The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on May 10, 1997 · Page 3
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 3

Salina, Kansas
Issue Date:
Saturday, May 10, 1997
Page 3
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THE SALINA JOURNAL GREAT PLAINS SATURDAY, MAY 10, 1997 A3 T ELECTRIC SERVICE Study: Electricity plan will hurt rural Kansans A plan to increase competition among energy suppliers could raise electric prices By TIM UNRUH Harris News Service A university study reports that retail wheeling of electricity, a plan intended to introduce competition among energy suppliers, would be bad for the people of rural Kansas. Sunflower Electric Power Corporation released results this morning of an independent study by Fort Hays State University's Docking Institute of Public Affairs. The study shows that retail wheeling would cause electric prices to rise for farmers, other residents and small businesses in the rural areas of the state. It also says wheeling would result in lost jobs, lower total income and a significant reduction in tax revenues in rural areas. Other implications, according to the study, would be stranded costs, reduced services and lower reliability getting customers back on when power goes off. It was just what Rep. Eugene Shore expected. The Stanton County Republican said retail wheeling may save some consumers money, but it's not worth losing the good service enjoyed by rural users. "I don't think they came up with anything different than most of us in rural areas already knew," Shore said. "It may improve price, but service will deteriorate." Rural electric cooperatives of Kansas commissioned the study. Sunflower Electric announced results at news conferences this morning at Hays and Garden City. "It is really important to point out that we did not know what the study might tell us, but we had a duty to the people we serve to base our business decisions on realistic, factual information," said L. Christian Hauck, Sunflower Electric president and chief executive officer, in a press release. "Unfortunately, the Docking study has confirmed our worst fears, that the same for-profit mentality that refused to provide any electric service to rural America half a century ago is no better equipped to serve electric interests today," Hauck said. Retail wheeling proponents say power companies sell portions of what they generate at a lower rate than what they charge their regular customers, the rural electric cooperatives. The co-ops are contractually ob- ligated to buy power from Sunflower, which supplies much of the western one-third of Kansas. Other supporters say retail wheeling will lower prices in rural areas without affecting service. During a recent news conference, Steven Collier, an outside consultant to the Hays- based Midwest Energy, which announced a plan to give its customers options in determining the source of their electric and gas supplies, dismissed the Docking study as "fundamentally flawed." "Its conclusions are based more upon presumption and postulation than on comprehensive and valid analysis," he said. A legislative task force in Topeka has been studying retail wheeling for two years. Sunflower said retail wheeling is intended, in theory, to introduce competition among energy suppliers at the customer level, thereby increasing efficiency and lowering prices. Fort Hays economist Ralph C. Gamble Jr., principal author of the study, is quoted in the release saying any expansion of trade opportunities will produce both winners and losers. The study indicates most rural Kansans would be among the losers under retail wheeling. In some instances, he said, residential electric bills would nearly double, causing the loss of hundreds of jobs in the service territories of each of the cooperatives studied. Rural areas, the study indicated, would lose millions of dollars in tax revenues and would see major reductions in income. T ROOFING INJURY Man hurt i in fall is j at home j.- {Almost 4 weeks later, I ISalina man who fell *• :Jrom roof goes home ': By SHARON MONTAGUE '"' -The Satina Journal {. Bill Suenram was sent home ; from Wesley Rehabilitation in Wi-i- ;chita Friday with a walker and a >; wheelchair. t\". But the 40-year-old Salina man t said both medical appliances were ""rented. >;; "They'll both go back to Wes« ley," said Suenram, 615 Gypsum. The fact the hospital didn't try to sell him the appliances gave ' Suenram hope that at some time in the future, he'll be able to walk I without wobbly legs, see single in~ stead of double and speak as ' f quickly as he did before he fell off - a ladder while working on a roof - in Galva April 12. Suenram fell 15 }• feet and hit his head. C Suenram said he still has weeks - of rehabilitation ahead of him. ' He'll go back to Wichita twice a *'. week for the next 10 weeks for eye *; therapy sessions, and he'll also :,"- have some physical, occupational •' and speech therapy sessions. t As he continues his rehabilita- <;•' tion, his sister and other family f members will care for him at r home, he said, because he can't be •'left by himself. »:. He doesn't know when he might I be able to return to work at S&S I Contracting, 912 Bishop, which he ; operates with his brother, Steve. ; Right now, he's just happy to be at home with his two sons, ages 9 ; and 12, and his 4-year-old daughter. "I think they're happy I'm here, too," he said. All of his family members were at the house waiting for him Friday afternoon when he returned. And on the way home from Wichita, Suenram ate every one of the Voortman strawberry wafer cookies his children had gotten for him. "They're one of my favorites," he said. The CUPBOARD 2 911 B. West Crawford. Salina TIM MAIN 1817 South 9th St. Kraft Manor, Salina For Auto, Home & Life It Payi To CoMpar*! 913-825-8234 Benefit sale DAVIS TURNER/The Salina Journal Audry Hover, a first-grade teacher at Sunset Elementary, works to sort clothes In preparation for this morning's benefit garage and bake sale. Proceeds from the sale will help cystic flbrosis patient Chris Hrabe with expenses associated with a lung transplant, which he is in line for at Barnes Hospital In St. Louis. The sale Is 7 a.m. to noon today at Sunset Elementary School, 1510 W. Republic. T PASTURE BURNING Night burning can be approved Student wins national contest 15-year-old's idea to settle Mars earns her a trip to NASA center By SUSAN WHITE The Kansas City Star OVERLAND PARK — Katie Griffin isn't a rocket scientist — yet. This summer she'll get a start, after winning a national competition put on by NASA and the National Science Teachers Association. Katie, a Shawnee Mission West High School freshman who wants to be an astrobiologist or astrophysicist, will spend a week at the NASA research center of her choice. "I was not expecting this at all," she said Thursday. "It makes me feel that I have more of a chance to get where I want to." Katie, 15, beat out more than 1,350 other high school students with a detailed proposal about an experiment that could be performed on Mars. She presented it to three NASA judges earlier this week in Washington. Her plan: Put mirrors above Mars to melt the polar icecaps in an attempt to make the planet a permanent settlement for humans. Her experiment stemmed from her interest in terraforming—altering a planet so humans can live there. Katie, who was the youngest of eight regional finalists, is leaning toward going to Kennedy Space Center near Cape Canaveral, Fla. She hopes to get a VIP tour of the space shuttle tower and watch a shuttle launch. She also plans to discuss her career goals. "It's most important to me to meet with NASA scientists and find out what they took in school and did to get where they are," she said. The trip "will remind me of how important this is to me and what I am working for." By SHARON MONTAGUE Tlie Salina Journal If the wind stayed under about 10 miles an hour and the rain held off for a week straight, Mark Johnson could burn the thousands of acres of pasture land that need to be burned each spring at Rolling Hills Ranch and have all the fires out by nightfall. But since the wind rarely stays below 10 miles an hour during the morning and early afternoon, Johnson struggles each spring with the burning. He won't have to struggle as much from now on because Saline County has given rural fire chiefs permission to authorize farmers to continue burning after dark. Scott Abker, chief of Rural Fire District No. 3's Hedville station, said fires can't be started after dark. But if the fire chief determines that a farmer is responsible enough to monitor the fire, the chief can allow the fire to continue to burn after dark. Abker said farmers have faced problems because the wind doesn't die down enough to start burning pastures until late afternoon on most days. And it might not finish burning before dark on a large field. "We've had people out violating their burn permits without intending to," Abker said. "That causes problems with the sheriffs office and the fire chiefs." Johnson said that with a 1,200-acre pasture, it takes nearly all afternoon to get all the back fires burned to circle the pasture. The main fire might not be lit until 4 or 5 p.m., and it would burn until 3:30 a.m. "If it's encircled before dark, and you aren't trying to set the fires after dark, it's safe," Johnson said. It's important to get the fields burned in late April or early May, Johnson said, because fields need to be burned when there are two and a half to three inches of new growth in the pasture. If the new grass is higher when the field is burned, it can delay getting cattle out to pasture. Abker said he and other fire chiefs had heard several requests from farmers to allow the after- dark burning. After it was approved by county officials and the fire chiefs' association, Abker said he sent a letter to each person to whom he'd issued a burn permit, explaining the after-dark burn policy. New burn permits explain the policy. Abker said that only rural fire chiefs have authority to allow after-dark burning. Farmers cannot receive permission from Saline County Emergency Management. 4 extradited to N.M. indicted , ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A grand jury has indicted four men, caught in Salina, Kan., on murder charges in the deaths of two men whose bodies were found in an Albuquerque motel and another whose body was discovered north of Santa Fe. A Bernalillo County grand jury on Wednesday indicted Rene Her- inandez-Hernandez, 21; Rene Mendez-Savala, 21; Ricardo Martinez Rodriguez, 18; and Valentin Valdez Reyes, 21, on three open counts of murder each. The four men, extradited last month from Salina, also were indicted on charges of kidnapping, armed robbery, auto theft, conspiracy and evidence tampering. Hours: ^^^ 90 Days Daily 9:00-5:30 pm Same as Cash Saturday 9:00-5:00 pm Sunday 1:00-5:00 1930 S. 9th • Salina • 823-3971 Some restrictions apply. Authorized Dealer for

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