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The Leavenworth Times - Leavenworth, KS
  • A look at the top local news stories from 2013

  • From heavy snow storms to prison escapes, here's a look at some of the most notable Lansing and Leavenworth news stories from 2013. Stories are recalled here in no particular order.
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  • From heavy snow storms to prison escapes, here's a look at some of the most notable Lansing and Leavenworth news stories from 2013. Stories are recalled here in no particular order.
    • SNOW AS IT GOES ― The Leavenworth area saw two major snow storms within a week in February.
    The first one came Feb. 21, dropping about 10 inches of snow. Local government offices, as well as schools, were closed in the wake of the storm.
    A second storm hit Feb. 25, dropping as much as 10 inches in additional snow in some areas of the county and temporarily leaving thousands without power.
    Mother Nature wasn't through with winter as the Leavenworth area saw more snowfall in late March.
    And, there was a rare May snow storm. The May 2 storm was the first time there had been measurable snowfall in May in the Kansas City area since 1907, according to accuweather.com.
    • ESCAPEES BACK BEHIND BARS ― Three minimum custody inmates escaped May 10 from the Lansing Correctional Facility.
    Two the inmates, Allen M. Hurst and Scott A. Gilbert, allegedly fired shots at law enforcement officers and attempted to kidnap another before being taken into custody in Platte County, Mo.
    Both men now face multiple charges in Missouri.
    The third inmate, Randy A. Ridens, Sr., was taken into custody as he entered Topeka. He later pleaded guilty to aggravated escape from custody. He was sentenced Dec. 20 in Leavenworth County District Court to more than 10 years in prison.
    • SEEKING NEW SUPER ― Kelly Crane resigned as Leavenworth public schools superintendent Dec. 4. No reason has been made public for her resignation.
    Crane had been the school district's superintendent since 2008.
    Bret Church, who had been serving as assistant superintendent, has been named interim superintendent through the end of the school year.
    With the aid of the Kansas Association of School Boards, the Leavenworth School Board has started a search process for a new superintendent.
    • HOTEL DEVELOPMENTS FILL VACANCY ― Ferguson Hotel Group broke ground for a 91-room Fairfield Inn and Suites on May 28 at Fourth Street and Metropolitan Avenue.
    Leavenworth officials had been working for several years to attract a new hotel to the city.
    The city acquired 31 lots in north Leavenworth. The hotel developer then purchased the land from the city.
    Another developer has plans to build a Hampton Inn at 405 Choctaw St.
    The city of Leavenworth recently acquired the former Nights Inn property at 101 S. Third with the hope that a new hotel will be built there.
    • SHOOTER SENTENCED ― A 2011 homicide case reached a conclusion in April when Aundray D. McDonald was sentenced to more than 18 years in prison for two counts of voluntary manslaughter and one count of criminal possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
    Page 2 of 3 - The charges stemmed from the Dec. 16, 2011, shooting in Leavenworth that resulted in the death of Derrick and Marshall Jones.
    The two brothers were shot outside of a barbershop in north Leavenworth.
    McDonald had been charged with premeditated first-degree murder and first-degree felony murder for the deaths of the Jones brothers. He pleaded guilty to amended charges as part of a plea agreement.
    He was sentenced April 26.
    • CAROUSEL CONVENTION CIRCLES LEAVENWORTH ― The C.W. Parker Carousel Museum in downtown Leavenworth hosted the 2013 National Carousel Association convention in September.
    The four-day event drew more than 100 carousel enthusiasts to the area. This year was the first time the C.W. Parker Carousel Museum, which houses the NCA archives, hosted the annual convention.
    • HOSPITALS UNDERGO CHANGE ― The Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth Health System sold the 118-year-old Saint John Hospital in Leavenworth to Prime Healthcare Services of Ontario, Calif.
    The deal was announced in January, and the acquisition was completed in the spring. Prime Healthcare Services also purchased Providence Medical Center in Kansas City, Kan., from the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth Health System.
    Saint John Hospital wasn't the only Leavenworth hospital in the news this year.
    Cushing Memorial Hospital changed its name to Saint Luke's Cushing Hospital in July. Cushing's parent organization, Saint Luke's Health System, announced plans for a 5-year, $20-million investment in the Leavenworth hospital.
    • UNFORTUNATE FURLOUGHS ― More than 2,000 civilian employees at Fort Leavenworth had a number of furlough days this year.
    Civilian employees began a series of unpaid furlough days in July as a result of federal sequestration.
    Civilian employees were furloughed again Oct. 1 because of the partial government shutdown. Most of the furloughed employees returned to work Oct. 7, though the government shutdown had not yet ended.
    • MEMORIALS PAY RESPECT ― Two veterans memorials were dedicated in the area this year.
    The first dedication was for the Easton Veterans Memorial, located near Easton City Park. The memorial was dedicated during a ceremony July 4.
    The memorial was spearheaded by Chris Blockburger, who wanted to do something for the town of Easton.
    The second dedication was for the Leavenworth Veterans Memorial. This memorial is located near the main entrance of the Eisenhower VA Medical Center. The dedication ceremony was Oct. 17.
    Money for the Leavenworth Veterans Memorial was raised by a committee headed by Diana Pitts, a Gold Star Mother.
    • NEWSMAKERS REACH FORT ― Inmates who made headlines arrived at the U.S. Disciplinary Barracks at Fort Leavenworth in August to begin serving sentences.
    Maj. Nidal M. Hasan arrived at the USDB on Aug. 30 after receiving a death sentence for the 2009 mass shooting at Fort Hood, Texas.
    Pvt. Bradley Manning, who now goes by Chelsea Manning, arrived at the USDB on Aug. 22 after being sentenced to 35 years in prison for charges related to turning over classified documents to the WikiLeaks website.
    Page 3 of 3 - Staff Sgt. Robert Bales arrived at the USDB on Aug. 28. Bales received a life sentence without parole for killing 16 Afghan civilians.
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