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Archive for Thursday, August 15, 2002

Area briefs

August 15, 2002

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Moore begins campaign today with stops in Lawrence, area

Congressman Dennis Moore, D-Kan., will officially kick off his re-election effort at 10 a.m. today at the home of Charles and Kathryn Branson, 1027 R.I.

It's one of three appearances Moore will make today in the 3rd District he represents in Congress. The other two will be 1:30 p.m. in Kansas City, Kan., and 3 p.m. in Shawnee.

Moore was first elected to Congress in 1998. He faces moderate Republican Adam Taff, a former Navy fighter pilot, in the November general election.

Gunman in DeSoto slaying sentenced to term in prison

The gunman in a DeSoto woman's killing who became the state's top witness against his co-defendants was sentenced Wednesday to 15 to 17 years in prison.

Alfredo Arambula, 18, was originally charged with first-degree murder in the Sept. 4, 2001, killing of Melanie S. Oliver, 41, of DeSoto.

He was allowed to plead guilty to second-degree murder in exchange for agreeing to testify against two brothers who also were involved with the murder.

Earlier this month, Juan Crutchfield, 23, was sentenced to a life term after pleading guilty to first-degree murder. Crutchfield's brother, Jesse Guardado, 19, was sentenced to 7 1/2 years after pleading no contest to second-degree murder.

Prosecutors said Crutchfield had Oliver, who had reported an earlier assault by him, killed to keep her from testifying. She was shot as she slept in her home.

Arambula testified that Crutchfield beat and threatened him to get him to carry out the killing.

Radio reporter wins award

Peter Hancock, Kansas Public Radio's Statehouse bureau chief, has been honored with a national award for his coverage of the politics of water usage in western Kansas.

Hancock won second place in public service/in-depth reporting from Washington, D.C.'s Association of Capitol Reporters and Editors.

The August 2001 story examined the struggle between farmers, ranchers, cities and environmentalists over access and usage of water in the rapidly depleting Ogallala Aquifer.

The story also was broadcast on National Public Radio's Morning Edition. Hancock is a former Journal-World reporter.

Former Newton mayor charged with sex abuse

Newton A former Newton mayor is charged with sexually attacking a young girl.

Fred Gonzalez, 68, who served as mayor in 1980 and 1981, faces one count of rape, two counts of aggravated sodomy and one count of aggravated indecent liberties with a child, said Harvey County Atty. Matt Treaster.

The alleged attacks occurred between April 2000 and September 2001, Treaster said. Gonzalez, who was arrested Friday, is free on $50,000 bond.

Treaster called the attacks "not random" and said the alleged victim was an acquaintance of Gonzalez. He declined to give the girl's age.

Gonzalez, who now lives in Derby, was a Newton city commissioner from 1979 through 1983. He also worked as a Newton USD 373 school bus driver until recently resigning, Treaster said.

A preliminary hearing in the case, originally set for today, will be continued into September, Treaster said.

Sheriff announces

DUI patrols this weekend

An additional contingent of Douglas County Sheriff's officers will be on patrol Friday night and Saturday morning watching for drunken drivers.

Officers will be conducting saturation patrols at various locations in the county from 11 p.m. Friday to 3 a.m. Saturday. Five extra officers will be working during those hours, Sheriff Rick Trapp said.

The saturation patrols, conducted periodically by the Sheriff's Office, are funded in part by a grant from the Kansas Department of Transportation.

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