Archive for Tuesday, December 31, 2002

A look back through the year in Baldwin — 2002 in review

December 31, 2002

In years past, the annual year-in-review story was a look at the top 10 news items in Baldwin. In 2002, there was so much news that not even a top 15 or top 20 can do the year justice.

Leading the news story pack, of course, was the Baldwin City Police Department. The year there easily could fill a top 10 as long-time police chief Steve Butell resigned, Mike McKenna was hired in December to replace him and four current or former officers filed complaints and threatened lawsuits. And who can forget one of the former officers being fired for shooting a cat in downtown Baldwin? Or the two, count 'em two, armed robberies in Baldwin in the spring, the first such crimes in the city's history.

But, there was plenty of other news, too. After a mistrial the first time around, former Baldwin resident Steven Meeker was convicted and sentenced to prison for the 2001 shooting incident in west Baldwin.

In February, Baldwin and the surrounding area was hit with a devastating ice storm that closed schools and left hundreds huddled in homes without electricity. Power was also at the top of the news list as the Baldwin City Council voted to build a new power plant near the wastewater treatment plant in south Baldwin.

Then there were roads and specifically highways. Just before Christmas, the Kansas Department of Transportation announced the preferred route for a new U.S. Highway 59 will be 300 feet east of the current highway instead of the mile east the agency had identified as the better route earlier in the choosing process. U.S. Highway 56 was there in the news, too, as new businesses continued to open along it in Baldwin and a traffic count at its intersection with Sixth Street was done again to determine if a stop light is warranted.

Water was another lively topic. The city council voted to build two new water towers to handle growth and the wastewater treatment plant was expanded. More work on the system is on the way, as well. But, the lack of water was also in the news as the area was hit with near-drought conditions which hampered farming and caused numerous burn bans.

The list just keeps going -- McDonald's comes to town, so does Thomas the Tank Engine, the lumber yard closes, school news contains numerous big items, Tom Holland defeats incumbent Ralph Tanner in the house race and, of course, the community theatre flap.

There are many others and what follows is a list of headlines from the year for others to choose their top 10, 20 or 30 stories for the year:

2002 In Review

Jan. 2 -- Building permits down in 2001; City council to hear police force appeals; Auditions set for "West Side Story."

Jan. 9 -- Council votes not to release Bennett Report; MSES earns state award; Trial date set for Meeker; Baldwin district to consider year-round school; Faddis named president of K-ACTE; Mr. Goodcents opens its doors to Baldwin.

Jan. 16 -- Year-round school talks end abruptly; District could face budget woes; Council adjusts police discipline; Baldwin City Market prepares to make move; School board puts BJHS wrestling on hold.

Jan. 23 --Council lifts moratorium on building; Mayor gives annual state of city report; Intersection could see traffic light in the future; BHS debaters finish fourth at state.

Jan. 30 -- "It Runs in the Family" is ready to run; Baker pitches new South Lawrence Trafficway plan; City Web site soon to be online; Rural water still an issue.

Feb. 6 -- Devastating ice storm smacks area; Weather trips council plans on electricity; Chocolate auction set; Ice storm paves wide path of destruction.

Feb. 13 -- School board views possible budget cuts; McKinney outlines new plans for Baldwin power; Storm clean up continues; Rainbow Preschool sees glimmer of hope; BCAC Chocolate Auction sets records in attendance, money raised.

Feb. 20 -- Construction to begin on new wastewater treatment plant; Council still undecided about electricity; FEMA to offer financial assistance to those with storm damage expenses; BJHS students win state health awards.

Feb. 27 -- Students complete their own commercial for national contest; Construction to begin on McDonald's; Annual Girl Scout cookie delivery lots of work, but enjoyable.

March 6 -- BCPD had new officer on streets; Renovation of Collins Library still on schedule; First-year culinary program at BHS a success; Alan Beuthien earns Eagle Award.

March 13 -- School board views lists of budget cut ideas; Rainbow preschool has found new home; Accident at intersection has officials looking at need for traffic signal; Students design projects for county science fair.

March 20 -- Tony Ikenberry, a man on a mission; Baldwin police matters are rekindled; City council talks deficit, traffic signal; Eldridge to leave bank, return to education.

March 27 -- Potential police lawsuits bring responses; Spring brings unpredictable weather; Shooting case goes to court; Thomas the Tank Engine to come to Baldwin.

April 3 -- No verdict in Meeker shooting trial; Officer's complaints could be resolved; Council sets meeting on electricity, water.

April 10 -- School District still looking for ways to save money; Mistrial declared in Baldwin shooting case; Vinland Airport manufactures parts; First-ever wellness festival a success; Citizens For Baldwin City hopes to increase membership.

April 17 -- Council approves town's second electrical feed; KDOT seeking input at U.S. 59 public hearing; Proposal looks to finance land for industrial parks, open space; Thomas tickets popular in surrounding states.

April 24 -- Council hopes new water towers will increase water pressure; Purchase of new engines could be electricity answers; Tire store to locate in Baldwin; BHS students get dolled up on prom night.

May 1 -- May basket tradition continues; Armed robbery occurs in Baldwin; January survey results to be shared at city commission meeting; VES, MSES site plans approved; Lifesaver, Make a Difference days offer options to students.

May 8 -- Armed robbery occurs again in Baldwin City; CLEAR mystery train set to depart; Survey results show satisfaction in city services; Water pressure to increase with towers; Another U.S. 59 KDOT meeting.

May 15 -- MSES teacher, Charlene Potter, retiring after 33 years; Board accepts bids for schools; Joyce Castle to speak at BHS commencement ceremony; VES fifth graders perform "The Music Man."

May 22 -- 89 seniors graduate from BHS; BCPD work to prevent more armed robberies; Tom Holland to seek House seat; Water tower splits council, district.; VES students participate in Founders' Day.

May 29 -- Baldwin sees need for increased safety; 6,000 Thomas tickets expected to sell out; School district still looking at ways to save money; BHS newspaper wins journalism award.

June 5 -- Thomas the Tank rumbles into town; Summer camps offer learning experience; BCPD investigating leads on local armed robberies; Baldwin High students inducted into honor society.

June 12 -- Thousands take trip on Thomas; Baldwin volunteers make Thomas a success; Board firm on tower location; Ira DeSpain receives award.

June 19 -- Day Out With Thomas a big success; City, school reach agreement on fees; "Annie Get Your Gun" marks Baldwin City Theater's 11th summer production; Baker home to camps during summer.

June 26 -- "Annie Get Your Gun" hits bullseye; Construction begins at district schools; Area farmers harvest wheat; No suspects in BHS theft, vandalism.

July 2 -- Flag crew works to make downtown patriotic; Council balks at mill hike; Community Fourth celebration offers activities, fireworks; Chris Griggs bikes across Kansas; Hestia honors former member.

July 10 -- List says two Baldwin elementary schools need improvements; City fires up generators for first time this summer; Fourth celebration draws crown; Meeker returns to court for Baldwin shooting; Baldwin tree club to hopefully start next week.

July 17 -- District, City discuss shared funding for SRO; 2003 mill levy to be lower than last year; Baldwin native, Seth Osburn, returns to play original piano composition; Broadway at Baker camps this month; Music, ice cream to be part of Art Walk.

July 24 -- Butell resigns as Baldwin police chief; Kathy Browne's watercolor wins contest; Meeker convicted in Baldwin shooting; City purchases land for new power plant; Douglas County Fair begins.

July 31 -- 4-H family readies for county fair; Larson to lead police for now; Public works facilities to be on new land; Work days scheduled for Vinland Fair.

Aug. 7 -- Talent show adds to the Vinland Fair; Council approves raise in electric rates; City turns down claims, officers to file lawsuits; City budget approved for 2003; Early morning fire destroys garage near Baldwin.

Aug. 14 -- Something for everyone at the Vinland Fair; Board member districts to change; Baldwin, county placed under week-long burn ban; Schools prepare for new year; Quilters Guild to be featured at Art Walk.

Aug. 21 -- Japanese student shadows local vet; Enrollment numbers steady for Baldwin; Maintenance problems cause Baldwin pool to close for summer; Midland Railway receives grant to restore cars.

Aug. 28 -- Meeker heads to prison for Baldwin shooting; Baldwin schools have smooth start to year despite construction projects; Baker's initial enrollment numbers remain steady.

Sept. 4 -- Lack of rain taking its toll on area; Bomb squad unit called to Baldwin; Paine urges comments on Trafficway proposal; Baker ceremony to mark Sept. 11 year anniversary.

Sept. 11 -- Sept. 11 horror still apparent on year anniversary; Displays of patriotism popular in year after attacks; Midland events set for rail fans; Rainbow Preschool adjusts to new facility; Board to decide on redistricting in October.

Sept. 18 -- City to pay part of police overtime for festival; Martha Smith honored for work; Black Jack Park's significance beneficial to town; Baldwin City benefits from United Way; Pets on parade at BES; FCCLA has field day again; BHS's Cooper is honored for efforts with band.

Sept. 25 -- Martha Smith is Kansas's oldest worker; Candidates flock to police chief position; Lumber yard closing brings mixed emotions; Candidate forum draws a crowd; Art Walk finale has good crowd.

Oct. 2 -- McMillen siblings celebrate their lives; City requests traffic study at busy intersection; BCRC, City work to resolve pool problems; Kate Lammers named National Merit Scholarship semi-finalist; Homecoming 2002 at BHS.

Oct. 9 -- Baldwin police officer fired for shooting cat; Developers debate over sewer collection system; Davis severs ties with CLEAR group.

Oct. 16 -- District boundaries change approved; Former Baldwin officer files appeal over termination; New realty company is in town; Food drive at Baldwin High was a success.

Oct. 23 -- 45th Maple Leaf Festival a success; Construction of towers delayed; Parade now part of Baker's homecoming; Haunted train leaves passengers laughing, but feeling spooked.

Oct. 30 -- Local candidates vie for 10th district seat; Changes made to Baldwin City Community Theatre group; Family dog found, then found again, on Internet; Halloween activities planned for young; Leaves late in changing but brilliant in color.

Nov. 6 -- KDOT does traffic count at Sixth Street and U.S. Highway 56 intersection; City council discusses water rate increases; Palmyra Lodge honors members at meeting; Show tunes, costumes featured in "Cabaret."

Nov. 13 -- Beagle is all ears for young readers; Big Brothers Big Sisters hopes to start new programs; Holland set for office; BES talks about progress list; Community spends Halloween helping needy.

Nov. 20 -- Water tower could delay start to school year; Police chief search nearing completion; Couple's dream project hits snag; Holiday spirit found in December events.

Nov. 26 -- Students learn meaning of holiday; United Way goal nearly fulfilled; Council's two reading will benefit residents; It's in the mail.

Dec. 4 -- Gingerbread lanterns help local organization; Preferred U.S. 59 route announced; Council doesn't support possible LKM lawsuit; Local cartoonist publishes kids' book; Baldwin Community Arts Council's first holiday art sale to feature 13 area artists.

Dec. 11 -- Baldwin City hires new police chief in Mike McKenna; Santa makes annual visit to Baldwin; George McCrary resigns position on council; Recent ruling in BPU case in Baldwin's favor; Local family in jeopardy of losing home, land to new U.S. Highway 59.

Dec. 18 -- McKenna sworn in as new police chief; Amy Cleavinger new face on Baldwin City Council; County considering closing satellite treasurer's office; City council discusses sign ordinance; Annual living nativity begins Saturday.

Dec. 25 -- Election deadlines at end of January; School board to seat four members; Police department warns against driving drunk; Vinland artist Steve Graber well-known for his work.

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