The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on May 5, 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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Saturday, May 5, 2001
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Page 1
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MAY s, not Derby time PAGE D1 the SATURDAY MAY 5, 2001 SALINA, KANSAS Salina Journal Serving Kansas since 1871 50 cents Historic pilgrimage PAGE B4 TFIRE Fire response time error disclosed Confusion over house location was cause of 10-minute delay By KARA RHODES The Saiina loiimal The wrong fire department was dispatched to a fire April 28 because Southwestern Bell, never received information showing 1500. S. Marymount had been annexed into the city in January 1999, a preliminary report from the Salina Police Department showed Friday Salina Police Chief Jim Hill T HOISINGTON The prom's back on Great Bend students, teachers, others invite Hoisington to dance By TIM UNRUH The Salina Journal GREAT BEND — Two weeks after their prom and their hometown were shattered by a tornado, Hoisington High School students will be back in formal wear this evening. This second prom will come complements of their rivals from Great Bend High School. A suggestion from Great Bend High School teacher Crystal Cross might have been the perfect plan for an entire town clamoring for ways to help its neighbor 10 miles to the north. "I think it's wonderful," said a sobbing Mary Charles, a loan officer at Hoisington National Bank — and a mom — who was helping to coordinate the after- prom party in Hoisington. "It means a lot." The effort started Monday with a small gathering of Great Bend students in the high school library, and, "It just kind of mushroomed" from there, said Emily Mulch, the librarian and a sponsor of tonight's Hoisington prom. "Somebody in Hoisington said there were plenty of volunteers for the cleanup," said Matt Zinn, a Great Bend senior. "We decided to do something different. "Our prom was the same night. We got lucky" Students passed buckets and coffee cans during lunch that day, gathering $389. "It was just from kids dumping their pockets and teachers opening up their wallets," said Mulch, her voice also cracking with emotion. "I've cried a lot, just about everybody's generosity We've got some great kids here at this school. They're amazing." Many get involved in effort More than $3,000 in cash has been raised for the prom, a third of that from Great Bend High School. Schools froin all over Kansas and businesses and people from the city and the region have dug in to help Hoisington juniors and seniors have a memorable night. Eight restaurants in Great Bend donated pre-prom meals to the 143 teen-age guests. "Little old ladies called and said, 'I can't do much, but I'll rent a tux.' A local hairdresser said, 'I'll reserve my shop the whole Saturday' " for girls who want to fix their hair for the big event, Mulch said. "It's going to be an incredible night." See PROM, Page A4 said initial indications are that Southwestern Bell in Topeka did not receive the information from Saline County Emergency Management, which is responsible for sending such changes. So when the 911 call was received from the residence April 28 about a garage fire, the dispatcher's 911 computer screen showed that the home, owned by David and Duann Peterson, was in the county, and Saline County Fire District No. 5 should respond. That caused a 10-minute delay in getting city firefighters to the home, which sustained "We did find one error. One error in a system like this is one too many" Jim Hill Salina police chief WEATHER High: 70 Low: 57 Mostly cloudy and breezy. Thunderstorms likely tonight. an estimated $125,000 in damage. Mike Morgan, deputy city manager, would not comment about whether the Petersons or their insurance company have asked the city to pay for the home's damage. Salina's acting fire chief, Steve Moody, said he doesn't know how much difference that extra 10 minutes made. "There's a lot of different variables involved in a fire," he TOM DORSEY / The Salina Journal Maggie Spicer, 8, reacts while playing push-ball relay Friday morning with her third-grade classmates during Kansas Kids Fitness Day activities at Oxbow Park in Salina. Many third-grade classes in Salina gathered to play noncompetitive games as part of a statewide focus on fitness. See story on Page B1. said. "The difference it would have made in that fire — it's really hard to say" The fire originated in the garage from a child playing with fireworks. Shortly after the first 911 call, flames jumped from the garage to the home. Two other houses sustained minor roof damage from embers. Calls for help Along with its preliminary report on the cause of delay, the police department released a transcript and tape of the department's radio and telephone traffic connected to the fire. T EDUCATION The transcript shows that during the first eight minutes after the 911 call, dispatchers were asked five times by law enforcement officials — both city and county — converging on the scene if the home was inside city limits. "Do you know if this residence is going to be in the city or the county?" Salina police investigator Scott Siemsen asked the dispatcher seven minutes after the initial call. "The fire is in the county," the dispatcher responded. See FIRE, Page A4 District leaders make big bucks Superintendents' salaries scrutinized at time of budget woes By CAROL CRUPPER Harris News Service TOPEKA — As legislators debated how much Kansas should spend on education, Wichita approved a $19,000 raise for superintendent Winston Brooks, bringing his pay to $130,000. Manhattan hired superintendent Sharol Little away from Dodge City for $140,000. For those seeking more funds for public schools, the timing couldn't have been worse. "It's not helping," House Speaker Kent Glasscock, R- Manhattan, said Wednesday. On Thursday, a last-gasp plan to raise taxes to support education collapsed, but talks were to resume Friday. Rep. Kathe Lloyd, R-Clay Center, said people shake their heads at six-figure salaries. "They're making more than th6 governor," she said. Gov. Bill Graves earns $91,700; with benefits it becomes $101,700. While some consider superintendent salaries out of proportion, others say if Kansas wants top people running its school districts it's going to have to stay competitive. "It's a tough, tough job, and you want as good a quality as you can get," Lt. Gov. Gary Sherrer said. Thirty-two Kansas superintendents make more than $100,000, according to a survey by the Kansas Association of School Boards. Salaries range from $17,400 at Woodson to $201,152 in Shawnee Mission, with an average of $79,346. Reassessing priorities Sen. Nancey Harrington, R- Goddard, thinks local boards should control their own budgets. But it bothers her to hear districts threatening to cut academic programs if the state doesn't raise taxes. "They need to streamline administrative costs before they consider cutting reading and math," she said. Rep. Bob Bethell, R-Alden, thinks most Kansans can't relate to such salaries. And while he agrees that schools need administrators, he wonders if they need so many. The survey shows his home county Rice, with four districts — Sterling, Chase, Lyons and Little River — paying a combined $297,000 in superintendent salaries for 2,000 students. "It is clear changes need to be made," Bethell said. Malting the case Mark Tallman, spokesman for the Kansas Association of School Boards, said good superintendents find ways to get more effective performance. And, he said, they don't come cheap. Tallman said Wichita schools showed marked improvement under Brooks' leadership, and the district didn't want to lose him. Although timing of his raise hurt matters in Topeka, Tail- man said Wichita knew Brooks had suitors at the door. "It's kind of a damned-if-you- do-damned-if-you-don't (thing)," he said. Sherrer said big-district superintendents are in charge of multimillion-dollar budgets and large amounts of real estate. "What would we want to pay someone to have those responsibilities?" he said. "It's just another reason to bash on education." Superintendent survey Kansas has 300 superintendents serving 304 districts. Four pairs share a top administrator. Their jobs vary enormously Some preside over large, complex districts. In smaller districts, the superintendent also may serve as building principal, transportation director or even food service director Most are watching over change. Billy Norris, who at Woodson earns the lowest superintendent's pay in Kansas, says it doesn't bother him to see others making more. See BUCKS, Page A2 Vignery to be honored in hometown celebration By NATE JENKINS The Salina Journal GOODLAND — It's tough to make anything shine for long in this windy town, but a streak of city pride prompted by a Navy pilot's return home has many trying. Shortly after Goodland native Lt. j.g. Jeff Vignery and his fellow crew members of a Navy surveillance plane were released in April by the Chinese, preparations for Vignery's return began. Signs, a 4-by-4-foot construction-paper flag and other patriotic crafts were made by schoolchildren. Meetings — as many as twice a week — were conducted by a special welcome- home committee. Even the roads were cleaned in preparation for today's ceremony in a fieldhouse adorned with 1,000 balloons. "Everyone wants to make tomorrow so special," Calli McDaniel, Goodland, a VIGNERY the crafts and member of the organizing committee, said Friday She is a former classmate of Vignery's. A string of presentations honoring Vignery and plenty of chances for reminiscing are planned. Vignery's high school football coach, a member of the Vignery family, Goodland Mayor Tom Rohr, Rep. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., and others are slated to speak. Vignery will be the first person in several years to receive a key to the city All plans received the blessing of the Vignery family, McDaniel said. "They wanted it short and sweet, but it's going to be nice," she said. The incident involving Vignery unfolded after the U.S. plane was clipped by a Chinese fighter pilot as the U.S. craft flew off the coast of China. The Chinese pilot died in the collision. The American plane landed, without permission, on Chinese soil. It's been just a few weeks since Vignery and the rest of the crew were released by the Chinese. See VIGNERY, Page A2 PAGE A3 Florida lawmakers approved a sweeping overhaul Friday to do away with punchcard ballots and establish tmiform guidelines for recounts. TOMORROW A group of calm, professional men gather religiously every Sunday and become a pack of screaming, whooping boys, practicing their street religion. INSIDE Classified / 01 Comics / B6 Deaths / B3 Families / A5 Great Plains / B1 Money/ A6 Religion / 84 Sports / D1 Weather /D6 Viewpoints / A9

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