The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on April 27, 2001 · Page 11
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 11

Salina, Kansas
Issue Date:
Friday, April 27, 2001
Page 11
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FRIDAY APRIL 27, 2001 THE SALINA JOURNAL Great Plains A LOOK AHEAD / B2 DEATHS / B3 FUN / B4 BRIEFLY McPherson County starts fund-raiser MCPHERSON — A Kansas Health Foundation challenge grant prompted McPherson County to start the McPherson County Community Foundation. With a campaign goal of $300,000, the money the foundation raises will be matched dollar-for-dollar through the health foundation's Giving Resources to Our World grant. The McPherson County Community Foundation has raised $27,500; the deadline to complete the campaign is Dec. 31. Foundation dollars will go to organizations in the participating 16 communities, according to the foundation's guidelines and donor specifications. In addition to the matching grant dollars, the Kansas Health Foundation donated a computer and software to the McPherson County Community Foundation. For more information on donating, call Becky Goss, executive director of the McPherson County Community Foundation, at (620) 245-9070. Millfest celebration set to begin IVlay 5 LINDSBORG — North Central Kansas' oldest operational roller flour mill will run May 5 and 6 for the annual Millfest celebration. Professional millers will operate the mill at 120 Mill Street and take visitors on tours of the mill and museum. The Smoky Valley Roller Mill operated from 1898 to 1955. It uses technology introduced to Kansas in the 1880s, a series of corrugated rollers to process wheat flour. It was restored in 1981. It operates once a year at Millfest. The celebration will happen on the mill grounds and include museum tours and pioneer crafts and food. Traditional crafters will demonstrate pioneer skills including quilting, rope-making, pottery, bobbin lace, soapmaking, wheat-weaving, woodcarving and blacksmithing. Food sold this year will be kettle corn and homemade jellies. Special this year will be a working Red Lion steam engine that will power a buzz saw, planing mill and corn rinder Antique tractors will be on display. For safety reasons, only visitors age 13 and up will be allowed inside the mill. Road rage suspected in hammer assault A Salina couple was arrested in connection with what Salina Police Department officials see as a case of road rage punctuated by a hammer. Police Lt. Mike Sweeney, relying on police investigation and eyewitness accounts, said a truck driven by Eric Faubion was followed closely by a couple who, apparently, thought Faubion cut them off on Santa Fe Avenue Wednesday afternoon. When Faubion was stopped in traffic at Ninth and North streets, a man and woman hopped from the van they were traveling in and, with the woman wielding a claw hammer, approached Faubion's vehicle, Sweeney said. When he got out of his truck, Faubion was pushed and punched by the male assailant, Sweeney said. Faubion scrambled back to his truck, at which point the woman turned the hammer to his vehicle. As police arrived, the male assailant jumped back into the van and sped off, leaving his female companion standing in the street holding a hammer, Sweeney said. Police arrested Jacqueline Constable, 1202 State. Later Wednesday, Anthony Roediger was arrested at the home he shares with Constable. Both have posted bond to free themselves from jail. Sweeney said Faubion did not seek medical treatment for his injuries. From Staff Reports CORRECTIOMS ••••• The Journal wants to set the record straight. Advise us of errors by calling the Journal at (785) 823-6363, or toll free at 1-800827-6363. Corrections will run in this space as soon as possible. T SPY PLANE SAGA ^^^^ I., A hero's welcome 11 tsfn The Associated Press Kansas House Speaker Kent Glasscock (right), R-Manhattan, leads the applause for Goodland native Lt. j.g. Jeff Vignery as he is honored Thursday at the Statehouse in Topeka for helping land the Navy spy plane struck by a Chinese fighter. T ROLLING HILLS REFUGE Beat doesn't go on for newborn lemur Rolling Hills keepers drop Beatles theme and name it Twister By KARA RHODES Tlw Salina Journal Goodland native Vignery says he was 'just doing his job' By CARL MANNING The Associated Press TOPEKA — Lt. j.g. Jeff Vignery helped regain control of a Navy spy plane after it was struck by a Chinese fighter, but he says he's no hero. Vignery and another pilot were at the controls of the EP- 3E turboprop plane when it was struck April 1 over the South China Sea and forced to land on Hainan island. "We're not heroes. We were just doing our jobs. The real heroes are the American people who supported us," Vignery said Thursday The 24 crew members were detained 11 days before they were released and returned to their home base at Whidbey Island Naval Air Station in Washington state April 14, in time to be reunited with their families for Easter. Vignery, 27, who grew up in Goodland, was at the Statehouse where he was honored by the House and met with Gov Bill Graves, who presented him a state flag flown in the pilot's honor. "Jeff you are a proud son of Kansas. You have been vigilant. You have been active, and you are brave," said House Speaker Kent Glasscock, R- Manhattan. The tall, thin pilot with close- cropped red hair received three standing ovations from lawmakers. With him were his parents, brother, sister and wife. During a news conference, Vignery recounted the harrow- Comin' home A Goodland community celebration for Navy pilot Jeff Vignery tentatively is planned for May 5, or sometime in the next two weeks. He is the son'of Ron and Judi Vignery, Goodland. ing minutes after the F-8 fighter buzzed the four-engine plane and then struck it, clipping the left engines and shearing off its nose. In about 45 seconds, the plane plummeted some 7,500 feet before it straightened out at around 10,000 feet and landed 20 to 30 minutes later, he said. See HERO, Page B2 With little eyes peering out from underneath its mother, the baby ring-tailed lemur strained to see its visitors. The newest addition to Rolling Hills Refuge Wildlife Conservation Center, born April 5, clings to its jabbering mother as she makes her leaps and jumps throughout the enclosure in the Rhinoceros barn. And like all babies, it's becoming more curious; today it sniffs at the grape being gobbled by its mother. The baby's mother, who was Paul before keepers realized Paula would be a more fitting name, is a first-time mother and is taking remarkable care of her infant, keeper Jeff Rife said. "She grooms it and covers it up with her own tail," Rife said, coaxing Paula out with offers of a grape. She complies, stretching upward. The baby rests comfortably on her underside, turning its miniature face up to Rife to see what he's hold• ing. Visitors should be patient when trying to see the baby, Rife said. Paula often hides with her in a boxed-in enclosure within the exhibit or shields the baby with her long ringed tail, wrapping it around the baby like a fur stole. In the next several days, the baby is expected to transfer itself from Paula's stomach to her back. The baby will remain glued to its mother for an additional couple of weeks and then begin roaming on its own. The other four lemurs will take care of the baby after that as well. Rife said. Rolling Hills Refuge Wildlife Conservation Center hit a milestone Saturday when its 100,000th guest entered the park. The refuge, which opened in October 1999, drew 76,000 visitors in its first year. Before its opening, annual attendance numbers of . up to 200,000 had been bandied about. "We didn't know," said Kathy Tolbert, assistant director 'That was based on hope more than anything. We had one of the hottest summers and coldest winters in a long time to deal with." She said the refuge hopes to draw 100,000 visitors this year. "It's already gotten bigger — and a whole lot fluffier," Rife said. Lemurs are an endangered species from Madagascar. They are called "prosimians," which are primates that are not as highly evolved as monkeys or great apes. Females lead the group. At the refuge, a female lemur named Yoko leads John, Paula, Ringo and Linda. Visitors to the park on Earth Day, were invited to enter the name- the-baby lemur contest. Through those suggestions, the keepers chose the name Twister as the baby's name, instead of choosing to continue the Beatles theme by naming the baby George — or Georgette. See LEMUR, Page B2 TOM DORSEY / The Salina Journal Paula the lemur recently gave birth to a daughter, whom Rolling Hills Refuge animal keepers have named Twister. • BY GEORGE When beancounters take temperatures Aren't we glad government bureaucrats don't make medical decisions? It must be hell to make your living selling a product that you pray doesn't get used. But that's how health insurance works. If everybody who bought it used it, health insurance companies would go broke. Fear that too many customers will actually use the insurance they buy has led to the breeding of an animal called "utilization review," which lives in a habitat called a "health insurance network." One of those networks, which used to be called Wichita Preferred Providers Association and now prefers to be known more familiarly as WPPA, has pondered the biUs coming from Salina Regional Health Center and pronounced them unreasonably high. SRHC officials answer, in effect, that WPPA beancounters don't know their utilization review from a hole in the ground. So WPPA has fired SRHC as one of its preferred providers. And SRHC has decided that if doing business with WP­ PA is preferred, it would prefer to de­ cline the honor. Hospitals put up with this aggravation only because by negotiating prices with networks, accepting deeply discounted payments and allowing their medical decisions to be second- guessed by people who cannot take a temperature, they guarantee themselves a steady revenue stream. No waiting for individuals to make a lot of payments, or just flat not pay for services few humans can afford. (Except WPPA isn't very good about paying promptly, SRHC folks say, so that's another reason to part ways.) People who are served, if that is the word, by WPPA will now have to pay a heck of a lot more for hospital services in Salina or go to hospitals that are still in WPPA's good graces. It is hard to imagine that WPPA can win this fight. It just isn't big enough to stare down the biggest hospital this side of Wichita. Individuals and groups are already bailing out. WPPA's argument that competition GEORGE B. PYLE Pie Salina Journal among many networks benefits insurance buyers is bogus. Hospitals pay attention to 500-pound gorillas, like Medicare or Blue Cross, not pesky flies like WPPA. It is harder to imagine that WPPA should win this fight. Talking to WPPA boss James Van Milligen and SRHC Vice President Rick Hertzenberg the other day in my secret identity on KSAL's "Friendly Fire," I saw that Hertzenberg simply demonstrated a better grasp of reality WPPA's Van Milligen described the matter as simple, which life seldom is, and SRHC's Hertzenberg understood that it is complicated. Forgive an attempt at simplifying, but WPPA wants to squeeze every individual treatment into one of a few pre­ designed pigeonholes. But, Hertzenberg patiently explained, patient costs depend on how sick people are, how long their recovery took and, most important, how many services, such as open- heart surgery, are available in Salina now that weren't available here two years ago. Relatively small networks such as WPPA shouldn't be surprised by spikes and dips in cost, because that's how people get sick. A bigger network, like Blue Cross or the United States of America, would see a much flatter use curve. SRHC also notes that it has contracts with 16 networks and 400 insurance companies (no wonder hospitals cost so much), and none of them are protesting the hospital's costs. Utilization review is, in theory, a good thing. Without it, hospitals would just charge whatever they wanted, insurance companies would just pay and patients would pretend it was all free. Until the costs got so high that the insurance companies either went broke or raised their premiums to a level nobody could afford and then went broke. But utilization review only works if the people doing it do it well. Americans continue to resist a government- supervised, single-payer plan because of our reasonable fear of bureaucrats making medical decisions. But the private sector has now evolved a system where bureaucrats make medical decisions. It's just that those bureaucrats don't work for anybody we can vote against. Anybody have Hfllary's phone number? • Journal columnist George B. Pyle can be reached at 823-6464, Ext. 101, or by e-mail at'. SUGGESTIONS? CALL BEN WEARING, DEPUTY EDITOR, AT 823-6363 OR 1-800-827-6363 OR E-MAIL AT

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