Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt has been recognized as the nation’s Outstanding Attorney General for 2019. Schmidt was presented with the prestigious Kelley-Wyman Award, which is the top honor bestowed by the National Association of Attorneys General. Schmidt is recognized for his leadership both in Kansas and nationally in combating elder abuse and human trafficking, strengthening the professionalism of the office of attorney general, and promoting civil discourse and bipartisan cooperation.
Schmidt says he is greatly honored to receive this recognition from his colleagues nationwide and he is honored every day to be able to serve the citizens of Kansas. Schmidt was nominated for the award by Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden and Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller.
AAA Kansas has honored Kansas Highway Patrol Master Trooper John Lawson as the state’s first Drug Recognition Expert of the Year. As a part of this award, the AAA Kansas Traffic Safety Fund sponsored and provided funding for Master Trooper Lawson to attend the 2019 International Association of Chiefs of Police National Drug and Alcohol Impaired Driving Conference in Anaheim, California in August.
Master Trooper Lawson was nominated by his supervisor, Lt. Josh Biera, who says that since Lawson became a certified DRE in 2017, he has excelled with his hard work, large number of DRE evaluations and DUI arrests, as well as his commitment to perform evaluations when called.
U.S. Senator from Kansas releases a statement on the agreement reached between the White House and Congress regarding the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement. Senator Jerry Moran says he has long advocated for movement on USMCA, and he applauds the White House and Congress for reaching an agreement and advancing this deal.
Moran says that Canada and Mexico are Kansas’ top two export markets, and over the last two years, he has heard directly from Kansans how vital a modern trade deal like USMCA would be for farmers, ranchers and manufacturers.
KDOT has started a short-term project to patch concrete pavement on northbound I-35 at the Tequa Creek Bridge this week, weather permitting.
The bridge is located one mile north of the Osage-Franklin county line. Northbound traffic will be reduced to one lane at the work zone. Slow down and drive with care in the affected area.
The Coffeyville City Commission met on Tuesday night as they get set to wrap up a successful 2019 and transition into the new year of 2020.
Executive Director of the Montgomery County Action Council, Trisha Purdon was in attendance to provide a quarterly update. Purdon mentions the current active projects that MCAC is working on which include US-169, 13 small business projects, one new retail prospect, five current recruitment prospects, four business retention/expansion projects and site certification.
Purdon adds that MCAC helped provide new jobs in 2019.
Purdon mentions some of the current projects in Montgomery County.
Purdon talks about the new businesses that were created in 2019.
Purdon goes on to mention that enhancing quality of life is a big key for the Montgomery County Action Council. Some other talking points during the meeting was the 2020 work plan (AUDIO). Also mentioned was that the budget for this year was going to provide a surplus which would be rolled into 2020 which would be used to help receive new grants.
Candi Westbrook, Executive Director of the Coffeyville Chamber of Commerce, was also in attendance to provide an update with the Chamber. Westbrook provided plenty of details about the Chamber for 2019 but one of the key points was that membership was basically an all time high which helps with keeping businesses local.
Westbrook talks about the upcoming chamber board meeting and that quality of life is towards the top of the list.
Westbrook adds that one of the big highlights of 2019 was updating their website.
During the meeting there were public hearings regarding water utility, water supply loan funds, wastewater utility among others (Full Audio).
Approve Planning Commission applications for Jeff McCloud and Max Williams (Full Audio)
Resolution R-19-80 – A resolution to approve a lease agreement for the abandoned concrete apron at the north end of the airport T-hangers (Full Audio)
Resolution R-19-81 – A resolution approving and authorizing the execution of the January 1, 2019 through December 31, 2019 City of Coffeyville Memorandum of agreement with the International Association of Firefighters, Local #265 (IAFF) (Full Audio)
City Manager's Report (Full Audio)
The commissioners concluded the meeting by wishing everyone a safe and happy holiday season as the next scheduled meeting wouldn't take place until after Christmas.
The Brown Mansion Candlelight tours begin Wednesday starting at 5:30 PM.
The Mansion was able surpass their goal of 150 trees decorated through the home this year. Tickets for the Candlelight Tours are $5 per person and are sold at the door and entertainment will also be provided.
The self-guided tours are scheduled for the following dates:
Wednesday, December 11
Sunday, December 15
Wednesday, December 18
Saturday, December 21
Sunday, December 22
Monday, December 23
Times for all tours are 5:30pm to 8:00pm.
As part of the nationally observed Wreaths Across America Day each December, a brief ceremony will be held at 1:00 PM on Saturday, Dec. 14, at the Pittsburg State University Veterans Memorial.
The mission of the annual day, to “Remember, Honor and Teach” is carried out by coordinating wreath-laying ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery, as well as at more than 1,400 additional locations in all 50 states, at sea, and abroad. The ceremony will be under the direction of PSU ROTC and will last approximately 15 minutes. Cadet Jonathan Gonzalez will serve as the emcee, and Lt. Col. Charles Costello, professor of military science, will offer remarks.
To conclude the ceremony, former service members will place wreaths on stands by memorial seals that represent each branch of service.
The Coffeyville United School District #445 Board of Education met for their regular meeting on Monday night at the Education Center. Mill rate trends was the most discussed topic of the evening and Andy Taylor was in attendance to provide the board a better understanding of those mill rate trends.
Taylor gives an example of how the mill rate trends have changed in recent years.
Taylor provided the school board with information regarding the mill rate trends for Coffeyville City Property Owners with figures and total precent change between the years 2011 and 2019, which is 15.9%.
There were plenty of other topics on the agenda outside of the mill rate trends. There was information presented regarding graduation and post-secondary education. It was great timing considering it was scheduled to be on the agenda and Craig Correll wanted to give his congratulations to those who were presenting the information to the school board.
Four years ago, the Kansas State Board of Education launched its new vision for education. They've identified key outcomes that Kansans say they value including social-emotional growth, kindergarten readiness, individual plan of study, civic engagement, high school graduation and post-secondary success. USD #445 Coffeyville was presented the Commissione's Award Honors for the 2019-2020 school year.
Another topic of discussion during the school board meeting was the board action to approve the Superintendent's recommendation for supplemental position's. Edward Ray Rutherford as FKHS assistant baseball coach, Jamie Thompson as FKHS assistant boys swimming coach, Corey Turner and Thomas Mackiewicz as FKHS assistant wrestling coaches. The board approved 6-0.
The next regularly scheduled meeting will take place on January 13th, 2020 inside the Education Center.
The Pittsburg High School band and choir will perform in the 9th Annual Vespers Concert on Saturday, December 14th at 7:00pm which brings together instrumental and vocal musicians in one memorable evening of performances.
The concert will be produced at the Pittsburgh Memorial Auditorium under the direction of Band Director Cooper Neil and Choir Director Susan Laushman.
Admission to the concert is free as a gift to the community.
Come continue the holiday spirit with some Christmas music! There'll be another Christmas concert this Sunday at the First Presbyterian Church in Coffeyville, starring Markel Porter, the Vocal Music Director at Coffeyville Community College.
Donations will be accepted during the concert, with proceeds heading toward a trip to Vienna, Austria with the Pitt State Choir next March. There will also be a silent auction of Christmas ornaments. The concert begins at 3 p.m.
The Independence City Commission will once again meet this Thursday for its regularly scheduled meeting. On this week's agenda includes a public hearing to consider the condemnation of 301 Cement Street, a hearing adjourned from last November. The commission will also consider authorizing the issuance of $1.2 million in taxable industrial revenue bonds, Series 2019, for Textron Aviation Inc.
As always, the commission will meet at 5:30 p.m. at the Veterans Room inside Memorial Hall. The meeting is open to the public, and a full agenda for the meeting can be found here.
The Labette County Commissioners meet with members of the legislature during their regularly scheduled commission meeting. Representative Rich Proehl and Senator Dan Goddard were present to listen to the commissioners and members of the elected personnel in the county discuss their legislative priorities.
The topics discussed include the property tax lid, next generation 911, bridges, mental health and the jails. The commissioners support repealing the property-tax lid, they support eliminating the cap on the 911 tax or having a more reasonable rate to support growth, they would like to be able to have the ability to more consistently improve bridges and they support limiting incarceration of the mentally ill and support the effort for accessible treatment to address mental illness.
A researcher at the University of Kansas has been charged with two counts of theft and four related criminal charges. Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt says 37 year old Liuqi Gu of Lawrence, was charged in Douglas County District Court with one felony count of theft in excess of $100,000, theft between $25,000 and $100,000, unlawful acts concerning computers, making false information and one misdemeanor count of official misconduct and failure to pay state sales tax.
The complaint alleges from November 2016 to October 2018, Gu falsely represented that purchases he made from Thermo-Fisher Scientific were for the use of the University of Kansas in order to receive discounts from the company for his personal benefit or the benefit of another. It also alleges Gu used confidential information acquired in the course of his employment with the University of Kansas in order to avoid paying sales tax totaling between $25,000 and $100,000 on those purchases.
The Montgomery County Commissioners met on Monday for their weekly meeting in the lower level of the Judicial Center in Independence. With plenty on the agenda, the commissioners got right into session after the approval of the agenda and approval of minutes.
There was a public hearing regarding the annexation of land for Rural Water District #9.
Carl Gorton spoke on the matter.
County Clerk Charlotte Scott Schmidt adds that the petition has been signed.
After limited minutes of discussion the call for vote was given by Larry McManus and all of the commissioners approved.
The meeting continued with Rural Fire Coordinator Rick Whitson and he starts off by saying that they have sent some tanks out for bids in the surrounding area. The commission and Whitson transitioned into discussion on the Rural Fire budget for the fourth quarter and also upcoming information for 2020. Whitson provided numbers to the commissioners. There has also been plenty of discussion with Whitson and the commissioners in recent weeks regarding volunteer firefighters, compensation and how it should be distributed to those involved.
Whitson would like to provide a few more dollars to those who volunteer and have that distributed at the end of the year.
Public Works Coordinator Jim Wright was also in attendance to discuss the petition for road vacation in Jefferson with a request road viewing date to be set which was approved by the planning board. Also in discussion was a petition for road vacation in Caney.
Wright also went into detail about expiring positions on the planning board.
Also during the meeting was discussion of the appointment of the Parker Township Treasurer.
The Board of County Commissioners for Montgomery County meeting every Monday morning at 9:00 AM in the lower level of the Judicial Center in Independence. NOTE: The agenda is subject to change and all meetings are open to the public.
The City of Parsons has appointed Kenny Ward as its new Fire Chief.
Ward comes to Parsons with more than 30 years of experience including time as the Fire Chief and Emergency Management Director of the City of Greenville’s Fire Department and also as the Fire Chief of the City of Altus Fire -Rescue Department. Ward most recently resided in Sand Springs, Oklahoma where he was the Environmental Health and Safety Director for two Midwest construction companies over the past several years. He has also served in several fire training instructor roles including OSHA Outreach instructor and an instructor at Firefighter Level I and II, Oklahoma Fire Service Training.
Current Fire Chief Jay Hawk will retire effective December 23, 2019.
Pittsburg Community Middle School will be performing Disney’s Alice in Wonderland Jr. at Memorial Auditorium and Convention Center on Thursday. December 12 at 7:00pm.
The zany 60-minute musical, designed for middle school-aged performers, is based on the 1951 Disney film and the novels by Lewis Carroll. The cast includes 42 students led by Kimberly Arzoian and Janette Mauk. Disney’s Alice in Wonderland Jr. is presented through special arrangement with and all materials are provided by Music Theatre International.
For information on purchasing tickets, please visit the Pittsburg Community Middle School front office.
The City of Independence will be conducting a disaster drill, designed to be an active shooter situation, this Wednesday at ICC West Campus on West Main Street. The drill will take place at 1:30 p.m, and is designed to test the response of emergency services and the emergency response plan for the city.
The drill is being performed with assistance from Independence Fire-EMS & Police, Independence Labette Health, Labette Health, Montgomery Emergency Management, Independence Community College and the Montgomery County Sheriff's office. No citizens will be allowed into the ICC West Campus during the drill, but there will be precautions taken to ensure the safety of residents, including proper signage and security.
For the first time, public school enrollment in the state of Oklahoma has crossed 700,000 students. According to official statistics released by the Oklahoma State Department of Education, 703,650 students were enrolled in some sort of public education for the 2019-2020 school year, an increase of over 5,000 students from last year. Oklahoma City and Tulsa, as expected, continue to be the most populous school districts.
Demographically, the new statistics show little change. Just over half of the state’s students were Hispanic, American Indian, black, Asian/Pacific Islander, native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander, or members of two or more races, while 48% of students were white.
More than 450 students are expected to participate in PSU's Fall Commencement on Friday, December 13th. There will be one for graduates in the College of Arts and Sciences and Kelce College of Business at 5:00 PM and there will also be one for graduates in the College of Education and College of Technology at 8:00 PM.
Both ceremonies will be held in the John Lance Arena of the Garfield Weede Physical Educational Building which is located at 1701 S. Homer.
Faculty and administration will participate. Families and friends are encouraged to take part along their graduates in the ringing of the Centennial Bell at the southwest corner of Axe Library. The bell will be available for ringing from 8:00 AM to 10:00 PM on Friday.
Also on Friday, the department of Military Science will hold a commissioning ceremony for three ROTC cadets at 10:00 AM in the Dotty Miller Theatre in the Bicknell Family Center for the Arts which is located at 1711 S. Homer.
For more information about parking, handicapped accessibility, and other details visit https://www.pittstate.edu/registrar/commencement.html
Save the date for the Spring Into Health Fair on March 27th, 2020 from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM at the Homer Cole Community Center in Pittsburg. This event is hosted by AARP Chapter #646 of Crawford County, Audio Reader and the SEK Library System's Talking Book Program.
The Pittsburg Lions Club will be checking vision. An FCCLA class from USD 387 at Altoona/Midway will be on hand to help seniors with their cell phones. Also representatives of MASA Medical Transport Solutions will be available to talk about air services provided to hospitals in emergency situations.
Booth space is still available for interested businesses and organizations. Applications to participate will be accepted until February 28th, 2020. There is a $30 registration fee. You can contact Melissa Frantz at 620-365-5136 for more information or to sign up.
Admission is free and open to the public. There will be refreshments as well as door prizes given on an hourly basis.
The Coffeyville Police Department have announced they have recently been advised that someone is “spoofing" the Police Department phone number for a scam.
The callers are telling people that an investigation is leading to a warrant for their arrest. They are telling people to purchase prepaid Visa cards to send or they will be arrested. They are also giving names that are the same or similar to officers that citizens are familiar with in Coffeyville.
The CPD wants to remind everyone that they will not call you and tell you to purchase anything to keep from getting a warrant. The only way to keep from getting a warrant is to pay your fines, show up for court or don’t break the law.
If you have any questions, feel free to contact Officer Moley, who is investigating this scam case.
Perhaps the largest Christmas Parade in Coffeyville’s history brought equally large crowds out for the festivities Friday night. Although temperatures were a bit cool compared to the last week they remained in the 40’s throughout the parade and were not cold enough to freeze the crowds spirit.
Before the start of the parade children were offered the chance to have cookies with Santa at the Perkins Building on Coffeyville’s downtown plaza. The parade began at 6:00 Friday evening and after nearly 110 entries passed by wound up around 7:00.
The Crawford County Commissioners has announced the appointment of Michael Ehling as the new Executive Administrator for the Crawford County Mental Health Center.
Ehling has over 30 years of experience and served as the Mental Health Director prior to his appointment. He has a Master of Science in Clinical Psychology from Pittsburg State University and holds two licenses from the Kansas Behavioral Sciences Regulatory Board.
Ehling takes over administrative duties from Richard Pfeiffer who has servied as the Executive Administrator for nearly 40 years.
Crawford County Mental Health Center has been serving the mental health needs of Crawford County since 1961. For more information, contact Michael Ehling at email@example.com or 620-230-9742.
The median strip and both inside lanes along a half-mile stretch of U.S. 54 at the west city limits of La Harpe will be closed to traffic starting Monday, Dec. 9, weather permitting.
This will reduce traffic to one lane in each direction on this section of highway. The closure is necessary for repair work on the median and the highway is scheduled to be re-opened on Thursday, Dec. 12.
Westbound U.S. 54 traffic wanting to travel south on Monroe Street in La Harpe will need to continue west to the crossover at 2400th Street and turn back eastbound on U.S 54 to be able to turn south on Monroe.
Please use extra caution in the work zone area.
The Kansas Highway Patrol has released its activity report for the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. From 6 p.m. on November 27 through midnight on December 1st, the KHP worked two non-DUI related crashes with five non-DUI related fatalities.
DUI arrests have increased once again, up to 19 this year compared to 16 last year and 12 in 2017. Speeding citations did see a big drop, however, from 1,195 in 2018 to just 874 this year. You can see a full list of data released by the KHP here.