The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on May 10, 1997 · Page 11
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 11

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Salina, Kansas
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Saturday, May 10, 1997
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SATURDAY MAY 10, 1997 THE SALINA JOURNAL Great Plains VIEWPOINTS / B2 MONEY/B4 CHURCH/B6 B BUILDING A BETTER MOUSETRAP Bethany student plays integral role in developing composite for fuel cell By GORDON D. FIEDLER JR. The Salina Journal 1 INDSBORG — If cars someday are powered by hydrogen, we will have a Bethany College student from Norwich to thank in part for the advancement. Eric Baggs, a senior in mathematics, has his name on a patent application for a composite element in a hydrogen-oxygen fuel cell he helped develop last summer and fall while an intern at the Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory,'in New Mexico. With access to a wealth of U.S. government lab equipment — including a coveted scanning electron microscope — Baggs worked on a bipolar plate made of polymer and various forms of carbon. The thin, 5- by 5-inch plate is an integral part of a fuel cell pow- BRIEFLY ered by hydrogen and oxygen. Where there are such plates in existence, the Baggs version is unique. "The material I developed is brand new," he said. His "better mousetrap" possesses three important qualities: high conductivity, low permeability and flexibility. Success on the 81st try Baggs' task was to experiment with the polymer and carbon mixtures to achieve the three goals. "I made 80 samples before we hit on one that looked promising," he said. The fuel cell produces electricity from hydrogen and oxygen. "The only by-product of the reaction is water," Baggs said. The college senior, who will start on a master's degree this fall at Wichita State University, learned of the internship from a poster hanging in Nelson Science Center in the fall of 1995. He applied and was one of about two- dozen chosen from across the country to work at the laboratory. He assumed they would place him on a project related to mechanical engineering. When they called to tell him he'd be doing research on fuel cells, his response was: "What's a fuel cell?" He warmed to the challenge and used his mechanical ability to build needed equipment. "I wound up helping other people design apparatus," he said. The laboratory staff wanted for nothing. "If we needed any apparatus, we went through the catalog to see if it was commercially available. If it wasn't, we'd sit at the computer and design it and take it to the machine shop and get it done." Baggs' interest in machinery was cultivated early, on the farms of his great uncles. "I spent most summers riding tractors and working on the farm," he said. "Anything to do with machinery, I'm there," he said. Baggs will be back at Los Alamos this summer to continue his fuel cell research. "We want it to work better, last longer and (be) more efficient," he said. During his six months at Los Alamos he was not confined to a laboratory. Almost every weekend, he hiked and mountain-hiked in the mountains surrounding the historic facility where the atomic and hydrogen bombs were developed. DAVIS TURNER/The Salina Journal Bethany College senior Eric Baggs, Norwich, spent a semester work- Ing In laboratories at Los Alamos, N.M. He helped develop composite polymer plates that will be used in fuel cells. Ex-county worker accused of stealing A 34-year-old Salina woman faces a July 15 trial on charges of stealing $6,000 to $9,000 from the Saline County Treasurer's Office. Ljsa A. Olson, also known as Lisa Farmer, 1209 Gypsum, is accused of taking the money while she'was employed at the treasurer's""office between Jan. 1,1993, and April 7,1995. TJhe money allegedly was taken from payments lienholders made to the tag office. When a vehicle thai is subject to a lien is registered, the state charges a $1.50 fee to the lienholder. Some banks thaj hold a large number of car liens write checks to the tag office monthly or quarterly, and it was some of those checks that were missing. IThe Kansas Bureau of Investigation had been investigating the possibility that mone'y was miss- inglfrom the office since April 1995. Mike Montoya, county counselor, said the investigation was delayed for many months when the KBI agent assigned to the case was reas- sigried to gather information in the Oklahoma City federal building bombing case. A new investigator was assigned in about October. farmer's preliminary hearing on the felony theft charge was Wednesday. She was bound over for^trial at that time. Two Salina men face charges after arrest Two men face drug charges after officers with I-135/I-70 Drug Task Force seized methampheta- mtye and a large sum of cash Thursday night. Juan Manuel Castro, 28, 645 S. Fifth, was arrested after police executed a search warrant at his residence about 10 p.m. There the officers found four grams of mejihamphetamine and a little more than $2,500, Salina Police Lt. "Joe Carman said. Castro faces charges of possession of metham- phgtamine with intent to sell, pos- sessibn without tax stamps and possession of illegal drug proceeds. The other suspect was Roberto Carlos Valtierra, 19,135 S. llth. Carlos was arrested at his residence after selling methampheta- mine to an undercover agent. He facts charges of two counts each of sale of methamphetamine within J.OOO feet of a school, posses- sioh of methamphetamine within l.OQO feet of a school and possession without tax stamps. * Woman faces charge of stealing lottery tickets A 36-year-old Salina woman faces a felony theft charge for allegedly stealing lottery tickets where she worked. Vickie Brueggemann, also kn$wn as Vicki Hamilton, was arrested after Carroll's Books-Music'& Videos in the Mid-State Mail determined $622 worth of scrfetch-and-win Kansas lottery tickets were missing from the business. The theft allegedly oc- £Ui:red April 17. Salina Police Lt. Mike Sweeney said officers recovered some of the scratched tickets at firueggemann's residence. ; From Staff Reports WW you n*»d to know. Tomorrow's Headlines 825-60OO Category 6006 (Call alter 7:30 p.m.) Smokin' KELLY PRESNELL/The Salina Journal Salina Fire Department engineer Keith Llndemann peers Into the charred engine compartment of a Volkswagen near a no-smoking sign rescued from the burning car Friday. Adrienne Willey was driving home from Central High School when the car began to burn near the Intersection of Front and Crawford. No one was injured. V SALINA DOWNTOWN INC. Downtown backers look to bring in new tenants Tour is designed to show what downtown Salina has to offer By ALF ABUHAJLEH Tlie Salina Journal Nick Slechta thinks downtown Salina is the perfect place to open a business because of what he sees as its proximity to professional services, friendly atmosphere and affordable lease rates. Slechta will try to sell his view to local businesses owners during the Business Opportunity Orientation and Site Tour at 3 p.m. Friday at UMB Bank's conference center, 104 S. Santa Fe. After a briefing on the advantages of operating a business in Salina downtown, business representatives will tour some of the district's retail and office spaces. "It'll be like an open house," Slechta said. "We hope someone will find the buildings attractive and make an offer." Slechta said he hopes to draw area businesses wanting to expand or relocate as well as home- based firms wanting to increase their visibility. "There is a lot to gain from having your business down here," he said. One of the benefits, Slechta A tefnfcss proposition • WHAT: Business Opportunity Orientation and Site Tour. • WHEN: 3 p.m. Friday at UMB Bank's conference center, 104 S. Santa Fe. • DETAILS: The purpose of the tour is to show advantages and benefits of operating a business in downtown Salina. • WHO SHOULD COME: Anyone with a home-based and area business who may be seeking satellite or relocation sites. • REGISTRATION: Contact Salina Downtown Inc. at 825* 0535 before noon Thursday for information or to register. said, is that downtown business owners never have to go far for professional services. About 170 of the downtown's 304 companies are professional services, including insurance, legal and financial firms. Most other businesses in the area are specialty retail stores, Slechta said. "Over the past 10 years, we have seen shopping malls and retail chains move to the south," Slechta said. "That has changed the face of the downtown, leaving us with more service-oriented firms and niche retail stores." One retail owner, Howard Franklin, said he moved his shop a year ago to 115 S. Santa Fe because he liked the area's family- oriented atmosphere. Franklin, owner of Franklin Custom Boot and Saddle, used to run the business out of his Manfiattan home. "It's more peaceful here than the rat race you have in the shopping malls." he said. Carol Carter, owner of Carol's Cuties, a clay product shop at 204 E. Iron, said the store sees a lot of walk-in customers. "I depend on high visibility because a lot of my customers dri-- ve or walk by and see the sign," Carter said. She said the lease rate, which" she didn't disclose, was fair. Slechta said the yearly cost to. lease office space is $3 to $8 a square foot and retail space costs between $3 and $4 a square foot. Salinan pleads guilty to aiding robber By The Journal Staff A 19-year-old Salina man accused of helping a friend who robbed a bank pleaded guilty in Saline County District Court Friday to aiding a felon and two other charges. Ryan James Bolen, 1532 S. Holmes, entered the pleas and is scheduled to be sentenced July 14. Bolen was accused of helping Daryl John Utter, 17, 1012 E. Iron. Utter pleaded guilty in March to one count of aggravated robbery and one count of aggravated assault for the Jan. 25 armed robbery of a Bank IV branch at 2040 S. Ohio. Utter is to be sentenced May 20. Authorities said Utter committed the robbery and got together with Bolen and another youth to spend the money. Bolen pleaded guilty to aiding a felon and possession of marijuana in connection with the robbery of the bank. He also pleaded guilty to burglary for a burglary Jan. 21 at United Parcel Service, 1502 W. North. T GREAT PLAINS Lincoln artist captures Olympic spirit in work Huge mural honoring Frank Shorter will be displayed in runner's haven in Colorado LINCOLN — The faces on the panels in artist Jim Nelson's Lincoln studio represent a variety of people — the professional woman, the poet, the university professor. The focus of the mural, however — frozen forever in the stance his ad- . mirers know so well — is the runner, Frank Shorter, who in 1972 in Munich, Germany, won the Olympic gold medal in the marathon. Shorter, who is credited with launching the fitness boom after his return to the United States, has since become a running authority, a sportswear entrepreneur and co-founder of the Bolder Boulder 10-kilometer street race, now in its 19th year. In honor of Shorter, the * 25th anniversary of his Olympic victory and his contributions to the Colorado town, which attracts thousands of runners each year, fans commissioned a $10,000 mural of the race. It will be displayed outdoors in downtown Boulder. Nelson, who was reared in Boulder and continues to farm near Jewell, is the artist behind the mural. LINDA MOWERY- DENNING TlieSaliita Journal "Its purpose is to depict physical fitness. Boulder is a mecca for running. It's quite an honor to get to do this," he said. Murals are nothing new to Nelson, who has been a professional artist for almost four decades, but this is the largest he has done. Shorter stands 14 feet tall across two panels. In the background are the other runners, landmarks at the University of Colorado and the mountains that frame the town. The size of the mural, which comes in 22 individual panels, is 16 feet by 32 feet. It weighs about 1,800 pounds because Nelson used cementlike panels and then covered his work with varnishes to protect the colors and the mural itself from rain and snow. He plans to haul the panels to Boulder in the back of his pickup truck once they're finished. After more than two months, Nelson is down to the "shoes and hands." The mural will be unveiled at a public ceremony May 24, two days before the Memorial Day race. Underwriters plan to either donate or permanently loan the mural to the city. "I have no idea how they're going to put it up. That's up to the contractor," Nelson said. "I'm wondering how they're going to protect it from the wind. If any air gets behind those panels, they could be sucked out just like a window." Nelson received the Boulder commission after talking with a banker friend and one- Gold medal artist time client and showing him a proposed sketch, which eventually had to be approved by town officials. He met Shorter when the runner visited Lincoln recently to see the mural. "He has a running style and he said he was pleased with the way I captured that style," said Nelson, who has tried running, but does better with an artist's brush. Nelson is pleased with many aspects of the mural — the colors he captured in the mountains, the look of effort on Shorter's face as he runs. It's all part of the artist's constant effort at improvement. It's a journey that has taken him from Boulder, where his father taught philosophy at the university for 33 years, to New York, where he studied and worked, and back to Jewell, where as a youngster he spent summers on his grandparents' farm. He and wife, Sharon, live in Lincoln because of her job as a rural mail carrier. Nelson's work hangs in Salina, Lindsborg, Russell and other places. He recently finished a painting of "Christ and the Children," which was given to Lincoln's St. John Lutheran Church by the family of the late Edwin Reinhert. For 18 years, Nelson spent his winters in Vancouver, Canada, doing portraits. He also has done work related to his experiences in the Vietnam War, although those efforts have been more personal than professional. The paintings, done over a period of years, are a reaction to the books and movies Nelson thinks offer inaccurate accounts of Vietnam. He served as a combat artist for the 25th infantry. "I want to show what it was really like over there," he said. "I've done a lot of research. Families have sent me photographs of their sons who were over there and I've incorporated those into my paintings. I want to put some of these things down for historical veracity." Nelson has sold reproductions of his Vietnam paintings. They have been used to illustrate books and articles, and a show is planned this summer at the Custer Museum at Fort Riley. But his real bread and butter comes from projects such as the Shorter mural. "If you can do a good painting, sometimes it creates another commission," Nelson said. SUGGESTIONS? CALL BEN WEARING, DEPUTY EDITOR, AT (913) 823-6363 OR 1-800-827-6363 OR E-MAIL AT s]news®sal|ournal.com

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