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The Harvey County Independent
220 Main St.
Halstead, KS 67056
316-835-2235

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 This Week's Issue:

1.15

 

Appeal Denied; Hospital Building Could Be Up For Sale Soon

Posted 2/11/2016

By Frederick Bader

 

HALSTEAD – The tale of the Halstead Hospital building could enter a new chapter.

On Jan. 25, the Kansas Supreme Court denied an appeal by current hospital owner Azzy Reckess and his company AZP Realty to stave off the sale of the Halstead Hospital building and associated properties in a tax sale, a ruling that came to the Harvey County administration’s knowledge last week.

The denial of AZP Realty’s appeal means the hospital could move toward an auction to satisfy hundreds of thousands of dollars of unpaid property taxes.

County administrator John Waltner says the county will sell the properties off at a later date. “At this point, our plans are simply to give it a little bit of time to see if anything else comes out on the part of Azzy and his legal counsel,” Waltner said. “If not, we’ll proceed with plans to set a sale date and move forward.”

The hospital building, clinic and parking lot were set to go to sheriff’s sale nearly a year ago, in March 2015, but the sale was stalled after Reckess filed an appeal alleging that the county had wrongfully evaluated his properties during an assessment procedure. The county had opted to seize the properties and sell them because Reckess owed hundreds of thousands of dollars in back taxes.

As of this week, that number totals $613,100.74 in taxes and fees, according to documentation from the Harvey County Treasurer’s Office.

To read more, see this week's print edition.

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Burrton Names Finalists For Superintendent Position

Posted 2/11/2016

By Bob Everoski

 

BURRTON – There are three finalists being considered for the position of Superintendent of Burrton U.S.D. 369 as the current Superintendent, Jeff Shearon, will leave this position at the end of the school year.

The three remaining candidates are Peter Bastian, currently principal of West Elementary School in Valley Center U.S.D. 262; Catherine Wilson, assistant principal at Mulvane High School, U.S.D. 263; and Joan Simoneau.  Simoneau is an in-house candidate.  She is currently the Burrton High School/Middle School Principal.  Interviews of the three remaining candidates will take place on February 15, 18, and 19.

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Crime Generally Down, But Auto Accidents Up In 2015

Posted 2/11/2016

By Frederick Bader

HARVEY COUNTY – Crime was down somewhat in 2015 while traffic accidents went up significantly, according to statistics compiled by the Harvey County Sheriff’s Office.

The good news is that burglaries, thefts and DUIs have all declined significantly since 2014. Last year saw 32 burglaries (down from 37 in 2014), 45 DUIs (54 in 2014) and, most significantly, 44 thefts (67 in 2014). Overall, the department saw fewer burglaries and thefts than any year on record.

The dip in thefts, Sheriff T. Walton suspects, is a result of more observation around the area. “There’s cameras everywhere nowadays, which helps,” Walton said. “We’ve made an effort to have our officers keeping an eye out, and we’ve asked people to call if they see suspicious activities. It’s hard to tell if you’ve prevented a theft because you can’t see it not happening, but I’m happy with the decrease.”

More good news is that the Sheriff’s Office responded to fewer calls for service, a category that had been ballooning in previous years. However, 2015 was still the second-highest year for calls for service, behind 2014.

“The Harvey County Commissioners allowed the Sheriff’s Office to hire an additional road deputy in 2015. That position has helped offset some of the workload to the Road Patrol,” Walton said.

To read more, see this week's print edition.

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