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February 23, 2017
Harvey County IndependentFebruary 23, 2017 Harvey County Independent

BREAKING: Three People Murdered In Newton; Suspect Killed By Police

Posted 2/23/2017

NEWTON Police, HC Sheriff's office and the KBI are investigating a triple homicide that happened on the 2100 block of North Spencer Road in rural Newton early Thursday morning. NEWTON Police, HC Sheriff's office and the KBI are investigating a triple homicide that happened on the 2100 block of North Spencer Road in rural Newton early Thursday morning. UPDATE: Harvey County Attorney David Yoder released the names of the victims Thursday afternoon. They are Jason Stubby, 36, Nelton Lemons, 36, and Michael Lemons, 34, all of Newton.

The shooter was identified as David Montano, 33, of Newton.


NEWTON—Four people are dead following a shooting in rural Newton early Thursday morning. Newton Police and Harvey County Sheriff’s Deputies responded to the 2100 block of North Spencer around 12:30 a.m. Thursday morning after a report of a shooting. They found three people had been killed.

Officers tracked down the suspect, who confronted them with a shotgun. A Newton officer shot the suspect and he was taken to Newton Medical Center, and at 3:04 a.m. Newton Police announced via social media that the suspect had succumbed to his injuries.

No officers were injured.

The Sheriff’s Office said in a press release that they believe this is a targeted incident and that the public should not be concerned about any additional threat to the community stemming from this incident.

The Kansas Bureau of Investigation is assisting the ongoing investigation.

The Harvey County Sheriff’s Office is set to hold a press conference at 3 p.m. Thursday to give updates, which will also be live-streamed on their Facebook page.

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Sedgwick Relinquishes Ambulance Service

Posted 2/23/2017

By Pilar Martin

SEDGWICK – In a special city council meeting Saturday evening, Sedgwick’s City Council voted 5-0 to relinquish its ambulance service.

The vote came after the Kansas State Board of Emergency Services gave Sedgwick two options: either hire someone to fill empty spots on the schedule or relinquish their license to operate an ambulance service.

The council approved a measure that read “for the city to pursue and enter into discussions regarding alternatives with Harvey County for on-going EMS Service, recognizing that our current Municipal service may have on-going viability issues.”

Sedgwick has been trying to hold on to its EMS service since last fall, and has had trouble because it cannot fill its weekly schedules of volunteers. Community discussions regarding the building of a new fire station overshadowed the lack of people to staff the department. The city’s EMS director, Jennifer Cisneros, resigned recently.

“We have a longtime volunteer who is going in for surgery and will not be available to fill open spots in March,” Cisneros said. “With me stepping down, there is no one to fill those open spots. It’s a shortage of volunteers, period. There is no one to fill those spots.”

Sedgwick has been on the state’s radar since the fall of 2015. Ambulance services are required to submit their schedules to the state. There has been a volunteer issue in Sedgwick that came to the City’s attention when former EMS Director Mark Sauerwein left.

Sauerwein and his wife were both paramedics and handled the majority of calls. The situation was the same with Sauerwein’s predecessor. When Sauerwein exited the department, the lack of licensed volunteers became apparent.

“Because we have our own license number, we have to cover a 24/7 schedule. When the State Board of EMS found I was leaving, and then Mary (Conrady), they gave us the two options,” Cisneros added.

To continue reading, please see this week's print edition.

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Editorial: State Government Bank Balance More Important Than Yours

Posted 2/23/2017

ROBB ReevesROBB ReevesBy Robb Reeves

The state government in Topeka has run out of our money.

The solution: Take more from us.

The Kansas House and Senate voted to take have more taken from our paychecks, and to sternly tax Kansas businesses, amid a freak-out in Topeka about wanting more money to spend this year and next. As of this writing, only Gov. Sam Brownback could keep this tax increase from happening and there probably isn’t much resistance left there.

This one is going to be a roller coaster column and it’s long. But I guarantee if you read it, you will learn things you didn’t know. This tax increase is like packing another load of bricks on a struggling cart powered by a burrow trying to reach the stars.

So I read a story in the Wichita Eagle last week about the tax increases and the reporter fails to include the most basic of information – is the state bringing in more or less than it did last year? Is state revenue trending up or down? Wouldn’t you want to have that info? Here is what the general fund revenue looks like:

2014: $5.65 billion

2015: $5.92 billion

2016: $6.07 billion

It’s going up. I called and e-mailed the state to get this info. The man I dealt with was nice and helpful. So the state government is bringing in more and more annually but it’s not enough? Says who? This is a major point that is kept hidden in the dark. The media doesn’t report it. If I go out and ask people if the state is bringing in more or less money than it did last year, everyone is going to say less because they lack the facts.

Why do they lack facts?

Prediction: The Eagle Ivory Tower will print up a decree saying the tax increase is much-needed yet sadly, wasn’t enough. You watch.

How do Republicans vote for big tax increases and increasing government? They listen to two voices that cry out louder, longer and more often than you can – the Kansas state media and the school lobby.

Combined, they are a thunder-and-lightning megaphone that tells everyone the schools will close if taxes aren’t raised, right now. You have people in a panic about the schools and the media delivers story after story on the doom coming.

I am cleaning the office Sunday and I find a copy of last year’s Independent and we have a story where we were asking local school officials if the schools would close. Last year people were saying they would close in June of 2016. Did they?

State Senator Carolyn McGinn and our state representative, Don Schroeder, voted for the increase. I don’t know McGinn and Schroeder’s inner thinking. I agree with them on many issues. But the safe thing to do, if you are them, is to hike taxes. Most people believe the state is taking in less money than it has in the past and the schools will close if you don’t vote in more taxes. You actually look like a hero for doing it.

Those supporting the tax increase can make you look like a savior if you vote it in and like a jerk if you don’t. I criticized the Eagle earlier but I must bow to them on framing the issue and scaring the politicians. Well done.

I did ask McGinn and Schroeder specifically if they voted to re-instate state income taxes on Harvey County businesses. Here is the answer I got from Schroeder: “Robb, I voted for the tax plan that removes the LLC exemption.” That is as straight up as it can be.

Here is the answer I got from McGinn. “No, I voted for an adjustment to the 2012 tax plan 2178.” I am not sure what that means but the 2178 “adjustment” that was voted on last Friday includes tax increases.

Her column appears in today’s newspaper.

After all of this, a Democrat, Jeff Long of Emporia, comes out and said this was a great option to prevent cuts to the state retirement plan. So I have to work more and pay more to support the state retirement plan?

What about my retirement plan and that of my employees? I now have less money to put in my IRA. Will I get to retire? Jeff Long doesn’t care about the other people, just the state workers.

Whenever government takes money from someone and gives it to another, someone loses. You could make a case – and boy it was made, too – that when the businesses in the state got a tax break a few years ago, then money was taken from Big School and they lost.

So now we are taking money back from the businesses. Won’t they be hurt? They will, but the media won’t cover it like they did when schools lost funding.

A few weeks ago, I suggested to McGinn and Schroeder to find a way to collect sales tax on internet sales. Even the liberal Lawrence Journal-World asked these people in Topeka to do this and I don’t think it was even discussed.

Instead, McGinn and Schroeder voted to remove the LLC tax exemption, which means Kansas businesses will pay around $250 million more in new taxes now. So we increase taxes for Main Street businesses and let out-of-state companies lengthen their advantage over our local companies. What are we doing?

I said you would learn things in this column.

The state also recently increased the unemployment taxes that businesses pay. These taxes are paid whether a business makes a profit or not. Why did we do that when unemployment is so low?

Repealing the LLC tax break was taking away the only incentive most small businesses have ever seen from Kansas government. Crop prices are underwater and we are raising taxes on people and businesses. Also the state increased the sales tax in 2015. Remember that one? And the beast is still starving.

Did you see where 800 small farms were lost in 2016? Gone, closed. Business can and will disappear if conditions aren’t right. But man, those state retirement plans look good ­– for the moment.

There is room in Kansas right now for some type of populist movement. We need something different from the moderate Republicans and Democrats who put government first. Yet this new movement should not be aligned with the flame-throwing conservatives who send out the nasty mailers every election.

I also think there is an opportunity in Kansas media to challenge the liberal think that dominates print and web.

That is something I have thought about a lot lately.

One last thing, Harvey County. The county commission has raised property taxes mightily and steadily since 2011, exasperating the situation locally. The reasons for this, when I have asked why, are to pay for the industrial park in Newton, to pay for roads, and to make up for funds the state no longer sends. Well, the state just did a massive tax increase.

If there is a Harvey County mill levy increase this summer, there are going to be people at the budget hearings and they will be informed. That’s what I am hearing.

It’s not going to be like in years past.

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Halstead Women Hooked On Soap-Making

Posted 2/23/2017

ANNE Roach left, and Megan Evans, pose in front of soap curing in Roach’s basement.ANNE Roach left, and Megan Evans, pose in front of soap curing in Roach’s basement.By Pilar Martin

HALSTEAD—Several local ladies have developed a unique hobby—soap-making.

In the past year, Anne Roach, Megan Evans and Brenda Radke have been making and selling homemade soap under the name Cedar Creek Soap.

“I got hooked, then got Megan hooked. We have been making product for about a year,” Roach said.

Roach and Evans use a variety of oils, coconut, palm, castor, olive, plus water, lye and essential oils for different fragrances. They use natural plants and even spices to make different colors for use the in the soaps.

There are several different methods to make bar soap. The old fashioned way is the hot process. Think of your Grandmother making lye soap, stirring ingredients over a flame or heat source. Roach and Evans use a cold process.

“I do ‘room temperature’ soap,” Roach said. “The lye water gets to over 160 degrees. When I pour it over the hard oils it melts them.”

Liquid oils, essential oils, and coloring is added to the mixture to make the different varieties of soap. When the mixture is the consistency of pudding, it is poured into a mold.

The homemade wooden molds are lined with freezer paper. The molds are wrapped in towels or heavy blankets. Once they have set up for 24 hours, the soap is pulled out of the molds. It is then cut into bars. It takes six weeks for the soap to cure.

To continue reading, please see this week's print edition.

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