The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on April 24, 2001 · Page 1
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 1

Salina, Kansas
Issue Date:
Tuesday, April 24, 2001
Page 1
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Mustangs & BuUpups PAGE D1 the TUESDAY APRIL 24, 2001 SALINA, KANSAiS Salina Journal Serving Kansas since 1871 50 cents Saving history PAGE B1 L Hoisington refuses to be BLOWN Monday's gusty wind whips a tattered U.S. flag in a Hoisington neighborhood destroyed by Saturday's tornado. Photos by JUSTIN HAYWORTH / The Salina Journal Caria Crutcher emerges from her relative's basement Monday as friends and fellow family members salvaged belongings. Town rallies to pick up the pieces TAUSCHER neighborhood By SHARON MONTAGUE The Salina Journal HOISINGTON — Bob Crutcher knew he had left his grandfather's ruby ring on a night stand beside his recliner — but that was before a tornado with wind speeds of more than 200 miles an hour tore through his Saturday night, killing one man, injuring 28 others and leveling buildings in its path. As Crutcher searched through the debris Sunday afternoon, he thought there was no hope of finding the ring or the 118-year-old pocket watch that had been on an antique bureau in his bedroom. He found both priceless possessions. The watch was near the front steps of his former home, and the ring was stni beside the recliner, although the recliner had been moved onto what once was the side­ walk. "It's amazing, something so delicate," Crutcher said as he looked down at the glass and other debris that littered the ground. "They found my high school class ring yesterday But the refrigerator — we never found the refrigerator" For residents of Hoisington, Monday was a day of finding those treasures lost in the mountains of wood and twisted tin. The air was alive with the sound of emergency power generators, saws, heavy equipment and the smell of diesel fuel. Tree limbs, stripped of bark, reached like daggers into the sky, and concrete steps and sidewalks led not to houses but to more piles of splintered wood and tufts of insulation. A Kansas Highway Patrol helicopter hovered overhead as people piled wood to be picked up by work crews, dusted off items that might be salvaged and searched, sometimes in vain, for those irreplaceable items. Hoisington tornado victim Kenny Steinert found amid the See STORM, Page A8 rubble of his home his videotape of the movie "Twister." • SMOKY VALLEY HIGH SCHOOL Cheerless leaders pJs"' Belt-tightening has board mulling cuts In art, coaching, bus routes and food service ByTANATHOMSON The Salina Journal Hillary Weller is not ready to stop being a cheerleader. Weller, a sophomore at Smoky Valley High School in Lindsborg, rallied her cheerleading buddies and decided to do something about the fact the board was even considering cutting the cheerleading program from the district budget. The Smoky Valley School Board is trying to squeeze every last dollar from the district's budget to trim the $455,000 deficit it's facing in next year's budget. That estimate is based on a budget that includes an additional $50 in base aid per pupil from the state. If that increase isn't approved by the Legislature — which is dealing with its own projected $205 million revenue shortfall — the Smoky Valley district could be facing a larger gap. "I got a whole bunch of cheerleaders together, and we wrote a letter," Weller said. Then the girls distributed it to students, staff and the Lindsborg community asking them to sign it to support keeping the program. "Cheerleading is the only sport I do. It's how I make friends and do things," Weller said. "It's one of my favorite things to do." Whether cheerleading will survive the cuts will be determined at a special board meeting cheerleading program at 5 p.m. Wednesday at the Smoky Valley School District Office in Lindsborg. Smoky Valley Superintendent Glen Suppes said he's confident the cheerleaders'and their supporters have made enough noise that the program will survive. But that's not the case for everything on a tentative list of programs facing the ax. Why aU the cutting? "The state is not funding us properly, that's why" Suppes said. Cheerleading, with a budget of $5,600 this year, is one of the least costly programs on the list. Most of that cost goes to sponsors' salaries. If made, the cut would affect about 23 kids in the district. See CHEER, Page A2 T TORNADO WARNINGS Sound advice Don't wait for sirens to take cover "I think the problem is, people don't want to be inconvenienced." Gail Aills director, Saline County Emergency Preparedness "When a we highly By DAVID CLOUSTON Tlie Salina Journal False alarms during tornado season are something National Weather Service meteorologists in Kansas try hard to minimize — and they succeed. During the past two years, forecasters have been 75 percent to 80 percent successful at detecting tornadoes in time to warn area residents before touchdown, said Chance Hayes, Wichita, warning coordination meteorologist for Kansas. Fewer than 30 percent of tornado warnings are false alarms. The national average is above 50 percent, Hayes said. "We do not issue warnings just to issue warnings," Hayes said, warning is issued, suggest you take cover, because in all likelihood, we feel the threat is eminent, and it is there." A tornado warning differs from a tornado watch in that the latter only indicates conditions are favorable for tornado formation. A warning indicates meteorologists have detected rotating winds, or a funnel has been sighted by spotters. In 2000, meteorologists issued tornado warnings 12 times for areas of central Kansas, and eight times there were tornadoes verified, Hayes said. When the tornado that carved a mile-long swath through Hoisington struck on Saturday, the small, Barton County town was under a severe thunderstorm warning, which includes the possibility of high winds and hail. One person died, 28 were injured and hundreds of buildings were destroyed by the tornado, classified as an F-4. The lone fatality, Gerald Tauscher, 69, died when his home was ripped apart. His wife of 40 years, Joyce, escaped T SALINA CITY COMMISSION injury by taking shelter in the basement. She said the last thing her husband told her was there was no hurry to take shelter, that warning sirens would sound when the storm got really bad. But relying solely on warning sirens is dangerous, Hayes and Saline County Emergency Preparedness Director Gail Aills said. Sirens are mechanical devices, and as such can be prone to failures, Aills said. They're also electrically powered, so if power is lost, so is the siren. It also takes a few moments for the signal activating the sirens to be transmitted from the Emergency Preparedness Center located in the basement cf the Law Enforcement Center at 255 N. 10th. Aills believes there's a bit of complacency coupled with disdain for interruptions involved with residents ignoring or dismissing severe weather warnings. "I think the problem is, people don't want to be inconvenienced," he said. "Their attitude seems to be 'Don't bother me until the storm is here, then when it blows over, I can go about my business.' " Still, with only one fatality, it shows residents of Hoisington as a whole did take appropriate action, he said, "What people do with that information is a personal choice," he said, "This fellow (Tauscher) made the wrong choice, obviously, "We certainly encourage people that when there are storms in the area to be cautious on the safe side. It may be an inconvenience, but the alternatives aren't all that good." • Reporter David Clouston can be reached at 823-6464, Ext. 131, or by e-mail at sjdclous- Leaky pool is a financial drain City may pull the plug on aging Carver Pool in north Salina By NATE JENKINS The Salina Journal The leaky 53-year-old Carver Pool in north Salina could be shut down as early as this spring in favor of a water-splash play area in a city park. City staff Monday offered the Salina City Commission a bleak financial picture for the small pool that served as a blacks-only pool during the era of government-supported, racial segregation. No final decision concerning the fate of the 110,000-gaUon pool at 311 N. Second was made by commissioners during Monday's regular study session. But some commissioners said they are in favor of not opening the gate this season, which begins Memorial Day weekend. The Salina Parks and Recreation Advisory Board will consider the issue in the coming days and give commissioners a recommendation for their May 14 meeting. The cost to operate the pool promises to be a central concern, as it was Monday When told by City Manager Dennis Kissinger the no-charge pool attracts an average of only about 30 users a day and costs $25,000 annually to operate because it leaks and is in bad repair, Commissioner Monte Shadwick responded: "That's just bad management, and I don't mean it's your fault... it's just that money could be used so many better ways." Mayor Kristin Seaton concurred with Shadwick, and Commissioner Alan Jilka closed the discussion saying, "I've always been in favor of closing it." To some, such as Jilka, the pool symbolizes an ugly piece of Salina history, but to others closing the pool might be perceived as a slap in the face to low-income residents. Kissinger noted the pool's position as a lightning rod for public sentiment, saying there are a lot of misconceptions about it, as well as significant loyalty He said he talked to some citizens this past year who said a proposed, elaborate water park in Kenwood Park and subsequent closing of Carver Pool would be a slight to low-income neighborhoods, some of who live in north Salina. Voters defeated a boost in sales tax to pay for the water park, and the project has been put on the back burner. See POOL, Page A2 WEATHER High: 70 Low: 45 Partly cloudy and wanner with south wind 5 to 15 mph. PAGE A5 As Democrats gathered last summer at their national convention, health officials were quietly watching for outbreaks of biological terrorism. PAGE CI The American Heart Association is pushing quick response to save heart attack victims, including the use of portable defibrillators. INSIDE Classified / C3 Comics / B4 Crossword / B4 Deaths / B3 Great Plains / B1 Health / C1 Money / A4 Sports / D1 Weather/ 08 Viewpoints / A7

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