The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on April 26, 2001 · Page 1
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 1

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Salina, Kansas
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Thursday, April 26, 2001
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Page 1
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U.S. gets its kicy PAGE D1 the 1/ APRIL 26, 2001 SALINA, KANSAS Salina Journal Serving Kansas since 1871 50 cents Garden remedies PAGE CI The Associated Press Hundreds of Holslngton residents have little left but their sense of humor after a tornado struck the central-Kansas town of 3,000 late Saturday night causing an estimated $17 million In damage. Salina-area man gets stuck in path of monster tornado By SHARON MONTAGUE The Sallna Journal Rodger Sparks had been crouched in the narrow space between a grill and a wall of cabinets for what seemed like forever, his ears filled with a roar resembling that of a train engine idling nearby, his arms over his head, trying to protect against the falling glass and timbers. Suddenly, Jhere was silence. .J^0 "T^'' He stood, looked west, and saw what was left of his mobile home, which had been flipped and was missing its shell. "There were no walls in front of me anymore," Sparks said. Sparks, who lives southeast of Salina, was one of several people caught in the Dairy Queen Brazier in Hoisington Saturday when a tornado packing winds in excess of 200 mph roared through the western portion of the city, killing one man, injuring about two dozen others and destroying hundreds of houses. He had no warning of the impending disaster. Like dozens of others. Sparks had returned to his hometown at the invitation of the Dairy Queen owner, Leroy Steinert. Every year on the day of the high school prom, everyone who has ever worked at the restaurant is invited back, and the alumni work so the high school employees can have the day off. "After they close for the evening, we have a party, and the people in Hoisington come and visit with the old gang," Sparks said. Sparks worked at the Dairy Queen some 35 years ago when he was a freshman in high school, acting as one of the first fry cooks after the restaurant began serving hamburgers with its ice cream. See VICTIM, Page A2 Twist of FATE Weather experts awed at sudden qlevelopment of Hoisington twister By The Associated Press HOISINGTON — A strong wind was blowing outward from the thunderstorm that loomed over Rush County, a sign the storm was dying. Veteran storm chasers following the system decided to head to nearby Great Bend for a bite to eat. Meteorologists at the National Weather Service in Wichita watched the storm disintegrate on radar. The chasers were just beginning to eat when the lights began flickering at the restaurant. "That's not good," Jim Reed told fellow storm chaser Jon Davies. Another supercell thunderstorm had suddenly erupted, but the Weather Service meteorologists in Wichita did not see any of the telltale signs of a tornado— Until it was too late. "It came down with a vengeance," said Dick Elder, chief meteorologist for NWS' Wichita office. The tornado caused in excess $43 million in damages, Gov. Bill Graves said Wednesday in a letter to President Bush asking for federal assistance. FEMA Director Joe AU- baugh will be in Hoisington Thursday afternoon. See SUDDEN, Page A2 Assessment team estimates damage at $17.45 million By NATE JENKINS The Salina Journal For 13 gut-wrenching hours Sunday Mike Peterson and the rest of the damage- assessment crew gleaned facts and figures from piles of rubble and rows of splintered buildings. There were emotions to sort through, too, Peterson said. Emotions elicited by broken homes — the handiwork of the Hoisington tornado that mowed through town Saturday "I don't think anything I've ever seen on TV or anywhere else prepared me for what I saw," said Peterson, a member of the assessment team and Salina's chief building official and zoning administrator "I still have trouble today believing what I know I saw was real." But a sense of duty helped Peterson and the rest of the approximately 40-member volunteer Kansas Disaster Rapid Assessment Program team get through the day Sunday Peterson left Sunday evening; others stayed Monday, too. The team compiled information for the Federal Emergency Management Agency that could help Hoisington gather its collective footing. "Nobody ever thinks about how the numbers are crunched," said Tom Loker, chief building official in Hays and a member of the assessment team that is called into action after disaster stirikss "It's kind of behind the scenes," Loker said. It's also kind of important. The assessment team, made up primarily of building officials, architects and engineers from across the state, tallies how many structures are destroyed and how many have minor or major damage. A cost then is attached to those figures. See DAMAGE, Page A2 T CHILD CARE TBUSHTAX PLAN Bush calls on Democratic leadership President says lie wants to get tax proposal completed By ALAN FRAM The Associated Press WASHINGTON — President Bush summoned moderate Senate Democrats to the White House Wednesday as he and Republican leaders intensified efforts to pump up the size of the tax cut they want to push through Congress. The Oval Office lobbying came as Bush used an interview with The Associated Press to concede that Congress would not approve the full $1.6 trillion, 10-year tax cut he has touted for months as the best way to add spark to the economy While the House has approved a 2002 budget that included Bush's full tax plan, the Senate version limited the tax reduction to $1.2 trillion. "I want to get it done," Bush said, adding, "It's going to be less than $1.6 (trillion) and greater than 1.2 and we've got to figure out how to make it work." The president said his priority was for the tax package to include his plan to reduce income-tax rates. Bush spent much of the morning, along with Vice Presi­ dent Dick Cheney and other White House officials, meeting individually with centrist Democratic senators in hopes of winning their support for a bigger tax reduction than the Senate approved. According to one Republican knowledgeable about the meetings, the White House was seeking support for a $1.34 trillion tax cut for 2002 through 2011, a bit less than the midway point between the House and Senate. In addition, there would be $60 billion more in tax cuts in 2001 aimed at quickly stimulating the economy At least initially, moderate Democrats seemed to be resist- Smart Start may get hurt by budget cuts Child-care program seeks to improve accessibility, wages By SARAH KESSiNGER Harris News Service TOPEKA — New training for child-care workers and a chance for better wages are now available in some parts of Kansas because of Smart Start, a new state grant project. But both the Senate budget committee and Gov. Bill Graves recently opted to erase a proposal to spend $8 million more of the state's tobacco lawsuit settlement on Smart Start next year. A lack of tax revenue requires it, they say But child ad-,' vocates say tobacco money wa^ designated for young children, and yet is now going to other budget items. .' This past year, seven Kansas communities received the state's first Smart Start grants • HABITAT FOR HUMANITY ing Bush's offer, indicating that completing a compromise budget could take time. One of them, Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., said he urged Bush "to take a long hard look" at the lesser amount the Senate had approved. "He wasn't too happy with that," Baucus said. Democrats said they want more of the tax cut distributed to lower-income people than Bush has proposed, plus more spending for agriculture, education, prescription drug benefits and other programs. Bush wants to let spending for many programs grow by 4 percent next year. totaling $2.75 million. The money aims to improve child-care and early education programs. The Legislature agreed in 1999 to dedicate funds from the tobacco settlement to new programs funded through a Children's Initiatives Fund. The Kansas Children's Cabinet was created to advise on spending the money Smart Start, patterned after a nationally acclaimed program in North Carolina, offered startup grants to agencies in Colby, Salina, Kansas City, Lawrence, Crawford County Manhattan and Wichita. ; The Kansas Children's Cabinet chose Smart Start as a core program after noting North,- Cai-olina's success with c!^il^ dren from birth to age 5. North Carolina, with twice the'popu- lation of Kansas,, annually funds Smart Start-at. $230 million in all its coifnties. See SMART, Page A2 TOM DORSEY / The Salina Journal Salina artist Rich Bergen worlds on a steel sculpture to be donated to the Salina Habitat for Humanity auction April 28. Auction carries Habitat By AMY SULLIVAN The Salina Journal Janette Agin learned in spring 1969 how to cut and weld metal and turn it into art, Agin, the only girl in Richard Bergen's class at Marymount College in Salina, eventually produced seven metal sculptures that the college chose to adorn the college's fine arts building, "It was a totally new experience," Agin (now Gilchrist) said. "We learned the technique first before we could create." Viewers had their own interpretations of her creations. "Some people thought they looked like flowers," she said. "Other people told me it looked like an underwater scene or a galaxy scene." Whatever people thought of the sculptures, for all practical purposes, they disappeared from the public when the college closed in 1989. The sculptures' road back into the public view started about 1994. That's when the Kansas Highway Patrol moved in. In redecorating, the architect wanted to change from a college campus atmosphere to a law enforcement feel. Bergen got a call that the sculptures needed to be moved, or they would be thrown out. See AUCTION, Page A3 WEATHER High: 81 Low: 49 Sunny. South wind 5 to J5 mph. Tonight, clear. PAGE A4 In unusually blimt terms, President Bush warned China an attack on Taiwan could provoke a U.S. military response. TOMORROW Movie theaters are an important part of small towns that have them, and several Kansas towns are working to keep theirs. INSIDE Classified / C2 Comics / B4 Crossword / B4 Deaths / B3 Great Plains / B1 Home /C1 Money / A5 Sports / D1 Weather / C8 Viewpoints / A7

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