Archive for Friday, January 1, 1999


January 1, 1999


In July, the Lawrence school district hired a new superintendent, the stained-glass window at Smith Hall was vandalized twice and the city opened a new golf course.

Kathleen Williams accepted the position of superintendent of the school district, replacing outgoing superintendent Al Azinger. The assistant superintendent, from Schaumburg, Ill., was offered the job after a three-month search that looked at 30 candidates.

The stained-glass window, depicting the biblical burning bush, at Smith Hall on the Kansas University campus was vandalized twice in July. Work had just begun to repair and clean panels of the window damaged by a vandal in April when half of a cinder block was lobbed at the window. A few weeks later the window was vandalized yet again.

The front nine holes of the city's new Eagle Bend Golf Course opened. The course was designed with wide fairways and a minimum of trees.

David Cox was sentenced to 19 years in prison for his role in a two-day hostage standoff in January. His sentence was lighter than that of another man charged in the standoff, Kipling Johnson. He was sentenced to 24 years, 4 months in prison.

Temperatures rose to just under and over 100 degrees for several days during the month. The heat put a strain on utility companies. Electric customers were asked to cut power use during the hottest part of the day to avoid power shortages.

People lined up at convenience and grocery stores to buy Powerball tickets when the jackpot soared to $295.7 million. It was won by 13 workers in Ohio.

A fire started by smoking material at Sundance Apartments, 1407 W. Seventh, did $250,000 worth of damage. The fire displaced 36 to 48 people. It took firemen an hour to get under control.

The city commission decided to spend $9.5 million dollars on a new indoor aquatic center featuring a 50-meter pool. The commission discussed putting in a 25-meter pool but finally agreed to go with the larger pool.

Melizza Lara-Honea, 21, died after walking in front of a Union Pacific train in northeast Lawrence. Authorities said she made no attempt to move out of its way.

Dr. Dale Clinton, 78, was injured when his motorcycle struck a sedan near Eudora. The longtime Lawrence doctor later died of his injures.


Gov. Bill Graves soundly trounced challenger David Miller in the Republican primary. The incumbent governor won more than 70 percent of the vote. Miller later wrote a letter chiding the governor and failed to show up at a Republican "unity" breakfast.

The debate over the privatization of foster care continued to rage across the state all month. Critics, including foster parents, judges and social workers, said private group homes and other service providers operating under state contracts were ill-prepared and underfunded for the rising number of foster children pouring into the system.

Matt Vestal, 19, a KU student, pleaded no contest to involuntary manslaughter in the death of Lisa Rosel in March. Rosel died after stumbling in the street in the 1400 block of Tennessee and being run over by Vestal. Rosel had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .097, while Vestal had a BAC of .081. A person with a BAC of .08 is considered legally intoxicated. A plea agreement called for 14 days in jail, but the judge later sentenced Vestal to 30 days.

To the dismay of college officials, KU held on to its No. 8 ranking among party schools in an annual Princeton review.

An arson fire destroyed a 113-year-old home at 1605 Tenn. The house was being renovated into four one-bedroom apartments when it was burned. Damage was so extensive the house had to be demolished.

Liberty Memorial High School, now Centennial Junior High School, was rededicated at a celebration of its 75 years.

Dan Neuenswander, former Lawrence schools superintendent, requested a recount of ballots for the Republican primary after finding out he lost to John Bacon of Olathe for the state Board of Education. Numbers posted election night had Neuenswander losing by 3,000 votes because of a reporting error. The actual margin was only 24 votes.

KU administrators, including Chancellor Robert Hemenway, sweated in the August sun along with students moving in. The administrators helped moved students into the dorms, carrying boxes, furniture and clothing.

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