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The Oskaloosa Independent
Valley Falls , Kansas
March 22, 2018     The Oskaloosa Independent
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March 22, 2018

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March 22, 2018 *******************ALL FOR ADC 980 1629 19P 4T SMALLTOWN PAPERS INC 217 W COTA ST SHELTON, WA 98584-2263 41 m,illill,h,l,ilMihl,ll,hhil,il,hhl,l,ullli $ IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII .lllli!!nl 20 THE O S K A L O 0 S A Published Every Thursday Official Jefferson County Newspaper, Oskaloosa, Kansas Vol. 15 8, Number 41 "Six Months Older Than The State Of Kansas" 8 Pages -$1.00 by Rick Nichols Meeting the evening of March 12 at John Steuart Curry Com- munity Center, the Winchester City Council decided to buy a used 2016 Ford Explorer with 50,000 miles on it for the Police Department. The move was supported by all five members of the govern- ing body, Council President Virginia Winsor, Councilman Terry Willyard and Council- women Carlene Miller, Dee McHardie and Tonya Reed, and followed a brief presentation by Chief of Police Danny Ruff, who told the group that he drives an Explorer when he is working for the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office. The city will be acquiring the patrol car from the Kansas Highway Patrol. The vehicle will then need to be equipped with the mobile radio in the existing patrol car and the nec- essary graphics (e.g "Police" or "Winchester Police") added to the exterior. All in all, the city will be shelling out $22,655 to get the car and then ready it for service. The Explorer was one of two used KHP vehicles under consideration by the council, the other being a 2016 Dodge Charger with 49,558 miles on it. But Ruff said he preferred the Explorer over the Charger, even though the Charger had a lower asking price, and apparently that was enough to prompt the governing body to follow suit once everyone had had a chance to weigh in on the matter. Ruff reported that security cameras for use at F.W. Huston Park and the community center had been bought and would be installed and activated once the weather warms up a bit. Ruff told Mayor Matthew Finley and the council that he wanted to secure some bids on the installation of a garage door opener at the city shop. Elabo- rating, he said he would like to be able to automatically open one of the building's overhead doors. by Rick Nichols Jefferson County Public Works Director Bill Noll told County Commissioners Richard Malm and Wayne Ledbetter that he would like to get some prices on trailers when the Board of County Commissioners met the afternoon of Tuesday, March 13 at the courthouse in Oskaloosa. The three-member govern- ing body normally meets in the afternoon every non-holiday Monday, but "conflicts with Monday's regular meeting time" (quoting here from an email County Clerk Linda Buttron sent to the paper March 6) pre- vented it from assembling the day before to take up the busi- ness at hand. Noll said he was interested in acquiring a trailer with a tilt bed and, more specifically, a trailer that is a little longer than the one Auxiliary Services has been using to haul law enforcement vehicles and spray equipment as needed. That trailer and another trailer would be sold, he went on to report. Noll also told the commis- sioners that "due to the threat of a tariff," trailer dealers aren't willing to guarantee that their prices will be good for any length of time exceeding 24 hours. Noll announced that there were some openings within the two departments he oversees, Road and Bridge and Auxil- iary Services, then proceeded to tell the commissioners that he would be placing an advertise- ment "in the paper" in an effort to fill one full-time position and several seasonal positions as soon as possible. The available full-time position was last held by a dump truck driver, he re- ported. At the request of Noll, the board approved Supplemen- Ruffinformed the mayor and council that the community's Neighborhood Watch group had met a week earlier and was "gearing up for summertime." Ruff reported that letters dealing with the subject ofjunk vehicles on private property had been written and subsequently approved by both the mayor and City Attorney Lee Hendricks, then went on to say that he needed the council's OK in order to ask City Clerk Pamela'Erhart that these letters be mailed to certain individuals. Having just heard from the police chief, the governing body responded by voting 5-0 to let the letters go out. The move undoubtedly pleased Ben Sours, 81 Win- chester, who was at the meet- ing and used the opportunity afforded by agenda item "Public Input" to express his displea- sure over the presence of junk vehicles here and there around town. "It's pathetic yards filled with junk vehicles and nothing being done about it," he remarked. Sours also called to the coun- cil's attention the presence of an abandoned trailer near the intersection of Wellman Road (i.e Walnut Street) and Win- chester. The part-time police chief told the mayor and council that he had worked 20 plus hours in February and that part-time of- ricer Travis Courter h~d worked a comparable amount of time. He went On to say that he an- ticipated working more hours during the summer months when more people were more likelier to be out and about. A copy of the activity report for the Police Department for February was made available to the paper. According to it, the agency handled five calls during the month, one of which involved a suspiciou.s person and another of which was cat- egorized as a "Civil Matter". The document also indicated that the department issued two verbal/written warnings. tal Agreement No. 1, a pro- posed agreement between the county and the Kansas Depart- ment of Transportation cover- ing projects 44 C-4824-02, 44 C-4824-03 and 44 C-4824-04. The move clears the way for the county to receive an additional $206,444.29 in the way of reim- bursement for the damages it suffered when flooding affected the three sites associated with these projects, 13th Street (Proj- ect 44 C-4824-02), Effingham Road (Project 44 C-4824-03) and 190th Street (Project 44 C-4824- 04), in 2015. Noll informed the board that he would be applying for a new grant made possible by a "privately-funded grant oppor- tunity" in an effort to address perceived shortcomings with two low-water crossings that may be restricting the move- ment of fish and other forms of aquatic life. One of these crossings is located along Kiowa Road, the other along 170th Street. Noll announced that a con- ference for highway officials from around northeast Kansas would be held March 28 in Troy and said the deadline to register for the event was that Friday. Ledbetter responded to the announcement by telling the Public Works director that he would be heading for Doniphan County on the 28th. In response to a question posed by Ledbetter, the Public Works director reported that the motor grader assigned to the Meriden grader district had been repaired and turned over to Road and Bridge and was "back in operation." In reply to another question from the commissioner, who was concerned about possible post-tariff fluctuations in the price of steel and aluminum, he Jonathan Blevins Sarah . by Rick Nichols The Jefferson County Sher- iff's Office has arrested a To- peka man and two Baldwin City women in connection with the murder of a 22-year-old man last week at Perry Lake. Photo by Rick Nichols In a press release posted The deteriorating appearance and condition of this two-story on the JCSO's official website house at 204 Grasshopper hasn't gone unnoticed by the City of March 14, the agency identified Winchester, which wants the owner of the property to start deal- the victim as Taylor Sawyer. Ac- ing with the problem in short order cording to the statement, acting on a call the agency received In other business, on a 5-0 unfit for human habitation had frem a Douglas County detec- vote~ the council accepted a bid come up earlier in the meeting tive shortly before 10 a.m. on from Maguire Iron Inc Sioux while the police chief still had the 14th~ officers went to a spe- Falls, S.D on cleaning and the floor and was briefly dis- cific area at the lake and sub- inspecting the water tower, cussed then. sequently discovered the body which reportedly has a capacity A proposal put forth by Jimof an unidentified male "with of 50,000 gallons of water. The Schrick that he receive $125 apparentgunshotwounds."The company will be doing the work from the city for each mowing dead man was later identified as later this year for $1,575. of the park and the area around Sawyer. The winning bid was one ofthe water tower was approved In response to a request for four bids that had been secured by the council on a 5-0 vote. In additional information, Capt, by City Superintendent Chuck recent years, Schrick has been Randy Carreno with the JCSO Frakes. . paid $110 per mowing, told the paper last Thursday Voting 5-0, the council OK'd Jason Hoskinson with B&G morning that Sawyer's body a motion that the city solicit Consultants, Lawrence, was on was found in the Old Military sealed bids on the city's 2001 hand for the meeting to give Trail area on the east side of the Chevrolet 3/4-ton pickup. The city officials a timeline for the lake. That area, which includes decision was preceded by a short upcoming street improvement a hiking trail, lies to the south of discussion, durln~which the project-made possible by the 9gthStreet and is immediately. city clerk reported that someone grant the Kansas Department west of Ferguson Road. had expressed an interest in of Commerce recently awarded . The statement went on to taking the vehicle off the city's to the 6itN"Congratulations are say that the detective called hands. Meanwhile, the cityin order," he told the group to be- the JCSO because he had re- . continues to look for a suitable gin with, and a short time later ceived a call from "a subject" dump truck to meet its needs in he was heard to say, "You'll see who claimed to have witnessed that area. a lot more action coming very a murder at Perry Lake the On a 5-0 vote, the councilsoon." night before. OK'd a motion that the city Hoskinson reported that he "After gaining information," send a notice to the owner of the looked for surveyors to be in the statement continued, the property at 204 Grasshopper town later in the month and advising them of certain dead- said that by late spring or early lines it expects them to meet summer, the necessary plans with respectto the appearance will have been formulated and and overall condition of the two- bids could be let. He expected story house located there. The work on the two streets encom- general subject of structures believed to be dangerous andSee Winchester Page 3 by Clarke Davis The Jefferson County Food Council has been exploring the idea of a "food hub" that would benefit vegetable and fruit growers. "A food hub provides the said he only purchases culverts commissioners three applica- marketing, sales, and distribu- for use by Road and Bridge on tions for Special Event permits tion for the farmer," said Anna an as-needed basis and added for them to review prior to the Driscoll, Oskaloosa, a food coun- that he typically waits until board's meeting scheduled for cil member. the year is nearly Over before this coming Monday. He said all While it does not appear to soliciting bids on culverts the of the applications involved a be viable for Jefferson County to department is likely to use the bicycle race of some sort. He also have its own food hub, she said, following year. said the county hadn't experi- the county is within the Kansas Emergency Services Direc- enced any problems with these City region that does have one. tor James Tweed reported that particular races in the past. "The Food Council is under eight days earlier, officials with On separate votes, the board the Economic Development urn- the State of Kansas were in OK'dResolution2018-002,Res- -brella, so its main goal is to help Oskaloosa to make a presenta- olution 2018-003 and Resolu- create economic opportunities tion covering the state's NG911 tion 2018-004. and locate better markets for "solution" and, at the same time, Resolution 2018-002 rescinds the producers," Discoll said. conduct an on-site assessment Resolution 2017-015 and adds "We want JeffersonCounty of the county's 911 communica- the following three positions, farmers to know that there is tions system. He went on to say Emergency Services Director, help and a market if they want that within the next week or so, Emergency Medical Servicesto grow their business," she he hoped to have some follow-up Deputy Director and 911 Com- said. information he could share with munications Deputy Director, to Driscoll's committee toured the board, the list of positions the county one of the sub-hubs on the west The visit took place at a time has already designated as "ex- side of Kansas City and was im- when the county is generally empt" under the Fair Laborpressed by all of the industrial moving in the direction ofaban- Standards Act with respect to equipment it had for chopping, doning its existing communica- the payment of overtime pay. freezing, washing, etc. tions system in favor ofthe more Resolution 2018-003 con- "That's when we realized advanced NG911 system, stitutes the required annual what a huge hurdle that would NG stands for Next Genera- . review of the county's purchas- be for Jefferson County farm- tion. ing policy and amends, but not ers," she said. Tweed, who assumed his cur- in a substantial manner, the The Kansas City Food Hub--- rent duties March 1, informed language used in Resolution more recently known as the the board that he was conduct- 2015-011. Fresh Farm HQ Cooperative ing an internal review of the Resolution 2018-004 estab'- Association--has been in opera- policies and procedures of the lishes the biweekly salaries of tion three years. Director Emily three departments he is now in the county's seven appointed Miller reports that it will be charge of, Ambulance Service, department heads. They areundergoing some major changes Emergency Management and as follows: Emergency Ser-this spring as it works to expand 911 Communications. vices director, $2,769.23; Ap- and meet the demand. Tweed announced that he praiser, $2,538.81; Geographic The co-op currently has 10 had hired a new paramedic for Information Systems/Infor-member-farms who paid a $250 Ambulance Service. He didn't mation Technology director, fee to join plus $500 a year for provide a name, but this indi- $2,773.08; Health Department unlimited use of the services. vidual will be replacing James administrator, $2,770.22; Plan- Miller said it might be six Schoepf, who has been named ning and Zoning administra- weeks before they make any Emergency Medical Services tor, $2,119.42; Public Works announcement, but there are Deputy Director. director, $2,687.11; and Eco- big changes on the way. "Things are operating pretty nomic Development director, Regardless of those changes, well," the Emergency Services $1,782.69. there will be need for more director told the commissioners County Commissioner Lynn vegetable producers and meat in concluding his report.Luck was unable to attend the producers. PlanningandZoningAdmin- meeting, which adjourned at "We are committed to the istrator Dustin Parks gave the 1:26. small farm, to get them an ad- equate market and fair prices," Hemmerling Ashlyn Hemmerling JCSO and the Douglas County Sheriff's Office made an arrest in Lawrence. Taken into custody at that time (reportedly early the after- noon of the 14th) was 22-year- old Jonathan Blevins of Topeka. He was booked into the jail at the Law Enforcement Center in Oskaloosa at 4:30 p.m. on the 14th, the preliminary charge against him, murder in the second degree. Last Thursday, Blevins was formally Charged with first- degree murder in a complaint filed by County Attorney Josh Ney, and on Friday, the defen- dant made his first appearance in Jefferson County District Court. Magistrate Judge Dennis L. Reiling was on the bench at the time and appointed Holton attorney J. Richard Lake to represent Blevins. The state was represented at the proceeding by Ney. According to court records, Blevins was due back in court earlier this week for his prelimi- nary hearing, Blevins' bond has been set at $1,000,000. The two Baldwin City women arrested in Sawyer's death are 37-year-old Sarah Hemmerling and 18-year-old Ashlyn Hem- merling. Sarah Hemmerling is Ashlyn Hemmerling's mother. In response to a request for additional information, Sher- See Death Page 2 Jefferson County Food Council member Anna Driscoll Miller said. One of the biggest things un- der discussion is a consortium of 12 hunger relief organizations looking for fresh produce from the KC Food Hub. "We'll be making announce- ments about that in May," Miller said. The co-op will also be rede- signing its website to provide more up-to-date information. Farmers who are thinking of expanding their operations this spring and looking for a market should stay in touch with the lo- cal Food Council members and the progress going on with the KC Food Hub. "A.lot of people are anxious to keep our small farm rural identity," Driscoll said. "With- out being able to support small farmers -- give them a way to make money ~-- we're not going to keep that identity." While there aren't many veg- etable and fruit producers oper- ating on a large enough scale in the county to require a food hub, knowing the availability of one might change things. "Maybe they haven't expand- ed, but if they know about these things they might," Discoll said. "That's the feedback we are get- See Food Page 2