The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on May 6, 1997 · Page 1
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 1

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Salina, Kansas
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Tuesday, May 6, 1997
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No housing County planners reject Realtors' proposal for rural housing/A3 GREAT PLAINS Staying put Raef LaFrentz, Paul Pierce plan to stay another year at KU / A7 SPORTS r. Jury rules for tobacco industry in death case / A2 ^IJVinB the W: Play tops Tony Award nominations with 12 / A8 INSIDE High: 78 Low: 54 Increasing cloudiness today with south winds 20 to 30 mph /B7 WEATHER the Sal ina Journal f^ ^_ u . .! _ .A. I/ A b-t n n n f\t V+ S^r* ^ O "7 "H ^^^*^^^ Ann Landers / B7 C[assified/_B5 Comics / B8 Crossword / B8 Deaths / A7 Great Plains / A3 Sppj1s/_BJL Viewpoints / A4 INDEX Serving Kansas since 1871 TUESDAY MAY 6, 1997 SALINA, KANSAS 50 cents T SALINA CITY COMMISSION Report urges end of one-way streets in Salina Engineers also recommend change from angle to parallel parking on two city streets By CRISTINA JANNEY The Salina Journal A change from angle to parallel parking on Fifth and Seventh streets could make more spaces available downtown. The Salina City Commission heard a report on a downtown traffic study by Bucher Willis and Ratliff during a study session Monday. The engineers recommended opening Fifth and Seventh streets to two-way traf- fic, changing angle parking on those streets to parallel parking, removing 13 downtown stoplights and increasing downtown speed limits from 20 mph to 30 mph except on Santa Fe Avenue. The parking issue has been an impediment to making changes in downtown traffic for years, City Manager Dennis Kissinger said. Depending on how much maneuvering space officials want around driveways and corners, downtown could gain 11 spaces or lose 23 if parking was changed to parallel parking on Seventh and Fifth streets, Bucher Willis and Ratliff representatives told the commission. "We cannot have a net loss downtown," Commissioner Monte Shadwick said of parking. Shadwick owns a downtown business. Downtown merchants have expressed concerns about the loss of customer parking spaces and loss of loading areas if Fifth and Seventh streets were opened to two-way traffic, Kissinger said. Charles Schwinger, a vice president of the engineering firm, said a count of parking spaces over the noon hour showed 40 percent were empty. Shadwick questioned that count because it only included one sample. The size of the streets also would allow trucks to double park for unloading without blocking traffic, Assistant City Engi- * Apartment complex backed / Page B4 neer Shawn O'Leary said. Changing angle parking to parallel parking could cut accidents by 60 percent, Schwinger said. And with parallel parking leaving more room on streets for driving, speed limits could be increased, he said. Only five downtown blocks still have one-way traffic, and only three of those five blocks have parallel parking. The removal of 13 stoplights has been recommended, but two- and four-way stops will be installed where traffic signals are removed. Commissioner Don Heath, a former teacher, said he was concerned about children being able to cross at Ninth and Mulberry streets and Santa Fe Avenue and Mulberry Street. A pedestrian crossing might be installed on Ninth Street north of Mulberry Street to compensate for removing a traffic signal at Ninth and Mulberry, O'Leary said. Two forums to give residents opportunities to comment will be Thursday. City officials will meet with downtown residents and business owners at 5 p.m. at the Salina Area Chamber of Commerce. Officials will meet with other concerned residents at 7 p.m in Room 101 of the City- County Building. Rebuilding the .„„,--*,»,. ^ r The slight wood structure of the church occupies a lonely rise near the lake at Glen Elder State Park. T SPENDING Historical village begins to take shape with church preservation By LINDA MOWERY-DENNING The Salina Journal LEN ELDER • - ,. STATE PARK — First came "• *' ; ; the tornado. ' Then the ' • '• . v i floods. And fi- *'<•- ;}. '; * • nally the owls. Life hasn't been easy for the organizers of Waconda Heritage Village in Glen Elder State Park. "We've had lots of pestilence," said Sharon Treaster, superintendent of the Waconda East School District, headquartered in Cawker City, land treasurer of the organization that oversees the village. 1 • But on June 8, seven years •after historical preservationists and others came together to save a country church headed for demolition, the first phase of the village project — Hopewell Church — will be dedicated on the north shore of Waconda Lake. It will mark the first time a private organization has been allowed on federally owned land managed by the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks, according to department officials. "When we started this it was a year's project. It's been , a little longer," said Betty Fitzgerald, president of Waconda Heritage Village. Added Pat Williams, another village organizer: "Now it's become a lifetime project." The village organization was formed in 1989 after members of the small congregation of the Hopewell Church, 12 miles southwest of Beloit, learned their church Legislators OK budget for fiscal '98 The appropriations bill provides for the largest budget in state history at almost $8 billion By JOHN HANNA The Associated Press LEGISLATURE Photos by KELLY PRESNELL / The Salina Journal Betty Fitzgerald Is the president of the organization dedicated to moving and saving Hopewell Church, which will be dedicated in June on the north shore of Waconda Lake at Glen Elder State Park in north-central Kansas. would close and probably be razed to prevent vandalism. "I was married there. My children were baptized there," Treaster said. "I didn't think that sounded like a good idea." She joined Fitzgerald and Arvilla Heiman of Beloit in trying to rescue the church and its history. The Presbyterian congregation was organized in 1876 and the white-frame church was built in 1911. "The architecture is simple, befitting the lifestyle of the farming community for which it was built," Williams wrote in the Beloit Daily Call. "Light is filtered through glowing opalescent arched-frame windows." Others joined the effort. From that beginning grew a plan to erect the village in the park. The church would be the centerpiece. There would also be a one-room schoolhouse, a log cabin and a man-made re-creation of Waconda Spring, a meeting place for the Plains Indians that's now covered by water from the lake. "It's sad. It would have been the only national monument to the Indians in the United States," Fitzgerald said of the spring that rested inside a hill of travertine rock 42 feet high and 300 feet in diameter. The reported curing properties of the spring later attracted visitors to a nearby lodge. "I think we all had relatives who came here for medical reasons," Fitzgerald said. See VILLAGE, Page A7 TOPEKA — The Legislature finished work Monday night on the state budget for fiscal 1998, approving an expansion of the prison system but not an additional benefits check for retired teachers and state employees. The Omnibus Appropriations Act also resolved legislators' differences over spending on juvenile justice programs and a host of other items, including repairs at the governor's residence. The bill went to Gov. Bill Graves when both houses adopted a report on it drafted by a joint conference committee of three senators and three House members. The House vote was 64-61. The Senate adopted the report, 26-14. The budget would be the largest amount ever, just a whisker under $8 billion, for the state's 1998 fiscal year, which begins July 1. Overall spending would increase almost 1.4 percent, or by about $110 million. As is often the case with an omnibus bill, the conference committee's report enjoyed some support simply because legislators wanted to go home. The Legislature could not adjourn without passing the omnibus bill. Many House members wanted to give retired teachers and state employees an extra benefit check in October, an average of $237 for each retiree. The total cost would have been $12.7 million. Democrats said retirees deserved better benefits and noted that the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System earned more than $1.1 billion on its investments last year. "It's criminal," House Minority Leader Tom Sawyer, D-Wichita, said of the lack of a pension enhancement. "I won't be any part of it." Many House members also wanted to cut economic development spending by $11.2 million in fiscal 1999. The money saved would be used to give businesses a break on the property taxes they pay on their machinery. * Child support enforcement passes in final actions / Page B4 * A look at the major achievements / Page B4 T DEATH Downs teen dies; boy in custody By SHARON MONTAGUE The Salina Journal CAWKER CITY — A 17-year-old Mitchell County boy was in custody Monday, a day after the body of a 19-year-old Downs man was found west of Cawker City. The body of Michael W. Keezer, Downs, was found at 6:30 a.m. Sunday in his pickup, which was parked on a county road off Highway 24 about a mile west of Cawker City, according to a release from the Mitchell County Sheriffs Office. An autopsy was to be conducted Monday in Wichita. No details about the cause of death were released. According to the release, the 17- year-old was arrested at 7 p.m. Sunday as a suspect in the death. Mitchell County authorities and authorities with the Junction City juvenile detention center where the 17-year-old is being held would not release the name of the boy who was arrested. A Kansas Bureau of Investigation agent assisting in the investigation said any information about the case would have to be released by the Mitchell County attorney, Rod Ludwig. Ludwig did not return messages left Monday seeking comment. Keezer was a mechanic and had worked for Jim Niles at Community Auto in Downs for about 1 '/a years. Niles said Keezer began work- ing for him as part of a school program during his senior year in high school. He graduated in 1996 from Downs High School. Keezer worked for his father that summer, then went to work for Niles again. "He did a little bit of everything," Niles said. "He planned it for a career." In an effort to further his knowledge in the field, Niles said Keezer attended clinics manufacturers held on various aspects of mechanics. Keezer also enjoyed hunting, fishing and other outdoor activities, Niles said. He is survived by his parents, Jim and Diana Keezer of Downs, and two sisters. Meals on Wheels Lunch takes a twist Monday as Principal Vicki Scanlan delivers items to students at Happy Corner School west of Salina. Scanlan pledged to wear skates if pupils abstained from watching TV for a collective 5,000 hours. They topped that goal by more than 1,000 hours during National TV Turnoff Week April 24-30. Photo by DAVIS TURNER The Salina Journal

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