The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on April 6, 2001 · Page 11
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 11

Salina, Kansas
Issue Date:
Friday, April 6, 2001
Page 11
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FRIDAY APRIL, 6. 2001 THE SALlKlA JOURNAL Great Plains A LOOK AHEAD / B2 DEATHS / B3 FUN / B4 BRIEFLY Logo contest for Festival Classic starts A contest to choose a logo for the Festival Classic bike race that is part of the Smoky Hill River Festival has been launched. The winning logo will be used on all flyers, posters and T-shirts for the race. The logo designer will receive a cash prize of $100. The deadline for the logo contest is May 1. Questions about the contest may be directed to Burgess Cycling and Fitness Center, 155 S. Fifth, which is a sponsor of the bicycle race. The phone number there is 825-4211. Volunteers sought for local TV program Community Access Television of Salina, 410 W Ash, is looking for volunteers to produce the monthly news show "Eye on Salina," which features mostly "positive news," said Natasha Behner, staff producer at Access. The half-hour program highlights people, places and events in the community. "We have over 30 volunteers signed up to assist with the program," she said. "We've got a good base but could always use new people." Volunteers can submit a piece of five minutes or less to be shown on the local cable television channel. For information, call Behner at 8232500. The next Eye on Salina will air live at 8 p.m. Tuesday on cable channel 6. Legislators honor 'In His Steps' author TOPEKA — A bill honoring the man who coined the phrase "What would Jesus do?" is on its way to Gov. Bill Graves. The bill names the one-mile stretch of U.S. 24 inside the Topeka city limits for Charles Sheldon. The Senate approved the bill in February, and the House passed it two weeks ago. However, House members added an unrelated amendment, capping the fees the state Department of Transportation could charge counties on highway projects. The Senate voted 40-0 Thursday to accept the House amendment. Sheldon, minister of the city's Central Congregational Church, based his 1896 book "In His Steps" on a series of his sermons. The book gained new popularity in recent years as teenagers began donning "WWJD" bracelets. An official Internet site claims that 14 million teen-agers wear them. "In His Steps" tells of a man dressed in rags who interrupts a Midwestern church service after people ignore his pleas for help. Just before he dies, the man tells the congregation, "There's an awful lot of trouble in the world that somehow wouldn't exist if all the people who sing such songs went and lived them out." Senate sends state fair bill to governor TOPEKA — A bill permitting the state fair to undertake a $36.1 million, 10-year capital improvement plan won unanimous Senate approval Thursday and went to Gov. Bill Graves. The legislation calls for the state to issue $29 million in bonds, with the city of Hutchinson and Reno County each contributing $300,000 a year for 10 years. Local officials also plan to seek $700,000 in private donations. Supporters said the bonds would help the State Fair Board catch up with years of postponed maintenance on buildings at the fairgrounds. The program would allow the fair to make its buildings accessible to people with disabilities, upgrade wiring and make sure all structures meet fire codes. From Staff and Wire Reports CORRECTIONS ••••• The Journal wants to set ttie record straight. Advise us of errors by calling the Journal at (785) 823-6363, or toll free at 1-800827-6363. Corrections will run in this space as soon as possible. r STATE BUDGET Legislators face difficult decisions But many lawmakers remain optimistic despite lowered estimates of revenues By CAROL CRUPPER Harris News Service TOPEKA — State legislators say declining revenues reflect national economic woes, and Kansas must tighten its belt. Tough decisions lie ahead. "We need to do some serious soul searching," Rep. Bill Feuerborn, D-Garnett, said Thursday, a day after learning that state revenue is expected to be $185 million short of earlier projections. Lawmakers now must either cut state general fund spending by 4 percent or find additional income. "We've got our work cut out for us," "It's a sign the economy is slowing, and we probably ought to tighten our belts." Rep. AAike O'Neal R-Hutchinson said Rep. Melvin Minor, D-Stafford. Beyond budget cuts, Minor thinks legislators should reconsider recent tax reductions and look at ways to encourage business growth. "It's not a crisis," said Appropriations Vice Chairman Melvin Neufeld, R- Ingalls. "We still have more money to spend than last year." They're now looking at an increase in state general fund spending of $44 million, or about 1 percent. Cuts in the proposed $9.1 billion budget won't be made across the board, Neufeld said. "If you cut 4 percent out of corrections officers, you'd have disaster on your hands." Unless lawmakers pass a tax hike, he thinks most Kansans probably won't notice any change. But Rep. Ward Loyd, R-Garden City, said the cutback could put the transfer of community college funding to state government in jeopardy National trickie-down Most see the Kansas economy buffeted by circumstances beyond its control: a volatile stock market, rising utility prices, high gasoline costs. When the stock market improves, Neufeld predicts people will return to buying cars, refrigerators and such. It's psychological, he said. "People quit buying big-ticket items because they're unsure of the future." Estimators Wednesday lowered their predictions of state sales tax collections over the two years by $120 million. They also lowered expectations for individual and corporate income tax collections. "It's a sign the economy is slowing, and we probably ought to tighten our belts," said Rep. Mike O'Neal, R- Hutchinson. He doesn't think the Legislature should stampede toward new taxes. Previous tax cuts could have helped revenues, he said. "We might have been much worse off without the kick-start," O'Neal said. See BUDGET, Page B3 Foggy ride JUSTIN HAYWORTH / The Salina Journal Chance O'Farrell, 5, Salina, rides liis go-cart Thursday morning in one of the parking lots at the East Crawlord Recreation Area in fog that covered the Salina area in the morning. Chance was out with his sister Libby, and father, Clint O'Farrell. T AIDING RELEASED PRISONERS Program to aid former inmates WHAT: United Methodist Church's informational workshop to train rfientors for those recently released from prison WHEN: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., April 21 WHERE: St. Mark's United Methodist Church, Wichita REGISTRATION: Its required. Call 1-800-745- 2360.There'sa,$5fee, which includes lunch NEED A RIDE? Call Sallnan John Chalmers at 827-6200 V BY GEORGE Salinan Chalmers on committee to form 'after-care' program By KARA RHODES The Salina Journal While working with Saline County Community Corrections, John Chalmers grew frustrated at the repeat offenders he saw. "It was unbelievable how 1 saw some of the same people over and over," Chalmers said. "There were some on probation who wanted to help themselves, but there wasn't much of a resource." So, when Chalmers heard the United Methodist Church's Kansas West Conference was attempting to organize an "after-care" program for those re­ cently released from prison, he joined the committee. And while 11 of the 15 members are from Wichita, they recently named Chalmers, who lives in Salina, committee chairman. Chalmers said the program, based around mentoring, will aid recently released prisoners in finding a job, joining a church and smoothly re-entering society "They're coming from a place where they were very isolated from society, very regimented in their lifestyle," he said. "Often, they're released into the very same atmosphere that they left, and there's nothing for them to do but go back to the same kind of environment." Nancy Jackson worked as a board member with the United Methodist Church's Criminal Justice and Mercy Ministries in Oklahoma. She was a mentor in the program there that the Kansas program will be based on. She moved to Wichita several years ago and now is a board member here. She said her mentoring experiences were positive. She helped one woman, who served two years for shoplifting and passing bad checks, find a place to live for her and her six children and gave her information on jobs. "It's simple things, but things that really affect their lives," she said. "Statistics say if a person coming out of prison can keep a job for a year and has minimal support, they won't go back to prison." See HELPING, Page B3 T UTILITY BILLS Many behind on bills Kansas Gas Service reports 23,371 customers overdue By The Associated Press WICHITA — More than one out of 10 Kansas Gas Service customers are behind on paying their gas bills. About 60,000 households either are in arrears or are paying off their bills on a mandatory installment plan, according to Kansas Gas figures released Wednesday Kansas Gas Service is the state's largest gas provider, with 630,000 customers. There are 23,731 customers behind 60 days or more with an average debt of $560. Last year, there were 14,121 customers with past-due bills at an average bill of $243, the company said. "The vast majority were able to pay their bills on time. It was that some people had a harder time this year paying their bills," said Kansas Gas Service spokesman Steve Johnson. The average residential heating bill for November through February was $566, compared to $298 for the same four-month period last year Together, those customers owe more than $20 million — up from about $4.4 million owed last year. The figures are surprising and scary, said Deborah Abner, coordinator of the Salvation Army's Heatshare utility-assistance program. "It means we have a whole brand new group of people who are going to be needing help," Abner said. Johnson said it's a concern for the company as well. Kansas Gas only gets paid to deliver gas; the cost of the gas itself is passed straight through to customers at the See BILLS, Page B3 A soft office can turn down the suffering Because the scales don't always balance, victims need a sturdy shoulder Carol Bradford's office is a cozy place, with ducks on the wallpaper and toy bears and bunnies scattered about. There are flowers and, of course, chocolate. "Candy is soothing," she says, displaying great wisdom. If it all seems overly cute, it's only because the happy decor is necessary to absorb the pain that is spilled in that room daily Carol Bradford is the sexual assault advocate for the Domestic Violence Association of Central Kansas. Well, actually, Bradford does not advocate sexual assault. She is the advocate, the counselor, the sturdy shoulder to cry on, for the victims of sexual assault. She works for the agency that seeks to ease the pain of man's inhumanity to woman and which, as a nonprofit outfit, cannot afford a copy editor who might point out the backward names they keep using. Someday we might even stop calling these "sex crimes," because, as those in the field say, they aren't acts of SQX. They are acts of violence. A, Maybe we can start calling them "crimes against sex," as in Slobodan Milosevic's "crimes against humanity" Anyway, the people who come to see Brad- * ford need all the cuddliness they can get. They are females of all ages who have been molested, assaulted, raped. Some by strangers, more by loved ones, most by acquaintances. Few by people who will be sent to prison for their crimes. "You just get so frustrated," Bradford said. "If they don't have excellent evidence, they won't put it before a jury" So often, she said, the legal case boils down to her word against his. Physical evidence is scant, if not nonexistent, perhaps because the crime wasn't reported for hours, days or weeks afterward. The victims can be a mass of conflicted feelings. They blame them- GEORGE B. PYLE Tlie Saliiia Journal # selves. They blame others. They feel ashamed. They want revenge. "What they really want is for the guy to get stabbed and have everything cut off," Bradford said. "They want the guy dead. But prison would be nice." Local police and prosecutors do their jobs, Bradford said. They take the complaints seriously and do all the investigating that can be done. But, often, it's not enough to satisfy the standards of proof required in a court of law. "He took everything from me, and he walks free," is how Bradford expresses the feeling of the victim. "Will he do it again? Probably." The victim is left to pick up the pieces and move on. But not, if Bradford has anything to say about it, alone. "They know that we believe them," Bradford said. "We believe them with all our hearts." In addition to her one-on-one counseling, Bradford runs three support groups. One for adults. One for teenagers. One for children. The children's group is called the Butterflies — as in out of the cocoon. The teen-agers are the Teardrops. The adult group doesn't have a name. The groups will be in evidence later this month at Salina's Central MaU. The Clothesline project, April 22-29, will display 80 T-shirts decorated by victims of sexual assault, shirts on which people poured out their pain and their confusion. Starting at 2 p.m. April 28, a group of young women will release balloons for an hour, one every two minutes, the rate at which sexual assaults occur in America. Soon, DVACK and its partners in compassion, including Child Abuse Prevention Services, Salina Regional Health Center and local law enforcement, hope to improve the odds of identifying the perpetrators of sexual assault. A new $38,000 machine will perform something called "colposcopy," detecting and preserving DNA evidence that can be matched to an attacker. A reminder that all this is necessary, and still imperfect, also sits in Bradford's cozy office, a specter of what she and her clients are there to deal with. High on a shelf, decorated with flowers, above the jars of jelly beans, is a set of scales. Out of balance. SUGGESTIONS? CALL BEN WEARING, DEPUTY EDITOR, AT 823-6363 OR 1-800-827-6363 OR E-MAIL AT

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