Archives for March 2012

Topeka Man Hurt in Allen County Crash

Highway Patrol troopers say a Topeka man was injured yesterday afternoon in a crash north of Iola. 19-year old Xiang Jun Chen was taken to Allen County Hospital with minor injuries following the crash, which happened on 1600th Street about three and a half miles north of Iola near Rhode Island Road. Troopers say he was northbound in a 1998 Ford Taurus and lost control, going off the road into the east ditch and hitting a utility pole. His passenger, 19-year Christopher Cho of Lawrence, was not hurt.

State Computer Upgrade Means Inconvenience for Some

Allen County Treasurer Sharon Utley has a heads-up form anyone who renews license tags in April or May: the lines may be longer the end of April than usual, and those renewing in May will have less time than normal. It’s all due to an upgrade of the state’s auto registration computer system, which will take place at the end of the business day April 30th. Staff in the treasurer’s office will be training and testing on the new system during April, which will mean the office is open shorter hours on the 3rd through the 5th and on the 10th through the 12th. During both those three-day spans, tag and title work will only be available after 9:30am.

After the office closes April 30th, the computer system will be converted, and state officials will begin a week-long audit to ensure information transferred from the old system shows up correctly in the new system. So the Motor Vehicle Department will be closed the entire first week of May. The closure affects all counties in the state.

Those with C and D last names have a harder-than-usual deadline to get tag work done in April, since missing the April 30th deadline means you won’t be able to get the tag work done until May 9th. The same is true for those buying a car — no title work can be done the first week of May, so if your 30-day tag expires in that time frame you have until April 30th to get it taken care of.

Grants Fund Imrovements Across the Area

Grant money will be improving southewast Kansas in a couple of ways soon.

First off, Iola firefighters will soon each have a new set of bunker gear courtesy of a $57-thousand grant through FEMA’s Assistance to Firefighters program. The grant also contains money for three new state-of-the-art thermal imaging cameras. The Iola department obtained a 3,000-gallon tanker through the same grant program in 2004 in conjunction with Allen County, which provided about $18,000 in matching funds. Iola firefighters maintain the truck and use it throughout the county.

The new personal gear for each of 16 Iola firefighters will include helmet, coat, pants and boots. The thermal imaging devices will replace one the department purchased by way of donations in 2000. The devices’ primary purpose is to help in search and rescue at fire scenes where it is thought a person might be involved. They also may be used for fugitive searches – the older one has been used for that by Allen County officers.

Also, two area hospitals are receiving federal grants to help implement electronic patient records systems. St. Luke’s Hospital of Garnett is receiving nearly $72-thosuand and Neosho Memorial Regional Medical Center in Chanute is receiving more than a quarter-million dollars. Payments from the grants are due to be made today. Twenty-three eligible hospitals statewide are collectively receiving more than $10-million for promoting and achieving widespread adoption of Health Information Technology such as electronic health records, which improves the coordination and delivery of health care services for patients. The grants were announced yesterday by KDHE.

Man to be sentenced on child pornography charges

Sentencing for 43-year old Byron C Johnson, formerly of Chanute, will happen April 19. Johnson pleaded no contest to child pornography charges and was found guilty Monday in Neosho county District Court. The charges stemmed from incidents in 2008 and 2009 when the alleged victim was 4 years old. The Chanute and Iola police departments were part of that investigation.

Chanute funeral home to hold services for Grayson

Funeral services have been announced for Michael Keith Grayson, who died in a house fire Sunday in Chanute. Funeral services for Michael Keith Grayson will be Friday March 23 at the Penwell-Gabel Gibson Chapel in Chanute at 1pm. Visitation will happen Thursday evening from 6-8 at the Penwell-Gabel Gibson Chapel.

Scam targets farmers

The US Department of Agriculture warns individuals and businesses with a fax machine to be aware of a scam. Kansas farmers and producers are being target by someone claiming to be with the USDA and the letter head even bears the USDA’s logo and seal. The letters are signed by “Frank Rutenberg, Senior Procurement Officer.” The USDA urges anyone who receives the letter to report it, and don’t provide any financial information.

Flood Watch continues this morning

Continue to watch for flooding. That’s the word from the National Weather Service in Wichita. Low water crossings and flood prone areas are at high risk. Allen County is included in a watch area that continues through the morning, along with Neosho, Wilson, and Woodson counties. So far this year, over 7 inches of rain has come down in Iola, slighly more than in 2011.

Chanute students spend spring break in Spain

A group of Chanute students are spending spring break in Spain. It’s quite a large group – 25 students plus four chaperones and other adult. The purpose of the trip is to practice speaking Spanish and experience the language in the native culture, but the group also has plenty of time for sightseeing and shopping. Teacher Laurie Ward alternates visits to Canada, Mexico, France, Germany and Spain so most language students experience a different country at least one while they’re in high school. This group will return Sunday.

Kansas and Ohio agree to concealed carry permit swap

If you have a concealed carry permit, you’ll be able to legally carry in Ohio too. By the same token, anyone in Ohio with a valid concealed carry permit will be allowed to carry the weapon in Kansas, under a new agreement by the Attorneys General from each state. Of course those carrying concealed weapons have to follow state laws on having, storing and using the firearms. Ohio has worked these reciporcity agreements with 23 states now, and seeks agreements with those that have comparable laws.

Chanute man dies in house fire

A house fire has claimed the life of a Chanute man. 21-year old Michael Grayson died in a fire early Sunday morning at 909 Larson in Chanute. Grayson was unresponsive when firefighters got to him, and was pronounced dead later at Neosho Memorial Regional Medical Center. Investigators say the initial signs point toward an accidental fire and they have no reason to suspect foul play. A black lab that worked as a therapy dog at USD 413 also died in the fire. The Chanute Fire and Police Departments are investigating along with the Kansas State Fire Marshal’s office.