Ottawa Herald (Newspaper) - August 8, 2015, Ottawa, KansasOf few Herald Tommy feits managing editor Ohne at wow Ottawa Herald co Reader forum cold Case questions remain i read with interest the a ask Jodie Quot column in thursday s Herald. This might have answered some questions our family has had since the death of our son in 1999. Our son Roger Simmons was shot at his Home he shared with a female companion. Law enforcement was called More than 25 minutes after he was shot in which time the companion had the Opportunity to move the body and the gun clean herself change clothing and clean the room involved. The Coroner listed the death As a questionable suicide Quot on the police report it was listed on the death certificate As in talking with the officials we Learned that in order for the Bullet to have exited the body the Way it did. Roger would have to have had both hands on the gun pointed at an Odd Angle with both thumbs on the trigger. This would have resulted in Roger having a Large amount of gun powder on his hands w hich would have indeed indicated that he had in fact shot himself. His hands were not tested after the autopsy. When we inquired Why this had not been done we were told that it would have been inconclusive because everyone a hands collect gun powder residue through Normal activities during the Day. This puzzled us. Also it would have been useless to test the companion if she had cleaned herself. One hour earlier Roger and the companion had been involved in a very bad argument which had resulted in him putting her out of his car Miles from his Home causing her to walk the remaining distance. This did not seem to Factor into the later incident. One result of All this is the pain our family has suffered with the premise that this was a suicide. Toger would never have taken his own life. He had planted potatoes that morning. He was getting his children for a visit the next Day. Our family is grateful to the two members of the Force w to did not accept the suicide theory and continued to work the Case on their own. As we understand it the Case is not actually a closed Quot today. 1 am so sorry All this has to hinge on Quot sol ability factors Quot and a limited time Quot we would have been glad to foot the Bill for All the testing and extra manpower to have reached the truth we were just told it was Over. It seemed to us there were a lot of obvious pertinent factors overlooked or ignored during the incident. To our Law enforcement our family holds both local departments in great respect and gratitude. We have Many friends in both departments and appreciate All you do. However please remember even though it is easier to not persevere families Are trusting you to find the truth of a matter even though it could go either Way. Perhaps americans a suicide Quot rate in t As great As reported if Only Law enforcement could work with the resources available on Roger was a born again believer. He has met Iod face to face. His former companion will someday meet this same god. A Shirley Simmons Ottaw local sales tax greatly impacts economic Deim Loument efforts Over the past several years the pity of Ottaw a Franklin county and Franklin county development Council have been aggressively marketing the local Community for new jobs new businesses and new Industrial investment. The Community made a major leap Forward in this Endeavor last year when the City of Ottaw a and Franklin county w ill partnership from the development Council purchased about 315 acres of new development Park property immediately adjacent to 1-35 East of the loves station on . 59. Now that the property is purchased i continue to be asked by lock Al citizens about the timeline of Landing a new Industrial tenant on site and bringing additional new jobs to the Community. A noting that first and Foremost we have Many great employers in the Community currently that have made significant investments locally and be taken for granted the answer to that question is that a lot of our Success moving Forward depends on the passage of the City of Ottaw a a sales lax initiative in the next several weeks. That sales tax a which includes the Extension of an existing half cent sales tax used to offset local property taxes and fund needed improvements throughout the Community a is in combination to a new half cent tax being requested of the voting Public. That new tax will be used primarily to extend infrastructure located near the new development Park property around the site making it shovel ready for new development and attractive for the kinds of Industrial projects looking for Large tracts of property in the Kansas City regional Market. Without the new tax going into elect being Able to aggressively Market the new development Park is a much slower process. Local economic development and City county staff will have to take a much slower path to installing infrastructure on site and therefore the process of attracting new businesses and therefore new jobs to the Community. A lot rides on the passage of the City a sales tax election continued stabilization of local property taxes continued needed improvements throughout the Community and maybe most importantly our local ability to bring new jobs and investment to Franklin county. A Jeff Seymour i executive director Frankyn county development Council opinion weekender August 8-9,2015 Page 5 celebrating career ready lifetime skills we begin the 2015-2016 school year grateful for our successes and inspired for the future. The Joyful Mission about education is building each students potential. Not overcoming deficiencies. We create our future through our children and its exciting fulfilling work. It is always important to reflect and celebrate the past while we plan for the future. We have so much work to do and much to celebrate. All our successes Are celebrations of our team of handwork ing dedicated staff. The metrics Tell us that More and More of our students Are achieving at higher Levels. Both Reading and math scores Are up by As much As 5 percent across the District. All our juniors took the act test last Spring and our sophomores took the we Ork keys assessment both with successful outcomes. Our High school graduation rate continues to increase. While other districts have had to Cut deeply into student services we have been Able to Cut around the edges reprogram take advantage of some unexpected savings and dip into our Cash reserves to insure our staff have what they need to do great things for kids. Many initiate yes Are being successfully implemented throughout the District. This includes our positive behaviour support system Prek-12. Along with advanced accreditation a National accreditation system final schedule at Ottawa High school to assess Mastery in Jeanne Stroh Ottawa schools superintendent a Way that prepares students for College protocol late Start fridays at ohs and Ottawa Middle school to allow time for professional learning on a regular basis Early out time each Day at the elementary level for professional learning communities new social studies curriculum and materials new math curriculum and materials. 1 1 Chrome books at ohs. Chrome Book carts at Ems and the use digital textbooks across the . Additionally the Community supported our school districts Bond Issue last Spring making it possible to provide spaces for our students that will give us the Opportunity to further develop their potential. The new elementary school w ill be built at the 19lh and Eisenhower site to allow a Safe spacious learning environment for our kids a design has already been selected and can be viewed on the Ottawa school districts w website. Surveys and Geo tech Nical studies Are in the works. Our team continues to work closely with the City to ensure traffic flow Green space storm drainage and other base issues Are correctly addressed. Site development then construction will begin in late february. The pre design phase of the High school work will begin in mid August the science Center w ill Likely be the first portion of the High school work. It s inspiring to know that by the fall of 2018 our students will have a Center for performing arts science Center Center for career technical education and renovations throughout the school to ensure their College and career readiness. We Are not without challenges but those challenges Are what make our work interesting and exciting. Theodore Roosevelt said the credit belongs to the one Quot. Who spends himself in a worthy w to at the Best knows in the end the Triumph of High achievement and who at the worst if he fails at least fails while daring greatly so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know Victory nor it is w Ith great enthusiasm that we Start a new school year. We Don t want to just do our Best we want to do it the Best it can be done. Passion preparation and persistence Are the three important keys to discovering not Only our kids potential but our own. Its going to be a fantastic year in Ottawa schools. Jeanne Stroh is superintendent of Ottawa schools. Able to finally Start saving for the future while 16 year old Rachel Mast dreams of a Pink House her Mother Jawanda dreams of a savings account for Rachel that will enable her to make that reality. Starting next year that dream of a tax free savings account for people with Disasi Ilies like Rachel will come True after state and Federal Law Inak ers approved a Bill called the Able act. Rachel w to happens to have Down syndrome w ill be empowered to save Money for cer Tain expenses such As housing accommodations medical Bills transportation and education. People with disabilities will be Able to save up to $14,000 per year and accumulate a balance of up to $100,000 by opening an account w Ith the Kansas state treasurers office. The most significant change is that the Money saved wont affect their eligibility for medicaid or other Federal disability nay Merrick Kansas House speaker payments. Previously people w Ith disabilities were limited to assets of no More than $2,000 before their benefits were reduced or eliminated that policy increased government dependency by preventing families from saving for expenses not covered by medicaid. Using these lax free savings accounts will enable Rachel and others to look to the future and make plans to be Mepen Dent and self sufficient. Its not often that lawmakers get to work on ideas that help make dream come True in Kansas state rep Erin Davis r Olathe played a huge role in the Effort to help Rachel and her Mother see their dream become reality. She worked tirelessly around multiple roadblocks and challenges to push the Able act for approval on the state level. Nationally . Heps. Kevin Voder and Mike Pompeo along with . Sens Jerry Moran and Pat Roberts helped Champion the Bill through the process on the Federal level with a lot of hard work and perseverance. The Able accounts w ill be available beginning next sum Mer and Rachel and her mom can finally Start saving for that Pink and maybe College too. Hay Merrick. A Stillwell Send As speaker of the Kansas House of representative where to write a president Barack Obama White House. Washington ., 20500 202 456-1414 a . Rep. Lynn Jenkins 1122 Long Worth House office bulking Washngton 20515. Phone 202 225-6601. A . Sen. Pat Roberts 109 Hart Senate office but cing Wasington. D.c., 20510-1605 202 224-4774. Online email form a . Sen Jerry Moran src4 Russell Senate office bulking. Washington 20610-1604 202 224-6521 a 3ov. Sam Brownback. Office of the Jove or Kansas state Caputd. 300 so 10m ave. Ste. 241s. Topeka. Is. 66612 785 296-3232. Email govern vory a attorney Cenera Derek Schmidt Memoria Hall 2nd floor 120 so 10th Street. Topeka. Is 66612 786 296-2215. Email a state rep blame Finch room 167-w, Kansas state Capitol. Topeka. Is 66612 785 296-7655 email blame Foch a House a state rep. Kevin Jones room 512-n, Kansas state Capitol Topeka. Is 66612 785 296-6287 email Kevin. Ionesohouse. a state sen. Caryn Tyson room 236-e, Kansas state Capitol Topeka. Is 66612 785 296-6838 email a fyn. Tysonosenate.