City raises sanitation fees

NEWTON — Visual inspection of loads of recycling brought to the Harvey County sorting facility have been rejected after changes to the contract between Waste Connections and Harvey County — and that has affected Newton sanitation services.

The contractual change went into effect Jan. 1, allowing Waste Connections to reject loads with more than 10% contamination, issue fines to haulers and suspend dumping privileges for 30 days when loads are rejected.

According to Harvey County, all the loads from Newton on Monday were rejected. Found in the recycling containers were shoes, extension cords, an office chair and soiled diapers.

Violation notices have increased dramatically in the last two years — hitting 652 in 2019 after writing 253 in 2018 and 257 in 2017. City staff said in 2020 there has been an average of 110 daily violation notices written in 2020.

That is in part because the city responded to changes made by the county, which as of Jan. 1 began allowing contractor Waste Connections to reject loads with more than 10% contamination — and issue fines of $300 and a 30-day suspension of dumping rights for trucks that exceed the 10% threshold a second time.

 

Status conference rescheduled in rape case

LEAVENWORTH — A status conference has been continued for a Leavenworth woman facing a retrial for a rape charge.

When granting a continuance Friday of the hearing for Mahogany Payne, District Judge Michael Gibbens blamed the weather.

Payne, 43, was convicted in 2017 of raping a 16-month-old child. She was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 25 years.

The crime is alleged to have occurred Jan. 12, 2016.

The conviction was overturned in September. Appellate judges found that the District Court judge who presided over the trial erred by not allowing Payne’s attorney to finish his closing argument.