The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on April 26, 2001 · Page 9
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 9

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Salina, Kansas
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Thursday, April 26, 2001
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Page 9
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THURSDAY APRIL 26, 2001 THE SAUNA JOURNAL Great Plains A LOOK AHEAD / B2 DEATHS / B3 FUN / B4 BRIEFLY Salina KU student alleges retribution LAWRENCE — A University of Kansas student believes she was overlooked for a job as a hall proctor because of her involvement in the hall's lawsuit against the university and Bank of America. Kaili Kuiper, a junior from Salina and resident of Watkins Scholarship Hall, said she believes she was not chosen for the proctor position as retribution for her involvement in the lawsuit. However, KU officials deny the accusation. Although a three-member committee of Watkins residents recommended Kuiper for the job, the university department of student housing announced Aidan Loveland, a junior from Lawrence, will be the hall's proctor during the 2001-2002 school year. "They questioned my loyalty to my hall because of my involvement in the lawsuit," said Kuiper. Kuiper and 25 other residents of Watkins and Miller halls filed the lawsuit in March. It alleges the university and Bank of America — which administers a trust left by Elizabeth Miller Watkins — have mishandled millions of dollars intended for upkeep on the halls. A hearing on the suit is scheduled for Monday Election results won't be thrown out SMITH CENTER — An attempt to have the results of the April 3 Gaylord City Council election thrown out because of alleged wrongdoing by two election officers was dismissed Wednesday by a district court judge. Dovie Schamp, Gaylord, had filed a notice of contest in Smith County alleging election officers gave the names of two write-in candidates to at least one voter at a Gaylord voting location April 3. The complaints were based on Gaylord resident Michelle Nichols' claim election officers gave her the names of write-in candidates before she put her ballot in a ballot box. Judge Bill Elliott's dismissal of the complaints was based on two points — Schamp's failure to file the notice of contest in a timely manner and her failure to show in the notice she is a registered voter with the right to vote in Gaylord. Schamp, a losing candidate in the election, said it is likely she will pursue other legal avenues. 3 more fallen officers added to memorial TOPEKA — Three more names of fallen policemen were added to the Law Enforcement Memorial, which is running out of space for new ones to be chiseled in the limestone monument. Law enforcement officers from around the state gathered Wednesday at the Statehouse for the annual ceremony honoring those who died in the line of duty. Three who died last year — Topeka Police Officers Charles Joseph Bohlender Jr. and Jeff William Howey and Wichita Police Lt. John Galvin — were added to the monument. A fourth officer who died in 2000 was added during last year's observance. Brown County Deputy Sheriff Todd Widman, 21, was shot and killed March i; 2000, after stopping a Buffalo, N.Y., teen-ager near Hiawatha. The monument on the Statehouse's north lawn now bears 223 names, some dating back to the 1860s. From Staff and Wire Reports CORRECTIOIVIS Because of a Journal error, the location of a convenience store where an underage teenager reportedly was sold cigarettes was incorrect in Tuesday's edition. A clerk at Casey's General Store, 725 W. Schilling, was ticketed after the sale during an undercover sting operation. ••••• The Journal wants to set the record straight. Advise us of errors by cailing the Journai at (785) 823-6363, or toll free at 1-800827-6363. Corrections will run in this space as soon as possible. T HOISINGTON TORNADO Damage awes many volunteers 13 Ellsworth volunteers among the more than 100 registered helpers Tuesday By SHARON MONTAGUE The Salina Journal Volunteers traveling from Ellsworth to Hoisington Tuesday to help with tornado cleanup were told to bring rakes. Scoop shovels would have made it much easier to accomplish their task. "To me, the devastation is just unbelievable," said Pat Svaty of Ellsworth, who organized the trip. "Everything was in such smaU pieces, like shattered glass. Most of the pieces were less than a foot long — too small, even, for the rakes." The 13 Ellsworth volunteers were among the more than 100 who registered Tuesday with the American Red Cross as "People are willing to respond to others'problems, not just with money, but with their time." Pat Svaty volunteer from Ellsworth tornado recovery volunteers. Vicktoria Degand, executive director of the Salina chapter, said many others also worked in town but didn't register. The number of registered volunteers was expected to reach more than 200 Wednesday "There has been a wonderful response," Degand said. A group of students from Salina's St. John's Military School traveled to Hoisington Tuesday, and volunteers have manned a Concordia-based United Methodist Church beverage wagon in Hoisington since late Saturday night, when the tornado struck the small Barton County town. Many individuals from communities across Kansas also helped with the effort. Volunteers said they were amazed by the devastation wrought by the tornado. But they also were amazed by the number of people helping Hoisington residents recover. "We learned that people from everywhere will help," Svaty said. "We saw people from Mennonite Relief, the Methodist Church. In Ellsworth, I called around for one day and found 13 people to go. "People are willing to respond to oth­ ers' problems, not just with money but with their time." The Ellsworth group arrived in Hoisington about 9 a.m. and worked until 3 p.m., clearing away most of the debris from one badly damaged home and about half of the debris from a second home. Svaty, who traveled to Croatia as part of a mission group and toured war-torn villages, compared the tornado damage to what she saw in Croatia. "It was a lot like that, only it was a lot worse," Svaty said. "There were just such small pieces." Homeowners already had been through the wreckage, salvaging what they could. Svaty said her group found a Hoisington High School class ring, a bowling ball and golf balls, but that was it. See HELP, Page B2 • LEGISLATURE The Associated Press Some of the demonstrators who participated in the interlHab march Thursday at the state capitoi in Topeica surround the car of Rep. Ai Lane, R-IUIission htills, after he pariced in a no-parl<ing area and bloci<ed a curb malting it difficult for many of the disabled people who came to protest to form a human chain around the Statehouse. Budget Battles Disabled, advocates rally for money; panel struggles with tax bill By The Associated Press TOPEKA — Legislators reconvened Wednesday to tackle budget problems and found the Statehouse filled with disabled Kansans, their relatives and advocates seeking more money The House and Senate scheduled four days of work to wrap up their business for the year but could meet into next week. They must close a $206 million gap between expected revenues and spending already approved for the fiscal year that begins July 1. Gov. Bill Graves has proposed $117.6 million in tax increases, but legislators continue to say raising taxes is a tough sell. Evidence came Wednesday when a Senate committee struggled with a tax bill. "It demonstrates how lengthy this wrap-up process is going to be," Graves said during a brief interview. "Until we hit bottom, we don't start working our way back up. We haven't hit bottom yet." Both chambers expected debate today on their separate versions of the last spending bill of the year. About 1,000 physically and developmentally disabled Kansans, their relatives, advocates and service providers marched from the Kansas Judicial Center across the street to the Statehouse, then formed a chain around the buUding. Their biggest concern is relatively low pay for workers who bathe, help feed and otherwise serve the disabled. Advocates contend the state must spend another $24 million a year so the groups providing those services can pay employees a competitive wage and reduce turnover. Reaction to the lobbying was mixed. Senate Ways and Means Chairman Steve Morris, R-Hugoton, said finding more money is "impossible" because of the state's financial problems. But House Appropriations Chairman Kenny Wilk, R- Lansing, said he will not rule out trying to raise wages of the workers, adding, "We hear their cries." Legislator embarrassed A Johnson County legislator was caught Wednesday with his car parked in front of a low curb for the disabled on the Statehouse grounds. Rep. Al Lane, R-Mission Hills, didn't receive a ticket because he moved his car after about 90 minutes. But several people left handwritten notes on yellow paper on his windshield to show their displeasure. About 1,000 disabled Kansans, their families and advocates came to the Statehouse to lobby for more money for services. "I could not cross here because you blocked my ramp," one wheelchair user wrote. "Have a nice day" Lane's car also attracted the notice of reporters and a newspaper photographer. One of Lane's fellow House members told him about the attention, and he came out of the Statehouse to move the red Cadillac. Lane parked in a space normally left open, and the pavement has white stripes painted across it. The space was in front of a sidewalk bordering the circular drive around the Capitol. The ramp and low curb lead to a crossing and another ramp outside the east door of the building. He said he arrived just before the House convened and couldn't find a parking space on the Capitol grounds. "I'm sorry I parked in a handicapped space," he said. Senate rejects another increase for schools By JOHN MILBURN The Associated Press TOPEKA — The Senate Wednesday rejected a bill that would have put $60 million more into public education through higher sales and estate taxes. Legislators have already approved a $67 million increase that will add $50 to the base state aid per pupU. The 23-17 vote followed more than two hours of debate on the bill. Pete Brungardt, R-Salina, voted for the bill. Educators had scant hope lawmakers would approve additional funding for schools beyond the $67 million increase contained in a measure signed Monday- by Gov. Bill Graves, who had blessed the latest proposal. "If the Legislature chooses to do a patch job by borrowing from Peter to pay Paul, the problem only worsens," said Sedan superintendent George Blevins. "We all know how difficult it will be to see increased funding come about next year, since it is an election year." Before they end the 2001 session, legislators must eliminate a $206 million hole in the state's budget. The House and Senate budget committees have come up with plans to cover the shortfall, but only the Senate's plan raises taxes. Combined with earlier increases, the latest Senate school finance plan would have raised base state aid per pupil to $3,910 from.the current $3,820 and increased the state's coverage of special education costs. Another issue still to be resolved was the renewal of the statewide property tax levy, which generates about $380 million for public As amended by the House, the bill re­ news the levy at 20 mills for the state's fiscal 2002, which begins July 1, then rolls it back to 18 mills in fiscal 2003. The bill contains a tax break for residential property owners. The House version exempts the first $30,000 of residential property value from the tax, increasing the figure from the current $20,000. A mill is $1 of taxation for every $1,000 of assessed value. As amiended, the bill reduces revenue for education by $13 million in 2002 and $45 million in 2003. At 20 miUs the levy would raise about $380 million for schools. A conference committee is at odds over how to reconcile the House and Senate differences. House Taxation Committee Chairman John Edmonds, R-Great Bend, said he was willing to give up either the mill levy reduction or the higher exemption — but not both. BEN FRICK FRICK Frick trial could be expensive If case goes to trial, special prosecutor's bill could run high By DAVID CLOUSTON The Salina Journal An allegation of theft of city water that has dragged on for nearly two and a half years will go to trial — if it goes to trial — with two new attorneys. One of those changes could lead to another delay in the case against Salina businessman Ben Frick. The other change could cost Saline County taxpayers thousands of dollars. Frick, a landlord and operator of the Phoenix Complex in downtown Salina, is scheduled to go on trial May 8 on two felony counts of theft of services and one count of felony criminal damage to property The charges, upon conviction, carry a presumption of probation rather than a prison sentence. Frick was charged in November 1998 with diverting city water through an illegal tap on a water line owned and installed by United Parcel Service to its building on North Street. The charges claim the water was diverted to serve a neighboring building Frick owns at 1334 W. North. The case has been postponed several times, most recently while Frick received treatment for a heart condition. Frick's new attorney Joe AUen, Minneapolis, has filed a motion for another delay saying he needs more time to prepare. Allen took over the case when his former partner, Richard See FRICK, Page B2 Hoisington students may be excused By The Associated Press TOPEKA — The Senate Education Committee endorsed a bill Wednesday waiving the minimum-day requirement for students whose schools are damaged by natural disasters. The proposal is in response to the tornado that heavily damaged Hoisington High School Saturday The Senate plans to debate the bill today It allows the state Board of Education to waive the 186-day requirement for the minimum number of school days when a disaster makes following the law unreasonable. The Legislature approved a similar waiver when Andover was hit by a tornado in 1991. This year's measure would eliminate the need to pass a bill for each case, allowing the state board to make the decision. The bill's definition of disaster includes fire, flood, earthquake, tornado, wind, storm, epidemics, air contamination, blight, drought, infestation or explosion. SUGGESTIONS? CALL BEN WEARING, DEPUTY EDITOR, AT 823-6363 OR 1-800-827-6363 OR E-MAIL AT sjbwearing@saljournal.com

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