The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on May 13, 1997 · Page 3
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 3

Salina, Kansas
Issue Date:
Tuesday, May 13, 1997
Page 3
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THE SALINA JOURNAL Great Plains TUESDAY, MAY 13, 1997 A3 .^.^s^ T U.S. 81 Funding could finish widening of U.S. 81 Divvying money based on miles of road instead of population would help state By GORDON D. FIEDLER JR. The Salina Journal Some of the estimated $35 million needed to finish widening the Kansas portion of U.S. 81 might be included in the next federal highway appropriation. That was the optimistic hope of state Sen. Ben Vidricksen, R-Salina, who was in Washington, B.C., recently attending the transportation committee of the National Conference of State Legislators. The group was making recommendations to Congress regarding the continuation of the present highway aid program The group was making recommendations to Congress regarding the continuation of the present highway aid program called the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act, or ISTEA (pronounced "Ice Tea") for short. Vidricksen said funding has been secured and construction is under way for widening the highway from just south of Minneapolis to the Nebraska border except for two 11-mile stretches south and north of Belleville, He fears these won't get done. "If we don't have a new program, (U.S. 81) probably won't be built for many years," he said. If those two sections are widened, north-south travelers would have a divided four-lane highway from Laredo, Texas, to Nebraska. In Kansas, U.S. 81 starts where Interstate 135 ends at Interstate 70 and goes north into Nebraska. U.S. 81 has been four lanes for years from 1-70 to just south of Minneapolis. By the end of the year the highway should be four lanes to the junction of Highway 24, which is about midway between Minneapolis and Concordia. U.S. Rep. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., has asked for emergency funds that would be earmarked specifically for those two sections around Belleville, and for other projects in the state. "We hope this year they will authorize the new program," Vidricksen said. ISTEA was approved in 1991 and expires at the end of September. President Clinton has announced ISTEA's successor, the National Economic Crossroads Transportation Efficiency Act, or "NEX- TEA," a six-year, $175 billion improvement program for highways, bridges, transit systems and railroads. If authorized, the money would come to the states in the form of block grants, Vidricksen said. If it's apportioned by miles of road, Kansas will be in a good position, he said. "We have the fourth largest number of roads in the nation," he said. "If it's by population, we won't do so well." While in Washington he argued for the rural residents who pay gasoline taxes and expect good roads. "We have people in western Kansas who have to drive 30 to 40 miles to buy groceries. They're not pleased when gas tax money is spent to keep fares down on subways." At best, he said, the new highway program would receive authorization this fall with money available next year. In the meantime, Vidricksen said he'll stump for a new comprehensive state highway program. He said he's scheduling speaking engagements across the state. "I'm committed to trying to get a new highway program passed," he said. Ethics bill in committee In other legislative news, an ethics bill, dubbed the "Shirley Jacques Bill" for Saline County Clerk Shirley Jacques, was sent back to committee before the Legislature adjourned. The bill would prohibit county election officers from serving as campaign officers for political candidates. Jacques, a Democrat, most recently was chairman for Allan White, Vidricksen's opponent in the 1996 general election. A provision that would have prevented county clerks from serving their parties at the national level was amended out. Originally county clerks currently in office would have been exempted. "I told them to take that part out," said Vidricksen of the restriction on service. Jacques is serving her third four-year term as a national committeewoman for her party. Vidricksen believes the bill will pass next year. "There's strong support for it, even (from) the secretary of state," he said. BRIEFLY Cigarettes stolen, teen hurt in street fight A 19-year-old Salina man reported to police Sunday that a carton of Camel cigarettes was taken from him at about 8 p.m. Saturday during a fight in the 100 block of West Euclid. A 16-year-old boy reported $220 damage to his wire-rimmed glasses and to his orthodontic work during the same fight. No arrests had been made by Monday. Woman arrested over threats in love triangle One Salina woman was arrested and two more people were being sought after a Galva woman reported being held against her will and robbed early Saturday. Vernalisa Robles, 24, 210 S. 10th, faces charges of aggravated kidnapping, aggravated robbery, aggravated assault, making a criminal threat and battery. Lt. Mike Sweeney of the Salina Police Department said Robles and the Galva woman, who is 23, both had been dating the same man. The 23-year-old woman went to Robles' house to see the man at about 12:45 a.m. Saturday, and Robles and two other people allegedly started hitting the 23- year-old. At one point, Sweeney said, someone held a razor blade against the woman's throat. The three allegedly took $23 from the Galva woman and her driver's license. Before letting her leave at about 2:15 a.m., the three allegedly threatened to kill the woman if she called police. Sweeney said the investigation was continuing and more arrests were'expected. Kids can drop out earlier under new law TOPEKA — Kids will again be able to drop out of high school with their parents' permission at 16 and 17 — but only if both parent and child are willing to sit thorough a lecture first. Gjbv. Bill Graves signed into law Monday a bill that changes the state's compulsory school attendance law again. Last year, legislators changed the law to require children to be in school from age 7 to 18, as a way to fight delinquency and juvenile crime. !!3?ie new law allows 16- and 17- year-olds to leave school if their parents put them in an alternative educational setting. In addition, parents can allow their children to drop out — if they attend a final counseling session at school. >;At the session, the counselor is supposed to tell the parent and djiild about how dropping out is likely to hurt a child's chances for a good job in the future. ETC. ; About 40 bags of trash were col- lejcted by 24 Salina police officers and their family members Satur- diy on Ninth Street between Otto and Schilling streets. •The police department has adopted the section of city street and is challenging other city and cdunty departments and civic organizations to do the same. From Staff and Wire Reports Tomorrow's Headlines 825-6OOO Category 6006 (Call alter 7:30 p.m.) V HAILSTORM Hail claims in Salina swamp insurers Thousands of claims pour in for damage to cars and homes By CAROL LICHTI Tlte Salina Journal The Associated Press A Tulsa County sheriff's deputy walks out of the trailer where a 10-year-old girl lived by herself for four months. HOME ALONE 10-year-old eats dog food when mom's still gone after 4 months By JEAN PAGEL The Associated Press TULSA, Okla. — Investigators located the mother of a 10-year-old girl who says she was left to fend for herself in a trailer for four months, surviving at times on dog biscuits. Audrey Saylor, who was found by deputies on Sunday, was questioned but not immediately arrested. Sheriffs Capt. Jerry Griffin said he did not know where the mother had been during the past four months other than that "she's been around." He would not say how or where she was located. Saylor's daughter, Ashton Denice Saylor, was placed in state custody while authorities question other relatives and neighbors in Sand Springs, a city of about 15,000 people just outside Tulsa. "It may be that the girl maybe was unsupervised instead of abandoned, which is still bad, but it's not quite as bad as being abandoned," Griffin said Monday. Police learned about the third-grader's plight Sunday — Mother's Day — after she turned to a neighbor, asking if she could stay with him. John Kame said Ashton ar- "Other family members were aware and were reluctant for whatever reason to report their concerns." Sheriff's Capt. Jerry Griffin rived crying at his door several days before. The girl told police that her mother had not been home since Ashton's birthday Jan. 9. She said she ate all the food at home and then began eating dog food. She attended school during the day. Neighbors said they never saw the girl's father, but Griffin said other relatives might have looked in on Ashton. The girl said she had seen her mother once or twice in the past four months. "We think that the girl has had contact with numerous people," Griffin said, adding that "other family members were aware and were reluctant for whatever reason to report their concerns." Ashton's adult cousin, Kima Soles, lives with Kame and knew the girl was alone at night. But the cousin said she did nothing because she was trying to gain custody of the 10-year-old and didn't want to call police. Deputies got involved Sunday when other neighbors called about the situation. Sheriffs deputies who inspected the trailer found it filthy and littered with trash and clothes on the floors. But Central Elementary School Principal Mary Carter said the trailer was clean and at least one adult was present when school representatives visited at an earlier date. Ashton ate breakfast and lunch at school. "There must be a misunderstanding of some type — I don't know if it's with the child," Carter said. "Perhaps there was a little embellishment. I think that's a possibility, especially for a needy child." Carter said Ashton was clean, bright and friendly at school. But the principal said signs of problems at home surfaced in January. The school made two or three home visits, Carter said. The principal said friends of the family came to school often to check up on the girl. Carter said she knows their mother. "She's doing the best she can. It's not problem-free," Carter said. V CRIME Station owner thought holdup was a joke But man's persistence and van parked outside told her robbery was real BY SHARON MONTAGUE The Salina Journal When Beverly Ann Finch saw the man standing on the other side of the counter with a knife at about 3:15 p.m. Sunday, she thought it was a joke. "He said, 'I'm here to rob you,' and I said, 'Oh, right,' " Finch said. Finch said many young men joke with her that way when they visit Bev's Conoco, 1700 S. Ninth, which she has owned for about two months. But when the man persisted, saying the holdup wasn't his idea and that if she gave him money she wouldn't be hurt, Finch realized he was serious. She handed him the money, she said, then he handed it back and asked that she put it in a sack. Finch said she initially told police the man took $150, but she later re-examined her figures and determined he'd taken $300. As Finch reached under the counter for a sack, she saw a bluish-gray van blocking the view out the front windows. "I didn't look long," Finch said, "because I didn't want him to see I was looking." The robber told Finch to go into a back room, but she resisted, thinking she'd be dead if she did so. Finally, she obeyed, and he locked her into the room, securing the door with the cord from an electric hair dryer. But as soon as Finch heard the man go, she kicked open the door and called police. The robber was described as black, in his 20s, 5 feet 9 inches to 5 feet 11 inches tall, weighing 160 to 175 pounds. He had black hair and brown eyes and was wearing a black ball cap, white tennis shoes and socks and dark sunglasses. The robber was driving a late 1980s or early 1990s model bluish gray mini-van. Anyone with information about the robbery can call Crimestoppers, 825-TIPS, or the Salina Police Department, 8267210. An army of insurance adjusters % and claims processors has converged on Salina to inspect thou- , sands of cars and homes damaged in a hailstorm that swept the city • last week. '" Many of the dozens of adjusters are working at drive-in vehicle in- * spection stations set up at three lo- " cations. Others are climbing on roofs to examine shingles. Many, worked through the weekend. »'» Insurance agents across Salina " urged home and auto owners to in-., spect their property and report'; damage quickly so appointments ^ for inspections can be set up. Customers are to report damage to their agents. ; "It's most important to call your:, agent to start the process," said Ross Eaton, a spokesman for State,, Farm Insurance. An appointment will be set up .', when the car can be taken to an in-,",. spection center or an adjuster can" come to the home. "They will be able to write out & f , t check on the spot," Eaton said. >* Initial reports by State Farml policy holders indicate that 1,500 to 2,000 cars and 1,700 homes were v " damaged, Eaton said. American Family Insurance officials are working on 1,400 to.^ 2,000 claims of damage in Salina, T, most in central Salina. The claims,, are about evenly divided between homes and automobiles, said Scott, McCoy, district manager for , American Family. •., The company has 50 people,,,' working either at an auto inspec-, } tion site at the Ramada Inn or inspecting roofs. "This is the worst I've seen in , Salina since I've been here," Me-' Coy said of the damage. He has, . been in Salina for five years. Hail damage also was reported in Minneapolis and Lindsborg, "but Salina got the brunt of it," ; McCoy said. J Terry Burger, manager of Farm * Bureau Insurance, said the com-' pany is working on about 300 to -.-; 400 claims. ; i Most of the damage was be-' ' tween Crawford and Schilling'; streets, he said. -•; "Hail is a peculiar action of, • Mother Nature," Burger said. "It ; can hit one area heavy and a block away there is minimal damage." Burger encouraged people to , check their property. Homeown-;.' ers should check for gravel that; > might have been knocked off shin-;;- gles. Older shingles are more sus-' * ceptible to damage, he said. Wood;., shingles are usually not damaged' by hail unless the stones are larger ] enough to split the wood. Burger urged people to be patient.;" "The majority of claims will be .'; worked, and property owners will ' have the checks in their hands by ; the end of the week," he said. ;* As far as crop damage, Burger'' said the hail caused mostly light or moderate damage. • "I am not aware of any real':, heavy or excessive damage on any* fields," he said. , Most of the hail occurred over the city, he said. I SUGGESTIONS? CALL BEN WEARING, DEPUTY EDITOR, AT (913) 823-6363 OR 1-800-827-6363 OR E-MAIL AT

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