The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on April 29, 1997 · Page 3
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 3

Salina, Kansas
Issue Date:
Tuesday, April 29, 1997
Page 3
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THE SALINA JOURNAL Great Plains TUESDAY, APRIL 29, 1997 A3 T CRIME Freemen may be building base in Kansas Local law enforcers say they won't rely on KBI, FBI to handle their prosecutions By The Associated Press , A year after a lengthy standoff with federal authorities in Montana ended with the arrests of their leaders, the "freemen" are resurfacing in Kansas, according to a newspaper report. "Now these people are talking about making Kansas a sovereign republic," Pottawatomie County Sheriff Tony Metcalf told The Kansas City Star. Metcalf last^summer estimated that 100 freemen Wgre in his area. " Shawnee County sheriffs Sgt. J.D. Mauck said a group calling itself the Christian Court recently met in Abilene and ordered the arrest of Gov. Bill Graves for taking his oath of office improperly, The Star reported Sunday. Graves spokesman Mike Matson said BRIEFLY Students sought for new KSHSAA team The Kansas State High School Activities Association is looking for students to serve on the association's new student advisory team next fall. The committee will have 12 students — six boys and six girls — representing each of the six classifications of schools and geographic areas of the state. It will have six seniors and six juniors. The committee's purpose is to improve communication between students and the association to create a better understanding of association rules and policies and to help advise the association staff. The committee will meet twice a year, and expenses will be paid by the association. Principals of schools belonging to the association can nominate one student for the committee. Nominations are due by June 1. On the application, students need to say why they want to serve and write a one- to two-page essay on the value of being involved in school activities. Mental health workers needed for Red Cross Red Cross disaster mental health services-trained workers are needed for the next three to four weeks, according to the North Central Kansas Chapter of the American Red Cross in Salina. Requirements are having a current active license as a mental health care professional — psychiatrist, psychologist, licensed social worker, counselor, family arid marriage therapist, or psychiatric nurse. To qualify, workers need to have verification of their license, complete a Red Cross Disaster Mental Health Services I course, and be available for 1? days. Training has been scheduled for qualified licensed mental health professionals. For information call Lois Orchard at the North Central Kansas Chapter of the American Red Cross at 827-3644. le say young Rottweiler saved lives : -MORAN — A couple who safely escaped a house fire early Monday said their Rottweiler puppy saved their lives. ,,Sammy Alexander and his girl- fj*jend, Melissa Gregory, found their bedroom filling with smoke a(a they were awakened by the ffantic, 4-month-old dog, named {&,. about 1:30 a.m. ^"If Sa hadn't woke us up, we probably would've died in the fire," said Melissa Gregory, who is:six months pregnant. ^Alexander said the couple were asleep when Sa started scratching a't and running into their swing- ijjg bedroom doors. k"-The puppy forced his way into the room and made even more noise. '"""I didn't get up until Sa tugged at my pillow and bit my hand," Alexander said. ;: There was no official word Hfrqnflay afternoon on the cause of t$e fire, but Alexander said it ap- p^rently started near an electric breaker box on the back porch. ^Alexander said Sa's actions show that not all Rottweilers are bad. *•' "':' From Staff and Wire Reports the governor hadn't received the "charges," but added, "We've heard the same charges made against pretty much every public official in the state." "Freemen" is a term adopted by those who claim sovereignty from government jurisdiction and operate under their own legal system, which they call common- law courts. Adherents have declared themselves exempt from laws, regulations and taxes. They often file liens against judges, prosecutors and others, claiming that money is owed to them as compensation. Kansas officials say it's impossible to tell how many freemen are in the state because many have gone underground since the standoff in Montana. Others have "gotten legal" by renewing their driver's licenses and putting legitimate license plates on their vehicles. Some sheriffs, however, are becoming concerned. They say federal and state authorities encourage the freemen by not prosecuting them for filing frivolous liens and promoting what they contend is a bogus-check scheme which may violate federal bank fraud laws. As a result, the Shawnee County district attorney's office planned to send letters Monday to banking and lending institutions, warning them to be on the lookout again for the freemen's checks. "They're telling people that the checks are legal because they didn't get prosecuted the last time," said Suzanne James, Shawnee County's director of victim services. "It's clear to them that the heat is off as far as their lien scams and check scams. "But if the feds aren't going to prosecute, we will," she said. "Unless you get the message out that this is illegal and it won't be tolerated, it's going to escalate." Metcalf, the Pottawatomie County sheriff, said the freemen in his area wrote nearly $1 million worth of bad checks. Last summer, an FBI agent visited his department. "They told me to be patient; they were doing something," Metcalf said. But last week a spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney for Kansas said no charges had been filed. "If there was a federal law broken, we would have prosecuted," Chris Watney said. Mary Horsch, spokeswoman for Kansas Attorney General Carla Stovall, said the Kansas Bureau of Investigation also looked into the freemen's alleged bogus check scheme last year, but again no charges were filed. "Even if someone presents a bogus check, if the banks recognize it and don't cash it, it might not rise to the level of a crime," Horsch said. Local officials said they couldn't prosecute the cases at their level because the FBI and KBI took all the evidence. Now, they say, things will be different. "We're telling people to send the checks to us if they get them this time," James said. Some states, however, have aggressively prosecuted the freemen. Last month, a jury in Tulsa, Okla., convicted a Fairview, Kan., couple of passing a fraudulent check allegedly issued by the leader of the Montana freemen. Bill and Karen Hanzlicek will be sentenced June 26 for their convictions on charges of conspiracy, mail fraud, bank , fraud and false security violations. The federal indictment charged them with attempting to use the bogus check to pay off a mortgage owed to a Tulsa lender. Last year, federal authorities arrested freemen leader LeRoy Schweitzer in Montana on charges of writing millions of dollars in bogus checks and money orders and threatening to kill a federal judge. The government alleges the checks were part of a scam in which the freemen paid their bills with "lien drafts," "comptroller's warrants" or "certified banker's checks" made to look like checks drawn on the U.S. Treasury. The checks, they claimed, were backed by the value of liens filed against the property of judges, prosecutors and police. Tomorrow's Headlines 825-6OOO i II Category 6006 ,.- '!", * (Callalter7:30p.m.) X/htyi you need to know.. T SALINA AIRPORT Decision delayed on fourth daily flight Company wants to recheck numbers before added flight takes off By ALF ABUHAJLEH TlieSalina Journal The Associated Press Members of a SWAT team walk out of the Oak Hill Center for Rare and Endangered Species near Luther, Okla., Monday. They were searching for a leopard that killed a 52-year-old woman from Puerto Rico on Monday. Her son, who works at the center, found the body Monday afternoon. Leopard escapes, kills woman Victim's son worked at animal center, found his mom's body By The Associated Press OKLAHOMA CITY — A leopard burst out of its cage at an animal sanctuary and killed a woman Monday morning, then escaped into woods. Deputies shot and killed it hours later as it followed a baited path. Sheriff John Whetsel said the woman was attacked in a fenced run at the Oak Hill Center for Rare and Endangered Species. The 60- to 70-pound leopard apparently used its weight to force open its locked cage to get into the run. The body of the 52-year-old woman was found by her son, who works at the center. Her name was not released. "All I can say is, it was a savage attack," Whetsel said. The center rehabilitates injured exotic animals before returning them to zoos. Whetsel said it was licensed by the state Wildlife Department and U.S. Department of Agriculture, and that he knew of no previous problems. The 7-year-old Persian leopard was shot about a half mile from the center Monday night. Its cage had been baited with fresh meat, as well as the trail that authorities believe it followed into the woods. Two sheriffs deputies spotted the cat walking up the road where reporters were gathered. They ordered reporters into their cars, then opened fire with shotguns. About 10 rounds were fired. Earlier, Whetsel said officers were ordered to shoot to kill. "Our concern is once an animal kills a human, it has a propensity to do it again. We're not going to take any chances," Whetsel said. Officers went door to door warning residents in lightly populated far northeastern Oklahoma County. Whetsel urged them not to try to hunt the animal themselves, "It's quick and silent and very deadly." J T WHEAT Wheat heads look empty in Dodge City area field By The Associated Press WICHITA — Lynn Rice's wheat looks great. It's green, it's thick, it's growing well. But the Dodge City farmer's 700 acres have tiny wheat heads that are turning a sickly white, falling apart to the touch and refusing to progress up the plant's stem. He doesn't expect the crop to produce any grain. "It'll be blank. There won't be any seed," he said. Nearly a month after freezing temperatures damaged wheat in southern Kansas, experts are still trying to determine whether the cold spell simply reduced the crop's yield or ruined some fields completely. Rollie Stukenholtz, chief execu- tive officer of Dodge City-based Crop Quest Agronomic Services, believes the freeze cost Kansas 100 million bushels. At the same tune, he says, it cost Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and parts of Colorado another 100 million bushels. "The longer we look at it the worse it looks," he said. He said thousands of acres in Kansas will be destroyed or mowed down for hay or silage. But Dave Ellison, a crop insurance specialist with the Risk Management Agency, a division of USDA that offers crop insurance, has a different prediction. Ellison said the crop's yield will be hurt by the freeze, but it won't cause large amounts of the state's wheat crop to be declared a total loss. T INJURY ACCIDENT 3 teens receive electric shock after car crashes By The Journal Staff BELOIT — Two teen-age boys were injured, one seriously, when they tried to help a third teen burned by a 7,200-volt power line he'rt downed in a car crash. Andrew E. Lewis, 18, and Matthew Fuller, 17, both of Beloit, were listed in serious condition Monday in the burn unit of the Via Christi Medical Center, St. Francis campus in Wichita. The third teen, Keegan Odle, 16, Glen Elder, was treated at Mitchell County Hospital, Beloit. According to the Mitchell County Sheriffs Office, Lewis was driving west on a gravel county road about a mile east of Beloit at about 12:15 a.m. Sunday when his car slid sideways and into a ditch, hitting a power pole and a barbed-wire fence. As he was getting out of his car, Lewis grabbed the power line, and the electrical current traveled from his hand, through his body and out his foot. Fuller and Odle were in a car following Lewis' car. They stopped to assist Lewis. Fuller, thinking the electrical line was a fence, grabbed hold and was shocked, the dispatcher said. Odle reportedly tried to pull Fuller away from the electrical line and was shocked as well. "We want to ...make sure that we are doing the right thing." Greg Stephens Air Midwest The Wichita-based company that operates three daily US Airways Express flights to and from Salina has postponed a decision to add a fourth flight until the end of May, a company official said Monday. Air Midwest was expected to decide late last week whether to add a mid-morning flight to Kansas City International Airport this summer. But Greg Stephens, vice president of Air Midwest, said he wants more A time to study the recent increase in the number of people flying from Salina. "It's still very likely that we will add a flight," he said. "But we want to look at the fig- .^, ures one more time to make sure that we are doing the right thing. I don't want to start a service and then have to end it." The airline, which recently changed its name from USAir Express, reported that last year was the best since 1989 for its Salina operations. US Airways Express flew more than 8,650 passengers from Salina in 1996, up 10 percent from 1995. The combined passenger count for the first three months of the year is up 12.5 percent, to 1,935 people, from the same period a year ago. The number of people boarding the airline here grew 2.5 percent last month, to 704 passengers, from a year ago. Stephens said adding a flight to Salina will likely reduce the number of flights at one of the company's other destinations. Air Midwest's fleet of 12 planes services 16 cities in the Midwest, including eight cities in Kansas. "We first have to make sure that we have enough planes to make this schedule change," Stephens said. Tim Rogers, executive director of the Salina Airport Authority, said he is confident a fourth flight will be added. "We are still seeing a steady increase in the number of passengers flying from Salina," he said. "This is a process that takes time." Rogers has proposed adding a daily departure and arrival between 10 and 11 a.m. A plane departing at that time would make about 60 connecting flights at Kansas City International, Rogers said. Rogers said fares from Salina have dropped 30 percent in the past two years. That, combined with better connections in Kansas City, is credited with the increased passenger traffic. The last time four daily flight were scheduled at Salina Airport was August 1995 to June 1996. ••••••••^•••••••••••••^^•••(•••••••(•••••iKKnaKaiin^p—-p---— SUGGESTIONS? CALL BEN WEARING, DEPUTY EDITOR, AT (913) 823-6363 OR 1-800-827-6363 OR E-MAIL AT

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