The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on October 6, 1996 · Page 10
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 10

Salina, Kansas
Issue Date:
Sunday, October 6, 1996
Page 10
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AID SUNDAY. OCTOBER 6, 1996 GREAT PLAINS THE SALINA JOURNAL T SALINE COUNTY GOVERNMENT Changes may be in store for RFD No. 5 District problems became public in May, when petitioners asked for area to be detached By SHARON MONTAGUE The Salina Journal Requiring that a majority of board members be firefighters, mandating training for board members and establishing a mutual aid agreement with the Solomon Fire Department would help alleviate problems within Saline County Rural Fire District No. 5, County Administrator David Criswell believes. * Those recommendations will be discussed by county commissioners at a 2 p.m. meeting Monday in Room 209 of the City-County Building. Problems in the fire district became public in May, when petitioners asked that 46 square miles in the northeast portion of the district be detached from the district. The fire district is in the northeast portion of the county and includes about 18 square miles in Ottawa County. The Ottawa County land was in the area requested for detachment. Commissioners asked that the issue be studied before detachment was approved. Criswell sent questionnaires to firefighters and board members and inter- viewed individuals in both groups. From the interviews and surveys, Criswell said he learned that firefighters disagreed with the way governing board meetings were conducted. "The board didn't want the firefighters to attend the board meetings," Criswell said. They also disagreed with the makeup of the board. Only two firefighters serve on the board. In a memo to commissioners, Criswell noted that the relationship between the board and firefighters "is extremely poor," and the two groups have different priorities for the department. "These differences in philosophy, in association with strong personality conflicts, have caused much animosity and turmoil within the district and the situation is not improving." Criswell noted that some board members have "poor knowledge" of national fire standards, budgeting, parliamentary procedures and bidding procedures. "The most glaring problem with RFD No. 5, in my opinion, is the absence of effective communication, involvement, knowledge, organization and leadership from the board of trustees," Criswell wrote in the memo. Fire Chief John Haaga agreed that there appeared to be divisions between firefighters and their governing board. Proposed fire i | district change r| Saline/Ottawa County line Residents in eastern Saline and Ottawa counties want their area detached from Saline County Fire District No. 5 Country Club Road "If one or two board members worked as hard to improve the department as they did cutting it down, things would have gone a lot better," Haaga said. Some board members, he agreed, "don't have a thorough understanding of the operations of the fire district." One board member once suggested that instead of replacing the firefighters' heat- resistant bunker gear, the firefighters go to a farm supply store and buy rain gear, Haaga said. But, Haaga said, you can't lump all of the board's nine members together. "We have a non-firefighter as chairman of the board, and he's done an excellent job. We've made great strides." The board chairman, Virgil Norwood, could not be reached for comment. To help alleviate the problems, Criswell will recommend Monday that commissioners: • Require that a majority of the members on the boards of trustees of all Saline County rural fire districts be active firefighters for that district. Criswell noted that the only fire districts that don't meet that standard are fire districts No. 5 and No. 6. • Require that all board members attend annual training focusing on parliamentary procedures, long-range planning, disposition of property and budgeting. • Deny the petition to detach land from the district. • Appoint someone, preferably a firefighter, to work with the Solomon Fire Department and Lincoln Township in Dickinson County to establish a mutual aid agreement. With such an agreement, Rural Fire District No. 5 could call on the Solomon Fire Department to help when there was a fire in the area residents petitioned to detach. Dog kennel application to be discussed Couple agrees to drop lawsuit after planners redefine 'kennel' By SHARON MONTAGUE The Salina Journal A couple who filed a civil lawsuit against Saline County to force another hearing on their application to have a dog kennel will get their chance. At a meeting at 8 p.m. Monday, the Saline County Planning Commission will consider the application a second time. The meeting will be in Room 107 of the City-County Building. Bobby George first applied in March for a conditional-use permit to put a dog-breeding kennel on 80 acres on North Holmes Road north of East Riordan Road. Planning commissioners denied the application, saying a kennel "would adversely affect surrounding properties." The Georges, 532 E. Shipton, appealed the decision to the Saline County Commission, dropped the appeal, then filed a lawsuit in Saline County District Court demanding that the appeal be reinstated. The Georges could not be reached Wednesday for comment. In the midst of the appeals and filings, county planners changed the definition of "kennel," to make it clear that it applied to operations in which dogs and cats are bred for sale, said David Gurss, county planner. It's the new definition that will allow the second hearing of the issue, Gurss said. County zoning laws state that if a permit is denied, the appli- cant can't apply again for the same permit for another year. But since the definition of "kennel" changed since the Georges first applied, county commissioners decided to accept a second application. Gurss said the Georges agreed to drop their lawsuit if they could submit a second request. Gurss said he would recommend that the planning commission approve the permit, as he did when the permit was first requested. The Georges want to have a maximum of 50 adult dogs in the kennel, which would be situated in the middle of an 80-acre tract. In recommending approval, Gurss said he would recommend that the maximum number of adult dogs be set at 30. Though planning commissioners found the kennel would ad- versely affect surrounding property, Gurss said the nearest house is about half a mile away. George also made changes to the original proposal, to try to make it more palatable. At the first hearing, landowners balked when George said he . would be breeding large dogs. "They were worried that a 6- foot fence wouldn't be high enough and the dogs would get out and bother their cattle," . Gurss said. So George changed his plan *• and now says he will breed smaller dogs. George also has agreed to build , a barn at the site, so that a caretaker can be with the dogs at all :, times. Originally, he planned to .' build a house first, and to leave the dogs unattended during the . night while the house was under construction. Bids for. remodeling of the county's offices in the City-County Building will be discussed by Saline County Commission. 1 ,; Commissioners are expected to award a bid for the work at a session that begins at 4 p.m. Tuesday in Room 107 of the City-County Building. • Commissioners are in session from 9 a.m. until business is concluded on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays. All meetings are open to the public. TARTS Artworks find home at Baker U. Sculptures of cherubs, angels and saints from . London are at university By The Associated Press BALDWIN CITY — Sculptures of cherubs, angels and saints that once graced a London cathedral have found a temporary home at Baker University. Under a long-term loan set up between the school and a London art dealer, several sculptures that once were part of the altar screen at St. Paul's Cathedral in London; are on display at Baker's Holt-Rus- sell'Gallery. Among works in the collection are 11 32-inch panels of gilded angels holding symbols of The Passion; a monochrome panel showing Mary, Joseph and Baby Jesus during their journey to Egypt; 50- inch standing figures of St. Peter,, and St. Paul; and a pair of winged, cherubs holding shields. ; The owner of the art, John Brandler, proposed the loan to university officials after seeing a London Times article about Baker's efforts to rebuild an English Methodist chapel on campus. School officials, will rededicate the chapel Oct. 23 in a ceremony scheduled to be attended by former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. "It was solely the owner's initiative," said art professor Walt Bailey. The cathedral's altar screen was,; designed in the early 1800s by George Frederick Bodley, a member of the Royal Academy of Art who. was considered England's foremast ecclesiastical architect of the time/ Bodley's work was immediately controversial, drawing criticism from religious and political groups who questioned whether his sculptures were appropriate, symbols for St. Paul's Cathedral'• or whether they harmed the church's architectural integrity. • The altar screen was dismantled after it was damaged in bombing attacks during World War II. Brandler bought a portion of the screen in 1978. ••'. The exhibition, which begins •. Tuesday, runs through Nov/ 24.. After the exhibition, the collection will move to another site on Baker's campus for about five years. Hospital / Services no longer duplicated after consolidation FROM PAGE A1 After coming so close, the two hospitals suddenly parted like colliding bUliard balls. So distant were they by late 1993 that during Asbury's long-range planning sessions, St. John's was viewed more as a competitor than a collaborator. "A merger was not part of that (process)," said Clay Edmands, president of Salina Regional Health Center and Asbury's president at the time. For a few years, both hospitals fought a war of technology. At the time of the consolidation, the hospitals offered nearly a dozen duplicated services, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), cancer treatment, 24-hour emergency room service, skilled nursing and pediatric care. As the number of fee-for-service plans decreased and managed care increased, along with talk of a national healthcare system, the hospitals sensed cooperation was vital. The trend, still, is the reduction of days patients spend in hospitals, thus less of a need for so many beds. "With technical improvements and pressure from insurance companies, we felt one hospital wasn't going to make it," said Dr. Edgar Resales, a Salina pediatrician who headed the merger study committee. "In 10 years, the number of beds required in a town of this size would be half what we have now." "It was survival, not that day, but somewhere down the road," said James Allen, St. John's board president who co-chaired the joint steering committee overseeing the consolidation. He is the president of the board of Salina Regional Health Center. "Sitting on the board, looking at what was going on, it looked like it was going to be extremely difficult to survive the onslaught of what was coming down in the healthcare arena." Expectations exceeded Today, the parties agree the consolidation, after a year, has met or exceeded expectations. "From my perspective, the first year has been remarkable," Allen said. "It's gone extremely well." Hospital president Edmands concurred, saying he was "exceptionally pleased" despite the obvi- "Some employees didn't like it, and they'll feel that way until they die. (But) I don't feel like I'm dealing with 'Asbury'or 'St. John's'staff anymore." Clay Edmands president, Salina Regional Health Center, discussing the merger of Salina's two hospitals ous employee dissatisfactions expected with the blending of two hospital cultures. "Some didn't like it," he said of employees, "and they'll feel that way until they die." But every day since the consolidation, Edmands said he's hearing less grumbling. "I don't feel I'm dealing with' Asbury' or 'St. John's' staff anymore," Edmands said. "The overall goal was to concentrate services and avoid duplication and we accomplished that," Resales said. The progress was also a pleasant surprise to former Asbury board president Ed Pogue. "If I were to set the goals myself, they would have been lower than what was actually done," he said. "They exceeded my expectations in terms of consolidating programs and services on the two campuses." Consolidation saves money So far nearly all acute, inpatient care has been consolidated at the Santa Fe (Asbury) campus. "Acute care was greater than we anticipated," Edmands said. "Inpatient care was too great to get it all in one building." The Penn (St. John's) facility now performs the outpatient procedures as well as housing all of the skilled nursing services. Outpatient services are expected to grow. Edmands said that when he started his career nearly 20 years ago, there nearly all surgeries required an overnight hospital stay. "Now we're at the point where 62 percent of the surgeries are done on an outpatient basis." Pediatrics combined at the Santa Fe campus, as did emergency room care. The consolidation is estimated to save $6 million to $7 million in the first five years and about $1.5 annually after that. The hospital saved at least a quarter million dollars with the sale of the MRI unit at the Penn campus. The equipment brought more than $800,000 and will save the hospital $250,000 in yearly maintenance. All MRI procedures — six to eight a day — are performed at the Santa Fe campus. An attractive situation Besides saving money, consolidating the hospitals is expected to make Salina more attractive to medical specialists who otherwise wouldn't have given the community a second look. , Having one hospital instead of two with duplicated services means medical personnel will get twice the experience. "The more we see the more procedures we do and the better we get at it," Resales said. Within the year, Salina attracted nine new doctors in cardiology, gastroenterology, podiatry, family practice, gynecology and anaesthe- siology. The future face of health care made the consolidation even more urgent, authorities said. Fewer fee-for-service arrangements mean hospitals, doctors and others in the business of healthcare delivery can expect pressures to hold down costs. One way to do that will be keeping people healthy so that they don't need expensive medical procedures. While there will always be a need for acute care, hospitals of the future will mark their success not by how many beds they fill, but how many they keep empty. "The healthcare system is migrating towards a broader definition of itself," said hospital vice president Charlie Grimwood. "If the real reason we exist is to make people well, then we should keep them from getting sick in the first place." SERTA MATTRESS SALE LIMIED TIME OFFER We're overstocked with a huge assortment of Serta models in every comfort, every size and every style, so we're clearing them out at huge savings to you! 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