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State aid clips fund for USD 377

A hike of more than $4.8 million in assessed valuation throughout USD 377 appears to throw Atchison County Community Schools out of the running for additional state aid other than the 20 mills in the general fund.

The 2019 assessed valuation for the district checks in at more than $73.5 million for the district as calculated by Atchison County Clerk Michelle Phillips. The current total compares to more than $68.7 million of assessed valuation for the previous year. About $69.3 million comprises the state required 20 mills in the district’s general fund for the 2019-20 school year.

Of the assessed valuation total about $2.3 million worth of properties are subject to rebate according to terms of The Neighborhood Revitalization and Tax Rebate Incentive Plan.

Board Clerk Megan Gracey, 377 business manager, informed 377 Board of Education members of the news during their regular board meeting on Wednesday. Gracey said the state released its budget software on Tuesday that indicated the district is not eligible for state aid to operate throughout the year.

Dr. Andrew Gaddis, superintendent of schools, said the divisive factor to determine how the state allocates state aid for districts from assessed valuations and the number of students makes it appear we are a wealthy district in the state’s eyes.

“Our wealth is in the ground,” Gaddis said.

The rise in the assessed valuation means about $5,000 more per mill than the previous school year. The local option budget is solely funded revenue generated from the local taxpayers.

Board members authorized Gaddis and Gracey to proceed with their budget work for the required publication of the proposed budget and its notice of hearing. Board members also approved the time and date for hearing. The public hearing for comments concerning the budget is 6:15 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 13 at the district’s administrative building.

Gracey reported that there was an ending cash balance of $209,000 that was transferred to the capital outlay fund, of which will cover a $170,000 payment due to pay for Atchison County Community Elementary School renovation project in recent years.

Gaddis announced he has learned the district will receive the $9,000 grant funding by way of the legislative approved Kansas Safe Schools Act 2019. The grant requires districts to match the funding $1 per $1, Gaddis said.

After some discussion, board members approved the purchase of a black, 10-passenger van for $27,444 from Rusty Eck Ford, and a 59-passenger bus for $82,751 from Midwest Transit. Gaddis was directed to prepare necessary information to sell bus 40 and 50 in the district’s fleet.

Concerning other matters, board members:

Publicly acknowledged and accepted gifts to benefit the sports complex ball fields by was of a donation to repair some damages and correct drainage issues caused by recent heavy rains. Accepted were dirt work and grading behind the Atchison County Community High School and lime for the infields from Martin Construction and labor and use of machinery from Mike Wessel to spread the lime at the complex.

Recessed from public session discuss non-elected personnel matters for 30 minutes. After board members resumed public session they approved a salary increase for teachers and bus drivers. Board members President Nancy Keith, Greg Smith, Kelli Bottorff, Corey Neill, and Lori Lanter voted in favor of the measure. Vice-president Barb Chapman abstained. Board Member Lori Jones was absent.

Approved the list of substitute teachers as presented: Deb Forbes, Pat Forge, Barb Metcalfe, Dean Swafford, Duane Feldkamp, Cecilia Carpinelli, Denny Cunningham, Dorothy McDermed, Loretta Schrick, Tim Walters, Kate Oswald and Courtney Caplinger. Rob McLenon was hired as bus route driver. Supplemental Contracts are extended to Lane Chew as assistant wrestling coach; Rita Eckert and Jeanne Cave to serve as teacher mentors.

Unanimously adopted a resolution to extend the terms of Keith and Chapman until the January 2020 board meeting. This means board members will elect their leaders after the school board elections in November and all elected then will begin serving new terms.

Unanimously reappointed the following to serve throughout the 2019-20 school year: Business Manager Megan Gracey – board clerk, Accounts Payable Clerk Kathy Enzbrenner – deputy clerk and Steve Caplinger — board treasurer.

Unanimously removed the graduation requirement to maintain a cumulative grade point average of 2.0.

Approved the purchase of 70 Chromebook in the amount of more than $18,241 using federal grant funds in effort to continue the rotation of older Chromebooks. The new Chromebooks will serve two classes.

Adopted the Kansas Association of School Board policies as presented.

Approved a plan to continue the tradition to host a luncheon for all employees about noon Monday, Aug. 12, the first contract day of the year.

Challenged board members to donate to the newly organized ACCCS Education Foundation to benefit Atchison County Community Schools.

Assault case holds Missouri man in Kansas jail

Formal charges are pending against a St. Joseph, Missouri, man in connection with an early Thursday morning domestic disturbance involving a knife in south Atchison.

Jason E. Markley, 43, was arrested and booked into Atchison County Jail for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and criminal threat criminal restraint. Markley was also booked and held on a $2,500 bond amount for a failure to appear for unrelated 2018 criminal case.

It was after 7:30 am. July 11 when police officers responded to a domestic disturbance in the 300 block of South Fifth Street, said Atchison Police Chief Mike Wilson. It was at a residence there officers located a 34-year-old female victim and determined the suspect identified as Markley had left the area on foot. Officers located Markley along the U.S. Amelia Earhart Bridge immediately after walked onto it, east of the South Fourth Street and U.S. Highway 59 intersection.

Atchison County EMS ambulance transported Markley to Atchison Hospital for minor injuries he suffered during the disturbance. After Markley was treated and released from the hospital, he was taken into police custody for the failure to appear warrant and transported to jail.

It was the subsequent investigation that led to Markley’s arrest for the allegations related to the morning disturbance that involved a knife, Wilson said.

The victim suffered some scratches and bruises.

Newson faces 12+ years in prison

More than 12 years in state prison was the fate handed to a 25-year-old Atchison man for his role in a late summertime home invasion along the outskirts of Atchison city limits.

Devan T. Newson was sentenced to 88 months and 36 months post release supervision for aggravated robbery and 59 months for kidnapping and 36 months of post release supervision are to run consecutively to one another. Newson is eligible for 15 percent good time credits for both sentences.

He was additionally handed 18 months in prison for conspiracy to commit aggravated burglary with 24-months of post release supervision concurrent to the two consecutive sentences. Newson was also ordered to register as a criminal offender, according to the statutory guidelines.

Because Newson was serving felony probation in connection with previous convictions and his new convictions involved a firearm in the crimes he was subject to a special rule, meaning the judge would Newson’s court-appointed defense attorney, John T. Bryant, of Leavenworth, had filed a motion for the court to consider concurrency on all three convictions.

The defendant has accepted responsibility and would like to be able to get out of prison, become a more productive citizen and spend time with his seven children, Bryant told the court.

Prior to the announcement of sentences, Newson spoke on his own behalf and apologized for his actions.

“I am terribly sorry for the events of that night,” Newson said.

He added he was also sorry for the events that happened to the kids that night.

Atchison County Attorney Sherri Becker objected to any consideration of leniency because of the traumatic impact on the victims.

“They are horrified,” Becker said.

As Judge Robert Bednar started to announce Newson’s fate, the defendant walked out of the court room without permission; jail staff escorted him back into court. Bednar said he wanted it noted in the court records that the crime involved a knife held to the throat of a 14-year-old boy and a gun between the two adult victims.

Newson was convicted May 21, the factual basis centered on Newson’s persuasion of others to participate in crimes that resulted in the unlawful entry of a dwelling where a family was present. Two co-defendants entered the house on Aug. 29, 2018 for the purpose of taking control of thousands of dollars in a cash box.

After it was realized the home was occupied, Newson by cell phone directed the co-defendants to proceed with the plan. During the course of actions, the family members were threatened and ordered to turn over all cell phones and get down on the floor.

A demand for the cash was made at gunpoint. After the codefendants obtained the cash they left the house and returned to the car where Newson and a female driver were waiting then turned the money over to Newson based on testimony heard during a Nov. 14 evidentiary hearing in district court.

Court proceeding are pending for one of the co-defendants, Marcell M. Bailey, is undergoing a competency evaluation and treatment at the Larned Mental Health Correctional Facility.

The second co-defendant, Brandon J. Williams subsequently pleaded guilty in the latter part of 2018 and is currently serving a 41-month sentence for aggravated burglary. As of yet, the driver of the vehicle has not been charged with any crime.

In exchange for Newson’s plea, three counts kidnapping, two counts aggravated assault, two count theft and one count trafficking contraband, all felonies, were dismissed. The contraband was in connection with a March 18 incident at the Atchison County Jail.

All others arose from the home intrusion.

Data: Trade war pitting U.S. export market

BEIJING — China’s trade with the United States plunged last month as a tariff war battered exporters on both sides of the Pacific Ocean.

And there’s no letup in sight: Tensions between the world’s two biggest economies continue to simmer even though President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, called a ceasefire two weeks ago.

Data out Friday showed that the hostilities are taking a toll.

Chinese imports of U.S. goods fell 31.4% from a year earlier to $9.4 billion, while exports to the American market declined 7.8% to $39.3 billion, according to Chinese customs data. China’s trade surplus with the United States widened by 3% to $29.9 billion.

The two countries are fighting over U.S. allegations that China deploys predatory tactics — including stealing trade secrets and forcing foreign firms to hand over technology — in a headlong drive to challenge American technological dominance.

The U.S. has imposed tariffs on $250 billion in Chinese imports, drawing retaliatory sanctions from Beijing on $110 billion in U.S. products. China also directed importers to find non-U.S. suppliers.

The dispute won’t be easy to solve. Mistrust between Washington and Beijing runs high. And a substantive solution likely would require China to scale back its ambitions to become a world leader in advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence and electric cars.

Envoys talked by phone Tuesday in their first contact since Trump and Xi met last month in Japan, the Chinese Commerce Ministry said. It gave no details or a date for more contacts.

“Our base case remains that trade talks will break down again before long,” said Julian Evans-Pritchard of Capital Economics in a report.

Trade weakness has added to pressure on Xi’s government to shore up economic growth and avoid politically dangerous job losses.

The Trump-Xi truce calmed jittery financial markets. But the cease-fire is under strain: Each side has complained the other isn’t living up to commitments made when the leaders met June 29 at the Group of 20 summit in Osaka, Japan.

The chairman of Huawei said Friday that his company has yet to see any benefit from Trump’s promise to ease restrictions on sales of components to the Chinese tech giant, which was put on a U.S. national security blacklist in May.

“So far we haven’t seen any tangible change,” chairman Liang Hua told a news conference.

Liang’s complaint came a day after Trump accused Beijing of “letting us down” by not promptly buying more U.S. farm products.

“They have not been buying the agricultural products from our great Farmers that they said they would,” the president said on Twitter. “Hopefully, they will start soon.”

Trump’s statement “highlighted how more speed bumps may remain in the road ahead,” said Craig Orlam of OANDA in a report. “While a deal makes sense for both sides this year, it’s far from guaranteed and could hit many more snags.”

Shooting case starts to proceed

An Atchison man recently apprehended in St. Joseph wanted in connection with June shooting near the LFM Park waived extradition proceedings arrived Wednesday in Atchison.

Kevin V. Maxey is held in Atchison County Jail on a $150,000 bond amount. Maxey faces attempted second degree murder, criminal possession of a weapon and criminal discharge of a firearm upon or from any public roadway.

An Atchison-based attorney John Kurth was appointed to serve as defense counsel for Maxey. Maxey’s first appearance with counsel was Friday, July 12 in Atchison County District Court. Kurth requested the matter be set over until the 9 a.m. criminal docket Friday, July 19.

Maxey was identified as the suspect wanted for shooting a 42-year-old man twice on June 9 in north Atchison during an early morning argument that ensued between two persons amid a group of about 20 people. The victim, a 42-year-old Atchison man was struck twice, according to a published Globe news account.

The U.S. Marshals Violent Fugitive Apprehension Team, the Buchanan County, Missouri Drug Strike Force, the St. Joseph, Missouri Street Crimes Unit and Atchison Police Department detective caught up to Maxey July 3 after information developed that might be an apartment complex in St. Joseph, Missouri, the St. Joseph News-Press reported.