Archive for Sunday, July 16, 2000

Regional Briefs

July 16, 2000



Court won't hear teacher's appeal

The Kansas Supreme Court has refused to reconsider its ruling that teachers cannot serve on their local boards of education.

Last week, the court, without comment, denied a motion by Topeka teacher Linda Baker. The ruling puts an end to the case in state courts.

The court ruled, 5-2, in May that the jobs of teachers and school board members are so incompatible that, under Kansas' common law, dual service is prohibited.

Baker, who teaches third-graders at Highland Park Central Elementary School, was elected to the local board last year.

The ruling had ramifications beyond Baker's case, because other teachers serve on local boards.

The court rarely grants motions to reconsider its rulings.

Overland Park

Musil receives endorsement

Greg Musil, candidate for the Republican nomination for Kansas' 3rd Congressional District, has received the endorsement of Kansas Lt. Gov. Gary Sherrer.

Sherrer cited Musil's support of allegiance to Gov. Bill Graves in the 1998 primary, and his hard work and loyalty.

Musil, an Overland Park City Council member, is seeking his party's nomination against State Rep. Phill Kline of Shawnee and Dr. Gary Morsch of Olathe. The winner of the Aug. 1 primary will face the incumbent, Democrat Dennis Moore, in the Nov. 7 general election.


Vice president to make KC stop

Vice President Al Gore, the likely Democratic presidential nominee, plans to visit Kansas City, Mo., next week.

Gore will attend a public rally Tuesday evening at the Barney Allis Plaza downtown. Gore may spend the night and attend a second event Wednesday, campaign officials said.

A recent poll of registered voters commissioned by The Kansas City Star showed Gore trailing likely Republican nominee George W. Bush by 11 points in Missouri, 48 percent to 37 percent. Eleven percent were undecided, with Reform Party candidate Pat Buchanan getting 2 percent and Green Party nominee Ralph Nader 2 percent.

Gore last visited Missouri July 3 in suburban St. Louis.


Tenant convicted of landlord's murder

A Wichita man who faced eviction from his apartment last year was convicted Friday night of murdering his landlord.

Gary Ditges, 50, was found guilty of second-degree murder. The Sedgwick County District Court jury began deliberating Thursday afternoon and continued more than 10 hours Friday before returning the verdict.

Ditges had been charged with the more severe charge of first-degree murder in the March 1999 beating and stabbing death of Janzen Nguyen.

Police found the 54-year-old landlord's body on March 15, 1999, under a blanket in the trunk of a 1961 Chevrolet Impala that Ditges was driving.

Witnesses testified the two had argued in the weeks before the killing over Ditges' $275 in unpaid rent for his apartment in a four-unit building.

District Judge Warren Wilbert scheduled sentencing for August. Second-degree murder carries a life sentence with the possibility of parole after 15 years.


Reward offered for finding vandals

Vandals beheaded an Italian stone cherub that sits atop one of the city's most prized fountains, and police are offering a $5,000 reward to punish the culprits.

The Sea Horse Fountain is the centerpiece of the midtown Meyer Traffic Circle. The Italian sandstone cherub that sits atop the fountain was decapitated Wednesday night, and the figure is dangling upside-down.

The head was recovered, and officials plan to restore the work.

The fountain originally was topped by 300-year-old marble statuary, acquired by Country Club Plaza founder J.C. Nichols from Venice, Italy. It was presented to Kansas City in 1925, and replaced by the sandstone in 1991.

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