The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on April 29, 2001 · Page 14
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 14

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Salina, Kansas
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Sunday, April 29, 2001
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Page 14
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BB SUNDAY, APRIL 29, 2001 GREAT PLAIMS THE SALINA JOURNAL T KANSAS CITY SCHOOLS Judge calls for board monitor Whipple says board must Stop tendency to micromanage By The Associated Press KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The federal judge overseeing the long-running desegregation case against the Kansas City School District wants a court- appointed monitor to investigate allegations of illegal meetings, micromanaging and favoritism by board members. U.S. District Court Judge Dean Whipple, who has control over many aspects of district operations, told attorneys in the desegregation case Friday they have two weeks to come up with proposals on how allegations should be investigated. He also gave specific instructions to school board members on how they should conduct business. "I am ordering and admonishing you not to be involved in patronage and micromanag­ ing," Whipple said. "I am ordering and admonishing you not to hold meetings in violation of Missouri's Sunshine •.Law." Whipple acknowledged Fri; day he does not have evidence ; board members have done any' thing wrong, but he pointed to '. accusations made by others. The district is trying to end court supervision of one of the nation's most expensive desegregation efforts — more than $2 billion over more than 20 years. Whipple Friday also gave the district 30 days to come up with a plan for replacing former Superintendent Benjamin Demps Jr., who resigned Monday Whipple warned interim superintendent Bernard Taylor, THOISINGTON TORNADO Officials reach burn compromise KDHE backs off on original regulations for burning of waste By The Associated Press HOISINGTON — City officials have reached a compromise with the state's health department over burning debris from the tornado that devastated Hoisington a week ago Saturday night. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment was going to allow only trees and brush to be burned. But trucks have been hauling construction debris, furniture and appliances to the burn pit northeast of town. City officials complained that limiting what could be burned would slow the cleanup. Now, KDHE has loosened the rules on burning, although construction debris still has to be taken to a landfill. Barton County Commission Chairman Kirby Krier said some volunteers left Thursday because of the slowdown while the compromise was worked out, "We need as many volunteers as possible. We're trying to get a little bit of normalcy in peoples lives," Krier said. Krier said KDHE was worried about air pollution and fumes at the burn pit. Dark smoke could be seen from miles away, with a southerly wind Thursday carrying the smoke away from the city "We're trying to separate as much as possible, but common sense tells me to burn everything and take it out later," Kirby said. The city of Haysville, hit by a tornado in May 1999, kept appliances out of its three burn pits but burned most other debris, including shingles and carpet. Workers removed the metal and other unburned debris later and took it to a landfill, said Carol Neugent, Haysville's director of governmental services. KDHE and other agencies talked about shutting down the Haysville burn pit. "I just put down my foot," said Tim Norton, Haysville's mayor at the time and now a Sedgwick County commissioner. Norton called Hoisington City Attorney Richard Boeckman the day after the Hoisington tornado and told him "that KDHE would eventually stick their head in and try to close them down." who attended the hearing, not to allow board members to tell, him or his employees what to do. "Make sure you're not interfered with. ... The school board should not in any way undermine the superintendent's ability to run the district," Whipple told Taylor, the 20th superintendent in 30 years to head the district. "I have no idea. Dr. Taylor, if you will be successful, or if your name will be added to the list of the 19 superintendents who preceded you." Board member Patricia Kurtz has said the board is too involved in day-to-day operations and also accused the board of violating the state's open meetings law when it voted April 18 to fire Demps. Whipple reinstated Demps the next day, but Demps resigned four days later. Demps complained about the board's meddling leading up to his resignation. When he quit, Demps said the only hope for the district, which lost its state accreditation last May, was to change the way it is governed. A report in Friday's Kansas City Star also said board members did not immediately tell Demps about a $35.5 million investment windfall and may have held illegal meetings when deciding what to do with the money When Demps learned about the money, he suggested it be spent on capital improvements, such as air conditioning. Board members, led by Helen Ragsdale and Lee Barnes, wanted to use the money to refinance school district bonds to trim the district's annual debt. Whipple pointed to the Star's article and said "this further disturbs me," • INNOVATIONS IN FARMING Fertile minds Grants allow farmers to explore innovative techniques By SCOTT CHARTON The Associated Press COLUMBIA, MO. — One family experimented with raising sprouts to feed ostriches. Others found boom markets for their organically raised free-running chickens. A husband and wife helped give new greenery to strip-mined acreage, using lambs and goats as natural spreaders of seed and manure. Fresh ideas for Missouri agriculture are being nurtured through a state grant program encouraging less reliance on chemicals and better use of land. Some of the products are said to be tastier, too, than the mass-produced competition. One woman bragged her grandmother's recipes finally worked succulently when she substituted Fayette farm's free-range chickens for store- bought birds that "cooked away to nothing." The Missouri Sustainable Agriculture grants were created in 1995, and nearly 170 projects have been helped statewide through awards of a few thousand dollars each in state money The next round of applications for projects to be selected by a five-member board are due in November. The sustainable farming program has been so popular the Legislature recently boosted the maximum grant amount for a three-year project to $4,500 and authorized up to 30 projects annually "Agriculture sometimes receives a lot of negative press because of the environmental impact. It's refreshing to see where agriculture is reclaiming the land." Bill Heffernan professor emeritus of rural sociology at the University of Iviissouri While corporate livestock farms rely on volume and precision in feeding, growing and slaughtering to maximize profits, some smaller producers receiving state help have all of the business they can handle putting new notions to work on a small scale. Or by using notions that are as old as nature. For example, David Coplen and Carol Fulkerson counted 25 acres of denuded former coal strip mining property among the 40 acres of their Birch Cove Farm west of Fulton. With deep gashes carved into the land by environmentally unfriendly mining half a century ago, any productive use seemed just a dream. But the couple did some bulldozing to level a test section. They grew grass and built a herd of lambs and goats. Then the couple supplemented the livestock's feed with clover seeds and minerals. "They are lean, mean eating machines," Coplen quipped. Nature did the rest; as the animals lumber in concentrated bare areas with.^ uneven surfaces, manure plops and so do^j the clover seeds. Now green sprouts are ••• showing, surrounded by natural fertiliz- i er, and will eventually supply clover for the livestock to eat. All-organic and cost- effective, too. "Agriculture sometimes receives a lot of negative press because of the environmental impact. It's refreshing to see where agriculture is reclaiming the land," said Bill Heffernan, professor emeritus of rural sociology at the University of Missouri-Columbia. The state grants help producers figure out what doesn't work, too. The ostrich ranchers had problems growing their sprouts until they figured out how to ventilate and cool a greenhouse. But the ostriches gobbled up the sprouts like candy once the process was adjusted. There have been grants to help raise and market chili peppers, bush cherries, soybean wax candles, black raspberries, organic rice and catfish. The funding has assisted family farm experiments with wind and solar power, mothproofing, wool with herbal extracts and evaluating Missouri apple varieties for use in hard — cider rn' 8 Central National Bank MEMBER FDIC 120 E. Main St., Beloit Personal Service in Beloit 785-738-4044 We Save You $$$ QUIBBLE X)ENIM 2326 Planet Ave./ Galaxy Center, Salina / 827-0600__ Across from Central Mall

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