Recognition to honor Dr. Susan Myers, retiring superintendent of schools, for her years of service to the district tops the agenda for the upcoming meeting for USD 409 Board of Education.
Board members plan to gather at 7 p.m. Monday to conduct their regular business in the community room at the board office, 626 Commercial St. The meeting also marks the last one that Myers will attend as the district leader. Her retirement becomes effective Sunday, June 30, after 12 years of service to the district.
School safety matters are among the topics slated to come before the board during the meeting. Board members plan to hear an update concerning the school resource officer program from outgoing Atchison High School Principal Bryon Hanson and 409’s current SRO Katie Brown.
Atchison Police Chief Mike Wilson will offer a report about school safety. Board members expect to discuss the school safety initiative and recommendations further before they take any action on the matter.
After board members hear Wilson’s report, they expect to hear public comments slated about 7:30 p.m., according to the meeting agenda. Comment time limits are at the discretion of the board president, and are limited to issues, and should not be stated in a personal manner.
Additional discussions about student and building safety measures are on the agenda following a discussion about school finance with Business Manager Lori Lanter presents a proposed budget timeline to assure compliance with statutory guidelines.
Board members expect to address regular monthly business items as well as some contractual renewals for special services for the forthcoming schoolyear. Before they adjourn for the evening, board members expect to recess from public session and go behind closed doors to discuss matters of non-elected personnel and negotiations.
After board members resume their business, they expect to take action likely on resignations, recommendation for employments, transfers and supplemental contracts.
After about two full days of trial proceedings a local man who represented himself, was found guilty on all counts as charged in the second amended complaint filed a day before testimony was heard.
A jury convicted Dale W. Birch, 51, of Atchison, on Wednesday, June 5, in a case involving interference with a law enforcement officer and battery against a law enforcement officer, both felony offenses.
The jury, composed of three women and nine men, also found Birch guilty of three misdemeanors: attempted criminal trespass, criminal damage to property, possession of a controlled substance (tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC), a schedule 1 drug under Kansas statute. Specifically, in the form of a blue metal pipe designed to introduce the substance into the human body.
Chief Judge Honorable David King, of Leavenworth, presided, and set a tentative date at 11 a.m. Friday, July 12 for Birch’s sentencing hearing. King ordered a pre-sentencing investigation to determine if there any prior convictions. Contingent on findings of criminal history, Birch potentially faces a maximum of more than three years in a state prison for the felony offenses. The misdemeanors are punishable by jail time.
The trial started Tuesday morning following selection of the jury panel, and continued throughout the day until its recess for the night. Trial proceedings resumed Wednesday morning until a lunchtime recess. Then evidence and closing arguments were heard until about 3 p.m. when jurors went into deliberation. After a few clarifications were made, the jurors delivered their decision about 5:30 p.m.
Birch remains in jail on a $25,000 bond amount. He has been in custody since Atchison Police Department officers arrested him after dawn Jan. 8 in the 500 block of North 10th Street. Police responded to call about a possible break-in in progress. They arrived and saw Birch outside the residence.
Birch ran from the residence, a foot pursuit ensued. Police caught up with Birch. It was during his apprehension when he struck police with his hands and feet, according to a Globe news account. Inside a book bag that was in Birch’s possession police found the substances and paraphernalia.
He was taken to jail. Birch subsequently waived his right to court appointed defense counsel and proceeded to represent himself pro se, on his own behalf. John Kurth served as the court-appointed adviser for Birch.
A local repeat offender, who has run afoul of the law nearly a dozen times since 1995, is back behind bars after he allegedly engaged in illegal drug activity about six months after his release from state prison.
Atchison County Sheriff’s Office authorities arrested Darren Lee Powell, 40, Atchison, on June 5 in connection with the following felonies:
❯ possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute within 1,000 feet of a school;
❯ possession of drug-related paraphernalia with intent to distribute;
use of a telecommunication facility in connection with distribution of a controlled substance;
and failure to obtain tax stamp(s) for controlled substances.
The alleged offenses are defined by a warrant filed in Atchison County District Court. The most serious offense is said to have occurred within 1,000 feet of Central School, an Atchison Public Schools USD 409 institute at 215 North Eighth St.
Powell heard formal charges announced during the criminal docket Friday morning in district court. The court also advised him of the following potential penalties:
up to 144 months in state prison for the 1,000 feet distribution charge;
up to 42 months in state prison for the paraphernalia charge;
up to 23 months of hard time for the telecommunication device charge;
and up to 13 months’ confinement for the tax stamp charge.
Powell applied for a court-appointed defense counsel, prompting the selection of Leavenworth-based attorney Kevin Reardon. Powell is tentatively scheduled to make another court appearance at 1 p.m. Monday, June 10, as part of the criminal court docket.
Sheriff Jack Laurie said the arrest arose from complaints about suspected drug activity in the 800 block of Kansas Avenue, within Atchison city limits. The case centers on an alleged transaction that occurred in that area in February. Sheriff’s Office narcotic investigators recently forwarded the case to the office of Atchison County Attorney Sherri Becker, Laurie said.
Sherrif’s Office authorities apprehended Powell at about 8:30 p.m. Wednesday and booked him into the Atchison County Jail. He remained confined there as of Friday afternoon, pending fulfillment of a $50,000 surety bond agreement.
An online report obtained from Kansas Criminal Justice Information System indicates Powell has 10 convictions spanning from 1995 to 2013 in addition to his most recent, a 2017 conviction for fleeing or eluding a law enforcement officer, a felony, with or more moving violations along with two misdemeanors.
The report also reflects Powell’s most recent stay in a penitentiary commenced at Aug. 30, 2018, at El Dorado Correctional Facility. He saw release on Sept. 28, 2018, to Atchison County.