The Kansas City Times from Kansas City, Missouri on September 26, 1987 · 33
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The Kansas City Times from Kansas City, Missouri · 33

Kansas City, Missouri
Issue Date:
Saturday, September 26, 1987
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Metropolitan Saturday September 26 1 987 £Ik Sr i CTiti 2fimc£ Deaths PageC-4 Section C i Tax issue is taken to court Taxpayers school district file actions By Tim O’Connor Of the Metropolitan Staff The Kansas City School District on Friday asked a federal judge to order Jackson County officials to include a court-ordered property tax increase on county tax bills that are to be sent out in November Also on Friday a group of taxpayers filed the first legal challenge to tax increases imposed by the same judge to pay desegregation costs in the Kansas City School District The taxpayers asked U S District Judge Russell G Clark to allow them to intervene in the desegregation case They also asked him to “alter amend set aside or otherwise reconsider his actions as they pertain to the increase of property taxes and imposition of state income tax surcharges” District lawyer Shirley Keeler said the district on Friday asked Clark to issue a temporary restraining order and injunction that would prevent county officials from sending out property-tax bills this year without including the court-imposed property-tax increase County Executive Bill Waris has said the county would not include See ORDER C-3 Col 1 Wally EmersonSpecial to The Times Double take After a Downtown powwow Friday at the Federal Building Jim McKinney of Kansas City a Potawatomi Indian helps carry a large photograph of himself that had been on exhibit The event was American Indian Day and members of various tribes gathered to celebrate Mayor Richard L Berkley and Gov John Ashcroft both declared this week American Indian Week Story on Page A-21 Shawnee Mission 8th-graders not happy in middle schools Wyoming relatives claim man seen on TV By Mike Kennedy Of the Metropolitan Staff A report on middle schools in Shawnee Mission confirms earlier evidence that eighth-graders reacted negatively last year to the new program but it says it is unclear how that class will react to its freshman year of high school The updated evaluation by Thomas Erb an associate professor of curriculum and instruction at the University of Kansas provides statistical support — through student questionnaires and suspension data — for eighth-graders’ lack of acceptance of the middle school program “Eighth-graders rated their middle school experiences more negatively than did eighth-graders in the junior highs on 49 occasions” Erb said in the report “They were more positive only four times Eighth-graders committed 348 more “suspendable offenses” in 1986-87 than they did as seventh-graders the year before Erb found School study Students in middle school rated their experiences more negatively than students in junior high had Middle school students had 348 more ' suspendable offenses" than in previous year Students showed confusion about changes occurring in their schools “Not only were eighth-graders’ attitudes toward school more negative in 1986-87 but their behavior reflected their sense of loss and confusion concerning the changes occurring in their schools” he said Beginning a year ago Shawnee Mission switched from three-year junior high schools and three-year senior high schools to middle schools for seventh- and eighth- graders and four-year high schools The class of 1991 was uniquely affected by middle school reorganization It will be the only class to experience three significant transitions in three years: a junior-high environment in seventh grade a middle school eighth grade and ninth grade in a senior high school Last year those students felt a loss of privileges and thought they were being “babied” in middli school Erb said But he said he could not predict how the class would lead to tngh school He noted that several veteran high school teachers found last year’s freshmen immature and teachers might expect more of the same “In these teachers’ view middle schools would make matters even worse regarding preparing students for high school” Erb said “They are already expecting the worst “It would not be unreasonable to See SOME C-3 Col 1 By David Goldstein Ot the Metropolitan Stall The mystery behind a Kansas City man who died in a nursing home in 1982 and left an unclaimed estate worth $175000 may have been solved Friday And the possible solution came as a result of a nationally televised program the night before “Unsolved Mysteries” an occasional show on NBC broad cast a segment Thursday night about George Marsh whose $175000 estate remains unclaimed Because no heirs were found his estate was put under the control of James P Aylward Jr Jackson County public administrator Despite efforts by Aylward and others to locate heirs that’s where the money has remained Throughout the day Friday Aylward was besieged with phone calls from all over the country and even one from Canada from people contending they are relatives of George Marsh “1 also saw the courthouse operator on the elevator and she told me she’s had numerous calls” Aylward said “It’s amazing They come out of the woodwork My wife is getting them at home” But one call may be genuine he said The sheriff of Sweetwater County Wyo called Aylward to say that several families living near the town of Rock Springs in the southwest comer of the state watched the program and are convinced that George Marsh was their relative One of those people was James P Zelenka who said he is Marsh’s brother Zelenka will See FAMILY C-2 Col 1 Crusade against hard-core pornography planned By Tony Rizzo Ot the Metropolitan Staff Months of planning and preparation are over The war is about to begin The fight against hard-core and child pornography will be brought to Kansas City through a monthlong media blitz called the STOP! Campaign In October area residents will be asked to Stand Together Opposing Pornography The campaign is aimed at obscene material that is not protected under the First Amendment to the Constitution said Chris Cooper executive director of the Coalition Against Pomography-Kansas City which planned the STOP! Campaign The coalition has ignored softcore publications including Penthouse and Playboy magazines and is concentrating on the kind of pornography that promotes sexual abuse and degradation of women and children Cooper said Hi said people had a right to demand that their community be free of the damaging effects of hard- core pornography If they don’t stand up and exercise that right" he said "then they arc basically abdicating to the hardcore pornographers” The campaign kicks off Sunday when 100000 petitions asking pubic officials to enforce obscenity laws will be distributed at 350 area churches Those who sign the petitions and donate $3 to the campaign will have their names published in a 12-page '7Cri'n a mi(l 'October edition of the Kansas ( ity Star The petitions 4 will be given to public officials responsible for enforcing obscenity laws Details about the campaign which will include television and newspaper ads billboards and a television special will be described Tuesday at a news conference in front of an adult bookstore Downtown Cooper said Since January the coalition has been laying the groundwork for its public education effort Its message has been brought to civic and business leaders law enforcement offi cials and church and school groups The message is simple Illegal pornography is a serious social problem and laws concerning it should be clarified and enforced Although there is no conclusive scientific data on whether pornography causes deviate or criminal sexual behavior Cooper said he has heard from enough people who have been victimized by pornography to be convinced that its effects are harmful “The longer I’m in this thing” he See DRIVE C-6 Col 1 f Jack i KellySuff Come along little doggie! When this prairie dog was a bit reluctant to explore its new diRS at the Kansas City Zoo Janet Brannian let gravity do the work The grand opening of the zoo’s new Prairie Dog Town is at 2 pm today Fatal shooting results in charge against man By Tom Jackman Of the Metropolitan Staff A 34-year-old Kansas City man was charged with first-degree murder Friday in the July shooting death of an alleged drug dealer The victim had been scheduled to appear in court on drug charges on the day he was killed Police allege that Sidney A Williams of 3617 Chestnut Ave waited outside the house of John H Johnson for two hours before the shooting on July 7 then cut the building’s power from an outside fuse box to lure Johnson outside Witnesses told police that Johnson’s house was dark when they arrived shortly before the shooting and that he was headed for the fuse box with a flashlight when he was shot in the neck and abdomen about 1 :40 am Johnson 54 of 5027 Linwood Blvd was pronounced dead at Truman Medical Center No arrests were made and police soon teamed that their witnesses had come to Johnson's house to buy drugs from him In fact Johnson was one of several defendants scheduled to appear in court that morning on drug possession charges According to court records informers told pplice that Johnson had been killed to keep him from testifying in court that day Johnson’s case was dismissed after his death and it could not be determined from court records what other defendants were included in Johnson’s case Police declined to name the other defendants Although police found the murder weapon and Johnson’s flashlight at the murder scene they had few witnesses in the drug-related killing as is common in such cases But homicide detectives continued to investigate and in early September they found two men who provided information to the case Court records stated that detectives found a man who allegedly provided the murder weapon On Thursday night Williams was arrested at 4928 Agnes Ave Police said Williams acknowledged knowing Johnson and visiting Johnson’s house several times But Williams denied any involvement in Johnson’s death Williams was arraigned Friday afternoon before Associate Circuit Judge George V Aylward on charges of first-degree murder and armed criminal action Williams could face the death penalty if convicted of first-degree murder Aylward set bond at $75000 Williams was being held Friday night in the Jackson County jail Sightings of clowns reported By Beverly Potter Of the Metropolitan Staff Students from an Independence elementary school told authorities Friday that they saw a man in a clown outfit taking pictures of them the day before And a 10-year-old girl said a clown in a white van tried to get a small boy to come to him but she grabbed the child and told him not to go Independence police said they were investigating the latest reports by children that one or more men dressed in clown suits are watching them Last week students at Black-bum Elementary School said two clowns were seen hiding in a wooded area near the school playground and videotaping the children The latest incident occurred at Randall Elementary School at 509 N Jennings Road Independence police Sgt Dave Smith said A parent of two students told school officials that the 1 1 - and 9-year-old boys See MORE C-2 Col 1 Behind the lines By George H Gurley Jr Famous names to live up to What could be more patriotic this bicentennial year of the Constitution than a visit to a descendant of one of the Founding Fathers? Fortunately this is possible without having to make a pilgrimage to the East Because two years ago one Henry Adams caught the stagecoach west for Kansas City and the uncouth frontier Henry's great-great-great-great-grandfather was John Adams second president of the United States He’s also related to numerous other Adamses famous in American history If this were England Henry would no doubt be Sir Henry and would be frittering away the hours shooting partridges and saying clever things like “jolly good” But America went to war with England just to distance itself from such foolishness In America you don’t coast on the family name “I’ve fled all that I have to confess” Henry himself says of his pedigree Nevertheless he does have a title: Samuel Sos-land Curator of American Art at the Nelson Gallery And though he comes from a family of Eastern aristocrats he also has Kansas City ties His father was bom here His greatgrandfather was once president of the Kansas City Stockyards Co In fact you wouldn’t guess that Henry was from Boston if he didn’t end the word “idea" with an “r” So it seems appropriate that he finds himself a custodian of the work of local aristocrat Thomas Hart Benton artist and namesake of Missouri's first US senator Henry is immersed in preparations for a retrospective of Benton's work scheduled to open in 1989 coinciding with the centennial of the artist’s birth His book-lined office in the labyrinthine basement of the gallery is cluttered with interesting Benton stuff There’s a drawing of an ancient railroad train that is so accurate that the folks down at Kansas City Southern were able to identify the specific steam engine it was modeled after Benton drew it when he was 9 yean old “Whatever you think of Benton’s work” said Heniy “it’s clear he was a child prodigy" According to Henry Benton was not some sort of Ozark rustic He was a sophisticated artist who experimented with modernism before settling on his own representational style He once said of spatter-painter Jackson Pollock — a student of Benton — that “Jack never painted a picture that wasn't beautiful" A representational painting of Benton’s son in a sailboat hangs on Henry Adams’ wall: a work of the same iconoclastic Jackson Pollock As a recent symposium here revealed Benton's work can foment more passion than perhaps any other American artist Some see him as a failed artist who abandoned modernism others as a master in the classical tradition A Benton documentary film Henry is working on for PBS will capture some of the vitriol of the controversy Asked in a preview of the film which of Benton’s paintings they would like to inhabit one critic responds without hesitation “Persephone” Another recoiling with disgust says “The thought of ‘inhabiting’ a Benton painting is incredibly distasteful to me"

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