He has served Winfield for more than 30 years, but now, Winfield City Engineer, Russ Tomevi, has announced his retirement, effective December 16. The city commission thanked Tomevi for his dedication to the people of Winfield. A statement by Mayor Brenda Butters read: “Mr. Tomevi has been a tremendous resource and a valuable asset to the City of Winfield. We will miss his knowledge of the city, his experience and his excellent advice moving forward. We are happy that he plans to remain in Winfield and wish him all the best in his well-deserved retirement.” Winfield City Manager Jeremy Willmoth said that the city will reorganize several departments, including the engineering, and public works departments run by Tomevi, the Community Development Department run by Patrick Steward, and the creation of a new department combining Management Information Systems, currently located in the city clerk’s department, with Geographic Information Systems, currently located in the engineering department.
Archives for July 2017
A man accused of forcing himself at gunpoint into a state judge’s home and holding the judge hostage for several hours while making demands of other state officials has been convicted of terrorism. On Friday, a jury found 34 year old Jason Nichols, of Garden City, Kansas, guilty of one count of terrorism, one count of kidnapping, one count of aggravated burglary, two counts of aggravated assault, one count of criminal threat and one count of criminal restraint. Sentencing has been set for September 15th. The incident occurred May 31, 2016, in Garden City. Evidence presented at trial showed that while Nichols held the judge in his home, he demanded a phone call be placed to the Kansas secretary of revenue. During that call, Nichols demanded the Department of Revenue provide to Nichols various types of information related to state taxes. Kansas law defines terrorism to include the commission of a felony with the intent to influence government policy by intimidation or coercion or with the intent to affect the operation of any unit of government. Under Kansas law, a terrorism conviction carries a possible life prison sentence.
Fire crews rushed out Wednesday afternoon, after getting a call about a blaze at a vacant house on William Street in Rock. According to a report in the local paper, Russell Lovell lives next door to the house that caught fire. He says he and his wife were watching TV when his wife saw smoke coming from the other house, so the immediatly called 911. The house was reportedly vacant for at least 7 years, and it was in very poor shape… actually falling down in some spots. They say it also attracted vagrants, and the Lovells have been trying to the the county to condemn it. The investigation into just what started the fire is ongoing.
The City of Winfield has announced plans to consolidate several city departments into one single entity, a move they say will save almost a quarter of a million dollars in the coming year alone. Joining the community development and engineering/public works departments into one entity, will also… according to city leaders… make operations more efficient. According to Winfield City Manager Jeremy Willmoth, the new department will be called public services and handle all the same functions as the two existing departments do now, including refuse and recycling collection, operating the compost facility, street projects and code enforcement. The new department will employ about 20 full-time workers, including a department director, executive secretary, street superintendent, sanitation superintendent, building official, code enforcement inspector, engineering specialist, maintenance workers, sanitation workers and more, and operate with a total 2018 budget of $3.9 million, saving the city $223,000 over the way it is run now.
In Cowley County District Court on Monday, Zachary Gardner pleaded not guilty to a charge of second degree murder in connection with the January 15 death of his wife, Melissa, at a home in Winfield. Judge Nicholas St. Peter set a pre-trial conference for 1:30 p.m. August 30 at the Cowley County Courthouse in Winfield. Gardner waived his right to a preliminary hearing back in June. Now, Gardner could face a sentence of between 147 months to 653 months in prison, a fine up to $300,000 and post-release supervision… if and when he is ever free again. For now, Gardner remains in the Cowley County Jail on $500,000 bond.
Arkansas City police are getting cagey… and it’s working! Ark City officers are now putting an old traffic enforcement trick to work, in their fight against drivers who disobey the posted speed limits…. They’ve begun parking an empty police car in high-traffic locations at random times. So far, the cars have been used mainly along Summit Street, and so far, it seems to be working. Police say don’t assume the car is always empty either… sometimes there will be an officer in the car, sometimes there won’t be. But drivers can be sure, according to the police, that there will be officers in the parked vehicles often enough to pull over speeding drivers. They say the point is, it’s just not worth the risk to not slow down and then find out. Police say it’s just a natural tendency is to slow down when drivers see a marked patrol car.
Save Our Schools Cowley County, and Women For Kansas Cowley County, are holding a discussion this evening on how to best respond to a new funding formula for Cowley County schools. Local district superintendents have been invited to speak. The discussion takes place tonight at 7 at the Winfield High School cafeteria, on Viking Boulevard in Winfield. If you have questions, or need more information before tonight’s meeting, call 620-222-1198 or 620-262-2326.
The Kansas Supreme Court on Friday, affirmed convictions in a 2013 murder case from Wichita. Attorneys for Corey Pollard unsuccessfully argued prosecutors erred by introducing evidence of gang affiliation. Pollard was one of four people arrested for the November, 2013 shooting death of a man who was visiting from Arkansas. He was shot after what police say started as a drug deal, but then turned into an attempted robbery and shootout. A jury found Pollard guilty of murder and aggravated robbery.
Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt on Thursday, said a new automated system designed to notify crime victims when an offender has a change in custody status has now been implemented in more than half of the counties across the state. County-by-county implementation of the Kansas Victim Information and Notification Everyday (VINE) system began in March 2016. VINE is a free and anonymous service that allows victims of crime to use the telephone or internet to search for information regarding the custody status of offenders in a county jail and to register to receive notification when the offender’s custody status changes, such as when the offender is released from jail. Types of offender information available are name, offender number, current offender custody status, location of the offender and scheduled release date if available. The Kansas VINE system is currently for offenders housed in county jails only, and so far, 59 counties have been activated. Over the next year, remaining counties across Kansas will complete the data management integration and become activated. Before VINE, there was no central source of information available to crime victims about offenders held in county jails.
There is a new owner at Creekstone Farms in Arkansas City, but company officials… according to the local paper… say nothing will change locally. Investment group Sun Capital Partners Inc. announced Thursday that the beef plant had been sold to Marubeni America Corp, but terms of the private transaction were not disclosed. According to Jim Rogers, Creekstone’s vice president of sales and marketing, it will be business as usual for Creekstone. Sun Capital acquired Creekstone Farms in February 2005. The new owner, Marubeni, is involved with a large number of familiar products and busineses. They are headquartered in New York City, with locations across the U.S. and also in Mexico and Canada. Creekstone employs about 700.