The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on May 4, 2001 · Page 1
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 1

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Salina, Kansas
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Friday, May 4, 2001
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End of the road PAGE CI s the FRIDAY MAY 4, 2001 SALiNA, KANSAS Salina Journal Serving Kansas since 1871 50 cents Goih' south PAGE D1 T HIGH SCHOOL TRADITION Oberlin puts the 'prom' in promenade Tradition of parading through town has been observed since WWII era By TIM UNRUH The Saltna Journal OBERLIN — Jack O'Toole's thoughts often roamed home from the war. This quiet town, the northwest Kansas countryside and those final days as a Decatur Community High School senior were among his fondest memories. "You thought of that most of the time," he said. Graduation marked the end of his boyhood, but the preceding junior-senior prom and a special prom parade — called a promenade — included so many of the special faces from his childhood. A gunner on a B-17 bomber who flew 34 missions over Germany, O'Toole enlisted during his senior year, knowing World War II lay ahead. Not long after turning the tassel in May 1942, he was in the U.S. Air Force. The promenade has endured the ages here. Started as a way to teach etiquette to youngsters, it is now a tradition that's as important to folks here, and many from here, as the county fair. Buzz Matson, high school principal who is about to witness his 33rd prom in Oberlin, said the promenade crowd rivals that of the homecoming parade. "It means a lot to the kids," said O'Toole, 77, a retired city electrician. He and his wife, Sybil O'Toole, reared three boys and a girl in Oberlin. "It's a highlight for a lot of people who come back." Some Oberlin alums bring their, spouses and offspring to Oberlin in mid-May just to experience the promenade. This year it's May 12. People park their vehicles on Pennsylvania Avenue, which is Oberlin's main street. Some sit alongside in lawn chairs as the two upper classes parade by, most recently from the Sunflower Cinema up and down the street, and then drive to the Gateway, a local civic center, where a decorated hall and a fancy meal await, courtesy of the junior class. A dance follows until midnight, and then the after- prom party sponsored by the local Rotary Club continues until morning. Junior and senior moms prepare and serve breakfast to those who survive the all-night and closely monitored party In O'Toole's day, the seniors would leave the prom and take in a dance in another town, usually McCook, Neb. "We tried to stay out of trouble," he said. The prom used to be in the high school gym, but the promenade has always been downtown as a part of this special night in Oberlin. "It was always very exciting," said Barb (Juenemann) Marak, a Salina anesthesiologist and member of the Oberlin^ Class of '88. "You knew everybody in town. They were waving and taking pictures." Boys wear tuxedos or nice suits, and the girls look their best ever in expensive dresses. They walk as a group in pairs, arms locked in escort style, with the boys on one side and girls on the other. "It was something we did that most of the other towns didn't," Mark said. "It was a big-time deal." It used to be strictly for Oberlin. Your date had to be from the junior or senior class of Decatur Community High School. No underclassmen are allowed. When Marak's mother, Henrietta (Goscha) Juenemann, was the prom queen in 1960, juniors and seniors picked numbers a couple of weeks before the prom, Marak said. Boys and girls with the same numbers walked together in the promenade. Boys in O'Toole's class had their own methods. "We drew straws to see who would get to escort the best-looking girl," he said. Today a junior or senior in good standing, or one-year post-graduate from another town or school, can take part in the festivities as the date of a DCHS junior or senior, Principal Matson said. The students sign for their particular escort. See PROM, Page A2 • NATIONAL DAY OF PRAYER Talkln' to 'Daddy' Texas native Joe White headlines . prayer breakfast By NATE JENKINS The Salina Journal Guffawing, easy-rhyming, word-slingin' Texan Joe White was on a roU Thursday morning. Immediately after strolling to the podium, White rattled off a long rhyme about Sail- na and Kansas, then peppered the Bicentennial Center crowd with a good-natured spiel filled with anecdotes from his days as a college football player and funny family experifences. "Life is painful. I tell ya, ., you'll go crazy if you don't laugh," the stout, gray-haired White told the crowd in the center's Heritage Hall. White was the main speaker during the Salina Prayer Breakfast, an annual event that recognizes the National Day of Prayer. After eliciting a fair number of laughs from the large breakfast crowd. White turned serious while espousing his religious conversion and revelation that "God is my daddy" White is a favorite speaker among followers of the Promise Keepers men's movement that draws stadium- fUled crowds of repenters hoping to recommit themselves as head-of-household family caretakers. He also is president of Kanakuk Sports Kamps, which attracts about 17,000 children annually to Missouri. Although White's speech didn't appear crafted to ap- • • RIVER FESTIVAL - TOM DORSEY / The Salina Journal Joe White speaks Thursday morning during the Salina Prayer Breakfast at Heritage Hall.The prayer breakfast was part of the National Day of Prayer. peal only to men, it had a decidedly patriarchic slant, and the burly former athlete called for men not raised by affectionate males to seek companionship with God. "Boys need hugs, boys need lovin', boys need acceptance and warmth," White said. The topic of his speech was "Stronger Families for a Stronger America." White avoided giving the crowd a treatise on the faults of and problems caused by crumbling family values and in­ stead relied on personal anecdotes. After marrying for the second time. White said he jjor ticed bruises on the back of his legs and a trip to the doctor revealed he had leukemia. White confided in his son, then told his wife of the medical problem, then, "I went to my daddy again." He gives credit to his recovery ~ "I took a blood test yesterday, and my blood was clear," he said to cheers — to an experimental drug and God. I "I believe that the Lord for some reason decided he wanted me to be with Debby Jo (his wife) a few more years, and here in Salina," White said. "He kept me alive because he wanted me to come here and tell you God is your daddy" Gaining momentum as he gushed a long string of sometimes rhyming, always religious exaltations — "He's indescribable, he's in­ comprehensible" ~ White closed his eyes and gestured wildly with his arms, and the crowd erupted into a standing ovation once his speech ended. Roberta Huseman, chairwoman of the Salina Prayer Breakfast, then led a prayer for people seeking to change their lives for the better. • Reporter Nate Jenkins can be reached at 823-6464, Ext. 139, or by e-mail at sjnjenkins @salJournal.com T HIGH-SPEED INTERNET Proposed legislation seeks to fill holes in the Web Telecommunications giants are battling it out for high-speed Internet market By KALPANA SRINIVASAN The Associated Press WASHINGTON — Giants of the telecommunications industry are warring over legislation that supporters argue would make high-speed Internet service more widely available to Americans, particularly in underserved and rural areas. But AT&T and other opponents contend the bill would allow the four Bell WEATHER ^lgh:66 Low: 58 A 60 percent chance of rain. East wind around 15 mph. companies to monopolize markets for phone and fast Web connections, potentially driving newer providers out of business. Few of the nation's Internet users •— about 6 million households — have high-speed Internet access, and companies typically offer such services in high-density and metropolitan areas. These connections, dozens of times faster than the standard dial-up most people use, make it possible for consumers to download huge data files quickly or watch videos on their computers. In broadcast and newspaper ads, the two sides accuse each other of holding PAGE A4 Congress is unlikely to approve tax rebate checks this year because it sees less of a need to stimulate the up the arrival of next-generation Web service to homes and stifling the Internet economy Bells hear ringing registers The battle has heated up since a House Commerce telecommunications subcommittee last week approved a measure making it easier for the Bells to offer high-speed Internet service within their markets. The bill was sponsored by Commerce Committee Chairman Billy Tauzin, R-La., and the ranking Democrat, Rep. John Dingell of Michigan. On Thursday, Bell rivals, including upstart Internet competitors such as Covad, and consumer groups got a boost from bills advanced by the House Judiciary Committee's ranking Democrat, Rep. John Conyers of Michigan, and Rep. Chris Cannon, R-Utah. Their bills set a benchmark before the Bell companies can get relief from government restrictions on carrying Internet traffic: They must first reduce their share of the local phone market to a maximum of 85 percent. The four regional Bells — Qwest, Veri­ zon, BellSouth and SBC — now control more than 90 percent of local phone lines. See WEB, Page A2 . June7,e,B ,10 .2«M«Sa«na,KS .j, "^"-istxisffr -.^ nmtim Right on the River festival director says $6 admission fee is just right By The Salina Journal Admission buttons to the Smoky Hill River Festival will go on sale Monday at a price that is $1 higher than was charged last year The four-day festival, which begins June 7,,is a celebration of the arts in Oak-~ dale Park. The admission buttons are priced this year at $6 in advance, or $8 at the festival gate. Martha Rhea, executive director of Salina "H^A Arts and Humanities Commission, which sponsors the festival, said the price increase reflects increased costs. The button prices have been unchanged for thjree years. Rhek said she didn't think the price hike would harm attendance. "I would certainly hope not. It is a fabulous bargain," she said. "It's $6 for over 35 entertainment groups, to see the many artists in action and all the booths that are available," Rhea, said. One change in button sales this year is that the cheaper advance price wiU end at 1 p.m. June 7, prior to that evening's kickoff event. Festival Jam. In past years, festival-goers could purchase the lower-cost buttons throughout the Thursday evening jam event. "Prefestival means before the jam," Rhea said of the change. The design of the button reflects the event's 25th anniversary this year Rhea said festival buttons are collector's items, and the festival this year is selling a poster for $5 that features photos of the 25 years of festival buttons. Festival buttons will be available for purchase at numerous Salina businesses or via the Internet at www.riverfestival.com. economy PAGE A7 Disappointing economic and earnings news, proof that companies still face upcoming challenges, sent stocks sharply lower Thursday INSIDE Classified / 04 Comics / B4 Crossword / B4 Deaths / B3 Encore! / D1 Great Plains / 81 Money/ A7 Sports / 01 Weather / A9 Viewpoints/ All

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