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Police: $100,00 stolen from RC&D; director arrested
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The director of Central Prairie RC&D was arrested Thursday on a warrant for two counts of theft by deception. LaVeta Miller was booked into the Barton County Jail in lieu of a $20,000 cash or surety bond.
The Great Bend Police Department announced it has been investigating the case since the alleged theft of RC&D funds was reported on Aug. 1. Authorities believe more than $100,000 was stolen over the past two and a half years. GBPD and the Kansas Bureau of Investigation jointly handled the investigation.
The RC&D office at 1916 16th St. in Great Bend was closed Thursday, and the telephone has been disconnected.
Resource Conservation & Development Councils are created by the Natural Resources Conservation Service. Boards made up of local citizens find grants, loans and other resources to benefit rural communities to improve environmental, social and economic conditions throughout the state. Central Prairie RC&D includes Barton, Edwards, Ellsworth, McPherson, Pawnee, Reno, Rice and Stafford counties.
Last April, the Central Prairie council received the Natural Resources Conservation Service Earth Team Partnership Award for its use of volunteers. The award noted that in fiscal year 2011, the Central Prairie RC&D utilized 419 volunteers logging 6,419 hours. But one of its biggest projects ended in April when the governing board of Honor Flights Network, based in Springfield, Ohio, voted to decertify the local chapter. In June, the Central Prairie RC&D board voted to end its affiliation with the Honor Flights program.
The Central Prairie Honor Flights coordinated 17 flights for more than 1,100 World War II veterans from Kansas to Washington, D.C., from 2007 to 2011.