KOFO Local News

Gates Shut

Posted in Uncategorized by kofonews on May 21, 2019

The city of Ottawa has shut the flood gates over the Marias Des Cygnes river in downtown Ottawa. The rains today have swollen the Ol’Mary to near capacity and Ottawa public works director Michael Haeffle says, “Out of concern for public safety is necessary to close them. The river is forecast to crest at 34.9 feet, but Haeffle believes it could be higher. City policy says, “The gates will be shut when the river reaches 33 feet. Haeffle says, “I didn’t want to wait until the last minute. Drivers will need to find an alternative route when using Main Street and Highway 59. There will be signs posted for detours to direct you around the area.”

Weingarten on Calea Reaccred

Posted in Uncategorized by kofonews on May 21, 2019

The Ottawa police department is gearing up for an accreditation exercise. Interim police chief Adam Weingarten says, “it is with an organization called ‘Calea.'”

The re-accreditation process involves a visit by two Calea representatives who interview officers and take public input in rating whether the police department should gain re-accreditation.

Russell on Service

Posted in Uncategorized by kofonews on May 20, 2019

Baker University graduates heard a variety of messages as they head out to new careers or other pursuits. On Sunday students from the college of arts and sciences, school of nursing and school of education went through their commencement. The dean of the college of arts and sciences, doctor Darcy Russell, told graduates that communication and service are key attributes in life.

The other featured speaker was senior class president Andrew Moore, who told his classmates of the need to live in the moment.

Ellsworth on Hotel Project

Posted in Uncategorized by kofonews on May 20, 2019

If you at first try and don’t succeed, try and try again. That certainly is what the developer of the hotel project in south Ottawa is doing. The issue was front and center at a recent Ottawa city commission. Financial consultant Tyler Ellsworth gave a brief history of the project.

The commission approved a revised series of agreement that allows the developer to begin receiving financial incentives in April 2020, assuming the project is a definite “go” this time around.

Finch on State Budget Woes

Posted in Uncategorized by kofonews on May 20, 2019

Anyway, you look at it, the state of Kansas is plunging down the financial hole. That dire warning was issued by state representative Blaine Finch of Ottawa during a joint luncheon of city, county and school district officials. Finch predicts the state will be in the red in as little as two years.

Finch says, “He expects the Kansas supreme court took the current school funding, but the court will probably keep jurisdiction of the issue.” Finch says, “As long as the court is involved, advances in Kansas schools will be stifled.


Posted in Uncategorized by kofonews on May 20, 2019

May 20th, 1957, 62 years ago, a tornado descended from the sky, touching down at 6:12 that evening near Williamsburg, from there, it made its deadly way toward Ottawa.

Though it didn’t exist at the time, the tornado’s path would roughly follow that of modern-day interstate 35. The first major structure the tornado would destroy was Susan Geiss’s family’s U-Rest Motel, then Bob’s Truck Stop, then the Hillcrest drive-in theatre. Many residents recall the tornado had three vortexes as it came through before combining into one large one.

It would miss Ottawa, passing just south of city-proper, and take a northeastern route, and continue on the ground all the way to Kansas City. Very unusual for a tornado to be on the ground for so long. Once in Kansas City, the destruction and death began in earnest. Dubbed the Ruskin Heights tornado, after killing two in Franklin County, 37 people died as the storm churned through Ruskin Heights neighborhood. In a weird twist, the tornado destroyed the school there, the front wall, all that remained standing and oddly enough tore the letters off the building except the letters R, U, I, and N… RUIN.

Neosho Graduation

Posted in Uncategorized by kofonews on May 20, 2019

Graduation ceremonies for Neosho County community college were held Friday evening in Chanute. The Ottawa campus had a huge presence at graduation. According to the dean of the Ottawa campus and online campuses Marie Gardner, 239 Ottawa based students graduated.

Additionally, 11 students from the Neosho’s northern service area which includes Franklin and northern Anderson County and 55 other graduates within the KOFO listening area were graduates. The majority of these were L-P-N or R-N degrees, also include phlebotomy and healthcare coding. Congratulations to all area graduates!

Finch on Female Offenders

Posted in Uncategorized by kofonews on May 17, 2019

One achievement of the Kansas Legislature this year is the passage of a bill to study the problem of overcrowding in prisons and problems of mental health. State representative Blaine Finch of Ottawa says, “One unusual trend is an increase in female offenders.

Finch says, “The financial situation of the state is precarious, projects show the state could get into the red as soon as 24 months.”

Pearson on Volunteer Center

Posted in Uncategorized by kofonews on May 17, 2019

Eckan executive director Richard Jackson has about two weeks to go before he retires, but his legend will live long into the future. During a reception at Ottawa City Hall to honor Jackson, united way of Franklin County director Meg Pearson had some comments about Jackson’s contribution to volunteerism at the Eckan Volunteer Center.

Jackson will retire at the end of May. He has decided he will stay busy. His plans include writing a book about his life experiences.

Cobbs on Student Suicide

Posted in Uncategorized by kofonews on May 17, 2019

One of the most tragic things imaginable for any family is a young person who wants to end their life. Ottawa school superintendent Ryan Cobbs says, “Ottawa is not immune from students thinking about suicide.  Nowadays kid’s laptops have a special program that helps identify potential issues”

Cobbs says, “Every teacher goes through suicide prevention training so they will know the warning signs of a student contemplating such a tragic end.”