Some Veterans Day activities are planned in the area, including:

Veterans Day ceremony at Piper
Lt. Col. Jon Shafer, deputy supervisory logistics management specialist, Kansas National Guard, will be the guest speaker at a Veterans Day ceremony at Piper Elementary School early childhood center, 3198 N. 121st St., Kansas City, Kan. The ceremony begins at 8:30 a.m. Nov. 11.

Veterans Day parade in Leavenworth
Retired Maj. Gen. John Davoren, former commander of the 35th Infantry Division, and soldiers from the 35th Infantry Division will be participating in a Veterans Day parade. The parade begins at 10:30 a.m. Nov. 11 in Leavenworth.

Veterans Day assemblies in Lees Summit
Chief Master Sgt. Von Burns, command chief of the 190th Air Refueling Wing, will be the guest speaker at two Veterans Day assemblies at Lees Summit High School, 400 SE Blue Parkway, Lees Summit, Mo. The assemblies begin at 10:35 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. Nov. 11.

Veterans Day observance in Olathe
Chaplain (Col.) Peter Jaramillo, state chaplain, will be the guest speaker at the 30thannual Johnson County Veterans Day Observance being held at the Olathe Veterans Memorial Park at Harrison St. and Dennis Ave. The ceremony begins at 11 a.m. Nov. 11.

Large celebration planned at Liberty Memorial
A slate of Veterans Day weekend events are planned at the National World War I Museum and Memorial, the Liberty Memorial in Kansas City, Mo.

It includes a free, public Veterans Day Ceremony at 10 a.m. on Monday, Nov. 11. Congressman Emanuel Cleaver II and Kansas City, Mo., Mayor Sly James (a former U.S. Marine) are expected to speak. Performances are planned by the Kansas City Symphony Chorus and American Legion Band of Greater Kansas City Wind Ensemble.

The keynote address is from Col. Norma J. Bradford, assistant chief of staff at the Army Reserve Affairs Combined Arms Center at Ft. Leavenworth.

Veterans and active duty military will be honored with free admission all weekend, Friday through Sunday Admission is half-price for the public.

The museum will virtually “share a poppy” through social media to honor veterans at https://www.facebook.com/theworldwar and https://twitter.com/thewwimuseum. The public is encouraged to honor those who served by sharing this universal symbol of sacrifice, remembrance and resilience.

A folk musician, John McCutcheon, will perform live at 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 12, at the Liberty Memorial. Tickets are $25 for the public.

Veterans Day weekend also will include the Hesburgh lecture at 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 13, at the Kansas City Irish Center. The topic is “The 1916 Rising: Therapy for Ireland,” presented by Rory Rapple, Notre Dame professor of history, who will examine the context in which the rising took place and the logic behind the actions of the rebels.

More information about the World War I Museum is at www.theworldwar.org/.

Candidates for the 5th District expressed sharply differing views on some issues during a candidate forum on Oct. 17 at Kansas City Kansas Community College.

The 5th District, state Senate, spans western Wyandotte County and part of Leavenworth County.

Incumbent state Sen. Steve Fitzgerald, a Republican from Leavenworth, is challenged by Bill Hutton, a Democrat from Kansas City, Kan.

Sen. Fitzgerald, who has described himself as a conservative, served on the Leavenworth school board before being elected a state senator in 2012. He is a retired lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army. He has a bachelor’s degree in European history from St. Martin’s University, a master’s in business administration from Central Michigan University and a master’s in military art and science from the Command and General Staff College, Ft. Leavenworth. Originally from the Bronx, N.Y., he has lived in Leavenworth since 1985.

Hutton, an attorney who lives in Wyandotte County, very close to the Leavenworth County line, is also a businessman, and a Bonner Springs municipal court judge. He attended Washington High School, Kansas City Kansas Community College and the University of Kansas. He has served on the Wyandotte County Parks Foundation Board, Downtown Shareholders board and Wyandotte County Historical Society board.

Hutton said his reason for running was the failed policies of Gov. Sam Brownback, specifically the tax plan of 2012 that eliminated taxes on LLCs and changed the state income tax structure, eliminating a bracket for higher-income earners. He said Sen. Fitzgerald voted to raise the state sales tax to 6.85 percent, and 5.9 percent on food, giving Kansas the highest sales tax in the nation.

He also said he was running for office because of the attacks on Kansas courts, which have stood as an effective check-and-balance on the actions of the other branches. He said he supports education and the Kansas courts. Hutton also said Sen. Fitzgerald has proposed to change the constitution on education funding and selection of appellate court judges.

Sen. Fitzgerald said he has helped write legislation to support funding for 130 highway patrol officers, restructured funding to support judicial and corrections programs already reducing crime, and deal more effectively with juvenile crime.

“You deserve representation that will fight for greater efficiency and lower taxes rather than simply writing bigger checks,” he said. “We need to keep government on a much-needed diet, rather than turn it loose on your paycheck.”

He said he would put citizens’ safety and security first. Sen. Fitzgerald said he opposed allowing cuts to kindergarten to 12th grade funding, opposed cuts to community health centers, and worked to improve funding for those with mental illness.

Sen. Fitzgerald said he defied Republican leadership in the Senate when he forced a vote on The Woodlands. He also said he worked with Rep. Stan Frownfelter on a bill to reduce urban blight and increase affordable housing, but it was vetoed. Sen. Fitzgerald said he voted to override several of the governor’s vetoes, and rejected his attempt to change the tax code. Also, he added he was not in office in 2012 when the cuts were made, did not vote for it and did not vote to retain it.

On the topic of the Kansas budget, Sen. Fitzgerald said, “We can continue to get more efficiencies in the state government. We paid for a very well-done efficiency study that identified $2 billion in efficiencies over the next five years.”

There was a $2.7 billion cut in Kansas transportation funding, yet Kansas roads are ranked third in the nation, he said. He said a lot of money was saved in combining the Kansas Department of Transportation and the Kansas Turnpike Authority, and those kinds of efficiencies can be continued throughout the budget.

Hutton said the first action to do about the budget is to have a fair and balanced tax plan. That plan could be to put the LLCs back on the tax rolls and close the loopholes as a matter of fairness. He said it was near-sighted and untrue to think that this current budget shortfall was not caused by the tax policy.

“We’re going to have to change our policies,” Hutton said. He added he didn’t see any indication that any efficiencies would happen as a result of the studies Sen. Fitzgerald mentioned.

On The Woodlands and the amount of slots proceeds the racino could keep, Sen. Fitzgerald said he was successful in getting a bill through the Senate that would make the gaming tax rate at The Woodlands the same it was at the casinos. The bill did not become law, however. The Woodlands, which closed in 2008, was bought recently and there is a plan to invest more than $70 million to restore it now.

Hutton said the existing legislation called for 40 percent of the gaming revenues to be paid to the state by The Woodlands as compared to 22 percent from Hollywood Casino. Sen. Fitzgerald’s legislation proposed not only reducing the amount paid to the state, but also the amount that is paid to the city. Hutton said he opposed that part of the bill.

“You have to have local cooperation in order to get a bill passed that affects Wyandotte County, and the senator didn’t have it,” Hutton said.

Sen. Fitzgerald said the bill didn’t pass in the House because the leadership didn’t bring it to a vote, but the votes were there.

On school funding, Sen. Fitzgerald said some of the districts, such as Bonner Springs and Piper, were very lean, while other districts, such as Blue Valley, Shawnee Mission and to some degree, Kansas City, Kan., have quite a bit of funds coming to them.

“I think that needs to be re-looked, I think we need to get a better formula in there to make sure we get a better formula for equalization, and I think the adequacy on that needs to be taken a look at as well,” Sen. Fitzgerald said.

On higher education, Sen. Fitzgerald said there were various streams of funding, and is a difficult situation that needs to be looked at. Some of the universities received a 14 percent cut.

Hutton said the current public school funding is not adequate. He supports increased funding for schools. “We have reduced the funding per pupil in Kansas every year since 2009, and that’s got to stop,” he said.

He said the Legislature needs to make sure the costs of higher education are not out of reach for the average citizen.

Sen. Fitzgerald does not support the expansion of Medicaid. Working-age, able-bodied adults without children as dependents have never been given health benefits by the state, he said. It would cost a lot of money, maybe more than a billion dollars, he said. While there is an assertion the federal government would pay for it, the federal government is deeply in debt and can’t be trusted as the guarantor of anything, he said.

“That’s a bet that I don’t think we should make on behalf of the Kansas taxpayers,” he said.

Hutton said he supports Medicaid expansion. Kansas not only has not expanded Medicaid, but it has cut the amount of money it gives to hospitals and health providers that accept Medicaid providers, he said. The federal government would pay most of those costs. Kansas taxpayers are paying federal taxes now that go to other states for these services, he said. It is causing hospitals and other organizations to suffer, he added.

Sen. Fitzgerald was against the retention of Kansas Supreme Court justices, who he said were out of step with the people of Kansas, the constitution and reality. He mentioned a violent murder case out of Wichita in which a sentence was vacated.

Hutton was in favor of the justices’ retention, and said the appointment system was a direct result of a situation in 1957, when the Republican governor resigned from his position, had the lieutenant governor appointed as the governor, and then had himself appointed as a Supreme Court justice. “That’s why we have the system we have, and that’s why we continue to support it,” he said.

On the topic of allowing guns on college campuses, Hutton said it makes no sense to allow students or faculty to bring guns on a campus. It is unworkable, and will cost those schools a lot of money to buy metal detectors, he said. He is absolutely opposed to guns on campuses.

“Until somebody comes in here and starts shooting,” Sen. Fitzgerald said. “Then we’re going to want a gun. Gun-free zones are killing zones. We’ve got plenty of experience with that nationwide. Nobody wants a gun in here, until you want a gun in here, and you want somebody next to you or in your own hand, a gun that will stop it.” To tell people they do not have the right to defend themselves is very bad policy, Sen. Fitzgerald said.

Campaign finance

Hutton’s funds available for this reporting period were around $100,000. On Oct. 31, he reported contributions of $59,417.67 and cash on hand at the beginning of the period of $40,017.86. He reported an additional $1,800 in last-minute contributions on Nov. 3.

Sen. Fitzgerald reported $52,255.08 in cash on hand at the beginning of the period, plus contributions of $42,649 during the reporting period, for almost $95,000. Sen. Fitzgerald reported $2,000 more in last-minute contributions on Nov. 3.

More information on the candidates’ positions can be found by viewing the candidate forums on cable television. For a schedule of the candidate forums being shown on cable television, visit http://wyandottedaily.com/candidate-forum-being-shown-on-cable-television/

Candidate websites:
For more information, https://www.facebook.com/SteveFitzgeraldforKansasSenate and http://vote4fitzgerald.publishpath.com/

For more information, http://www.huttonforsenate.com/ and https://www.facebook.com/HuttonForSenate/

For information about voting and advance voting, see http://wyandottedaily.com/advance-voting-begins-tuesday-in-wyandotte-county/ or http://www.wycovotes.org/

To see who is on the ballot, visit http://wycokck.org/uploadedFiles/Departments/Election_Office/Sample%20Ballot_General_%202016.pdf

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A federal grand jury returned an indictment Wednesday charging a Leavenworth County man with producing child pornography, acting U.S. Attorney Tom Beall said.

Bradley Hilt, 25, Linwood, Kan., is charged with two counts of producing child pornography, one count of distributing child pornography and one count of possessing child pornography. The crimes are alleged to have occurred in 2014 and 2016.

The indictment alleges Hilt produced child pornography by enticing a minor and taking pictures with a Nokia Lumina cell phone. He is alleged to have distributed child pornography images over the Internet using a file sharing program.

If convicted, he faces a penalty of not less than 15 years and not more than 30 years in federal prison on each count of production, not less than five years and not more than 10 years on the distribution count, and up to 10 years on the possession count. The FBI investigated. Assistant U.S. Attorney Kim Flannigan is prosecuting.