A look at news in and around Leavenworth County

Chieftain Cafe numbers continue to climb
October 11, 2017
Chieftain Cafe continues to be a hot spot for Tonganoxie youth while providing healthy food options after school. The Tonganoxie Public Library program started in January, growing to an average attendance of 50 youths by the end of the school year. The after-school program now is averaging 80-90 participants from 3:30-5 p.m. on weekdays.
Former Tonganoxie resident sentenced to 19 years in case involving KCK officer
October 11, 2017
A former Tonganoxie resident was sentenced last week to more than 19 years in prison for aggravated robbery and burglary in a case related to the death of a police officer in Kansas City, Kan. Curtis Ayers, 30, was sentenced Thursday in Leavenworth County District Court for events that transpired May 9, 2016. He was sentenced to 233 months for the aggravated robbery and 32 months for the aggravated burglary, which will run concurrently. He did run this case consecutively to his capitol murder case from the same day in Wyandotte County. Ayers pleaded guilty to these two counts Thursday. On May 9, 2016, Ayers was at the Hollywood Casino in Wyandotte County. Law enforcement officials were called to the scene. Detective Brad Lancaster attempted to stop Ayers from leaving, but Ayers pulled a handgun from his waistband and fired multiple shots into Lancaster’s car from about 8 feet away. Lancaster suffered seven gunshot wounds that would eventually kill him. Ayers then took Lancaster’s vehicle, but not before being rammed by another officer’s vehicle and engaging in a shootout in which that officer and Ayers were not hit. Ayers proceeded to 118th Street and State Avenue where he crashed Lancaster’s car into another vehicle driven by a woman with two children. Ayers pulled the woman out of her car, breaking her arm in the process. Ayers proceeded to drive that vehicle into Basehor at 141st Street, entering Leavenworth County in the process.
Tyson could be looking to build in Cornhusker State; Concordia reportedly showing interest
September 28, 2017
Kansas had the fourth lowest income growth of any state in the country during the second quarter of 2017, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. Personal income grew by only 0.4 percent during the quarter, which ranked Kansas 47th among the states. The national average was 0.7 percent.
Graeber replacement would have to run in 2018
September 28, 2017
Clyde Graeber’s replacement on the Leavenworth County Commission will have to run for election in 2018 if the appointee wants to stay on the board beyond the resident’s appointment. Leavenworth County Clerk Janet Klasinski explained the timeline this week. Graeber, who announced Monday that he would be stepping down next week because of health concerns, was elected to another term this past November. His last meeting is Thursday.
Tonganoxie community shows support for family of fallen soldier
September 28, 2017
Tonganoxie came out earlier this month to pay tribute to a fallen soldier. Private services took place Sept. 16 at Quisenberry Funeral Home for Chief Petty Officer Charles Nathan Findley, who died Aug. 21 while serving his country aboard the USS John S. McCain. Tonganoxie resident Kay Soetaert was Findley’s grandmother.
Leavenworth County commissioner’s replacement would have to run for re-election in 2018
02:56 p.m., September 21, 2017 Updated 05:01 p.m.
Clyde Graeber’s replacement on the Leavenworth County Commission will have to run for election in 2018 if the appointee wants to stay on the board beyond the resident’s appointment. Leavenworth County Clerk Janet Klasinski explained the timeline this week.
Crews clean up hydraulic spill in Tonganoxie subdivision
September 20, 2017
Crews worked to clean up a hydraulic line spill Wednesday afternoon in a Tonganoxie subdivision. Tonganoxie City Fire Department members were told of a spill in the South Park subdivision about 2:30 p.m., according to Fire Chief Jack Holcom.
Tyson putting hold on proposed chicken plant plans near Tonganoxie
04:51 p.m., September 19, 2017 Updated 04:59 p.m.
Tyson Foods, Inc., is putting a proposed $320 million project near Tonganoxie on hold. In an open letter from Tyson to the Leavenworth County community emailed Tuesday, group president of poultry Doug Ramsey wrote that the company is delaying the process in light of Monday’s Leavenworth County Commission decision to rescind intent to issue $500 million in industrialized bonds for the project. The letter talks about Tyson’s 5,700 “team members” who are proud to live and work in Kansas and an annual economic impact of $2.4 billion in the state and reasons Tyson thought Leavenworth County was a good fit. But the letter eventually explained the status of the project.
Tonganoxie mayor recuses himself from future Tyson discussions
September 19, 2017
Tonganoxie Mayor Jason Ward will not involve himself with any future discussion about the proposed Tyson chicken-processing plant south of Tonganoxie. Questions were raised last week about a potential conflict of interest between Tyson and the mayor because the firm for which he works, Shook, Hardy & Bacon, lists the Arkansas-based company as one of its clients. Ward addressed his employment with the firm.
Leavenworth County commissioners revoke bond support for proposed Tyson chicken plant near Tonganoxie
11:23 a.m., September 18, 2017 Updated 05:37 p.m.
Leavenworth County commissioners at their meeting this morning said they no longer are prepared to issue a key set of bonds for a controversial meatpacking plant proposed for a site south of Tonganoxie.
Legislators pledge to join Tonganoxie fight against Tyson plant
September 16, 2017
Residents pressed local legislators repeatedly about their stances on a proposed $320 million Tyson chicken processing plant during a town hall meeting Friday in Tonganoxie. Sen. Tom Holland, D-Baldwin City, and Reps. Jim Karleskint, R-Tonganoxie and Willie Dove, R-Bonner Springs, all said during the meeting at Chieftain Park that they had numerous concerns about the proposed project, but they wanted more information before landing on either side of the issue.
Tonganoxie mayor checking on potential conflict of interest with Tyson
September 14, 2017
As Tyson Foods seeks more than $1 million from the city of Tonganoxie for a controversial meatpacking plant, the city’s mayor has confirmed he works for a law firm that does business with Tyson. Tonganoxie Mayor Jason Ward said he is now seeking legal advice on whether he has an official conflict of interest that would preclude him from taking part in decisions on Tyson’s proposal to build a $325 million chicken processing plant south of Tonganoxie.
Tonganoxie writer pens children’s book that can help youths deal with loss due to suicide
September 13, 2017
Tonganoxie writer Lisa Scheller has published a picture book, “The Story of The Bear.” The book may be helpful for adult caregivers to open a conversation with a child who has lost a loved one to suicide. Scheller originally wrote the story in 1989 to help her then-young children understand their paternal grandfather’s suicide.
No Tyson In Tongie’ effort adding supporters by hundreds in Tonganoxie area
September 12, 2017
Jen Peak has watched a community mobilize for a common cause in the span of a week. She was in downtown Tonganoxie on Sept. 5 when Gov. Sam Brownback and officials from Tyson Foods Inc. announced plans for a massive $320 million chicken-processing plant on two properties along Leavenworth County Road 1 south of Tonganoxie. With opposition signs in tow, Peak and other members of Citizens Against Project Sunset were at the announcement.