Law enforcement preparing for nationwide “Click It or Ticket” campaign…and other headlines from the Today in Kansas Report: May 13, 2019

Sacha SanguinettiMay 13, 2019

Local law enforcement across Kansas are preparing to join in a nationwide “Click It Or Ticket” effort. The effort is to crack down on unbuckled drivers on Kansas roads and highways. More than 150 law enforcement agencies across Kansas will be taking a no-excuses approach to seat belt enforcement as part of the national campaign  which is concurrent with one of the busiest travel and holiday weekends of the year. This year’s enforcement period  is May 20th through June 2nd.

A Kansas school district is confirming that a student took their own life at a school.  Police and emergency crews were called after a student took their own life and was discovered in a restroom at Wichita Southeast High School on Friday.  District officials say there will be personnel in place to meet with students and staff today.  A vigil for the student will take place Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. at the College Hill United Methodist Church in Wichita.

A woman charged in connection with a deadly chase and crash in Kansas is officially charged.  Mia Collins appeared in Sedgwick County District Court to face first-degree murder charges in the May 5th crash.  Seventy-year-old Maria Wood and 12-year-old Rosemary McElroy died in the crash, while Collins and three other people were injured.  Bond for Collins, who was allegedly fleeing from police in a stolen vehicle at the time of the crash, has been set at  $500,000.

A man is accused of taking pictures of women without their permission at a Kansas business.   Forty-four-year-old Jonathan Falen was arrested and booked on three counts of breach of privacy.  Police say Falen took pictures and video of women in the changing room at a Nordstrom Rack in Lenexa.  The alleged incidents took place March 27th and April 14th.

A man will stand trial for a suspected drunk driving crash that claimed the life of an off-duty Kansas police officer and his son.  James Dalrymple was bound for trial for involuntary manslaughter and failure to yield the right of way in Sedwick County District Court.  Prosecutors say Dalrymple struck a motorcycle and killed off-duty Officer Stacy Woodson and his son, Brayden, on April 27th, 2018, at 167th and 21st streets.  Dalyrmple will next appear in court on June 25th.

Highlighting what she describes as “significant progress made to rebuild Kansas”, Governor Laura Kelly outlined the major accomplishments of her first legislative session. Kelly highlighted funding for public schools as her most notable accomplishment. The passage of bipartisan legislation resulted in $90 million more for schools, in addition to the $800 million added over the last two years. These investments have the potential to put an end to the cycle of litigation around this issue.

The Kansas Crime Victims Compensation Board has awarded financial assistance to 233 victims of violent crime. Awards were made in 102 new cases. Additional expenses were paid in 131 previously submitted cases. The awards totaled $248,552.89.  The Division of Crime Victims Compensation in Schmidt’s office administers the Crime Victims Compensation program, which was established in 1978 to help victims of violent crime pay for their unexpected expenses such as medical treatment, mental health counseling, lost wages, dependent support and funeral expenses. The state’s three-member Crime Victims Compensation Board determines claims that are eligible for payment and how much money will be awarded to each claimant. Awards are limited to a maximum total amount of $25,000 with limitations of $5,000 for funeral expense, $5,000 for outpatient mental health counseling, $10,000 for inpatient mental health treatment and $1,500 for grief counseling for family survivors of homicide victims.  A portion of assessed court costs and fines, inmate wages, parole fees and restitution paid by convicted offenders provides funding to the program.

Smiles, tears, and hugs were mixed in with the sounds of Pomp and Circumstance over the weekend across Kansas. Hundreds of seniors from multiple schools walked across the stage and received diplomas. For one school  it was the final graduation ever. After 131 years St. John’s Military School in Salina is closing following the conclusion of the current school year. This coming weekend many more seniors will graduate. While seniors at most schools are finished, all other students still have several days of class left.

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