Archive for Saturday, February 5, 2005

Area briefs

February 5, 2005

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Motorist hits bobcat in Olathe

Olathe -- For the second time in four months, an injured bobcat was found in this Kansas City suburb.

Police said the bobcat was trying to cross a highway when it hit the front passenger tire of a car driven by a Spring Hill man.

Olathe animal control officers were able to capture the bobcat, which had an injured leg. The bobcat was taken to Operation Wildlife, a nonprofit rescue operation, for evaluation and treatment.

Another bobcat was found in Olathe last November not far from Interstate 35.

Wichita police captain not guilty of pay fraud

Wichita -- Wichita police Capt. Gary Tabor has been acquitted of a criminal charge for having two officers take off work to help put up wallboard in the basement of his house.

Despite Thursday's verdict in Sedgwick County District Court, Tabor still faces an internal police investigation in the case.

To convict Tabor of ordering false entries on payroll records, the jury was required to find that the captain purposely deceived the city when he approved the time off for the two officers on Oct. 26, 2002.

"I think it's pretty clear that what Captain Tabor did was contrary to police policy," Steve Joseph, Tabor's lawyer, said after the verdict. "But it wasn't a crime."

Tabor, a 25-year veteran of the force, has maintained that he thought the two officers would take vacation or otherwise make up the time for their missed shift. The officers never did.

Tabor, 46, has been on unpaid leave since the district attorney charged him in August.

Saline County GOP fills legislative seat

Salina -- Businessman Charles Roth has been selected to fill the legislative seat of the late Rep. Carol Beggs, whose widow changed her mind about succeeding him.

Beggs, 77, a Salina Republican, represented the 71st District in the Kansas House, starting in 1995. Hospitalized since September, he was re-elected in November and died Jan. 19 of pneumonia.

Betty Beggs, 79, had expressed interest in her husband's seat. But Thursday night, she told members of the Saline County Republican Central Committee that she'd decided against it.

Roth, 58, won the seat over Doug Olson on an 18-9 vote, committee chairman Rodger Sparks said. Olson, 53, an engineering technician with the Kansas Department of Transportation, lost to Beggs in the last two GOP primaries.

Roth's name will be submitted to Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, whose appointment of the new representative is a formality under Kansas law.

Bill on Topeka, county consolidation advances

Topeka -- A bill allowing Topeka and Shawnee County to consolidate their governments won House approval Friday.

The 118-2 vote sent the measure to the Senate. It would create a five-member commission to study consolidation and draft a plan.

Voters would have the final say on any consolidation proposal. Approval would require a majority inside the city and a majority among voters outside it.

That provision led to opposition from Topeka City Council members. They also object to a provision prohibiting the city from annexing land while consolidation is being considered, unless land owners consent.

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