OTTAWA–The School Finance Community Meeting in Ottawa turned out to be much more than just finance. Topics discussed also included the need for year round school and early childhood education.
Wed. Oct. 26 10:30 pm
OTTAWA — The trial of an Ottawa University student charged in a crash that killed another OU student has been rescheduled for Feb. 22 in Franklin County District Court. Jordan Reed has been charged with involuntary manslaughter and leaving the scene of a fatal accident in connection with the death of Sam Brazeal, 19, Perrin, Texas. Reed has requested a jury trial, which is set to take three days. Reed is accused of driving a pickup along the Flint Hills Nature Trail and going off a pedestrian bridge about two miles southeast of Ottawa nearly a year ago. The truck fell 20 feet into a creek bed, killing Brazeal.
Monday, Oct. 24, 9 a.m.
OTTAWA — Ottawa has donated $750 to Wreaths Across Franklin County. The project by VFW Post 5901, the American Legion and the Daughters of the American Revolution seeks to put wreaths on all veteran graves in the county during the Christmas and New Year holidays. The wreaths will be placed by youth organizations like 4-H clubs, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts and will be picked up before the students go back to school in January, city public works director Michael Haeffele said. “The groups are planning to cover about 20 cemeteries within Franklin County,” he said. “There are about 2,800 known veteran graves, but that number will continue to grow.” With the recent addition of Roselawn Cemetery, the city owns three cemeteries, all of which has veterans’ graves. The project’s initial goal is $28,000, but as wreaths wear out and get damaged, costs will continue to be present, Haeffele said. Donation jars have been placed around the community to raise money for the project. Questions can be addressed to the VFW, American Legion or a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution.
Monday, Oct. 24, 9 a.m.
OSAGE CITY — Osage City police are investigating the death of a two-month-old girl. On the department’s Facebook page, Police Chief Fred Nech said police,, Osage County deputies, and an EMS team were sent to the 1100 block of Laing Street in Osage City Sunday morning for a call of an infant who wasn’t breathing. The EMS team couldn’t revive her, he said. Her body was sent to Kansas City for an autopsy. He didn’t identify the baby or provide other details.
Tuesday, Oct. 11, 9 a.m.
OTTAWA–The new Sunflower Elementary School under construction at 19th and Eisenhower has reached a milestone…it’s half done. Construction officials hope to start on the interior by the time cold weather sets in.
Monday, Oct. 10 10:30 pm
OTTAWA — Where are the clowns? Maybe they’re all ready here. But Ottawa police haven’t caught up with them yet. Like many departments across the country, Ottawa police have received reports of suspicious people dressed as creepy clowns. “The department has received inquiries from private citizens, school officials and local media about suspicious activity reports in Ottawa,” said Capt. Adam Weingartner, patrol division commander. Officers have checked out reports of clowns but not found any one, he said. Social media and other reports have said clowns have been on school property, looking into windows and acting in suspicious manners. Weingartner said people should immediately report any such incidents they see, and police will be glad to check them out. However, it would be helpful not to pass on speculation gleaned from social media, he said. That tends to cause unconfirmed reports to mushroom, while taking officers from other duties, he said. Ever since children in South and North Carolina reported that clowns tried to entice them, reports of creepy clowns have spread across the country. The hysteria has been fanned by teens and pranksters dressing up as clowns. Last week, in Topeka, police contacted a man dressed as a clown, who told them he wanted to be videotaped by the public in hopes he would become a viral video on the Internet. Officers concluded that he wasn’t breaking any law and let him go.
Monday, Oct. 10, 8 a.m.
OTTAWA — Whoa, Nellie! That was the advice to Franklin County commissioners from county health director Midge Ransom concerning a consultant’s report on mold in the courthouse. Commissioners have been examining the report. However, Ransom said she’s read the report and didn’t see the need for a major cleanup suggested by the consultant. Ransom, who is familiar with mold and its health impacts, said she inspected most of the mold in the courthouse and didn’t see any evidence of the more dangerous black mold. The consultant’s report also said there was no black mold found. Ransom said she was not aware of any health problems among courthouse employees but that she would continue to interview them. The county will need to call in a mold removal specialist, she said. However, the cleanup shouldn’t be as costly as estimated by the report, she said. She will advise county janitorial crews, who will do much of the cleanup as a way to shave costs, according to Paul Golden, county maintenance director. However, Gene Hirt, Pomona, told commissioners they shouldn’t let cost be the sole factor in making decisions on cleaning up the mold. He said he’s been told by some courthouse employees, who wished to remain anonymous, that they have experienced some health symptoms from the mold. The report said the mold was most likely caused by moisture problems caused by the new geo-thermal heating and air-conditioning system at the courthouse. The problems have been corrected, Golden said. However, he said he’d like to wait a week or two before beginning the cleanup to make sure the fixes hold. County counselor Derek Brown said he’s been in contact with the Topeka company that installed the HVAC system.
Monday, Oct. 10, 7:30 a.m.
OTTAWA — Work on the expansion of the Ransom Memorial Hospital’s emergency department could begin as early as this week. Hospital officials and contractors ironed out some last minute wrinkles with city planning officials and construction fence has been erected around the site, said John Coen, a member of the board of hospital trustees. Coen discussed the construction timetable with county commissioners recently. The project will transform the hospital’s looks and will be a major asset to the community, he said. The project will nearly double the size of the emergency department and make needed updates.
Monday, Oct. 10, 7:30 a.m.
OTTAWA — County counselor Derek Brown has been named as interim Franklin County administrator. Commissioners and Brown are expected to approve a contract this week. Brown was named while county commissioners look for a successor to former administrator Jon Holmes who sudden resigned a week and a half ago. The search for a successor will likely take at least three months. The search was scheduled to begin immediately. Brown said he doesn’t intend to apply for the position. “I’m at a point in my life where I am happy to be a lawyer,” he told commissioners. Because there are so few county administrators in the state, the county will likely have to hire someone with other experience and qualifications and allow them to work their way into the position, Gayla Wilkins, county human resources director, told commissioners. Commissioners agreed. Holmes, who had been administrator for two years, resigned after commissioners publicly disciplined an unnamed county employee about two weeks ago. Commissioners approved a severance package for Holmes that includes a $30,000 lump sum payment.
Monday, Oct. 10, 7 a.m.
From September 23-25, the Ottawa Police Department participated in a six-state speed enforcement effort, designed to crack down on aggressive driving behaviors.
During the three day period, Ottawa PD officers issued 23 citations, 39 warning tickets, and made an arrest for driving while suspended. In total, officers handled 186 incidents during the campaign.
Sgt. Steven Burkhart says large scale mobilizations such as these have a positive impact on reducing speed and encouraging safe driving.
Friday, Sept. 30, 10:00 AM