The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on October 26, 1996 · Page 8
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 8

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Salina, Kansas
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Saturday, October 26, 1996
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Page 8
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A8 SATURDAY. OCTOBER 26, 1996 GREAT PLAINS THE SALINA JOURNAL T FIGHTING GANGS Gang expert struggles to save youth She works with Wichita schools and will talk at meetings in Salina By CAROL LICHTI The Salina Journal Roberta Watson works with struggling teen-agers, trying to give them the courage to walk away from violence and the lure of gangs. "It takes a lot of guts to say 'I'm not fighting you' and walk away," said Watson, a former FBI agent and narcotics officer who works in the Wichita schools. "They're afraid other kids will think they're a wuss. But the toughest one is the one who walks away." Watson, a substance abuse and violence prevention teaching specialist, will be in Salina in November to talk to parents, school staff and members of the community about gangs. The meetings were organized because of parental concern about gang activities in Salina. The meetings will be: • 7 p.m. Nov. 4 at Salina Central High School auditorium, 650 E. Crawford. • 10 a.m. Nov. 5, again at Central's auditorium. • 7 p.m. Nov. 5 in Salina South High School's Little Theater, 730 E. Magnolia. The public is invited and parents are urged to attend, bringing prepared questions. School and police officials will be at the meetings to answer questions. Watson said the community meeting is a good way to address concerns about gangs and violence among teen-agers. "The parents working with the schools and police will make a strong alliance," Watson said. "It's a way to work with mom and dad to find a way to stick up for kids." Adults will be showing youngsters they care as well as sending a message that gang violence won't be tolerated in the community, she said. Watson has been in Salina before to help train teachers. She has worked for the Wichita School District for five years. Before that, she worked as a U.S. border control agent, a Federal Bureau of In- WARNING SIGNS Here Am some warning sign* Wat can signal to parents that their children may be having problems and could be susceptible to gang influences: • Sudden drop In school grades and Interest In school. • Withdrawal from family activities. Sudden change, in friends. Evidence of drug use. Sudden affluence. • Desire for excessive privacy. • Use of a new nickname. • Development of a bad attitude toward family, school and authorities. , • Altered appearance, whether in style or color' of clothing, haircuts, headgear, eyebrow markings or tattoos*/ s -.'.,''' • Use of graffiti on folders, desks,. walls and buildings. • ' • Staying out later than usual. - . WHAT YOU CAN DO: Be a role model Set a good example by dealing with anger in a healthy way, showing tolerance to people who are different, limiting alcohol intake and refraining from using other drugs. Encourage healthy activities Encourage children to be involved in athletics or other health-oriented group activities so they gain a sense of belonging. Convince them to join a club or organization, take music lessons or take up a hobby. Teach good values and responsibility Help children develop respect for each other's property and pride in their community. Give them responsibilities at home and rewards for jobs well done. Teach them to set positive goals, hold high standards and prepare for a positive future. Set limits Don't let children stay out late or spend a lot of unsupervised time in the streets. Don't permit them to write gang names, symbols or graffiti on their books, papers, clothes, bodies, walls or any other place. Communicate Develop open, frequent communication with your children. Be positive, allow children to come to you to discuss any topic or problem. Tell them you love them. Allow them to express themselves. Know their friends Get to know who your children hang out with and how they spend their free time. Get Involved Be active in your child's education and in your community. Organize or join neighborhood watch groups. Report vandalism, loitering and drug activity in your neighborhood. Spend time together Plan activities the family can enjoy together. Expose children to different places outside the neighborhood such as parks and museums. Beware of Influences Know what your children are seeing, hearing and playing on television, computers, video games and in music. vestigation agent and a narcotics officer for the Oklahoma district attorney's office. Her job with the schools is a vast difference from her law enforcement work with adults. "This tugs at your heart," she said of working with teens. "It hits you in the pit of the stomach because you are trying so hard to help them and a lot of them have had bad experiences. It really hurts, especially with seriously troubled kids because deep in your heart you know their chances of making it are slim." Watson said she hopes to help parents and teachers prevent gang problems from occurring in Salina. "I give them information so kids can't pull the wool over their eyes," she said. If informed, adults have a better chance of influencing teen-agers. "They respect people who know what they're talking about," Watson said. Respect is something young people crave, even when they don't understand what it is. "Adults need to model it, sometimes longer than they want," Watson said. "Adults have to go the extra step several times." Tolerance of people's differences is another important message adults can model for youngsters, who attend school with children from lots of different backgrounds and income levels. Watson is careful about how she talks to teen-agers. They can be turned off by discussions of what is "right" or "wrong." "Instead, I talk about what is healthy or unhealthy and what is safe or unsafe," Watson said. The safe thing to do is usually the hardest thing when they are confronted with violence, Watson said. "Kids tell me it is easier to fight than walk away," Watson said. But she tells them to say: "I'm here for an education and I don't want to be kicked out of school." They also should resist peer pressure to watch other students fight. Most schools consider watching as severe as being in the fight. A Salina student was recently disciplined for watching a fight. Besides, Watson said, "Real friends don't egg you on so that you get in trouble or are hurt." Gangs are attractive to young people who are striving for a sense of identity, Watson said. Those are students who usually aren't involved in school activities, don't do well in school and don't feel they belong at school or at home. In Wichita, Watson sees youngsters lining up to join gangs. "In my experience, I have never been aware of gangs actively recruiting," Watson said. "Gangs offer things all kids want." Gangs are attractive because teen-agers think by joining they'll- be more popular and have more protection with friends to watch their back, Watson said. The youngsters are looking for responsibility and a sense of family. "They think they'll become somebody," she said. The community can work together to try to address those needs. Next month's community meetings are the first step, she said. Gangs / Some kids worry neighbors FROM PAGE A1 Letters have been mailed to parents, and other members of the community are encouraged to attend. "This is not a school problem or a police problem," Troutfetter said. "It's a community problem." Salina does not have major youth gang problems such as drive-by-shootings, drug trafficking and graffiti. "But if the community feels we have a problem, it is something we should address," Hill said. "We want to be pro-active. Even if we don't have a gang problem right now, it is not inconceivable that we could in the future. That's why we want to have parents in the community informed." Gangs do exist in Junction City, Topeka, Wichita, Kansas City, Garden City and Dodge City, he said. Schools haven't noticed any in- T ROLLING HILLS REFUGE "This is not a school problem or a police problem. It's a community problem." George Troutfetter Salina South High School assistant principal crease in fights, drugs or signs of gangs. "There are a couple of groups of kids in the community that people are concerned about," Troutfetter said. "Most of our problems are groups of kids or clicks, not gangs," Hill said. "We need to remain vigilant to be on the lookout if problems do result." But regardless of what the groups are called, parents are concerned violence could result. Police have noticed more con- flicts and problems between people of different races. School officials also are concerned conflicts could be race related. "We have an increasing population of minorities at both schools," Troutfetter said. "There is prejudice in Salina like there is everywhere. And schools are a representation of the community." People and their prejudices are more isolated in the community. But schools are a confined area where isolation is impossible and tension can result. "We hope to raise students' sensitivity to other cultures," Troutfetter said. He stressed that the schools have a zero tolerance for gang apparel, and the schools are safe. "We really don't have a problem with it," he said. "We have, well-behaved students who are respectful. This is an ordered and purposeful place." Teachers and administrators have been trained in gang identification. Law officers have worked to befriend youngsters caught painting graffiti and give programs in the schools on gang awareness. Students also have been trained in peer mediation and help resolve conflicts in the high schools. Ten students from South and Central have organized an "Increase the Peace" campaign to plan joint events to give students activities to keep them out of trouble. Salina Appliance Showroom 740 N. Ninth, Salina • (913) 827-1420 MOM.-Sal. (> ain-2 mil Breakfast Specials Lunch Specials The Only Downtown Restaurant with... 158 S. Santa Fe Refuge adds two white rhinos Wildlife center officials intend to breed the endangered species By GORDON D. FIEDLER JR. The Salina Journal Two African Southern White rhinoceroses are the latest addition to the Rolling Hills Refuge Wildlife Conservation Center. Milly and Wagasa, mature female white rhinos from the Knoxville, Tenn., Zoo, arrived this month and join 5-year-old Uzazi, the center's lone male white rhino, which has been at the center since 1994. Another male white rhino is expected to arrive next year at the refuge, 625 N. Hedville. The intent is to breed the endangered species. The acquisition of Uzazi was the first step. Any breeding, though, likely won't begin until the second male arrives. "White rhinos only breed in herd situations," said Steve Kaup, head rhino keeper at the refuge. "They need more than one male and one female to challenge each other." At 30 years old, Milly is the older of the two females. Wagasa is 24. Attempts to breed them have failed. Kaup hopes new surroundings and new potential mates may prove successful. These animals are three of only 124 Southern White rhinos in captivity. There are an estimated 7,000 in the world, up from a population of fewer than 100 in 1929. The refuge also has two Greater One-Horned Indian rhinos. They, too, are endangered. The two species of rhinos will be among a menagerie of rare and endangered species available for study and viewing when the 95- acre refuge officially opens in the spring of 1998. It will operate as an educational nonprofit foundation dedicated to the conservation and propagation of rare and endangered species. Although still under construction, the refuge is open for guided tours. The cost is $5 for adults and $3 for children 12 and under. Rates for groups of 10 or more are $3 a person. To arrange a visit, call the refuge at 913-827-9488. RALPH WEIGH Bonds - Insurance Phone 827-2906 115 East Iron John Wood &ASSOC. • FINANCIAL Specializing In Employee Benefits We Have A Pumpkin Of A Deal For Youl EXTRA 1 ••• H^^te. OFF on Remnants and Area Rugs Carpet Warehousejf YOU'RE R FOR A NEW MATTRESS • Your mattress Is older than you are. • You finally vacuum all the crumbs off your mattress and It actually becomes less comfortable. •You deliberately pick fights with your spouse just so you can sleep on the couch. • Your kids jump and play on your bed, but .you can't hear them over the mattress noise. (fin i s-'7 ST.VI DOM thli sound Ilk* your nuttroM? If »o, It'ntlnw for« now ono. .AND WE'RE READY WITH I SPECIAL CLOSEOUT PRICES! STARTING AS LOW AS «99« TWIN EA. PC. 1-5 >pm 90 Days Same as Cash 1930S. 9th • Salina * 823-3971 line When you need to know. 825-6OOO Using a touch-tone phone, call Community Line at 825-6000. Then, enter one of the 4-digit categories listed below. /«- CATEGORY MENU 1000. «- ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT Salina & Region (ARTS)2787 *• ADVENTURE/TRIVIA GAMES Adventure Arcade 6942 Outer Space Adventures 6872 Ghost Hunters 6874 Treasure Seekers........ 6875 Wizard Wj TheW< Trivia Interact Entertain Sports Histoi Really' Really , 6873 ,.6947 .6902 '..6903 £....6904 ,6906 j6907 !6905 ^.6908 6940 Newspapei Weekly Expert Trivia 6941 ...6865 f COMEDY Joke of the Salina PSBflPSiiool I KS Wcsleyan Info Brown Mackie, --EMPJ Job Tail »• FINANCIAL Commodities Hodine. Stock Qu< Stock Ma NYSEU, AMEX OTC Bond Precious Wall MutU; 10 Most «• HOROSCOPES Aquarius Aries Taurus , Gemini Cancer Leo Virgo , Libra Scorpio I Sagittarius Capricorn, Pisces Todays Birthday 6850 6851 6852 6853 6854 6855 6856 6859 6860 6861 6862 »- MOVI Top 10 Movie Grosses. Top 10 Television Shows.. Top 10 Records ., TVTonig Cable' Movie ] '4866 6918 .6917 6927 6973 .6972 6928 Opini Salina Headlii National World News Current Events «• RELICI01 Daily Devj Local Q A11M; Anothl AsTI Bold &i Days of General Hospi Loving Melrose Place.. One Life to The Gui : Young 90210j Soap --SF Ski Ho! Lake In Sports Updafl Major League Baseball NFL Football Scorecard NHL Hockey Scorecard..;.. NBA Basketball Scorecard.. College Sports Scorecard.... v«r WEATHER 7544 0 5253 6000 ...6770 ...6775 ..6780 ..6785 ...6790 ,.Q927/

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