Story by Caitlin Doornbos, courtesy The Lawrence Journal-World
A 31-year-old Eudora man was charged with aggravated assault, aggravated burglary and theft Thursday after allegedly stealing a $60 flashlight from a Lawrence Wal-Mart and threatening an employee with a knife.
Lawrence Police Department spokesman Sgt. Trent McKinley said officers arrested Seth Lee Smiley at his Eudora home Wednesday after loss prevention personnel at Wal-Mart, 3300 Iowa St., told officers the man left the store without paying for a flashlight valued at about $60.
When a loss prevention employee followed Smiley out of the store and asked to return inside the store, Smiley allegedly produced a pocketknife and “moved toward the employee in a threatening manner,” McKinley said.
After the alleged assault, the employee retreated inside the store, McKinley said, and Smiley left the parking lot in a vehicle.
Wal-Mart was able to record the vehicle’s license plate number, which was registered to a person in Eudora. Officers then went to that address, locating the suspect, McKinley said.
Smiley resisted arrest by Eudora police officers and Douglas County Sheriff’s Office deputies, but the officers were able to detain him. Smiley was then taken to Lawrence Memorial Hospital for an evaluation, McKinley said, and was later booked into the Douglas County Jail.
Smiley had previously been banned from Wal-Mart stores for a prior crime, so his Wednesday Wal-Mart appearance resulted in the aggravated burglary charge. He has an extensive criminal history in Douglas County, according to court records, including convictions of aggravated battery, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and domestic battery.
He is currently being held in the Douglas County Jail on a $12,000 bond.
The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office refused to release Smiley’s booking photo.
Eudora News and Information – www.eudorareporter.com
With the upcoming elections for City Commission and School Board, we wanted to take time to highlight each candidate in the race.
All candidates were sent a questionnaire to fill out and respond to. We will print the responses to those questions here over the course of the next few days. We told the candidates that the responses will be presented as sent to us with no editing.
First to be highlighted is former Mayor and current City Commissioner Ruth Hughs:
Please tell about your background and qualifications for a position on the City Commission.
I have served on the City Commission for 5 years. I was appointed in 2010 for a one year term when a former commissioner was unable to complete his term. This turned out to be a wonderful opportunity for me to “get my feet wet”. I discovered that I enjoyed the challenge of serving on the commission and decided to run for a 4 year term and much to my delight I was elected to the commission in April 2011. Last year I had the honor to serve in the capacity of the mayor.
Voters in this election will be asked if they want to raise the City sales tax by ¾ of a percent to help fund the Parks and Recreation Master Plan and other capital expenditures. If this passes, what specific needs would you recommend that money going towards?
We are a city that appreciates quality family time and community events. Over the past few years we have seen the use of our swimming pool, Rec Center, trails, parks, and ball fields grow. I believe the ¾ of a percent city tax increase money will give us the opportunity to upgrade CPA Park and other smaller parks, build new trails, enhance our swimming pool, and make new ballfields. Another way I would like to see the money used is to enlarge the Recreation Center as it is bursting at the seams. Money spent enhancing our parks and recreation programs is a win for the citizens as it helps create more opportunities for living a healthy lifestyle.
Where do you feel the city is in regards to economic development and what would you do in regards to economic development in the future?
What I have learned over the past 5 years about economic development is that it takes money, time, great planning, hard work, and dedication to grow our economy in Eudora. I believe we are now much better prepared to make significant strides in economic development. We recently completed a Buxton study that gives us important information that will help us market Eudora to new businesses.
The most visible piece of land available for development is the property where the old Nottingham School and Laws Field currently sit. As a City Commissioner, what specifically would like to see done with this property?
The Nottingham site is the most desirable piece of real estate in Eudora. I believe that it should be developed according to the guidelines as established by the school board and the commission in 2010. I also believe that a total site plan is essential for adequate planning.
What other issues do you think are important that the City Commission should look at?
There are several issues I believe the commission will want to address in the near future. Our city will need to add another law enforcement officer as we continue to grow. It is also my belief that Eudora should have an ambulance stationed at the Public Works building 24/7. I hope to see that happen in the near future.
Why do you want to sit on the City Commission?
My track record shows that I am invested in helping Eudora grow and thrive. I would consider it a privilege to serve my city again in this capacity.
The City elections will be held on Tuesday, April 7. Polls will be open from 7:00 A.M. to 7:00 P.M. Voters can vote early by mail or by going to the Douglas County Courthouse. For more information on advance voting you can visit the Douglas County Elections website: https://www.douglascountyks.org/depts/voting-and-elections/advance-voting
Three of the five candidates running for the City Commission will be selected. On the School Board, 6 candidates are vying for four seats.
We will have more in depth information about polling places as we near Election Day. The remaining candidates will be profiled over the next few days.
I owe each and every one of you an apology. For the last several months there has been a definite lack of news on this website about Eudora. I’ve missed the boat on some of things that truly deserved coverage in Eudora. I haven’t put the dedication, time and effort behind this news and information site like I should have. For that, I am truly sorry.
I’m not going to offer excuses or cop outs. I haven’t lived up to the expectations that have come to pass over our 4+ years of making this site the premiere news and information source about our great city. Many of you know that this is not my full time job. I work out of town and that job has consumed much of my life lately along with some personal projects and family matters I need to attend to.
I do want to thank all my advertisers who have stayed by my side and been patient with me while a lot of this has been going on. Not only have I not delivered the news, I have not been in as close contact with them as I prefer. Look at the ads located at the top of the web site and on the left and right hand sides. Frequent these places. Put your money to use here and keep Eudora thriving.
Now, it’s time to get to work. We have an election coming up and over the course of the next week, you will learn about many and hopefully all the candidates for the School Board and City Commission. We will also talk about the proposed sales tax increase and keep you fully informed on the issues surrounding that question. We also will be doing some features on local businesses, some of which have been going for several months now and not been featured yet. Finally, we will renew our efforts to bring you the breaking news stories that affect the citizens of Eudora.
Again, you have my undying gratitude for sticking with us, with me, through this difficult time. I thank you for coming to this site and following us on Facebook and Twitter. You have my deepest and utmost respect, appreciation and apology for not living up to your expectations.
As Arsenio Hall always used to say: Let’s get busy.
Eudora News and Information - www.eudorareporter.com
Firefighters from Eudora City Fire, Eudora Township and Wakarusa Township Fire Departments were called to Eudora Middle School shortly after Noon Wednesday when a fire alarm sounded at the school building. The school building was evacuated with the alarm.
According to Eudora City Fire Chief Ken Keiter, crews quickly discovered that a battery pack in an emergency lighting system had overheated and sparked a fire. He said that crews were quickly able to extinguish the blaze after cutting the electricity to the affected system.
Keiter stated that crews spent approximately 30 minutes clearing the smoke and making sure there was no further danger to students or staff. After the Fire Department gave the all clear, students and staff were allowed back into the building to resume classes.
Keiter reported that there were no injuries associated with the fire.
Eudora News and Information – www.eudorareporter.com
Citizens in Eudora came perilously close to not having any water service Wednesday afternoon. Around 3:15 PM, a water main located at the intersection of 14th and Ash Streets broke causing a large leak. Public Works Director Mike Hutto described the leak as a major water main break.
“While the number of houses affected is in a small area, the leak is a large one,” Hutto said.
While crews were trying to fix the leak, catastrophe struck when a valve used to turn off water to the immediate area broke sending water cascading down the street. The continuing rush of water continued for some time as crews determined how to try and stop the leak .
Around 5:30 PM Hutto said that the city’s water tank located on the east side of town was down to a dangerously low eight feet of water.
“If we can’t get this shut off soon, we will run out of water,” Hutto stated. He asked citizens to conserve water for a time hoping that the tank would have enough in it to keep the taps flowing. Luckily, City Crews were able to come up with a fix by 5:45 PM for the blown valve and were able to shut off the water before the tank ran out.
“The tower on the west side of town is out of service right now while it is being painted,” Hutto told us. “So the only tank serving the north side of K-10 is this one.”
Hutto said that crews will working well into the evening hours on Wednesday to repair the broken main. Citizens living on Ash Street between 12th and 14th Streets, along with those on Birch Ct. will have no water service until the main is repaired. All other citizens living north of K-10 will see diminished water pressure while the reservoir tank refills. Those to the south of K-10 are not being affected.
This is the third water main break in the city since the start of 2015. When asked why there have been so many water main breaks this year, Hutto stated the cause is an extremely mild winter.
“When it’s a dry as it was this winter, the ground starts shifting underneath these pipes,” he said. “A leak in a PVC type pipe like this shouldn’t happen, but it does when it’s been this dry and your pipes are underground.”
Hutto said that the three water main breaks in just three months equal the number of breaks from the previous two years combined. Hutto could not state if any boil orders for the affected homes would need to be implemented due to the break. He told us that he would let citizens know if that would be needed.