The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on May 15, 1997 · Page 1
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 1

Salina, Kansas
Issue Date:
Thursday, May 15, 1997
Page 1
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Water work Seniors take to water for their aerobics workout/C1 HEALTH Royals roll Kansas City sweeps the struggling Boston Red Sox / D1 SPORTS * U.S. finances: Congress to debate details of balanced budget / A8 * BPeaSt CanCeP: Early removal can add years for high-risk women / C4 INSIDE High: 73 Low: 49 Mostly sunny today with breezes out of the north at5to15mph /B3 WE-ATHER Salina Journal j-* * is.-. * ^. J r^ *^ 4 ^^^fcd^^ Classified / C5 Comics / B4 Deaths / A7 Great Plains / B1 Health / C1 Money / C3 Sports / D1 Viewpoints / B2 INDEX Serving Kansas since 1871 THURSDAY MAY 15, 1997 SALINA, KANSAS 50 cents T WAR HERO Silent hero to be remembered at sea Navy ship named for Kansan who brought back to life battleship that refused to die By GORDON D. FIEDLER JR. The Salina Journal Beverly native Donald Kirby Ross, a day shy of his 31st birthday, was a junior warrant officer aboard the USS Nevada at Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7,1941. The Japanese bombing damaged the ship's engines, and Ross, a machinist, was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for singlehandedly restoring power to the battleship, enabling the vessel to steam safely out of the harbor, the only battleship to survive the surprise attack. Ross died in 1992, but his name won't be gone from the sea. In a ceremony June 28 in Galveston, Texas, the Navy's newest Arleigh Burke Class destroyer will become the USS Ross. "It's really a terrific honor in these days when they're not building many ships," said his widow, Helen Ross, Port Orchard, Wash. It is also a rare honor because not all Navy ships bear names of distinguished individuals, only destroyers, frigates and aircraft carriers. How would her husband feel about all this attention? "He would have been embarrassed. He never in all his days thought of anything like that," she said. Ross was born in Beverly on Dec. 8, 1910. He left in high school when his family moved to Colorado. He joined the Navy in 1929 and joined the crew of the Nevada in 1940. He retired from the service as a captain in 1956 and sold real estate, operated a dairy farm and taught history in high schools and colleges in Washington state. In 1991, he represented the Pearl Harbor veterans by introducing President George Bush during the 50th anniversary ceremonies on the USS Arizona. After he was awarded the Medal of Honor, there was little Ross could say until the end of the war, his wife said. The military wanted the Japanese to think they'd sunk the Nevada, so he was forbidden to talk in detail about it. The award ceremony was on another ship, and he couldn't even wear the medal. "His boss told him to put it in his pocket. He didn't want a whole lot of notice about it," his wife said. The Nevada subsequently went on to perform Medal of Honor-quality service for the duration of the war. Helen Ross said that following its repairs, the ship saw action in the Aleutians, dodged German submarines in the North Atlantic, was one of the lead battleships in the Omaha Beach landing on D-Day and supported the invasion of Okinawa and other Pacific islands. It even survived a kamikaze attack. "That ship had had it from stem to stern," she said. So much so that after the war the Navy decided to use it as a target for atomic bomb testing. Ross said that amazingly, the ship withstood two atomic blasts. After each, an inspection team found the engines still functioning. "They could have used the ship except for it being radioactive," Ross said. The Nevada became a subject of study back in Hawaii before finally being put to rest about 85 miles southwest of Pearl Harbor. But the ship wouldn't go easily. "(The Air Force) tried for two days but they could not put her down," Ross said. "Finally the Navy had to go aboard and put charges on her and send her down." Later the Navy named a submarine the Nevada. That sub carried Donald Ross's ashes out to sea, where they were scattered on the waves above his old ship. The commissioning of the USS Ross will be its official birth. It was chris- tened last year and since then has been classified a pre-commissioned unit and is undergoing trials at sea. At Galveston next month Helen Ross is scheduled to have an integral role in the commissioning ceremony. She said she was given the important line: "Now hear this: Bring this ship to life." The USS Ross is more than 500 feet long with a displacement in excess of 8,000 tons. The guided missile destroyer is outfitted with the AEGIS Combat System, a sophisticated radar system named for the mythological shield that protected Zeus. It has a crew of 323 men and women, carries 98 missiles and can reach speeds of more than 30 knots The ship will support carrier battle groups, surface action groups, amphibious groups and forces ashore in the Atlantic Fleet, according to the Navy. Home port of the USS Ross will be Norfolk, Va. light squeeze KELLY PRESNELL / The Salina Journal Paramedic Mike Duffy calls to other Salina firefighters to haul his "victim," paramedic Jeff Dally, up out of an approximately 30-foot-deep access tube at a sewer lift station at Glen and Marymount roads Wednesday. Firefighters were practicing how to rescue people from tight quarters under hazardous atmospheric conditions. V TRAIN SAFETY Graphic ads may frighten people into safety By The Associated Press WASHINGTON — On screen, the teens laugh and joke in their car as they wait for the train to pass. It does, and they pull out — into the path of a locomotive on a second track. The camera pulls back to show the car being battered violently along the track. It's one of a set of new "shock" ads aimed at warning Americans of the dangers of railroad crossings. The goal is to scare peo- V OKLAHOMA BOMBING TRIAL pie. Based on the previews, it will work. "The announcements are graphic because we want to get people's attention," said Gerri Hall, head of Operation Lifesaver, which works to bring attention to the dangers of railroad crossings and trespassing on tracks. "If the spots are scary, they're nothing compared to the real thing," said Transportation Secretary Rodney Slater. The new ads were tested in Texas last year and crossing deaths fell by 10 percent, he said. "If you've never seen the body of a grade crossing victim, you don't realize the horror of these accidents," said Rep. Spencer Bachus, R-Ala., whose father, an engineer, once jumped from his train moments before it struck a gasoline truck. Last year, 471 people died in accidents at highway-rail crossings and 472 were killed in accidents while trespassing on railroad tracks. That was down from 579 crossing deaths and 494 trackside fatalities in 1995. Operation Lifesaver was founded in 1972 when crossing fatalities alone topped 1,200. The latest push includes print and radio ads as well as graphic TV presentations. A second ad shows a man deciding to drive past a closed warning gate because the drivers behind honk impatiently. He drives his family into the path of a speeding train with deadly results, again shown on screen. And the third ad opens with a crew of jovial children walking along a trestle when they hear a train coming. They sprint to the side but one doesn't make it. Chilling photos show Ryder truck drive by Camera captured truck heading to federal building morning of blast By JO THOMAS THe New York Times DENVER — Second by second, in a series of chilling photographs taken by a surveillance camera, the prosecution in the trial of Timothy McVeigh on Wednesday showed the jury what happened on Fifth Street in Oklahoma City in the minutes before 9:02 a.m. on April 19, 1995, when a bomb carried by a Ryder rental truck destroyed the federal building, 500 feet away. The camera, at the Regency 'Towers apartment building, photographed the truck coming up the street toward the Federal Building at 53 seconds past 8:56 a.m. and then showed it stopped in front of the Regency Towers. During the next 22 seconds the camera took nine more photographs of the truck. Pedestrians strolled past. A security guard watched the sidewalk. At 15 seconds past 8:57, the truck started to move down Fifth street toward the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, a block and a half away on the other side of the street. In three more seconds and three more photographs, it was out of sight. Prosecutors say McVeigh, charged with murder and conspiracy in the bombing, which killed 168 people, picked up the truck in Junction City, Kan., on Monday, April 17. Although witnesses at his trial here in Federal District Court have described his move- • Owner of red car tells of close call with truck axle / Page A2 ments in the months and days before the blast, no one has been able to place the 29-year-old defendant in Oklahoma City on the day of the bombing. A dramatic commentary on the series of 27 photographs taken by the surveillance camera was provided by Richard Nichols, a maintenance man at the apartment building whose life was saved because he was two minutes late that day, and who wept on the witness stand Wednesday as he recalled his narrow escape. Nichols' wife, Bertha, pulled in front of the building in a red Ford Fiesta. The axle from the exploding Ryder truck was hurled 500 feet through the air and hit their car. The Associated Press This evidence photo shows the rear axle of the Ryder truck and the red car the axle struck. The car was parked more than 500 feet from the explosion at the federal building in Oklahoma City. REVELS T GENE REVELS: 1928-1997 Revels was generous, riends say He could be counted on and made Salina a better place, others say By SHARON MONTAGUE The Salina Journal - • •"~ As time for the annual senior citizen Christmas dinner rolled around each year, Cathy Johnson would worry aloud to Gene Revels about whether there would be enough food to feed the 200 to 300 people expected. "Every year, he'd just turn to me and say, 'God's going to provide, and He's going to use me as a tool,' " Johnson, director of the Saline County Commission on Aging, recalled Wednesday. Revels, 68, was the tool for many organizations through the years, friends said. They remembered him donating his time and his money, many times anonymously, whenever needed. "He always had his billfold open, contributing cash to all kinds of civic organizations," said Mike White, chairman of the Saline County Commission. Revels, a caterer, operator of Revels Board of Trade Lounge and a former Saline County commissioner, died Tuesday at a Wichita hospital after suffering a heart attack Sunday night. Soft spot for Salvation Army Johnson, who worked with Revels on the board of the Salvation Army, said Revels had a soft spot for the organization. "He used to say that when he was a boy, living in north Salina, if it weren't for them, he'd have quit school and been in jail," Johnson said. "He said he played football there and soccer, and they just took him in. He wanted to make sure other children of color had that opportunity." At Christmas time, Johnson said, Revels would give her toys and gifts to take to the Salvation Army for him, so no one else would know of his generosity. Senior citizens got attention As a county commissioner from 1992-96, one of Revels' responsibilities was to serve on the board of the Saline County Commission on Aging. Johnson said he took that responsibility seriously. "Whenever we needed something, he took it to the commission," she said. "He really had a heart for seniors." He often stopped by to visit and talk with the senior citizens, she said. " See REVELS, Page AT

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