The Ottawa Herald from Ottawa, Kansas on April 13, 1964 · Page 1
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The Ottawa Herald from Ottawa, Kansas · Page 1

Ottawa, Kansas
Issue Date:
Monday, April 13, 1964
Page 1
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OTTAWA VOL. 68 NO. 106 Garnett Area Hit By ROBERT B. WELLINGTON A killer tornado ripped across parts of Anderson County south of Garnett yesterday afternoon, leaving three dead, seven injured and a mass of twisted debris. The tornado was one of a num. her of funnel systems which hit parts of Kansas and Missouri. One system struck west of Law(related pictures on pages 6, 7) rence and spun northeastward and hit in the Leavenworth area. Another hit in Anderson County and went around the southern edge of Kansas City. Six persons were killed and at least 50 injured, three near Garnett, two in Missouri and one in Iowa. All three of those killed near Garnett were in motor cars on US.59. One tractor-trailer truck, a pickup and six cars were swept off the highway by the funnel. The dead listed by the high- wasy patrol were Mr. and Mrs. Warren Kenyan, Neosho, Mo. He was 43 years old. Mrs. Ella Kenyan's age was not available. Both were dead when found, spilled out of the car by the swirling winds. The third fatality was Mrs. Jack L. Wilson, 24, the former Carolyn Kelley. She formerly lived in Ottawa with her par. ents, Mr. and Mrs. Leonard Kelley when he was director of the local employment office. The parents now live in Independence. The Kenyan's two sons, War* ren, 23, and Terry, 13, were among the injured who all were taken to the Anderson County Hospital at Garnett. A sister arrived at 9:30 this morning to take care of the two. Mrs. Wilson's husband, Jack, the son of Jack Wilson, well, known Franklin County cattleman, was among the injured, as was the couple's two-year- old daughter, Vicki Lynn. The Wilsons and their daughter were returning; home to Independence Sunday afternoon after spending the weekend with Wilson's father. The Kenyans' boys as well as Wilson and his daughter were re. ported in satisfactory condition this morning by hospital officials. None was critically in. jured. Also in the hospital were Christopher Lewis, 54, Parsons; Lyle Rockey, 21, Troy, and W. G. Cardell, 57, rural Garnett. Lewis had been visiting at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Francis Wil. son, Ottawa RFD 3, and was returning home when he was injured. Cardell was at home when the twister leveled his farm home and outbuildings. Trooper Bill Gray of the Highway Patrol said that he had driven through the area a few minutes before the twister hit. From reports by him and other officials, this path was put together. The funnel touched down first west of Welda, then hopped along the ground to a point some six miles south of Garnett where it touched the ground along US-59. Then it veered northwest, fol. lowing a ravine, where it smashed the Navely, French and Cardell homes before turning northeast again and approaching the highway about five miles * * * south of Garnettl Jim Christy, tola, was return. Ing home from Kansas City and had just passed a large truck when he saw the tornado. He was approaching the junction of K-31 and US.59. "I had just passed a big truck and at the top of the hill I saw this whirling. It was raining and hailing, the center of the storm was off to the southwest. The winds kept getting stronger. So I pulled off to that island In the middle of the intersection, put my car on park, rammed my foot on the brake and waited. "It's a wonder I didn't tear the steering wheel off the car. It was all over in three or four minutes. When it slacked up, I looked back. I thought the storm might come back. I found my car would still run so I got out of there and went on home." An army veteran who walks with a cane, Christy said, "I've been under artillery fire, but, man, nothing like that. "The hood of his car was pitted and the front lights knocked out. Apparently the pickup driven by Christopher Lewis was behind Christy and ahead of a loaded transport. It was caught by the winds and tossed several hundred feet off the road into a keep ravine. Lewis was spilled out on the way. He crawled back to the road to get help. He didn't know until hours later where his truck was blown. It was a mass of twisted wreckage when located. Next hit was a transport truck, driven by Steven A. Miller, St. Joseph, Mo. It, too, was dumped off the west side of the highway. Then six cars were hit. The Wil. son car was dumped off to the east side of the road and Mrs. Wil. son tossed out. The Kenyan car was tossed in the same direction and all four occupants spilled out. The funnel then moved northeast, ripping through a wooded area, skimming a pasture and striking the John Campbell farm. "My wife and I were in Kansas City at the time," Campbell said today. "And I'm damn glad of it." The clock in his kitchen stopped at 4:30 but it was be. lieved power in the area was off several minutes before the twis. ter struck. Campbell's house was damaged. He lost his barn, chicken house, garage, cattle shed and silo. "The silo and the cattle shed were concrete," Campbell said. "I would have thought they would have withstood anything." From there the funnel cut through another wooded area, next hitting the farm homes of Earl Brown and Paul Bennett. At that point it was nearly a half, mile wide. Brown's comment today was "I'm wiped out."When the storm hit he had just returned home. Arriving just ahead of him were his son, Raymond, 16,anddaugh. ter, Mary, 18, and two friends, Eddie Lamb and Roberta Hale. The four had been at church in Garnett. As the storm came up, the two youths ran out to bring in cattle. "I saw it was a bad one," Brown said. "I yelled at the kids to come quick and get into the storm cellar. We just made it. Once the winds sucked open * * * HERALD MONDAY, APRIL 13, 1964, OTTAWA, KANSAS Wid BLACK SUNDAY- This picture was taken about 3:40 p.m. Sunday from the eastern edge of Lawrence facing west toward the University of Kansas. The people in the foreground view the funnel as it dips down some 10 miles west of Lawrence. The twin towers of Eraser Hall are the door to the cellar and we were showered with rocks." Brown has lived on the place since 1945. This was the first time he has had to use the storm cellar which appears to have been built 40 or 50 years ago. It is built of rock and cement and is partially below ground. Today it was the only thing on the farm left intact. "What do I do now?" Brown asked. He lost no cattle but several calves were still trapped in the debris of his barn and workers were clearing away wreckage to free the stock. "I guess I'll take my stock to the sale and retire," Brown added. Nearby at the Paul Bennett farm, volunteers were busy haul, ing debris and salvaging grain and feed. Bennett lost all his out buildings and his farm home was damaged. He was at home with his wife and three children when the tornado hit. The family ran out the back door and took to the tornado cellar until it was all over. Bennett also lost three head of cattle, two of which he was able to butcher last night. Mrs. Mary Nelle Talbot of the Anderson County Red Cross said that a disaster team was on the way to the area and an inventory of the damage would be made as soon as possible. She had no total of the number of farms hit but Sheriff Bill Gadelman said Trucker Tells Of Violent Ride On Tornado's Winds GARNETT—"You know what happens when a feather goes down the drain after you pull the plug? Well, that's me." This is how Steven A. Miller described his situation Sunday at 4:45 p.m. when his tractor, trailer truck rolled up over the crest of a hill five miles south of Garnett. "I saw something swirling alongside the road." Miller said later, fingering the cut on the back of his head. "I,think at the time I knew what it was and that my only chance was to roll on past it. "But I didn't have enough speed and it sucked me in." Miller, 29, a truck driver for the Dugdale Packing Co., St. Joseph, Mo., was headed south of US 59 with a load of 25,000 pounds of meat on his 32,000 pound transport truck. The twister that struck the area caught his big truck, spun it around as if it were a toy and tossed it into a deep ditch on the west side of the highway. Miller said he saw the swirl, ing but the speed of his truck after climbing the long hill was not sufficient to get him past the swirling area. When his truck was caught up in the tornado, Miller said he had no ideas about getting out of the truck. "I was n't about to turn loose of the steering wheel. The winds may have picked up the truck completely for a short distance. You can aL. most trace the skid marks all the way. "After it tossed the truck on its top off the road, I started to climb out, but there were logs flying through the air, so I ducked back in. 1 thought I waited about 10 minutes before I got out again. At least it seemed that long. In, fact, it seemed like years." After he got out, Miller said he found one of his shoes which had been sucked off. The cut on the back of his head was treated at the Garnett hospital, then he went back to the scene to await a second company truck to the meat could be salvaged. Lucky to be alive, he said, •1 feel all right now but I bet I'll be stiff tomorrow. The ditch into which the huge truck was tossed is about 25 feet deep, west of the road. The truck came to rest about 35 feet from the road. Apparently the truck was al. most through the area when one edge of the tornado caught the truck, sucking it around to the west. Most of the cars which were caught by the storm were behind the truck and were tossed to the east side of the highway. he knew of six places which were badly damaged. Highway Patrolmen from three counties assisted Gadelman in the cleanup work and directed the heavy traffic in the area. All power and light lines were down. About the time the twister hit, heavy hail did some damage in Garnett and there some reports of wind damage five miles east of Garnett. Winds up to 50 miles an hour hit the Ottawa area and there was some rain. The local phone company reported that both local and long distance calls doubled yesterday. Contacted this morning, Mrs. G. C. Fredeen, Franklin County chairman of the Red Cross, said that over 200 volunteers were working in the storm areas near Garnett, Lawrence and Leavenworth. Also assisting in the Garnett area was Sheriff Joe Ferns. Spec, ial medical supplies were sent by way of the Highway Patrol from the Ransom Memorial Hos, pital here to the hospital at Garnett. The Garnett unit of the Na. tional Guard was called out to do patrol duty and aid in traffic control. The unit went into action about 8 p. m. and remained on duty until 6:15 this morning. Ottawans in the unit were John Humerickhouse, Ewing Fritts and Elmer Roth. The other three storm fa. talities yesterday were: Charles Hedger, 13, killed in a barn near Pleasant Grove, Mo.: Victor Kerns, 50, killed near his home northwest of Lee. ton, Mo.: Flora Eichhorst, 91, killed in her home at Yorktown, Iowa. A tornado roared over Leav. enworth, Kan., not quite touch, ing down, but close enough to damage about 75 homes, smash windows in the business district and uproot many trees. Seven persons were injured there. Tobacco barns were flattened near Weston, Mo. Farther on, at Yorktown, a community of 146 persons in southwest Iowa, a tornado killed Mrs. Eichhorst and injured six others. At Pleasant Hill, about 10 miles southeast of Kansas City, a tornado rode along the ground two miles cutting across the north half of the town, injuring at least 25 persons. The Hedger boy was killed in a barn where he was milking a cow west of town. A 50 . ton crane was blown from the top of the Missouri Public Service Co. plant at Pleasanton and landed on rail, road tracks 200 feet away. Electric power for ll.OOOcus. tomers in eight towns served by the plant was knocked out. South of Warrensburg, a twister caught Kerns' car as he turned into his driveway. The car was hurled end - over • end. Kerns was killed and his wife, Jane, was injured. Another storm struck Mary. ville in northwest Missouri at 10:30 p.m., breaking trees, utlli. ty poles, windows and stripping roofs. The Missouri Highway Patrol said it was a tornado. The roof of a bus barn at Mary. ville State College was lifted off and dropped on the Wabash rail, road tracks. U.S. 71 was blocked by debris. In Oklahoma, winds up to 70 miles an hour whipped up dust that caused near-zero visibility in many sections. Four traffic deaths were attributed to the dust. The tornado that crossed Doug, las County, Kansas, was first sighted near Overbrook. Near Clinton, rescue workers found Mrs. Callie Lewis, about 90, sitting dazedly on the founda. tion of the two-story home where she had lived alone. The house was gone. She said she was up. stairs when the storm struck, and that was all she could re. member. She was taken to the Lawrence hospital. Injured west of Lawrence were George Petefish and his mother, Mrs. Daisy Petefish. A twister knocked down trees and power lines in Labette County east of Edna. Red Cross officials estimated that 75 to 150 cars were dam. aged by falling trees in Leaven, worth. A wall of a storage build, ing collapsed, damaging many of 20 new cars housed there for the Bramlage Motor Co. At Pleasant Hill, Mrs. Mary Helen Ross said she saw the storm coming and lay on the floor of her trailer home at the west edge of town. She said the trailer was lifted up and seemed to explode and she was thrown into a field. She suffered cuts and bruises. Apparently it was the same twister that struck again near Lone Jack, destroying several farm buildings before it passed west of the town. Hiawatha, in northeast Kan. sas, was hit Sunday by a severe hall storm that broke out nu. merous windows in homes and business places. Roofs were damaged and limbs were blown from trees. The northern section of Hia. watha was hardest hit, with hail six inches deep in places. barely visible along the horizon in the right quarter of the photograph^ The twister leveled farm homes and buildings west of Lawrence but\ within the corporate limits of the city, damage was minor. (Herald photo, • by Terry Murphy) Parking Opponents | File 48-Page Petition 1 By BLAINE KING Forty-eight pages of petition, including the signatures of the Franklin County commissioners, were turned in Saturday .at the city clerk's office, City Clerk, Don Capper said today. He said the Missouri Pacific railroad also mailed in a peti. tion expressing the railroad's opposition to the parking lot plan. If the number of signers is sufficient, the petition could block the city's plan to build three parking lots in the downtown area. The cost of the lots would not exceed $250,000. F. M. Coons, secretary.treas. urer of Hubbard Lumber Co., and Earl Schmanke, president of the company, turned in the petition about 11:55 a. m. Satur. day, Capper said. The petition had to be filed within 20 days after the legal publication authorizing the park* ing lots was printed March 23. Twenty days from that date was April 12, Sunday. Robert A. AndeTson, city at. torney, said that because the last day for filing was Sunday, the deadline would be extended until 5 p. m. today. The number of signatures on the petitions may be changed even after the deadline for filing is Wind Forces Plane To Land High winds grounded a small, two-seater airplane at the muni, cipal airport Sunday afternoon during a flight from Kansas City to Burlington. Jack Kille, manager of the air. port, said the plane, piloted by Kenneth Decker, an airline em. ploye in. Kansas City, landed here in winds gusting up to 48 miles an hour. Three men couldn't hold the airplane down on the runway, Kille said, and he finally had to fly the plane to a hanger, where It took all three men to wrestle the plane Inside. Decker was accompanied by a young woman, who Is an em. ploye of the same airline. Kille said Decker's parents took the couple on to Burlington, where they live. past, however. Anderson said the new Kansas statue governing condemnation and remonstrance petitions pro. vides that anyone who has signed the petition may re move his name at any time before the city com. mission makes a ruling on the petitions. However, no signa. tures may be added after the deadline, Anderson said. Saturday, Anderson declined comment on whether the county commissioners could sign the county's 40 lots against the park, ing lot proposal. The commissioners signed the remonstrance petition Friday. However, Anderson's refusal should not be taken to mean that he believes there is some ques. tion about the validity of the commissioners' signatures; he simply isn't talking until he is sure. Anderson said there are some restrictions on what can be done with county land. "But it is obvious to me that if anybody can sign, it would be the county commissioner," he said. "But I have had no reason to do a lot of research on the question," Anderson said. "We don't even know for sure a pe. titlon will be filed." And until he does the research, Anderson steadfastly refuses to comment on individual signa. tures, because he doesn't "want to be second-guessed in the paper." "I'm the guy who is going to have his papers graded at the court house," he said. "And I'm going to make plans to be right." The county commissioners signed the petition following a barrage of telephone calls and letters opposing the parking lots. The commissioners said they felt that by signing the petition they would throw the final de. cislon on the parking lot plan back to those in the benefit district. To be successful, the petition to block the city's plan to build three parking lots in the down* town area must be signed by 51 per cent of the resident owners In the benefit district, and by the owners of record of at least half of the property in the ben** fit district. The county owns lots; the city owns 34. When the petition is filed and Anderson has done the research on each question, he "will laft, it all out, and give'.them some, thing to shoot at," Anderson said Saturday. r But he also said that if the petition obviously fails he is not going to fool with it. He said he thought the petition would be most likely to be in. s ufficient on the square.foot side. and he would look at that first. If that fails, he will not checi the resident property owner requirement, because both tluj property requirement and the property owner requirement must be met for the petition to be successful, Anderson saldt Anderson will submit his opini ion to the city commission, and the city commission will makl the final ruling on the sufff. ciency of the petition. r "When the governing body rules, that is the word unless; someone takes it to court," Aris derson said. . ~ Does he think someone might take the city to court? - 5 . "It's enough of a possibility that I'm going to be ready,H Anderson said. t Weather COUNTY WEATHER —Clear to partly cloudy tonight and Tuesday. Low tonight around 40. High Tuesday upper 60s. High temperature Saturday, 68 low temperature Sunday, 52; high Sunday, 80; low temperature today, 42; high a year ago to* day, 68, low a year ago today- 40, record high this date. ME in 1936; a record low this date,? 21 in 1950. Precipitation for th§§ 48 hour period ending at 7 a,m.] .14 inch. Hourly temperatureti ending at 8»00 a.m. today; ; $3

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