New DNA testing approved in rape case

LEAVENWORTH — A judge has granted a request for new DNA testing in the case of a man who was convicted of rape.

Kevin D. Skaggs, 41, was convicted in 2007 in Leavenworth County District Court of three counts of rape, one count of aggravated criminal sodomy, two counts of sexual exploitation of a child and one count of promoting obscenity to minors.

The crimes reportedly occurred in 2004 and 2005 and stemmed from the sexual abuse of a child.

Skaggs was sentenced in 2008 to 310 months, or 25 years and 10 months, in prison. He remains in the custody of the Kansas Department of Corrections.

Skaggs maintains his innocence and requested additional forensic DNA testing of evidence that was collected in the case.

During a hearing Thursday, Skaggs’ attorney, David Miller, argued that advances in DNA testing since the time of the 2007 trial will allow new techniques to be used.

“So there’s more accurate results,” he said.

District Judge Michael Gibbens ordered the tests requested by Skaggs under a state law concerning post-conviction forensic DNA testing.


City outlines proposed contractor licensing fees

OTTAWA — Ottawa city commissioners last week again discussed revisions to current contractor licensing fees.

After the move, Richard Nienstedt, city manager, recommended commissioners resume their historical practice of considering agenda items for at least two weeks before placing them on their meeting agenda.

“There’s very few things that are that urgent,” he said. “It gives you the opportunity to talk with your constituents, and answer questions. It also gives staff the opportunity to take close looks at items, as well.”

The current licensing rates are $125 for a master electrician, plumber or HVAC professional with their company, and $20 for each additional professional licensed. Under the proposed system, licensing rates would be $175 for a electrical, plumbing or HVAC company, and $20 for each of their master or journeyman-designation professionals.

Other fee hikes would include Class A, $175 to $225; Class B, $175 to $210; Class C, $175 to $190; Class R, $75 to $125; Class S, $75 to $100.

If passed, the revisions would mark the first time contractor license fees have been raised since 2011.