The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on April 2, 1985 · Page 1
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 1

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Tuesday, April 2, 1985
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Home Edition — 25 Cents Salina, Kansas TUESDAY April 2,1985 114th year — No. 92 — 18 Pages School finance bill approved TOPEKA (AP) - The House Monday adopted and sent to Gov. John Carlin a school finance bill that outlines how Republican leaders want state aid to be distributed to the state's 304 school districts during the 1985-86 school year. The Democratic governor is expected to veto the bill. Carlin has said he doesn't think the bill provides enough state funding or allows sufficient authority for local school boards to increase their budgets enough to give teachers adequate raises. Carlin on Friday said a veto message was being drafted. His press secretary, Mike Swenson, said Monday that nothing had happened during the weekend to change the governor's mind. Carlin should receive the bill near the end of this week and will have 10 days to sign or veto it. If he follows through on his veto threat, that will probably come as soon as it reaches his desk, Swenson said, so the Legislature can begin work on another bill next week — the last week of the regular portion of the 1985 session. The bill was passed 70-55. Republicans generally supported it; Democrats generally opposed. Rep. Bill Reardon, D-Kansas City, ranking Democrat on the House Education Committee and a member of the school finance conference committee, urged rejection of the proposal before the final vote. "The bill was inadequate a month ago; it's inadequate today," Reardon said. "The education of our children is paramount. We've got to see that the funding is adequate." The bill would let school districts increase their budgets 4 percent for 1985-86 if they are above the statewide median in per-pupil expenditures and 8 percent if they are below that median. The Salina School District would be allowed a 4 percent increase. The bill adds $30 million in new state aid to the distribution formula under which state aid is funneled to school districts, for a new total of $442 million. That combination of budget increase authority and new state aid would cause local property taxes to rise $47.1 million next fall if all the school districts raised their budgets the maximum allowed, which rarely occurs. Carlin had sought $60 million new state aid plus allowing local boards to raise their budgets 6 percent or 12 percent, depending on their per- pupil expenditures of the past year. Under the Republican leadership's plan, which is headed to Carlin's desk, teachers would realize average pay raises of 7 percent to 7.5 percent next year. The GOP leadership decided early in the session to hold the amount of new state aid to $30 million in their all-out effort to avoid a tax increase this year. Carlin proposed raising the state's 3 percent sales tax a half cent in order to pump the $60 million more into school finance. If Carlin vetoes this bill and the Legislature passes no new legislation, then the school aid distribution formula reverts to allowable budget increases of 5 percent and 15 percent. Japanese commitments on trade please U.S. By The New York Times WASHINGTON — The Reagan administration, seeking to blunt congressional anger over American lack of access to the Japanese market, said Monday that Japan had made "new commitments" on trade. White House officials said American-Japanese talks over the weekend had left many trade matters unresolved, but indicated that Japanese leaders had tentatively agreed to meet Washington's demands for greater access to the Japanese market, particularly for telecommunications products. Larry Speakes, the White House " spokesman, said that President Reagan had been informed by two special envoys, just back from Tokyo, that "during the discussions the government of Japan made new commitments on trade issues." "The president welcomes this development," Speakes said. He declined to give details. Another White House official said that Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone of Japan had indicated to the envoys that Japan would buy. more American-made goods. But in recent years, it was noted, Japan has not carried out similar promises made several times by Japanese leaders. Nakasone said the United States was/ in essence, asking Japan to alter fundamentally the way it conducts business with foreign nations. "Are we asking them for so much access? No," he said. "Are we asking them to change their society? Yes. We're asking them to be receptive to investment, receptive to goods from overseas." The comments by Speakes and White House officials marked an abrupt shift from the angry rhetoric directed last week against the Japanese. Administration officials said the accommodating tone within 'the White House was an attempt to cool down a frustrated Congress. A White House official cited last week's Senate vote of 92-0 calling on the president to retaliate against Japan by curbing imports if it refuses to accelerate its purchases of U.S. exports. Today Villanova coach Rollie Massimino celebrates his team's upset win Monday over Georgetown for the NCAA title. Page 11. Today is Tuesday, April 2, the 92nd day of 1985. There are 273 days left in the year. Inside Classified 14-16 Entertainment 18 Fun 17 Living Today 6, 7 Local/Kansas 3,10 Markets 8 Nation/World 5 On the Record 9 Opinion 4 Sports 11,12 Weather 9 Weather KANSAS — Mostly clear and sunny today and Wednesday, with temperatures gradually getting warmer. Highs today in the mid-70s in the western part of the state and in the mid-60s in the easts. Lows tonight should be in the 40s, with highs Wednesday around 80 in the west to the mid- 70s in the east. . r Cross in hand, the Rev. Jesse Jackson leads a rally of angry fanners in Minnesota. Jackson leads farm rally GLENWOOD, Minn. (AP) — The Rev. Jesse-Jackson on Monday led a rally of 1,000 fanners protesting farm foreclosures outside a courthouse before eulogizing 10 financially troubled fanners who have died. "You who have* fed the nation, you who fed the world, you must come out of rural isolation," Jackson said. "We are going to be organizing a coalition for economic justice the likes of which this nation has never seen before." Jackson planted a wooden cross, one of 10 symbolizing the deceased farmers, in a stack of hay bales in front of the Pope County Courthouse. That was the scene of an attempted farm foreclosure that was postponed after a demonstration by hundreds of fanners two weeks ago. Members of Groundswell, the farm activist organ- ization that organized the rally, say the 10 west-central Minnesota farmers committed suicide in the past several months after suffering severe financial problems. The memorial was conducted after a rally that was originally organized to block another foreclosure attempt on the 480-acre grain farm of Jim and Gloria Langman, who say they are $355,000 in debt. But the sale was postponed Saturday for at least 30 days by the Travelers Corp. of Hartford, Conn., which holds the mortgage on the farm. Travelers' officials and state authorities said they feared Jackson's appearance during the proceeding would attract too many people and jeopardize public safety. Reminding the crowd this is Easter week, Jackson said, "And here we stand on the verge of a delayed crucifixion," referring to the postponed foreclosure. Nye defends downtown assessments By GORDON FIEDLER Jr. Staff Writer City Manager Rufus Nye explained to city commissioners Monday the rationale for assessing the Salina School District and three churches for the proposed downtown redevelopment project. During the commission's 3:30 p.m. informal meeting, Commissioners Joe Ritter and Mayor Charles Roth questioned the decision to assess the school and church properties, which are within the proposed 11-block assessment district. Nye said the school district is a major employer and "traffic generator downtown." "They are part of the problem; they should be part of the solution," he said. The churches, he said, were "treated just like any other activity downtown." He said the assessments, estimated to generate about $1.5 million from downtown property owners, would come from a benefit district and are not the same as taxes. He advised against making special exemptions. "The more differences you make, it's easier to make another one," he said. The school district and the churches would be assessed $193,745 for downtown renovation. That's about 13 percent of the $1.5 million to be paid by property owners. The assessments are based on square footage. The school district's assessment would be more than $123,000. School property in the downtown assessment district includes Roosevelt- Lincoln Junior High School and a warehouse on the corner of South Fifth and Mulberry. Immanuel Lutheran Church, 255 S. Seventh, would face an assessment of $37,800. The First Christian Church, 201 S. Eighth, would be assessed $11,000, and the First United Methodist Church, 122 N. Eighth, would be assessed $21,945. City commissioners have scheduled a hearing Monday to hear public comment on the proposed assessment district. The $1.5 million raised by the district would help finance the $6.5 million downtown renovation. The other funds would come from the city's portion of the one-cent countywide sales tax. The $6.5 million cost covers only public improvements, such as acquiring more parking, burying and relocating utilities and landscaping Santa Fe. McKibben found guilty Charge reduced to 2nd-degree murder By CAROL LJCHTI Staff Writer Salinan Lonnie McKibben sat in the packed courtroom Monday and shook his head slightly after it was announced he was guilty of the second-degree murder of Sheleen McLain. McKibben, 43, charged with first- degree murder, was convicted of the lesser charge after a jury of 10 men and two women deliberated for more than four hours. The murder charge stemmed from the Nov. 3 shooting death of 15-year-old McLain, 760 Wood. She was found near Coronado Heights in McPherson County with a gunshot wound to the back. She died later that day at Asbury Hospital. After the verdict was read, the only sound in the Saline County District Courtroom was crying from the victim's mother. Saline County Attorney Mickey Mosier, who prosecuted the case, later said he was pleased with the verdict despite the reduction of the charge. "The evidence supported that (first-degree charge) in my opinion, although I would not quarrel with the jury," Mosier said. He said the jury must have had some question about whether McKibben premeditated the murder. Premeditation is the distinction between first-degree and second-degree. Mosier previously had amended the criminal complaint against McKibben to include the possibility of felony murder. The felony murder rule means that if the prosecution could have proven McLain was murdered in the-commission of a felony, McKibben could have been convicted of first-degree murder without evidence of premeditation. But Mosier said District Judge David Knudson, who presided over the trial, "elected to go with the premeditation only." "It doesn't change my feeling about the case," said McKibben's attorney, Public Defender George Robertson, about the verdict. The defense had contended throughout the trial that McKibben was innocent and that the Salina Police Department's investigation of the case focused solely on McKibben as a suspect. During closing arguments Monday morning, Robertson said the police arrested McKibben and booked him into jail for McLain's murder before the autopsy was Completed. Ee said the investigation from that time on looked only for evidence that would possibly link McKibben to the crime. McKibben decided not to testify Monday as the final witness for the defense. He had been considering such a move over the weekend. Under criminal law, a defendant's decision not to testify cannot be held against him by a jury. Robertson said he did not think that his client's decision not to take the witness stand had a bearing on (See Guilty, Page 9) Supreme Court hears Saline County case By DALE GOTER Kansas Correspondent TOPEKA (HNS) — A rural Saline County couple Monday asked the Kansas Supreme Court to order a trial on their claim that local law enforcement authorities "went wild" during the destruction of the couple's mobile home. Terry and Chris Hopkins filed their appeal after Saline County District Judge Daniel Hebert ruled last year that the law enforcement agencies could not be held liable for damages to the Hopkins' home. Hebert granted summary judgment to the defendants, dismissing the case without a trial. The mobile home was damaged July 29, 1981, when Saline County sheriff's officers, Salina police officers and Kansas Highway Patrol troopers fired on the home in an attempt to force out a man who had taken refuge in the dwelling. The man, Randall O'Brien, was alone in the home when he fired twice on the officers, according to court testimony. But there is dispute about who fired first. When the fracas ended, the home had been destroyed by a hail of gunfire and numerous tear gas cannis- ters that had been shot through the walls of the trailer house. O'Brien subsequently surrendered and was taken into custody. The Hopkinses were paid $14,000 by their insurance company, but were seeking in excess of $10,000 for other emotional and property damage, according to their attorney, Steve Dickson, Topeka. But Hebert dismissed the case against the City of Salina, its police department and Chief John Woody; the Saline County Commission and Sheriff's Department and the Kansas Highway Patrol. Attorneys for those government agencies told the Supreme Court the dismissal was proper, citing the immunity of law enforcement agencies from damage suits resulting from their official actions. Dickson presented the Supreme Court with a detailed account of the damage to the home, and argued that the officers had gone far beyond their legal authority. "I find it astonishing that the court (Hebert) didn't even consider that liability could lie against these defendants," Dickson said. Dickson said the home had at least 10 holes in it where tear gas eannisters had penetrated the walls. Gunfire from the law enforcement officers was so intense it pulled out drawers, turned over furniture and perforated the home, he said. "These people (the officers) absolutely went wild with the tear gas eannisters," Dickson said. George Farrell Jr., a Topeka at- torney representing Saline County, defended the officers' actions. He argued that they could not be sued for carrying out their legal responsibilities. The fugitive in the mobile home had the "intent, opportunity and ability" to inflict harm on the officers, thereby giving them ample reason to fire on the home, he said. Dickson disputed that argument, contending that "there has to be a point where a line is drawn." "Police could bring in a tank and blow up the mobile home in order to get the subject out" if they have unlimited descretion in such incidences, he said. The City of Salina and its police department were represented by Salina attorney Jim Mize, who said the Hopkinses had improperly served notice of their suit on the city. The Supreme Court is expected to rule on the case within 30 days.

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