Three candidates vie for 5th District, UG Commission seat

Candidates for the 5th District, Unified Government Commission, answered questions at the candidate forum July 19 at Kansas City Kansas Community College. The candidates include, left to right, Sarah Kremer, incumbent Commissioner Mike Kane, and John Fotovich. (Staff photo)

Two challengers are running against incumbent Commissioner Mike Kane in the 5th District primary, which will be Tuesday, Aug. 1.

Challengers Sarah Kremer and John Fotovich appeared with Kane at a candidate forum on July 19 at Kansas City Kansas Community College.

Kane, who has the most years on the commission at 12 years, told the audience at the candidate forum that he was a family man who was raised in Kansas City, Kansas, in a two-bedroom home with nine brothers and sisters.

He retired from the General Motors plant after 35 years, where he served as a union representative, and now is the public affairs director for Laborers 1290. His current job sometimes takes him across the state and to Topeka. He has coached sports in the past as a volunteer in the Piper area.

Kane said the new fire station for the Piper area was the most important project to him in his district. It was approved at the last budget process.

He said meetings are ongoing about a new park for the Piper area, and he has been working with groups about this. He added that he has been talking a long time about adding a park to the Piper area. Some funding was allocated last week for a study for a Piper park. Also, there have been two inquiries about a grocery store in the area, he added.

“I have always thought that we got the least amount of services, and paid the most amount of taxes,” Kane said. He added that he has asked for more police patrols for the western area.

Sarah Kremer grew up in Iowa and moved to Kansas about 20 years ago to attend Johnson County Community College, and settled in the Piper area. She has a bachelor’s degree from Emporia State University with an accounting emphasis. She is a vice president of accounting for Belger Cartage Services, Kansas City, Mo. Kremer is a certified public accountant and a certified management accountant.

“I want to be part of the next generation of leadership in this county,” Kremer said. “I want to help continue the growth we’re having here.”

It is important to keep development going, so that property taxes can be reduced, she said.

As far as new projects are concerned, Kremer said public safety, the new fire station and an increased police force would be her top priority, followed by more places for children, such as a new library or community pool.

John Fotovich, who said his main issue was to lower property taxes, grew up in Kansas City, Kansas, attended Wyandotte High School, and moved to the Piper area in 1979. Fotovich previously ran for the Board of Public Utilities. He worked more than 25 years for Kansas Gas Service, and retired in December 2016. He worked about eight years for the Board of Public Utilites in the 1970s and 1980s.

Fotovich said public officials may say they will lower the mill levy, but they also have appraised a lot of the property higher.

“It’s kind of like a hoax, because they want you to think they’re really doing something good for you,” Fotovich said at the July 19 candidate forum. “All they continue to do is raise your taxes.”

All three candidates have said at some point in the campaign that they would like to reduce property taxes.

Fotovich said his priority, among the various projects suggested for the western area, was more police protection. He said property for a new fire station wasn’t needed in Piper, that the UG should look at the property it already has, and make use of the structures already there, perhaps combining a fire and police station.

The 5th District includes areas west of 72nd Street, on the north side.

Candidates also answered questions about their positions on how they would help small businesses, housing in Wyandotte County, and how they view issues in other districts. More of their responses are on a video of the KCKCC forum July 19, posted online at

The campaign forum videos also are showing on the KCKCC cable channel, Channel 17 on Spectrum, and Channel 146 on Google TV.

The primary election is Tuesday, Aug. 1.

Kansas City, Mo., man sentenced in Leawood bank robbery

A Kansas City, Mo., man was sentenced Monday to more than five years in federal prison for bank robbery, U.S. Attorney Tom Beall said.

Terry Lovelady, 58, Kansas City, Mo., was sentenced to 5.8 years. Lovelady pleaded guilty to one count of bank robbery in U.S. District Court in Kansas City, Kansas.

He admitted that on Aug. 24, 2016, he robbed the Central Bank of the Midwest at 4801 Town Center Drive in Leawood and fled in a getaway car driven by a co-defendant.

The robbers led police on a high-speed chase, running red lights and cutting off other drivers. Eventually, the getaway car jumped a curb, rolled down a hill and came to a stop in a parking lot at St. Joseph Medical Center in Missouri. The robbers fled the car on foot and were soon arrested.

Co-defendant Chad English, 43, Kansas City, Mo., was sentenced in May to 4.3 years.

Beall commended the FBI, the Leawood Police Department, the Kansas City, Mo., Police Department and Assistant U.S. Attorney Leon Patton for their work on the case.

Two Kansas men plead guilty in master key mail theft scheme

Two Kansas men pleaded guilty Monday to taking part in a scheme to steal mail from Wichita mailboxes using a counterfeit mailbox master key, U.S. Attorney Tom Beall said.

Shalan D. Hiatt, 38, Wichita, Kan., pleaded guilty to one count of mail theft and one count of possession of a counterfeit mailbox master key. Jason A. Farner, 33, Leavenworth, Kan., pleaded guilty to two counts of mail theft.

In their pleas, they admitted they were members of a group of people in Wichita who stole mail containing checks and forms of identification by using stolen and counterfeited mailbox keys. They obtained checks and forged checks that they passed, or attempted to pass, at Wichita banks.

Hiatt admitted to using a counterfeit mailbox key to steal money orders from a mailbox at Pawnee and Elizabeth streets in Wichita. The victim mailed money orders to pay for rent and other bills.

Farner admitted obtaining money orders mailed at a collection box at 2510 S. Elizabeth, Wichita. He wrote his name over the payee’s name in order to cash the money orders.

Sentencing for both defendants is set for Oct. 19. Hiatt faces a maximum penalty of five years in federal prison and a fine up to $250,000 on the mail theft count and up to 10 years and a fine up to $250,000 on the other count. Farner faces up to five years and a fine up to $250,000 on both counts.

Beall commended the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the Wichita Police Department, the Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office and the assistant U.S. attorney for their work on the case.