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Archive for Thursday, January 10, 2002

Area briefs

January 10, 2002

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No new leads surface in Hillcrest School fire

Investigation continues in the Christmas night fire that destroyed a portable classroom at Hillcrest School, 1045 Hilltop Drive.

But investigators with Lawrence-Douglas County Fire & Medical have virtually no new leads to follow, Fire Marshal Rich Barr said.

Though arson is suspected, Barr said he doesn't have any evidence to prove it. Evidence does show the fire started outside next to the building, he said.

Lab tests on material from the fire are still pending. The tests might show whether accelerants were used, Barr said.

Barr said he doesn't think the Hillcrest fire is related to Wednesday morning's caboose fire at Eighth and Pennsylvania streets. Arson is suspected in that fire as well.

Eudora board to evaluate plans for new high school

Eudora The Eudora school board will discuss plans for the district's new high school during today's meeting.

The board will meet with DLR Group, a Lawrence engineering firm; Manning-Prosser Construction, Lenexa, construction manager of the project; and Bruce Kracl, construction consultant. The group will discuss the updated schematic design of the new building and design cost estimates. Voters approved a $16 million bond issue to build the new high school and reconfigure the two elementary buildings in November's election.

The board also will discuss the future of the Eudora Middle School building, which will not be used once its students are moved to the present high school building.

The meeting starts at 7 p.m. at the district office, 1002 Elm St.

New city administrator starts in Tonganoxie

Tonganoxie Tonganoxie's new city administrator is on the job.

Shane Krull, 36, who has city management experience in Rose Hill and Osawatomie and who lives in Lawrence, began work Monday. His contract with Tonganoxie requires him to move to that city within nine months.

Krull replaces Chris Clark, who left the city administrator's post in mid-November to return to Massachusetts.

A reception to welcome Krull is set for Jan. 25 at Council Chambers, 321 Delaware St. Krull's first city council meeting will be Monday.

Blood center puts out call for donations

If the blood inventory level continues falling, elective surgeries at area hospitals may have to be postponed, Community Blood Center officials say.

The blood center, primary supplier of blood services for Lawrence Memorial, Ransom Memorial and Allen and Coffey county hospitals, needs to collect 550 pints of blood daily to adequately supply the 73 hospitals in Kansas and Missouri that it serves.

Collections have dropped steadily since late December as blood usage at area hospitals has increased, blood center officials said.

Individuals who wish to donate may call 843-5383 to schedule an appointment at the Lawrence donor center, 535 Gateway Drive. The center is open from noon to 7 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, and from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Fridays.

Donors must be at least 17 years old, weigh at least 110 pounds and be in good health.

KU alumna to serve on Labor Department board

A Kansas University graduate has been appointed to the Administrative Review Board of the Department of Labor.

Cynthia Douglass, who earned a bachelor's degree in political science from KU in 1973 before obtaining a law degree from Washburn University in Topeka, will serve on the board, which hears appeals of decisions made by Labor administrative law judges on such issues as nuclear and environmental law, surface transportation, federal contract compliance, child labor and whistle-blower laws.

Douglass' governmental career includes time as deputy assistant secretary in the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, senior policy adviser to the Environmental Protection Agency and administrator of the Research and Special Programs Administration at the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Murder charges filed against third suspect

Olathe A third man has been charged with first-degree murder in the Sept. 4 shooting death of DeSoto resident Melanie Oliver.

Juan Crutchfield, also known as Juan Guardado, 22, DeSoto, was charged Wednesday by the Johnson County District Attorney's Office with first-degree murder and aggravated burglary in the death of Oliver.

Oliver, 41, died after being shot once in the hip while sleeping at her home. Crutchfield also lived at the home with his wife.

Kansas City, Kan., police originally arrested Crutchfield on a previous warrant on Sept. 13. He was charged with kidnapping, aggravated battery, domestic battery and intimidating a witness in connection with the murder case.

Crutchfield's first appearance on the new charges is set for 1:30 p.m. today.

A trial on the previous charges has been continued until Monday.

Alfredo Arambula, Kansas City, Kan., and Jesse Guardado, Edwardsville, both 18, also have been charged with first-degree murder in Oliver's death.

Council deliberates about officers' appeals

The Baldwin City Council met in a closed-door session for more than four hours Wednesday night to discuss appeals for the city's police officers.

Council members met at 7 p.m. and voted to extend the meeting another hour at 9 p.m. and again at 10 p.m. They said if a decision were reached Wednesday night, the earliest it would be announced publicly would be today, after the officers could be notified.

The council did not take any action after hearing from the officers on Monday during their first appeals hearing.

In December, three officers and Chief Steve Butell were given suspensions, and two other officers received verbal reprimands. The officers later appealed the disciplinary process.

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