Local/Kansas The Salina Journal Friday, January 10,1986 Page 3 Finney: Home-quarter plan offers hope to farmers By LINDA MOWERY-DENNING Great Plains Editor State Treasurer Joan Finney was in Salina Thursday to explain a plan she hopes will keep farmers in business until prosperity returns to agriculture. Before an almost full house of farmers, bankers and others in the commission room of the City-County Building, Finney outlined her Home Quarter Interest Subsidy Plan, which will be considered by the Kansas Legislature during its next session. Home quarter refers to a quarter- section of land, which is 160 acres. The proposed legislation would establish a credit review board with a chairman appointed by the governor and four members named by the Legislature. The board's major job would be to hire a negotiator to work with farmers and lenders so loans could be restructured, thus allowing the producer to retain the 160 acres of land with his home and farm buildings. If negotiation was unsuccessful, the board would have the option of using money from interest earned on the state's unclaimed property fund to subsidize the farmer's interest payment on the home quarter. Finney said the fund has about $8 million, which pumps an estimated $500,000 a year into the state's general fund. Under her plan, the interest money would go to support administrative costs and interest. "Those funds are for investment anyway and why not invest in agriculture?" —Elaine Hassler As an example, Finney said the first year the board might supplement 10 percentage points of a farmer's 12 percent interest payment. The producer would then have about five years to repay the state's no-interest loan. Farmers eligible for the program would be those facing foreclosure or those who have been served with foreclosure notice. Finney said she expected the plan to be inexpensive to the state. "The most important part of this plan is the negotiation phase," she said. "I am confident negotiation would handle most of the cases." The plan brought praise from several of the farmers who attended Thursday's meeting. Some went so far as to say they would support Finney if she decided to become a Democratic candidate for governor. Finney said she expects to make a decision on her political future by March 1. Also at the meeting was Elaine Hassler, a state representative and farmer from Dickinson County. Hassler said she had come to learn about Finney's plan, and had not made a decision on whether to support it. "Any small glimpse is worth looking into," Hassler said. "Those funds are for investment anyway and why not invest in agriculture? " Finney said she believes events such as a drought in Brazil and the growing reluctance of the European Economic Community to subsize its farmers offer hope of improved prices to American farmers. The Home Quarter Plan would ease producers through the transition to better times, she said. Craig Chandler Jim Dalton lights a cigarette during an afternoon break outside the SRS building, Ohio and Belmont, where smoking is prohibited. Some smokers huffy over SRS policy By JILL CASEY Staff Writer The no-smoking policy recently adopted by the Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services has some Topeka SRS smokers in a huff, but officials say the transition at the Salina office seems to be going fairly smoothly. June Garrett, director of Salina SRS, said she had heard no complaints about the no-smoking policy, which became effective Jan. 1. It nullified a policy that allowed smoking only in designated areas. A "very small minority" of the 60-odd employees smoke, Garrett said. But they, along with the SRS clients who smoke, now must step outside to do so. Garrett said smokers may take tobacco breaks whenever they wish. When it's cold they go to their cars, but recent spring-like weather has made the outside lounge more conducive to smoking, she said. The rift in Topeka occurred when SRS smokers there challenged the decree earlier this week, saying they should be able to smoke in the elevator lobby of their floor. But Secretary Robert Harder ruled that because SRS occupies the entire sixth floor of the State Office Building, the elevator lobby area was within SRS space and could not be used for a smoking lounge. Harder said Thursday he has not heard of other complaints from SRS offices across the state. "I haven't sought any information, but neither have I received any," Harder said by telephone from Topeka. "I think if the transition was chaotic I'd be hearing about it." Some have speculated that SRS will clear the path for other state agencies to ban smoking in their offices. "We didn't develop the policy for that purpose," Harder said. "But if our experience is beneficial to qthers, then so be it." The Kansas Department of Health and En- vironment is one agency that is on its way to banning smoking, according to a spokesman for Secretary Barbara Sabol. "We have adopted a policy of total prohibition, effective July 1," said Bob Moody, public information officer. Delbert Zerr of the Salina Health and Environment office, said his office is addressing the issue of non-smokers' rights by designating certain areas as places to smoke. "I think that works to a point," he said recently. "But some offices are more suited to that — because of their design — than others. A lot of us don't have the luxury of renting space that has something off by itself (for smoking)." Employees still smoke, he said, but they are considerate of non-smokers, especially when the office is crowded. "But we will live by the no-smoking policy," he said. "It seems there are more important things to worry about than this, although I know it is a touchy issue for some people.'' Board to unveil community corrections plan By GORDON D. FIEDLER Jr. Staff Writer Members of the Saline County Community Corrections Advisory Board hope to unveil officially their proposed plan within two weeks. Board Chairman Doug Smith circulated a draft copy at the group's Thursday meeting with instructions to review the document and report back with changes or additions. The proposal was prepared by Frank McCoy, director of the Riley County Community Corrections program. McCoy was hired as a consultant to help guide Saline County in writing a proposal. McCoy was to have attended the meeting, but he had other commitments in Manhattan. V The board hopes to meet Jan. 23. If the plan is approved, it will go to the Saline County Commission for review and comment. The next stop then is the Kansas Department of Corrections, which will finance the county's local corrections program. The program would focus on nonviolent adult and juvenile offenders and would provide a local alternative to state-supervised incarceration. The goal is to reduce the state's prison population by allowing communities to divert certain offenders through local corrections programs. For communities willing to participate in the programs, the state offers a financial incentive. It will pay the county for keeping eligible offenders in a local program. But if an offender eligible for a community corrections program is sent to prison, the county must pay the state. This "chargeback" provision could eat into a county's corrections budget, and, in a worst case, bankrupt the program because the county would be paying more to the state than it would be receiving from the Department of Corrections to finance its local program. Saline County hopes to avoid many chargebacks by making intensive supervision the backbone of the plan. Eligible offenders would remain in the community under the watchful eye of the local community corrections staff or other qualified agency, such as the local division of court services. "Traditional probation provides a valid sentencing alternative for some offenders, but fiscal concerns have "We hope conditions will change and we think they will because they always have before," Finney said. "At this time, though, I believe this plan is vital to Kansas." Finney said she understands the plight of farmers because, as a young girl, her home was lost after her mother fell behind on a mortage payment. "It's bad enough to lose your business, but to lose your home is devastating," she said. The Legislature would need to decide whether it wants to expand the definition of "home quarter" to include those farmers who fall into other categories, she said. Many producers, for instance, live in town but own land in the country. Carlin's ag plan may not receive needed support reduced the amount of time and supervision court services officers can provide," said McCoy in his report to the board. McCoy said targeting a community corrections program for such offenders, although they would be eligible for the program, would be "overkill." Rather, the program should be aimed at the offender who has more problems adjusting to traditional probation and who normally ends up in state care. "These offenders have historically been considered as inappropriate for probation and have been sent to a state penal institution," McCoy said. "This is the prime target group for our adult intensive supervision program." TOPEKA (AP) — The chairmen of the House and Senate Agriculture' committees Thursday said they see little support among their colleagues for Gov. John Carlin's plan to reorganize the state Department of Agriculture. At the same time, members of the state Board of Agriculture attacked Carlin's proposal, which would transfer control of the agency from the board to a cabinet-level office appointed by the governor. The board members said farmers would fight the plan because it's an unnecessary change. The chairmen, Sen. Jim Allen, R- Ottawa, and Rep. Lloyd Poison, R- Vermillion, also criticized the proposal, which calls for demoting the state Board of Agriculture to an advisory role. Currently, the 12- member board sets policy and has budgetary power over the state farm programs. "If the wheel isn't broken, don't fix it," Allen said. His remarks were greeted by loud applause from 300 delegates and others at the meeting. Those delegates later voted 185-2 to oppose Carlin's plan. In December, Carlin issued an executive order that would put the state Department of Agriculture under strict control of the governor. The board was established in 1872 as an advisory group to the Legislature on farm issues. Its members select the agriculture secretary every two years. Delegates chosen by farm organizations select the members of the board. Carlin also proposed that the agriculture secretary be appointed by the governor. The 1986 Legislature, which convenes Monday, has 60 days to consider Carlin's proposal. If it is not rejected by either the House or the Senate within that time, it automatically takes effect. The state's current system is unique in the nation. Poison said Carlin's proposal would take power away from average farmers. He also said a politically appointed secretary of agriculture probably would not understand the problems of farmers. "A politically appointed secretary of agriculture doesn't even need to be an agriculturalist," Poison said. "You've got to have on-hands agriculturalists." Allen and Poison said they thought few lawmakers would support the plan. Bob Arbuthnot, a former seven- term representative and current member of the Board of Agriculture agreed. He said such attempts to reorganize the agency have lacked support. Harlan Priddle, secretary of agriculture, said the delegates' vote Orphan Train intervievy to be broadcast again A television interview of a Lindsborg resident will be rebroadcast Sunday morning on the CBS program, "Sunday Morning with Charles Kuralt." The rebroadcast is to be shown on the second half-hour of the program, which is scheduled for 8 to 9:30 a.m. on Channel 12, Wichita. Anna Fuchs of Lindsborg and her sister, Margaret, of California, were interviewed on the program about their involvement as orphans on the Orphan Trains that brought about 100,000 youngsters from the cities of the East to farm environments between 1853 and the late 1920s. About 6,000 of them remained in Kansas. The sisters were on a train that arrived in 1924 at McPherson, where they were lined up with the others and taken for adoption by various families. Their story was the subject of a book written by former Salinan Martha Nelson Vogt and her daughter, Christina Vogt. The book, "Searching for Home," and subtitled "Three Families from the Orphan Trains," was published in 1979 with Anna as the main character. That coincided with the first Kuralt broadcast in December of 1979. Now in its fourth printing, the book is available at Downtown News in Salina. Kansas bank first to fail in '86 WHITE CITY (AP) — The First National Bank of White City became the nation's first bank failure of 1986 on Thursday when the federal Comptroller of the Currency declared it insolvent, according to a spokesman for the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Alan Whitney, a spokesman for the FDIC, said the bank would reopen this Friday morning as The Bank of White City, a newly chartered institution that is a subsidiary of Herington Bancshares Inc., of Herington. While the White City bank was the first bank to be declared insolvent in 1986, it quickly was followed by the nation's second bank failure, at the First State Bank of Cache, Okla., he said. The failure of the White City bank follows 13 Kansas bank failures in 1985 — the most since the Great Depression — and seven in 1984. Frank Vance, a public affairs officer for the Comptroller of the Cur- rency, said the White City bank was closed at 3 p.m. and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. was named receiver. Vance said the bank, which was first chartered in 1905, last week reported assets of $9.6 million and deposits of $9.2 million. The bank, located in an agricultural area of the state, ran into financial trouble after many of its customers were unable to repay loans, he said. "Over the past two years, the bank experienced substanital deterioration in the quality of its loan portfolio," Vance said. "The bank was unable to rememdy these problems and losses finally exhausted its capital funds, resulting in this insolvency." Whitney said depositors of the failed bank automatically will become depositors of the new bank when it opens Friday. "The Bank of White City will assume about $9.1 million in 1,900 de- posit accounts and has agreed to pay the FDIC a purchase premium of $51,000," Whitney said. "It also will purchase certain of the failed bank's loans and other assets for $6.2 million." , The FDIC will advance $2.9 million to the new bank and will retain assets of the failed bank with a book value of about $3.6 million, Whitney said. Diane Dierks, an FDIC closing manager at the bank, said non- performing agricultural loans were partly responsible for the bank's failure, but lax lending practices in connection with commercial loans also contributed. She said representatives of 12 banking groups met in Topeka on Wednesday, and bids to purchase the bank were delivered to federal officials at 3 p.m. Thursday. The First National Bank was the only banking institution in White City, a town of about 500 people, 20 miles south of Junction City. Ag board gets 2 new members TOPEKA (AP) - Former state Rep. Bob Arbuthnot Thursday was elected to a three-year term on the state Board of Agriculture during the board's annual meeting. Delegates also elected the first woman to ever serve on the board, Lois Schlickau of Haven. Schlickau has been active in farm organizations for about 30 years. Three current members of the board also were re-elected. They were Alvin Epler, of Hallowell; Bill Mai, of Sharon Springs; and Leon Riffel, of Enterprise. Secretary of Agriculture Harlan Priddle will serve another two-year term. The 12-member board chooses the agriculture secretary and sets agricultural policy. Arbuthnot, 65, of Haddam, served seven terms in the state House. He was speaker pro tern and vice chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. Arbuthnot was first elected to the Legislature in 1970 and lost in a 1984 Republican primary to Rep. William Bryant of Washington. Schlickau, 53, served on the board of directors of the Reno County Farm Bureau and on the Reno County 4-H Advisory Board. She is a member of the board of directors of Kansas Agri-Women and was secretary for three years of the Reno County Extension Council Executive Board. "As the first (woman on the board), I do feel a keen responsibility," Schlickau said. "I may be scrutinized more." proved that farmers and farm organizations oppose the plan. He said they would send a strong message to legislators. But Mike Swenson, Carlin's press secretary, said no formal poll of farmers has been taken and Carlin believes his plan will pass the Legislature after the idea is studied. Swenson said he does not think the Legislature will address the plan immediately. Carlin has said the current farm crisis is making it necessary for the governor's office to have more control of the Department of Agriculture. Dole says farm crisis leveling out KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) Sen. Bob Dole, R-Kan., said Thursday that he thinks the financial crisis on American farms is leveling out. Dole said the new five-year farm bill and the farm credit bill will give stability to the farm situation. He said the legislation will help Republican senators facing reelection this year. "Had we not passed a farm bill, Republicans would be in trouble," Dole said. The veteran lawmaker said he is tired of hearing state officials make pronouncements about ways the federal government needs to help farmers. "The federal government is broke," Dole said.
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