The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on May 8, 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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Thursday, May 8, 1997
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Page 1
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Breathe hard Two Salinans wait their turn for double-lung transplants / C1 HEALTH Hammered Detroit Tigers crush Kansas City's status as first-place team /D1 SPORTS • Fugitive in Texas: st Marys man remembered as quiet altar boy / A6 • Hospital mOVe: KU Med Center still seeks management change / B1 INSIDE High: 69 Low: 42 Mostly sunny today with north winds slowing to 10 to 20 mph by noon /B3 WEATHER Classified / C6 Comics / B4 Deaths / A7 Great Plains /B1 Health / C1 Money / C3 Sports / D1 Viewpoints / B2 INDEX x Salina Journal Serving Kansas since 1871 THURSDAY MAY 8, 1997 SALINA, KANSAS 50 cents 3K ! ?8SSSt tf i k> ' :r ^ ^••*^^^^^^^^m "«*»***»- ^^^-vw^sffi^^g.'s^^ps __1i"- w ™T ••*»«*.._ ¥ • ,'2S?S 0 '~-S~rai, ,_^~ H T* fc *ra|! ™-l*t^^w™4*ag*^f*w» fljfr« nBlrllMO~iiiMM uMtiiLO e*»f»BS Rf ( | W&t««SS»BS5S!?; T™ t g*g !Mr g;s;spn^ga.::: .g"T:_' - "''JaW^^rTSSSSK 1 SP- »*• (<p «vtess,* AHMamn"' "• j, M * iJW w^^iiiMrtMl^^ Photos by TOM DORSEY / The Salina Journal David Vu (left), 13, and Derek Davis, 14, started their walk Wednesday evening needing an umbrella but could have used waders in this Salina storm drainage area. Storm damages Bennington homes Salina pummeled by hail; damage to north could be from tornado or high winds By DAN ENGLAND The Salina Journal Keith Fisher was on the phone being warned of a possible tornado sighting near his rural Bennington home. He thanked the caller and hung up. All was quiet. Then his front window exploded. "Right away, I knew something was going on," Fisher said Wednesday night as he cleaned debris around his home. "It just demolished everything around here. I couldn't have even counted to five before it hit after I hung up the phone." Fisher was one of two Bennington area residents whose homes were damaged by a tornado Wednesday evening. Storms with lightning, hail, strong winds and torrential rain raked across Salina and its surrounding area. Shingles were torn off the home of Joe Hill, who lives a quarter-mile west of .Fisher, and all the home's windows were blown out. About 6 miles southeast of Bennington, a barn containing machinery was destroyed. Fisher said the storm lasted about five minutes, flattening a grove of trees and smashing small structures near his home, Robert Lohf, 2013 Mission Road, uses binoculars at the top of Indian Rock Park to watch a storm north of Salina as storm clouds loom behind him Wednesday. including a dog kennel. The dogs were OK. "It sounds like Hill's home was pretty well chewed up," said Ottawa County Sheriff Ken White. "Fisher suffered some structural damage." Hill wasn't home when the storm hit, and no injuries were reported. White said power in the area was knocked out. A deputy reported seeing rotating clouds but no tornado. "I think it was just the straight winds that caused most of the damage," White said. "Those can cause just as much damage as a tornado." Tornadoes were sighted by radar in Abilene, Solomon, Chapman and McPherson County but were unconfirmed. No major damage was reported. "Nobody ever saw anything that I knew of," said a dispatcher with the Dickinson County Sheriffs Office. "We are at zero on the damage scale." Bryan Armstrong, assistant director of the Saline County Emergency Management Service, said 1 to 1% inches of rain fell in an hour in Salina, flooding streets in south Salina. Many of them were barricaded. Hail ranging in size from golf balls to peas fell in Saline County. No damage was reported in Salina. "The flooding was no more than what we usually get," Armstrong said. "If it rains a half-inch in an hour, the streets are going to flood." The storms started to fire up around 3:45 p.m., said Matt Strahan, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Wichita. Cells popped up like pimples in the path of the front, which was mixing with the humid, warm air ahead of it. Salina had a high of 82 degrees, and the storm hit Salina around 6:15 p.m. Mixing that hot, moist air with a cold front is a recipe for disaster. A line of cells continued to follow the front down to southeast Kansas Wednesday night. By 8 p.m., except for scattered clouds, the sky was clear and the sun was shining. T WHEAT OUTLOOK Northern Kansas wheat is beautiful Velvet fields of green were viewed before hail fell around Salina By LINDA MOWERY-DENNING The Salina Journal From Abilene to Oakley, from McPherson to Belleville, the 1997 wheat crop of north-central and northwest Kansas stretches across the landscape like an emerald carpet. "It's so beautiful, you have to look at it a second time — just field after field after field," said Willie Engelhardt, a retired grain elevator owner from Mingo in far northwest Kansas. "If we get moisture, it will be a tremendous wheat crop." After weeks of uncertainty, it now appears farmers in the two regions mostly escaped the freezes of early April that raked the wheat crop in parts of _^___ Texas, Oklahoma 4 North-central and southern Kansas has hp o t _| Page ARMY SEX SCANDAL Army's top enlisted man accused in sex scandal CcKINNEY By The Associated Press WASHINGTON — The Army accused its top enlisted man Wednesday of a wide range of sexual misconduct, including indecent assault and adultery. Gene McKinney, the sergeant major of the Army, vehemently denied the charges. "I want the American people to know that I have not done any of these things," McKinney said, accompanied by his wife, Wilhelmina. McKinney's attorney, Charles Gittins, said his client would fight the charges, even if they lead to a court-martial. Gittins said he had a great concern whether race was a factor in the charges. The Army has denied that race is an issue in its probe of sexual misconduct. McKinney, 46, was suspended from his post in February after he was accused of sexual harassment by retired Sgt. Maj. Brenda Hoster, a former aide. Hosier accused McKinney of grabbing her and demanding sex during a business trip. She came forward with her charges after McKinney was appointed to a high-level Army panel investigating the service's sexual harassment problems. The charges against McKin- ney bring the service's sexual harassment investigation into the highest ranks of the Pentagon. His position is one of great influence, since the sergeant major of the Army is asked to advise the Army's top general on all matters involving the enlisted ranks. Kansas. Temperatures fell into « the teens and sin- crop gle digits for the better part of a week. Tillers were lost. And there was some damage to the lower part of plant stems. But Tom Maxwell, Saline County Extension agent, thinks the worst is over. "We had a little damage out there, no doubt about it," he said Wednesday. "But I haven't seen any fields here in Saline County that were damaged enough that you would destroy them and go to another crop. "I'm pretty encouraged by what I'm seeing. We came out of the freeze in a lot better shape than anyone expected." His view is shared by others. Ottawa County Extension agent Ron Seyfert, who spent Wednesday afternoon touring wheat fields, said he found little freeze damage. "You really have to look hard to find it," he said. More visible was the small hail that fell for a short time as he returned to his Minneapolis office. "That may have done as much damage in a small area as the freeze," Seyfert said. Wednesday evening, hail fell in the Salina area, also. He said it's possible the frigid temperatures of April hurt fertility, but that won't be known until later. Meanwhile, "I have almost no concern about the wheat now," he said. Maxwell said the cool days that followed the freezes gave the wheat time to recover. "If it had turned off to 80 degrees, like today, we would have seen more damage," he said. The Topeka-based Kansas Agricultural Statistics this week rated the condition of the Kansas wheat crop as 8 percent excellent, 47 percent good, 34 percent fair and 9 percent poor. T SCHOOL FUNDING Tax quandary District ponders consequences of easy $1 million py SHARON MONTAGUE The Salina Journal Almost a million more dollars could be spent on technology, classroom materials or other items if the Salina School Board took the Kansas Legislature up on a no-public-vote-needed "local option budget" increase. On the other hand, passing a local option budget now, without a public vote, could alienate voters who might later be asked to approve a bond issue or a larger local option budget to fund district operations. "It's a real difficult situation," said Linda Smith, school board president. "People might be upset if we do this and they don't get to vote, yet we need the money." The school board was placed in the quandary when the Legislature enacted provisions that would allow local option budgets without public votes. Under local option budgets, school districts can increase spending by levying more property taxes within the district. Districts whose per-pupil expenditures are below the average in their enrollment categories will be allowed to enact local option budgets that, over five years, would increase their funding to the average. Salina's per-pupil expenditure is $3,822, which is within $1 of being the lowest in the state. In contrast, the average per-pupil expenditure for schools in Salina's enrollment category is $4,547, said Mike Soetaert, district business manager. That means that for the 1997-98 school year, the district could raise about $980,000 through a local option budget that would not be subject to a public vote. See SCHOOLS, Page A7 PAYING FOR . SCHOOLS • | 1 Current Appraised $100,000 \t 0115 •"• Assessed >:;; $11,500 Levy >C 42.31 mills (State levy 35 mills, 7.31 local levy bonds and interest and capital improvements) •4 nnn — 1 ,UUU T^ml* L^lll ' '- ^^ftft 17 jax bin - -• 9*too.o« Next Year Appraised Minus first $20,000 Assessed Levy Tax bill Add 5-mills for LOB without vote: 39 Tax bill Tax bills on a $so,ooo house ' would be half of these amounts- $100,000 $80,000 >v 0.115 •zz $9,200 v 34.31 mills , , r 1 ,000 S: $315.65 31 |f $9,200 ; 1 ,000 :::- $361.65 • ! Tax bills on a i $200,000 hgus» \ would be double these amounts- i

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