The Hays Daily News Our 48th Year— No. 35 HAYS, KANSAS (67601), WEDNESDAY EVENING, DECEMBER 22, 1976 2 SECTIONS 24 PAGES 15 CENTS Split Tanker ' High winds and heavy seas make the water appear boiling around the split Liberian tanker Argo Merchant Tuesday that was aground on Nantucket shoals. When the ship split It dumped at least five- million gallons of oil Into the New England fishing waters. (UPI Photo) Battered Oil Tanker Leaves Massive Slick NANTUCKET, Mass. (UPI) — A team of Coast Guardsmen were to board the wave- ravaged hulk of the oil tanker Argo Merchant Wednesday to begin an attempt to haul the severed bow section into deep water, seal and sink it. More than 6.5 million gallons of thick industrial oil have flooded from the holds of the jack-knifed tanker in the worst oil spill in the history of the U.S. Atlantic coast. The oil has spread east in a slick 90 miles long and 27 miles wide. Hundreds of seabirds have been killed and shellfish beds ruined by the drifting pan- cakeshaped blobs which threaten both the popular beaches of southern New England and the lush Georges Bank fishing grounds. A Coast Guard spokesman, however, said that some of the oil "has gone across" the tip of 'the bank, and the damage may not be as severe as at first expected. The Coast Guard team of experts were to be lowered Wednesday by helicopter to the wrecked hulk, grounded on the Nantucket Shoals. Battling waves and freezing winds, they will attempt. to stabilize the bow section by putting out an anchor and pumping oil into forward tanks. The plan then is to haul it to deep water and sink it, using gunfire if necessary. The captain of the Liberian vessel, owned by a New York company, was to appear' in court Wednesday concerning the wreck. • '* "' * O//-Soaked B/rds Waiting To Die HYANNIS, Mass. (UPI) — Caked with so much oil they couldn't get off the ground, hundreds of seabirds stood shivering on the beach waiting to die. Over the horizon, a driving northeast winter wind pushed toward the rich fishing waters of Georges Bank black gobs of oil that spell death for marine . life. ; On Nantucket Shoals, waves - black with heavy crude oil • pounded the lifeless hulk of the 'Argo Merchant. The aged . tanker looked like a giant beer .can that had been drained, bent and tossed away. >: "We have a potential 'disaster of major dimensions," said Environmental Protection Agency administrator Russell Train. The oil has not reached the sandy beaches of this popular !summer resort area, but the ;bodies of hundreds of loons, '•ducks and seagulls washed ashore on Nantucket's Great Point. More birds stood on the :shore near death. Small birds were "so caked with oil that they couldn't fly," one observer said. "They •stood on the beaches, Shivering and pathetic, iwaiting to die." • Wallace Bailey of the Massachusetts Audubon Society said birds trying to clean themselves invited death. "They get the oil in their mouths, ingest it. It gets into their livers and they die. They are doomed by their own efforts," Bailey said. New Englanders worried about what the > six million gallon oil spill might do to their centuries-old fishing industry, already struggling to keep up with the government-subsidized fleets of the Soviet Union, East Germany and Japan. "Just yesterday I shipped some scallops to the market and the customer asked if it had oil in it," said Walter Glidden, a Nantucket fish retailer. American ^fishermen had hoped 'the 200-mile fishing limit taking effect next March would give them a financial boost and keep the Georges Bank fish stocks from being depleted by foreign vessels. Oil-Soaked Duck An oil-soaked muir (a sea duck) Is held by Jeffrey Lema, 10, of Nantucket, Mass., who volunteered his help at a field station. This was one of the first birds to feel the effects of the major oil spill from the Liberian tanker Argo Merchant Tuesday that split in two—but was leaking oil since going aground. (UPI Photo) Tax Warning By Bibb TOPEKA, Kan. (UPI) State Budget Director James Bibb Wednesday warned the state faces a tax increase unless lawmakers cut expenditures to be requested of teh 1977 legislature. The budget director outlined figures showing the state is spending more than it is taking in, and placing itself in fiscal jeopardy, since Kansas is forbidden by its constitution to borrow money. Bibb told a news conference state general fund expenditures authorized by the 1976 legislature, plus expenditures shifted from the previous fiscal year, exceed estimated state revenues by $47 million. In addition, he warned that revised state agency budget requests for the current year could widen the gap to $69.5 million if approved by the 1977 session. "There are only two methods that I know of reducing the gap: Either hold increases in expenditures below the growth rate in receipts, or raise taxes,." the budget director said. In order to pay for the overspending the state must draw on roughly $170 million in surplus general fund balances from previous years. Gov. Robert Bennett has proposed using up a portion of the balances gradually through 1978 for programs, but has opposed spending by lawmakers 'that would cut deeply into the balances. In addition, he has expressed concern for the need to Medicare Costs Up WASHINGTON (UPI) - It will cost 25.4 million elderly and disabled persons an extra- 50 cents a month for Medicare premiums after next July 1. Citing higher medical costs, the Department of Health, Education and Welfare Tuesday v announced an increase from $7.20 to $7.70 a month in the premiums, effective July 1, 1977. The increase will cost Medicare beneficiaries an additional $152.4 million a year in out-of-pocket costs toward doctor bills and such other medical services as wheelchairs and crutches. An earlier announced increase effective Jan. l raises the out-of-pocket charge for Medicare hospital bills from $104 to $124. An estimated 5.9 million persons will pay this so-called deductible in fiscal year 1977 as their share of the first 60 days of hospital care. The cost of benefits under the optional doctor bill coverage is expected to increase from about $6 billion this year to $7.4 billion in fiscal 1978, HEW said. The 25.4 million persons enrolled in Medicare next year will include 2.5 million disabled persons under age 65. maintain a financial cushion to deal with unforeseen costs. Bibb said expenditures authorized by the 1976 legislature for fiscal year 1977 - July, 1976-June, 1977 — plus expenditures shifted from fiscal 1976, total $810.5 million. That would exceed the revised estimate of fiscal 1977 receipts, $763.5 million, by $47 million. The official said state agency requests for supplemental appropriations for the current year would make fiscal 1977 expenditures total $833 million, or $69.5 million higher than the estimate. "Even the full application of federal revenue sharing will not remove the existing gap," Bibb said. The state generally receives $20 million per year in revenue sharing. In more prosperous years, the money was used solely for one-time capital improvements. A consensus estimate made by the Budget Division, the Department of Revenue and the Legislative Research Department Wednesday set the current fiscal year's revenues at $763.5 million, $62.4 million or 8.9 per cent greater than actual receipts in fiscal year 1976, which ended last June 30. Revenues for fiscal year 1978 are estimated at $829.4 million — 8.6 per cent above the $763.5 million in estimated revenues for the current fiscal year. The estimate Indicated the state should take in $65.9 million more in fiscal 1978 — July, 1977-June, 197B — than It is expected to gain in fiscal 1977. Youth Charged In Shooting Of Man ByFKEDJOIINSOfc Of The News Staff WAKEENEY - A 15- year-old Irving, Texas, boy has been charged with two counts of delinquency in Trego County Juvenile Court in connection with the Monday shooting of an 63-year-old Trego County farmer. Chris Justin Balch appeared before Trego County Judge David L. Rhoades in a detention hearing Wednesday. Rhoades ordered that Balch be detained in the Ellis County Law Enforcement Center without bond until his hearing scheduled for 10 a.m. January 4, 1977. Rhoades sustained an objection to releasing a description of the specific deliquency charges by Batch's acting defense attorney. The court has appointed Hays attorney Tom Kelley to defend Balch. Hays attorney Thomas L. Toepfer was acting for Kelley Wednesday. Balch's older companion, Terry D. McBride, 18, also of Irving, Texas, was charged with aggravated battery and attempted murder Tuesday in connectin with the same shooting. McBride and Balch were arrested Monday following a two-hour chase after allegedly shooting Bernard Bender in the throat at close range with a pistol. Bender was still in cfitical condition at St. Francis Hospital in Wichita Wednesday morning. According to authorities, McBride and Balch obtained directions to Interstate 70 TERRY McBRIDE from Bender at his home five miles south of WnKceney at about 8:25 a.m., then returned a short time later .and shot him. No motive has been established. Authorities recovered a hit ml gun when the two abandoned their car In Sheridan County and attempted to escape on foot. Officials have not yet determined whether the hundgun was the .one used in the shooting. , Kansas Bureau of Investigation agents are investigating reports that the two may have been involved in . a highway robbery, earlier Monday morning near Salina. Reports indicate two men fitting the descriptions of McBride and Balch picked up an Oklahoma hitchhiker and robbed him of his clothes and watch at gunpoint. McBride's preliminary hearing has been scheduled for December 31. He is in custody at the Ellis County Law Enforcement Center in Lieu of $150,000 bond. Hays attorney John Bird has been appointed by the court to defend McBride. County Gets OK To Exceed Budget The Kansas State Board of Tax Appeals Tuesday granted Ellis County Commissioners authority to overspend the county's 19^76 budget by $40.000. In granting the overex- penditures, the board of tax appeals said the county had incurred unforeseen expenses in the operation of the Ellis County Law Enforcement Center. Commissioners had notified the Board of Tax Appeals in November that the county may have to exceed its budget by $40,000. Bernard Wasinger, Ellis County Commission Chairman, and Simon Roth Jr., Ellis County Attorney, represented the county before the Board of Tax Appeals Thursday in Topeka. The major cause of the budget difficulties, according to commissioners, was the cost of hiring 24-hour jailers for the Ellis County Law Enforcement Center. County officials did not decide to hire 24-hour jailers until after the 1976 budget was prepared and approved. Commissioners were able to Drought Worries Forester seek authority to exceed the budget rather than no-fund warrants' because revenues for 1976 were greater than budgeted expectations, according to Ellis County Clerk Richard Schmidt. •.The county had the money on hand to cover expenditures for the rest of the year but did not have the budget authority to spend it, he said, According to Roth, if permission to exceed the budget had not been granted, the county would have had no choice but to stay within the budget and hold the county's unpaid bills until next year. Commissioners had held back enough money to meet the county payroll for the remainder of the year, and possibly enough to pay some of the bills. GOOD GRIEF / ONLY 3 SHOPPING DAYS 'TIL CHRISTMAS/ By JIM COOK Of The News Staff Nearly every school-aged youngster has, at one time or another, read or recited Joyce Kilmer's familiar observation: "I think that I shall never see a poem as lovely as a tree." Another poet and tree fancier, extension forester Fred Atchison of Hays, wouldn't argue with Kilmer, but takes a closer look at the matter in his poem, "Fallen Tree": "Sentinel of the prairie what laid you down, stripped you of your grandeur, prostrate on the ground? A victim of age, the storm's wintery blast or a blot from the sky that found you at last?" Atchison's concern for area trees, from shelter belts to home shrubbery, is growing as winter sets in. The lack of adequate moisture in the Fall, he says, could be especially hazardous to young trees and shrubs planted in the spring. "It's obvious we seem to be in a dry spell," Atchison said ^Tuesday. "And we weren't blessed with water going into the winter." The last significant rain was .88 of an inch on Oct. 27. Even though deciduous trees are bare, water is essential to their health, even in the winter, he said. "I wouldn't discourage watering now," Atchison said, "If the ground is not too frozen and will soak it up." If the ground is somewhat frozen, Atchison said there is still a way to water trees. "It's not too practical, but you could perforate the ground through the frozen crust and water," he said. Evergreens, he said, should be watered on warm days. Spraying foilage of evergreens can also restore some water that the trees lose through the foilage. That prevents "winter burn" caused by inadquate water supply through the roots. Another winter precaution for new evergreens and ornamental landscaping plants is mulching. "Newer trees are more subject to damage from heavy frost and freezing because the root system is not as deep. Mulching helps prevent that," Atchison said. Mulching would be fine now, he said, since the area has had some heavy freezes. Mulching too early in the fall can invite still further winter tree problems. "If you mulch too early, rodents, such as field mice, may nest in it and feed on your trees." Rabbits, too, can be a problem during periods of heavy snow. "Rabbits generally feed on ground plants and grasses. But when heavy snow covers their usual food source, trees and shrubs, especially young ones, become their targets." Atchison said rabbits aren't a major problem in town, but "I have seen several over the past few years." Another major winter problem for trees is storm damage. "People are not normally attracted outdoors in the winter," Atchison observed. "And when they are, it's usually to go for a walk in the woods, skating or sledding. But regular inspection of your trees and shrubs in winter can give them a much better chance in the spring." Atchison recommends inspecting trees after heavy snow or ice storms. "If a branch is broken, take it out. We don't recommend pruning in the winter, but broken branches should be removed." Heavy snow resting on trees, especially those near the edge of a house, should be shaken or brushed off. "That will get rid of the weight, which could break the trees, and it will prevent the freezing, thawing and re-freezing of moisture on the plants," Atchison said. He cautioned that removing ice from trees is a delicate task, because the branches are excessively brittle. Atchison mentioned one other winter tree problem — one he knows "from experience." "When small trees have no foilage, most people, particularly children, tend to regard them as just sticks. And, they're not as noticable. "But they're more prone to damage, and traffic, through a hedge, for example, can break off branches. People should be careful of traffic patterns in their yards, especially around shrubs, to avoid such damage." Reading at 2 p.m.: 48, Low this morning: 19 Record high: 74 in 1933 Record low. -4 in 1951 Year ago today 45 and 28 Tuesday's high 48 Clear to partly cloudy through Thursday. Highs today and Thursday 45 to 50, low tonight mid teens. Wind becoming northwesterly 15-25 m.p.h. today, decreasing tonight.
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