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

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Salina, Kansas
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Monday, September 30, 1996
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Page 3
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THE SALINA JOURNAL Great Plains MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 30, 1996 A3 T OLD PEOPLE'S DAY It's nothing new: Town honors old people Don't call them senior citizens, says Potwin mayor By The Associated Press POTWIN — For 86 years, the folks in this south-central Kansas community have been rolling out the red carpet to honor their elders with a special day. If you've reached your 65th birthday and are from Potwin and environs, or used to be, you qualify for recognition at the city's Old People's Day. It's been held every year since 1911 on the fourth Saturday in September, with the old-timers treated to a free feed. "Don't call them senior citizens, elderly or anything else. They are old people," cautions Mayor Dean Schmidt. "You don't call'them anything but old people. That's what they want to be called. Otherwise you will get into trouble." Esther Wiebe, 95, Whitewater, was honored as the oldest person at Saturday's event, as she was a year ago. "I come because of the menu. It's always so good," she said. "Well, I also come to see old friends. I went to Potwin High School and graduated in 1920." This year more than 500 invitations were sent out, and 165 old people showed up at the grade school gymnasium for a meal of Salisbury steak, mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans, rolls, apple sauce, cake and ice cream. Each person received a silk flower. Wiebe and her sister, Elsie Classen, 89, said they plan on reusing their flowers and wearing them to church. Gus Opfer of Spokane, Wash., won the award for having traveled the farthest. Opfer, born three miles from Potwin, said the highlight of the day was seeing childhood friend Jim Hendricks for the first time in 60 years. "I didn't know him, at first," Opfer said, "it just brings back so many memories being here." The Cornelius family had the most siblings attending the dinner. There were five brothers — Joe, Lawrence, Bob, Charles and Jake Cornelius, and their two sisters, Wilma Carter and Mildred Brown. Albert and Alice Hayes of El Dorado received a prize for having been married the longest — 65 years. Old People's Day was started by May Joseph, who wanted to show appreciation for her parents' generation. The tradition was born when she cooked a huge meal and invited 48 folks over to eat at the Methodist Church. Carlene Sommers, a volunteer at the dinner for more than 30 years, wouldn't miss Old People's Day for anything. "It's such a lovely thing for the people, some- thing they look forward to every year," she said. "It's something we don't want to go by the wayside not that it would, because there are so many people involved. But we want this tradition to continue." And Sommers, who at 51 has another 14 years to go before quqttfying as an honoree in her own right, doesn't worry about the tradition dying out. "The supply is never depleted," she said. "People are always getting to be 65 years old and they will continue to come." Why? "Because they start learning aljout this day when they are young," she said. "We start the junior high girls in serving. That gets their interest. We have kids in the third and fourth grades who are in charge of stapling the programs. They always ask, 'What's Old People's Day?' " BRIEFLY Central yearbooks to be distributed today The 1996 yearbooks for Salina Central High School will be distributed from 2 to 4 p.m. today in the school cafeteria. Forty-five extra books will be sold for $30 each. Students who have purchased a book should bring their receipts. After today, the books will be available for pick up from 3:15 to 3:45 p.m. in room 171 at the school. May graduates can pick up their books during the first half of the homecoming football game Friday at the Salina stadium. ' The books can be mailed for $5. Blacks urged to become political force ST. LOUIS — Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan called on blacks to become a "third political force" in American politics. A crowd of between 3,000 and 4,000 listened for more than two hours as Farrakhan gave the keynote address at the National African-American Leadership Summit's three-day convention. Farrakhan touched on various issues, but this overriding message was one of a new government led by the concerns of the oppressed. "We want to create a third political force that cuts across all party lines," Farrakhan said. "Somebody has to tell the truth." The crowd rooted Farrakhan on as he pointed out the flaws of presidential candidates. He attacked Republican Bob Dole for wanting to return to an era when blacks were oppressed and the Reform Party's Ross Perot for having little vision. But he saved some fierce jabs for President Clinton, whom he said has become too comfortable relying on the black vote. "What kind of leadership do we have?" Farrakhan said. "You are slaves sold out to the Democratic plantation." No one wins jackpot at Powerball lottery None of the tickets sold for the Powerball game Saturday night matched all six numbers drawn, lottery officials said Sunday. "•> The numbers were 2,13,14, 35 land 36. The Powerball was 39. ; Players matching all five numbers and the Powerball would have won or shared the $12.7 million jackpot. The prize goes to an estimated $17 million for Wednesday. • Tickets that match the first five numbers but miss the Powerball Ijivin $100,000 each. • There were seven of those — two each sold in Louisiana and Minnesota and one each in Arizona, Indiana and Kentucky. Kansas is part of the multistate lottery. Bus drivers reject offer to join union WICHITA — School bus drivers in Wichita have rejected an offer to join a union. ; The Machinists union lost its 'bid last week to represent about 600 area bus drivers and other employees of School Services and Leasing Inc., the bus service contractor for the Wichita school district. • The vote was 234 to 209, with 12 Votes contested. t From Staff and Wire Reports Tomorrow's Headlines 825-6OOO Category 6006 (Call attar 7:30 p.m.) The Associated Press A couple approach the old railroad depot in Garnett as they .take a walk along the Prairie Spirit rail-trail. The 18-mile path opened in March. Happy Trail Trail on former rail site is popular with joggers and cyclists By ROB CURLEY The Onawa Herald , ARNETT — With the warm ["* i Kansas sun setting and the subtle 1 r, ^ beginnings of a cool fall breeze ,'J $ stirring, David and Janette Bilder- '$t*' back began their nightly excursion down the Prairie. Spirit rail-trail. They weren't alone, one recent evening. People of all ages were scattered along the trail's 18-mile path. But the Bilderbacks said the crowd was smaller than usual. "Actually, this is probably a light night," David said as he and his wife glanced down the trail near the newly restored depot. "You almost always see people walking or biking on the trail." That is what officials who proposed the trail like to hear. Though the $1.3 million rail-trail officially opened in late March, its tumultuous beginnings date back nearly three years. When whispers of the trail first surfaced, local landowners raised concerns about issues that included vandalism and property rights. When the railroads were originally built, landowners were told that the railroad com- panies would return the land to them when the rails were removed. Now, "railbanking" has occurred, meaning the railroads haven't given up claim to the land for "possible future use." In 1986, the Supreme Court found "railbanking" to be constitutional. Trail manager Trent McCown said the early disputes over the trail probably did more to promote the trail than to hurt it. "We have a wide variety of user's, and a lot of people say they have heard about it because of all the controversy in local papers," McCown said. McCown estimates that more than 16,000 people have used the trail since it opened. There also have been no reports of criminal damage to private property reported to the Anderson County sheriffs department. But there have been reports of minor damage, such as broken street lights, in Garnett. "I've caught a lot of those vandals, and the average age there is about 10 years old," McCown said. Officials from the Garnett Area Chamber of Commerce and the Garnett City Hall say that daily phone calls from across the country inquiring about the trail are the norm, not the exception. Stacy Geringer, executive director of the Development Corporation for Anderson County, sees those phone calls as showing renewed interest in downtown Garnett. "We've already begun to see the impact of this on our economy," Geringer said. "You see all of these cars with bike racks come in to town on the weekend, and you know that they are eating at our restaurants and staying in our hotels. Then, they see all of our antique stores and other businesses on the square." That is helping business boom in Garnett, where an upscale restaurant has opened and plans are in the works for a renovated hotel near the trail head. The trail was a primary factor in a decision by Michael Riggs and Marjorie Keith- Riggs to move to Garnett from California to buy the Old American Inn hotel. "The trail was a major consideration in us coming to this area," Riggs said. "We won't really realize the economic impact until it expands to Ottawa and lola. "Right now, the trail is 18 miles long, which is a day trip for most bikers. But, when the trail is completed and people begin spending the night, we think that's when we'll really begin to see the benefits of this." T SALINE COUNTY COMMISSION Buildin bids to be discussed Commissioners to look at cost estimates for remodeling offices By SHARON MONTAGUE The Salina Journal Plans for remodeling county offices in the City-County Building will be discussed this week by Saline County commissioners. The discussion is scheduled for 3 p.m. Tuesday in Room 211 of the City-County Building. Commissioners meet from 9 a.m. until business is concluded on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays in Room 211 of the City-County Building. All sessions are open to the public. Formal sessions are held at 4 p.m. Tuesdays in Room 107 of the City-County Building. At the 3 p.m. Tuesday session, commissioners will discuss bids received for remodeling of county offices. Bidders are: • Lancaster Construction, 1934 Ruskin, $131,793. • Vancil Construction, 1300 W. Elm, $136,189. • Harbin Construction, 2200 Centennial, $142,000. The remodeling is the result of the Salina School District's move from the building to the former Gleniffer Hill School, 1511 Gypsum, during the summer of 1995. The school district move left room for city and county offices to expand and relocate. Plans call for county offices to occupy the west side of the bottom two floors of the building and the city offices to occupy the east side. City remodeling has been completed. The third floor will continue to house Saline County District Court and the Saline County attorney's office. The only county offices to move will be the appraiser and general services. The appraiser's office will move to the northwest corner of the first floor, in space formerly occupied by the Salina Parks and Recreation Department and the Human Relations Department. The southwest corner of the second floor, which will be vacated by the appraiser's office, will be used by the county administrator, personnel and planning and zoning offices. Other offices will be remodeled. At their 4 p.m. Tuesday meeting, commissioners plan to: • Award bids for the purchase of traffic signs and a carbide tipped rotary disc tree and limb cutter. • Consider a resolution proclaiming October Domestic Violence Awareness Month. V U.S. SENATE Docking, Brownback pin labels on each other By BILL FOREMAN The Associated Press KANSAS CITY, Mo. — In their first statewide televised debate of the campaign, Democrat Jill Docking tried to paint her Republican rival for Bob Dole's old Senate seat as an extremist who doesn't reflect the moderate views of Kansans. "He's off the scale in terms of representing the middle," Docking said Sunday of U.S. Rep. Sam Brownback, a freshman Republican congressman from the state's 2nd District. Brownback, in turn, said Docking has been misrepresenting herself as a moderate. He called her a liberal, pointing to her role as state chairman in 1988 for the presidential campaign of Michael Dukakis. "If Jill Docking wins this election, the liberal left will be back in control," Brownback said. The debate at public television station KCPT was the second meeting of the two rivals, but their first on a statewide television hookup. Joining them at the hourlong debate was Reform Party candidate Donald Klassen, a Wichita accountant. One of his central issues is devising a system that would allow voters to approve tax issues being considered in Congress by a national referendum. Both Docking, a Wichita stockbroker, and Brownback, a former Kansas agricul- CAMPAIGN ******* I ture secretary, said they supported term limits. They also said they opp9se means-testing that would cut off Social Security benefits to people with incomes above certain levels. They disagreed on abortion rights, the size of Medicare cuts, and the ban on assault weapons. Brownback said states should have the right to decide if abortion should be legal. He said he supports cutting Medicare by $270 billion and would vote to repeal the assault weapons ban, which he said is too broad. Docking said abortion should remain a personal decision, said she would cut Medicare by only $154 billion and that she supports the assault weapon ban. Dole gave up his Senate seat to concentrate on his race for the presidency. After he resigned, Gov. Bill Graves appointed Lt. Gov. Sheila Frahm to succeed him, but she lost to Brownback in the primary. SUGGESTIONS? CALL BEN WEARING, DEPUTY EDITOR, AT (913) 823-6363 OR 1-800-827-6363

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