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Local News Archives for 2020-05

Dates Set for Several Special Indy City Commission Meetings

 

Dates have been set for several special commission meetings for the city of Independence. 

 

The commission will first meet this Wednesday, June 3rd at 9 am to discuss renewing the special use sales tax. As this meeting is just a brainstorming session, it will not be filmed. No decisive action will be taken.

 

In addition, the commission will meet on Tuesday, July 14th at 6 pm to further discuss expanding the sale of cereal malt beverages and alcoholic liquor on Sundays. 

 

Also, the commission will meet later in June to discuss Phase II of 1916 City Hall Renovations. 

 

Labette County Extends Disaster Declaration

 

Even though there are no restrictions on the county the Labette County Commission still needed to extended their disaster declaration. Emergency Management Director Charlie Morse says this is so they can receive federal funding.

 

Morse says he's heard a lot from the public on reopening the county and the press release posted on their Facebook page has around 20,000 views.  The commissioners unanimously approved the new disaster declaration which went in to affect immediately.

 

The commission will not meet for their regularly scheduled meeting on June 1st their next meeting will be June 8th at 9:00am.

Scam Reported Involving Drug, Violent and Sex Offenders

 

The Montgomery County Sheriff's Office is reporting that registered drug, violent, and sex offenders are receiving calls from a Deputy by the name of Bradley Cooper with the Sheriff's Office stating that you need to pay for fingerprints and DNA.

 

The Sheriff's Office wants the public to know that there is no officer by that name within the agency.

 

Be advised that this is a scam and you are advised not to give them money, gift cards or game cards if requested to do so.

 

If you have any questions you can contact the registration office at 620-330-1066 or if you have already spoke to that individual and gave them anything, contact the Sheriff's office and file a report.

Late Fees Waived for Concealed Carry Renewals Through October 1st

 

Residents in Kansas seeking to renew their concealed carry handgun licenses but are unable to meet the ordinary requirements because of limitations imposed because of Covid-19 will have late fees waived and be accommodated by new procedures.

 

Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt made the announcement on Friday.

 

The modifications and accommodations will be in effect until October 1st, or until otherwise modified by the Attorney General.

 

Schmidt is making similar accommodations and waiver of late fees for private detectives and bail enforcement agents licensed by his office.

 

More details can be found on the Attorney General's website.

Pittsburg State to Reopen Outdoor Facilities on Monday

 

Pittsburg State University is beginning the process of reopening its facilities to the public, starting with its outdoor facilities on Monday.

 

Carnie Smith Stadium, soccer fields, outdoor basketball courts, intramural softball fields and sand volleyball courts are set to open back up. Baseball and softball fields will be available for reservations.

 

Most other facilities will remain closed as it prepares for a broad reopening of its facilities later on this summer.

 

PSU will continue to monitor the situation and make adjustments if needed.

 

Montgomery County Will Continue to Follow Governor's Phased Out Plan

 

Montgomery County is going to continue to follow Governor Laura Kelly's Ad Astra plan. The decision was made on Thursday morning as the Montgomery County Commissioners met in a special session to discuss the county plans. Emergency Management Director, Rick Whitson made the recommendation to the county commissioner's. 

 

Montgomery County has not seen a positive Covid-19 case in over three weeks and the only current active case was scheduled to come off of quarantine on Thursday.

 

Whitson says at the end of the day its about the safety and well-being of the citizens in the county. 

 

The Montgomery County Courthouse will open for full normal operations on Monday but the jail will remain closed to visitors until at least June 22nd.

 

The Emergency Disaster Declaration was also extended another 60 days. The county is currently in the middle of Phase two of the plan with Phase three set to go into effect on June 8th. June 22nd is the set date for the end of phase three.

 

Detailed information regarding Phase two and what will change come Phase three can be found here.

Gas Prices Jump From Last Month

 

After dropping to a low of $1.76 in April, the national gas price average is pennies away from hitting the $2/gallon mark.

 

The national average is $1.96, which is eight cents higher than a week ago, 19 cents more than last month, but still a significant 90 cents cheaper than the end of May 2019, according to the latest numbers from GasBuddy.com.

 

In Kansas, prices have climbed up to $1.67 which is up 2 cents since last week and is nearly 19 cents higher than last month. Montgomery and Chautauqua counties are currently level with the state average, while Labette County came in slightly higher than the state average at $1.69 a gallon.

 

Across the border in Oklahoma the state average is $1.63. Washington and Nowata counties came in slightly under the state average at $1.61 and $1.58 a gallon, respectively.

KDOT to Repair Verdigris River Bridge on U.S. 54

 

Motorists driving on U.S. 54 just west of the Greenwood-Woodson county line should plan for extra time for their trip as the Kansas Department of Transportation will begin a project to repair a section of the U.S. 54 bridge over the Verdigris River on Monday, June 1st.

 

The work zone will remain open to two-way traffic, with a reduced speed limit. The project is expected to be completed in one month, weather permitting. Drivers should obey the warning signs and slow down in the work zone.

 

PCI Roads LLC of St. Michael, Minnesota was awarded the construction contract at a cost of $97,000.

Fatal Crash South of South Coffeyville

 

The Oklahoma Highway Patrol, just south of South Coffeyville was on the scene of a fatal crash Thursday morning that was blocking both lanes of traffic on U.S.-169 just north of Oklahoma Union in Nowata County. 

 

Northbound traffic was being diverted to Oklahoma State Highway 10 West. KGGF will provide more details as soon as they become available. 

Curbside Hours Adjusted at Coffeyville Public Library

 

The Coffeyville Public Library has adjusted their curbside hours to Monday through Thursday from 1:00 PM to 6:00 PM and Friday from 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM.

 

You can place all return items in the outside drop box. They want to continue to thank the public for their continued patience and cooperation.

 

The summer reading program is set to start up soon with both physical and digital sign-ups for summer reading programs. You can find more information on their website, Facebook page or you can contact the library at 620-251-1370.

Back to Business as Normal in Labette County

 

The Labette County Commissioners met in special meeting to discuss their plan for reopening the county. Emergency Management Director Charlie Morse says the county will not put any restrictions in place.

 

Morse says the county hasn't had a new case in almost a month and all of the cases they had have all fully recovered.  The Labette County Commissioners will meet for their end of the month meeting where they will extend the county's disaster declaration indefinitely.

Latest COVID-19 Numbers in Kansas

 

The latest COVID-19 numbers in the state of Kansas have been release by the Kansas Department of health. According to the KDHE, there are now 9,337 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Kansas with 822 hospitalizations, 205 deaths and over 75,000 negative cases.

 

Cases in Southeastern Kansas have remained unchanged. Labette County has 22, Montgomery County 19, Cherokee County 9, Crawford County 6, Chautauqua County 4, Neosho County 2, Wilson County 1, and Elk County remains at 0.

 

Bounce Back Coffeyville Begins on Monday

 

As the threat of the Coronavirus still looms and counties begin to apply restrictions regarding the virus going forward, Coffeyville continues to find ways to support local businesses during these hard times.

 

For every $50 transaction you spend at a local store, you will receive $10 back in what is called “Bounce Back Bucks.”

 

Executive Director of the Coffeyville Chamber of Commerce, Candi Westbrook says they are similar to Chamber Bucks but you will have plenty of places to choose from to used those bounce back bucks. 

 

The way to redeem your bounce back bucks are to take your receipt into the Chamber and they will give you your certificate.

 

Westbrook says the main focus was the small businesses heavily impacted by Covid-19. 

 

Bounce Back Coffeyville is set to begin on Monday, June 1st. For more information you can call the Chamber at 620-251-2550 or visit their website.

Parsons Police Investigate Drive by Shooting

 

Parsons Police are asking for the public's help to identify the vehicle involved in a drive by shooting.

 

Officers were called to a residence in the 3000 block of Crawford for reported bullet holes in a house. Upon investigation, Officers found what they believe to be several .22 caliber bullet holes in the house and one in a vehicle and three shell casings were recovered from the surrounding area.

 

The victims stated that they were home at the time of the shooting, but no one was injured, and they did not hear the shots.

 

There has been no reported motive for the attack and officers suspect the shooter may have shot at the wrong house.

Schmidt and Other Attorneys General Stress Protection of Rural Broadband Access During Pandemic

 

Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt has joined 38 other state and territory attorneys general in sending a letter to Congress urging to protect rural broadband access as a part of COVID-19 relief legislation. The letter asks Congress to provide funding to state and local governments, as well as the U.S. Federal Communication Commission (FCC) to address disparities in access to home internet connectivity.

 

Schmidt said protecting internet connectivity is especially important in a time when many are using the service to participate in medicine, schooling, and work from home or elsewhere.

 

Schmidt and the other attorneys general are urging Congress to provide funding that is dedicated to ensuring that all students and medical patients, especially senior citizens who are at risk, have adequate internet-enabled technology to participate equally in online learning and telemedicine. They are also seeking increased funding to the FCC Universal Service Fund, which provides vital funding to rural and low-income populations, healthcare providers and educators with the goal of bridging the digital divide.

Indy City Commission Agenda for 5-28

 

Several special meetings will be scheduled this week as the Independence City Commission meets for its regular session on Thursday. 

 

The commission will set dates for meetings regarding three topics, including expanding the sale of cereal malt beverage and alcoholic liquor to Sundays. Dates will also be set for a meeting regarding the renewal of the special use sales tax and the discussion of Phase II of the 1916 City Hall renovations.

 

The Independence Public Library will present its budget for 2020, and the commission will consider a resolution modifying the residential dumpster program.

 

Potential attendees are still encouraged to participate in the meeting either through Facebook Live or by conference call. The meeting will begin at 5:30 pm.

City Manager Mark Hall Addressed Gov. Laura Kelly's County by County Plan at City Commission Meeting Tuesday Night

 

Coffeyville City Manager Mark Hall addressed Kansas Governor Laura Kelly's press conference from Tuesday giving authorities to counties across the state going forward regarding the Covid-19 pandemic.

 

The comments were made at Tuesday night's City Commission Meeting.

 

Hall says they will wait to see what the county puts in place. 

 

Hall mentioned that they have a plan in place to accommodate court and still remain open and says they'll have to take it step by step going forward. 

 

A link to watch Tuesday night's Coffeyville City Commission Meeting can be found here.

Governor Laura Kelly Returns Control to County Officials Regarding Covid-19

 

 

 

Kansas Governor Laura Kelly has vetoed House Bill 2054, which would limit the emergency powers she has during the Coronavirus Pandemic.

 

Kelly says the bill would have long lasting consequences on the state. 

 

Kelly is removing the statewide stay at home order and giving control to each county in the state starting on Wednesday. The Ad Astra plan will still be given as guidance but ultimately it will be up to counties to set their own emergency declaration.

 

Kelly says issuing a new emergency declaration is necessary to help protect Kansas citizens from economic disaster and potential Covid-19 case surges. The new declaration is set to end at Midnight on June 19th.

 

Kelly says without the declaration, critical FEMA funding and other assistance will expire. 

 

Kelly adds that it will also help health officials and emergency personnel across the state coordinate going forward. With the declaration expiring on June 19th, Kelly is calling back Legislators back for a session to extend the deadline.

 

 

Rep. Steve Watkins Files for Re-Election

 

Representative Steve Watkins announced Tuesday he has filed to run for re-election in Kansas' 2nd Congressional District.

 

Watkins, who grew up in Topeka and is a U.S. Army veteran, reflected on the past two years since his initial election to the spot in 2018. In a statement, he again expressed the need for Kansans to unite behind an "outsider" candidate and spoke against career politicians. Watkins also said that if re-elected, he would continue to push the agenda of current U.S. President Donald Trump.

 

Watkins' most prominent opponent in seeking the Republican nomination for the district is current State Treasurer Jake LaTurner.

New Parsons Police Department Website

 

The Parsons Police Department has recently launched a new and updated website for its citizens to access the police department and some of its services.

 

Some of the new website's features include filling out a citizen comment online, applying for a job, or submitting a crime tip. You can also sign up for alerts that the police department puts out such as traffic related problems, new press releases and information such as Amber Alerts or Silver Alerts. These alerts can be delivered via text message or email.

 

The police department will be continuing to develop more additions to the website in the future.

 

For more information, contact the Parsons PD at (620) 421-7060.

Three Arrested in Parsons on Charges of Meth Possession

 

An early morning traffic stop in Parsons led to several arrests for methamphetamine-related charges. Deputies from the Labette County Sheriff's Office conducted the stop around 1:30 am Tuesday at 14th and Main Streets in Parsons. During the stop, the deputies found several items related to the creation of methamphetamines, as well as methamphetamine itself and other paraphernalia.

 

Individuals arrested at the scene include 36-year-old James Altendorf, 24-year-old Hunter Beachner and 39-year-old Shanda McKay. They are all being held at the Labette County Jail on charges of manufacturing a controlled substance, possession of methamphetamine and posession of paraphernalia. Beacher was also arrested on an existing domestic battery warrant.

Coffeyville Together Initiative Has Generated Roughly $43,000 for Local Community Support

 

The Coffeyville Together Initiative has been going on for the last four weeks and will continue moving forward to help those in need effected by Covid-19.

 

Coffeyville Area Community Foundation Executive Director Janie Devore-Gillis says the sole purpose of the initiative is to support the community during the Covid-19 pandemic. 

 

Gillis adds that it's an easy process if you want to purchase a gift card to help put the cause. 

 

The money is supporting local non-profits such as Genesis, the Salvation Army and Midwest Pregnancy Center.

 

The latest information shared was nearly 500 gift cards had been purchased which totaled more than $21,000 which means roughly close to $43,000 has been generated for community help since the program began.

 

More information can be found on their website or you can call 620-251-4769.

Coffeyville Reawakening Submits Grant for Pocket Park

 

A Union Pacific Grant has been submitted by Coffeyville Reawakening for a Pocket Park involving the parking lot across from the Midland.

 

There was some confusion about what exactly is being utilized in that area and Reawakening's Denise York says they will not be taking up parking spots but they will be looking to designate that area. 

 

A Pocket Park is defined as a small outdoor space, most often located in an urban area surrounded by commercial buildings or houses on small lots with few places for people to gather, relax, or to enjoy the outdoors.

 

The grants will be awarded in August with the winners announced in September.

Kansas Now over 9.000 Cases

 

According to the Kansas Department of Health, there are now 9,218 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Kansas with 800 hospitalizations, 188 deaths and over 72,000 negative cases.

 

Cases in Southeastern Kansas have remained unchanged. Labette County has 22, Montgomery County 19, Cherokee County 9, Crawford County 6, Chautauqua County 4, Neosho County 2, Wilson County 1, and Elk County remains at 0.

Kansas Nursing Homes Impacted by Covid-19 to Receive Relief from CARES Act

 

U.S. Senator Jerry Moran announced Friday that the Department of Health and Human Services is going to be distributing over $63 million to Kansas Skilled Nursing Facilities to help aid the effects of Covid-19.

 

Each Skilled Nursing Facility will receive a fixed distribution of $50,000, plus $2,500 per bed. All certified Skilled Nursing Facilities with six or more certified beds are eligible for this distribution.

 

Nursing home recipients must attest that they will only use relief fund payments for permissible purposes. This funding was provided through the CARES Act.

CRC Resumes Sign-ups, Opens Recreation Areas

 

With the State of Kansas moving to Phase 2 of the Governors Re-opening Plan, CRC opened their lobby for baseball/softball sign-ups starting Friday. Sign-ups will continue until May 29th. New out-of-district participants for youth baseball and softball will not be accepted, however, if out-of-district participants have participated in the CRC’s youth baseball/softball program within the past 2 years, they will be eligible for sign-up.

 

Batting cages, all city playgrounds, baseball/softball fields, basketball courts and the skate park opened on Friday.

 

However, the CRC facility will not be open for open gym, gatherings, rentals or pickleball at this time.

City of Coffeyville Applies for Grant

 

The City of Coffeyville submitted an application for funding to the Kansas Department of Commerce to assist businesses and organizations with COVID-19 recovery.

 

If awarded, this program would provide funding for economic development and community meal programs within Coffeyville city limits. The maximum grant award to the city is $400,000, with $300,000 available to local businesses and $100,000 for meal programs. The city will establish local program guidelines to benefit as many local shops and businesses as possible if successful with the grant award.

 

Interested businesses are encouraged to complete an online survey to help the City determine how many eligible businesses will benefit from the funding. The survey can be found here.

City Of Neodesha To Resume Court Hearings

 

The City of Neodesha have announced that Neodesha Municipal Court will resume beginning July 14th with additional policies.

 

Following the guidance of Governor Kelly’s phased plan to reopen Kansas, Neodesha Municipal Court is to resume its normal schedule of holding court on the second and fourth Tuesday of every month beginning at 2:00 pm at City Hall, beginning July 14th. The City of Neodesha Municipal Court has continued any appearances scheduled for March 24th through June 23rd. All parties with a continued court appearance were mailed a notice with their rescheduled court date to their last known address.

 

Additional measures are being implemented to protect the health of the community. All individuals must maintain at least 6 feet of distance between each other. Only individuals scheduled for court, intended to be called at trial witnesses, attorneys, and city employees may appear in person.

 

For any further questions, call 620-325-2828, extension 208.

Almost 9,000 Cases in Kansas

 

Kansas Governor Laura Kelly's Phase 2 in reopening the state is underway. At the governor's most recent press conference Secretary of the Department of Health Dr. Lee Norman gave an update on COVID-19 cases in the state.

 

Cherokee County is the only county in Southeastern Kansas to pick up a new case, they are now at 9. Labette County remains at 22, Montgomery County 19, Crawford County 6, Chautauqua County 4, Neosho County 3, Wilson County 1 and Elk County with no confirmed cases.

Grandstand Events Canceled at Inter-State Rodeo

 

The Montgomery County Fair Association have announced that they have made the decision to cancel the grandstand events at this year's Inter-State Fair and Rodeo in Coffeyville due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Association President Caland Stotts says the health and welfare of of the community was the main cause for the canceling of the grandstand events.

 

Stotts says the entire event is not canceled. The 2020 Livestock Show will take place, however it may look a little different compared to year's past. Stotts says they are disappointed that the 2020 event will not happen as planned but they hope to be able to produce a few stand alone grandstand events later this year.

Independence Revises Re-Opening Plan

The City of Independence has revised the opening plan for the city.

 

See the re-opening plan below.

 

 

 

Arrest Made in Drive-By and Police Chase

 

A drive-by shooting and police chase, that started in Coffeyville leading deputies through three counties, ends in an arrest. At around 5:00pm yesterday Montgomery County Sheriff Deputies were notified of a pursuit that was taking place with a subject who had fired shots at a law enforcement officer. Deputies picked up the pursuit at HWY 160 and CR 4900. The pursuit proceeded through Wilson County and into Labette County where spike strips were deployed ending the pursuit near Cherokee.

 

The driver of the vehicle, identified as 27 year old Brice Bethel of Coffeyville, had two children along with several firearms inside the vehicle. Bethel was brought back to the Montgomery County Jail and booked on numerous charges including aggravated assault of a law enforcement officer, use of a deadly weapon, stalking after being served a protection order, criminal possession of a weapon by a felon, criminal discharge of a firearm, aggravated endangering a child and many more traffic violations.

No Further Restrictions in Labette Outside of Phase 2

 

With Kansas Governor Laura Kelly's Phase 2 of reopening the state set to take effect, the Labette County Commissioners held a special meeting to discuss how the would handle restrictions. After a brief discussion Commissioner Doug Allen made the motion.

 

The motion was unanimously approved by all three commissioners. The next Labette County commission meeting will be Tuesday at 9:00am with Monday being Memorial Day.

KDOT Announces Approved April Bids

 

The Kansas Department of Transportation announced approved bids for state highway construction and maintenance projects in Kansas on April 22nd in Topeka.  Included in the bid process were projects in southeast Kansas.

 

In Cherokee County, U.S. 400, from the K 7/U.S. 400 junction east to the U.S. 69/U.S. 400 junction will be milled and overlaid by Bettis Asphalt & Construction Inc. at a cost of just over $1.1 million. Also in Cherokee County, U.S. 69, from the K 7/U.S. 160 junction north to the U.S. 69A/U.S. 400 junction will be resurfaced also by Bettis Asphalt & Construction for just over $1.3 million.

 

In Labette County, U.S. 400, from approximately 7.5 miles east of the U.S. 59/U.S. 400 junction east to approximately 1.5 miles west of the Labette/Cherokee county line will be milled and overlaid by Heckert Construction Company Inc. for nearly $550,000.

 

The dates on these projects will be announced at a later date.

Convicted Cattle Thief In Custody on New Charges

 

A Labette County cattle thief is being held in the Cherokee County Jail after new charges have been filed against him.

 

26-year old Anthony Whittley of Parsons, is accused of stealing 8 head of cattle from a location north of Columbus in November of 2018.

 

Through a joint investigation by multiple agencies, Whittley was originally arrested in Oklahoma City in December 2018, after stealing 17 head of cattle south of Columbus and attempting to sell them later that morning in Oklahoma City. Whittley was federally indicted and convicted for stealing the 17 head of cattle south of Columbus.

 

After recently being released from federal custody, the Cherokee County Sheriff's Office requested new charges be filed in Cherokee County District Court for Whittley's alleged theft of the 8 head of cattle.

 

Whittley is currently being held in the Cherokee County Jail in lieu of $65,000 bond.

Virtual Baby Bottle Campaign Underway

 

The annual Baby Bottle Campaign is here and will have a few changes in 2020 with the current restrictions in place with the Coronavirus.

 

With churches being closed or with low attendance and bank lobbies being closed, collecting money in a bottle is not possible.

 

This year will bring the first ever virtual Baby Bottle Campaign. Instead of taking home a bottle and filling it with change, they are asking that you give in one of three ways.

 

Mail in a donation to PO Box 981 Independence, KS 67301 and list baby bottle campaign in the memo. Give online through their website and that information can be found on their Facebook page. Or text “GIVE” to 620-236-6511 and choose baby bottle campaign as the designation.

 

All donations are appreciated and goes to support your local Pro-Life Ministry in Coffeyville and Independence.

 

Last year they were able to raise over $15,000 and the campaign runs through Father's Day which is June 21st.

Majority of Coffeyville Set to be Open Beginning Friday

 

Coffeyville is pretty much going to be all opened up once Phase 2 of Governor Laura Kelly's plan goes into effect on Friday.

 

Executive Director of the Coffeyville Chamber of Commerce, Candi Westbrook says for the most part, everything is going to be up and running in town starting Friday. 

 

Plenty of leisure activities are planned to be open back up like parks and movie theaters.

 

Westbrook says there are still some things that are not going to be happening during this next phase but the limit on gatherings go up. 

 

Westbrook says expect to see a potential spike in cases as we begin to open back up but as of right now Montgomery county has been blessed with the limited number of cases.

 

Continue to practice social distancing and good hygiene practices so that we don't see a significant spike to where the hospitals don't get overwhelmed with potential cases.

 

Any questions regarding the next phase can be directed to the Chamber by calling 620-251-2550.

Nine Counties Make Up Almost 90% of Kansas Cases

 

Statewide cases are up to 8,539, with 760 hospitalizations, 178 deaths and over 62,000 negative cases.

 

There are 9 counties in the state of Kansas with 100 or more Coronavirus Cases with 4 over 1,000, Ford County 1,440 cases, Finney County 1,307 cases, Wyandotte County 1,217 cases and Leavenworth County 1,057 cases. Those 9 counties make up 7,610 of the confirmed cases in the state.

AG Schmidt: "One Size Fits All Approach" Doesn't Make Sense Regarding Covid-19 Restrictions in Kansas

 

Kansas Governor Laura Kelly's Phase 2 for reopening the state's economy officially begins on Friday.

 

The latest Covid-19 numbers from the KDHE show that seven counties in Kansas make up the current majority of the total cases. Some counties have barely been effected and 21 counties have yet to report a case.

 

Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt says that we shouldn't have a one size fits all approach in dealing with the spread of the virus. 

 

Schmidt adds that regardless of where you live that you still need to be cautious and use good public health practices but why should a smaller, rural community have to suffer economic impact if they haven't been effected by the virus. 

 

There are currently nine counties in Kansas with 100 or more Covid-19 cases with four of those that have over 1,000 cases. Ford, Finney, Wyandotte and Leavenworth counties have over 1,000 cases and those 9 counties overall make up 89% of the confirmed statewide cases.

Southeast Kansas Works Job Fair

 

If you are in the market for a job, a job fair will be hosted by Southeast Kansas Works on Wednesday, May 27th. Executive Director of the Independence Chamber of Commerce Lisa Wilson tells us about all the options for attending this job fair.

 

Southeast Kansas Works is also helping job seekers prepare for the job fair.

 

You can find more information in the online version of this story at KGGF Radio.com

 

Montgomery Co. In Process of Applying for CDBG Micro Loan Programs

 

Montgomery County is in the process of applying for the Community Development Block Grant Micro Loan Program.

 

The program will allow for grant funding coming from the state that will fund businesses by funneling it through the county and out to businesses for two different categories of businesses.

 

The first would be businesses with employees from six to 50 employees. 51% of which must meet low to moderate income household standards.

 

Montgomery County Action Council Executive Director Trisha Purdon says the funding is coming from the Department of Housing and Urban Development. 

 

The second program is a micro loan program similar to the one the county has already had for the past 20 years and that is for businesses with one to five employees and they have to meet the 51% LMI requirements.

 

Purdon says that the funding structure is a little bit different for the two programs. 

 

Purdon noted that 29 businesses have reached out and are eligible for the grants and if all were funded under the CDBG guidelines than that would be $600,000.

 

The applications were approved and signed by the Montgomery County Commissioners during their meeting on Wednesday morning in Independence.

 

The Montgomery County Courthouse and the Tag Office are going to be closed for Memorial Day and the next scheduled Commission meeting will take place on June 1st.

 

 

CARES Act Financial Aid Available at Pitt State

 

A Pittsburg State University task force has been working to create a CARES Act student relief application system and has shared details with students.

 

Through the act’s Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund, PSU will receive approximately $2.6 million from the federal government earmarked to provide direct financial assistance to students. The federal government requires strict eligibility guidelines; not every student will qualify for relief. Pell-eligible full-time students will receive $800, and Pell-eligible part-time students will receive $400. Those students can expect to receive payments within four weeks if direct deposit information has been provided.

 

Eligibility requirements will include being enrolled as a degree-seeking student on/after March 13; not being in loan default or having grant or loan over-payment status; making satisfactory academic progress; having a Free Application for Federal Student Aid on file; being eligible to receive Title IV federal aid; and having expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to COVID-19.

 

Per federal guidelines, international and undocumented students are not eligible, nor are students enrolled in only online programs before the COVID-19 emergency declaration on March 13. Students should take time now to ensure they have a FAFSA on file at https://studentaid.gov, and should set up direct deposit with PSU at https://psuapps.pittstate.edu/ui/CASH/studentbanking/bankinfo

Update: Coffeyville Train Derailment Cleaned Up

 

Around 7:00am this morning a single Union Pacific train car derailed in the Union Pacific Rail Yard in Coffeyville causing a portion of 12th Street to be closed. Union Pacific's Raquel Espinoza says there were no injuries or releases caused by the derailment, crews have cleaned up the area and operations have returned to normal.

 

Espinoza says the cause of the derailment is currently under investigation.

Phase Two Begins Friday

 

The Kansas governor announces that this Friday the state will begin a revised version of Phase 2 in her plan to reopen the state. Governor Laura Kelly says she is relying on the data and the science in telling her how quickly they can open up the economy and the data is saying it is time to take the next step.

 

Kelly says organized sports tournaments and practices can begin on Friday if they follow the guidelines set by the Kansas Recreation and Park Association.  Kelly expects Phase 3 to begin on Monday, June 8th with a mass gathering limit of 45. Kelly's full plan can be found here.

Labette County Commission Hold Public Hearing Regarding CDBG Grant Applications

 

The Labette County Commission held a public hearing to discuss CDGB Grant Applications done by the City of Parsons for both Parsons and the county. Parsons Economic Development Director Jim Zalesk says the percentage of the funds distributed is going to depend on three categories.

 

If both Parsons and Labette County are approved for the grant they could each receive up to $300,000 in grant money to help local businesses who a struggling due to COVID-19. There is a chance that neither is approved or that one or the other is approved.

Statewide Covid-19 Cases Over 8,300 in Latest Numbers From KDHE

 

The Kansas Department of Health released the updated numbers for Covid-19 in the state on Monday with one new case tallied in Labette County which puts them at 23 total cases.

 

There was no change in Montgomery County as the total case count remained at 20. Six of those cases reside outside of Montgomery County. Two more people have recovered from Covid-19 in Montgomery County since Friday's update.

 

Statewide cases are now at 8,340 with 740 hospitalizations and 173 deaths. Negative results are just shy of 59,000.

 

More information regarding the latest Covid-19 numbers can be found on the KDHE's website.

Parsons Rec Commission Cancels Programs

 

The Parsons Recreation Commission staff announced Monday that it would keep the municipal pool closed this summer, enforce state-wide temporary closures of the community centers and also cancel team sports and larger events and programs.

 

Parks, trails, open areas and most playgrounds remain open, but other programs, including themed camps, team sports, and annual events are canceled. PRC is following broad guidance from Kansas Governor Laura Kelly, the CDC and other area communities that have also closed their pools and limited programming this summer.

 

PRC said it would be focusing its efforts this summer on virtual programming, deferred maintenance projects and upkeep of properties.

CCC Tentatively Scheduled for In-Person Classes This Fall

 

 

 

Coffeyville Community College enrollment is currently going on for the summer and fall semesters.

 

CCC's Ashley Tatman says if you have any questions regarding enrollment, you can contact the student success center and they can hook you up with an adviser to help set you up. 

 

CCC's Administrative team is continuing to monitor the Coronavirus pandemic and it's communicating on a regular basis with local, state and federal officials and what they're doing at the school.

 

Dr. Marlon Thornburg says the tentative plan as of right now is to have in person classes in the fall. 

 

The dorms at CCC are empty for the most part but Thornburg mentioned that there are a few international students who will stay through the summer months because they were unable to get flights home.

 

Employees have been able to return to their office settings with following the guidelines of 10 or less people and continuing to practice social distancing.

 

The campuses are closed to the public through at least June 1st and if anyone needs anything they can call or email someone at the college. Updates will continue to be posted to their website at coffeyville.edu.

 

 

 

 

Kelly Retiring as City Judge, Kusiak Appointed to Position

 

After 41 years of service as Independence Municipal Judge, William "Bill" Kelly will be retiring from the position.

 

A native of Independence and a local attorney, Kelly began his service as judge to the city in 1979. He had also served as a Municipal Judge for the communities of Elk City, Cherryvale and Neodesha. In 2015, he joined local attorney Joslyn Kusiak in establishing Kelly and Kusiak Law Office LLC. He retired from private law practice in 2018.

 

To replace Kelly, Interim City Manager Kelly Passauer has appointed Kusiak to fill the position starting June 1st. On that date, the court schedule will change, with proceedings taking place on Wednesdays only. In addition, while Kelly had been an employee of the city, the position will be structured as an independent contractor position moving forward.

 

Kusiak had been serving as Municipal Judge Pro Tem, presiding over court in Kelly's absence. She had also been serving as the Neodesha Municipal Judge since February 2019.

 

Kusiak will continue her private law practice while serving as judge. She will also continue her duties as the Neodesha Municipal Judge. She is a longtime Independence resident and obtained her law degree from the Washburn University School of Law.

Woman Arrested After Fleeing from Deputies

 

An Independence woman leads Montgomery County Sheriff Deputies on a chase and escapes only to be arrested the following day. This weekend a deputy attempted to conduct a traffic investigation on a 2013 Ford Taurus for inoperable tail lights. The deputy advised dispatch and other deputies that the vehicle was refusing to stop and driving recklessly. Deputies joined the pursuit at Oak and 21st street in Independence. The pursuit proceeded through the soccer field on Peter Pan Rd where deputies suspended the chase and positioned themselves on county roads surrounding the field.

 

Deputies were unable to locate the suspect but did get a name and address from the vehicle's registration. The vehicle belonged to 57 year old Tonia Kay Harris. Deputies were informed Harris was not home, but that she was the driver of the car. They returned the following day and arrested Harris, who was hiding in a closet. She is charged with fleeing or attempting to elude a law enforcement officer, theft, interference with LEO, criminal damage to property and driving with a suspended license.

Dalton Museum and Brown Mansion Closed Through May

 

Due to Governor Laura Kelly's amended reopening plan for the state, the Dalton Museum and Brown Mansion will continue to be closed through the month of May. Coffeyville Historical Society Board of Directors Member Amy Dollar says the Dalton Museum will reopen in June, Monday through Saturday from 11:00am to 2:00pm with some restrictions.

 

Dollar says for the Brown Mansion starting June 2nd they will have tours at 1:00pm and 3:00pm but each tour is limited to 9 people. She says the current plan is for both the museum and the mansion to return to normal operations by June 15th.

 

 

 

 

LaTurner Officially Files to Run for 2nd Congressional

 

The current Kansas State Treasurer filed the official paperwork with the Kansas Secretary of State’s Office to be on the ballot this upcoming August as a Republican candidate for the Second Congressional District. Treasurer Jake LaTurner says Southeast Kansas has always been important to him.

 

LaTurner is currently serving his third year as Kansas State Treasurer. Prior to that he served two terms in the Kansas state senate representing southeast Kansas. He was joined by his wife Suzanne and their four children as he signed the documents.

 

U.S. 169 Concrete Patching in Allen County

 

The Kansas Department of Transportation have begun concrete patching on U.S. 169 in Allen County.

 

The work will take place just north of the Neosho-Allen county line. Flaggers and a pilot car will direct one-lane traffic through the work zone during daylight hours. Expect delays of 15 minutes or less.

 

The concrete repairs should be completed by mid-June, weather permitting.

 

Drivers are reminded to obey the signs and flaggers, and to reduce speed in the work zone.

AG Appoints PSU Chief to CVCB

 

A Pittsburg State University Police Chief has been appointed as a member of the Kansas Attorney General's Crime Victims Compensation Board. AG Derek Schmidt says Chief Stu Hite is a well-respected law enforcement officer and his wide range of experience in law enforcement and working with crime victims will be a great asset to the board.

 

Before being named university police chief, Hite had a long and decorated career with the Crawford County Sheriff’s Office, most recently serving as a detective lieutenant. Hite served as president of the Kansas Peace Officers Association in 2018. He also has trained at the FBI Academy and has a bachelor of arts degree from Pittsburg State University.

 

Schmidt appointed Hite to a term on the CVCB ending March 15, 2022. His nomination still must be confirmed by the Kansas State Senate.

Ralph Mitchell Zoo Now Open

 

The Riverside Park and Ralph Mitchell Zoo have announced that the zoo is open everyday starting today during Phase 1.5.

 

The hours are from 9 am to 5 pm. Those attending the zoo are asked to adhere to Social Distancing Guidelines and stay at least 6' away. Masks are encouraged but not mandatory. The Monkey Island Gate is the only entrance that will be open and the exit at the south west gate by the Wallaby and Emu Exhibit. Kiddy Land will still be closed until Phase 2 has been enacted by Governor Laura Kelly which is tentatively set for June 1st.

 

If you are sick, you are asked to stay home and please use the zoo restroom to wash hands. Some animals will not be in their exhibit due to the distance from the public.

Window Tint Law

 

Based on complaints from citizens the Parsons Police Department wants to remind citizens about the State's window tint law.

 

Kansas statute 8-1749a states the total light transmission shall not be less than 35% when a sun screening device is used in conjunction with other existing sun screening devices. Citations can be written for violation of this law. Also, when purchasing a new vehicle, it is the responsibility of the vehicle's new owner to ensure that it meets Kansas' law, not the responsibility of the dealership.

 

The PPD is advising that they have window tint meters to utilize during traffic stops to determine if window tint complies. Historically, it has been rare for a window tint citation to be issued, but in response to citizen complaints, this violation will be added to general enforcement.

Click It or Ticket Campaign In Effect Through May 31st

 

Now through Sunday, May 31st, travelers can expect an increased presence among police officers on city streets, county roads and state highways as the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office has joined other agencies across Kansas in aggressively enforcing occupant restraint and other traffic laws as part of the 2020 Kansas “Click It or Ticket” campaign.

 

Enforcement will occur around the clock between now and the end of the month. About 345 people are involved in 170 crashes each day in Kansas and only 7% of those that are not wearing their seat belt are likely to escape without injury.

 

Half of all fatalities occur among those who are not wearing their seat belt. While seat belts may not always prevent a serious or fatal injury, certainly no other piece of equipment within the vehicle provides more protection.

SEK Driver's License Offices Beginning to Reopen

 

Those who need to renew a driver's license or state identification card will be once again able to do so in-person. Several offices in southeastern Kansas are reopening through a phased-in approach, practing guidelines set by the state's reopening plan.

 

If you wish to do business in person, you must make an appointment first with your specific office. Offices in Montgomery, Allen, Neosho, Crawford, Cherokee, and Bourbon Counties are currently open and taking appointments. Online renewals through the iKan app are still available and are encouraged.

 

Each office is open the same hours and days that it was before the temporary closing. For more information, find a full list of open offices here.

Computer Safety and Security Webinar on Friday

 

The Coffeyville Area Chamber of Commerce will be hosting a live webinar on Friday, May 22nd beginning at 10:00 AM.

 

The webinar is titled, “Work from Home, Computer Safety and Security.” Learn the best practices to keep your computer, network and company information safe and secure while working from home including antivirus tips, updates, wifi security and more.

 

The presentation will be from Jonathan Filson who has worked 25 plus years in networking management, engineering and consulting.

 

The webinar is free for chamber members and $20 for non chamber members. Register by visiting the chamber website or by calling 620-251-2550. 

Genesis to Distribute Government Commodities May 26th-29th

 

Genesis is going to be distributing government commodities to Coffeyville, Liberty, and Dearing residents who meet specific income guidelines.

 

This will take place Tuesday through Friday, May 26th-29th from 9:00 to 11:30 AM at Genesis located at 1312 West 8th in Coffeyville.

 

You will be required to provide proof of address postmarked within the last 30 days. If you live in Independence, please go there to receive your commodities. 

 

Call Genesis for more information or to find out if you qualify for the commodities at 620-251-3004. 

City Manager Mark Hall Provides Update Regarding River Levels

 

Southeast Kansas has seen heavy rainfalls scattered throughout the last week which means levels of the Verdrigris river rise causing flood concerns around the Coffeyville area.

 

City Manager Mark Hall provided an update on Saturday morning to give the listeners specific details regarding the current levels of the river.

 

More information regarding levels surrounding rivers and lakes in southeast Kansas can be found here.

Montgomery County Commission Meeting Moved to Wednesday

 

The Montgomery County Commission Meeting scheduled for Monday, May 18th has been moved to Wednesday, May 20th.

 

On the agenda is County Appraiser Dianna Carter providing an update. There will be a public hearing regarding the CDBG-CV Program. Executive Director of the Montgomery County Action Coucil, Trisha Purdon will also speak on the Community Development Block Grants.

 

Public Works Coordinator Jim Wright will update the commission on the latest happenings in Public Works. Also, Computer Department Director Jason Clubine will have an update on the AS-400.

 

The meeting will be available to the public via Zoom and a link will be posted on the county's website.

Crawford County Mental Health Center to Reopen Programs

 

The Crawford County Mental Health Center is set to reopen its lobbies and resume programs in accordance with and following the guidelines and recommendations of the state, Governor Laura Kelly's reopen plan, the Crawford County Health Officer plan, CDC and the KDHE.

 

On Monday, May 18th the Addiction Treatment Center and Women's Reintegration will reopen for client admissions beginning locally and extend geographically at a gradual pace until maximum occupancy is complete.

 

Also opening will be outpatient lobbies to allow for face to face therapy, medication, and case management sessions.

 

On June 1st, Challenger will reopen with small groups of no more than 10 with no transportation.

 

Safety control measures regarding Covid-19 will remain in place at Crawford County Mental Health Center for the safety of staff and clients.

 

More information can be found on their website or by calling 620-231-5130.

282 Crime Victims Receive Support

 

 

 

Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt has announced that the Crime Victims Compensation Board has awarded financial assistance to 282 victims of violent crime at its May meeting.

 

The awards totaled over $211,000 and were made in 158 new cases.

 

The Crime Victims Compensation Program was established in 1978 to help victims of violent crime pay for their unexpected expenses such as medical treatment, mental health counseling, lost wages, dependent support and funeral expenses.

 

For more information about the program, call 785-296-2359 or visit the Attorney General's website.

 

 

Labette County to Follow Phase 1.5 Guidelines

 

Labette County will not enforce stricter guidelines than those set by Governor Laura Kelly's Phase 1.5. Emergency Management Director Charlie Morse says with this phase mass gatherings will have to stay at 10 people but some additional businesses will be allowed to open.

 

Morse says unlike the other phases there is no two week timetable for Phase 1.5 and despite the state not moving on to Phase 2 things are going well in Labette County.  Morse says the county has not had a new positive case in over two weeks.

Statewide Cases Approaching 8,000 With No New Confirmed Cases in Southeast Kansas

 

The Kansas Department of Health has released the updated numbers for Covid-19 for Kansas with statewide cases at 7,886 with 724 hospitalizations and 172 deaths related to the virus.

 

There are no new confirmed cases in southeast Kansas. Health Department Director Carolyn Muller updated Montgomery county commissioners at their special meeting on Thursday and said that there were currently five active cases within the county and the total case count was at 20.

 

Montgomery county has now tested 571 individuals which averages out to nearly 18 people tested per 1000.

 

More details regarding the numbers from the KDHE can be found here.

Why Counties Should be Fine With Phase 1.5 Instead of Phase 2

 

Many people have proposed the question of why is it not up to the counties to dictate whether they go to a Phase 2 instead of Governor Laura Kelly's Phase 1.5 that goes into effect on Monday.

 

The University of Kansas Health System had their Covid-19 media update on Friday morning and the Dean for the University of Kansas School of Medicine in Salina, Dr. Robert Moser says the number of total cases going up is a key figure in why we're going to Phase 1.5 and not Phase 2. 

 

Moser says that we have to wait on the numbers to catch up in order to see if the phasing out plan is effective or not. 

 

Moser adds that any surge in hospitalizations means the mortality rate could continue to rise and that's something we don't want or need at this time.

 

Phase 1.5 officially goes into effect on Monday and a more detailed outline of that plan can be found here.

More Details Regarding the Reopening of Montgomery County's Courthouse on Monday

 

More details have been released regarding the Montgomery County Courthouse opening back up on Monday.

 

The courthouse will be open for regular hours from 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM.

 

They will be allowing only 12 people to enter the courthouse at one time. One person per transaction unless assistance is needed and two may be present. No children will be allowed in the courthouse during this time.

 

The north and south doors will be open and the basement entrance will be limited to handicapped only. Officers will be stationed at the entrances.

 

Masks are encouraged but will not be furnished. The county staff will be required to wear masks or have protective shields.

 

If you wish to call to make an appointment to avoid waiting, call 620-330-1200 which is the county clerk's office and they will direct you for assistance.

 

The county will be following all guidelines set by Governor Laura Kelly's most recent Executive Order.

 

The Judicial Building will be open but visitation to the Department of Corrections has been suspended until further notice.

 

 

Indy Commission Tables Ordinance Allowing Sale of Liquor on Sundays

 

The Independence City Commission has tabled an ordinance that would possibly expand the sale of cereal malt beverages and alcoholic liquor to Sundays. 

 

The ordinance, which saw heavy discussion at Thursday's commission meeting, seeks to stop the leakage of liquor sales to other locations outside Montgomery County. However, all three city commissioners were unanimous in their desire to hold off on any decisions until they have more time to consider the ordinance. Commissioner Dean Hayse said he'd like to consider the economic impact of the decision.

 

Hayse said he'd like to get input from business owners to help create an ordinance that looks toward the future.

 

The commission did not establish a date for the discussion to continue, but did agree it would be best to wait until next month to allow the city to advertise to those that would give input.

Governor Laura Kelly Announces Phase 1.5, Montgomery County Will Follow Suit

 

Kansas Governor Laura Kelly has signed Executive Order 20-31 which establishes Phase 1.5 as part of the reopening of Kansas' economy due to the Covid-19 Pandemic.

 

Phase 1.5 is set to go into effect on Monday, May 18th which continues reopening efforts while preserving restrictions necessary to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

 

Montgomery County is set to follow the plans put in place by the Governor and made the announcement at a special meeting on Thursday afternoon.

 

Health Department Director Carolyn Muller advised the Commissioners to go ahead with Governor Laura Kelly's plan for the Montgomery county. 

 

The key differences between Phase 1.5 and what Phase 2 was going to be was that mass gatherings will stay at no more than 10.

 

Nail Salons, barber shops, hair salons, tanning salons, tattoo parlors and other personal service businesses where close contact can't be avoided may open, but only for per-scheduled appointments or online check in.

 

Fitness centers and health clubs can open up but in-person group classes may not occur and locker rooms must be closed except as necessary to use restroom facilities.

 

Specific details to Governor Laura Kelly's Phase 1.5 plan can be found here.

 

 

Montgomery Co. Courthouse Set to Open Monday With Restrictions in Place

 

The Montgomery County Courthouse is set to open up on Monday with some restrictions put in place to help prevent the potential spread of the Coronavirus.

 

The courthouse will limit the number of individuals that enter the building as they will have Sheriff's Deputies posted up at each entrance documenting people entering and leaving.

 

They are limiting entrance to one person per transaction unless two people are required to sign a specific transaction.

 

Masks will be required for courthouse employees and encouraged to be worn by citizens who enter the building but they will not be required.

 

They still will encourage business to be done online or over the phone if possible.

 

The Department of Corrections will continue to not allow visitation to the jail through the next phase.

 

More details can be found on the county's website or you can call the courthouse for more information.

Gas Prices Start to Rise

 

The price of gasoline is coming back up after weeks of declines due to an oversupplied global oil market combined with coronavirus stay-at-home orders.

 

The average price of regular-grade gasoline in the U.S. is $1.85 per gallon, up 4 cents from the previous week, according to the latest numbers from GasBuddy.com. However, prices are still down from last year by just over $1.00.

 

In Kansas, prices have climbed up to $1.55 which is up 4 cents since last week, but is still $1.06 cheaper than a year ago. Montgomery County is currently 5 cents higher than the state average at $1.60, while Labette County came in slightly higher than the state average at $1.57 a gallon. Chautauqua County is 2 cents lower than the state at $1.53.

 

Oklahoma still has the least expensive gas in the country but prices have shot up nearly 8 cents from last week with an average gallon of gasoline costing $1.47. Gas in Washington and Nowata counties came in slightly under the state average at $1.43 and $1.44 a gallon, respectively.

 

Shots Fired Near Douglas Park in Bartlesville

 

The Bartlesville Police Department received several reports of gun shots in the area of Douglas Park last night. While Officers were responding to the call another call came in from the hospital in reference to a male subject with a gunshot wound. Captain Jay Hastings says officers determined the victim at the hospital was in the 1500 block of SW 6th Street when the shooting occurred.

 

Hastings says, as of this morning, BPD Investigators are attempting to locate 45-year-old Donte Lamont Ishem. Anyone with information about the incident should contact BPD at (918)338-4001 or call Crime Stoppers at (918)336-2583 to remain anonymous.

$81 Million for Increased Covid-19 Testing in Kansas

 

The Trump Administration has awarded over $81 million to Kansas for increased Coronavirus testing.

 

These dollars are part of the $11 billion for testing from the CARES Act.

 

Representative Ron Estes voted for the CARES Act which included additional funding for testing. All states have also received initial shipments of swabs with Kansas receiving 60,000 this month.

 

The United States has completed more than nine million tests.

KDOT Beginning U.S. 166 Project on Friday

 

The Kansas Department of Transportation will begin a mill and overlay project on U.S. 166 in Montgomery and Chautauqua Counties starting tomorrow.

 

The first section of work starts at the Cowley-Chautauqua County line and heads east to K-99. The second section begins at the city of Niotaze and ends 1.5 miles east of the Chautauqua-Montgomery County line.

 

The current plan is for the work to start from the east and head west. Flaggers and a pilot car will direct one-lane traffic through the work zone during daylight hours. Delays of 15 minutes or less are expected.

 

APAC Kansas, Inc. – Shears Division of Hutchinson is the primary contractor on the $3.1 million project. The work is expected to be completed by July, weather permitting.

Expectations are for Coffeyville to Open Up for Phase Two on Monday

 

County officials are set to discuss Phase Two of reopening the economy throughout the county with Phase Two to begin on Monday.

 

It's going to potentially allow for more businesses to open back up while still limiting the size of gatherings.

 

Executive Director of the Coffeyville Chamber of Commerce, Candi Westbrook says she's confident everything is put in place for Coffeyville to begin Phase Two on Monday. 

 

Social distancing still needs to be practiced during Phase 2 and that will be key in allowing more places to reopen. 

 

The Montgomery County Commissioners are meeting Thursday afternoon to discuss Phase Two for the county. More information can be found on the Chamber website.

AAA Providing Assistance to First Responders

 

First responders and healthcare workers throughout Kansas will be provided free roadside assistance by AAA Kansas at no charge.

 

Included in the services will be tire change, lockout service, fuel delivery, jump start, and battery replacement service. The installation of the battery is free of charge but battery cost will reflect current member pricing and taxes. Health care workers and first responders do not need to be AAA members to receive this service.

 

To initiate roadside assistance service, healthcare professionals and first responders should call 1-855-328-9090. This offer is effective until May 31st.

County Commissioners to Meet to Discuss Phase Two

 

The Montgomery County Commissioners will meet in a special session tomorrow at 2:00pm to discuss Phase Two depending on Governor Laura Kelly issuing an executive order. The special meeting will be available via a Zoom link provided by the Montgomery County website at mgcountyks.org. The meeting will be held in the lower level of the Judicial Center.

 

The Labette County Commissioners will hold a special meeting for their discussion of Phase Two on Friday at 10:00am. Phase Two of the governor's plan to reopen the state is expected to start on Monday, May 18th.

Montgomery County With 19 Confirmed Covid-19 Cases in Latest Numbers from KDHE

 

The Kansas Department of Health released the latest numbers for Covid-19 on Wednesday and Montgomery county is down two from 21 to 19 confirmed cases. Monday's update listed Montgomery county with 21 cases.

 

The rest of southeastern Kansas counties stood pat with Labette having the most in this area with 22 confirmed cases.

 

Statewide confirmed cases are at 7,468 with 704 hospitalizations and now 164 deaths related to the virus. Negative results have no surpassed 50,000 in the state.

 

More information can be found on the KDHE website.

Downtown Cruise Scheduled for Saturday to Honor FKHS Seniors

 

The Field Kindley High School class of 2020 will be honored this weekend with a downtown cruise on Saturday night from 7:00 to 10:00 PM.

 

Executive Director of the Coffeyville Chamber of Commerce, Candi Westbrook says they are looking for the community to get involved to help honor the Field Kindley High School senior class. 

 

The cruise will take place along 8th street and head towards the downtown area.

 

They are challenging every class, past, future and present of FKHS to get as many classmates as possible out for the night and to make a sign or decorate your car windows to show your support for the 2020 graduating class.

 

Stay tuned to the Coffeyville Reawakening's Facebook page with updates regarding the event this weekend with rain scheduled in the forecast on Saturday.

Click It Or Ticket Coming Soon to Coffeyville

 

Travelers can expect an increased police presence on Coffeyville city streets real soon. Beginning May 18th and running through May 31st, the Coffeyville Police Department will join other law enforcement agencies throughout the state in a "Click It or Ticket" campaign. 

 

Agencies will aggressively enforce Kansas occupant restraint and other traffic laws throughout the campaign, and enforcement will continue around the clock. The aim of the campaign is to increase awarness of the Kansas Safety Belt Use Act and the Kansas Child Safety Act, and to reduce the number of preventable deaths and injuries caused by not wearing a seatbelt. 

 

Kansas' overall adult seatbelt compliance rate sits at 85%, with numbers ranging from 62% to 97% across different counties. Drivers and occupants in rural counties are typically less likely to buckle up, causing problems because of the often-times rougher road conditions on country roads.

Estes Confirms Kansas Will Continue to Receive FEMA Disaster Aid

 

Congressman Ron Estes confirmed with the Federal Emergency Management Agency that Kansas will still have the ability to obtain disaster assistance and other aid during the continuation of the Coronavirus pandemic, regardless of whether or not the State Finance Council extends the State of Emergency Declaration.

 

The confirmation comes on the heels of the State Finance Council's anticipated meeting on Wednesday, where an extension of the State of Emergency Declaration will be discussed.

 

The Federal Emergency Management Agency reimbursement is not tied to an individual state's emergency status.

"Pocket Park" Proposed by Coffeyville Reawakening Discussed at City Commission Meeting

 

 

 

Coffeyville Reawakening recently approached the City of Coffeyville to discuss a “Pocket Park”. This was discussed at Tuesday night's Coffeyville City Commission meeting.

 

This Pocket Park would be located at the current parking lot at 8th street and Elm.

 

A mural was placed at the parking lot on the building to the east and it was completely funded by Coffeyville Reawakening.

 

City Manager Mark Hall provides details on what Coffeyville Reawakening is wanting to do specifically. 

 

Coffeyville Reawakening provided the Commissioners details on what they would like to do and Hall says it could be a great boost to the quality of life in Coffeyville. 

 

The proposal for the “Pocket Park” was unanimously approved by the Coffeyville City Commissioners.

 

Other business discussed with the Commissioners on Tuesday night was action to approve a cereal malt beverage license for Lil Charro Mexican Market.

 

City Clerk Melissa Carter provided information to the Commissioners and it was unanimously approved with the exception that they would pass their upcoming inspection with the Coffeyville Fire Department. 

 

Fire Chief Billy Cockman provided information to the Commissioners regarding a resolution to approve funds from the hazmat budget for additional cost of a new brush/grass truck as the quote from the original grant agreement from Firehouse Subs decreased.

 

After discussion with the Commissioners, it was unanimously approved and the Commission thanked Cockman for his work on this resolution.

 

The Coffeyville City Commissioners meet every second and fourth Tuesday of the month and recent meetings have been done through Zoom due to the Covid-19 pandemic. More information can be found on the city's website.

 

 

 

 

Deputies Pursue Suspect After Reports of Shots Fired

 

Earlier this week Montgomery County Sheriff Deputies responded to a report of shots fired around County Road 3900 in Independence. After spotting the vehicle where the reported shots came from the deputies initiated a stop and a pursuit began. During the pursuit deputies observed the driver throwing items from the vehicle. The pursuit came to a stop at the intersection of CR 4150 and Coffeyville Ave in Independence. A male, identified as 37year old Joseph Marshall, of Independence, exited the driver seat of the vehicle and was detained. There was also a female passenger in the vehicle that was detained and later released with no charges. Deputies began searching the area where the driver was throwing items from the vehicle and located a firearm in the ditch.

 

Marshall was arrested and charged with fleeing and eluding a law enforcement officer, reckless driving, unlawful discharge of a firearm in the city limits, driving under the influence, possession of a firearm while under the influence, possession of drug paraphernalia and interference with a LEO.

Parsons Man Injured in Crash

 

A Parsons man received unspecified injuries in a two-vehicle incident over the weekend south of Parsons.

 

The incident happened at 22000 Road and U.S. 59. 67-year-old Gaylan Thomas of Altamont was southbound on U.S. 59 and 84-year-old Carl Yockey of Parsons was eastbound on 22000 Road. Yockey reportedly failed to yield at the stop sign on 22000 Road at U.S. 59 when Yockey struck Thomas and both vehicles came to rest on the southeast corner of the intersection. Yockey was taken to Labette Health by ambulance with a unspecified injuries. Gaylan Thomas was not injured, but his passenger, 65-year-old Sharon Thomas was also taken to Labette Health.

 

All occupants in the two vehicles wore seat belts.

New Highway Projects To Be Announced

 

The Kansas Department of Transportation will announce upcoming highway projects under a new program that passed the Kansas Legislature in March.

 

KDOT Secretary Julie Lorenz, along with Governor Laura Kelly, stakeholders and legislators will announce major highway projects under the new Eisenhower Legacy Transportation Program. Under the new program, every region of the state will see modernization and expansion work sooner rather than later and expansion projects will be selected for the development pipeline every two years instead of every 10 years. Every Kansas county will also receive at least $8 million in transportation improvements.

 

The announcement will be live-streamed on KDOT's Facebook page on Thursday at 10:30am.

Early Registration Continues Thru This Week for USD 446

 

USD 446 Independence schools are looking to get a head start on the 2020-2021 school year with early registration now available. 

 

Executive Director of the Independence Chamber of Commerce, Lisa Wilson says there is an incentive for getting you children registered by the end of this week. 

 

Wilson says it pairs with the opportunity to help out the local businesses who have struggled during the Covid-19 pandemic. 

 

Click here to find the registration information or you can contact USD 446 for more information at 620-332-1800. 

Independence Residents Can Use Sanitation Yard to Dispose of Unwanted Material

 

Residents in Independence are reminded that they have a location to dispose of trash, debris, junk, and anything they don't want or need anymore. 

 

The option is there seven days a week, free of charge, from 8:00 AM to 2:00 PM at the Sanitation Yard located at 21st and Maple. 

 

Executive Director of the Independence Chamber of Commerce, Lisa Wilson says its a great way to keep the community clean but there is a deadline for this service. 

 

Recycling is done every Tuesday from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM so you can take care of that as well. 

 

Wilson says coming up in June you'll have the opportunity to take care of Recycling on Saturday's. 

 

You can find out more information by calling the Independence Chamber at 620-331-1890.

Independence Sales Tax Collections Up Before COVID-19 Restrictions

Before the start of COVID-19 restrictions on businesses sales tax collections for the city of Independence were running ahead of last year.  The April sales tax collections for the city, which reflect February sales were up 23.6% compared to the same month in 2019.  For the year to date sales tax collections in Independence are up 5.1% over last year. 

 

The city reports that sales tax collections for Independence received from the state for April were $172,804, an increase of $33,014 dollars over last April. 

Red Cross Blood Drive on Thursday and Friday in Coffeyville

 

Residents in the surrounding area will have an opportunity to donate blood on Thursday, May 14th from 11:45 AM to 6:00 PM and Friday, May 15th from 8:30 AM to 12:30 PM at the 1st Baptist Church at 300 W. 9th street in Coffeyville. 

 

Donors will have their temperature taken upon arrival and will be required to wear a mask plus social distancing will be observed. 

 

Contact Judy with the Coffeyville Community Red Cross Blood Drive for more information at 620-251-3107. 

Indy City Commission Agenda for 5-14

 

The Independence City Commission will continue to discuss coronavirus-related expenses at its regularly scheduled meeting this Thursday.

 

The three-person commission will explore expenses related to the virus outbreak and what that potentially means for future city revenue. The city's reopening plan, released last week, will be revisited once again.

 

Also, the commission will consider an ordinance which would allow for the sale of cereal malt beverages and alcoholic liquors on Sunday. This issue has been previously discussed at meetings, with the commission wanting feedback from business owners.

 

The meeting will begin at 5:30 pm, with the public and most attendees strongly encouraged to participate through Facebook Live or conference call.

Reminder: Applications for Advanced Mail Ballots to be Sent Out

 

All registered voters in Montgomery County will be receiving a letter from the Montgomery County Clerk's Office that will feature two applications for advanced mail ballots.

 

One application will be for the August 4th Primary and the other will be for the November 3rd General Election.

 

County Clerk Charlotte Scott Schmidt says they are encouraging voters to fill out advanced mail ballots due to the potential spread of the Coronavirus.

 

If you don't wish to vote by mail, you may vote early in the County Clerk's Office, Courthouse in Independence starting 20 days prior to the election or you may vote on election day at your regular polling place.

 

For questions, contact the County Clerk's Office at 620-330-1200. The Courthouse is currently closed but staff members continue to work and appointments can be made to complete your needs.

Latest Covid-19 Numbers Surpass 7,000: No New Cases in Southeast Kansas

 

The Kansas Department of Health has released the latest figures for the Coronavirus in the state and there are no new confirmed cases in southeast Kansas.

 

Labette and Montgomery counties lead all southeast Kansas counties with 22 and 21 reported cases respectively.

 

Statewide cases have surpassed 7,000 with the number of reported cases at 7,116 with 660 hospitalizations and 158 deaths related to the virus.

 

Negative results are now approaching 47,000.

 

Beginning this week, the KDHE will begin to distribute the Covid-19 numbers to the public on Monday, Wednesday and Friday's going forward.

 

A more detailed version of this information can be found through the KDHE. 

Legality of Using Criminal Law to Enforce Emergency Orders is Under Review

 

Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt announced Monday that their office has been asked for its formal legal opinion on whether a state law that authorizes criminal prosecution of residents in Kansas who violate emergency orders issued by Governor Laura Kelly is constitutional and enforceable.

 

Schmidt says he encourages all Kansas residents to follow the recommendations of public health professionals to help prevent the spread of the Coronavirus as the economy slowly opens back up.

 

They have agreed to conduct that legal review.

U.S. 160 Resurfacing Project Starts Today

Motorists who use U.S. 160 north of Frontenac can expect delays as the Kansas Department of Transportation expects to begin a mill and overlay project on the highway today, weather permitting.

 

Work will start at the north U.S. 160/U.S. 69 junction and continue east to the Kansas/Missouri state line. Flaggers and a pilot car will direct one-lane traffic through the work zone during daylight hours; expect delays of 15 minutes or less. The resurfacing project should be finished in a week, weather permitting.

 

KDOT awarded the nearly $820,000 construction contract to Bettis Asphalt & Construction, Inc., of Topeka.

Public Works the Main Discussion at Montgomery County Commission Meeting

 

Public Works discussion was the main topic at Monday's Montgomery County Commission Meeting.

 

Public Works Coordinator, Jim Wright provided the Commissioners and update on road and bridge, special bridge in regards to bridge #25 on Sweeney Hill and also a request to solicit bids for chemicals with noxious weed. 

 

Also at Monday's meeting was Juvenile Services Director, Duane Powell with discussion regarding the purchase of a new vehicle. 

 

Powell adds that they plan on getting rid of two vehicles through the county auction because there isn't as much travel due to not having custody kids anymore.

 

With the money discussed in the budget it would have to be spent by the end of June or it would have to be given back because its in the fiscal year budget for 2020.

 

Powell says they would still be able to use the new vehicle multiple aspects of travel. 

 

The Montgomery County Commissioners meet on Monday morning's at 9:00 AM in the lower level of the Judicial Center in Independence with the agenda always subject to change.

 

The meetings are also available through their website virtually through Zoom while the Courthouse remains closed through Phase One of reopening the state's economy.

 

 

Fire Destroys House in Independence

 

A house in Independence caught fire over the weekend and appears be a total loss.

 

Independence Fire-EMS responded to a structure fire late Saturday in the 1500 block of West Laurel. Upon arrival, a single story structure was found to be engulfed in fire. A second alarm was requested with additional man power from the city, Independence Rural Fire and Cherryvale Fire-EMS assisting.

 

There were no injuries and the fire is under investigation by the Independence Police Department and Fire-EMS.

 

Victim Assistance Grant Opportunities Open for Application

 

Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt announced on Friday that five grant programs serving victims of crime across Kansas are open for application.

 

More than $2.5 million in grant funds were awarded in 2019 from five different state programs. These funds are used to assist local and state crime victim assistance organizations across the state.

 

Grant opportunities are open in the Child Exchange and Visitation Center Program, Human Trafficking Victim Assistance Fund, Child Abuse and Neglect, Crime Victims Assistance Fund and State Protection from Abuse Fund.

 

Application forms and more information about the application process can be found online. Awards are set to be made this summer.

Scavenger Hunt Winner Announced

 

KGGF has been hosting an internet scavenger hunt that started on April 27th. Each day a new question was posted and participants had to go to a business's website or Facebook page to find the answer. The contest ended today and with Kelly Johnson as the winner.

 

Thanks to our sponsors Fredonia Farm Bureau, Batson Drug, S&S Western Outfitters, Libby's Boutique, Nichol's Hitching Post, Hain's Greenhouse, Sunflower Soda Fountain, Farm Bureau of Sedan, Natural Food Center, Derailed Commodity and Coffeyville Feed and Farm Supply. Each sponsor gave a $25 gift so Kelly wins a grand prize of $300.

Two New Covid-19 Cases in Montgomery County in Latest Numbers from KDHE

 

Montgomery county has two more confirmed cases of the Coronavirus in the latest numbers from the Kansas Department of Health that was released on Friday afternoon, bringing the county's total to 21.

 

Montgomery county was the only county in southeast Kansas that posted new confirmed cases.

 

Labette county still has the most cases confirmed in southeast Kansas with 22.

 

Statewide the number of cases is at 6,501and five more confirmed deaths have been reported since Thursday rising the death toll to 152 across the state.

 

A more detailed version of the numbers from the KDHE can be viewed here.

CRMC Dr. Agrees With Reopening the Economy Now: Encourages Residents to Still be Vigilant

 

For those who believe that the reopening of the economy is happening too soon, you should feel better knowing that a healthcare professional believes we are opening the economy back up at the right time.

 

Dr. Shravan Gangula with Coffeyville Regional Medical Center says he's confident that the economy is opening up at the right time. 

 

In some areas, numbers have been down in hospitals across the nation due to citizens being afraid of potentially contracting the Coronavirus by going to see their doctor.

 

Dr. Gangula says that CRMC is well prepared to ensure the safety and well being of its patients. 

 

CRMC continues to ask its patients to wear a mask before going in. If you don't have a mask then they can provide one for you. CRMC still isn't using an open waiting room and for the time being they will continue to get people from their cars and take them inside to the appropriate area.

 

Dr. Gangula says you're more likely to contract Covid-19 outside of the hospital. 

 

Dr. Gangula still urges residents to wear masks in public, practice social distancing and properly washing your hands consistently. 

 

Questions regarding Covid-19 can be directed to the CRMC Clinic at 620-688-6566.

Community Continues to Support Local Businesses

 

The Coffeyville Area Community Foundation continues with its Coffeyville Together Initiative and the public support has more than certainly been there through the early stages.

 

The community is supporting local businesses by purchasing gift cards through Coffeyville Together.

 

As of Thursday morning, $13,185 in gift cards have been purchased from local businesses and that amount will be matched in full and given by the Coffeyville Area Community Foundation to local non-profit organizations helping local people in need.

 

CACF wants to thank the community for all of its help and they continue to urge residents to support local through Coffeyville Together.

Statewide 410 New Cases of Covid-19: None in Southeast Kansas

 

The Kansas Department of Health has released the updated Covid-19 numbers for the state as of Thursday afternoon and there are no new confirmed cases in southeast Kansas.

 

Statewide there has been 410 additional cases confirmed throughout the state running the total to 6,144 with now 587 hospitalizations and 147 deaths.

 

Negative results are now approaching 39,000.

 

The positive percent rate in Kansas currently stands at 13.7%. Montgomery county has tested 442 patients which averages out to a testing rate of 13.89 people tested per 1000.

 

A more detailed list of Covid-19 information can be seen through the KDHE by clicking here. 

CCC Children's Summer Theatre To Perform

 

After much deliberation and evaluation of local, state, and federal guidelines regarding the current COVID-19 pandemic, Coffeyville Community College has made the decision to go ahead with the Children’s Summer Theatre performance of Rock of Ages – Middle School Edition which will take place July 23rd – 26th.

 

Auditions will be held in person on June 3rd from 1pm to 5pm. Those wishing to audition online may do so at CCC's website. Callbacks are tentatively scheduled for June 4th from 1pm to 5pm by invitation only. Rehearsals are set to begin June 15th and will run Monday thru Thursdays from 1pm to 5pm until July 22nd.

 

The link for the audition and to signup is here.

Moran Addresses Phase One, Meatpacking Plants and Healthcare in Latest Covid-19 Update

 

Kansas is underway with Phase one of Governor Laura Kelly's plan to reopen the state's economy and U.S. Senator Jerry Moran says he likes the localized approach with the reopening process but we are still in the early stages. 

 

Senator Moran acknowledged the uncertainty that's out there and he understands the desire of getting the economy going again and that the amount of testing is critical in determining the well-being of our citizens. Moran says there is still a lot of work to be done. 

 

An important issue for Kansas has been the recent struggles with the meatpacking plants that have seen drastic increases in Covid-19 related cases. The problem is for both the producer and the consumer and with the struggles with the meat processing, Moran says it's affecting our livestock prices even more. 

 

Last week, Moran announced $400 million to Kansas hospitals from the Department of Health and Human Services delivered through the Provider Relief Fund established in Phase three of the CARES Act. The first grant was for $18 million distributed to high impact hospitals and the additional $382 million will be distributed among 201 rural healthcare providers.

 

Moran says it's always been hard to keep rural healthcare facilities afloat and even in southeast Kansas. 

 

Kansas is about to receive 100,000 masks from Taiwan as they have designated these masks for the state as part of its third round of international aid to countries that have been impacted by Covid-19. The masks are expected to arrive sometime next week.

 

Moran says he understands the freedom that people want but at the same time he understands the restrictions put in place and it's our responsibility as citizens to be smart and make the right decisions.

 

You can hear the entire interview with Sen. Moran by clicking here. 

 

More information regarding Sen. Moran can be found on his website. 

 

 

Addiction Treatment Center in Crawford County Set to Reopen May 18th

 

The Crawford County Mental Health Center is set to reopen their Addiction Treatment Center for patients beginning on Monday, May 18th.

 

Safety control measures in regard to the Coronavirus will remain in place for the safety of its staff and clients.

 

Referrals, appointments, and questions should be directed to the Addiction Treatment Center at 620-724-8806.

 

They are currently offering outpatient substance abuse treatment and mental health services via tele-health. For more information or to make a tele-health appointment for those services, call 620-231-5130.

 

As always, crisis mental health services are available 24/7 by calling 620-232-SAVE (7283). More information can also be found on their website. 

No New Cases of Covid-19 in Southeast Kansas in Latest Numbers

 

There were no new confirmed cases of the Coronavirus in Southeast Kansas in the latest figures from the Kansas Department of Health released on Wednesday afternoon.

 

Labette leads all counties in southeast Kansas with 22 total cases while Montgomery county is listed with 19 confirmed cases.

 

Total cases statewide is at 5,734 with 571 hospitalizations and now 144 deaths related to the virus.

 

Wyandotte county leads all Kansas counties with a total of 910 confirmed cases.

 

There are currently 23 Kansas counties that don't have a reported case.

Reckless Driving Tip Leads to Drug Arrest

 

Montgomery County Sheriff Deputies were dispatched to a reckless driver in the area of Highway 169 and Highway 160. The vehicle was located in the area of US Highway 160 and County Road 4410 where deputies conducted a traffic. The driver was identified as Brock Blumenstein of Cherryvale. Deputies detected the odor of marijuana from the vehicle. Upon searching the vehicle deputies located several grams of marijuana and 24 grams of methamphetamine.

 

Blumenstein was placed under arrest for driving without a license and transported to the Montgomery County Department of Corrections. He is charged with distribution of methamphetamine, possession of marijuana, driving left of center, trafficking contraband into a correctional facility, and driving without a license.

Early Morning Accident On Highway 75

 

An Independence woman was injured in an early morning single car accident.

 

Montgomery County Deputies were dispatched to an injury accident on Highway75 and CR2600 at about 3:40AM this morning. Upon arrival Deputies found a vehicle in the ditch that had overturned and was on fire. Marsha Osborne was seated on the shoulder of the highway and said she was the driver of the vehicle. Osborne said she was southbound on Highway 75 and the cause of the accident is unknown at this time.

 

Osborne was transported by Independence EMS and her condition is unknown at this time.

Labette County Commissioner Will Not Seek Second Term

 

A Labette County Commissioner has announced he will not be seeking re-election. Doug Allen says it was humbling to have people reach out to him asking him to seek re-election. It was a difficult decision but he says he feels it is the best for his family.

 

Allen and his wife Anne have four grandchildren now so travel and family time are very important. He will finish out his four year term in January.

KState Vet Warns Producers of Blue-Green Algae

 

It’s a cattle health threat that usually appears in the summer heat , but already this spring there has been confirmed cases of blue-green algae. K-State Veterinarian Gregg Hanzlicek says the algae forms in farm ponds, and releases toxins that poison cattle and other animals.

 

Hanzlicek says the algae appears as a sandy-looking substance on the pond surface that tends to look like blue-green paint.  Hanzlicek says there is no treatment for blue-green algae toxicity, that’s why he urges producers to take precautions when this algae shows up in their pond.

Coffeyville Public Library Remains Closed; Set to Offer Curbside Service

 

Curbside pick-up will be coming to the Coffeyville Public Library starting on May 18th.

 

The Library remains closed as they continue to repair some severe roof damage.

 

Coffeyville Chamber of Commerce Executive Director, Candi Westbrook provided listeners an update on Wednesday morning. 

 

Residents may begin requesting items through their account on “SEKnFind” or by calling the Library beginning on Monday, May 11th. They will also provide more details on the curbside services.

 

The Library continues to offer their digital resources including story times, book recommendations and more.

 

You can find out more information by going to their website, Facebook page or “SEKnFind”.

City of Independence Releases Reopening Plan

 

The City of Independence has released a tentative plan for reopening city services and facilities that have been impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak.

 

Although several facilities are to stay closed during Phase 1 (May 4-17) of Governor Laura Kelly's Ad Astra plan, the airport, rummage sales and the farmer's market have been deemed safe enough to reopen during this time.

 

Phase 2 (May 18-31) will see the reopening of most of the zoo and the park playgrounds and buildings. Memorial Hall will also be allowed to fill to 50 percent of its normal capacity. Beginning with Phase 3 in June, all park functions and normal police services will resume, with Riverside Beach's status to be determined on that date.

 

All reopening dates are subject to change as the city continues to try and contain the COVID-19 outbreak. For the full plan, click here.

Montgomery County Courthouse to Remain Closed Through May 17th

 

The Montgomery County Courthouse will continue to be closed to the public through May 17th in a continued effort to help reduce the impact of Covid-19.

 

The Courthouse is set to reopen on May 18th which is the scheduled start of Phase two in reopening the state's economy.

 

County office staff members and department heads continue to work while receiving calls. The county has many services that can be done online or over the phone.

 

Visitation to the Department of Corrections has been suspended until further notice.

 

The Offices may be contacted at the following numbers: 

 

County Commission: 620-330-1111

County Clerk/Election Office: 620-330-1200

County Treasurer: 620-330-1100

Register of Deeds: 620-330-1140

County Appraiser: 620-330-0150

Environmental Health/Zoning: 620-330-1190

 

You can also find out more information on their website. 

 

 

Storm Shelter Locations in Independence

 

We are at that time of year in the Central Plains when severe weather including tornadoes can strike with little notice. For those in Independence without adequate shelter, the city provides four locations in town to take cover.

 

Independence Chamber of Commerce Director Lisa Wilson provides us with the locations and rules when it comes to pets in the shelter.

 

To listen to the entire interview with Lisa Wilson, click here.

Various Charges Lands Duo In Jail

 

A Chanute man and woman have been arrested for multiple drug counts.

 

Chanute Police responded to the area of the 900 block of West Main for a disturbance. When officers arrived, they were met by two adult females in the front yard and one appeared to be injured. The injured female was transported to the Neosho Memorial Regional Medical Center, to be medically evaluated.

 

Officers made contact with 37-year-old Steven Dickson and took him into custody. After receiving a search warrant, officers came in contact with 39-year-old Cheryl Aldrich. Several items associated with illegal drugs were located inside the residence.

 

Dickson and Aldrich were arrested for possession of methamphetamine and possession of drug paraphernalia. Dickson was also arrested for aggravated kidnapping, aggravated battery, aggravated robbery and possession of marijuana.

 

Roundabout Construction Continues Near Altamont

 

Motorists traveling between Altamont and Parsons can expect to see a slowdown as work has resumed on the roundabout at the junction of U.S. 59 and U.S. 160, east of Altamont. The east-west detour is now active through the site.

 

A Kansas Department of Transportation spokesperson said the north-south detour should be completed in seven to 10 days, weather permitting. Once the north-south detour is complete work will begin to remove the existing intersection.

 

LaForge & Budd Construction Company of Parsons was awarded construction of this project in 2019 at a cost of $3.2 million.

Residents Still Encouraged to Fill Out the 2020 Census

 

There is still time to fill out the 2020 Census to ensure proper dollars are distributed throughout our communities and state.

 

Independence Chamber of Commerce Director Lisa Wilson says it's very important to fill out your Census and provides an example of what the impact could be for Independence if your Census is not filled out. 

 

Wilson provides current up to date numbers for towns throughout our area. 

 

If 1% of the Kansas Population is uncounted in the Census, the state could miss receiving over $603 million in federal funding over a 10 year period. You can visit kansascounts.org or call 844-330-2020 for direction on completing your questionnaire.

 

You can also contact Lisa at the Independence Chamber of Commerce for more information at 620-331-1890 or visit their website.

Joint City Commission/Economic Development Board Meeting for Independence

 

The Independence City Commission, along with the Economic Development Advisory Board, will be holding a work session to clarify and redefine future grant criteria on Tuesday afternoon. The joint meeting will also be used to give the commission time to consider the state's reopening plan for city services and facilities that were disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

The meeting will start at 3:30 PM on Tuesday, and will be available for the public to view through Facebook Live or by conference call. The full agenda can be found here.

PSU Plans for Fall Reopening

 

Pittsburg State University has announced intentions for face to face classes this fall including the opening of residence halls and a resumption of student life, although likely with some differences.

 

The University has acknowledged that bringing back faculty, staff and students this fall will require additional planning, close communication with public health officials, and well-coordinated decision making across the campus.

 

There will be three working groups tasked with guidance to help with the process of getting everything ready for the upcoming fall semester.

 

Academics will be chaired by Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Howard Smith. Student Life will be chaired by Vice President for Student Life Services, Steve Erwin. Budget and Finance will be chaired by Chief Financial Officer, Doug Ball.

 

The membership in these groups is broad to ensure representation off all interests in every aspect of Pittsburg State University.

 

For more information you can visit their website.

What to Expect with Businesses Beginning to Reopen in Coffeyville

 

 

 

Phase one of reopening Kansas' economy began on Monday with many communities around the state reopening businesses that have been closed for weeks due to Covid-19.

 

Retail shops and restaurants in Coffeyville are slowly beginning to open back up this week and residents should be advised that there are still some limitations that have been put in place.

 

Executive Director of the Coffeyville Chamber of Commerce, Candi Westbrook says those businesses that are reopening are taking the necessary precautions to keep everyone safe. 

 

Businesses are doing everything they can to make sure it's as safe as possible for community members.

 

Westbrook says as long as you're doing your part than don't worry about everyone else. 

 

Many places opening back up will have restrictions on how many people can be inside at a time and residents are advised to follow any guidelines that have been put in place by any business.

 

Westbrook preaches if you have any symptoms or are under the weather to continue to stay home and out of public. 

 

You can contact Candi Westbrook at the Chamber if you have any questions at 620-251-2550 or visit their website. The full interview with Westbrook can be heard by clicking here.

 

 

CCC To Honor Grads Despite Canceling Graduation

 

Coffeyville Community College has announced that they have canceled their spring graduation. Director of College Relations Yvonne Hull says they want to be able to recognize the hard work of their students so they have something special planned for Wednesday.

 

Hull says the video will be posted on the CCC Facebook page. The college will be mailing out the degrees and any honor cords students might have received as well.

K-47 Width Restriction During Storm Sewer Work

 

According to the Kansas Department of Transportation, a driving lane width restriction of 10 feet will be in effect on K-47 from the K-7 junction at Girard east to the U.S. 69 junction.

 

KDOT says the width restriction will remain in effect for about one month, while storm sewer pipe is placed across K-47 at Ozark Street in Girard. Persons with questions may contact Bob Gudgen, (620) 308- 7621, or Priscilla Petersen, (620) 902-6433.

Montgomery Co. Lands New Case of Covid-19: Statewide 200+ Added

 

For the second straight day, Montgomery County lands a new case of the Coronavirus in the updated numbers provided by the Kansas Department of Health, bringing the county total to 19.

 

The rest of southeast Kansas stood pat with no new confirmed cases. Labette leads southeastern Kansas counties with 22. Cherokee and Crawford counties have eight and six respectively. Chautauqua, Neosho and Wilson counties with four, two and one respectively.

 

The statewide numbers added over 200 more cases with the number of confirmed cases now standing at 5,245 with 553 hospitalizations and 136 deaths.

Columbus Man Arrested For Burglary

 

A Columbus man is in custody following the weekend burglary of a rural Baxter Springs home.

 

Cherokee County Sheriff's Deputies were notified of the burglary, where multiple miscellaneous household items were reported stolen. A description of the suspect's vehicle was given and quickly located in Columbus. During the course of the investigation, the deputy recovered the stolen property and placed 27 year-old Joshua Baxter under arrest.

 

Baxter is being held in the Cherokee County Jail on allegations of Burglary, Theft and Criminal Trespass.

Public Works Discusses Equipment Maintenance at Commission Meeting

 

The Montgomery County Pubic Works Department is looking at two options in repairing a Caterpillar Grader R-140 that they run out of their shop.

 

Public Works Coordinator Jim Wright says the piece of equipment has multiple issues that they are looking to fix.

 

Wright spoke in front of the Montgomery County Commissioners in their weekly meeting on Monday morning in Independence.

 

Wright says the two options in fixing the piece of equipment could range from $30,000 to over six figures.

 

The model is a 2004 to 2005 with over 11,000 hours of work on it.

 

Wright was told by the Commissioners to work on finding an accurate total for the repairs and bring it back to next week's meeting.

 

Also tabled for next week's meeting was discussion regarding hazardous pay for those receiving it during the Covid-19 pandemic.

 

The Montgomery County Commissioners meet every Monday morning at 9:00 AM in the lower level of the Judicial Center in Independence. Meetings are available virtually through Zoom with a link on their website.

Updated Covid-19 Numbers for Kansas as of Sunday

 

UPDATED SUNDAY 5/3

 

Montgomery County picked up a new case of Covid-19 in the latest numbers from the KDHE on Sunday bringing the county total to 18. Labette county leads all southeastern Kansas counties with 22. 

 

Statewide, there are 5,030 cases of Covid-19 with 547 hospitalizations and 134 deaths. Negative tests approaching 32,000. 

 

--------------

 

There are no new cases of COVID-19 in southeastern Kansas, but the state as a whole saw a sizable rise in cases on Saturday. There are now 4,746 cases, an increase just shy of 300 from Friday's numbers. There have been 541 hospitalizations and 131 statewide deaths so far.

 

Labette County and Montgomery County have stayed put at 22 and 17 cases respectively. Cherokee County has 8, Crawford County has 6, and Chautaqua County has 4.

 

To the north, Neosho County has 2, Wilson County has 1 and Elk County has no recorded cases at this time.

 

 

Labette County Sheriff Warns Cattle Owners of Thefts

 

The Labette County Sheriff's Office has issued a warning to all cattle owners in the area. Sheriff Darren Eichinger said he has been receiving calls from neighboring counties that cattle thefts are once again picking back up. Local authorities are advising the public to monitor any livestock and keep a count of how many you have.

 

If anything suspicious is seen, reach out to your local law enforcement immediately.

Montgomery Co. Phase One in Place to Begin Monday

 

Phase 1 of Governor Laura Kelly's 3-Phase plan to reopen the state's economy goes into effect on Monday, May 4th.

 

The Montgomery County Commissioners held a special meeting discussing Phase 1 and how it will be different in the county compared to the statewide restrictions put forth by Governor Kelly.

 

There was plenty of debate and discussion regarding Religious Gatherings and how the county should handle that aspect. The county originally set plans that religious services should adhere to mass gatherings and social distancing guidelines. However, after discussion between health officials and the commissioners, the decision was made to change the guidelines for religious gatherings to match Governor Kelly's restrictions.

 

Montgomery county is a little more restrictive when it comes to restaurants. Restaurants that are also bars must close when food ceases to be served. There will also still be no buffets and no self-serving drinks.

 

The state did not disallow the use of playground equipment in parks but Montgomery county is still prohibiting the use of playground equipment and picnic tables through Phase one.

 

The county commissioners and health officials will continue to monitor the number of cases of the Coronavirus throughout the next couple of weeks to determine how they will set up Phase two and how that will compare to Governor Laura Kelly's restrictions.

 

The Courthouse will remain closed until at least May 18th when Phase two is expected to begin in the state. Departments can still be reached by phone and many services through the courthouse can also be done online.

 

To view Phase one of Governor Laura Kelly's plan to reopen the state, click here. 

 

To view Phase one that has been put forth for Montgomery County, click here. 

 

 

Labette County Will Begin Reopening Monday

 

The Labette County Commissioners announced beginning Monday they will reopen all county buildings and resume business as normal. Emergency Management Director Charlie Morse says they encourage everyone coming into those buildings to continue to practice social distancing.

 

Morse says for other businesses in the county there are some that will be able to open up and others that will have to wait until after phase one.  Morse says if the positive numbers start to climb the governor or county commissioners can put in more restrictions and can extend the phases of this plan.

Major Road Work in Parsons

 

Those who travel on North 16th Street near Clark Avenue in Parsons will need to plan for a little extra time on their commute. Beginning next week, North 16th will be cut down to two-lane traffic in preparation for a nearly a project costing a little under $1.8 million.

 

The road project will widen of the intersection of Main and 16th streets to add left-turn lanes for all four directions. The work also will include a new concrete surface for 16th from Clark to Broadway Avenue, new sidewalks, new stormwater lines and a drainage box. Work will begin on the two west lanes of North 16th Street at Clark and move south from there.

 

Construction is expected to be finished by the end of the year by Heck & Wicker of Parsons.

Kansas Farm Bureau Endorses Two Kansas Congressional Candidates

The state’s largest agriculture advocacy organization endorsed to two Kansas congressional candidates today.  The Kansas farm Bureau has officially announced their endorsements of Tracey Mann, a Republican candidate for the state’s 1st Congressional District and Jake LaTurner, a Republican candidate for the 2nd District which includes Montgomery, Labette, Wilson and Neosho Counites.

 

LaTurner, who is currently serving as the Kansas State Treasurer will be facing incumbent Steve Watkins in the Republican primary on August 4th.

 

Updated Covid-19 Numbers for Kansas as of Friday

 

The Kansas Department of Health has released the latest Covid-19 numbers for the state to begin the month of May.

 

Total confirmed cases up to 4,449 with 534 hospitalizations and 130 deaths.

 

Labette and Montgomery counties remain the highest areas in southeast Kansas with 22 and 17 confirmed cases respectively.

 

Cherokee, Crawford and Chautauqua counties with eight, six and four cases respectively.

 

Neosho county remains at two cases with Elk and Wilson counties with one apiece.

Getting Back To Business Plans In Works

Plans are in the works to begin opening the economy Monday after Governor Laura Kelly’s address last night announcing a three phase plan to open the state’s economy.  The Montgomery County Commission will be meeting in a special session at 2:00 this afternoon to begin approving local plans.  Candi Westbrook with the Coffeyville Area Chamber of Commerce said in an email to businesses this morning that there is a  plan, details of which will be released later this afternoon after approval from County Commissioners.

Senator Moran Says Testing Key to Jump Starting Livestock Industry

Like many industries stockyard sales in southeast Kansas have been lagging during the pandemic crisis.  Kansas Senator Jerry Moran talked about them importance to the state in getting the livestock industry back up and running.

 

Moran says a slow livestock industry effects the entire country.     

 

 

Moran says one of the keys is to get testing to the meat packing plants.

 

 

Moran says he’s talked to the President and other officials about securing plenty of test kits for the packing plants.  The Senator’s remarks came during a news conference this morning at the KU Med C enter.

U.S. 166 Bridge Demolition and Re-routing

 

Motorists should be on the lookout for a shift in traffic in a construction zone just in West Montgomery County.

 

Demolition has started on the old U.S. 166 railroad overpass west of U.S. 75. Traffic is being re-routed through the work zone on the new overpass that is being constructed just south of the old structure. The eastbound U.S. 166 ramp to southbound U.S. 75 has also been closed for reconstruction.

 

Construction began on the interchange in July of last year and is expected to be open to unrestricted traffic late this summer, weather permitting. The cost of the construction is $3.4 million.

Multiple Fatalities in Head-On Collision Thursday Night in Labette County

 

Multiple people have died as a result from a head-on collision in Labette County on Thursday night.

 

The crash occurred about seven miles west of Parsons on US-400 just shy of 10:15 PM.

 

The Kansas Highway Patrol says a 2006 Lincoln Zephyr was westbround on US-400 when it crossed the center line into the eastbound lane and struck a 2016 Chevy Malibu head-on.

 

20-year old Matayea R. Lomax of Pittsburg was the driver of the Lincoln and was transported to the Labette County Medical Center where she was pronounced dead.

 

19-year old Eliana Gonzales of Pittsburg was a passenger in the Lincoln and was reported uninjured and was reported to have been wearing their seat belt.

 

44-year old Melinda M. Smith of Neodesha was driving the Chevy Malibu and was pronounced dead at the scene and Patrol said Smith was wearing a seat belt.

 

There were four passengers in the Chevy that were reported to have suffered minor injuries and were taken to the Labette County Medical Center.

"Flexibility" is the Key Word in Describing the Phases to Reopen the State's Economy

 

There have been mixed emotions regarding the three phase plan that Kansas Governor Laura Kelly announced on Thursday night to help the state reopen its economy.

 

Some people have been pushing for the reopening for weeks while others believe we might be opening up to quickly.

 

Secretary of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, Dr. Lee Norman says there are strengths to the plan but flexibility is key.

 

Dr. Norman spoke on Friday morning during the Covid-19 Media Update with the University of Kansas Health System.

 

The plan has been put in place by the Governor but a lot of it will be determined on a county by county basis because a problem for example in southeast Kansas shouldn't effect lighter areas in other parts of the state.

 

Chief Medical Officer with the University of Kansas Health System, Dr. Steve Stites says the shelter in place order allowed the state to prepare for this moment. 

 

A detailed version of Governor Laura Kelly's plan to reopen the state's economy can be viewed by clicking here.

 

 

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