Man Facing Deportation from Kansas Gets Temporary Stay
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — An adjunct college chemistry instructor living in Kansas - who faced imminent deportation to Bangladesh - has been granted a temporary stay. Lawyers representing 55-year-old Syed Ahmed Jamal announced Thursday that a judge issued the temporary stay. Federal Judge Glen Baker issued the stay Wednesday and gave the Department of Homeland Security until February 15 to respond to a motion to stay the deportation and re-open immigration proceedings. Jamal currently teaches at Park University in Missouri. He was arrested January 24 at his home in Lawrence, Kansas. He arrived legally in the U.S. in 1987, but after pursuing a doctorate degree, he overstayed his visa. Since his visa expired, he has been allowed to stay in the U.S. and report regularly to immigration authorities. He and his Bangladeshi wife have three children who are American citizens.
This version of the story corrects the description of Jamal to adjunct college chemistry instructor from chemistry professor as he is not a professor.
Kansas Legislature Updates Harassment Policy, More Work Seen
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Top Kansas lawmakers have updated the Legislature's policy against sexual harassment while acknowledging that the work is not finished. The new policy approved Friday by legislative leaders is more specific about how allegations of misconduct will be handled, particularly from legislative interns. It also specifically says lawmakers who violate the policy could face formal and public disciplinary action. But the new policy doesn't provide for a review of complaints outside the Legislature and still calls for handling them as privately as possible. House Democratic Leader Jim Ward of Wichita said the policy isn't strong enough. Yet he and other legislative leaders said it is an improvement over the previous policy drafted in 1994. Leaders in both parties said work will continue on the policy and future updates are possible.
Kobach on Board of Veterans Group Not Using Money for Vets
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) — A watchdog report has found that only a small portion of money from a Missouri-based veterans' group that Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach is associated with actually goes toward helping veterans. The Kansas City Star reports that Kobach is listed as a member of the advisory board for Veterans in Defense of Liberty, a Springfield-based nonprofit with a stated mission of upholding the Constitution. Kobach is also running for governor of Kansas. The Better Business Bureau released a report this week giving the group a failing grade because only a small fraction of the nonprofit's money goes toward veterans' issues. Kobach said Thursday that the report is the first time he's learning about the group's lack of money going to veterans. He joined the group's board six years ago.
Wichita Man Charged in YMCA Rape Arrested in Another Assault
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A Wichita area man charged with the rape of a 4-year-old girl at a YMCA has now been accused of sexually assaulting a 3-year-old girl at the same location. The Wichita Eagle reports 21-year-old Caleb Gaston was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of aggravated indecent liberties with a child. The arrest comes one day after he was released from jail. Gaston was arrested last week and charged with rape in a reported January 29 sexual assault at the Downtown YMCA. Police say they were investigating the incident when they identified a second victim in an assault that occurred January 24. Gaston worked at the Greater Wichita YMCA's Kid Zones, an area for children 6 weeks to 7 years old. The CEO vowed to make changes to ensure the safety of children.
Preschool Parents Say They Complained About Y Rape Suspect
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A Wichita church preschool director has resigned as more concerns surface about a fired employee who's accused of sexually assaulting two children at a YMCA child care. The Wichita Eagle reports that 21-year-old Caleb Gaston was fired in October from his job at Plymouth Learning Center after an inappropriate touching complaint. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment couldn't substantiate the allegation. The Greater Wichita YMCA says it wasn't notified about what happened before Gaston was charged with raping a 4-year-old. He's also been arrested on suspicion of sexually assaulting another child at the YMCA. Plymouth Congregational Church senior minister Don Olsen says he's reported to the state that a couple other parents say their children may have been touched inappropriately. He provided no details on the director's resignation.
Reward Grows for Information into 9-Year-Old's Death in Kansas City
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The reward for information in the death of a 9-year-old boy fatally shot in an exchange of gunfire in Kansas City, Missouri, has increased to $10,000. Greater Kansas City Crime Stoppers says those with tips that lead to an arrest or the filing of charges in the death of Dominic Young Jr. could be eligible. Dominic's father told police he was driving with his son last month when people in two other vehicles began shooting at each other. The father didn't initially realize that his child had been caught in the crossfire and continued driving to suburban Grandview. When his wounds were discovered, the boy was rushed to a hospital where he was pronounced dead. Crime Stoppers says elected officials and a pastor are among those contributing to the reward.
2 Topeka Officers Involved in Fatal Shooting Back at Work
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Two Topeka police officers who fatally shot a man have returned to work with the police department. City spokeswoman Molly Hadfield said Thursday that officers Michael Cruse and Justin Mackey returned from administrative leave on Wednesday. She would not reveal their duty assignments. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports officers were placed on leave September 28 after Dominique White was shot and killed near a park in Topeka. Shawnee County District Attorney Mike Kagay ruled in December that the shooting was justified. He said while White was fleeing from the officers, he moved his hand over a pocket that contained a gun. In January, city officials said an internal police investigation found the officers followed department policies during the confrontation. White's family has consistently questioned whether the shooting was justified.
Authorities Seek Help Investigating Deadly Hit-and-Run Crash
HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) — Authorities are asking the public for help investigating a deadly hit-and-run crash in Great Bend. The Hutchinson News reports that 90-year-old Rose Younger was struck Saturday night while walking after leaving a parish center. Police were called after Younger was spotted lying in the road. She later died from her injuries. Anyone with information is asking to call a tips hotline.
New Kansas Governor Promises New Open-Government Websites
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — New Kansas Governor Jeff Colyer is promising that state government will launch two new accountability websites within four months. Colyer signed four executive orders Thursday aimed at promoting government transparency. He took office last week. One order requires state agencies to set performance goals and develop ways to measure their progress toward meeting them so that the information can be available online. The order calls for the state to have a website posting the information within four months. Another order creates a website for posting notices of agencies' public meetings and documents associated with those meetings. Colyer said it would be set up within three months. Colyer also signed orders designed to make obtaining government documents less expensive and to prevent officials from using private email accounts for state business.
Woman Arrested at Missouri Hotel Charged in Kansas Killing
KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — A woman has been charged in a Kansas City, Kansas, stabbing death after she was arrested over the weekend following a disturbance at a Missouri hotel. Twenty-eight-year-old Tara Treece, of Kansas City, Kansas, is awaiting extradition to Wyandotte County, where she is charged with second-degree murder and criminal use of a weapon. Prosecutors say she is accused of killing 32-year-old Megan Hernandez last month. Treece was taken into custody Sunday at a motel in Marshall, Missouri, on suspicion of disturbing the peace. Marshall police say officers were at the hotel waiting for a warrant when staff reported that Treece was "being violent in her room and throwing items into the walls." No attorney is listed for her in online court records.
Kansas Youth Camp for Muscular Dystrophy Moves to Missouri
LINWOOD, Kan. (AP) — A summer camp for children with muscular dystrophy is moving from Kansas to Missouri, causing confusion for families on both sides of the state line. The Wichita Eagle reports that the Muscular Dystrophy Association announced Feb. 1 it's merging its annual camps in Linwood, Kansas, and its camp in Springfield, Missouri. The new regional camp will now be held at Camp Barnabas, a Christian ministry at Teas Trail near Purdy, Missouri. Families, campers and camp counselors in both states have expressed sadness and confusion about the decision. Those in the Kansas City area are now faced with extra fees, longer travel distances, uncertainty about long-term camper-counselor relationships and questions about the new venue's religious mission. The association says it's looking to improve the camping experience for its families nationwide.
Woman Ordered to Pay for Fraud Against JE Dunn Construction
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — An Oklahoma business owner was sentenced to probation but ordered to pay $348,450 restitution for her role in a conspiracy to defraud JE Dunn Construction. The Kansas City Star reports 53-year-old Debi Jordan was sentenced Friday for mail fraud. She will serve 30 days in custody as a condition of the probation. Prosecutors said Jordan owned two job recruitment businesses and was paid by JE Dunn to find employeesJordan and a JE Dunn employee, John Kirwin, took money from the company for employees who were not hired or were paid inflated amounts for their services. Kirwin has pleaded guilty and is scheduled to be sentenced in April.
Man Sentenced for Soliciting Nude Photos from 15-Year-Old
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — A 33-year-old man was sentenced to about 2.5 years in prison for soliciting nude photos from a 15-year-old girl. Sean Wenger, of Osage City, was sentenced Thursday for sexual exploitation of a child. He also must register as a sex offender for 25 years and will be on post-release supervision for the rest of his life. The Lawrence Journal-World reports prosecutors said they found 20 nude images of the girl on Wenger's phone. Texts between the two showed he had demanded the photos while she was in Douglas County. No physical contact between Wenger and the girl was alleged.
Free Dental Clinic Opens on Fairgrounds in Hutchinson
HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) — A free dental clinic on the Kansas State Fairgrounds in Hutchinson is drawing massive crowds. The Kansas Mission of Mercy clinic opens Friday, and continues Saturday. KWCH-TV reports that volunteer dentists and hygienists from across the state will provide millions of dollars of dental work, including extractions and fillings. Services are first come first serve, so patients started lining up as early as Thursday afternoon. Organizers closed the doors on Friday morning after the clinic reached its maximum capacity. Patients will have to return Saturday when it reopens at 4:30 am. Dentist Brett Roufs says the clinic is a way to "try to put a dent in the needs of the people in the state." Tens of thousands of patients have attended previous free clinics.
Kansas State Coach Thankful for Support After Son's Death
MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — Kansas State associate head coach and special-teams coordinator Sean Snyder is expressing thanks for an outpouring of support after the death of his 22-year-old son. Sean Snyder tweeted a family photo Wednesday describing his son, Matthew Snyder, as having a "big heart" and a "desire to help others." Police ruled Matthew Snyder's death last month at his home in Manhattan a suicide. Matthew Snyder also was the grandson of head coach Bill Snyder. Sean Snyder said in the tweet that he and his wife, Wanda, are grateful. The message said: "There are no words that comfort or mend the emptiness we have." But he added that it has been comforting to hear stories about his son, whom they will "forever miss."
Mother Sues over 2-Year-Old Daughter's Death in Kansas
GARDNER, Kan. (AP) — A mother of a slain 2-year-old has filed a lawsuit against the suburban Kansas City girl's father, his fiancée and the fiancee's father. The Kansas City Star reports that Stephanie Porting alleges in the lawsuit filed Tuesday that Lindsey Thomasson committed intentional battery as well as negligent physical discipline. Thomasson was caring for Porting's daughter, Presley, when the girl died in February 2017. Thomasson has pleaded not guilty to a first-degree murder charge in Presley's death. The charge alleges the girl died from child abuse. Presley's last name has been listed both as Russom and Porting in court documents. The suit also alleges Presley's father, Nick Russom, and Thomasson's father, Michael Thomasson, should have known Thomasson was abusing Presley. The girl lived with Russom and his fiancee in Gardner.
Kansas Lawmakers OK New Honor for Ike on Statehouse Grounds
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas lawmakers have approved legislation to put a statue of President Dwight D. Eisenhower on the Statehouse grounds to go with multiple honors inside the building. The House approved the measure Thursday on a 123-0 vote after the Senate passed it last week, 39-0. It goes next to Governor Jeff Colyer, and his staff has said he is eager to sign it. The president and Supreme Allied commander during World War II is honored with a folk-art statue in the second-floor rotunda and a smaller one in the basement visitor's center. His portrait hangs outside the governor's second-floor office. Former Governor Sam Brownback advocated having the longtime Abilene resident honored again with a statue outside. Private funds would cover the $127,000 cost of the statute and its granite base.
Wichita Firefighters Rescue Injured Cat from Icy River
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Firefighters have rescued an injured cat from an icy river in downtown Wichita after the animal apparently was thrown off an overpass. The Wichita Eagle reports that a motorist spotted the black cat Thursday afternoon and called 911. Wichita Fire Lt. Kenneth Ast says the cat was sitting on ice in the middle of the Arkansas River when crews arrived. Fire Captain Neko McBee says the ice "was starting to crack" when rescuers in wetsuits and an inflated boat reached the animal. The fire department said in a tweet that the cat was likely thrown off the overpass. The animal rescue group Beauties and Beasts has dubbed the cat "River" and said on Facebook that he sustained "severe" injury to his rear legs. The group asked for "loving thoughts."
Lawrence's Population Breaks 100,000
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Lawrence officials say the city's population has crossed the 100,000 mark. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that estimates from the city's planning and development department show the city crossed the threshold this year. The planners are pegging the city's population at 102,002. That figure represents a jump of about 2,500 people, or about 2.5 percent, over last year, and the biggest increase in more than a decade. Mayor Stuart Boley says he thinks the trend shows there are a lot of people who love Lawrence. He says the city is "very fortunate."
Man Sentenced to Life for Murders of Kansas Mother, Daughter
NEWTON, Kan. (AP) — A homeless man who murdered a Kansas woman and her 4-year-old daughter has been sentenced to life in prison without parole. Keith Hawkins was sentenced Friday for capital murder in the August 2017 deaths of 24-year-old Alyssa Runyon and her daughter, Zaylynn Paz. The victims' bodies were found at their duplex in Newton, Kansas. Police said the girl was stabbed and her mother was strangled. Hawkins was arrested in Texas. Authorities said he was homeless and was visiting Runyon. The victims' families agreed to a plea deal that dropped two counts of first-degree murder in exchange for his guilty plea to capital murder. Authorities said Hawkins was a sex offender but his prior conviction was not placed on the public offender registry.