The Ark City Traveler this morning is reporting that Representative Virgil Peck of Tyro, responded on Monday regarding his use of a private state plane to fly to Topeka to cast a vote on education funding reform. Peck reportedly said that taking the flight was not his idea, nor was it something that he wanted to do. He told the paper that he was informed on March 11th, just two days before the vote, that there were 67 “yes” votes for the bill, more than the amount necessary to pass it. But others in the capitol say that Peck had been warned ahead of time that there would be an important vote, and he was asked to stay, yet he chose to leave anyway. The plane became available on March 13th. Some say that Peck was not forced to use the plane, and wrack up the expense of doing so. Instead they say, he could have driven or chosen not to return at all. The Lawrence Journal-World reported that the plane carrying Peck landed in Topeka two minutes before the final vote was tallied.
Archives for March 2015
A local Elementary School was placed on a partial lockdown Monday afternoon. Arkansas City Police were advised that there was a “person of interest” seen in close proximity to the grounds of IXL Elementary. All of the doors to the elementary school were locked, with the exception of the front doors, where the district placed personnel to ensure security. No child was left the building without direct adult supervision, and students only were released to the custody of a parent or guardian. So far, no additional information has been released, and no arrests have been reported in connection with the incident.
Kansas may soon join a handful of other states that allow residents to carry concealed firearms without a permit. Last week, the Legislature gave final approval to a bill backed by the National Rifle Association. The measure is now headed to Republican Gov. Sam Brownback, who has signed every other major gun-rights measure sent to him since taking office in January 2011. If approved, Kansas would become the fifth state to allow concealed carry without a permit everywhere within its borders. The House approved the bill last Wednesday on an 85-39 vote. The Senate passed it last month. The House also approved, 100-24, a bill prohibiting cities and counties from imposing special fees and taxes on guns or gun sales. It would follow up on a law last year aimed at nullifying local restrictions and goes to the Senate. Kansas enacted its concealed carry law in 2006 and about 87,000 people 21 or older hold valid permits.
A former child protection supervisor with the Kansas Department for Children and Families office in Winfield has filed a “whistleblower” lawsuit, accusing the agency of firing her for calling her supervisor’s attention to false reports filed by a social worker. The Ark City Traveler reports that Karen King filed the suit last December, in which she is seeking to be reinstated with back pay. King’s lawsuit reportedly, came as no surprise to those at the Kansas Organization of State Employees, the union representing state workers, who say that the work environment at DCF is chaotic at all regional offices. DCF also is named in a federal lawsuit that accuses the agency and one of its contractors of removing a 4-year-old boy from his mother’s care, and allowing his father and his father’s girlfriend to care for him, despite the father’s history of domestic violence. The boy later was murdered by his father and his girlfriend, both of whom are now in prison.
South Central Kansas Medical Center has filed an application with Medicare to be classified as a Sole Community Hospital. The application was filed on Wednesday, and results are expected within the next 60 to 90 days. If the hospital is successful in getting re-classified, it could translate into an increase of available funds of as much as $400,000. To qualify, the hospital must be located at least 35 miles from other similar hospitals, it must be a rural hosptial, with no more than 25 percent of resident inpatients or no more than 25 percent of Medicare beneficiaries who become inpatients admitted to other like hospitals located within a 35-mile radius of the hospital or within its service area. It must also have fewer than 50 beds. Meanwhile, hospital financials for February are apparently showing positive movement. The total loss for February 2014 was $336,069, but this February saw a loss of only $220,801.
The man accused of murdering another man at a Winfield bar on New Year’s Eve is due in court next week. Tim Boyd is set for a 1:30 Monday hearing in Winfield. He’s charged with second degree murder in the death of Derek Higgins at Hot Shotz Bar at 314 West 8th Street in Winfield. The two had been involved in a fight. Boyd was arrested later in the day. Monday’s hearing will be for a judge to determine if there is enough evidence to proceed to a jury trial. Boyd remains behind bars on a half-million dollar bond.
A federal jury returned guilty verdicts on Thursday, in the trial of a Wellington man who was accused of distributing child pornography. U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom’s office says 48 year old Steven Meisel was convicted on one count of distributing child pornography and one count of possessing child pornography. The conviction was based in part, on the fact that Wichita Police were able to retrieve child porn from Meisel’s computer… images that he downloaded including young children engaged in sex acts. Meisel will be sentenced on July first, when he faces no less than five years in prison, and a maximum of twenty years, along with a fine of as much as $250,000, and that’s just on the charge of distribution of child porn. Meisel also faces at least ten years behind bars and another fine of up to $250,000 on the charge of possession of child porn.
In Winfield, the former publisher of the Winfield Daily Courier, Lloyd Craig, was laid to rest Wednesday, as the Rev. Dr. John Paulin gave the final benediction, the color guard gave a three-volley salute, and the trumpeter played “Taps.” Craig died suddenly March 11th, as he was in the midst of many activities and looking forward to new involvement. Craig worked at the paper for more than fifty years.
A House budget panel on Tuesday, gave it’s support to a $6.4 billion budget plan that doesn’t balance without tax increases. The budget, according to the Associated Press, which was approved by the House Appropriations Committee, would fall about $133.6 million short if the Legislature does not increase taxes on alcohol and cigarettes, as Gov. Sam Brownback has recommended. Both chambers already have approved the largest portion of the state budget by passing the governor’s school funding overhaul. Brownback is expected to sign the plan later this week.
The Arkansas City City Commission unanimously voted on Tuesday night to table a resolution that would authorize the city to enter into a contract agreement with Preload, Inc. for the construction of an aboveground water storage tank, or clearwell, for the new water treatment plant. The Ark City Traveler reports that a number of locals attended the meeting for the sole purpose of requesting that the commission delay voting on the clearwell until the next commission meeting, which is set for April 7. One question was raised regarding the size of the tank in the resolution. The current clearwell is a 2-million-gallon tank. The new tank would hold 1.5 million gallons.
Public Works Director Eric Broce said the city’s usage is actually around 750,000 gallons a day, but a 1.5-million-gallon tank was chosen to accommodate the potential growth in demand for water. A previous commission had intentions of renovating the current structure, which would have cost around $16 to $17 million. The proposed new plant comes in somewhere around $18 million.