Local/Kansas The Salina Journal Sunday, January 5,1986 Page 3 Legislature may have to spend more on prisons, hospitals Legislative outlook '86 TOPEKA (AP) - The 1986 Kansas Legislature will be asked — despite a tight budget — to spend more money to avert serious problems looming in two basic state institutions: the prison system and four hospitals for the mentally retarded. State corrections officials say there is a d e s p_e r a t e need for more prison space even in the wake of opening a 500-bed medium-security addition to Kansas State Penitentiary last summer. It was the largest expansion of the Kansas prison system this century. Meanwhile, state mental retardation hospitals were threatened during 1985 with a possible cut-off of federal funding if they did not upgrade safety conditions and provide more staff to work with patients. Reports from federal and state investigators prompted the addition of about 300 new hospital employees. Lawmakers will be grappling with possible solutions to both problems after the Legislature convenes Jan. 13. To help solve a projected overcrowding crisis in state prisons, the Legislature will be asked to approve a $10.8 million renovation of the Kansas Correctional Institution at Lansing. It also will be asked for $12 million for a 190-bed medium-security prison at Ellsworth. And to pay the new hospital workers, the Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services is asking lawmakers to spend $7.5 million more next year in general tax money for the mental retardation facilities than was spent in fiscal year 1985. If the new employees hadn't been hired on an emergency basis this year, the hospitals could have lost their Medicaid certifications and that would have meant also losing about $20.1 million in federal funds, officials said. Gov. John Carlin's proposed "bare-bones" base budget would reduce the state's overall general fund expenditures by $35 million from 1986 levels. However, Carlin says the base budget will include money for most prison construction projects and "full funding" of the mental retardation hospitals. The proposed Ellsworth Correctional Facility is not included in the base budget. Carlin says money raised through a proposed 1-cent sales tax increase would pay for about half of the prison construction costs in the budget year starting this July. Under Carlin's plan, money from the sales tax hike would pay the remaining costs in the next budget. However, Carlin says he is confident lawmakers this year will find a method to build the prison. Planning funds for the proposed Ellsworth prison were appropriated by the 1985 Legislature and released this fall by the State Finance Council. "We're going to be hurting (in meeting the inmate population problem) regardless of the Ellsworth funding," Carlin said. "The Legislature would be very unwise if it doesn't every year take those steps needed to keep up with the problem.'' Department of Corrections projections show the overcrowding problem could become a crisis before mid-1987, when an estimated 5,162 prisoners will be housed in facilities designed for a maximum of 5,065. From there, it could get worse — a prison population of 5,529 is expected by mid-1990. Secretary of Corrections Richard Mills said the state's prisons actually were operating beyond maximum capacity this fall, because renovation work reduced the number of available cells. He said there's no more room in the new medium security unit at KSP, which opened June 25. Initial plans for the Ellsworth prison call for it to house 150 medium-security inmates and 40 minimum-security prisoners. It could be expanded to house 300 in the medium-security quarters and 80 minimum-security, honor camp inmates. The renovation at KCIL, the state's old women's prison, involves replacing housing with a new 120-bed dormitory and construction of a new dining and programs building. The project is included in Carlin's base budget. The problems at the state's mental retardation hospitals surfaced in April. Investigators for the federal Health Care Financing Administration found Winfield State Hospital in a state of chaos. The federal officials also cited the hospital with not providing "active treatment," which means a structured, well supervised environment that fosters learning. The Legislature approved spending $1.5 million in the current budget to hire 97 new employees at Winfield after the federal regulators threatened to cut off $7.3 million in annual Medicaid funds by decertifying the hospital. Since then, the State Finance Council has approved spending $1.3 million this year for 74 additional staff positions at Parsons State Hospital and Training Center and $1.9 million for 126 new workers at Kansas Neurological Institute in Topeka. SRS officials said they have hired about 25 new part-time employees at Norton State Hospital so far without having to ask the finance council to approve adding money to the agency's 1986 budget. Ohio Street rehabilitation put on hold until spring Tom Dors«y Rep. Bob Ott (in left photo) and Sen. Ben Vidricksen were on hand for a breakfast meeting Saturday with the Salina School Board. Legislators hear school financing plan Cold and wet weather the past two months have forced a delay in the Ohio Street rehabilitation project. Brown and Brown Inc., Salina, was to have finished by Jan. 1 the Ohio Street construction between Ellsworth and Wayne streets. But the company will wait until warmer weather before applying the final layer of asphalt, said Assistant City Engineer Don Hoff. Hoff said the 9%-inch base layer of asphalt will carry traffic until the two-inch surface can be applied. "(Brown and Brown) got an extension to carry it through spring," Hoff said. "April 1 is the new completion date." Meanwhile, the orange-and-white construction barrels have been re- moved and the roadway has been temporarily striped. "The city has (its) left-turn signing complete and has done some pavement markings that we think will suffice until spring," Hoff said. "After the two-inch surface course, Brown and Brown is responsible for putting down the permanent markings." The $875,505 project involves the removal of the grass median from the four-lane artery, the construction of new curbing and repaving. So far, $799,400 of the work has been done. The second phase, to begin this year, will continue the rehabilitation work north to Greeley, Hoff said. He said the contract for the second half of the project probably will be let in April. By LAURIE OSWALD Staff Writer Four state legislators met Saturday morning with Salina School District officials and school board members to discuss a belief by district officials that Salina taxpayers are paying an unfair share of education costs, compared to more rural or industrialized districts. Dr. Terry Terril, district superintendent, and Dr. Richard A. Stedry, assistant superintendent for business, presented a plan to the legislators that they say would equalize the monetary burden across the state. Legislators present at the 8 a.m. breakfast meeting were Sen. Ben Vidricksen, and Reps. Bob Ott, Jayne Aylward and Larry Turnquist, who is the only Democrat. District officials want the school finance formula changed to place less reliance on income when figuring state aid, Stedry said. Administrators say the change would bring more state aid to Salina and school districts of similar size, which are hurt by having populations with high incomes but little taxable industry. "When the state began a school equalization plan, it thought it would give a greater share of aid to the poorer districts, but that has become unbalanced over the years," Stedry said. "The idea that each student would get a quality education despite where they lived and what their parents' income is no longer true." Factors that have tipped the balance include the fact that "state aid goes down when taxable income goes up," Stedry said. Therefore, rural districts in which the tax assessment on farm machinery changed are receiving more aid than those where there are fewer farmers, Stedry said. Also, the local school district is called a "bedroom district" because there is a lack of taxable industry, thus placing more of a burden on individual taxpayers. The school district only appears to be rich, Stedry said, because many of its citizens receive large annual incomes. But in reality it is poor in the amount of tax avenues available in which to channel the tide of education expenses, Stedry said. School officials suggested a possible remedy would be to change the criteria for how district wealth is evaluated, Stedry said. District wealth currently is estimated by adding the amount of property valuation and total taxable income, Stedry said. School administrators suggest the state government should not compute 100 percent of income as wealth. School administrators said to decrease the amount of income it computes to 95 or 90 percent would benefit "bedroom" school districts without jeopardizing districts that are more rural or industrialized, Stedry said. Vidricksen told the school administrators that he would present the information to the Legislature in Topeka if "there is enough support from other districts." "It would be impractical if Salina were the only one fighting it," he said. School administrators told Vidricksen that about 30 other districts are willing to support their plan. Ott agreed that the number of supporters is important. "We're talking numbers. Everything is based on whether we can get the support.'' Also important is the idea of compromise, Ott said. "If we can discuss it in terms of trying the 5 percent figure, perhaps other districts will take the attitude that 'We'll help you this'time if you help us next time,' "he said. Other discussion was centered on how the legislators could help school administrators write a law to better handle primary and supplemental teaching contracts. Primary contracts are those teachers sign to define their primary teaching duties, said David Benson, director of personnel for the district. Supplemental contracts are those that furnish extra pay for taking on extracurricular activities. "We're having a lot of trouble in Salina with teachers who don't want to do anything anymore but teach," Benson said. Briefly Writer's literary catharsis evolves into book By JUDITH WEBER Staff Writer Making a life-or-death decision about a loved one is something Wanda Gillett wishes she had never had to do. The agonizing she experienced in making the decision and in having to live with it prompted Gillett, 408 Russell, to write a book. The book, "Twelve to Twenty-four Hours," will be published by Carlton Press Inc. of New York and released this spring. Carlton Press is a subsidy publisher that Gillett paid to publish her book. The company will publish 3,500 copies and Gillett will receive a percentage of profits. She will receive a higher percentage if subsequent copies are published. The book is autobiographical, but it's purpose is to encourage people to make living wills, Gillett said. She and her husband, Gene, had talked about their f eelings of existing on life-support devices without hope of recovery, but he had never made a living will, she said. "It would have been easier if he'd had it made. The guilt is terrible. I knew what he wanted, but it doesn't make anything easier." Her husband's health problem surfaced two days before Thanksgiving 1984. "He started talking, and he sounded like he was drunk. His mouth drooped and he was sort of paralyzed," Giffett said. Her husband was taken to the hospital and 1% hours later was back to normal and asking what had happened. Medical tests done in Wichita revealed calcium deposits in his neck Wanda Gillett Monty Davis arteries that were cutting off the blood flow, she said. Surgery was performed. On the day Gene Gillett was scheduled to go home, Dec. 9, 1984, serious complications landed him in an intensive care unit. Three days later doctors advised Gillett to give permission to discontinue the use of life-support machinery, which she did. "They said it would be a matter of 12 to 24 hours," she said. But Gillett's painful watch lasted much longer. On Dec. 18, her husband was transferred to a Salina hospital. "We just kind of waited," she said. Tests on Jan. 7,1985, showed there wasn't any change in his condition. Fluids being administered were discontinued on Jan. 19, and on Jan. 23, Gene Gillett died at the age of 59. The Gilletts' had been married 9% years. They had met at Beech Aircraft Corp.'s Salina plant, where both worked. "At night you can't sleep, so you write," Gillett said. In March 1985 she was laid off from Beech, where she had worked for 17 years. Since November she has worked at Holiday Mansion. Gillett wrote most of her book during the tune she was unemployed. She hadn't tried to write before that. "I didn't even read much." Writing was difficult at first, she said. Gillett started with a notebook and pencil, thi,-n switched to her old Underwood typewriter. She wrote Carlton Press after seeing one of its ads, and found that the publisher's suggestion of using an outline made writing easier, she said. Gillett wrote the book "just to see if I could do it." Writing the book also served as a release for her emotions, she said. "I find it hard to talk about it. I'm kind of a shy person, withdrawn." In "Twelve to Twenty-four Hours" Gillett also talks about her childhood and her first marriage. Her first marriage was "tremendously" different from her second, she said. Gillett's first marriage began three weeks after she turned 18. Her first husband, to whom she was married for seven years, turned out to be an alcoholic, drug abuser and wife-beater who threatened to kill her, Gillett said. She said she doesn't know why she stayed with him, but eventually got to the point where she didn't care anymore and ended the marriage in 1970. "You find that nobody wants to get involved," and there weren't any domestic violence organizations available, she said. "I was much too young," she said of her first marriage. "I told my kids they can't get married until 25 at least." Gillett has a 22-year-old son from her first marriage, and a 9-year-old son from her second. Gillett was raised in Homer, a town in Russell County. "I had a good family life and kind of took it for granted. I lived in a small town where there was no violence." The writer said her family is "thrilled to death" that she is having a book published. Gillett said she is horrified as well as excited. "It's a chance, a risk." The reception of her first book will determine whether or not Gillett will do more writing, she said. Finney to conduct Salina meeting State Treasurer Joan Finney will be in Salina Thursday to conduct a meeting with farmers, agricultural lenders and businessmen and to discuss her home quarter interest subsidy proposal. Under the proposal, a credit review board would be established to rene- gotiate loans. Finney also will be seeking input from participants as to whether she should continue a spring version of her fall 1985 Kansas Funds for Farmers program. The meeting will be at 9 a.m. in the City-County Building, Room 209. Longford 911 phone system set LONGFORD — The Longford area 911 emergency telephone system will become operational on Monday. The'system will serve the United Telephone office in Longford for subscribers in Clay, Dickinson and Ottawa counties with a 388 prefix. A ceremonial first call will be made at 11 a.m. Monday from the Coachlight Restaurant in Longford. Expected to attend are officials from area emergency services, mayors of area cities on the system and county commissionsers. Police seeking robbery suspect The Salina Police Department is searching for a robber who snatched the purse from a 22-year-old Salina woman as she returned to her apartment early Saturday, according to police reports. The police department had leads on the suspect Saturday but he was still at large, according to the police department. The incident occurred about 3:30 a.m. when the man stole the woman's purse in central Salina, police reports indicate. Losses totaled $10 for the purse and $5 for the billfold. The woman described the robber as a black male about five feet six inches tall, wearing a khaki jacket and blue jeans. He had short hair and possibly drove a blue 1974 or 1975 pickup. Big Brothers, Big Sisters needed Big Brothers/Big Sisters has 19 children still waiting to be matched with volunteers. There are 13 boys and six girls on the waiting list, spokesman David Jacobs said. Some have been waiting since September for a Big Brother or Big Sister. Volunteers are paired with children and are required to spend three or four hours a week with them, Jacobs said. The agency has completed 10 matches so far. "Getting Big Sisters had not been a problem with us. It's been Big Brothers," Jacobs said. To become a Big Brother or Big Sister, volunteers must complete an application. Applications are available at the YMCA or by calling 8254626 and requesting that one be mailed. Interterm starts Monday at KW Registration and first day of classes for Kansas Wesleyan's inter- term are set for Monday. All classes begin at 8:30 a.m. Courses offered include: The World of The Visual Arts, Molecular Spectroscopy, The Prophets and The Bible and Modern Science. The interterm session will end on Jan. 31 with final exams. Registration for second semester at Kansas Wesleyan will be Feb. 3, with classes beginning Feb. 4. Brochures list courses at CCCC CONCORDIA — Brochures listing spring semester courses at Cloud County Community College are being mailed to northwest Kansas residents. All courses begin the week of Jan. 13. They carry full college credit and will transfer to most four-year colleges and universities in Kansas. The cost for tuition and fees is $19 a credit hour. Students enrolled in six or more hours may be eligible for financial assistance. Area water meetings scheduled Water meetings are planned next week at Stockton, Hays and Norton. The Solomon Basin Advisory Committee will meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the Stockton City Hall Auditorium. Members will review progress made on the Solomon Basin Plan. The Smoky Hill-Saline Basin Advisory Committee will discuss its basin plan when members meet at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday in the Fort Hays Experiment Station auditorium. The Blue Jay Nest at Norton's First State Bank will be the site for a meeting of the Upper Republican Basin Advisory Committee at 1 p.m. Tuesday. Progress on the committee's basin plan will be the discussion topic. The meetings are open to the public.
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