Berry delight California strawberries cropping up in nation's grocery stores/C1 FOOD Bulls advance Chicago eliminates Atlanta; Sonics keep hopes alive / D1 SPORTS ! Salina board, residents discuss busing, land transfer issues / A5 : NASA denies there was a Hale-Bopp cover-up / A8 INSIDE High: 75 Low; 40 Mostly sunny today with northwest winds 15to25mph/B3 WEATHER the Salina Journal Classified / C6 Comics / B4 Deaths/A7 Food / C1 Great Plains/B1 Money/C3 Sports / D1 Viewpoints / B2 INDEX Serving Kansas since 1871 WEDNESDAY MAY 14, 1997 SALINA, KANSAS 50 cents Insurance companies send adjusters to Salina to assess last week's DAMAG By DAVID CLOUSTON The Salina Journal As cars were driven into a show barn, men and women sporting logo shirts and jackets and carrying clipboards looked carefully at each. They stared at trunk lids and stooped to study the edges of hoods. Nearby, computer keyboards were clicking and a printer was spitting out checks. Tuesday was a busy day in the show barn at the Tri-Rivers Fairgrounds in Kenwood Park, and it had nothing to do with livestock. State Farm Insurance is using the barn to house its "catastrophe team," which was dispatched to Salina to process hundreds of insurance claims filed in the wake of last week's hailstorm. Across the city, other insurance companies set up similar operations. All told, the amount of damage ^^^^______ from the storm * Hailstorm is boon to roofers and car shops / Page B1 will exceed $7 million. That figure is based on the number of claims already turned in and estimates of damage incurred by property owners. Most of the damage occurred in south-central Salina, insurance officials said. State Farm estimates it will receive 1,500 to 2,000 car-damage claims and 1,700 home-damage claims. State Farm had 10 claim representatives working its auto inspection site at the show barn Tuesday, along with five or so data technicians keeping its computer network running. When a natural catastrophe occurs — flood, tornado, earthquake — the larger insurance companies hit the road with tractor-trailers filled with computers and claim forms. The goal is to be on site within 24 hours, said J.R. Carrion, superintendent of a national catastrophe team for State Farm, one of about 16 such teams the company has nationwide. His team arrived and set up operations Thursday, the morning after the storm. During an inspection in the show barn at Kenwood Park, State Farm Insurance adjuster Kevin Shields points out where hail peppered Dena Keeler's car. "It's a good thing the storm was really specific. It only hit certain areas. On the north side (of Salina), we got nothing." Kathy Jones claims assistant for Shelter Insurance State Farm auto policy holders, who brought their vehicles in for an inspection that lasted about 30 minutes, drove away with a check in payment for damages. State Farm officials wouldn't discuss the average amount paid. Officials with other companies, however, spoke in more detail about the storm damage they were seeing. Shelter Insurance officials had received 250 claims — 110 for vehicles and 40 for houses, said claims assistant Kathy Jones, Topeka. Jones said the average payout for cars was about $1,000, while home damage was found to be in the $1,500 to $3,000 range. The company's disaster team arrived Friday. "It's a good thing the storm was really specific," Jones said. "It only hit certain areas. On the north side (of Salina), we got nothing." Jones has been in the insurance business for 20 years. She's served storm duty the last two. "I like it. I like to travel and meet people," she said. Kathryn Simms, storm administrator for American Family Insurance, said Tuesday the company had received 1,300 claims, about equally divided between homes and cars. The average damage on vehicles was running about $1,155; on homes about $1,127. American Family has 10 storm teams working nationally. Storms hit year-round but the company's busiest months are April, May and June. Photos by KELLY PRESNELL / The Salina Journal American Family Insurance claims adjuster Keith Hubbard walks a fine line Tuesday afternoon as he Inspects a steep-pitched roof in west-central Salina. T GENE REVELS: 1930-1997 Revels dies of heart failure Ex-county commissioner died in Wichita after suffering heart attack By SHARON MONTAGUE The Salina Journal Former Saline County Commissioner Gene Revels, 67, died Tuesday evening in Wichita after suffering a heart attack Sunday. Revels suffered the heart attack while on business in Wichita, the day after he catered the Salvation Army's 100th anniversary dinner at the 4-H Building in Kenwood Park, according to his daughter Terry Revels. Five years ago, Revels reportedly suffered a heart attack shortly before the primary election in his first run for Saline County Commission. He was hospitalized for a time. Revels won the primary election and won a seat on the commission in the general election in 1992. He ran again last year but was defeated by Doug Forsberg in the Republican primary election. Forsberg went on to win the seat. Revels operates Revels Catering Service and the Board of Trade Lounge, 1700 E. Iron. He retired from Philips Lighting Co., where he worked as a manufacturing supervisor. A native Salinan, Revels has been on the boards of Brown Mackie College, St. John's Military School and the Bicentennial Center. He has been on the boards of Brown Mackie College, St. John's Military School and the Bicentennial Center. Revels was chairman of the Urban Renewal Board when the City-County Building was constructed and when the city's industrial area was cleared. He also was active in downtown development. He is a graduate of Salina High School and Kansas Wesleyan University. He also took classes at Marymount College. Roxanne Matous, a social worker for the Salvation Army, said Revels didn't exhibit any signs of illness Saturday during the Salvation Army's anniversary celebration. "He was working really hard Friday and all day Saturday setting up," Matous said. "He didn't seem to be ill that we knew of." Saturday, Revels and his employees served 250-300j>eople at the dinner. Matous said that for about 25 years, Revels has provided the meal for the Salvation Army's Christmas senior citizen dinner. "He's always done a lot for us," she said. REVELS V CONSTRUCTION ACCIDENT OSHA slaps $56,000 in fines on Salinan Contractor hit with federal fines following near-fatal cave-in 'By DAN ENGLAND The Salina Journal Five months after two men narrowly escaped the cave-in of a sewer trench, the contractor in charge of the job faces federal fines totaling $56,000. Bob Gile, owner of Robert Gile Contracting, 1200 Park, learned about the fines last weekend, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration released j&e results of its investigation fwesday. '• 'Gile will meet with officials in about a week to discuss the fines in an informal meeting, said Tom Marple, OSHA area director in Wichita. However, the chances that the fines will be reduced are small. "That doesn't happen often," he said. Gile was hit with three violations pegged as "serious," at $7,000 total, and one "willful" violation fine of $49,000, Marple said. A willful violation is one when the employer is aware of safety violations yet doesn't take appropriate measures to address them. OSHA considers willful violations to be the most serious and also considers trench safety violations to be among the most hazardous. More than 125 people a year are killed nationwide in trench cave-ins. Gile was cited for failing to shore the sewer trench. OSHA requires shoring to prevent cave-ins such as the one that almost killed the two men. See OSHA, Page A7 T MILITARY Navy gives boot to 40-year boots 'Boondockers' are replaced by new model that can be custom-fit for men and women By The Associated Press NATICK, Mass. — It was the bppt that made boot camp so excruciating for Petty Officer Renae Morin. Morin, now a recruit division commander at the Navy's Great Lakes Naval Training Center in North Chicago, 111., remembers all too well the blisters and calluses on her heels, the warts between her toes and the scrapes around her ankles. The unforgiving Navy-issue "boondock- .ers" were a miserable rite of passage for about 40 years. But the Navy has finally changed to a more comfortable new model, designed by researchers at the Navy Clothing and Textile Research Facility in Natick, is replacing the old boondockers. The new boots look pretty much like the old ones on the outside. They're made of the same black leather and share the same Navy regulation heat-resistant soles, tread pattern and steel safety toes. But, aaaahhhhhh, the inside. The ankles and tongue are now padded and the insoles are cushioned. The new versions also come in women's sizes and can be custom-fit for wide or narrow feet. Amen to that, Morin said. Throughout her nine-week training in Orlando, Fla., back in 1986, Morin's size-8 feet were "absolutely torn up" by her boots, which came in men's sizes only. But she never complained for fear of being labeled a wimp. Other recruits didn't suffer in silence, however, and the complaints increased in recent years. Young adults entering the Navy nowadays grow up wearing sneakers and have a tough time adjusting to heavier, clunkier shoes, a Navy official said. The cost of the Enhanced Chukka Shoe is about $55 — about $15 more than the price of the old version. The new boots will be issued to all Navy recruits — about 50,000 pairs a year. The Associated Press Uniformed mannequins stand behind an old-style Navy boot that Is positioned atop an enhanced chukka boot at the Navy Clothing and Textile Research Facility in Natick, Mass.
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