The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on May 19, 1997 · Page 3
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 3

Salina, Kansas
Issue Date:
Monday, May 19, 1997
Page 3
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THE SALINA JOURNAL MONDAY, MAY 19, 1997 A3 T CHARITY Volunteers help family recover from fire Volunteers take part in old-fashioned house raising to provide shelter for family By The Associated Press ELK FALLS — After fire gutted their southeast Kansas home, the Bliss family wondered what would happen next. They had no insurance, and the blaze couldn't have come at a worse time — the dead of winter. But the family had faith, and, as it turns out, a lot more friends than they thought. Volunteers from the family's church and around the region descended on the tiny town of Elk Falls to build the family a new house. "They wouldn't quit," Steve Bliss said of the workers' effort. "They wouldn't." Sparks from a wood-burning furnace ignited the fire that raced through the home Jan. 14. Worshippers from several Calvary Chapel congregations around the region began talking about what they could do for the family. "One of the men said, 'If we really wanted to behave like the church is supposed to behave, we'd just go up there and build him a house,' " said Shaun Searle of Arkansas City, lay pastor at Calvary Chapel in Ponca City, Okla. "It just started rolling from there." "We found every trade in surrounding Calvary Chapel parishes — roofer, carpenter, finish carpenter, concrete men — about everything you need to build a house." The Blisses even had a choice of floor plans. They chose a three-bedroom, 1,400-square-foot home. Steve, Debbie and their two children stayed in a nearby rental house as volunteer organizers gathered materials and labor. A Ponca City lumber company offered building materials at a discount. A Wichita compa- ny donated windows for the home. New sinks came from Oklahoma City. The goodwill didn't stop at construction. After a friend in Texas called a Christian radio station in California to ask listeners to pray for the Bliss family, donations came from across the nation. Finally in April, amid near-freezing temperatures and thick mud, dozens of volunteers — some coming from outside the state — met at the Bliss property between Elk Falls and Longton for an old-fashioned house-raising. In three days the house was built. "We needed to keep it simple if we were going to get it done in a weekend," Searle said. "It's just cuter than a bug's ear. Not too many people would be ashamed to call it theirs." The family have been finishing the home's interior and plan to move in Saturday. Neighbors who doubted an all-volunteer construction project could happen these days are shaking their heads in appreciation as they walk by the home. "I saw a man who obviously had never run a power saw in his life measure out a board, cut it and take it where it needed to go. It fit like a glove," said Dale Bliss, Steve's 73-year-old father, who came from Maize to assist the project despite having Lou Gehrig's Disease. The experience has given the Blisses a lesson in humility, Debbie Bliss said. Everything the family has — their food, their clothes, their house and its furniture — has been donated. "People come up to me and say, 'How do you like your new house?'" Steve Bliss said. "I've told 'em that this is God's house. God is the one who put this house together." BRIEFLY Fire damages cabinets, stove in Salina home A fire Sunday afternoon caused about $10,000 to a house 804 W. South. The fire started about 3 p.m. after a plastic high-chair tray was placed on a gas stove. The stove was destroyed, and cabinets above the stove were damaged, said Lt. Virg Augustine of the Salina Fire Department. The house also suffered smoke damage. The house belongs to Reed Holmes. No one was injured. Salina man injured in stabbing incident Few details were available Sunday about a stabbing Saturday in which a 29-year-old Salina man . was injured. ; A police report on aggravated battery indicated Moises Bretado had been stabbed about 10:30 p.m. at 1200 W. Crawford. Bretado was treated at the Salina Regional Health Center. No other information was available Sunday. Grants to help health improvement projects Three programs in north-central Kansas are among 31 programs being recognized by the Kansas Health Foundation with • grants. The programs, designed to improve community health, are: • Clay Center's Kansas Head . Start Association, $7,020 for spon- ; soring a statewide conference to ' improve the ability of Head Start staff and parents to achieve requirements of Head Start's health performance standards. • A program in Salina of Kansas Wesleyan University and the RSVP-The Volunteer Center, . $3,641 to provide support for re- ( cruitment and training of volun- J teer caregivers for individuals ' living with chronic disabilities. • The Washington High School Site Council, a school advisory board,, $1,100 to provide a one-day educational conference on self-esteem issues for young women. Information sought on business robbery Salina police are asking for the ' public's help in solving an aggra- '• vated robbery. 1 At 3:20 p.m. May 11, a man displayed a knife and demanded money from a clerk at Bev's Conoco, 1700 S. Ninth. She gave him $150 in cash and he left in a late model bluish-gray van. The suspect was described as black, in his 20s, 5 feet 9 inches tall, 175 pounds, with black hair. : He was wearing a black ball cap, white tank top and sunglasses. Anyone with information about the robbery can call Crimestop- pers, 825-TIPS. Callers are not required to give their names and could be eligible for rewards of up to $1,000. No one wins jackpot in Powerball lottery None of the tickets sold for the Powerball game Saturday night matched all six numbers drawn, lottery officials said Sunday. The numbers were 14, 24, 25, 29 and 31. The Powerball was 36. Players matching all five numbers and the Powerball would have I won the $11 million jackpot. The " prize goes to an estimated $15 million for Wednesday. From Staff and Wire Reports Whw you noad to know.. Tomorrow's Headlines 825-6OOO Category 6006 (Call alter 7:30 p.m.) KELLY PRESNELL / The Salina Journal Western Resources linemen Jerry Wetter (left) and Louie Stegman along with groundman Bernle Braun are going to England in June to participate In a Lineman's Rodeo. The team will compete In the national tournament in September In Kansas City. They're the top of the ,„!.., *^ iwfim*:,! esnws?\ Kjfcga SStm3S?gSSl?SSia®l Utililty workers to compete in lineman's contest By DAVID CLOUSTON The Salina Journal Today's electrical utility workers most often rely on cherry-picker trucks to safely lift them high into the air to work on damaged power lines and transformers. But a truck can't go everywhere, especially on some easements where there isn't alley access to utility poles. So the classic skill of clamoring up and down poles using a safety belt and climbing hooks is still necessary to know. A three-man team of Western Resources utility workers from the Salina area has the skill and honors to show for it. Now the team is going to England to match its skills against utility workers from around the world. Western Resources linemen Jerry Wetter and Louis Stegman of Salina, and Bernard Braun of McPherson placed eighth in the nation in September at the 13th annual Lineman's Rodeo in Kansas City, Mo. As a result they've been invited to represent the company at a lineman's rodeo this summer in Covington, England. They leave June 13 and are scheduled to return June 23. The trio are also scheduled to compete in the rodeo again this September in Kansas City. The lineman's rodeo competition began as a way for the best male and female linemen from across the United States and other countries to compete against each other in tasks which they perform in everyday line work. The first rodeo was held in September 1984 in Manhattan, with twelve teams participating from Kansas and Missouri. The rodeo has grown tremendously since. Last year's competition drew some 90 teams from around the nation, Canada and England. Competitors know in advance what three of the rodeo events will be, and three others are mystery events — not to be divulged until the competition begins, so that the teams don't have a chance to practice. Pole climbing with an egg is one event in the competition. Contestants climb a 45-foot pole, carrying a raw egg in a canvas bucket. At the top of the pole, the lineman transfers the egg to his mouth, hangs up the bucket and descends the pole. The object is to descend without cracking either an egg placed in a meter cover on top of the pole or the egg in his mouth. "Some guys can come off the pole in about four steps, but the jar when you hit is going to break (the egg)," said Phil Sechrist, a KPL supervisor. "That was to slow it down a little and eliminate injuries." Breaking an egg is a 10-point deduction. Another event is the hurtman rescue, where contestants must rescue a 180- pound life-size dummy off a 45-foot pole. The event simulates the rescue of an injured utility worker. Last year in its eighth-place finish, the Western Resources Salina team scored 596 out of 600 points. Scoring is based on correct work procedures and safety. In case of ties, time of finish decides the winner. Last year was the highest finish ever of any Western Resources team. Stegman grins when asked how the joined the team. "The guys twisted my arm," he said, laughing. "I just like my work. It's a challenge." Braun said the contest is a good test of professionalism for the utility crews. "It's something not everybody can do, and I'm proud to be able to do it," he said. "It shows people you're proud of what you do." T MEMORIES Tornado ripped through KG in '57 Woman was paralyzed as she tried in vain to save her 3-year-old girl By The Associated Press KANSAS CITY, Mo. — For many, tornadoes rank with dinosaurs and volcanoes as just another form of summer movie entertainment. But, to people like Treva Woodling and others who lived in the Ruskin Heights neighborhood 40 years ago, tornadoes are nothing if not numbingly cruel. Woodling is paralyzed from the waist down because of injuries suffered while she tried to keep her daughter, Denise, from the grip of the tornado that hit May 20,1957. Twice the wind pulled 3-year- old Denise away. Twice Woodling pulled her back. The storm tugged a third time. "It wasn't like I literally heard a voice," said Woodling, who now lives in Blue Springs. "But I got the feeling that I was being told, 'Let go. I've got her.' " Later, relatives found Denise in a Raytown morgue. She was one of 44 people killed by the twister. Even today, Woodling doesn't know where her daughter was found or the precise circumstances of her death. Doctors concluded, however, that she had been killed instantly by a blow to the head. "They guessed she had been hit with the axle of a car," Woodling said. More than 600 homes were damaged or destroyed in the new subdivision in what is now south Kansas City. It is called the Ruskin Heights tornado, but its gray finger gouged 71 miles of prairie, from WUliamsburg, Kan., to near Blue Springs. The twister had killed several people by the time it crossed the state line at 7:37 p.m. It hit hardest in Martin City, Grandview and Hickman Mills. More than 500 people were injured in those communities and in Ruskin Heights, where the tornado arrived at 7:48 p.m. By 8 p.m., the tornado was gone. For weeks after the storm, several sightseers — seeing Woodling's ruined car in the driveway — would even knock on the door and demand her war story. Woodling can't dwell on what might have been. "Harry (her husband) started getting bitter toward God because we lost Denise," she said. "But I told him you can't do that. Why step back and wonder if, if, if? It wouldn't bring Denise back. "You do what you have to do at the time you are doing it." V DEVELOPMENT Kansas City may kill plans for industrial park after HUD criticism ,»_«-» • r\^«.«i^.« «MY-vi «/>+'«> **ivot nViaca That ic hpr»ailSP thf» f\P By The Associated Press KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas City may scrap plans for a $26.2 million industrial park because of criticism about the project from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The 18th Street Industrial Park was designed to use a federal grant and loan package to create hundreds of jobs in one of the city's most impoverished neighborhoods. But HUD's criticism has those plans in lim bo. In a two-page letter dated April 28 and addressed to Mayor Emanuel Cleaver, Michael L. Tramontina, an official at HUD's Kansas- Missouri State Office in Kansas City, Kan., expressed serious concern about the project's viability. At stake is a $14.2 million federal grant and loan package that is part of the Clinton administration's primary urban redevelop- ment program — the Economic Development Initiative Grant. Kansas City is one of just a handful of metropolitan areas in the country chosen as an "enhanced enterprise community" under the program. Among the problems the letter listed: • Projected costs for the first phase of the project are expected to be financed entirely with public money. • The $14.2 million in federal grant and loan money falls far short of funding the project's first phase. That is because the developers will have to buy and relocate so many businesses and residences and then demolish the existing structures. • The proposed second phase of the project is "very speculative." Moreover, HUD has not been told of any guarantees of private investors or investments in the project. • There already have been significant delays in getting the project off the ground. SUGGESTIONS? CALL BEN WEARING, DEPUTY EDITOR, AT (913) 823-6363 OR 1-800-827-6363 OR E-MAIL AT s|new«®

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