Monthly Archives: December 2010

City council approves $300,000 settlement for man killed in wreck with police

police lightsWichita City Council members this morning voted to pay $300,000 to the family of a man killed when a police patrol car hit his car en route to a call last December.

The settlement was on the council’s consent agenda, and it was approved 5-0 without discussion. The payment will have to be approved in court.

Learn more about the car wreck and settlement here.

City to pay $300,000 to family of man killed in collision with police car

police lightsA police car en route to an emergency call smashed into a Saturn coupe last December, killing the coupe’s 30-year-old driver, Christopher Perkins. Perkins’ family filed a negligence claim, and, on Tuesday, Wichita City Council members will vote to settle the case for $300,000.

“Because of the uncertainty and risk that a judgment at trial would exceed this amount, the Law Department recommends acceptance of the offer,” a city report on the settlement says. “The settlement of this claim does not constitute an admission of liability on the part of the City or the officers. Rather, it is merely a settlement to resolve a long disputed claim.” Read More »

Commissioners say farewell to colleague Welshimer

Joking about how they didn’t always agree but he always knew where she stood, commissioner Dave Unruh wished Gwen Welshimer a good retirement as she heads to California.

Welshimer joked that she would send Unruh an e-mail any time he made a decision she didn’t agree with.

Welshimer is a former state legislator and represented District 5 on the commission. The Democrat lost her re-election bid to Wichita City Council member Jim SKelton in November.

She is moving to California to be closer to her son.

Commissioner Tim Norton joked that he didn’t expect the “love fest” between Welshimer and Unruh.

Chairman Karl Peterjohn gave Welshimer a crystal clock for retirement.

Coleman building demo goes to Key Construction

Sedgwick County has chosen Key Construction to demolish the historic Coleman factory building.

Key’s bid was not the lowest submitted to the company. H.D. Mills & Sons’ bid was $50,000 lower, but the county’s board that reviews bids and contracts said H.D. Mills proposal did not adequately address the county’s desire to salvage the building’s bricks.

Commissioners discussed the bid at length, voting on it separately. They agreed that while H.D. Mills’ bid was the lowest, it was not the lowest responsible bid, which is what state law requires.

Commissioner Karl Peterjohn said he typically supports the lowest bid but agreed that in this case, Key’s bid seemed a better value for taxpayers.

Number of inmates in Sedgwick County jail down this year

The average daily population of inmates in the Sedgwick County Jail through November fell by nearly 100 compared with the same time period last year.

Sedgwick County Manager William Buchanan gave commissioners his monthly update on the criminal justice system this morning. His report said the average daily population from January through November was 1,649 in 2009 and 1,567 for the same time period this year.

The number of days inmates stayed in jail also dropped, which contributed to the decrease in the average daily population. The average length of stay in 2009 through November was 17.4. The average length of stay this year through November was 16, Buchanan said.

Read more in Thursday’s Eagle.

Wichita council votes to waive $25 alarm fee for residents who don’t have false alarms

Wichita residents or businesses who go a year without a false alarm on their security system will save $25 annually after the City Council agreed on a 5-0 vote today to change the ordinance to waive the fee.

Council members Paul Gray and Lavonta Williams were absent.

The city adopted an annual registration fee for security alarms earlier this year. The change will take effect after Sept. 1, 2011.

The waiver will apply to a renewal where the owner doesn’t have a false alarm in the previous year. The annual period is based on the original registration date.

City staff recommended the change to “shift the administrative cost of implementing the false alarm ordinance to only alarm owners that generate costly false alarms,” according to a city document.

Read More »

Wichita council votes to end Old Town tax district

HOTEL AT OLDTOWNA special tax district in Old Town will be closed, and $1 million in unspent tax money will be sent to the Wichita school district, city and county, the Wichita City Council decided today.

The council voted unanimously  to end the tax increment finance district in Old Town. Lavonta Williams was absent.

Tax increment finance districts channel property tax dollars generated by new improvements to flow into accounts that pay for special projects — such as streets, parks, lighting and public art. The money has also been used to acquire land for developers and demolish blighted buildings.

All of the redevelopment projects financed by property tax money in a special district in Old Town have been paid off. The  balance in the TIF district account will be split among three taxing groups, with the school district receiving about half and the county and city each getting a quarter.

Read More »

Wichita City Council selects retired aircraft engineer as interim member

Roger Smith, a 57-year-old retired aircraft industrial engineer, has been selected to serve an interim term on the Wichita City Council. He will replace Jim Skelton, who resigned after being elected a Sedgwick County commissioner, in District 3 in south Wichita. The City Council voted 6-0 on Tuesday to appoint Smith over two other candidates, Paul Michael Loop and Hoyt Hillman. He will serve until someone is elected in April to serve the remaining two years of  Skelton’s term.

Several candidates have expressed interest in running for the seat. Smith has said in the past that he might run if he were appointed for the interim and found that it was a good fit for him and the community.

He has said his focus as interim council member would be to listen to residents and resolve their complaints.

Andover legislator nominated to be state securities commissioner

jack,aaronState Rep. Aaron Jack, R-Andover, has been nominated to be the state’s securities commissioner, Gov.-elect Sam Brownback announced today.

Jack, president of Wichita-based Heritage Consulting, was elected to the state House in 2009.

In a statement, Brownback called him “a strong advocate for a pro-growth agenda to grow the Kansas economy” and said the securities marketplace “is the very point upon which our plan to grow the state’s economy will intersect with entre-preneurs and investors.”

He said Jack has a wide range of experience in investment and securities management.

The securities commissioner is responsible for protecting and informing Kansas inves-tors, promoting integrity and full disclosure by issuers and securities professionals, investigating and prosecuting  fraud and fostering capital formation.

Jack’s appointment must be confirmed by the state Senate.

Insurance commissioner’s office warns seniors about possible phone scam

Insurance seal

The state Insurance Department is warning elderly Kansans to watch out for a potential scam seeking to gather personal information from seniors with annuities.

In a consumer alert issued today, the commissioner’s anti-fraud division reported getting complaints from Kansas seniors about someone who called their homes from out of state trying to glean information about their personal finances.

The calls are worrisome because it could indicate someone is trying to sell unlicensed and worthless insurance to the elderly, or “phishing” for personal information that could be used to steal from victims’ existing annuity accounts, said Bob Hanson, an aide to Insurance Commissioner Sandy Praeger.

“It could be a straight fraud situation or possible an identity theft situation,” Hanson said.

The fact that the calls are originating from out of state is a red flag, because all companies legitimately doing business in Kansas are required to be licensed here, Hanson said.

He said that while the initial complaints have come from northeast Kansas, the department issued the alert statewide, because it’s possible the calls are being made to other areas, but haven’t yet been reported by consumers.

“Once you have something like this happen, it kind of follows the highways,” he said.

In the consumer alert, Praeger urged Kansans to “follow the Stop, Call, Confirm method” to evaluate insurance solicitations. “Stop the call until you find out more by calling our department’s consumer Consumer Assistance Division hotline to confirm the information you received over the phone.”

The department hotline number is 800-432-2484.

Hanson said consumers should avoid giving any information about themselves on an initial phone contact and obtain the name of the person calling, the company they say they represent and a return call number, which will make it easier for the commissioner’s office to investigate and determine whether the call is legitimate or a scam.