; I New era the THURSDAY APRIL 12, 2001 SALINA, KANSAS Salina Journal Serving Kansas since 1871 50 cents Eggstra! Eggstra! PAGE CI China frees U.S. crew Spy plane members en route to Hawaii after standoff ends By CHRISTOPHER BODEEN The Associated Press HAIKOU, China — An airliner carrying 24 crew members of a U.S. spy plane held for 12 days in China took off Thursday, ending a tense standoff after President Bush said the United States was "very sorry" for a Chinese pilot's death and the U.S. plane's landing without permission. The chartered Continental Boeing 737 took off at about 7:30 a.m. local time from the civilian airport at Haikou, the capital of Hainan island. It quickly disappeared into the cloudy sky U.S. officials said the plane will take the crew to the U.S. territory of Guam and then Hawaii. Hours earlier, the airliner left Guam to retrieve the 21 men •and three women, who landed their damaged U.S. Navy EP-3E on Hainan after colliding with a Chinese fighter jet April 1 over the South China Sea. The collision shattered the tail fin of the Chinese f'-8 fighter, which spiraled out of control toward the sea, Chinese state media have said. The pilot, Wang Wei, was seen bailing out, but he is missing and presumed dead. Chinese keep U.S. plane After announcing it would release the crew, the Chinese government said it would keep the surveillance plane until it could hold more talks with the United States starting April 18. The crew's release came after President Bush agreed to say the United States was "very sorry" for the Chinese pilot's death and the U.S. plane's landing without permission. Wednesday's delicate, carefully worded compromise — characterized immediately by Chinese officials as an apology — capped days of tortuous linguistic negotiation over the release of the air crew and the in flight collision that has threatened U.S.-China relations. It offered a tolerable way out for the governments of two powerful, deeply intertwined nations that, in public, had maintained intractable positions. See FREE, Page A5 Parents of Goodland pilot relieved son will be returning to U.S. By The Associated Press GOODLAND — The parents of Jeff Vignery say they're doing much better since learning their son and 23 other crew members of a U.S. spy plane detained in China had been released. Ron Vignery, a former Navy ^fStlGNiRY lawyer and fa- JEFF VIGNERY ther of Lt. j.g. Jeff Vignery, one of three pilots on the plane, said he got the news of the release at 5:15 a.m. Wednesday The crew has been held in Chi- • Goodland residents get their prayers answered / Page A5 na since April 1, when a collision with a Chinese fighter jet forced an emergency landing. "1 don't know if he's the town's hero," Ron Vignery said of his son, "but he's our family's hero." Residents of the western Kansas town of Goodland have helped the family get through the past 11 days, Ron Vignery said. Many people have tied or pinned hundreds of yellow ribbons to trees, fences, mail boxes, bushes, cars and clothes to signal their support. "It's had a tremendous effect on us, the visible support driving to and from work," Ron Vignery said. He said he and his wife, Judi, Twistin' in the NIGHT Tornadoes strike With telephone poles damaged by the tornado that blew through Plainville late Tuesday, workers for Schult Homes, Plainville, remove debris from an adjacent field Wednesday. STEVEN HAUSLER Hays Daily News Plainville, Other Kansas towns By KARA F^HODES The Salina Journal PLAINVILLE — After getting a phone call from his girlfriend's mother that a tornado was on its way about 11:30 p.m. Tuesday Dallas Nuss grabbed his girlfriend and their two toddlers and ran for the door, hoping to make it to his brother's home nearby where there was a basement. They didn't make it far. Wind pummeled the truck so hard Nuss , was afraid it was going to flip over. Lightning struck, and power went , out in the homes all around them. Another lightning strike hit nearby, and panic set in. •; "It all lit up, and I saw the base of the tornado directly south of town," Nuss said. "I'll never forget that." Scared, he stopped the truck in front of a random house and grabbed his kids, huddled in a blanket. They ran for the door and pounded until they were let in. When the weather calmed, they returned home to find their carport blown into the yard next door and their neighbor's trampoline in their yard. Nuss was just one of many people in Plainville and other north- central Kansas towns Wednesday with day-after stories after a series of tornadoes and high winds struck late Tuesday and early Wednesday No injuries reported Thankfully said Patrice Hein, Rooks County public information officer, everyone in Rooks County — where Plainville's located — and other counties affected by the storms were able to tell their stories. While dozens of homes and businesses were damaged, there were no injuries reported. Asked why there were no injuries in the Plainville storm, Hein replied: "They're from Kansas. They keep their eyes on the sky and listen to their scanners and call each other when a storm's brewing." JUSTIN HAYWORTH / The Salina Journal IVIark Fleming carries a board away from his barn that was destroyed by a tornado early Wednesday morning two miles south of Formoso in Jewell County. Fleming, his wife and three children took shelter under a staircase in their home when they heard the tornado hit the barn. The house was left practically untouched by the twister. ROOKS ^ PlalMlle Paico SMITH OSBORNE Storm damage JEWELL * Courtland flEPUBUCl CLOUD MITCHELL r CLAY These counties sustained significant damage during the storms WASHINGTON tornadoes See STORMS, Page A2 CHARLIE RIEDEL / The Associated Press Casey Collins, 13, views the remains of a grain bin at his family's farm south of Plainville. JUSTIN HAYWORTH / The Salina Journal ABOVE: Lyie Anderson, manager of Anderson Fertilizer, Courtland, uses a forkllft to clear debris from the floor of his former warehouse. LEFT: Workers at Schult Homes, Plainville, use a crane to remove parts of a damaged roof from their factory. CHARLIE RIEDEL/The Associated Press WEATHER High: 65 Low: 41 Partly cloudy today with northwest wind 10 to 20 mph. PAGE B2 Ben Detrixhe, a fourth-grader at Clyde Elementary School, has won the state geography bee to earn a trip to Washington, D.C. TOMORROW Noted wildlife photographer Art Wolfe will visit Wichita to present a look at some of the rare and protected creatures of the world. INSIDE Classified / C4 Comics / B6 Crossword / 86 Deaths / A7 Great Plains / 81 Home /CI Money / A4 Sports / D1 Weather/ 85 Viewpoints / A7 planned to say little until they knew their son was back on U.S. soil. The crew was part of Fleet Air Reconnaissance Squadron One, based at Whidbey Island Naval Air Station north of Seattle. Their EP-3E Aries II electronic surveillance plane, one of six in the squadron, operates out of Kadena Air Base in Okinawa, Japan. Jeff Vignery's family plans to fly out to Whidbey Island to see him. Ron Vignery said he's eager to see his son again, and he's eager to have his life return to normal. "I appreciate why celebrities get upset," he said. "It's an invasion of your privacy That's not the way I want to live — in a fishbowl like that. Can you imagine what Tom Cruise and Julia Roberts go through?" T WATER QUALITY State wants water study Board proposes to have benchmark to compare quality By SARAH KESSINGER Harris News Service TOPEKA — Does Kansas really have some of the nation's dirtiest water? The Kansas Water Authority has asked the U.S. Geological Survey to find out. State water officials often face criticism by environmental groups who rank Kansas dead last among states for its river and stream quality Those officials say that rap is unfair because Kansas tests its water more aggressively than other states. This month, the state's water planning board, the Kansas Water Authority, proposed to pay the Geological Survey $60,000 to create a way to compare states' water. The board will discuss the issue at its quarterly meeting today. "We hope this plan will establish a benchmark that can be used across the nation," said Margaret Fast, water resource manager with the Kansas Water Office. "We're not going into this to prove we're at the top. We might be in the top 10 percent, we might be in the bottom 10 percent." Reports differ among states The intent is to create a fair way to compare, she said. Stream-use designation — such as for recreation or agriculture or industry — and monitoring, evaluating and reporting water conditions differ among states. That data is reported with test results every two years to the Environmental Protection Agency Some environmental groups rely on the data to rank states from best to poorest water, said EPA Region 7 spokesman Dale Armstrong. Kansas might be singled out as one of the worst, but the state tests more frequently than others. Fast said. Sierra Club attorney Charles Benjamin sees the project as a waste of taxpayers' money The issue diverts attention from the fact most Kansas streams fail to meet state pollution standards, he said. "They are not met year- round," he said.
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