Archive for Friday, January 1, 1999


January 1, 1999


May signifies the start of summer as children eagerly await the final bell on the last day of classes. That bell came early and tumultuously for some area students this year.

More than 600 McLouth students started their vacations early when district officials, reacting to rumors of violence, canceled classes three days before the scheduled end of the school year. The decision came a week after a Springfield, Ore., student opened fire, killing two classmates and wounding 22 others. Then, at the end of May, a 13-year-old Tonganoxie student was handcuffed and detained after allegedly threatening to kill other students.

Schools had cause to celebrate, as well. Schwegler School, 2201 Ousdahl, celebrated its 40th birthday, and Free State High School saw its first class graduate with 108 seniors on May 24.

Those aspiring to political office turned their hopes to August's primary election. Among those announcing intentions to run for office was Eudora insurance salesman David Miller, chairman of the Kansas Republican Party.

In Lawrence, two familiar faces announced intentions to leave their posts. Douglas County Public Works Director Ray Hempen Jr. accepted a job in Weld County, Colo., and Dana Liebengood, director of student services at the William Allen White School of Journalism at Kansas University, retired after 30 years at KU.

The same day Hempen announced his resignation, May 11, Baldwin's new administrator, William Way Jr. of Riverton, Utah, baffled city staff by not showing up for work and not telling anyone he had decided to decline the job.

Also in May, locally owned sister stations KLWN-AM and KLZR-FM were bought by the Zimmer Radio Group of Cape Girardeau, Mo.

Near Clinton Lake, the Kansas State Historical Society welcomed the 122-year-old Clinton Township Hall/Clinton School to the National Register of Historic Places in May. It became the 38th Douglas County building on the list.

A Lawrence man was shot and killed May 27, the day before his 20th birthday, when he and two others entered a house in the 1600 block of Kenwood and allegedly tried to rob the occupants. One of the residents opened fire, killing Jimmie L. Johnson. Three men who allegedly participated in the robbery, including one who was outside the house, were originally charged with felony murder. A judge later ordered the murder charges be dropped, but prosecutors have filed motions opposing that decision.

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