The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on May 15, 1997 · Page 3
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 3

Salina, Kansas
Issue Date:
Thursday, May 15, 1997
Page 3
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THE SALINA JOURNAL GREAT PLAINS THURSDAY, MAY 15, 1997 A3 T WELFARE STUDY State has urgency to trim welfare caseloads Kansas will have its federal aid cut in 2001 if too many longtime welfare recipients stay on rolls By MIKE SHIELDS Harris News Service TOPEKA — State officials calculate more than 6,500 Kansas welfare recipients have received benefits for more than five years — a worrisome figure that raises the specter of many needy families left without government help when the full force of federal welfare reform begins to be felt in 2001. "The five-year time limit brings a new urgency to ensuring that families obtain the supports needed to leave welfare for good," said Social and Rehabilitation Services Commissioner Connie Hubbell, in a report released this week by the state welfare department. Under the new law, passed in 1996 by Congress, Kansas will have its federal aid cut in 2001 if more than 20 percent of its welfare recipients have had benefits for more than five years. If that deadline was now, Kansas would be in trouble, officials say, because 30 percent of those currently on the rolls have received more than five years of assistance. "Our concern is that if nothing is done between now and the next five years there would be more than 20 percent exceeding 60 months," said Michael Massey, a state welfare official and co-author of a report on the state's current long-term welfare population. "One thing we're feeling good about is that, even though those statistics are kind of scary, there are a lot of strategies being developed that will maybe keep us under the 20 percent." Massey said welfare caseloads in Kansas have been declining in recent years because of job training programs and a generally healthy economy. But concerns remain that as the more easily employed move off assistance, the state's toughest cases will be left on the rolls. And that will make meeting the 20 percent mark increasingly difficult with each passing year. "The strategies already in place deal primarily with people employable or nearly employable who just need that little bit of extra help to get jobs," Massey said. "If these strategies are hugely successful, the problem then is our caseload will become characterized by people harder to employ, with less skills. That makes it even more of a risk we'll go over the 20 percent; 100 percent of those left would be your very difficult to employ." The study of the state's current long-term welfare population by Massey and co-worker Barbara Silliman shows what the remaining cases probably will be like. The study shows: • 99 percent of long-term recipient households are headed by women. • 55 percent of the women were teen-agers when their first child was born. • Only 22 percent of those with work histories had ever held a job for a year or more. Of those, 71 percent never made more than $5 an hour and 76 percent had never worked jobs that offered benefits. • Long-term recipients had an average of 2.8 children at home. • 19 percent of the households, by conservative estimate, included a disabled individual, often a child. • 50 percent had changed place of residence within the last 10 months. • 32 percent had no telephone. Because the study found a correlation between teen pregnancy and long-term welfare dependency, one of its conclusions is that teen mothers be targeted for "aggressive and appropriate intervention." The new federal welfare law offers financial incentives to states that reduce out-of-wedlock births and includes funding for "abstinence education," which means programs encouraging young people not to have sex. Massey said he thinks state welfare officials will find ways to move enough people off welfare before the new federal deadlines kick in so the state can meet the 20 percent mandate. "But it's going to take a lot of creativity, not just from SRS, but with collaboration from private agencies," he said. T DRUG ARRESTS 10 in area arrested on drug charges Authorities find 15.8 grams of cocaine and 5 grams of methamphetamine in search By SHARON MONTAGUE The Salina Journal Ten people face drug charges in Dickinson and Saline counties after members of the I- 135/1-70 Drug Task Force searched nine loca- Jions in the two counties beginning Tuesday morning. At one location, authorities found 15.8 grams of cocaine, 5 grams of methampheta- mine and a pound of packaged marijuana, as well as several assault-type weapons and ammunition and recipes for making methamphet- ,amine. } The cache was found at the home of John 'Morton 43, and Sheila Morton, 37,2212 W. First in Dickinson County, said Sheriff Curt Bennett. The arrests "are going to slow down the drug trade, for sure." Curt Bennett Dickinson County sheriff The two were arrested and charged with possession of methamphetamine with the intent to sell or distribute, possession of marijuana with intent to sell, failure to possess a Kansas drug stamp and possession of drug paraphernalia. Bennett said more arrests were expected. Bennett wouldn't comment on whether officials believe the people arrested Tuesday were major drug distributors in Dickinson County. But he said Tuesday's arrests "are going to slow down the drug trade, for sure." The arrests were the result of a months-long investigation. Those arrested, and the charges, include: • Mike Smith, 50, 687 Old Highway 40, possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia. • Thomas Howard, 42, 2167 Fair Road, possession of methamphetamine, possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia. • Harvey Rufener, 52, and Hope Rufener, 53, 900 N. Elm, possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia. • Pat Martin, no age available, 1471 K-18 Highway, possession and cultivation of marijuana. Officers found 25 cultivated marijuana plants growing outdoors at her home. Her husband, Terry Martin, who is currently incarcerated on other charges, also will face drug charges, Bennett said. • Steven Bartlett, 46, 201 W. First No. 8, possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia. • Steve Hewitt, age unknown, Gypsum, possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia. reserving the very best things in life...families. PrairieView Mental health services. Hope for a better tomorrow. 316-241-4556 • 1-800-362-0180 1102 Hospital Drive * McPherson T TRAFFIC SIGNALS Signals going up at south Salina intersection But reconstruction of the intersection has been put on hold By CRISTINA JANNEY The Salina Journal Signals are going up at the intersection of Ohio Street and Magnolia Road, but it will be awhile before the plans for reconstructing that intersection will come to fruition. Plans to widen both Ohio and Magnolia streets to five lanes at the intersection were put on hold when city engineers found that the cost was going to exceed what had been budgeted, said Shawn O'Leary, assistant city engineer. Estimated cost of the reconstruction is $300,000 to $500,000. The new signals will cost about $80,000. Currently, Ohio Street and Magnolia Road east of the intersection are two lanes. The west portion of the Magnolia Road has three lanes, and the intersection is controlled by a two-way stop sign on Magnolia Road. The reconstruction of the intersection will be delayed until 1998 or 1999 when Ohio Street from Belmont Boulevard to Magnolia Road will be widened to four lanes. The widening of Ohio Street, estimated at $2 million, also will include the reconstruction of the Belmont intersection, which will be changed from a 45-degree to a 90-degree angle. Increased traffic on Ohio and Magnolia streets created a need for the wider road and improved intersections, O'Leary said. Congestion and accidents also have started to be a problem at the intersection, he said. O'Leary said drivers in that area may notice that the signals are set back a distance from the curbs, but that is to allow for future construction. Because the work will be done behind the curb, the intersection won't have to be closed. However, traffic may be increased at the intersection in coming weeks because of a detour due to the closing of Ohio Street from Magnolia Road to Water Well Road because of flood-control work. Ohio Street will be closed for about a month, and the signalization is scheduled to be completed by August. 3 Days Only Thurs., Fri. & Sat. All Regular Priced Merchandise * No other discounts apply • Sale Ends Saturday Tiaza Styte Shop Open 9 to S I liurscl;i\ ') to 6 T EMERGENCY FOOD ASSISTANCE More commodities available to poor By DAN ENGLAND The Salina Journal The Department of Agriculture has significantly increased the amount of commodities made available in the federal government's Emergency Food Assistance Program. The value of food items has increased five times over last year's program, said John Garlinger, public information officer for the Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services. The windfall comes from an amendment to last year's welfare reform legislation and reverses a three-year trend of significant budget cuts made to the program. "There's no deep, dark secret there," Garlinger said. "People slip something into all bills." SRS sends the commodities to local helping agencies for distribution to people with low incomes. Commodities are available to families whose gross income is at or below 130 percent of the federal poverty line. A family of three with an in- come of $1,407 per month or below would be eligible to receive commodities. Eligible recipients of food commodities must pick up their food from the nearest distributing agency. Despite the increase, Garlinger said the need for food was still there. "I don't think you can ever say it's too much," he said. "I would like to get into a situation to where we had too much. If you look around, there's always a need for that kind of stuff, and there's always people who don't have a lot. Show me a kid who wouldn't eat another can of beans if it wasn't available." The three Salina agencies — Salina Area Red Cross, Salvation Army and Emergency Aid/Food Bank — all said they haven't noticed a big increase in the number of commodities they have distributed this year. "We've only done one this year, and it was pretty normal," said Lois Orchard, who is in charge of food distribution for the Red Cross. "But it looked like it was a bit more." Fresh Vegetable Pizza For a few weeks only enjoy fesh asparagus and Vidalia onions on your Scheme Pizza! The cheme 123 N.7th Salina Noneedto shopanouncl Meet Bill Grammar. One of the top home loan originators in Saline County. Bill can save you money on your next home loan. Security " 317S.SantiiFe* 317S.SantiiFe*1830S.Ohior&Una, KS 825-8241 Statewide toll-free number 800-323-8958. 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