The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on January 30, 1986 · Page 1
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 1

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Thursday, January 30, 1986
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Dl 1 Journal Home Edition — 25 Cents Salina, Kansas THURSDAY January 30,1986 114th year —No. 30— 20 Pages Reagan to lead tribute WASHINGTON (AP) - President Reagan will fly Friday to the Johnson Space Center in Houston to lead the nation in a tribute to the seven Challenger astronauts killed in the worst accident in the history of space exploration. Accompanied by his wife, Nancy, Reagan will attend midday memo* rial services in the community that was home to all of the crew members except schoolteacher Christa McAuliffe of Concord, N.H., and mission specialist Judith Resnik of Cleveland. Reagan also will send a written message of condolence to students and staff at Concord High School, where McAuliffe taught history since 1982. As the American flag flew at half- staff over the White House, Reagan set aside time to make telephone calls to the relatives of the crew members who died in Tuesday's fiery explosion over the Atlantic Ocean. "I think all of us have kind of escaped the numbness of shock that we all felt," Reagan said. "But life has to go on and so does the space program." Vice President George Bush reported to the president on his trip to Cape Canaveral to meet with families of the victims. Presidential spokesman Larry Speakes said Bush relayed to Reagan the request of June Scobee, wife of shuttle pilot Francis Scobee, to "please do not let this stop the shuttle program." As of midday, 19 nations and NATO and the United Nations had sent messages of condolences. Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, whose country has lost four astronauts on space missions since Russia sent the first man into space in 1961, said: "We share the feeling of sorrow in connection with the tragic death of the crew of the space shuttle Challenger. We express our condolences to the people of the United States and to the families." Speakes said the investigation into the tragedy would be detailed and prolonged. Reagan will receive a daily briefing on developments from Gerald May, director of space programs for the National Security Council. Speakes said it will take "a period of time" before a decision is made on whether to allocate money to replace the Challenger, a $1.2 billion spaceship that was one of five shuttles. He said it depends "on what NASA wants, needs, what they decide that the military aspects and other agencies of government that are involved in the shuttle program would need." Sen. John Glenn, D-Ohio — who went to Cape Canaveral with Bush and Sen. Jake Garn, R-Utah — said he favors building a replacement for Challenger and predicted there will be no less enthusiasm among congressional supporters of the space program because of the accident. "I would say don't lose faith in the program," Glenn said. Today Inside Students at the Rural Center School near Abilene celebrate Kansas' birthday, See Local/ Kansas, Page 3. Classified 16-18 Entertainment 20 Farm 14 Fun 19 Living Today 6,7 Local/Kansas 3,15 Markets 8 Nation/World 5 On the Record 9 Opinion 4 Sports 11-13 Weather 9 Weather KANSAS — Partly sunny, warmer and windy today with highs in the mid-60s. Investigators find debris; NASA mum about cause CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — The Coast Guard on Wednesday pulled 600 pounds of metal and tiles from the space shuttle Challenger out of the Atlantic Ocean, and experts impounded every bit of data for clues to the death of seven people in the world's worst space disaster. NASA said the five men and two women aboard the 100-ton shuttle probably had no warning of the im- More on the shuttle, Page 15 pending explosion. The debris collected by Wednesday afternoon did not include any clothing or personal effects of the astronauts. A cone-shaped object, possibly from the nose of one of the shuttle's solid rocket boosters, also was spotted. The largest piece of debris found after, a full day of searching was 15 feet by 15 feet. Other pieces were 12 feet long and 10 feet long. Most were of aluminum, some containing piping, others covered with tiles. More helicopters will be used today to see if a large object could be seen in shallow areas. Sonar equipment also is to be used. Experts were studying computer readouts that timed events at one- thousandths of a second, hoping to learn if the problem could have been a rupture of the shuttle's huge external tank. Much speculation has focused on the tank as the source of the explosion. Flight director Jay Greene said data from the tank is not read in Mission Control, but that it is recorded and will be available for the analysis of the tragedy. Mission Control, with all its sophisticated technology, had no warning of the explosion, said Greene, who was directing Challenger's climb to space. Greene described the mood in the control room as "extremely professional under the circumstances, very somber, there was not much said.'' When computer screens showed no more data was coming in, he said, engineers watched the views from teleivsion cameras. "We were hoping something better would come out of it," he said. "After a while, we resumed gathering data, put it all up and called it a day." Speculation focused on an ominous bright flash that was visible at the base of the fuel tank before the explosion, but shuttle director Jesse Moore said he wanted to discourage that. "You are asking me to lay out causes," he said. "I'm not prepared to do that." In Palm Bay, a community south of the space center, plans were made to name a school after Christa McAuliffe of Concord, N.H., who was aboard the shuttle as the first "common citizen" to fly in space. She had planned to teach two lessons from space to schoolchildren across the country. Killed along with McAuliffe were commander Francis R. Scobee, 46; pilot Michael J. Smith, 40; Judith A. Resnik, 36; Ronald E. McNair, 35; Ellison S. Onizuka, 39, and Gregory B. Jarvis, 41. An investigation team conducted its first meeting to start the long inquiry into why the $1.2 billion shuttle, appearing to be on a perfect course, suddenly exploded 74 seconds after liftoff Tuesday, raining fiery debris into the Atlantic Ocean. The space agency impounded every scrap of paper, film and data connected with the launch and pleaded with souvenir hunters to turn in anything they find on the beaches in this central Florida area. For many, McAuliffe's death like losing one of the family Harry Burton lowers the flag from its half-mast position in front of the City-County Building Wednesday evening. Flags across the country flew at half-mast as the nation mourned the crew of the space shuttle Challenger. By The Associated Press Until now, it always was someone else — a president, a senator, a civil rights leader, a soldier. Now, suddenly, in the long procession of shock and tragedy visible in our living rooms, it was one of us. We knew her by name, Christa, because she was one of us, as ordinary as a schoolteacher. So when Christa McAuliffe and the six crew members died in that flaming hell, it was no wonder that Americans reacted first with disbelief, then tears, as if learning of a death in the family, because in a sense that is what it was. "It was this generation's equivalent of 'Where were you when President Kennedy was killed'?" said a high school teacher in Schaumburg, HI. "They will always remember hearing this awful news.'' When the application of Sharon Christa McAuliffe, 37, wife, mother, social studies teacher at Concord (N.H.) High School, was chosen from 11,145 other applications, she told her students that she hoped her flight would show children that if they dared to dream their dreams could come true. "I want students to understand the special perspective of space and relate it to them," she had written in her application. Nothing grand. A teacher proposing to do a teacher's job. She aimed to keep a diary and do a little schoolteaching from space. A Concord neighbor, Alison Curling, was one of the first to hear that Christa McAuliffe Christa had been chosen. It was last July, and the town was having a sidewalk sale. Curling ran down Main Street spreading the news. She said she felt like Paul Revere. Soon the whole street was cheering—and soon, also, was all of America. So Christa McAuliffe became America's teacher, carrying with her everyone's own best dreams, and that made her death and the death of her colleagues more personal and cruel. Seeing that death happen made it more so. At the Alice Bell School in Knoxville, Tenn., teacher Lynette Young watched the launch with her 23 fourth-graders. They saw it lift off; they saw it explode. Then they saw their teacher shaking convulsively. "They're dead. They're dead," the teacher said. The children stared at her in awe. In Scottsdale, Ariz., teacher Janet Ryan brought three television sets to class so all her eighth-graders at Cocopah School would have a good view. Some, in their eagerness, wore NASA patches. Then suddenly, as Challenger turned into an orange fireball, their their excitement turned to horror. And when the truth registered they ran to their teacher and in confusion and sorrow hugged her and wept with her. "I'm glad it wasn't you, Mrs. Ryan," they said. Six others died. All, of course, left loved ones and no one's grief can be measured by another, but it was the presence of an ordinary person with the right stuff that made this manned space mission different from any of the other 55. In Columbia, S.C., when the state's General Assembly heard the news its chaplain delivered a prayer and the Assembly adjourned. In Concord, N.H., Edward Shumaker, a friend of the McAuliffes and colleague of Christa's husband, Steven — both are lawyers — was trying a case in federal court. When he heard the news, he broke down, and court adjourned. Yes, all will remember what they were doing the day space shuttle Challenger exploded. Sunflower officers ask creditor for extension of liability waiver By LINDA MOWERY-DENNING Great Plains Editor HAYS — Officers of the financially crippled Sunflower Electric Cooperative have asked the utility's chief creditor, the Rural Electrification Administration, for an extension on a waiver that protects them against personal liability on the co-op's millions of dollars of debt. Paul Seib Jr., board president of the Hays-based Sunflower, said Wednesday that the extension would allow the co-op and its creditors to continue with a second round of talks on a debt restructuring plan that would enable the utility to avoid bankruptcy. The original waiver, which expires Friday, was granted in December after Sunflower officials said they planned to default on REA-secured loans used to finance construction of a $446 million coal-fired power plant near Holcomb in southwest Kansas. Under federal law, the co-op's officers can be held responsible if any bills, including those for operation of the Holcomb plant and salaries, are paid before the government. Sunflower has been granted ex- tensions in the past. "We're working with the expiration date in mind," said Bill Musgrave, assistant to REA Administrator Harold Hunter. "It's a possibility the waiver could be extended." Hunter, visiting Kansas earlier this week for a meeting in Topeka of the Kansas Electric Cooperatives Inc., said the federal government is considering a temporary takeover of the Holcomb plant. He said such an action would be virtually unprecedented. Musgrave, however, said Hunter's comments probably needed clarification. He said a government takeover of the Holcomb plant "is but one of many different options we're looking at and to single out that one option would be premature at this point." Musgrave said the basis for negotiation is a debt restructuring plan submitted by Sunflower to its creditors after the Kansas Corporation Commission refused to give the utility a requested $5 million rate hike. Seib said he couldn't comment on the plan. But other sources close to the utility said the proposal calls for Sunflower creditors to write off more than $140 million, or almost 26 percent of the co-op's $545,598,766 debt. The federal government, which is owed $447,325,282 by the utility, would be expected to write off about $89.5 million of its debt. This would mean quarterly payments to the government of about $7.8 million at 8 percent interest over 30 years. Sunflower now makes quarterly payments of about $11 million, although the utility is in default. • The plan does not include a rate increase for the 44,000 western Kansans who receive Sunflower- generated electricity through eight rural electric cooperatives. According to information prepared for Sunflower by a Kansas City consulting firm, the plan is based on three assumptions: • Customer demand for energy will not increase in the near future. • Sunflower cannot expect any significant sale of assets or off- system power for the foreseeable future. • The co-op needs a reserve cash balance. GOP develops plan to counter Carlin's TOPEKA (AP) — A package of bills designed to increase the state gas tax, decrease Kansas income taxes and reduce the number of exemptions to the state 3 percent sales tax is being drafted by Republicans in the Kansas House. The goal of the package is to generate about $150 million and avoid Gov. John >< , : Carlin's request for a 1- cent hike in the sales tax, Rolfs which would produce about $190 million new revenue to support state governmental spending. Rep. Ed Rolfs, R-Junction City and chairman of the House tax committee, takes credit for shaping most of the bills and describes them as alternatives to Carlin's sales tax plan. But House Speaker Mike Hay- den, R-Atwood, has proposed the gas tax increase and said last week that he also was considering a proposal to raise the state's gas tax of 11 cents a gallon. The basic components of the package would: • Increase by 2 cents the gasoline tax. Each penny would generate about $12 million for road, highway and bridge construction and repair. • Disallow deductions on state income taxes for the amount a Kansas resident pays in federal income taxes. • Make state deductions for medical and gasoline expenses conform with federal deductions. • Eliminate state deductions for political contributions, along with deductions for Social Security, self employment and railroad retirment contributions. • Reduce tax rates 30 percent to 40 percent while increasing upper brackets and creating new upper brackets.

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