Author Archives: Rick Plumlee

O’Connor: two endorsements from survivors of BTK, Carr brothers

Sedgwick County district attorney candidate Kevin O’Connor said he has received the endorsement from two survivors of two of Wichita’s most high-profile crimes, serial killer Dennis Rader and the Carr brothers.

Charlie Otero has given his endorsement, O’Connor said. Otero came home from school in 1974 to find his parents murdered, the first victims of Rader, who was known as BTK.

O’Connor said the other endorsement comes from the woman who survived the culmination of a week-long crime spree by Reginald and Jonathan Carr during a quadruple murder in December 2000. The Eagle has always only referred to the woman by the initials of H.G.

O’Connor was involved in the prosecution of both cases while he worked in the DA’s office.

O’Connor is running against Marc Bennett, a current Deputy DA, in Tuesday’s Republican primary to replace retiring DA Nola Foulston.

O’Connor: Campaign signs being destroyed

Sedgwick County District Attorney candidate Kevin O’Connor said Thursday his campaign signs are being destroyed.

He’s not sure how many have been destroyed “because they go up and get torn back down again,” but he thinks about 16 have been knocked down.

“This sign destruction is ridiculous & immature,” O’Connor wrote in an e-mail.

He faces Marc Bennett in the Aug. 7 Republican primary. The accompanying picture was provided by O’Connor’s campaign.




Election turnout grows to. . .7.8 percent

Does a voter turnout of 7.8 percent sound better than 7.7 percent? Probably not.

Nonetheless, the turnout for Tuesday’s primary election in Wichita increased ever so slightly Friday when 75 provisional ballots were certified and counted toward the total.

The official numbers:  Of the 201,2346 registered voters in Wichita, 15,597 voted. That comes to 7.75 percent. Rounded up it’s 7.8 percent,   Sedgwick County Election Commissioner Bill Gale confirmed.

Thirteen of the 88 provisional ballots didn’t count for various reasons, including some who voted in the wrong precinct. Provisional ballots are cast at the polls on Election Day when questions arise about a voter’s eligibility.

The provisional ballots did not alter the outcome of any of the races, including in the one for City Council District 2. Pete Meitzner still won the second spot to advance to the April 5 general election with 8 votes more than Steve Harris. Charlie Stevens won the primary by 130 votes.

Advance voting in the primary accounted for 24.4 percent of the ballots, or about 3,800 ballots.

Wichita council allows hot dog vendors in Old Town

Sidewalk vendors will be allowed to sell food items in Old Town, after the Wichita City Council this morning approved an ordinance change.

Previously, only the central downtown area was allowed to have sidewalk vendors. Two individuals who operate sidewalk hot dog carts requested the change.

Interim Wichita City Council member sworn in, says he won’t seek seat in April

A map of District 3

Shortly before being sworn in Tuesday as an interim Wichita City Council member, Roger Smith said he won’t officially seek the position in this spring’s election.

“I won’t campaign for it,” he said. “If I do it at all, it will be as a write-in candidate.”

Smith is filling the position for District 3 in southeast Wichita. He is replacing Jim Skelton, who left the council after being elected a Sedgwick County commissioner in November.

After being sworn in by Jennifer Jones, administrative judge for the municipal court, Smith told the audience he will be “your go-to guy.” (See video)

Mayor Carl Brewer told Smith’s wife, Debby, “He’s going to miss a lot of dinners and you’ll be having a lot of people calling your house you never heard of.”

Last month, the council voted 6-0 to appoint Smith over two other candidates, Michael Loop and Hoyt Hillman. He will serve until someone is elected in April.

Hillman, Clinton Coen and James Clendenin have said they plan to run for the seat.

Smith, a 57-year-old former industrial engineer,  has been on the District 3 advisory board. He’s also past president and current treasurer of the East Mount Vernon Neighborhood Association.

Smith can be reached at or by calling 316-268-4331.

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.

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Wichita council delays decision on intersection fundraising

The Wichita City Council voted unanimously today to defer until Feb. 15 a decision on an ordinance that would ban fundraising solicitations at intersections.

The council also agreed to set up a study committee made up of two council members and representation from the police department and a few nonprofits that have applied for a solicitation permit. A vote will be taken at next Tuesday’s council meeting on whether there will be a moratorium on the solicitation until a final decision is reached in February.

The local chapter of the Muscular Dystrophy Association told the council that it raised $50,000 during Labor Day weekend this year with firefighters taking to the streets for the “Fill the Boot” fundraiser. Angela Kessler, executive director of the Ark Valley MDA chapter, told the council that their fundraising would be reduced 70 to 90 percent if the firefighters weren’t allowed to use the intersections for collections.

Police had requested a complete ban of solicitation, citing public safety issues with increasingly busier intersections.

Pompeo lands spot on House Energy and Commerce Committee

Mike Pompeo, the congressman-elect for Kansas’ 4th District, has been appointed to the House Energy and Commerce Committee. In addition, Kevin Yoder of the 3rd District has been appointed to the Appropriations Committee and Lynn Jenkins of the 2nd District to the Ways and Means Committee.

The appointments for the three Republicans are considered key for the state during a year of high turnover in the House. Pompeo and Yoder are freshmen members, while Jenkins is going into her second term.

Energy and Commerce’s jurisdiction includes energy, telecommunications, public health and interstate commerce. It also deals with some aviation issues.

“The appointment gives me an opportunity to be directly involved in a wide range of legislative issues, including the most important issues facing Kansans,” Pompeo said in a statement.

Senate candiate Johnston to speak at Labor Day picnic



Lisa Johnston, Kansas’ Democratic nominee for the U.S. Senate,  is scheduled to speak Saturday at the Wichita/Hutchinson Labor Federation’s annual Labor Day picnic at the Machinists Hall, 3830 S. Meridian.

The event is from noon to 4 p.m. and is open to the public. Food will be provided.

Also scheduled to speak are Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tom Holland, Democratic candidate for the 4th Congressional District Raj Goyle and Kansas Secretary of Labor Jim Garner.

In the Nov. 2 general election, Johnston is running against U.S. Rep. Jerry Moran, R-Hays. Sen. Sam Brownback is the GOP candidate for governor, and Mike Pompeo is the Republican candidate for the 4th District.

Pat Roberts endorses Moran to join him in the Senate

As expected, U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts has endorsed fellow Kansas Republican Jerry Moran for the state’s senate seat. Roberts’ office announced the endorsement today, but a formal announcement will be made at 1:30 p.m. Monday in Topeka when the two men hold a joint news conference at the capitol building.

When Roberts became a senator in 1997, Moran succeeded him as the  representative for Kansas’ 1st Congressional  District.

Moran is running against Democrat Lisa Johnston in the Nov. 2 general election.