BALDWIN–Over 150 students received their college diplomas at the Baker University Commencement Ceremonies. Special Speaker Aaron North of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation told the graduates they are a generation that has a strong will to get things done.
Sunday, May 17, 9 pm
OTTAWA — Ottawa police say that two incidents in which strangers approached elementary-aged students aren’t related. Wednesday, the school district issued an alert to parents after a stranger reportedly tried to abduct a student near Lincoln Elementary School Tuesday afternoon. The student was not injured nor was there an attempt to remove the child, Ottawa police Capt. Adam Weingartner said.This morning, a stranger approached a child near Garfield Elementary School, he said. A parent saw the incident and gave the man’s tag number to police, he said. Weingartner said police located the man and interviewed him. The two incidents aren’t related, he said. Police are continuing to look for the man in the first incident. He is described as 6-feet tall, white, bald with a beard, and tattoos on both forearms. Since the first report, police have made extra patrols around the schools, he said. The elementary schools’ final day was today at noon. “The actions taken by the parent today helped come to a quick resolution,” Weingartner said. “Parents are very aware of the people around their schools every day; we are fortunate to have great community partners in helping keep our children safe. Continue to report suspicious activity as soon as possible; this gives police the best chance to determine if it is a crime or suspicious incident.” Ottawa school Supt. Jeannie Stroh said parents should remain vigilant. “We ask that you talk with your kids about safety and provide extra supervision until this is resolved,” she said. Teachers talked to kids this morning before they left school at noon for today’s early dismissal, she said. Ottawa police ask anyone with information to call them or Franklin County Crime Stoppers.
Thursday, May 14, 10 a.m.; updated 1 p.m.
OTTAWA–This week is National Police Week, and it’s a time to remember all officers killed in the line of duty. At a memorial service at First Baptist Church in Ottawa, Captain Robert C. Cowdin of the Ottawa Police Department was remembered…he died during a riot in Garnett in 1963. Franklin County Sheriff’s Deputy Samuel A. Smith was remembered; he died in a car wreck while responding to a Domestic Disturbance Call in July 2010.
Wed. May 13, 8:30 pm
OTTAWA — After nearly 28 years of service with the city of Ottawa, city attorney Bob Bezek will retire next month. His last day will be June 5. Bezek said the death of his father earlier this year influenced his decision to retire. “Health is guaranteed to no one,” he said. During his tenure, Bezek worked with seven city managers, two interim city managers and even served as interim city manager a few times. “I believe I was able to help the city travel from a path of discord and stagnation to growth, civil and positive public discourse,” he said. “I helped many good people and good leaders accomplish a lot for the people of Ottawa. Sometimes, the issues and problems were difficult to deal with, but wisdom and leadership prevailed, and I was honored to help and contribute.” Bezek has been at the heart of many of the city’s key initiatives, said city manager Richard Nienstedt. “What I appreciate about Bob is his friendship, his love of Ottawa and his willingness to always give advice and guidance to the elected and appointed officials while always keeping in mind what is best for the community,” Nienstedt said. “I will miss Bob being a part of this team, but the city is better because of his service.” Ottawa attorney Blaine Finch, a former Ottawa city commissioner, former county counselor and a state legislator, will serve as interim city attorney during the search for Bezek’s successor. Finch is partner with the Finch, Covington and Boyd law firm.
Wednesday, May 13, 3 p.m.
OTTAWA — The school district has sent an alert to parents that someone tried to abduct an elementary-aged student at about 4:30 p.m. Tuesday. Ottawa police said the incident occurred around the area of Wilson Street and North Cherry Street, Garfield Elementary School principal Amy Wormington said in the note to parents. Police will step up their patrols around the schools before and after school hours, she said. Police continue to investigate.
Wednesday, May 13, 11:30 a.m.
OTTAWA–It was long been a complaint that Ottawa streets need to be maintained better. City officials are about to take a giant step toward better maintenance. Public Works Director Michael Haeffele says he wants to put an end to gravel streets.
Monday, May 11, 10:30 pm
OTTAWA — The SWAN Arts Festival will expand its offerings later this month with a free movie night at Ottawa Municipal Airport. Disney’s “Planes” will be the featured movie for the event set at 8 p.m. Friday, May 15. Arts activities, visits from Ottawa fire trucks and police cars and other events will begin at 6:30 p.m. “The SWAN Arts Foundation is committed to expanding our events beyond the SWAN Arts Festival, including events like this movie night and the recent Nerd Nite series,” Shawn Dickinson, festival director, said. “This event is a great way to provide free, family friendly entertainment and also an opportunity to promote the festival and upcoming events from our partner sponsors.” Free popcorn will be available while supplies last, and the Aviation Explorers group will sell candy bars, chips and soda. Ottawa Library staffers also will be on hand promoting its summer reading program. “The library’s summer reading programs include ‘Every Hero has a Story’ for children, ‘Unmask’ for teens and ‘Escape the Ordinary’ for adults,” Terry Chartier, director of Ottawa Library, said. The opening day of summer reading is June 1.
Monday, May 11, 4 p.m.
OTTAWA — The Ottawa Accessibility Advisory Board has launched a survey to explore the need for additional public transportation options. “Public transportation is a very vital part of many communities around the country,” JoAnne Fluke, who serves on the advisory board, said. “We’d love to hear the community’s thoughts on how and if public transportation needs to be further developed in Franklin County.” The survey can be filled out online at http://www.surveymonkey.com/r/OttawaPublicTransportation or printed and mailed or dropped off to Carla Bienhoff at COF Training Services, 1516 N. Davis Ave, Ottawa, KS 66067. The survey should only take a few minutes, and the responses are completely anonymous, Fluke said.
Monday, May 11, 4 p.m.
CENTROPOLIS — The Centropolis and Wellsville fire departments and the Franklin County Sheriff’s office responded early Sunday morning to the area of Old Highway 59 and Stafford Road for a report of a vehicle on fire. They found what appeared to be an early 2000’s Chevrolet Blazer fully engulfed in flames. The sheriff’s says no one was found inside or around the vehicle. The SUV was destroyed and deputies were unable to locate a license plate or vehicle identification number because of the damage from the fire, the sheriff’s office said. The fire is under investigation.
Monday, May 11, 4 p.m.
OTTAWA — The Ottawa City Band kicks off the 2015 season early next month. The Ottawa City Band, which was established in 1898, is the second-longest running city band in Kansas, director Mark Paquette said. The band will cover many different styles of music include patriotic music and marches, and music from different countries but also music of the wild west, he said. Paquette said he would like to add additional musicians from middle and high schools to the band and will choose music that will be playable for them. All concerts are free. With a couple of exceptions, all concerts will be each Tuesday nights at 7:30 beginning June 2 at the gazebo in Ottawa City Park. Audience members are encouraged to bring their lawn chairs. The city band also will perform June 13 at Jayhawker Days in Williamsburg.
Monday, May 11, 4 p.m.