The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on October 19, 1996 · Page 11
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 11

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Saturday, October 19, 1996
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SATURDAY OCfOEJE-R 19, 1996 THE SALINA JOURNAL Great Plains VIEWPOINTS / B2 MONEY / B4 RELIGION / B6 B V NANCY KASSEBAUM Ability to listen sets Kansas senator apart Health-care bill one example of how she brought liberals and conservatives together By JOHN MARSHALL Harris News Service WASHINGTON, D.C. - It is a warm, shimmering afternoon in Washington. Dave Bartel is on the balcony of the Russell Building, a long, fortified perch that overlooks Constitution Avenue. Bartel, in his mid-40s,- thin, with white hair and large glasses, is chief of staff for Sen. Nancy Kassebaum and a 13-year veteran of her "I'm going to miss this KASSEBAUM place, its people," he says. "Everyone will miss the senator." He has come from his small office across the hall to discuss his years with Kassebaum on the eve of her retirement after 18 years in the Senate. Bartel, who graduated from Kansas University with a journalism degree in 1972, joined Kassebaum's staff as an administrative assistant in 1983. "Part of the reason I went to work for her was that she truly was not an ide- alogue, she was not a party-line politician, she had no pre-baked conclusions. She was open and she wanted to form her own opinions. "And because of her extraordinary listening skills, she developed tremendous instincts. You don't find many people in this town who can truly listen," Bartel said. The Kennedy-Kassebaum health care reform, he said, ''is a classic example of Nancy Kassebaum in action." It began with her reluctance to fall in with 85 other senators who had earlier approved reforms that included catastrophic coverage; she had insisted it wouldn't work because the costs were so high. She had talked to people who, leery of the costs, wondered about paying so much for something they might not use. "There was such an uproar we had to repeal it the next year," Bartel said. "By this year, after the failure of national health care, the senator had come to know people's core concerns — porta- SENATOR KASSEBAUM First of two parts bility of insurance and pre-existing (medical) conditions that often stand in the way of affordable coverage. "She knew this because of what I call her 'airport list.' People are always coming up to her in airports and at meetings and even on the streets, and they talk to her about these things because they have a sense that she is really listening. "So she went to Senator (Edward) Kennedy and talked about more modest legislation," Bartel said. "His mission was to get the liberals to come to the table while she brought the conservatives. She never wavered. They both did an incredible job." Kennedy and Kassebaum are neighbors in the Russell building. Earlier in the week, Kennedy stopped in the hall to visit with her and it was clear that they are friends. "She is a remarkable senator," Kennedy said. "She is so true. We will miss her a great deal." The years were not without difficulty. There were long, stressful periods. In 1982, two years after Republicans first gained a majority in the Senate, Kassebaum became chairman of the Foreign Relations subcommittee on African affairs. The racist government of South Africa and its laws of apartheid became her specific, personal concern. "She talked to a lot of people in South Africa and she knew what was really happening there," Bartel said. "She spent two years working behind the scenes with (Reagan) administration officials who were reluctant to do anything more than talk about 'constructive engagement' with the South African government. "But she believed that new, limited sanctions were necessary. She also knew that the administration was not going to act on them," Bartel said. "So she got the Democrats to agree, and (in 1986) convinced 76 Senators to vote for them, overriding the demands of (Secretary of State) George Schultz. "She believed that apartheid was wrong. She cared about Nelson Mandela when he was rotting in prison and not a lot of others seemed to notice. She was never going to be diverted. She was doing something important not only for Kansas but for the world." Her proposed federal budget freeze, near the end of her first term, was another run against establishment politics. She had proposed that the government forgo any spending increases for a year. The uproar was enormous. There were threats from special interests concerned about the fate of Social Security and Medicare. Reagan Administration officials — "The borrow-and-spend types," Bartel called them — warned that her campaign (ultimately unsuccessful) for a budget freeze would doom her chances for re-election. But in 1984 Kassebaum was re-elected with 76 percent of the vote and the highest vote count (757,402) that anyone has ever received in a Kansas election. "I think it is because of her honesty," Bartel said. "There is no varnish or sugar-coating on her. Her genuineness resonates right to people, even if they disagree with her." BRIEFLY Salina teen charged with setting girl's hair on fire A 14-year-old Salina girl was referred to jUvenile court after allegedly setting another girl's hair on fire. Jennifer Lucio, 14, 2664 Highland No. 1, faces an aggravated battery charge. Melissa M. King, 14,166 Bel Air, told police that she walked out of South Middle School, 2040 S. Fourth, at about 3:13 p.m. Wednesday and was confronted by two girls with whom she had argued earlier in the day. King told police that one of the girls walked behind her and lit her hair on fire, Assistant Police Chief Glen Kochanowski said. The fire was extinguished by patting King's back, Kochanowski said, and King was not injured. Kochanowski said the police report did not indicate who extinguished the flame or how long King's hair is. The second girl who confronted King was not charged, Kochanowski said. Police giving tickets to drivers who obey law Obey the city's traffic laws next week and you might get a ticket anyway. A ticket to the Ice Capades, anyway. Sometime during the week, at an undisclosed location, officers will watch for drivers obeying traffic laws and reward them with tickets to the Ice Capades. The Pink Panther, one of the characters from the show that will be here Oct. 25-27, will accompany the police. "It's nice to be able to recognize citizens who make a habit of driving the speed limit, wearing their safety belts and obeying traffic laws," said Police Chief Jim Hill. "We are very excited about this and we're pleased that the Ice Capades has made it possible." Two more youth face charges in school fight Two more Salina youth have been referred to juvenile court in connection with a fight earlier this week that started at Salina South High School and reignited in the 2300 block of Saxwood Drive. Timothy McBurney, 17, 2349 Saxwood, faces battery charges and Christopher Boaz, 17, 2079 S. Fourth, faces a charge of disorderly conduct. McBurney is accused of hitting Arturo Mendiola, 15,1900 Roberts, about noon Monday at South High School, Assistant Police Chief Glen Kochanowski said. . Boaz is accused of being disruptive during the fight at the school, Kochanowski said. After school, the fight reignit- ed. Larry G. Moreno Jr., 18, 429 Jupiter, was charged with aggravated battery for allegedly breaking another boy's jaw. .Kochanowski said Moreno was hot a South High student. South Principal Jane Botz could not be reached Friday for comment. GAMBLING Crowd can't wait to flock to Flamingo After delays and investigations, Missouri Gaming Commission finally grants gambling license By The Associated Press KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Hilton Hotels Corp. opened its colorful Flamingo Casino along the banks of the Missouri River Friday, just hours after winning a state license to operate the facility. In a five-minute telephone conference call, the five-member Missouri Gaming Commission voted 4-1 to grant Hilton a license. The vote came a week after Hilton chief executive Stephen Bollenbach admitted during a suitability hearing that his company "made mistakes" in establishing casino operations in Kansas City. The controversy didn't keep gamblers from streaming into the casino north of downtown most of the afternoon, jamming traffic and leaving neighboring casinos, such as Sam's Town a few miles down the road, hungry for customers. The rush was a welcome sight to Flamingo employees. They worried about their jobs for weeks as gambling regulators — citing unfinished investigations into possible wrongdoing by Hilton — stalled the casino's opening. Hilton officials appeared anxious to forget such troubles Friday as gamers began placing their bets at the pink-trimmed, brightly painted casino. "Now we can get on with the work of generating revenues for our company, for our shareholders and for the city and state," said Marc Grossman, Hilton's senior vice president for corporate affairs. "People see it's a very comfortable, exciting environment, and we hope their first visit turns into many, many repeated visits." Chief among Hilton's problems was a $250,000 grant from Hilton to a company whose top official had ties to Elbert Anderson, then-chairman of the Kansas City Port Authority. The Port Authority oversees gambling operations in the city and had selected Hilton over two competitors vying to run a casino on the river. The Associated Press One of the first customers Into the Flamingo Hilton Casino In Kansas City, Mo., plays a slot machine Friday. The casino finally was given a license by the state. T JAMESTOWN WILDLIFE AREA Wildlife area to be dedicated Barbecue and tour also planned for 320-acre Ruddier Marsh addition By the Journal Staff JAMESTOWN — A 320-acre addition to the Jamestown Wildlife Area northwest of Concordia will be dedicated at 11 a.m. today Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks officials will be on hand to dedicate what will be called Puddler Marsh. There also will be a barbecue and tour. All events are open to the public. Puddler Marsh is about two miles northwest of the 3,239-acre Jamestown Wildlife Area, said Jon Sanko, park ranger at the Lovewell State Park. Sanko said the new addition is a salty, marshy area that recently was purchased from a private landowner. He was not sure of the cost. The land primarily will be used for waterfowl hunting. The area needs, among other things, a low-water dam and food plots, and the old homestead at the site must be razed. "We're still in the clean-up process right now. Nothing has been done." When the land is made available for hunting depends upon getting funds for development, Sanko said. To get to the area from Concordia, travel west about 9 miles on K-28 to the Jamestown Wildlife Area sign. From there go 2n miles north, 1 mile west, 1 mile north, then 1 mile west. From Courtland, which is north of the area, drive eight miles south. V GREAT PLAINS Time has definitely come for housing project SB ifVlllit* When you n»ed to know. Ellsworth County will receive $711,000 in tax credits to help build affordable housing WILSON — Jerry Aday, who traces his heritage to the Native Americans, offered an old saying from his ancestors, "When it's time, it's time." More than a week ago, as ~ * he stood in a vacant lot near Wilson's St. Wenceslaus Parish Center, time had definitely come for a project Aday and others have worked on since he took charge of Ellsworth County's economic development efforts about a year ago. On the lot will be the first phase of multi-million dollar local housing scheme financed in part by federal 4-ov f*T*{sr|its From Staff Reports "What we're going to have here is duplexes," Aday told about 50 bankers, town officials and others gathered in Wilson to watch the start of site preparation. A house is planned at a nearby site, but its construction cost will not be directly supported by tax credits. Ellsworth and Kanopolis also are included iri the project. LINDA MOWERY- DENNING The Salina Journal Tomorrow's Headlines 825-6OOO Category 6000 (Callafter 7:30 p.m.) Aday said good, affordable housing is a major concern in rural Kansas. "It's the number one problem statewide," he said. "In the larger cities, people move every three to five years, but here people buy a house and live in it for 30 years. We have several hundred people who work, here, but don't live in Ellsworth County because there are no houses." Federal tax credits have been used statewide — mainly in the larger cities — for a decade, but this will be the first time Ellsworth County has taken advantage of the program, a mechanism to finance housing that couldn't be built any other way. Aday said Ellsworth County is to receive $711,000 in credits over the next 10 years. Owners of the credits can use them to claim an annual federal tax deduction or the credits can be sold on the open market for less than their face value to enhance a developer's cash flow. In Ellsworth County, the credits will help build 19 two-bedroom duplexes over the next three years. Profits from the duplexes will go into the construction of about 20 homes, depending on market demand. Aday said the homes will sell for between $89,000 and $95,000. They will be ranch-style houses with three bedrooms, basements and double-car attached garages. "We're not talking about plain-Jane homes. These are going to be houses peo- Wilson * Ellsworth Kanopolis ELLSWORTH Affordable rural housing pie will be proud of," Aday said. Others also have contributed to the effort. The general contractor will be Duane Wadely of Wadely Homes in Wichita, but the work will be subcontracted out to local businesses when possible. The cities of Wilson, Ellsworth and Kanopolis have waived all building fees and utility permit fees. Local utility companies, Westplains Energy and Smoky Hill Electric Cooperative, have contributed services and reduced fees. Materials are being donated by Acme Brick of Kanopolis and others. And much of the land for the homes has been donated. Even Aday seems a little stunned by how quickly the project came together. "This has been a well put together but fast project. We got something done in nine months that most people don't get done in several years," he said. "I'm kind of like the quarterback. I get all the credit, but this project would not have happened without a lot of other people. We had a lot of doubters, but with the turning of dirt we have something we can put our hands on." Aday doesn't plan to stop with new housing in Ellsworth County. He's working with state and federal officials on a project that could establish a rails-to-trails area between Holyrood and Lorraine and contribute to the preservation of historic buildings, including Wilson's Midland Hotel. The solid three-story limestone building has been vacant for sometime. The roof leaks. Torn wallpaper hangs from many of the inside walls. And the building is not in compliance with the federal Americans with Disabilities Act. Hundreds of thousands of dollars would be needed to update the hotel, which holds a special place in the history of this Bohemian community. Aday, who moved to Ellsworth County from Wichita, has faith the building will be saved — just as he has faith the new houses will be built in Wilson, Ellsworth and Kanopolis. "We're always working on something," he said. SUGGESTIONS? CALL BEN WEARING, DEPUTY EDITOR, AT (913) 823-6363 OR 1-800-827-6363 * *<..* •«.-

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