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Lockwood Co. plans closure

Amid changing times, an iconic Atchison, Kansas, business is closing its doors after more than a century in operation.

Justin Snowden, president of The Lockwood Co. Inc., announced to customers in a letter dated April 11 that the commercial printing firm his great-great grandfather C.A. Lockwood founded in 1903 will cease trading after April 30.

The decision, voted on by stockholders in December 2018, was predominately made due to diminishing demands and rising costs of materials.

“We are no longer able to remain competitive on price and remain a viable business at the same time,” Snowden wrote.

Snowden said in a news release this week that the company intends to honor all existing orders placed throughout the past month. Customers awaiting deliveries of particular orders will receive their orders after completion. The Lockwood customer service center will remain in full operation until 3:30 p.m. May 31.

C.A. Lockwood initially formed the company 116 years ago under as Trade Printing Company. Its name changed to Lockwood-Hazel Printing and Stationary Company back in 1911, Snowden said. Then it became the Lockwood Company Inc. in 1949.

Snowden represents the fifth generation involved in the company.

“It is with a heavy heart that I have to announce its closure,” Snowden said. “And though the company’s operation may be halting the legacy will live on. It has instilled an entrepreneurial spirit that will live forever.”

Snowden has been actively involved in the company for 13 years, and is proud of to have been a part of what Lockwood has provided at both the local and national levels, Snowden said.

“The skills and experience that I have gained will forever be applied in all of my future endeavors and I cannot be more grateful,” Snowden said.

A legal notice publicly announcing dissolution of Lockwood is set for publication in Atchison Globe. Stockholders are comprised of seven different entities holding 2,400 shares, Snowden said. After production ceases all the machines will be cleaned up and then offered for sale on an online printing equipment auction site. One of the machines is a Heidelberg press that Snowden’s great grandfather purchased back in 1956, Snowden said. The press was shipped over by boat from Germany.

Snowden indicates after the building is cleared out, it will be put up for sale.

“On behalf of The Lockwood Co. Inc., I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your continued loyalty in choosing us as your preferred supplier,” Snowden wrote to his customers. “With support like yours, Lockwood has been able to provide services for 116 years ... Thank you once again for the loyal and continuous support you have shown us over the years.”

Tax bill stalls in Topeka

As tax season has come and gone, legislation designed to lift tax burdens on various sectors of Kansas has stalled out in the state capitol.

Senate Bill 22, vetoed by Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly, would allow corporations to avoid state taxes on much of the money they re-invest domestically from overseas assets. The issue arises amid federal legislation designed to push U.S. firms to do that, as part of the tax reforms enacted by President Donald Trump.

“I refuse to endorse another round of fiscally reckless policies similar to those that left us in a mess my team is working so hard to clean up,” Kelly said. “The days of unbalanced budgets and mismanagement are over.”

Proponents of the bill, such as Blish-Mize Co. CEO Jonathan Mize, advocate that this measure isn’t a tax cut, but a plan designed to stop the state from raking in “windfall” money brought on by federal tax reform that its constituents deserve.

“Opponents of the (bill) have done their best to distort and lie about what the bill does,” Mize wrote in a recent letter to the editor. “Despite the claims of many, there is nothing in Senate Bill 22 that reduces tax rates, eliminates any existing tax liability or collapses tax brackets. Bottom line, SB 22 is not a tax cut.”

Kelly told Kansas media at the time of her veto that she’s afraid the bill would return the state to a time period reminiscent of the second term of her predecessor, Republican Gov. Sam Brownback, where the state consistently struggled to meet tax revenue forecasts.

The Legislature eventually overrode a Brownback veto in 2017 to reverse Brownback’s landmark tax reforms, which Democrats, some Republicans and most national observers consider to have been overly aggressive. Brownback now serves in the Trump administration; his successor, Republican former Gov. Jeff Colyer, lost the GOP primary last year before Kelly defeated GOP nominee Kris Kobach in November.

The bill, which could be revived on May 1 with the commencement of the veto session of the state Legislature, carries the additional bonuses of a reduction in state sales tax on groceries and a provision to take advantage of a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling, South Dakota v. Wayfair, Inc. The court held that states can compel the collection and distribution of sales tax revenue from online retailers.

“The sales tax revenue we receive is very important,” said Mayor Shawn Rizza. “That part of Senate Bill 22 I definitely like. It puts our retailers here on closer to level ground ... I mean, it’s tough for anybody to compete against Amazon. But then, when you are also getting dinged with sales tax and somebody online isn’t, it makes for a very uneven playing field. This would get us a bit closer to even.”

According to City Manager Becky Berger, via figures from the League of Kansas Municipalities, Atchison could see a sales tax revenue increase from such a measure of up to 15 percent, by rough estimates.

“The league wants it to pass, and so do we,” Berger said.

As things stand, however, SB 22 must clear a hurdle to passage that Rizza, among others, believes is likely too high to surmount.

“In the final analysis to date, the senate president, Susan Wagle, hasn’t had the votes to override the governor,” said state Rep. John Eplee, R-Atchison. “She needed 27, and she has 24 or 25 votes, it’s not certain. She didn’t want to lose, and so she decided to not tee it up ... I’d like to see it happen. I think it’s a good piece of legislation and will help a lot of businesses and individuals in this state.”

Derek Franklin, owner of The Hardware Store and chairman of the Atchison County Republican Party, is among the business leaders who agree.

“The governor made a mistake by not signing Senate Bill 22,” Franklin said. “We don’t have enough Senate votes to override it. So, that’s the biggest mistake anyone’s made on this Tax Day.”

'It just wasn't my time'
Business leader back home after fall

With more than 100 staples and stitches, two neck injuries, one spine fracture, broken facial bones and numerous cuts, scratches and bruises, Rick Berger has been through a lot.

The local business and community leader fell off a riverside bluff on Monday while mowing his lawn along Terrace Street in Atchison, plummeting nearly 20 feet down to River Road along with the mower tractor. Authorities say the terrain and saturated soil contributed to slick conditions that sent Berger over the side. Trees arrested his fall, and he had to be cut out of the foliage by first responders.

“Fortunately, it just wasn’t my time, I guess,” Berger said. “I am a very lucky person because it certainly could have been worse. I feel like I won the lottery.”

As CEO of Berger Company, Berger has followed the example of his father, Bob, in contributing at least as much time and resources to the public good as he does his career. The Atchison Family YMCA, the Atchison Amelia Earhart Foundation, Atchison Area Chamber of Commerce, the Historic Santa Fe Depot and the Atchison Area United Way are among many beneficiaries of the Berger family’s generosity.

Berger said the outpouring of support he has received since his accident has been a fresh reminder of the special bond he has with his hometown.

“I really appreciate the way the community came together to send me thoughts, prayers and encouragement,” he said. “That’s one of the reasons I love Atchison.”

Berger sent his thoughts to Atchison Globe after discharge from the University of Kansas Medical Center in Kansas City, Kansas, though the effects of his injuries are considerable.

He extended special thanks to area first responders, including Atchison Fire Chief Ted Graf, Atchison Police Chief Mike Wilson and their departments; the helicopter and medical personnel who treated him; to Dr. John Eplee of Atchison Hospital and The Rev. Rachel Dannar of the First Presbyterian Church of Atchison; and to Deeghan Weishaar and Samantha Spilman, who witnessed his fall and summoned help.

“I feel pretty good, I just don’t look so good,” he said. “My grandkids think I look scary and don’t recognize me; my iPhone X doesn’t recognize me either. I’ll know that I am getting better when it will read my expression and I don’t have to type in my password.”

Berger said he’s optimistic based on the relative fortune he had as he continues on the path to full recovery.

“I was very lucky to survive the fall,” he said. “I was truly blessed.”

State water regulator to hold local meeting

Current water issues affecting the region and the state will be one of the topics of discussion when the Kansas Water Office’s Missouri Regional Advisory Committee members gather this week in Atchison.

The meeting is set for 9 a.m. Thursday, April 25, in USD 409 Community Meeting Room, at 626 Commercial St.

The Regional Advisory Committee will get an update from United States Army Corps of Engineers about Missouri River Flooding. There will also be discussions concerning the regional irrigation and the State Water Plan Fund.

The agenda and meeting materials may be requested by calling 785-296-3185 or toll-free at 888-KAN-WATER (526-92837).

If accommodations are needed for persons with disabilities please contact the KWO at 900 SW Jackson Street, Suite 404, Topeka, Kansas 66611-1249 or call 785-296-3185 no less than five working days prior to the meeting.

Case outcome still unknown dispite jury conviction

The outcome for a local man remains unknown following his felony conviction by jury trial on Tuesday and awaiting a decision on concerning a motion for new trial filed on Wednesday.

Jarvis J. Grace, 22, of Atchison is tentatively scheduled for hearing on both matters during the month of May in Atchison County District Court.

Grace was found guilty by the jury on April 16 on one felony count criminal possession of a weapon within five years of a conviction and for one misdemeanor count misdemeanor interference with law enforcement. The jury acquitted Grace on one misdemeanor count criminal discharge of a weapon.

Grace’s court appointed defense counsel, John Kurth, filed the motion April 17 seeking a new trial or acquittal based on a claim that evidence presented during the trial did not support the finding of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, according to court documents. Kurth raised issue that the verdict on the interference count was inconsistent with the police officer’s testimony. The remedy is for the Court to grant a new trial or a grant a judgement of acquittal.

On Grace’s behalf, Kurth also requested the motion be granted and for further relief as whatever the Court deems fair and equitable.

Grace’s motion for a new trial is up for consideration for the 1 p.m. criminal docket on Monday, May 13 in district court. Sentencing is scheduled for May 31.

Since his Atchison police arrested him on Nov. 29, 2018, Grace has been incarcerated in the Atchison County Jail. Grace was the only person arrested and charged in connection with events that unfolded after sounds of multiple gunshots were heard near Walnut and M streets vicinity.

Police arrest Grace on suspicion that he threw down a handgun after he exited a Cadillac Escalade that police alleged is the vehicle the shots were fired from. Grace was arrested after a foot pursuit. Police allege Grace was in possession of the handgun they recovered within five years after his 2016 burglary conviction.