Daily Archives: Jan. 12, 2010

State budget cut effects reflected in Sedgwick County District Court outgoing message

If you call Sedgwick County District Court, you might get a message that apologizes for how long you have to wait on the line to talk to someone.

Court employees answer phones from 8 a.m. to noon and 1 to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

But callers “may experience extended wait times due to the state cuts and the judicial branch staff shortages,” a telephone message says.

New chairman to be sworn in Wednesday for county commission

Sedgwick County commissioners will get a new leader Wednesday — likely Karl Peterjohn, sources say.

Peterjohn, a Republican, is the commission’s newest commissioner. This marks his second year in office. Kelly Parks’ term as chairman will end.

Immediately after their meeting, commissioners will have a reception for the new chairman as part of a “passing of the gavel” ceremony.

Gold Star daughters seek special license plates for families of fallen soldiers

Massachusetts Gold Star plate

Massachusetts Gold Star plate

TOPEKA — Although she was only 9 at the time, Judith Dietz said she’ll always live with the memory of the day Army casualty officers came to her home to tell her family that her father had been killed in Vietnam.

She recalls her mother was plugging in the coffee maker when she saw the staff car arrive. As the officers came to the door, Dietz recalled her mom, who had eight children ages 1-16, screaming, “No, no, no, God no.”

“At that point, all of us kids knew what it was about,” she said. “We all started crying and my two oldest brothers wanted to go get ‘Charlie’ (the Viet Cong), because they were the ones that killed our dad … these memories never leave us.”

That memory — and feelings for other families who suffered the same kind of loss — brought Dietz and fellow Gold Star daughter Antoinette Ortiz-Colon to the Statehouse Tuesday to renew a legislative campaign to create a special  license plate for family members who lost love ones in war.

Their campaign last year bogged down over who would pay the $10,000 cost of designing and distributing the plates. This year, supporters are back with a new bill and a plan to raise the money from veterans’ groups and others.

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County appears ready to move forward on fireworks

After hearing from residents, Sedgwick County appears ready to move forward to allow fireworks in its unincorporated areas.

No date for a vote has been set, but commissioners likely will consider new rules soon at a meeting.

The county long had banned fireworks in unincorporated areas, but many people didn’t know about the rules.

Residents who responded to a survey about fireworks overwhelmingly told the county they would like to be able to celebrate the Fourth of July like their Wichita counterparts.

Karl Peterjohn expresses concern about finding a home for work release

Sedgwick County commissioner Karl Peterjohn this morning expressed disappointment that city officials say the Rounds and Porter building is not for sale.

“Another door closed on us,” Peterjohn said.

Commissioner Tim Norton recently toured the building just west of City Hall, used to store evidence and property seized by police as well as discarded furniture, with Wichita City Council members Jim Skelton and Lavonta Williams.

Mayor Carl Brewer told The Eagle on Friday that the building is not for sale and not a suitable option for an expanded work release center.

The county is struggling to find a place to expand work release programs as it tries to avoid adding on to its jail. Commissioner Gwen Welshimer favors an industrial site at 1600 E. Murdock, but Williams already has expressed opposition to locating a work release center there.