UPDATE: Governor Declares State of Disaster in Greenwood County, Following Tornadoes
EUREKA, Kan. (AP) - Officials say the southeastern Kansas town of Eureka was hit by a tornado last (THUR) night that caused significant, widespread damage... but no injuries nor fatalities have been reported. Greenwood County Emergency Management Director Levi Vinson says there was significant structural damage, including damage to a local nursing home, mobile homes and a barn. Overnight, firefighters were going home to home to check on residents. People displaced from their homes have been taking shelter at the Eureka United Methodist Church. The National Weather Service says a tornado warning for Greenwood County was issued just after 9 o'clock last (THUR) night. The tornado hit Eureka about 45 minutes later. Governor Sam Brownback has signed a State of Disaster Emergency declaration for Greenwood County, which will allow the use of state resources and personnel to assist with response and recovery operations. The tornado damaged approximately 50 residential homes and businesses. There are reports of multiple power outages in the county. Kansas Division of Emergency Management staff will coordinate assistance to conduct in-depth damage assessments and assistance for debris management. A KDEM regional coordinator was sent to the county to provide assistance to local and county officials. At this time individuals are being asked to not self-deploy to the area. A Volunteer Reception Center will be coordinated through the United Way of the Plains.
2 Tornadoes Hit Kansas
EUREKA, Kan. (AP) — The National Weather Service says two tornadoes ripped through southeast Kansas late Thursday, causing widespread damage in a small town. No injuries have been reported. The National Weather Service said Friday preliminary information shows that an EF2 tornado hit Eureka, a town of roughly 2,600 residents east of Wichita. The tornado damaged about 50 homes and businesses, including the Eureka Nursing Center. The weather service also says the early data shows that another EF3 tornado hit northwest of Eureka late Thursday. Levi Vinson, the Greenwood County emergency management director, said everyone has been accounted for, but crews were still "checking on some people." He says the weather service alerted Eureka's residents to the incoming storm at least 15 minutes before the tornado hit.
Kansas Farm Bureau Backs Primary Challenger in US House Race
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Another influential agricultural group is backing the Republican primary challenger to U.S. Representative Tim Huelskamp in the sprawling 1st District of western and central Kansas. The Kansas Farm Bureau's political arm, Voters Organized to Elect Farm Bureau Friends, announced Friday its endorsement of Great Bend obstetrician Roger Marshall. The Kansas Livestock Association has also endorsed Marshall. The two groups did not endorse a candidate when Huelskamp ran for re-election in 2014. Huelskamp's campaign did not immediately return phone and email messages. Huelskamp, a tea party favorite, has been losing support in his mostly rural district since he was removed from the House agricultural committee by his Republican colleagues. Kansas Farm Bureau president Rich Felts says endorsements are based on county affiliates' recommendations from across the state.
UPDATE: Police Officer Fired, Criminal Investigation Begun Following Facebook Post
OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (AP) — A suburban Kansas City police officer has been fired after officials confirmed he made a Facebook post that appears to threaten a child. Overland Park Police Chief Francis Donchez Jr. says the department began investigating after being notified of the post Friday morning. He says the officer was terminated immediately after the department determined he had written the post. The Kansas City Star reports the comments were made on the page of a woman who had posted a picture of a small child. The post said: "We'll see how much her life matters soon. Better be careful leaving your info open where she can be found :) Hold her close tonight it'll be the last time." Donchez says information from the personnel probe has prompted a criminal investigation.
Infant Found in Lawrence Trash Hospitalized in Kansas City
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) - Lawrence police are investigating after an injured, 9-month-old girl was found abandoned in the trash. Police say the child was taken to a Kansas City hospital in serious -- but stable -- condition, with possibly life-threatening injuries. The child was found yesterday (THUR) morning in the trash receptacle at the apartment complex. Police say they've been in contact with the child's family... but didn't release any further information.
Man Charged in Wyandotte County Motel Death
KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) - A 29-year-old Kansas City man is charged with first-degree murder in the death of an 18-year-old Kansas woman at a motel. Wyandotte County prosecutors said Thursday they had charged Carlos Gallegos in the strangulation death of Monica J. Chavira, of Mission. Her body was found Tuesday at a Kansas City, Kansas, motel.
Fort Riley Soldier Found Dead, Investigation Underway
FORT RILEY, Kan. (AP) _ Fort Riley officials say a soldier stationed at the fort was found dead. Officials say the body of 26-year-old Specialist Oscar Delgado, of San Francisco, was found July 1, a week after he went missing. Details surrounding his disappearance and death have not been released.
Inmate Escapes from Northern Kansas Jail
PHILLIPSBURG, Kan. (AP) — Law enforcement authorities are investigating after an inmate escaped from a northern Kansas jail. Phillips County Sheriff Paul Wisinger says 18-year-old Trent Ludwig of Hayward, Wisconsin, was being held at the county jail on misdemeanor drug charges and other local charges when he escaped yesterday (THUR) evening. Wisinger told The Hays Post that a deputy was supervising inmates cleaning the facility when other inmates were outside on a break. He says Ludwig took off while the other inmates were returning to the jail. The Kansas Highway Patrol is also involved in the search for Ludwig.
Kansas to Close a Juvenile Correctional Facility in Larned
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Department of Corrections has announced plans to close a juvenile correctional facility in western Kansas. The department says it will close the Larned juvenile facility during the next year because of dropping inmate populations. The agency says the monthly average number of prisoners has fallen by 30 percent since 2010. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports the closure will leave a Topeka facility as the only location in Kansas for juveniles. The Larned facility only houses male inmates, while Topeka houses both male and female prisoners. KDOC says current inmates won't be moved and that a large number will age out of the Larned juvenile facility. The department also says it will work on job placement for the 140 full-time workers at the Larned facility.
Jury Trial Delayed in Lawsuit Against Shawnee County District Attorney
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A jury trial in a federal civil lawsuit against Shawnee County district attorney has been rescheduled. Federal court records show a continuance was granted June 20 in the lawsuit against Shawnee County District Attorney Chad Taylor. The trial's scheduled to begin in Kansas City, Kansas, on Jan. 4. The trial was previously set to start September 19. Lisa Anne Moore, of Lawrence, and Krystal L. Boxum-Debolt, of Rancho Rio, New Mexico, filed the lawsuit in 2012, claiming racial and gender discrimination led to their wrongful termination from Taylor's office. Taylor has claimed they deserved to be terminated because their work emails about colleagues featured "derogatory and unprofessional comments" laced with profanity. Taylor, a Democrat, has announced he isn't seeking election to a third term.
10 States Sue over Transgender Students' Facility Use Rules
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Ten states, including Kansas, are suing the federal government over rules requiring public schools to allow transgender students to use restrooms and locker rooms conforming to their gender identity. The lawsuit was filed Friday in federal court in Nebraska. The other states involved are Nebraska, Arkansas, Michigan, Montana, North Dakota, Ohio, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Wyoming. Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson says in a news release that the U.S. Education Department and Justice Department have circumvented established law and the process for changing existing laws. Peterson also says the rule takes away the authority of local school districts to deal with such issues on an individualized basis.
Federal Lawsuit Seeks to Block Sale of Plum Island
MINEOLA, N.Y. (AP) — Environmental groups have filed a federal lawsuit in New York seeking to block the sale of Plum Island, home to the nation's only animal disease testing laboratory. The lawsuit was filed Thursday on Long Island by Save the Sound, a program of Connecticut Fund for the Environment, and others. A copy was obtained by The Associated Press. The federal government plans to sell Plum Island and move the lab to Manhattan (Kansas) by 2022. Leah Schmalz of Save the Sound says the lawsuit claims the federal General Services Administration and the Department of Homeland Security failed to completely examine all options for the future of the island when it prepared an environmental impact statement. Environmentalists say the island shouldn't be sold because it is home to several endangered bird species.
Decline in Number of Concealed Carry Applications in Kansas
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The state attorney general says there was a recent "steep decline" in Kansas in the number of applications for concealed carry permits. Attorney General Derek Schmidt said Thursday in a release that between July 1, 2015, and June 30, 2016, the Concealed Carry Licensing Unit received 5,874 applications. The Kansas City Star reports that's a decrease of more than 40 percent from the more than 9,800 applications filed the previous fiscal year. The number of applications surged after a legislative change in 2015 that allowed eligible Kansans to carry concealed without a license. More than 93,000 Kansans have active concealed carry licenses. Kansas licenses are currently recognized in 37 states.
Federal Agency Investigating Injuries at Kansas Wind Farm
PRATT, Kan. (AP) — A federal workplace safety agency says it's investigating two recent injuries at a southern Kansas wind farm The Occupational Safety and Health Administration said in a release Friday that it's investigating injuries involving workers at the Ninnescah Wind Farm in Pratt County. OSHA says a preliminary report shows a 26-year-old employee of Blattner Energy was struck in the head by a bolt while he was working on a wind turbine at the site near Pratt on Wednesday. Blattner Energy Inc., which is based in Avon, Minnesota, didn't immediately respond to a call seeking comment Friday. Another man was also injured earlier this month when he fell 120 feet while working on a wind turbine at the site. OSHA says he was employed by another company working at the site.
Kansas Welfare Mentoring Program Gets Few Participants
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Kansas officials say a voluntary mentoring program for welfare recipients has attracted few participants and mentors. The Wichita Eagle reports that the program has had 13 participants since it started six months ago, and 115 people have volunteered to be mentors. The goal is to have 1,100 mentors. Governor Sam Brownback announced the program in January as part of a push to lift low-income families out of poverty. Brownback recently questioned at meeting of the Social Services Program Council whether the program was approaching participants early enough. Kansas Department of Health and Environment Secretary Susan Mosier suggested creating incentives for welfare recipients to participate. The project is being funded by a federal grant and is projected to cost about $350,000 a year.
Royals Beat Mariners 4-3; Break Losing Streak
The Kansas City Royals defeated the Seattle Mariners 4-to-3 at Kauffman Stadium last (THUR) night. The victory helped the Royals bounce back after a dismal road trip, during which they were swept in Toronto and lost five of their last six games.