The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on February 3, 1986 · Page 1
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 1

Salina, Kansas
Issue Date:
Monday, February 3, 1986
Page 1
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'Journal Home Edition — 25 Cents Salina, Kansas MONDAY February 3,1986 114th year—No. 34— 34 Pages Kent Clark (at bat) of the Pretenders prepares to swing. Watching are teammates Diane Howie and Scot Needham. Weather turns tourney into game of dust ball By JILL CASEY Staff Writer This weekend's softball tournament was supposed to be played on show- covered diamonds, but the weather wouldn't cooperate. Grass remained brown, trees still were bare and the sky turned a wintry charcoal gray Sunday afternoon. But snow and "normal" winter weather eluded the nine co-ed softball teams who played in the annual March of Dunes Snoball Tournament over the weekend. Usually Snoball Tournament players must deal with a slippery foundation of snow and ice as they catch fly balls and run around the pylons that serve as bases, which are orange in color so they will stand out. But the weather was so mild this year, that most played in short sleeves and some played in shorts, rather than donning the parkas and ski masks of snoball tournaments past. "This is more like a dust bowl than a snoball tournament," said Bob Reynolds, Salina, organizer of the tournament. Reynolds said this year's tournament was the first without snow. Next weekend 22 men's teams will compete in the final portion of the tournament. Player Diane Howie of Abilene's Pretenders agreed. "Maybe we'll have some snow by then," Reynolds said. "It really is fun to play softball in it." "It's much more challenging to play in the snow," she said. "You can really slide." Pat Reid, Salina, of Rudy's Moons, said snow worked as an equalizer because it slowed everyone down — good players and bad. "I'd much rather be playing in the snow," he said Sunday as he wiped the sweat from his brow. "No traction is fun?' About 30 spectators dotted the stands at Schilling Complex to watch the Pretenders beat Rudy's Moons in their battle for first place. But Reynolds said snoball softball traditionally was not a spectator sport. "It's fun to play, to slide and fall," he said, "but usually it's too cold to sit and watch." All proceeds will go to March of Dimes, Reynolds said. Money is raised by $65 each team pays to enter the tournament. He said March of Dimes will receive about $2,000 from this year's tournament. NASA thinks casing rupture triggered blast By The New York Times CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) NASA officials, increasingly confident they can identify the cause of Challenger's disaster and fly again soon, think a rupture in the right rocket booster might have triggered the explosion that destroyed the shuttle and killed its crew. NASA sources apparently are so close to a solution to Tuesday's More on the shuttle, Page 2 tragedy that they are talking about flying again as early as June if the testing and correction procedures are completed. A flight that had been scheduled by the shuttle Columbia for June 24 appeared to be the earliest possible. Sources say investigators are almost certain that the spurt of fire from a booster rocket seen on launch films sparked the blast that tore apart the shuttle's fuel tank, taking theorbiterwithit. NASA's interim investigating board took time out from its probe Sunday to attend memorial services for the Challenger crew at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Hunts- ville.Ala. But search teams, fighting strong Atlantic currents, continued to bring in Challenger's spreading debris, including a 10,000-pound rocket fragment. The search area was ex- tended to more than 40,000 square miles. "We're finding a lot of empty ocean today," said Lt. Cmdr. James Simpson, a Coast Guard spokesman. The apparent rupture in the strong rocket casing—whether at a seam or elsewhere — had the effect of pointing a torch at the side of Challenger's fuel tank. The theory is that the flame either burnt through the tank or a "destruct package," causing the explosion, or raised the tank pressure to intolerable limits with the same result. This theory remained just that. NASA's acting administrator, William Graham, the only agency official speaking on the record, said Sunday that the agency still is looking for other causes for the explosion. Photographs released by NASA show a tongue of flame apparently lashing upward from the exhaust of the right booster rocket into an area that films of previous launches showed to be clear of fire or flame. The flame appeared in the last 15 seconds of flight. The flame was "somewhere in this vicinity," Graham said as he made the rounds of Sunday television talk shows. He pointed to a "field joint" — the seam between the lowest segment of the right booster and the second segment. The name comes form the fact that the segments arrive here (See Rupture, Page 9) Photos by Scott Williams Donning Hawaiian shorts and a T-shirt, Chris Barkley of Rudy's Moons heads for the outfield. U.S., Soviets agree to swap prisoners Today Inside JoANN AILLS is giving up her job as Saline County dogcatcher because of a planned move to the country. See Local/Kansas, Page 3. A MAN IS ARRESTED after he tossed a firecracker near Pope John Paul II in New Delhi, India, where the pope is in the midst of a 10-day visit. See Nation/World, Page 5. THE HAITIAN government orders a partial curfew in Cap Haitien, a city where demonstrations against President- for-Life Jean Claude Duvalier have erupted. See Page 5. WHAT'S HOT IN St. Paul, Minn.? It's a large ice palace that will open to the public on Thursday. See Page 8. STARS FROM THE National Football Conference edged those from the American Football Conference, 2824, in a Pro Bowl game that officially ends the season. See Sports, Page 11. Classified 15,16 Entertainment 18 Fun 17 Uving Today 6,7 Local/Kansas 3 Nation/World 5 On the Record 9 Opinion 4 Sports 11-13 Weather 9 Weather KANSAS — Cloudy today in the east, with scattered showers and thunderstorms, and partly cloudy west. Highs in the upper 40s to mid-50s. Mostly cloudy tonight, with lows in the 30s. Rise and shine! Groundhogs predict early spring for 1986 PUNXSUTAWNEY, Pa. (AP) - A reluctant, sleepy groundhog named Punxsutawney Phil was dragged from his Gobbler's Knob burrow at dawn Sunday and failed to see his shadow, predicting an early spring for only the seventh time in 99 years. "In the cold light of the dawn... he failed to see his shadow behind nun. Punxsutawney Phil declares spring is on its way," proclaimed James H. Means, president of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club. Groundhogs, also called woodchucks, performed similar duties at other places around the country, and some people admitted it was an excuse to get out and have fun. Phil, a 10-pound male shoved into an electrically heated and lighted burrow hours before Sunday's ritual, last predicted an early spring in 1983. If the groundhog had seen his shadow, folklore says six more weeks Official handler Malcolm Dunkel holds Phil. of winter follow, which happens anyway. Spring begins March 20. For the record, the National Weather Service, in a long-range forecast issued last week, predicted colder and wetter-than-normal weather for the East and Midwest through April. About 1,500 spectators stood most of the night in the fallen snow and a 45-degree drizzle to cheer Phil's pronouncement of an imminent end to wintry weather. A similar ceremony took place at Sun Prairie, Wis., where Jimmy the Groundhog couldn't see his shadow, either, and then was escorted along a two-block parade route before the community joined in a pancake breakfast. The observance is based on a Scottish tradition involving the Christian feast of Candelmas on Feb. 2. "If Candelmas be fair, there be two winters in the year," according to one saying. By The New York Times WASHINGTON — Reagan administration officials said Sunday that U.S. and Soviet negotiators had reached agreement on a prisoner exchange that would include the release of the Soviet dissident Anatoly Shcharansky to the West. The officials confirmed and elaborated on a report to be published today by the West German daily Bild, which cited information obtained from "Moscow Kremlin circles." Shcharansky The officials cautioned that details were being worked out. But they said the agreement called for the release of Shcharansky and three or four Western intelligence operatives held by the Soviets in exchange for the freeing of an equal number of Eastern-bloc agents jailed in the West. From eight to 10 people will be involved in the exchange, an official said. Two American officials said the exchange was scheduled for Feb. 11 on a bridge dividing West Berlin from East Germany, the site of several previous exchanges. U.S. officials in West Germany expressed puzzlement about the ap- parent willingness of Soviet officials to talk to Bild about the arrangements. The jailing of Shcharansky, a 37- year-old Jewish human rights activist, brought a storm of protests from the West in 1978. He was sentenced to 13 years in prison and labor camps for treason, espionage and "anti-Soviet agitation." At the time, President Carter assured Soviet leaders that Shchar- ansky had no links of any kind with American intelligence. Shcharansky has repeatedly said that he is innocent and that he had no ties with intelligence agencies. One American official said the talks on Shcharansky had been proceeding "off and on" for several years. "I think there's always-been an interest in getting Shcharansky out," he said. "This time, the Soviets are apparently agreeable." In West Germany, a senior adviser to Chancellor Helmut Kohl declined to comment directly on the Bild report. The exchange does not include the release of Andrei Sakharov, the Soviet physicist and dissident. An administration official said there was no indication that the Soviet Union had modified its adamant refusal to allow him to leave the country. County wants wildlife to feel at home along roadsides By GORDON D. FIEDLER Jr. Staff Writer The manicured grass along some Kansas roads might be pleasing to motorists, but to pheasants and other wildlife, the well-groomed roadside lawns are inhospitable places. As natural habitat disappears beneath plows and cultivators, wildlife moves on, often settling in the weedy growth along roads and highways — at least until thu mowing season starts. Saline County Commissioner Dan Gels hopes to Gels reverse local habitat reduction by working out a plan with Kansas Fish and Game Commission personnel and other local and state officials involved in roadside maintenance. Geis said he would like to see some portions of Saline County established as experimental areas to test alternatives to clear-cutting roadside vegetation, thereby increasing the nesting sites ft)* wildlife. If the results are effective, he would like to share the information with other county commissioners in the state. "It's a long-range thing, but it has to start somewhere," Geis said. Assisting Geis will be Steve Sorensen, regional wildlife supervisor for the Kansas Fish and Game Commission. "In some places, the roadsides actually provide the only permanent vegetation within a mile or so, especially in those areas that are intensively cropped," Sorensen said. Sorensen said local test plots will be' used to examine various mowing methods, spraying and a combination of herbicide use and mowing. County Engineer Wes Moore said the county is attempting to wean itself from the mower by applying a' pre-emergent herbicide in winter and by mowing less in summer. The chemical would control most noxious weeds and tall growth, allowing low-growing native grasses to takeover. Through increased herbicide use and less mowing, Moore hopes t^clip his road main- tenance costs in half. He said he spent about $3,000 less last year than a year ago. The 1985 mowing expense was nearly $52,000, compared with about $55,000 in 1984. His department maintains 1,100 miles of roadway in Saline County, but for the mowers, the distance is double because they work both sides of the road. It all has been mowed on a regular basis from the edge of the roadway to the property line, a distance that can range from six to 75 feet, depending on the right-of- way. Lately, however, county crews have cut just one 10-foot swath along the road rather than mowing to the property line. "It's just enough to make a corridor and improve sight distance," Moore said. He said he had hoped to spend much less last year on mowing, but cool temperatures and increased rainfall encouraged vigorous growth. "We thought we had a pretty good handle on it, but we still ended up with one interim mowing," he said. ; Moore said the county routinely mows an average of three times a year. Relying on more extensive herbicide applications in the winter to control emerging weeds in the spring, and mowing later in the summer after nesting season, could save money and benefit wildlife, he said. "If it works like it's supposed to, we could save about half what we are spending on mowing." Chemicals can be damaging to wildlife. But Oust, a pre-emergent herbicide, has a low toxicity level, Sorensen said. "Overall, it's far less severe than some of the other chemicals that have been used in agricultural fields," he said. Sorensen said the Fish and Game Commission hasn't weighed the advantages of herbicides over mowing because of a lack of field testing. "We're just in the category of learning like everybody else," he said. "We're going to see what the difference is, and it may turn out that the use of low-level chemicals might be the best procedure from a wildlife standpoint."

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