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Lancaster loves America

LANCASTER — In a time when a lot of Americans don’t see eye to eye on important issues, and the definition of what is or what isn’t patriotic is often debated, it’s important to remember where we all come from.

This is the kind of principle embraced by Mitch Oswald, who returned to his Lancaster roots this past Independence Day weekend to participate in the town’s Salute to Summer Fun events, highlighted by a parade on Thursday afternoon, organized by the City of Lancaster and the Lancaster Lions Club.

”There’s so much here that we do take for granted, we don’t even think about it,” Oswald said. “If you think about it, there’s people from other countries that are literally risking everything just to come to our country and have a chance to have what we have here. So that itself speaks to the type of freedoms, luxuries, whatever that we are celebrating now.”

Lancaster Mayor Tim Callahan, who put events together, says he’s happy to see everyone come back to town and join together in celebrating Lancaster’s love for America.

”There’s a lot of families who have had kids here that have grown up and gone away, but it seems like a lot of them come back on the Fourth for yard parties, to watch the fireworks together and participate in the parade,” he said. “It’s just a great time for everyone to relax and have fun together on this special day.”

Aside from the parade, the Lions Club set up shop in the Lancaster City building, serving savory sloppy joes, cheesy potatoes and cole slaw for a free will donation to the general public, and the city held a grand fireworks display following the conclusion of daytime events.

Lancaster resident Bob Carr said his heart fills with pride for Lancaster and for the country in watching the parade as it proceeded down Kansas Street.

”It’s great to see old friends and see how things have changed, to see what’s new, to see old acquaintances again,” Carr said. “It’s a reminder of all the freedoms that we have and what that means to all of us.”

USD 377 Board of Education to meet Wednesday

The USD 377 Board of Education members plan to convene Wednesday, July 10 at the district’s administrative building located at 306 Main Street in Effingham.

As one of the first orders of business, board members expect to organize for their business for the 2019-20 school year that includes adoption of a resolution to extend the term of elected board officers until after the first board meeting on or after the second Monday in January, 2020 in accordance with Kansas Statute72-1133. The terms of Board President Nancy Keith and Vice-president Barb Chapman expired June 30.

Board members also expect to hear a report on the district’s assessed valuation, some budget updates and set the time for publication and budget hearing. Board members also expect to appoint a clerk, deputy clerk, treasurer and school attorney.

Other business items for board members include:

Approval of the consent agenda items as presented.

A hearing of leadership reports from Business Manager Megan Gracey, board clerk, Superintendent Dr. Andrew Gaddis and Chapman about Keystone, an educational services provider, and from Transportation Director Dwight Myer.

Approve contracts and accept an insurance claim and agreements.

Discuss summer projects and updates about the auditorium repairs; the purchases of a bus, van and Chromebooks and the annual board-hosted luncheon for teachers in August before school starts. Board members expect to make decisions related to the topics.

Discuss a graduation requirements proposal that concerns dropping the cumulative 2.0 grade point average.

Expect to recess from public meeting to discuss a matter of non-elected personnel in executive session. After the closed door session, board member might take action after they resume their regular meeting before they adjourn for the night.

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U.S. 59 opens, floods recede

WINTHROP, Missouri — After two months of blockage by the swollen Missouri River, the fastest route to St. Joseph, Missouri, has been cleared as the waters recede, with some restrictions.

The Missouri Department of Transportation is operating a one-way alternating-traffic temporary stoplight on U.S. Highway 59 in the Winthrop area between Rushville and Atchison, while crews clean and repair the road to a point where it can be fully opened. No major damage has been reported along the road, and the highway is expected to remain open for the foreseeable future, once it is cleared off and both lanes come online.

“With the river predictions, it should stay open for several weeks, maybe longer,” said Wes Lanter, Atchison County Emergency Management director.

Traffic on U.S. Highway 36 extending east-west beyond the Pony Express Bridge in the St. Joseph area has been elevated, as this offered the only practical route from St. Joseph during the closure across the river to Doniphan County, Atchison County and their surrounding areas.

As the newly re-opened route saves between 15 and 30 minutes of travel time for drivers traveling between St. Joseph and Atchison, normal patterns are expected to resume.

The closure of the last two months is related to the flood stage of the Missouri River, as tracked by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. According to NOAA hydrographs, river levels near Atchison are forecast to fall below 22 feet overnight on Tuesday, July 9, taking it below Minor Flood Stage.

This is crucial for the area because of ongoing structural faults in the Rushville/Silver Lake levees around Winthrop and the nearby low-lying stretch of U.S. Highway 59. Such levee breaches happened in March, when the river first crested into Major Flood Stage and produced the highest observed water levels since 1993. As things stand, if the river is high enough, U.S. Highway 59 will likely flood.

Local water levels are largely influenced by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Corps’ ability to manage the levels of its flood control reservoirs in the Dakotas, which contain the large amounts of rainfall and snowmelt the Midwest has experienced in the last six months.

Releases from the last significant flood control installation upriver from Northeast Kansas and Northwest Missouri, Gavins Point Dam, will continue to affect how long U.S. Highway 59 might stay open.

“(It) could change if they release water from Gavins Point,” Lanter said.

Pursuit of Nebraska man snares felonies

A Lincoln, Nebraska, man’s springtime attempt to outrun local law enforcement in his vehicle recently landed him felony convictions in district court.

Joshua H.D. Poppe, 28, faces a possibility of serving more than five years in Kansas prison as a result of an April 2nd incident along US Highway 73 and into the Atchison city limits. Poppe pleaded no contest Friday, July 5 in Atchison County District Court to aggravated assault of a law enforcement officer, a felony, fleeing or attempting to elude a law enforcement involving five or more moving violations, a felony, two counts reckless driving and possession of marijuana are all three misdemeanor offenses. Sentencing for Poppe is scheduled for 9 a.m. Friday, Aug. 23 in district court, or possibly sooner contingent on the completion of the court-ordered pre-sentencing investigative report.

Poppe’s conviction stemmed from an incident as he traveled through the county in the Meade Road and Highway 73 vicinity when Deputy James Stuart, of the Atchison County Sheriff’s Office, observed a vehicle without a taillight. As Stuart proceeded to conduct a traffic stop, he determined the license tag did not match the vehicle. It came to light the vehicle had been reported stolen from Lincoln, Nebraska. Despite signals from law enforcement to pull over during the pursuit, Poppe continued eastbound toward Atchison. Deputy David Worley deployed stop sticks. Although Poppe swerved to avoid them some deflation occurred. Despite puncture, Poppe continued eastbound along Main Street even after tires were wore down to the rims and Deputy David Worley was about struck during the Poppe’s attempt to elude.

After Poppe’s vehicle came to a stop, marijuana was found inside his the vehicle.

Poppe remains incarceration on the $15,000 bond amount.

Car and tree collision sends woman to KC hospital

A 45-year-old Atchison woman was sent to an area hospital by helicopter for injuries suffered during the weekend as the result of a weekend crash.

Kellie Foster was transported to University of Kansas Hospital before 10 a.m. Sunday, July 7 from the crash scene located south of the Doniphan County line. KU Hospital officials on Tuesday say they cannot confirm or deny any information about Foster.

Atchison County Sheriff Jack Laurie reports Foster was southbound along Kansas Highway 7 north of 318th Road after for an unknown reason she crossed over the highway and struck a tree. Foster was extricated from her vehicle and was transported by Lifenet, Laurie said.