The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on May 5, 1997 · Page 3
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 3

Salina, Kansas
Issue Date:
Monday, May 5, 1997
Page 3
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Great Plains THE SALINA JOURNAL w^/w^'~^'W?--r--'T^E.»^;:.if!33^ MONDAY, MAY 5, 1997 A3 T WRAP-UP SESSION Legislators do more visiting than lawmaking Negotiators in conferences unable to reach agreement on legislation that is holding up adjournment By LEW FERGUSON Tlie Associated Press TOPEKA — Legislators whiled away their time Sunday doing more visiting than making law. The inaction was caused by the inability of conference committees to achieve compromises on the final appropriations bill and several key issues. LEGISLATURE "We're just waiting, waiting and waiting," said Senator Ben Vidricksen, R- Salina. "The conference committees are making very slow progress — very, very slow." The two houses met for barely an hour in rare Sunday sessions, then adjourned until this afternoon — the sixth day of what had been scheduled as a four-day session to conclude the work of the 1997 Legislature. Prospects for ending the wrap-up session today were not good. Speculation around the rotunda Sunday was that lawmakers would be there Tuesday. Vidricksen, who is serving his 18th year in the Senate, said this is the worst part of the session. "This is the time for reconciling the two different houses trying to get an accord," Vidricksen said. It is also a time when lawmakers need to pick their battles carefully. "Experience shows through on these issues," Vidricksen said. "Some issues are perennial, and you need to know what is important to support and How they voted The Legislature approved legislation Saturday on how schools can deal with local option budgets. Here is how Salina area legislators voted: • REPUBLICANS FOR: Sen. Ben Vidricksen, Salina; Reps. Carol Beggs and Deena Horst, both of Salina • REPUBLICAN AGAINST: Joe Kejr, Brookville what not to support." Each house took only one action of note Sunday. The Senate adopted, 26-12, a conference committee report on a bill that allows banks not chartered in Kansas to accept deposits of state and local govern- ments' idle funds. The House had approved the bill, 121-0, so it went to Gov. Bill Graves. Acquisition of the former Bank-IV branch banks across Kansas by first Boatmen's Banchares of St. Louis and then by NationsBank of Charlottesville, N.C., was the impetus for the legislation — which was supported by the Kansas Bankers Association. The House rejected, 67-53, a conference committee report on an all-purpose state pension system bill — sending the measure back for more negotiations with the Senate. Senate and House negotiators continued working Sunday night on the omnibus appropriations bill, a $23 million catch-all spending measure that includes funding for prison expansion and the new Juvenile Justice Authority, as well as cuts in the state's economic development programs. Staff writer Carol Lichti contributed to this story. BRIEFLY March of Dimes walk raises about $46,000 Patty Davis, despite surgery in September to remove a tumor from her spine that left her paralyzed, was once again the top walker in the annual March of Dimes Walk America in Salina, earning $1,800 during the Sunday event. Davis, Salina, was among 650 people participants. She walked two miles using a walker. A team from Tony's Pizza Service was the top team, earning $8,000. The event raised about $46,000, and late donations could help the organization reach the $50,000 goal for the event, said Jill Giele, chairwoman of the event. Last year, the total the day of the event was $45,000, but another $3,000 in late donations added to the total. Items taken from sheriff's office van A detective van belonging to the Saline County Sheriffs Office was burglarized late Saturday or early Sunday morning while parked along Sheridan Street south of Crawford Avenue. The driver's side window was broken and $2,600 worth of items were taken. Damage to the van was estimated at $250. "They knew what they were getting into," said Sgt. Mark Malick of the sheriffs office. "It had to be obvious." The van, a maroon 1995 Chevy Astro, had red lights and antennas, indications it was a law enforcement vehicle. Taken were a cellular phone, a Pentax 35 mm camera, a GE mobile group telephone and a GE portable voice guard police radio. • The sheriffs office is asking for information from the public to help solve the crime. Anyone with information can call Crimestop- pers at 825-TIPS. Callers can be eligible for up to a $1,000 reward. Information sought on theft of log splitter The theft of a homemade log splitter valued at $1,500 is this week's crime of the week for Crimestoppers. Crimestoppers is a nonprofit organization that pays rewards to people who help solve crimes. The log splitter was taken from the 200 block of East Berg Road between March 17 and March 22. It is made of steel I-beams and painted either gray or red primer. It is powered by a five horsepower Briggs & Stratton engine and is designed to be pulled behind a vehicle. Anyone with information about this or any other crime may call .Crimestoppers at 825-8477. Callers are not required to give their names and could be eligible for rewards of up to $1,000. No one wins jackpot in Powerball lottery None of the tickets sold for the Powerball game Saturday night matched all six numbers drawn, lottery officials said Sunday. The numbers were 8, 21, 22, 29 and 38. The Powerball was 29. Players matching ail five numbers and the Powerball would have won or shared the $31.3 million jackpot. The prize goes to an estimated $37 million for Wednesday. Tickets that match the first five numbers, but miss the Powerball, win $100,000 each, and there were 15 of those. From Staff and Wire Reports ill When you need to know. Tomorrow's Headlines 825-6OOO Category 6006 (Call attar 7:30 p.m.) The Associated Press Rep. John Faber (center), R-Brewster, and Rep. John Toplikar (right), R-Olathe, discuss a bill that makes changes in laws governing the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System. The House wants the bill altered and returned it to a conference committee. KPERS CLASH House to fight Senate over raises for pensioners By LEW FERGUSON The Associated Press TOPEKA — The House escalated another fight with the Senate on Sunday, rejecting a conference committee report on KPERS issues and demanding that any bill include some kind of pension enhancement for state retirees. ', '" ; \ ,t s ' On a vote of ,.--*67-53, the House ' " l returned to conference a bill LEGISLATURE that makes changes in laws governing the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System. The sole purpose of sending the measure back for more negotiations with the Senate was to try to force a small pension improvement. "Consistently, we aren't giving them a raise," Rep. Joe Shriver, D-Arkansas City, said of retirees. "I think we can do better." He made the motion to reject the conference report. The Legislature provided major pension improvements in 1993 but has not given retirees a cost-of-living increase "Consistently, we aren't giving them a raise. I think we can do better." Rep. Joe Shriver Arkansas City Democrat since then. The House passed the KPERS revision bill with two pension improvements in it: • A minimum $200 a month payment for 2,600 retirees who had less than 20 years of state or teaching service and who had retired before 1993. That would cost the pension fund about $5 million a year. • A special "diet cost-of-living adjustment" that would be paid to retirees on Oct. 1 each year that the KPERS investment fund earned more than a 10 percent return in a year. If it would surpass 10 percent this year, each KPERS retiree would get an extra check of about $300. That would cost the fund $16.5 million. The first conference committee removed them. "We're trying to share (with retirees) some of the benefits when times are good," Rep. Henry Helgerson, D-Wichita, said of the proposal to tie a special payment to earnings of the KPERS fund. Sen. Dave Kerr, R-Hutchinson, chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, said he will not agree to any pension enhancements unless the Legislature is willing to pay for them out of the general fund. He said he will not agree to any plan that increases KPERS' unfunded liability. That liability is the shortfall in the amount of money available to pay benefits to retirees over the next 37 years based on projected income. It now exceeds $1 billion. "The state should not add to the un- funded liability," Kerr said. "If the House wants a small COLA bad enough that they're willing to pay for it up front, then I'm willing to sit down and listen. "All of their proposals so far would add to the unfunded liability." House members made reference to Kerr and his opposition to pension improvements, without naming him. "It's not a Democrats vs. Republicans issue," said Rep. Bill Reardon, D-Kansas City. "This issue is House vs. Senate." And, Rep. Ted Powers, R-Mulvane, added, "It's spelled S-E-N-A-T-O-R." T HEALTH T RURAL AREAS Seminar looks at rural domestic violence Rural victims face unique problems and dangers, experts say By The Associated Press DODGE CITY — Women who are victims of domestic violence in rural areas often face unique problems and dangers, say experts. "Even on television and magazines, we have (images ot) Mom and apple pie in rural areas," said Linda Hessman, a Dodge City resident who does mediation work. "That's well and good, but what you often find is there is as much domestic violence and child abuse." About 30 people, mostly women, attended a seminar Saturday that was sponsored by the Dodge City Council of Catholic Women. The seminar was aimed at raising the awareness of domestic violence in rural areas. Many surveys of domestic violence look only at urban and suburban areas, so the rural problem isn't as well studied, speakers said. One key problem victims have in rural areas is the great distance they must travel for services. Emergency shelters and counseling can be miles away and diffi- cult to access, Hessman said. Houses in rural areas are farther apart, so neighbors often can't hear a couple fighting ox- things being thrown, said Sister Kathleen Salewski, mission executive at St. Catherine Hospital in Garden City. The longer distances also make it harder for children to run to a nearby house for help during a fight, she said. Abused women in rural areas may be reluctant to seek help because there is not as much anonymity in smaller towns, Hessman said. The fear of having the information publicly known and being embarrassed or ashamed stops many from seeking help, she said. The smaller population in rural areas also increases the possibility that a crisis counselor, lawyer or police officer who comes to help an abused person will know or be related to the family, said Salewski. "That holds people back," she said. Living in a rural area also provides abusers with weapons not found in other areas. "Farm implements make wonderful weapons," Salewski said. "They're heavy, sharp and readily available. Farm boots ... are very heavy and are steel-toed. They do much more damage than shoes that city men wear." Son offers kidney as Mother's Day gift lola police officer wants to end his mom's daily nine-hour dialysis ordeal By The Associated Press IOLA — Linda Breithaupt is getting a special Mother's Day gift this year. Her son, an lola police officer, is donating one of his kidneys to her. Clint Breithaupt, 29, is worried about the impending surgery but says he's willing to take his chances if it will end his mother's daily nine-hour ordeal of kidney dialysis. On May 15, four days after Mother's Day, he and his mother, 49, will be wheeled into adjoining surgery suites at Barnes Jewish Hospital in St. Louis. Breithaupt has been a police officer in lola since October 1995, and as the local bicycle cop he is well- known to local youngsters. They flock around him when he visits schools or stops on the street to chat, and some even ask for his autograph. Breithaupt, who grew up in Lawrence, where his mother still lives, has a childhood memory of marital discord when he was 9 that adds to his determination to help his mother. His mother had learned she had kidney problems that likely would get worse. She didn't feel good physically and also suffered from the emotional stress of a failing marriage. "I remember how my mother hurt, physically and emotionally," he said. "I thought then that if there ever was anything I could do to make her feel better, I would." Linda Breithaupt's kidneys failed when she was 29, but just as quickly as the disease struck, it went into remission, apparently cured by medication, exercise and a special diet. The symptoms returned about a year ago. Seven months ago, her kidneys again shut down completely. That meant nine hours of daily dialysis that left her tired and unable to work regularly at her hospital job. Clint Breithaupt and his sisters, Lisa Blessing, 28, and Lori Fowler, 25, all wanted to help, wondering if they might be able to give their mother a kidney. In March, the three siblings had blood and tissue tests. Breithaupt and sister Lisa matched well enough genetically to qualify as donors. But Clint Breithaupt made it clear that he would be the one to give up a kidney. "Both of my sisters have babies and they don't need the added burden of donating a kidney," he said. "Besides, if I have problems, Lisa and I are a perfect match. She could give me one of her kidneys. "And, I'm in the best health of the three of us. They're both sick all the time." Linda Breithaupt didn't want her son to go through with it, fearing it might affect his job and keep him from doing things the rest of his life. "I don't care," said her son. "I want to help her. That's the most important thing to me." His mother finally agreed to go ahead. "I've talked to several people who have had kidney transplants and they've all told me that I won't know how much having the transplant means until I see how good I feel afterward. They've told me that I'll feel better within 48 hours." SUGGESTIONS? CALL BEN WEARING, DEPUTY EDITOR, AT (913) 823-6363 OR 1-800-827-6363 OR E-MAIL AT \

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