The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on October 4, 1996 · Page 11
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 11

Salina, Kansas
Issue Date:
Friday, October 4, 1996
Page 11
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THE SALINA JOURNAL Great Plains VIEWPOINTS / B2 ALMANAC / B3 FUN / B4 f NICODEMUS It's official: Nicodemus is national historic site \ Kansas town settled \ during Reconstruction Lwins Senate approval By LINDA MOWERY-DENNING ; The Salina Journal NICODEMUS — The wait ended Thursday for tiny Nicodemus, the only remaining western town settled by African-Americans during Reconstruction following the Civil War. After years of work by the town's fewer than 30 residents, the U.S. Senate approved legislation that would make Nicodemus BRIEFLY Overland Park house explodes, injuring four OVERLAND PARK — A house explosion caused by a rupture in a natural gas line rattled other homes up to five blocks away, and left four people injured, two of them seriously, authorities said. The explosion occurred about 6:45 p.m., said Lt. Al Sneller of the Overland Park Police Department. Sneller said authorities didn't know whether home was occupied at the time of the blast. At least three other homes were severely damaged. Firefighters were using chain saws to dig through the rubble, said Charles Thacker, division fire chief. He said four people were injured, two were utility workers and two lived in the area. Two of the four were treated at Shawnee Mission Medical Center and were expected to be released later Thursday night. The two others were hospitalized at Columbia Overland Park Regional Medical Center, said spokeswoman Fran Jacques. She said one of the injured was in stable condition with a leg wound, and the other was in the intensive care unit in critical condition. Prisoners cause disturbance at Norton NORTON — Several small fires were set at the Norton Correctional Facility Thursday evening as an unknown number of prisoners barricaded themselves in a living unit. The reason for the disturbance was not immediately clear. Nor was the number of inmates involved. Ruby Pflieger, public information officer at the prison, said there no prisoners had escaped. The disturbance began about 6:35 p.m. The prison has a capacity of 500 inmates. Lockdown continues at Lansing prison LANSING — About 900 prison inmates in the state's maximum- security unit here will remain locked in their cells at least through the weekend. However, Corrections Secretary Charles Simmons said Thursday that life had returned to normal for inmates at the Hutchinson Correctional Facility. The Lansing inmates and about 250 inmates in Hutchinson had been locked in their cells following disturbances that stemmed from complaints about food. At both institutions, some inmates threw items from their cells or lit paper on fire and threw it from their cells, the department said. Medium-security inmates also refused to go to meals. Scalia tells Catholics to 'suffer the contempt' KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Society regards Catholics as simple-minded and unsophisticated, and they should pray for "the courage to suffer the contempt of the sophisticated world," U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia says. The conservative justice was brought to Kansas City by the Pope John Paul II Society, a nonprofit Catholic group Scalia cited tenets such as the belief that Jesus Christ was God, that Christ rose from the dead, and that souls not rising from the dead "will burn eternally in hell." "Surely those who adhere to all or most of those beliefs are regarded as, well, simple-minded," he said. From Wire Service Reports a national historic site. As such, it will be eligible for federal funds to preserve and restore town landmarks. The measure, included in a federal parks bill that also created a national tallgrass prairie park in the Flint Hills of Kansas, passed the Senate on a voice vote. The legislation was approved by the U.S. House a week ago oh a 404-4 vote. Angela Bates-Tompkins, founder ,of the Nicodemus Historical Society and a leader in the drive for national recognition, said citizens also will have more clout to approach private companies about the possibility of a partnership effort. Tomorrow's Headlines "We have great potential with that designation," she said. Bates-Tompkins worked with officials from the U.S. Department of Interior's National Park Service to determine whether Nicodemus was worthy of historic site status. The agency's final report was favorable to the Graham County town and warned if Nicodemus was not protected and preserved by a public or private entity, it was inevitable that the historic structures would continue to deteriorate and eventually be razed. Included in the historic site would be the First Baptist Church, National historic site GRAHAM the St. Francis Hotel, Nicodemus School District No. 1, the African Methodist Episcopal Church and Township Hall. The park service estimated in its study that $2.7 million would be needed just to stabilize the two churches and other buildings, but Bates-Tompkins said costs have increased and the figure is probably higher. She said Nicodemus supporters will now work on federal funding while the park service does an overall management plan for the site. The agency has three years. Property will remain under the ownership of local residents, although the park service is expected to have a 99-year lease on the facades of the historic buildings. The Nicodemus legislation was introduced early this year by for- Twisting trio KELLY PRESNELL / The Salina Journal Chelsea Clark (center) laughs as friends Ashley Blackwell (left) and Ashley's brother Dillon try to find the right spots with the right limbs Thursday afternoon at Clark's grandmother's home. The three had the afternoon off from school because of teachers' conferences and were spending the afternoon in a Twister tournament. Clark is the daughter of Carol and James Clark; Ashley and Dillon are the children of Sherrl and Raymond Blackwell. V REFORM PARTY Reform Party opens Salina office Party members believe they could be swing voters in state elections By CAROL LICHTI The Salina Journal Mike Wilson knows that many people associate the Reform Party with Ross Perot. "We all respect him," said Wilson, Salina, a charter member of the party. "But the Reform Party is not just about Ross Perot." The party has several candidates up for election in November and party members could be important swing votes in other Kansas elections, Wilson said. Plus, the party will have plenty of candidates vying for local, T CRIME state and national offices in future years. That's why the Reform Party has opened a headquarters in Salina at 204 E. Iron. The office will be open from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays. Visitors to the office can learn about issues and obtain campaign information. Wilson, who also was a charter member of United We Stand, an offshoot of Perot's 1992 presidential campaign, said more than 250 signatures were collected in the Salina area to have the Reform Party listed on the November ballot. Perot's running mate is Pat Choate. The party focuses on financial issues, including the deficit, bal- ancing the budget, fair trade and tax reform. The party also advocates political and campaign reform, calling for a ban on gifts and junkets for elected officials and a limit to the length of campaigns. The party also advocates moving the election to a weekend so more people could vote and allowing campaign contributions only from donors within the candidate's district. "We are a minority party," said Wilson, 422 Jupiter. "But three or four years ago, we were the first ones that started talking about these issues that are now being discussed nationally. We might be small in numbers, but we are an influence in national politics." The party has candidates for both U.S. Senate seats, three candidates for Kansas Senate seats and five candidates for Kansas House seats, including Niles Gibson of McPherson for the 73rd District. The party plans to endorse a candidate for the 1st District congressional seat, where the candidates are Jerry Moran, a Republican Kansas Senator from Hays, and John Divine, a Democrat and city commissioner from Salina. McPherson escapee finally caught in Wichita Fugitive had escaped from jail June 25 and altered his appearance By DAN ENGLAND The Salina Journal Wh*n you noed to know. - 825-6OOO Category 6006 (Call alter 7:30 p.m.) A Wichita man who escaped from the McPherson County Jail in late June was captured Thursday morning by federal, state and McPherson county authorities. The U.S. Marshall Service, Wichita authorities and an officer from the McPherson County Sheriffs Office apprehended Roy Ellis, 41, at 1:30 a.m. Thursday at a Wichita residence without incident, said Sheriff Larry Powell. Ellis is being held by the Sedgwick County Sheriff's Office. When Powell was asked if Ellis would be brought to McPherson, he answered "you bet." "We've got escape charges against him, drug charges and for threatening to kill a couple correction officers," Powell said. "When we will get him, I don't know, but some day we will." Ellis escaped from the jail June 25 by climbing on top of a basketball goal in an exercise yard and scaling a chain-link fence. He was stopped June 17 by officers who were going to warn him a dragging tail pipe on his motor home. A search revealed drugs in the home, and he was arrested. Authorities received a anonymous tip that Ellis was staying in Wichita, Powell said. Ellis also was wanted in Missouri, Oklahoma and Colorado and Sedgwick County on weapons and drugs charges. The crimes were committed before he was arrested in McPherson on drug charges. Ellis had evaded authorities by altering his appearance. Ellis also had obtained a birth certificate from Florida and probably used to that get a new Kansas driver's license, Powell said. "He's been watched for some time and has been seen in other states," he said. "He's real slick. Our own officer didn't even recognize him." mer Sen. Bob Dole, R-Kan., and pushed by his successor, Sen. Sheila Frahm, R-Colby. The preser : vation of Nicodemus is, considered important because of its history. The town was settled during the 1870s and by the late 1880s, there were almost 700 black residents to support its churches, newspapers, stores and baseball team. The community fell on hard times after it was bypassed by the railroad, which went to nearby Bogue. It is now mostly a community of retirees, although every year former residents and others with ties to Nicodemus return for a large reunion. T AGRICULTURE Farm bill discussion in Salina CRP and environmental issues will be topics of meeting at Holidome BY LINDA MOWERY-DENNING The Salina Journal The future of the popular Conservation Reserve Program and other environmental provisions in the Federal Agriculture Improvement and Reform Act of 1996 will be the focus of an Oct. 16 meeting in Salina. The 1 p.m. session at the Holidome, 1616 W. Crawford, is one of 50 "listening forums" planned nationwide by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The purpose of the meetings is to accept public comments on conservation provisions of the 1996 farm bill. A major issue will be CRP, which allowed farmers to convert highly erodible and other environmentally sensitive cropland to approved conservation uses for 10 years. In exchange, producers received, an annual rental payment and cost-share assistance to implement the conservation practices. Kansas has 2.9 million acres enrolled in the program with more than 21,000 of them in Saline County. U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Dan Glickman in September announced a shift in program goals under the new farm bill. CRP, in its original form, was seen by some lawmakers and farm interests as a way to control crop production, especially on the Great Plains. "The focus of the proposed CRP will be to conserve and improve our natural resources," Glickman said. "Through the proposed rule, the department intends to enroll land that will yield the highest environmental benefits, and return to production less erodible land better suited for planting crops. "The Clinton Administration intends to build upon the successes of the CRP with continued emphasis on the enrollment of acreage which would notably reduce soil erodibility, improve water quality, protect wildlife habitats, encourage tree planting and achieve other significant conservation and environmental benefits." Rental payments are expected to be less under the new CRP. In the past, farmers submitted bids to the USDA. Those amounted to roughly $55 an acre in central Kansas, according to Steve Parkin, state programs assistant with the federal Natural Resources Conservation Service, headquartered in Salina. Under the new program, bids would be capped according to soil rental rates, which range from $30 to $40 an acre in Saline County. "They wouldn't be able to bid over that cap, however, if they want to increase the chance of their land being accepted they could bid less than the cap," Parkin said. He said a similar system will be used on the recently-announced continuous CRP signup for environmental priority practices. Acre payments — based on soil rental rates — will be determined by the USDA and producers who enroll in the program won't have to go through the bid process to establish windbreaks, grass waterways, filter strips and other practices on their land. Other topics at the Oct. 16 forum include wetland conservation and conservation compliance. Registration for those who want to speak at the meeting opens at 12:30 p.m. SUGGESTIONS? CALL BEN WEARING, DEPUTY EDITOR, AT (913) 823-6363 OR 1-800-827-6363 .t.*«'. —I.' -tjii j ' *L-

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