PLEASANTON — Two people were injured Saturday evening in Linn County after their pickup rolled over. The Kansas Highway Patrol said Susan Brown, 53, Pleasanton, was driving north on U.S. 69 just south of Pleasanton when the right rear tire blew. She lost control of the truck, which entered the center median and rolled over, coming to rest on the driver’s side. Brown and a passenger in the truck, Jacob Brown, 14, Pleasanton, were taken to Mercy Hospital in Fort Scott. They were both wearing seat belts.
Monday, July 6, 4 p.m.
OTTAWA — Franklin County Habitat for Humanity will have a work day 9 a.m. Saturday at 730 S. Cypress St. Habitat will continue the remodel of an existing habitat home. Habitat is looking for 15 volunteers to help with cleaning gutters, scraping walls and removing some existing flooring. Volunteers need to be 18 years of age. Individuals will need to bring their own gloves. Hardhats and cleaning supplies will be provided as needed. Those unable to volunteer but wanting to help can provide lunch and water for the group volunteers. E-mail Casey Volbern at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Monday, July 6, 4 p.m.
OTTAWA – The city of Ottawa said that retired Ottawa city attorney Robert Bezek’s legal troubles had nothing to do with the city’s legal business. In a written statement, Ottawa city manager Richard Nienstedt said the city was deeply troubled to learn of the proceedings against Bezek, who surrendered his license to practice law in Kansas the same day he retired from the city. In a formal notice issued last week, the Kansas Supreme Court said it was disbarring Bezek after the state received complaints that charged Bezek with violating judicial rules regarding competence, diligence, communication, reporting professional misconduct and misconduct. Bezek told KOFO he had no comment about the court’s action. “Citizens of the community can take comfort in knowing none of the issues raised in those proceedings concerned the legal business of the city or its citizens,” Nienstedt said. “I and the commission have confidence in our current legal counsel and I have directed counsel to conduct a thorough audit of all pending city legal matters to ensure the integrity and high standards that our citizens deserve.” Bezek was with the city for 28 years before he retired last month. Blaine Finch, former county counsel and city commissioner, and now state representative, has been named as the interim city attorney.
Monday, July 6, 4 p.m.
OTTAWA — The cause of death of Richard Beery, 59, Osawatomie; hasn’t been determined, Franklin County Sheriff Jeff Richards said. However, Richards said there doesn’t appear to be any foul play in Beery’s death. He was found dead on the Flint Hills Trail southeast of Rantoul Sunday night. Beery’s body was found on the trail next to his bicycle, Richards said. An autopsy has been ordered to help determine the cause of his death.
Thursday, July 2, 4 p.m.
TOPEKA — The Kansas Supreme Court has agreed to hear an appeal from former Arizona prison inmate Ralph Corey, who was convicted of kidnapping a Williamsburg teen at the Wal-Mart SuperCenter in Ottawa 15 years ago and trying rape her. Corey was sentenced to nearly 34 years in prison. Corey’s first trial was declared a mistrial after a juror used a smart phone to research information about the case during deliberations. On the retrial, the second jury convicted him. However, Corey petitioned to overturn his conviction. The Kansas Court of Appeals held a hearing in October on his appeal and rejected it. In December, Corey filed a motion seeking a review of the appeals court’s decision. The high court filed an order this week agreeing to the review. Corey, who was in an Arizona prison, was brought to Kansas to face charges after a new cold case computer program used by the KBI matched his DNA with evidence in the case.
Thursday, July 2, 4 p.m.
TOPEKA — Retired Ottawa city attorney Robert Bezek, Jr., has surrendered his license to practice law in Kansas. In a formal notice issued Tuesday, the Kansas Supreme Court said it was disbarring Bezek. When Bezek surrendered his license June 5, the office that disciplines lawyers had scheduled a formal hearing of complaints against him, the supreme court’s notice said. The Disciplinary Administrator’s office said the complaints charged Bezek with violating judicial rules regarding competence, diligence, communication, reporting professional misconduct and misconduct. “This court, having examined the files of the office of the Disciplinary Administrator, finds that the surrender of the respondent’s license should be accepted and that the respondent should be disbarred,” the court notice said. Bezek announced his retirement in May after 28 years of service to the city. His last day was June 5, the same day he surrendered his law license. Bezek couldn’t be reached for comment. He has left his former legal office in Ottawa and a cell phone number has been disconnected. An inquiry to his e-mail address didn’t draw a response. Mayor Mike Skidmore referred all questions to city manager Richard Nienstedt and acting city attorney Blaine Finch, both of whom were out of the office.
Thursday, July 2, 4 p.m.
OTTAWA–If everything goes as planned, at least a dozen gravel streets will get paved this summer. That was the good news coming from the Ottawa City Commission. The paving work on these and other streets will cost up to $160,000.
Wednesday, July 1, 10 pm
OTTAWA — A Pittsburg State University professor who has researched news coverage of sensational murder trials testified this morning that he believed that Kyle Flack wouldn’t be able to get a fair trial in Franklin County. Flack’s attorney Tim Frieden questioned communications professor Troy Comeau as part of his request to move Flack’s murder trial from Franklin County. District Judge Eric Godderz said he would consider Frieden’s motion and issue a ruling later. Godderz is hearing several pre-trial motions today in Franklin County District Court. Frieden has also requested that Flack’s murder trial be delayed from its projected start date in September. Godderz decided to schedule another hearing for July 17 on the request. In other motions, Godderz rejected a request by the Ottawa herald to open certain sealed court documents. Flack faces charges of capital murder in the 2013 slayings of Kaylie Bailey and her toddler daughter Lana-Leigh Bailey, and murder charges in the deaths of Andrew Stout, and Steven White at a farmhouse north of Richter.
Tuesday, June 30, noon
TOPEKA — A special panel of three Shawnee County judges ruled Friday that the state has violated an agreement to adequate fund public education. The panel also struck down Gov. Sam Brownback’s system of block grant funding for schools. The judges said the block grant system harms schools, which Brownback had promised wouldn’t happen. The block grants cut school funding as well as increase the gap between wealthy and poor school district, which is a violation of the state constitution, the ruling said. “This is yet another victory for the kids of Kansas,” said John Robb, attorney for Schools for Fair Funding, the coalition of school districts that supported the original lawsuit. “When will the legislature and the Governor learn that they are not above the law and that the Constitution and court orders must be followed,” he said. “They just wasted 113 days and millions of taxpayer dollars in pursuit of an agenda that our constitution will not allow. It is time to play by the rules. Our kids have waited long enough.” Brownback and other Republican leaders denounced the ruling a violation of the court’s constitutional authority. Brownback said the state has increased funding to public education. However, the court rejected that contention, saying that the state merely shifted teacher pension funding to schools, which isn’t the same as providing money for education. Kansas Attorney Gen. Derek Schmidt wasted no time Friday filing a notice to appeal to the Kansas Supreme Court. He asked the high court today to put on hold the lower court’s order to increase school funding while the Supreme Court considers the state’s appeal. He said that the lower court’s order breaks new legal ground in several regards, including trying to reinstate laws that the Legislature repealed months ago. He also noted that the lower court went so far as to declare unconstitutional provisions in two laws that had not yet been enacted when the court conducted its most recent hearing in the case. “The Court stayed the Panel’s judgment for the duration of the last appeal, with good reason. There is even more reason to stay the Panel’s decision pending this appeal,” Schmidt wrote in the motion. However, Alan Rupe, Schools for Fair Funding attorney, said, “when it comes to school funding, the legislature has spent the entire session ignoring their oath to uphold the constitution. Kansas’ schoolchildren, parents, teachers, school administrators, their lawyers, and the courts are not going away until the Legislature and Governor do what they swore on the Bible that they would do. They must provide a suitable education to all Kansas kids.” There is no date set on a hearing for the state’s appeal.
Monday, June 26, 4 p.m.
RANTOUL — A 59-year-old Osawatomie man was found dead on the Flint Hills Trail approximately 7:30 p.m. Sunday southeast of Rantoul. After receiving a report of someone unconscious, the Franklin County Sheriff’s office said deputies found Richard Beery southeast of the Jackson and Virginia intersection. The cause of death is unknown, and an autopsy has been ordered, the sheriff’s office said.
Sunday, June 26, 4 p.m.