost control, crossed the median and both westbound lanes and ran head-on into a guardrail. There were no cars in the path of the stolen vehicle. "Luckily, nobody was hurt," Goodness said. The driver bolted, but troopers found him about 50 yards from the road, hiding in the branches of an evergreen tree. Goodness said the 1989 Dodge Dynasty that led the chase belonged to Stafford D. Thompson of Salina and was stolen after 5:30 p.m. Sunday from a parking lot at 120 N. Seventh. Paul Jacobs, age unknown, Salina, was arrested after being treated at Memorial Hospital, Abilene, for cuts and a broken nose suffered in the crash, Goodness said. Goodness said Jacobs spit on a trooper while he was being treated at the hospital, so he was charged with aggravated battery on a law enforcement officer as well as driving under the influence, fleeing and eluding, speeding, reckless driving and theft of the car. Racing chief tries to soften effect of 'scathing' audit By The Associated Press TOPEKA — A top regulator tried to assure legislators Monday that oversight of the state's parl-mutuel racing industry already has improved. An audit of the state Racing Commission last week concluded that the commission had failed to provide adequate oversight. Legislators who reviewed the audit described it as scathing. However, Myron Scafe, the commission's executive director, said the situation has changed significantly in recent months. Gov. Bill Graves appointed Scafe in November, months after he had appointed two new commissioners and a new chairman. "It's not a reflection on the current commission," Scafe said of the audit. "It's a reflection on past commissioners and past executive directors." Last year, the Senate rejected the reappointment of Chairman Oscar Peltzer of Wichita, and Executive Director Art Neuhedel resigned when it became clear his appointment would not be confirmed. SUGGESTIONS? CALL BEN WEARING, DEPUTY EDITOR, AT (913) 823-6363 OR 1-800-827-6363 1 *

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