A man previously set to go before a jury in a case involving a February shots fired incident in midtown Atchison has pleaded guilty rather than face trial.
Thomas C. Strathman is now convicted of one count of aggravated assault, a felony, as well as one count of endangering a child and one count of criminal damage to property, both misdemeanors.
He pleaded to the offenses in a hearing on Monday, April 29, in Atchison County District Court. Sentencing for Strathman will be during the 1 p.m. court docket Monday, June 17. He faces 11 to 34 months in state prison for the assault. Each misdemeanor is punishable by time in the Atchison County Jail.
Atchison County Attorney Sherri Becker told the court that evidence presented during Strathman’s recent evidentiary hearing supported the evidence that led to his conviction. However, the female victim held an infant in a baby carrier at the time when Strathman pointed a handgun near her head and then discharged the weapon toward the ground near her feet. In exchange for his plea, one count aggravated assault and one count criminal threat, both felonies, were dismissed.
Atchison police arrested Strathman after 3 a.m. on Feb. 6 in the 1000 block of North 10th Street and determined a verbal disturbance that involved Strathman and a 56-year-old female victim inside the residence, according to police reports.
The disturbance moved outside the residence and escalated to the firing of shots. All parties escaped injury, though one of the responding police officers suffered a dog bite after he unexpectedly encountered the victim’s startled pet during the crime scene investigation.
Since his arrest, Strathman has been confined in jail pending fulfillment of a $25,000 bond agreement. After his plea on Monday, Strathman’s court-appointed defense counsel, J. David Farris, requested a bond modification on the defendant’s behalf. Judge Robert Bednar indicated he would review the bond and advise Farris of his decision.
A large crowd of residents and visitors gathered on Saturday at the Atchison Railroad Museum to mark the fourth annual Atchison Train Festival, a celebration of our town’s history on rails.
For about 30 years, the great 811 steam locomotive has served as the centerpiece element of the museum. In operation since 1989, it also is the host of today’s Atchison County Rail Festival, which is a key element for tourism and business throughout the Atchison community.
“This is a piece of our history,” said Maria Miller, Visit Atchison tourism director, who organizes the event with the host Northeast Kansas Railroaders. “This is what we have and what Atchison is known for. And so we’re really excited to host this community event, so we can open some of the train cars and let people go inside them.”
The event is catered to families who know they hardly will need to ask their children twice, “Hey, want to come check out a choo choo?”
With the historic artifacts, activities like Atchison-Topeka & Santa Fe-themed mini railroad, a balloon artist and a performance by blues guitarist Dan Bliss, the reasons people from across the region got on board with the festival are clear.
“We all start as little kids and grow up to be big kids,” said Dave Haupt, treasurer of the Northeast Kansas Railroaders. “(This is) for the little kids riding the train and enjoying Thomas, up to my age and then going even older.”
The kids had free run of the Atchison Railroad Museum, extending outdoors for almost 10 blocks of parked, historic rail cars, cabooses and service vehicles.
“My son’s on the autism spectrum,” said visitor David Greene, of Overland Park, Kansas. “Trains are one of the things that kind of keeps him (busy), or retains his focus on things, and it’s something that he gets very excited about. So, it’s all about the kids.”
Wei Chen, an assistant professor of decision sciences and supply chain management at the University of Kansas School of Business, traveled from Lawrence to attend the festival.
“We have a small kid at home, and we want him to have something educational to enjoy,” Chen said. “For small children like him, I think this is a really fun experience.”
Greene said he wishes more towns would make the kind of investment Atchison has made in the restoration of history.
“You know, I never really knew about the whole history of the railroad until coming here to this festival,” he said. “And I think if they do this in future, and make it bigger, it’s going to be a big hit around the area.”
I would like to inform our readers about an exciting new development that will help Atchison Globe continue to progress as not just as a newspaper, but as a multimedia enterprise that punches well above its weight throughout Northeast Kansas.
On Wednesday, May 1, our website, www.atchisonglobenow.com, will see the official launch of the Atchison Globe eEdition, an online portal to deliver the newspaper digitally, on demand, to all of our subscribers.
The eEdition is a nearly exact copy of the digital documents we use to arrange each twice-weekly Globe before printing, combined with special features that allow easy navigation between pages and other features. Its interactivity will only improve with time as we continue to develop newer and better ways to host our local news content in a digital format.
The eEdition serves as an addition to our great print product we will continue to offer. In creating it, our team aims to serve those who want to read the newspaper as it exists in print, but with the convenience of an electronic version.
Each edition will become available on Wednesdays and Saturdays at 5 a.m., about the same time papers can be found at coin-operated newspaper racks each day. The eEdition is available to all Globe subscribers at no additional cost. We will be offering a special “digital only” service to those who seek their news only via an electronic device.
For more information on how to get access, simply visit www.atchisonglobenow.com and click on “Subscribe” in the top left corner of the blue banner. Our staff stand ready from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays to assist anyone in need of help getting registered at our office, 308 Commercial St. in historic downtown Atchison. Readers may also call us for help during these hours at 913-367-0583.
Thanks to all of our readers for their support and engagement with our ever-expanding digital news service, as represented by our website, live reporting via social media, news videos produced with our friends at News-Press Now and our network for third party and community content.
I am thrilled to lead the newspaper through this evolution. Please reach out for any feedback on this next chapter in the storied history of Atchison Globe.
Seth Howard has been terminated from his position as superintendent of the Atchison County Road and Bridge Department.
Commissioners took action to terminate Howard effective Tuesday, April 30, following a five-minute executive session to discuss a non-elected personnel matter with Howard and Director Jamie Madison, of the county’s human resource department.
Commissioners resumed their meeting in public session, Chairman Jack Bower asked if there was any other business.
Commissioner Henry W. “Bill” Pohl made a motion. “To take a different direction with the road and bridge department and to terminate Seth Howard as of today,” Pohl said.
Vice-chairman Eric Noll seconded the motion. Chairman Jack Bower called for a vote, which was unanimous at 3-0. Commissioners then proceeded to adjourn for the day. Howard was hired to lead the county’s road and bridge department in June of 2015.
Attempts to reach Bower and Howard for further comment on the decision did not receive a response before press time on Tuesday.
Information for this story is based on the unofficial commission meeting notes of Kalee Vanderweide, of the county clerk’s office and www.youtube.com/user/atchisoncountyks.
More online: Atchison Train Festival
View a video featurette via News-Press NOW on the Fourth Annual Atchison Train Festival by visiting