Valley Falls city officials, judge discuss community service options

by Clarke Davis

City lawmakers and the judicial branch met at Valley Falls city hall Jan. 25 to work out procedures for young people to be able to provide community service in lieu of paying court fines and costs.

valley falls city courtPolice Chief Josh Pence was put in charge of the program with council members agreeing to assist in helping oversee projects.

The work will be based on $5 an hour and only those who sign an agreement stating they are willing to work and follow the rules will be allowed the opportunity to enter the program.

City prosecutor Rick Johnson said he thought it would be a rare adult who would want into the program, but it was good for juveniles whose parents, in most cases, would have to pay for the fines if their children did not work it off.

Judge Dennis Reiling was willing to work with the city and thought it might be a good example for other towns and even the district court.

Mayor Charles Stutesman and council members Jo Tichenor, Shawn Jepson, and Lucy Thomas attended the session and offered to assist the police chief in overseeing some of the work details.

Some of the work juveniles will be asked to do includes ridding sidewalks of weeds, clearing gutters of leaves, painting picnic benches, paint the pool bathhouse, and paint parking stripes. Those under 18 are not allowed to operate mowers or power tools.

Council members were questioning the judge about using them to help elderly people, such as raking leaves on private property. The judge said this was a gray area, but it might be OK if it was considered a city project.

He cautioned that they should avoid working on the lawns belonging to the mayor or a city official. This brought some chuckles and Tichenor was disappointed because she thought that might eliminate cleaning barns.

Back on a serious note, Johnson explained that nearly everyone of these juveniles who go through the court are good people who have made bad choices.

“They will go on to be responsible citizens and hold down jobs someday,” he said. “For now we just need a program so that their mistakes won’t burden their parents.”

The city has had some bad experiences in the past with similar programs. Young people often came with a bad attitude and either refused to work or did a poor job. Thus the reason for having them sign an agreement beforehand and having a police officer oversee their work performance.

The mayor wanted to know if he could order hot pink shirts marked “community service” for them to wear for added humiliation.

“Maybe if their buddies tease them it will be a deterrent,” he said.

The judge said he didn’t give legal advice and pointed to Johnson, who ignored the question.


Dense Fog Advisory issued February 06 at 7:50AM CST until February 06 at 8:00AM CST by NWS


from JF-KS Situation Room

Courthouse records: Feb. 2, 2012

District court—


65 mph zone— Meghan M. McGuire, Atchison, 80 mph, fine plus costs $173.

Other traffic violations— Michael D. Wiley, Leavenworth, operating a motor vehicle without a license, no insurance and driving on the left in a no passing zone, $398; Tommy L. North, Topeka, over weight limits on wheels and axles, $208.50.

Wildlife and Parks— Shelly R. Nissen, Topeka, DUI(3), fleeing or eluding a law enforcement officer, reckless driving, transporting an open container, refusal to submit to a preliminary breath test and 45 mph in a 25 mph zone, $2,008 and 90 days jail.

Cases filed—

Limited civil:

Collection Specialist Inc. vs. Tom M. Laney, recovery of money; vs. Kevin S. Seals, recovery of money.

Dillon Companies Inc. vs. Stephen J. Rossetto, recovery of money.

Midwest Checkrite Inc. vs. Faye Lansing, recovery of money; vs. Frances A. Stockton, recovery of money.

Capital One Bank NA vs. Keri M. Mack, recovery of money.

Capital For Merchants LLC vs. Debra K. Lutz, recovery of money.

Oskaloosa Thriftway vs. Allen Shaver, recovery of money.

LVNV Funding LLC vs. Bryan Barnett, recovery of money.

Providence Medical Center Inc. and St. John Hospital Inc. vs. Sean A. Wittenberg, recovery of money.

Perry Milling Inc. vs. Steven R. O’Trimble, recovery of money.

Domestic relations:

Ashley N. Mikijanis vs. Brant J. Daniels, divorce.


Discover Bank vs. Jackson Griffin, recovery of money; vs. Kenneth R. Stiles, recovery of money.

Midland Funding LLC vs. Carol Thomas, recovery of money.

KNA Diggin’ Inc. vs. Steve Spencer and Midwest Engine Inc., recovery of money.

U.S. Bank NA vs. Leo K. Hobbs and Donna M. Hobbs, foreclosure.


State vs. John M. Davenport, Meriden, theft value < $1,000.

State vs. Gina M. Jessup , Lawrence, three counts of possession of narcotics.

State vs. Teri A. Hines, Topeka, aggravated assault with use of a deadly weapon, criminal damage to property, violation of protection order and criminal trespassing.

State vs. Travis S. Pope, McLouth, three counts of criminal damage to property, and four counts of not reporting accident involving damage.

State vs. Franklin E. Courter, McLouth, assault, criminal damage to property and disorderly conduct.

Register of deeds—

WD, Robert W. Johnson et ux. to John F. Doores and Jennifer McLain Doores, SW 1/4 33-10-19.

QC, Abby L. Beam to Linda G. Owen, NW 1/4 5-10-19.

QC, Jennifer Boyle et vir. to Robert L. Mize, part of lots 7 , 8, and 9, blk. 20, Oskaloosa.

QC, Shirley M. Fritz to Rodge C. Moore and Linda M. Moore, lots 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, and 16, blk. M, Lake Ridge Estates.

WD, Gerald K. Haybarker et ux. to Leslie L. Needham and Julia M. Needham, lot 10, blk. 1, Valley Falls.

WD, Norma J. Petrie to Norma J. Petrie, Lee Dunsworth, David Bellinger, Joetta Bellinger, Eva Butterfield and Jane Butterfield, SE 1/4 17-10-19.

QC, Rebecca L. Zehring and Robert M. Baitey III to Dennis L. Smith, NE 1/4 35-10-18.

QC, Dennis L. Smith to Mark Reumund and Jennifer Reumund, NE 1/4 35-10-18.

WD, Ira D. Hawver to Craig E. Sheldon et ux., lot 3, Glen Oaks Subdivision.

QC, Ernie Baker to Bo I. Melin et ux., lots 714, 715 and 716, Walnut Grove Section of Lakeside Village.

WD, Junior L. Wallace et ux. to Ellen E. Wallace, lot 96, Park Woods Section of Lakeside Village.

Sheriff’s reports—

The following offense and traffic reports are the latest released by the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department. The date of offense is often approximate and sometimes long before the reporting date.

Jan. 19: Paula Johnson, Ozawkie, reported a burglary and theft.

Jan. 19: Roberta Malm, Valley Falls, reported forgery.

Jan. 19: Amanda Halloway, Oskaloosa, reported harassment.

Jan. 19: Westside Liquor Store, Oskaloosa, reported a theft.

Jan. 19: Leon O. Brunton, Ozawkie, reported a burglary of a vehicle.

Jan. 20: Officers responded to a report of a prowler on the 19500 block of 23rd Street, rural McLouth.

Jan. 20: Barbara Rath, Oskaloosa, reported a burglary and theft.

Jan. 20: Officers responded to a report of a disturbance on the 300 block of Maple Street, Valley Falls.

Jan. 20: Officers responded to a report of a fight in progress on the 300 block of Maple Street, Valley Falls.

Jan. 21: Officers responded to a report of a battery on the 200 block of South Palmberg Street, Meriden.

Jan. 21: Carrie S. Perkins, Meriden, aggravated battery.

Jan. 21: Laramie K. Steeley, Meriden, reported threats.

Jan. 21: Elma M. Ball, Ozawkie, reported a theft.

Jan. 21: Kenneth Casto, Grantville, reported a burglary of a vehicle.

Jan. 21: Officers responded to a report of trespassing on the 1700 block of Wild Horse Road, McLouth.

Jan. 21: Dan Hutchinson, Meriden, reported an assault.

Jan. 22: Kim Griffitts, rural Oskaloosa, reported a theft.

Jan. 22: Officers responded to a report of trespassing on the 14200 block of Edwards Road, rural Winchester.

Jan. 22: Officers responded to a report of a noise disturbance on the 300 block of North Owen Street, Meriden.

Jan. 23: Griffith W. Swank, Meriden, reported criminal threats.

Jan. 23: Gregory K. Justus, Ozawkie, reported a theft.

Jan. 23: William I. Hayden Jr., McLouth, reported a threat.

Jan. 23: Paula J. Tavis, Ozawkie, reported a burglary.

Jan. 23: Officers responded to a report of a prowler on the 400 block of Frontier Court, Meriden.

Jan. 23: Officers responded to a report of a noise disturbance on the 5000 block of South Street, rural Meriden.

Jan. 23: Officers responded to a report of a noise disturbance on the 300 block of North Owen Street, Meriden.

Jan. 23: Officers responded to a report of a prowler on the 6900 block of Ferguson Road, rural Perry.

Jan. 24: Brian R. Rich, Oskaloosa, reported a theft.

Jan. 24: Officers responded to a report of a disturbance on the 200 block of West Lucy Street, McLouth.

Jan. 24: Christina Annis, rural Ozawkie, reported threats.

Jan. 24: William Heinen, Valley Falls, reported forgery and fraud.

Jan. 24: Officers responded to a report of a theft on the 1000 block of Walnut Street, Oskaloosa.

Jan. 24: Route 92, Oskaloosa, reported a fuel theft.

Jan. 24: Officers responded to a report of shots heard on the 10500 block of K-4 Highway, rural Meriden.

Jan. 25: Timothy J. Frana, Meriden, reported threats.

Jan. 25: Dillon J. Roy, Ozawkie, reported a burglary of a vehicle.

Jan. 25: Westside Liquor, Oskaloosa, reported a theft.

Jan. 25: Jordan W. Dome, Oskaloosa, reported a theft.

Jan. 25: Officers responded to a report of a stolen vehicle on the 600 block of Hamilton Street, Oskaloosa.

Jan. 25: Officers responded to a report of a forgery and fraud on the 400 block of Jefferson Street, Oskaloosa.

Jan. 25: Diane Bear, rural McLouth, reported an attempted forgery and fraud.

Jan. 25: Officers responded to a report of a forgery and fraud on the 600 block of Delaware Drive, Ozawkie.

Jan. 25: Officers responded to a report of a disturbance on the 200 block of East Jefferson Street, Oskaloosa.

Jan. 25: Joyce Turner, Ozawkie, reported a theft.

Jan. 26: Colleen Cline, rural Winchester, reports a burglary and theft.

Officers also responded to the following calls for service:

  • abandoned vehicle 1
  • alarm 8
  • animal call 13
  • check welfare 3
  • citizen assist 14
  • domestic disturbance 5
  • felony warrant 1
  • juvenile call 7
  • keep peace 2
  • misdemeanor arrest 5
  • restraining order violation 2
  • suspicious activity 16
  • traffic problem 5
  • vehicle check 7
  • 911 hangup 30
  • DUI 3

The following accidents were recently reported:

Jan. 15, 9:55 p.m.: Logan J. Reiling, 22, Oskaloosa, was on Delaware Street turning onto Monroe Street when his vehicle hit a parked vehicle.

Jan. 24, 7:52 p.m.: Seth W. Gerry, 16, Meriden, was southbound on K-4 Highway when his vehicle crossed the center line and over into the eastern ditch. The vehicle then hit a field entrance and went airborn before coming to rest in the ditch on its tires.

The following driver recently struck wildlife on county roadways:

Jason P. Nelson, 39, Oskaloosa.


Dense Fog Advisory issued February 06 at 2:50AM CST until February 06 at 8:00AM CST by NWS


from JF-KS Situation Room

'Lassie's return' produces joy, heartbreak

There was no way this story would have a happy ending for all involved, doggone it.

Not that Lee Eggerichs is unhappy. She was delighted, in fact, when driving this past week along an unfamiliar road not far from her ranch along the Jackson-Jefferson county line east of Mayetta, she spotted what looked like two of her dogs who had broken out of their pens nearly two years ago and hadn’t returned since.

read more

from News

Town Crier | Charlene Shepard: The Poet of Coal Creek

Charlene Shepherd

Charlene and George, her husband of almost 64 years, farmed and milked cows. They still live north of the river and no one ever dies in their neighborhood without getting a poem to accompany their eulogy.

The Poet of Coal Creek was back in the hospital recently. Charlene Shepard fell off a bar stool a while back and broke her hip and I suppose she was back for an adjustment.

I was in room 309 waiting for my wife to be fitted with a neck brace following a cervical discectomy when I heard the commotion down the hall.

There’s something about a hospital bed that can trump one’s authority. Maybe it’s the infirmity that put you there or maybe it’s the gown that leaves one vulnerable, but nothing short of an anesthesiologist is going to temper Charlene.

Now I’m not saying she’s not a sweetheart and the kindest mother of six and doting grandmother for dozens, but she’s exceeded eight decades and in that time garnered a reputation. She’s simply a fearless woman who intends to have her way.

Stormont-Vail had two weapons in the battle. Granddaughters Lynsay McElroy and Annie Brevitz are nurses there and while the Poet of Coal Creek complained that she was given no favors I’d have my doubts. There seemed to be less disturbance and blue smoke rolling out of the doorway when they were around.

Charlene grew up near Richland, a town that was purchased by the Corps of Engineers to create Clinton Reservoir. This was Georgia Neese Gray’s town, the first woman treasurer of the United States. Her bank, Richland State Bank, was moved to the capital city and is now Capital City Bank. Charlene banked with her and knows the history of this family. She was disappointed when they spoiled, in her words, the old auditorium to create a performing arts center named in her honor.

I report that she fell off a bar stool to damage that hip, but I am now having some doubts. In trying to run the story down, I can’t find out what bar she was in, what she was drinking, or any of the kind of details that usually follow a good story like that. So now I’m wondering, would she just tell me that because tripping over the cat or falling in the bathroom would be boring and fail to get a writeup?

Charlene and George, her husband of almost 64 years, farmed and milked cows. They still live north of the river and no one ever dies in their neighborhood without getting a poem to accompany their eulogy.

Here’s a sample from among the works of the Poet of Coal Creek that speaks eloquently for those who have ever been tied to the land:

The Farm

Thru out the long and many years
He’s had this love affair
I married him knowing not
She would be always there.

He worked for her and her alone
I joined him in his task
Always fearful every day
Of what that she might ask.

At times she was so beautiful
I begrudged him not his love
It seemed God reached out and touched her
From his home above.

He took from me and gave to her
Sometimes it was returned
But she never let me have
The things for which I yearned.

She helped me raise our children
And shared with them her joys
She made lovely men and women
Out of little girls and boys.

I let her rule my life
To try and set him free
She took all I had to give
And demanded more of me.

I realize in my twilight years
Her hold I can not sever
Now I am old and weary
And she’ll be young forever.

The battle over, she has won
Because one way or the other
She is his and he is hers
And they deserve each other!


Special Weather Statement issued February 05 at 6:50AM CST by NWS


from JF-KS Situation Room



Kandice Delk, Topeka, girl, Feb. 2.

Garyn and Angel Ward, Burlingame, girl, Feb. 3.

Jorge and Bambi Martinez, Meriden, girl, Feb. 4.

from News

Perry teen authors book while being ‘grounded’

Story and photo by Carolyn Kaberline

“These zombies aren’t like what we saw in old horror movies. They are fast, strong, and intelligent. The worst part is they’re not the undead – they’re still living, breathing people. The first outbreak was in Ohio, but no one knows how or why it happened. All we know is that it happened and we have to do whatever it takes to stay alive. So here I am, in a van with my brother, going to a place that we’re not even sure exists. Who knows if we’ll make it there? Who knows if we’ll even make it to tomorrow? All I know is my name is Cassie Sullivan and I’m still alive.”

So reads the book cover for the soon-to-be-published novel by 17-year-old Kelsey Harwood of Perry.

Kelsey Harwood

Kelsey Harwood, a junior at Perry-Lecompton High School, wrote the novel two years ago when she was 15 and “really, really grounded.” She decided to spend the time writing a book.

Harwood, a junior at Perry-Lecompton High School, wrote the novel two years ago when she was 15 and “really, really grounded.” She decided to spend the time writing a book.

Harwood said she came up with the idea pretty quickly “because my brother and I used to watch zombie movies all the time. We would go into random buildings and decide whether they would be good or bad places for a zombie apocalypse.”

The book of “90 some computer pages” took Harwood only “three weeks and a lot of Jones soda” to write.

“My mom read it and said it was something she would have bought even if it wasn’t by me,” Harwood said. “She’s always been honest with me and suggested I try to get it published, especially when I told her that’s what I wanted to do for a career.”

Harwood then began going to “big places like Borders to check out the books and get the names of some publishers.”

However, her first attempts at submitting her novel for publication were a long way from successful.

“I got nine rejections,” she said. “The publishers all said I needed an agent or a published book.” While Harwood said she did get one agent, it turned out to be a scam.

“My mom is a lawyer and she wouldn’t let me sign,” Harwood said. “The agent wanted money up front to send it anywhere.”

Finally, Featherweight Press became interested in the novel.

“My mom has a friend who wrote for the company’s other branch,” Harwood explained. “She [the friend] told them it was something they should look at. They told me that before they could give me a contract, there were some changes that were needed.”

Harwood said that while some proposed changes, such as how and why the invasion happened and needing additional details—were minor; one involving the death of one of the characters was unacceptable.

“After I got the contract, the editor I was assigned wanted me to take out the biggest death in the entire book,” Harwood explained. “I told him I couldn’t do that, so we agreed on a change in the death.”

Kelsey Harwood's "Among the Living.” will soon be published.

Kelsey Harwood's "Among the Living.” will soon be published.

The edits took Harwood a couple of months to complete since she needed to work them in around her school schedule, a part-time job, and PLHS tennis. In addition to the edits, the book’s title was changed from “Still Alive” to “Among the Living.” And while the editor is still looking at those edits, her book is scheduled for publication sometime this year.

“It will be published online to start with, but it may become a hardback book depending on the sales,” Harwood said, adding that she will receive royalties from books purchased. Now approximately 130 pages in length, the book has so far been read by only a handful of people, including her cousin. “I had my cousin read it because I wanted a younger perspective.”

The book, which takes place in the present time and begins in Hazelhurst, Ga., a town she found on Google maps, is set in different places across the country although Harwood says it stays more in the South.

“It doesn’t go into specific details on the towns since I only had pictures to look at,” she notes.

Harwood also says the book contains three main characters and five others “who are in for a small amount of time. It’s a young adult book, but anyone could read it.”

While she’s been asked if a sequel is in the works, she says that’s a possibility, but “if there’s a sequel, it will have different characters.”

So what does the future hold for Harwood?

“I want to write books, but I’m thinking of being a teacher too,” she said. Her father, Frank Harwood, is a teacher and her mother, Jamie, is a former teacher. “I don’t want to write books and if it doesn’t work out, have nothing to land on.”

Currently she has been asked to speak to a career class in an Overland Park high school where she’ll talk about how she wrote the book. So what advice will she give to others wanting to write a book?

“You’re going to get rejected, but that’s part of it,” she said. “You have to have a thick skin, but it’s definitely worth it, if you stick with it.”

And even before she receives any royalties, she’s getting a few perks. Her brother, Zach, who’s five years older, gave her a zombie survival kit for Christmas last year.

“It had gummy vitamins, 32 ounces of peroxide, bandages of every size, a 24-pack of water and a machete.”

It appears she’ll be prepared if that zombie apocalypse ever really arrives.


FSA reminds producers of upcoming DCP and ACRE Program Enrollment

Agriculture producers are reminded that enrollment for the 2012 Direct and Counter-cyclical Program and the Average Crop Revenue Election program began Jan. 23 and continue through June 1.

DCP payments are calculated using base acres and payment yields established for each farm. Eligible producers receive direct payments at rates established by statute regardless of market prices. The 2008 Farm Bill states that no advanced payments will be issued for 2012. The entire DCP payment will be issued after Oct. 1.

Counter-cyclical payments vary depending on market prices, and are issued only when the effective price for a commodity is below its target price (which takes into account the direct payment rate, market price and loan rate).

“New contracts are required annually and all signatures must be obtained by the deadline,” said Norma J McConkey, county executive director of USDA’s Farm Service Agency in Oskaloosa. “We encourage producers to contact their local FSA office and set up an appointment to begin the enrollment process as soon as possible.”

Producers with an active USDA eAuthentication Level 2 account can fill out a DCP contract online.