The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on April 11, 2001 · Page 9
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 9

Salina, Kansas
Issue Date:
Wednesday, April 11, 2001
Page 9
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WEDNESDAY ' APRIL 11, 2001 THE SALiNjA JOURNAL Great Plains DEATHS / B3 MONEY / B5 FUN / B6 BRIEFLY Ohio Wendy's loses $3,000 in robbery Someone broke the drive- thru'window and then crawled into Wendy's hamburger restaurant and stole $3,000 from a store safe, police said Tuesday. • ; The theft at the 1940 S. Ohio fetore occurred between 1:30 and 1:48 a.m. Tuesday Police are investigating. Injured motorcyciist remains critical • WICHITA — A Salina man Injured Saturday in a motorcycle wreck west of Salina was transferred Monday from Salina Regional Health Center to Via Christi Regional Medical Center in Wichita, while his passenger was released from the Salina hospital. Mark Taylor, 35, was driving the motorcycle east on Kansas Highway 140 when he lost control on a curve near the Wild Wild West Club. The motorcycle flipped into a ditch. He is in the surgical intensive care unit at Via Christi and listed in critical condition. . Charlotte Bowles, 35, his passenger, shares a home with Taylor at 713 N. Second. Neither was wearing a helmet. Jury awards woman more than $1.1 million KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A woman who quit her sales job with a trucking company over what she considered unfair treatment has been awarded damages of more than $1.1 million by a federal court jury : The eight-member jury returned its verdict Friday after : hearing four days of testimony. It awarded Robin Lawrence $20,000 for lost wages, $125,000 for emotional distress, and $1 million in punitive damages from her former employer. Consolidated Freightways Corp. • Her lawsuit had asked for punitive damages of $2 million. "I'm just happy about the fact that I made a stand," said Lawrence, who wept as she heard the verdict in U.S. District Court. "Because I was a Single mom, they thought they could take advantage of me and do whatever they wanted." Lawrence, 45, is the mother of four minor children. She worked full time at Consolidated Freightways from March 1996 to July 1998, when she quit over what she said was the unfair way she was treated. She started with a weekly salary of $706 a week. After she resigned she was replaced by a man who was paid $900 a week and given an assistant, use of a company car and various other benefits. Hiawatha to change Indian mascot names ; I HIAWATHA — This northeast Kansas town might be named f6r an Indian, but from now on its sports teams won't be. Over opponents' efforts to delay a change — some of that opposition coming from American Indians — the local school board has approved non-Indian hiascots for the district's sports teams. The board voted 7-0 Monday to change the high school's mascot from Redskins to Red Hawks, the middle school's from Warriors to Hawks and the grade school's from Braves to Junior Hawks. Hiawatha School Board President Dave Pfister said the issue of changing mascots has enflamed passions on both sides. I "We want to do what's in the best interest of the students, and they don't feel they have a mascot they can use," Pfister said Some of the more than 70 people who attended Monday • Right's meeting spoke against the change. From Staff and Wire Reports ]CORRECTiOMS ! Because of a Journal error, the address of a house where Salina police made drug arrests Friday was incorrect in a story in Tuesday's edition. Police arrested nine people, three of them at 2091 Hageman. ••••• The Journal wants to set the 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. • UTILITY RATES Topeka, Wichita to clash over rates Wichita to argue proposal that calls for KGE rates to be cut by $92 million By KATRINA HULL The Associated Press TOPEKA — A request from the state's largest electric company for a $151 million rate increase has rekindled a feud between Wichita and Topeka over what their residents pay for power. Public hearings begin today on Western Resources' request to raise rates $58 million for customers of its KGE subsidiary in Wichita and southeast Kansas and $93 million for customers of its KPL unit in Topeka and northeast Kansas. Coming to SaUiia A field-hearing on Western Resources/'appllcatlon to, raise ' electricity rates will be conducted ' next week in Salina. The hearing, caiiedby the Kansas Corporation Commission, IS set for 7 p.m.,"TUesday in , Heritage Hall of the Bicentennial Center. An alternative proposal, drafted by state regulatory staff, would cut KGE's rates by $92 million and raise KPL's rates $262,072. That proposal would narrow the gap between the cities' rates — and has Wichita officials cheering and Topekans concerned. Tensions began in 1992, when Kansas Gas and Electric merged with Kansas Power and Light to form Western Resources. Since then, KGE's electric rates have averaged about 25 percent more than those charged by KPL. The difference is attributed to KGE's costs of building the $3 billion Wolf Creek nuclear power plant — which, according to Topeka and Western Resources officials, say serves only KGE customers. Wichita Mayor Bob Knight said documents filed with state regulators show Wolf Creek benefits all of Western's customers. Knight said the KCC staff appears to recognize the rate disparity because it offered a plan that brings KGE's and KPL's rates closer together, while cutting Western's revenues nearly $92 million overall. "I'm very pleased with the staff recommendation. I think it's long overdue," Knight said Monday in a telephone interview. "We want to be treated fairly, and I think this is a step in the right direction." John Frieden, attorney for Topeka, disagreed. He also represents other communities served by KPL, including Lawrence, Olathe, Junction City, Abilene, Salina and Hutchinson. Frieden declined Tuesday to comment on the KCC staff's proposal but said the city of Wichita was raising the See RATES, Page B4 Raindrops on a tulip TOM DORSEY / The Salina Journal Raindrops on a white tulip reflect the red tulips surrounding It after a showerIXiesday morning In Salina. The city received 1.32 Inches of rain during the day. • LEGISLATURE Connecting Kansas KAN-ED bill expected to benefit rural Kansas By JOHN HANNA The Associated Press TOPEKA — A high school student wants to take Latin, but she lives in a small town, and her school cannot hire a -teacher only for her. Rather than make her do • without, the school has her take a course over the Internet. Because the school has high-speed access, the student can ask the instructor questions and receive answers back in real time. That's the vision behind a bill approved by legislators to establish a network — dubbed A KAN-ED networl< will bring high-speed Internet access and interactive video to schools, CQiieges, universities and hospitals. KAN-ED — to give schools, colleges, universities and hospitals throughout the state access to high-speed Internet and interactive video. Supporters overcame an inability to predict what the network might cost the state and a concern it might make pornography and other inappropriate material more accessible in public settings. State officials began talking about a "technology backbone" in 1999, and Gov. Bill Graves plans to sign it. "After three years of effort, it's going to be something he's going to look forward to enacting," said Graves' spokesman, Don Brown. Under the bill, the state Board of Regents would oversee the new network but contract with private companies for services. See CONNECTING, Page 84 T EDUCATION Bethany College to name president today By The Salina Journal LINDSBORG — Bethany College wiU announce its 12th president this afternoon. School officials were tightlipped Tuesday about the president they wUl introduce at 3 p.m. in Presser Hall on Bethany's campus. The new president wUl succeed Christopher Thomforde, who served four years and last September was named president of St. Olaf CoUege in Northfield, Minn. He left for St. Olaf in December. Mike Mitchell, vice president and academic dean at Bethany, has been serving as interim president since Thomforde's departure. Among the new president's priorities wiU be changes to a multiyear, multimillion dollar fund-raising campaign that has . been evolving over the past several months. The goal and the direction of the campaign have changed since the priorities were set last year "We decided to rethink some of the priorities," said Mary Swenson, vice president for institutional advancement. Experience and leadership skills in planning fund-raising campaigns were important criteria in the presidential search, said Glenn Kerbs, chairman of the college's board. The committee also looked for a candidate who could oversee a comprehensive marketing effort and increase both enrollment and retention. • BY GEORGE Speaker seeks a better grind of sausage Glasscock: Legislators will pay for education if they get involved in it The old saw, probably coined in the Roman Senate, is that people who like sausages and laws should not watch either being made. The process of legislation, with its deal-making and pork-barreling, is about as appetizing as watching the leftover bits of a cow ground into breakfast. Kent Glasscock, speaker of the Kansas House, has seen his share of sausage-making. And yet, in a visit to the Journal Monday, Glasscock expressed confidence in the ability of his fellow lawmakers to turn out some really fine meat. The top issue right now is education and how to pay for it. Mostly how to pay for it. And that, Glasscock said, is the problem. "We tend to talk about the formula. We tend to talk about finance," Glass- ' cock said. "We tend not to talk about chUdren." And if members of the Legislature did talk about educating children, the speaker supposes, lawmakers might feel better about paying for schools. Stop thinking of education in terms of dollars and cents, he said, and start thinking of it in terms of students and teachers, and we could improve education to the point that . people are actually will- * ing to pay — more — for it. Glasscock compares the black hole of education funding to the United Way back home in Manhattan. After a few years of volunteering to help the primary local charity raise money, he came to see the whole thing as a big chore that kept getting put off and put off. "It was all about those packets on your credenza," Glasscock said. "You're not emotionally connected to it." Then he and other committee members started having lunch with leaders and clients of the agencies they were raising money for Then it all took on a human face, agencies and programs with with real flesh-and-blood results. After that, he said, raising money for the United Way became a pleasure GEORGE B. PYLE The Salina Journal • rather than a burden. Money was raised. People were helped. It's the same with education, Glasscock says. If lawmakers know that they are not just filling out paperwork, but really helping children, the work might get done. "We underfund education," Glasscock said, "because we don't share the vision." He wants the Legislature, the governor, the state school board, local school boards and teachers to get together on a real vision for education, a minimum standard that every district must offer, and the state will pay for Really meeting that commitment would insulate the state against legal challenges that some districts are shorted in the financing process, he said, as every district could pay for what the Kansas Constitution calls a "suitable and appropriate" education. (I didn't think quickly enough to ask how he would deal with the federal constitutional requirement of equal protection. Someone will ask about it, though, most likely a federal judge.) Richer, or more dedicated, districts could tax themselves for extras, Glasscock said. Poorer ones might have to consolidate. But no Kansas student would get a bum education just because he or she lived in the wrong place. Glasscock admits there are hazards. It could all get bogged down in questions such as whether, say, art is basic to education, or a frill. Whether sports are important. Or sex education. Or foreign languages. Some of us outside the slaughterhouse aren't so comfortable with the idea of our lawmakers making these decisions, trusting them to do the right thing rather than turn our schools into so much mystery meat. "I've reached the point where I think the risk is greater in not doing it," Glasscock said. "If we are not able to do that, we will slowly strangle public education in this state." After years in the sausage grinder, Kent Glasscock wants to make something beautiful. The question is whether his vision of the Legislature's potential is accurate, or an act of desperation. Or a really good platform on which to run for governor • Journal columnist George B. Pyle can be reached at 823-6464. Ext. 101, or by e-mail at SUGGESTIONS? CALL BEN WEARING, DEPUTY EDITOR, AT 823-6363 OR 1-800-827-6363 OR E-MMl AT

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