Archive for Saturday, February 5, 2005

Local briefs

February 5, 2005

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New judge sworn in

More than 100 people packed a Douglas County courtroom Friday to see new District Judge Stephen N. Six take the oath of office.

Six, 39, a graduate of Lawrence High School and Kansas University, was sworn in, shook hands with the other district judges, and donned his black robe before making remarks to the crowd.

"I've been successful by trying to surround myself with other people who are positive and energetic and who have achieved things," he said.

Gov. Kathleen Sebelius last month appointed Six to the new judicial seat, which was created by the Legislature to help meet a growing caseload.

Six will begin work next week and will handle a mix of civil and criminal trials, as well as protection-from-abuse cases.

Railroad accident

Tracks to reopen after train derailment

Wellsville -- BNSF Railway reopened a pair of tracks Friday that were closed after two westbound trains collided Thursday afternoon, derailing 10 cars and spilling several thousand gallons of diesel fuel from a locomotive.

One engineer injured in the crash remained hospitalized Friday in Overland Park, BNSF spokesman Steve Forsberg said. Two conductors were treated and released after the derailment, which closed the parallel tracks on the railroad's main line, about 45 miles south of the BNSF rail yard in Kansas City, Kan.

BNSF Railway spokesman Joseph Faust said one of the tracks reopened at 9:50 a.m. Friday, the other about 1 p.m. Trains passing over either track will initially operate at lower speeds, Faust said.

Meanwhile, a cleanup continued of a diesel fuel spill of 6,000 to 8,000 gallons. Faust said the spill was under control and was not threatening the local water supply.

There still was no indication Friday why the second westbound train did not stop before colliding with the first. Faust said an investigation was under way.

Historic preservation

Breakfast to kick off church's fund-raiser

A benefit breakfast from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. today at St. Luke AME Church, Ninth and New York streets, will kick off a major fund-raising effort to finance the historic black church's restoration.

St. Luke officials and Lawrence preservationists are seeking a National Historic Registry listing for the structure. The event today also will honor author Langston Hughes, who attended the church as a youngster. This week is the anniversary of his birth 103 years ago.

A minimum $5 donation is requested.

Sentencing delayed in armed KU car theft

Sentencing was postponed Friday for a Tonganoxie man convicted of stealing a Kansas University freshman's car at gunpoint from the parking garage of an all-female residence hall.

Jesse A. Plaster, 23, is due to appear Wednesday for sentencing in District Court.

Jurors deliberated about an hour before convicting Plaster in December of the Sept. 27 robbery in the parking garage for Gertrude Sellards Pearson and Corbin Halls. They also convicted him of fleeing to elude police.

Waldorf Association offering workshop

The Waldorf Association of Lawrence is offering a workshop for parents, teachers, students, and others interested in Waldorf education.

The workshop is from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday in Alderson Auditorium at Kansas University's Kansas Union.

There will be a 30-minute slide show about Waldorf schools in Colorado, followed by a question-and-answer session.

A former teacher in three Waldorf schools and a man who attended a Waldorf school in New York from kindergarten through high school will field questions from the audience.

The Waldorf Association of Lawrence is looking to open a school in September for preschoolers and kindergartners.

Social services

Food and shelter funds available from county

Douglas County has received $47,972 from the Emergency Food and Shelter National Board Program for local services.

The funds may be used for a variety of services including mass shelter, mass feeding, food distribution through food pantries and banks, one-month utility payments to prevent service cut-offs and one-month rent/mortgage assistance to prevent evictions or assist people leaving shelters to establish stable living conditions.

A local board reviews applications and submits plans to the national board, detailing how the funds will be spent.

Agencies providing services to the homeless and hungry wanting to participate should call 832-5358 for an application.

Assistant Douglas County administrator Pam Madl is the chairwoman of the local board this year. Completed applications should be sent to her by 5 p.m. Feb. 15 at the county courthouse, 1100 Mass., to be considered.

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