Garden City Telegram, December 11, 2007

Garden City Telegram

December 11, 2007

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Issue date: Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Pages available: 32

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Publication name: Garden City Telegram

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Garden City Telegram (Newspaper) - December 11, 2007, Garden City, Kansas Volume 78, No. 291 m       16 Pages ^Telegram =District to survey residents : : Santa time Laurie Sisk/Te4eqram ABOVE: Children crowd around Santa as he reads to them during the Finney County Public Library's Storytime with Santa on Monday morning. RIGHT: Kody Redgner, 3, right, shares a giggle with Iziah Salinas, 3, during a puppet show at Storytime with Santa. County doing its part to right young offenders By GWEN TIETGEN $tietgamgctelegram.avn Finney County commissioners Monday heard about troubled youth, and the county’s efforts to help them. They toured PATH, or Programs Assessments Treatment Habilitation, at 907 Zerr Road, and the Juvenile Detention Center, 507 W Santa Fe. The 25th Judicial District’s Youth Services Director Leroy Gerber said its work with Garden City USD 457 in The Option program continues to show success. The Option is an alternative-type school for middle and high school students who might otherwise be expelled. Ifs a student’s last chance at an education, Gerber said. Two teachers and two para educators teach the students there, which currently total 32. They can take up to 40 students. Having probation officers located next door at PATH helps, should a student become unruly, he said. The focused, more individualized attention helps those troubled students, and most, if not all, leave doing better in their classes than when they came into the program, Gerber said. The program started about four years ago with the Byrne Justice Assistance Grant, a federal program that provides funding for crime prevention initiatives. It has since evolved. Gerber said, “to a point now where we’re seeing a lot of kids successful and going back to school.” “They can go back to regular school at the level that doesn’t put them behind,” he said. Gerber said Finney County See Commmission, Page AS Judge denies man's request for new attorney By RACHEL DAVIS [email protected] A California man accused of killing his uncle requested a new attorney to represent him Monday, citing conflict with his court-appointed lawyer. Guadalupe Rodarte, 23, of Long Beach, Calif., is accused of murdering his uncle, 58-year-old Victorino Galvez, whose body was found Aug. 26 inside a storage unit at Barr Storage Units, 1607 W. Mary St. Rodarte appeared in court Monday, claiming his attorney, Steve Upshaw, refused to provide an interpreter dur ing their meetings so Rodarte could understand his rights. “I feel like he is not helping me, and I don’t feel like he can help me the way I want him to,” Rodarte said through an interpreter to District Judge Tom Richardson. Upshaw agreed with his client and informed the court of See Rodarte, Page A5 What s inside TUESDAY December 11, 2007 Storm, ice hit from Plains to Northeast. Picture This Kenzie Messerly, left, helps cousin Cade Messerly "smile" as his sister, Leah Messerly, looks on. Photo contributed by Sue Messerly. Sublette By EMILY BEHLMANN [email protected] When the phone rings next month, the call could be from a researcher seeking public opinions on how Garden City USD 457 should handle what administrators have said are crowded facilities. The Board of Education voted 6-0 Monday night to hire DeSieghardt Strategic Communications Inc. to conduct a phone survey of district residents. The board has been wrestling with two recommendations from a district/community committee — building a second high school or a single, larger one — to alleviate crowding at Garden City High School. About 1,900 students are enrolled at the school, a building City Engineer Steve Cottrell said is suited to fit comfortably about 1,500. Action on the high school would be the first step in a district-wide facility plan, the board has said. Regardless of what they decide to build, board members said Monday night that at the latest, they want to place a bond issue before the public on the November 2008 ballot. Given the goal for a November vote, board member Bruce Reichmuth said that he hopes the district and research firm can make quick work of surveying patrons — something board members agreed Monday is a necessity. Jeff Crist, also of the board, said that at a recent conference, he discussed the issue with representatives from Kansas school districts that have succeeded with bond issues. “What they said was, ‘We determined what the community wanted,’” Crist said. Board member John Scheopner, however, expressed some reservations with the idea of simply going along with popular opinion. He has said he favors a two-high-school plan, though voters in 1998 and 2000 have rejected bond issues to build a second high school. “We need to decide whether we want to be politicians and stick our finger to the wind, or whether we want to be leaders,” he said. The board has sought community input by inviting the public to meet- ■ For more USD 457 news, see Page A5. ings and by placing a survey in The Garden City Telegram. However, board members said, they were disappointed to see few residents at meetings and only 50 responses to the survey. Ken DeSieghardt, of the Stilwell-based research firm, said the survey would provide the opportunity for the district to hear from the people with middle-of-the-road opinions — not just those who strongly approve or strongly disapprove of district actions. Callers will work until they receive 400 completed surveys — enough to provide information with a margin of error of plus/minus 5 percent, the researcher said. He said a survey likely would cover three areas: ■ Satisfaction level with current performance. ■ Opinions on options the board is considering and how much patrons would be willing to pay for them. ■ How interested citizens are in what’s going on at USD 457, and where they get their news. The firm plans to work with the district on drafting questions, which then will be reviewed by tile board Researchers’ goal is to begin calls in January, just after the holiday season. The cost of the survey will depend on the amount of time callers spend on the phone, but DeSieghardt said the district would pay no more than $13,800. Busters pull in awards.'"’—mr"" Weather making for hazardous conditions By LISA LUCERO ll [email protected] Kansas Highway Patrol spokesman Ron Knoefel urged motorists today to drive slowly and with caution because of icy highway conditions. Knoefel said with weather conditions changing rapidly, many vehicles have slid off highways on ice. He said patrol officers have had such reports in Garden City and Lakin. “The ice is starting to build up on the roads,” he said. “You’ve got to be very very careful” Knoefel said drivers should allow extra time to get to where they are going, keep their cell phones charged and make sure their vehicles are in good working order with plenty of fuel. “Aiid slow your speed down,” he said. State troopers and local law enforcement were called to a number of weather-related accidents this morning. Garden City Police Officer Rodney Bachman said most of the roads in Garden City were wet and not yet frozen, with some slick spots on bridges. No vehicle accidents had been reported at the Garden City Police Department as of press time. Bachman said drivers should remain vigilant “When the temperature gets colder, the roads may freeze over,” See Winter, Page A5 Inside Annie’s advice/ B8    Obituaries /112    State / A3 Classified / BS-7    Opinion / A4    TV Listings / BA Comics/A7    Sports /Bl -4    Weather /AB Check us out online at www.gctelegram.com “There is no moral precept ... that does not have something inspiring inconvenient about it.” — De- Minds nis Diderot, French philosopher (1713-1784). Wednesday's weather Tonight, snow, low 1! Wednesday, partly cloudy, high 32, low Details on page A8. Laurie Sl.k/Telegram A city utility worker replaces pow-erlines near Gardendale drive and Spruce street as ice begins to accumulate this morning. ;

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