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Archive for Wednesday, August 1, 2001

Lawrence briefs

August 1, 2001

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Lawsuit against Heetco filed by blast victim's family

A lawsuit filed Monday in Douglas County District Court seeks to hold a propane storage business liable for a 1999 fire and death of a McLouth man.

Heetco Inc., 1853 E. 1450 Road, Lawrence, was negligent in properly maintaining its facility resulting in a fire at 3:30 a.m. July 30, 1999, the lawsuit alleges.

Kim Groenhagen, then 35, McLouth, was walking on or near Heetco property when an explosion occurred, the lawsuit said. He was severely injured and died Feb. 10, 2001, as a result of the injuries, the lawsuit said.

The lawsuit was filed by Brittany Groenhagen, McLouth, Kim Groenhagen's daughter, through her stepmother, Karen Groenhagen. They seek more than $75,000 in damages from Heetco.

Monte Milstead, listed in the lawsuit as the registered agent for Heetco, said he had not seen the lawsuit and had no comment about it.

Sheriff seeks public's help in solving mailbox vandalism

The Douglas County Sheriff's Office is asking for the public's help in finding whoever is responsible for a series of rural mailbox vandalism incidents throughout the past few weeks.

Nearly two dozen mailboxes have been damaged, sheriff's reports show. Another seven mailboxes have been added to the list since Friday. Most were hit with red bricks found at the scenes and a few with small tan rocks, reports said.

Most recently three mailboxes were damaged in the 1300 section of North 1 Road; two in the 1500 section of North 200 Road; and two in the 00 and 100 sections of East 1400 Road.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Crime Stoppers hotline, 843-8477, and callers remain anonymous. Calls also can be made to 841-0007.

KU computer technicians restore e-mail accounts

Computer technicians at Kansas University have finished restoring e-mail to faculty and staff accounts after a hardware malfunction July 23.

Jerree Catlin, associate director of academic computing services, said nearly all faculty and staff members should have access to their full e-mail accounts.

However, she said, technicians know of about 25 accounts that weren't completely restored. E-mails to those accounts will be returned manually.

Catlin said technicians didn't know why the initial restoration didn't work for all accounts.

"It's not a lot considering the 4,000-plus accounts on the server," she said.

Technicians had been working to return e-mails to accounts since July 23, when a hardware failure blocked access to accounts on the "Skylark" Web server. Faculty and staff members could use their e-mail the following day, but messages received before 6:30 p.m. July 19 could not be accessed.

Visiting Nurses' budget holds steady

The Douglas County Visiting Nurses Assn. budget looked steady for the first half of the fiscal year, according to Marceil Lauppe, the organization's director.

Lauppe said expenses were slightly lower than budgeted, and the organization had received more than half of its expected revenues.

Patient visits also increased in comparison to last year, Lauppe said. Acute care visits were 8.6 percent higher during the first quarter, rehabilitative care visits were 13.8 percent higher, and home health aide visits increased by 9.1 percent.

Lauppe also said that Douglas County Hospice had received a $43,000 donation, which would be applied to the agency's future needs.

Trial to begin Monday in attempted bank robbery

A Lawrence man next week goes on trial in federal court in Topeka for attempting to rob a Lawrence branch of Firstar Bank.

The trial for Paul David Lee, 57, is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. Monday before U.S. District Court Judge Dale Saffels.

Lee underwent a mental evaluation last winter and was found competent to stand trial. He is charged with one count of attempted bank robbery.

Lee was arrested Nov. 30 after he walked into Firstar, Ninth and Massachusetts streets, displayed a handgun in his waistband and demanded money. The incident caused a police standoff and fear of a hostage situation.

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