Local/Kansas The Salina Journal Sunday, January 26,1986 Page 3 Governor candidates strut their stuff at GOP state meeting Fritz Mmddl Salinan Robert Caldwell says "(Blacks) think they can sit back and relax now, but things are just getting started." Caldwell still trying for King's dream By GORDON D. FIEDLER Jr. Staff Writer Salinan Robert Caldwell already had an impressive list of accomplishments before he traveled to Topeka earlier this month. He now has one more. The 72-year-old retired teacher, former state representative and past city commissioner and mayor was in the capital Jan. 15 to accept the governor's Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Award in ceremonies at the Statehouse. Caldwell is the second Kansan to receive the award, presented in memory of the slain civil rights leader. He was selected from 10 nominees, and said he was surprised he was even mentioned for consideration. "I asked them if they picked my name out of a hat," Caldwell said jokingly. He said the award went to people "who show they are attempting to do some of the things Martin Luther King would have them do. I have been involved in a whole lot of things over a period of time." A sampling: • Member of the executive board of the Sauna Council on Human Relations and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. • Charter member of the Black American Citizens of Salina. • Chairman of the Carver Center Advisory Board. • Member of the National Black Caucus of Local Elected Officials. • Director of the National Education Association Human Relations Center. "There is still a need for civil rights programs and a need for people to be able to work where they like, to live where they like." — Robert Caldwell Caldwell is Salina's only black city commissioner and black mayor. He holds the distinction of being the second Salinan since World War II to serve more than three mayoral terms. (Ed Morganstern served four terms between 1937 and 1945.) Ironically, Caldwell might never have remained in Sauna after the city began integrating its elementary schools. In the early 1950s, the school district closed Dunbar Elementary School, the city's black grade school, of which Caldwell was principal. The building, at 309 E. Elm, now is the headquarters for St. Francis Boys' Homes. Caldwell said he was encouraged to seek employment in other cities and was offered a position in Leavenworth, but turned it down. "If integration comes to Leavenworth, what was I going to do then?" he asked. The administration moved him to Sauna High School and into the graphic arts department. By the time he ran for the city commission in 1969, he was head of the department. Before his tenure on the commission, Caldwell was instrumental in 1962 in forming the Salina Council on Human Relations, the forerunner to the present Salina Human Relations Commission. "We didn't have too many minorities in public jobs," he said. 'Caldwell, 415 E. Crawford, said housing was another of his concerns, and said he's most proud of a local housing ordinance for which he pushed. "I'm not going to say (the ordinance) was the sole reason, but if you look around the community now you see black people everywhere — you even have a few on the 'Hill.' The Realtors found out black money was just as green as white money." But it wasn't always so in Salina. There was a time, he said, when he could have afforded to live in certain neighborhoods but knew he would have been unwelcome. "I was going to buy on the other side of the high school. The lot was going to sell for $1,500, but when I went over to get it the price was $3,000." Much has changed since he won a seat on the commission in 1969 in his tost bid for elective office. "The Human Relations Council asked me to run. So I said if you get behind me, I'll be glad to." He said a lot of his support came from former students — from his years as teacher and principal at Dunbar and as a high school teacher. But despite the advances that blacks and other minorities have made, the struggle to attain King's dream is not finished, Caldwell said. He looks with dismay at the dwindling membership of the local NAACP chapter. "People get complacent. We've achieved a lot of things and some people are happy with what we've done. But, you see, that's not going to keep it going. They feel like they've made it now, but they haven't. They think they can sit back and relax now, but things are just getting started." What King was trying to teach, he said, was much more than a week of honoring his birth could ever achieve. "They had a full week of programs built around Martin Luther King. I'm sure every black person was happy about that. "But a week won't do what Martin Luther King asked for. He asked for equalization of all people. What he wants us to do is join hands with other civil rights organizations and help fulfill that dream." Caldwell's solution would be to offer something more. "I would continue the weekly program of observing his birthday, but I would have some other objectives to follow up on the things he really wanted people to do. "I would want (black organizations) to join hands with organizations that are already in existence. There is still a need for civil rights ~ programs and a need for people to be able to work where they like, to live where they like." TOPEKA (AP) — Nine declared and potential candidates for Republican nomination for governor paraded before the GOP State Committee Saturday, each wooing support and emphasizing how critical it is that the party wrest the top state elective job from the Democrats this year. The pitches of the contenders ranged from Richard Peckman's low-key approach that he "simply makes the offer" to be the party's nominee if the GOP wants him to House Speaker Mike Hayden's emotional declaration that, "I'm in it for the duration. We intend to win." Peckham, 40, an Andover attorney who practices law in Wichita, and Hayden, 41, an Atwood insurance agent, are declared candidates for the party's gubernatorial nomination. A third declared contender, Wichita business executive Larry Jones, 54, matched Hayden in confidence, telling the state committee and others attending Kansas Day activities at a downtown Topeka hotel, "I believe I can be a good governor. Most important, I am convinced I can win in November." None of six undeclared candidates made any announcement, or gave any strong hint whether he or she eventually would enter the August primary race. They have until mid- June to file for the office. Former Gov. Robert F. Bennett said he's still tallying results of a postcard poll he conducted and comparing those results with what people told him during this weekend's gathering of Republicans. "It's an inordinately tough decision — probably a lifetime decision," Bennett said of weighing whether he should attempt a political comeback at the age of 58 and give up a comfortable life practicing law in Johnson County. "I want to make sure it's right for our state and right for our party," said Bennett, who lost a re-election bid in 1978 to Democrat John Carlin. "I want to be sure I'm not a force for division in our party or division in our state. If our candidacy in any way would cause division in our state, I will not be a candidate. In the final analysis, I have just one goal: A strong party and one state." Secretary of State Jack Brier said he was taking a poll now and should make up his mind by late winter or early spring. He urged unity whoever wins the GOP nomination. "Our quarrel is with the Carlin- Docking administration," said Brier, referring to the incumbent governor Kansas leads in beef packing WICHITA (AP) — Kansas, which already boasts of being America's grain miller and wheat stacker, now has a new laurel: U.S. beef packer. For the tost time, Kansas led the nation in beef packing last year, producing 4.2 billion pounds of hamburger, steak and roasts. The state's top ranking became official Friday when the U.S. Department of Agriculture released its December figures on cattle slaughter. Texas had been in first place. "We're also No. 1 in wheat and sorghum (milo) production, so we're kind of covering the waterfront this year," said Don Jacka, the state's assistant secretary of agriculture. "This is only one indication of the strong agriculture industry we have in the state of Kansas." Kansas' rise to the top reflects changes within the meat-packing industry that have made places like Garden City and Dodge City centers of meat-packing activity. Dry weather sparks grass fires By NANCY MAIJR Staff Writer The lack of January precipitation has sparked more grass fires in and around Salina than usual for the month. At least seven grass fires were reported in the Salina area last week, and that's directly related to the' 'dry and good" weather central Kansas has been experiencing, said Tom Girard, Salina Fire Department division chief. "Everything is really dry," Girard said. "Most of the time we wouldn't have this many toes in January because of snow cover and precipitation." However, Girard said the grass toes do not compare to the number of grass fires in the spring and late summer. "When we get into March — and again in July and August — we'll have more than we're having now," he said. An early Saturday afternoon grass fire at the Smoky Hill Weapons Range was put out by the range's firefighting unit before any damage occurred. "It looked worse than it was," a spokeswoman said of the incident, which was contained to a small area of the range. The National Weather Service's Concordia office reported Saturday that no precipitation is expected for north-central Kansas through the middle of this week. Salina has received only a trace of moisture during January, making this month the driest on record here since December 1976. No January has been as dry since 1953. Recent grass fires that have been spawned by the abnormally dry weather have occurred at Indian Rock Park, St. Mary's Grade School and a residence at 3121 Canterbury. Only the toe at St. Mary's caused any significant property damage, Girard said. That fire was attributed to children playing with fireworks, and damage was estimated at $100. No major injuries have resulted from any of the fires. Concordia, Hoxie take debate honors Debate teams from Concordia and Hoxie high schools placed first lathe Class 4A and Class 3-2-1A divisions of the state debate tournament Saturday at Salina Central High School. The Salina Central debate squad, which placed second in the Class 5A regional debate competition Jan. 18 in Great Bend, did not place in the state competition. Thirty-two teams took part in the tournament. The contest was held at Central Friday and Saturday. In the Class 6A competition, Wichita Southeast, Shawnee Mission West and Manhattan high schools placed tost, second, and third respectively. Tecumseh-Shawnee Heights, Topeka-Washburn Rural, and Valley Center high schools claimed the top three prizes in the Class 5A level. Class 4A winners were Concordia, and Lt. Gov. Tom Docking, an all- but-declared candidate for Democratic nomination this year, since Carlin is constitutionally ineligible to succeed himself for a third term. Senate President Robert Talkington of lola, who has said he likely will wait until the end of the current legislative session to make his decision, stressed his legislative experience, declaring, "I don't have to promise you what I will do. I think you can just look at that record to see what I have done." Added Talkington, "There hasn't been anyone mentioned as a possible Democrat candidate that I don't know I can do a better job than they can do." Sen. Fred Kerr of Pratt, chairman of the Senate Assessment and Taxation Committee, who also is waiting until the end of the session to make up his mind, talked mostly about legislative issues. "I don't know whether it's of ultimate importance whether I serve as governor, or as legislator, or as chairman of the tax committee," Kerr said. Barbara Pomeroy, a Wichita State University instructor who lives at Whitewater, talked of the need for the Republican Party to establish a vision for the future of Kansas, giving no hint whether she actually will become a candidate. Gene Bicknell, a Pittsburg businessman and former mayor of that city, sold himself as a man with great experience in business, government and civic work, and said he believes "I'm the viable candidate." Bicknell drew a rise from the assembled Republicans by declaring, "The people of Kansas are not so naive as to believe the Docking family is going to control this state forever." But it was Hayden, who spoke last, who perhaps stirred the most emotions. He cited his rural roots in northwest Kansas, his farmer father's struggles, his own experiences as a Vietnam company commander and how he rose through the legislative ranks to become speaker. "Let me tell you something," Hayden concluded. "If we do (win), none of you will ever be disappointed." Besides hearing from the nine candidates, the GOP State Comm- mittee approved a $472,000 budget for 1986, of which Chairman Vern Chesbro said about one-fourth already has been raised. It includes financing two statewide polls and providing money for the party's candidates in this year's election. Briefly Russell and Topeka-Hayden high schools. In the combined Class 3-2-1A competition, Hoxie received first-place honors, with Hutchinson-Trinity and Pittsburg-Colgan-St. Marys placing second and third. This was the third time since 1970 Central has participated in the state tournament. Before a team qualifies for state competition, it must place in its region. Hotel offers old-time romance WILSON — "Kansas" Walker wants to put some tradition back into his historic Midland Hotel. To that end, Walker has invited married couples to spend Valentine's Day night at the hotel—and pay what they would have been charged on their wedding day. Couples married in 1926, for example, will pay 15 cents for the night's lodging. Those married in 1936 will pay 25 cents. So far, Walker has reservations from 11 couples who were married between the years 1931 and 1979. Most are from the Russell-Claflin- Great Bend area. Later in the evening, Walker plans to clear the hotel's large lobby of tables and have a dance. Records from the 1940s and 1950s will be played. "If it goes well this year, I'm going to do it next year with a hay ride out front and build on it every year," Walker said. "We want to make it an annual deal to bring some tradition back into the hotel." The limestone Midland dates back to 1899 when Wilson was an important stop on the Union Pacific Railroad. The hotel has had many owners over the years. The latest is Walker and his family, who purchased the Midland in July 1984. Ellis woman wins essay contest TOPEKA (AP) —Kittie Dale of Ellis and Nikole Perrigo of Hiawatha were announced Friday night at the annual Native Sons and Daughters of Kansas dinner as first-place winners in essay contests. Dale won the Kansas Factual Pioneer Story contest for an essay titled, "A Length of Rope." Second was Neva White of Manhattan and third was Margaret Jagger of Minneapolis. Perrigo won the "Kansas! Say It Above a Whisper" contest, with Jamie Stockman of Kirwin second and Julie Colberg of Lyons third. Olive Ann Beech of Wichita provides cash awards for the Factual Pioneer Story contest, and the family of the late Mamie Boyd of Phillipsburg provides cash awards in the Kansas contest. General Battery lays off up to 60 As many as 60 employees have been laid off this week at General Battery Corp. in the South Industrial Area. Plant manager Roberto Garcia said he has been out of town and doesn't know the exact number of layoffs. Because his business is seasonal, Garcia said layoffs usually occur this time of year. During the peak season, employment can reach as high as 370 to 380, but at this time of year it declines to 300 to 310, he said. Heritage members to visit Wichita Members of Sauna's Heritage Commission are to tour historic landmarks in Wichita this month. They will meet at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday with Dave Burk, president of the Wichita Historic Landmark Preservation Committee.
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