Ex-guard Accused of Taking Bribes to Smuggle Tobacco
LEAVENWORTH, Kan. (AP) — Federal prosecutors allege a former guard at the Leavenworth penitentiary took bribes to smuggle tobacco into the prison. Marc Buckner, of Kansas City, Kansas, was indicted Wednesday on one count of accepting bribes. Buckner allegedly received more than $200,000 in bribes while he worked at the prison from 2005 to 2014. The U.S. attorney's office alleges Buckner received about $750 each time he smuggled tobacco into the prison. If convicted, Buckner faces up to 15 years in federal prison and a fine of three times the value of the contraband.
Survey Finds High Mosquito Numbers in Kansas
The Kansas Department of Health and Environment says a survey shows a high numbers of mosquitos that can spread disease. The culex mosquitos in question can spread West Nile Virus, but aren’t known to spread Zika Virus. KDHE says to use insect repellant and get rid of mosquito breeding sites by clearing standing water. West Nile Virus can cause symptoms ranging from headaches and fever to brain swelling and death.
GOP Leader Pushing for Change in Kansas Constitution on Schools
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - A top Republican legislator is drafting a proposed constitutional amendment to prevent Kansas courts from shutting down public schools in lawsuits over education funding. Governor Sam Brownback has called a special session for lawmakers to address a Kansas Supreme Court decision that the state's education funding system is unfair to poor school districts. The court said schools will be unable to reopen after June 30, if lawmakers don't act. The Kansas Senate's vice president, Senator Jeff King, outlined his proposed amendment Thursday and said he plans to have the Senate Judiciary Committee review it next week. The Republican chairs the committee, which will meet with its House counterpart before the special session starts June 23. If lawmakers approve King's proposed amendment, it would go on the ballot in November. Check out #MyKPR's Stephen Koranda's story about this topic, here.
Kansas Disability Rights Advocates Fear Loss of Services
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Governor Sam Brownback has announced a special session for legislators to discuss school funding beginning on June 23, but some GOP legislators say they're unsure what the courts will accept. The state Supreme Court ruled last month that the Legislature failed to adequately fund the state's poor public schools and gave the lawmakers until June 30 to find a solution, otherwise schools could close. Among the concerns about school closures, some educators worry that special education students will not receive summer services. Public schools are federally mandated to provide free and appropriate special education to children with disabilities. The state could risk losing about $105 million in federal funding if schools close on July 1 and special education students lose summer programs.
Former KU Student Speaks Out About University's Handling of Sexual Assault
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — A woman who is suing the University of Kansas for how it handled her sexual assault allegations is joining a separate lawsuit that accuses the school of misleading the public about the safety of its campus housing. Sarah McClure said in a video released Thursday that KU did nothing for months after she was sexually assaulted by a KU football player last August. Her attorney says McClure joined a lawsuit filed by the parents of another woman who says she was raped by the same football player. McClure went to police, though the player was never charged. He was later expelled by the university office that investigates sexual assault allegations. The AP generally doesn't identify victims of alleged sexual assault, but McClure says she wants her name used. (More on this story here.)
Kickapoo Nation Files More Counts Against Former Tribal Leaders
HORTON, Kan. (AP) — Kickapoo tribal leaders have filed additional counts against three former tribal leaders accused of misusing federal money. The tribe said Thursday it's filed the additional counts against Steve Cadue, Adolph Cadue Jr. and Bobbi Darnell. Steve Cadue is a former chairman of the tribe, which maintains a reservation in northeast Kansas. Darnell was the treasurer, and Adolph Cadue Jr. was tribal council secretary. The three were charged in March with fraudulent handling of recordable instruments and tampering with records. They're accused of using federal burial funds to subsidize payroll and other tribal expenses in violation of tribal law. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that the tribe http://j.mp/25PfiMk added more counts to the complaint. It's unclear if the defendants have lawyers, but Steve Cadue said earlier he and the others denied the allegations.
Kobach: Rep. Huelskamp Qualified to Run in Kansas' 1st District
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach says U.S. Representative Tim Huelskamp is qualified to seek re-election and has dismissed a complaint filed by Huelskamp's Republican primary challenger. The complaint was filed Thursday by Great Bend obstetrician Roger Marshall. Marshall contends that Huelskamp did not disclose his address when he filed his candidacy paperwork and should not therefore appear on the August ballot. It also alleges the address on his Federal Elections Commission filing does not belong to him. Huelskamp's campaign called the complaint frivolous and desperate. Kobach said Huelskamp is registered as a voter in the Fowler area in southwest Kansas. The secretary of state also said Marshall missed the June 2 deadline set by Kansas law for filing an objection to Huelskamp's name appearing on the August ballot.
EPA's Plan to Boost Ethanol Use Gets Hearing in Kansas City
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - All sides of the ethanol and biofuels debate are getting the chance to weigh in on a federal agency's proposal to boost the amount of renewable fuels blended into gasoline. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is holding its only public hearing Thursday in Kansas City, Missouri, on plan, announced last month, to boost output of biofuels next year and biomass-based diesel levels for 2018. The EPA's final rule is expected by the end of the year. Next year's target of 18.8 billion gallons of renewable fuels, mostly ethanol, is less than the 24 billion-gallon threshold set in a 2007 renewable fuels law. Ethanol advocates largely in farming states want the target raised. Oil companies counter that the market, not the government, should determine how much ethanol is blended into gas.
New Memorial to Mark Site of 1950s Wichita Civil Rights Demonstrations
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - The site of an important civil rights sit-in in 1958 in Wichita will be getting a memorial for the first time. Young black protesters sat at the lunch counter in the Dockum Drug Store in 1958. The Wichita Eagle reports after three weeks of sit-ins, the drug store agreed to serve the black students at the counter. It is considered one of the first successful lunch counter sit-ins in the nation that eventually helped lead to desegregation. On Thursday, two participants in the sit-ins, Joan Williams and Galyn Vesey, attended a ceremony where the Kansas Health Foundation presented a $50,000 grant to the Kansas African American Museum and Ambassador Hotel for the memorial project. Organizers have not determined what form the memorial will take, or what it will include.
Topeka Company Adding 200 Employees as Business Expands
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - A Topeka call center plans to add about 200 jobs as part of expansion plans by its owner. Alorica Inc. announced last week that it would acquire Expert Global Solutions and expand its national and international business. Spokesman Ken Muche says the Topeka call center, which currently employs about 395 people, will have about 600 workers by August. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports the company's current location has enough room for the increased number of employees. Currently, about 3 percent of Alorica's Topeka employees are part-time. Muche says about 10 percent of the new jobs will be part-time.
University of Kansas to Offer Classes in Leavenworth
LEAVENWORTH, Kan. (AP) — The University of Kansas plans to begin offering classes in Leavenworth. The decision was announced Thursday at a meeting of the Leavenworth County Development Corporation, with has been working with the university to find sites in Leavenworth for the classes. The Leavenworth Times reports the classes are designed to accommodate military personnel at Fort Leavenworth but they will be open to anyone. The classes will be provided through the university's Edwards Campus, which is located in Overland Park. Initially, the classes will be taught at the Fairfield Inn & Suites but spokeswoman Christine Falk says officials plan to find a more permanent location starting in the spring of 2017. The classes will include master's degrees in organizational leadership and project management and a certificate in environmental assessment.
Wichita Police Issue More than 1,000 Seatbelt Violation Citations
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Wichita police officers have issued more than 1,200 citations during the department's grant-funded project aimed at enforcing drivers to wear seat belts. Wichita police Sgt. Nikki Woodrow tells The Wichita Eagle that the project was part of the national Click It or Ticket program, which lasted from May 23 through June 5. Wichita officers dedicated more than 340 patrol hours to the project during daylight hours on Memorial Day weekend. Woodrow says the citations included more than 40 speeding tickets, nearly 20 child seat belt tickets, 15 teenage seat belt tickets, more than 970 adult seat belt tickets, one DUI, three instances of texting while driving and more than 180 miscellaneous citations. Woodrow says the penalty for the adult seat belt violations was a traffic citation with a fine.
Thousands of Kansas Hunters Received Duplicate Deer Permits
PRATT, Kan. (AP) — Kansas wildlife officials are asking thousands of nonresident hunters who received duplicate deer permits from the April drawing to give them back. The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism says a printing error sent duplicate mailings to more than 3,200 hunters in early June. The department says successful applicants should have received only one mailing, with one set of permits. Duplicate permits can neither be used nor transferred to another hunter. Hunters who received duplicate permits and carcass tags are being asked to return them to the KDWPT licensing station in Pratt. The department says its staff is working with the contracted printer to find out what led to the error and to make sure all successful applicants received the correct permit.
Hutchinson Woman Gives Birth to 14-Pound Baby
HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) — A woman has given birth to a boy weighing in at 14 pounds, 4 ounces in Hutchinson. The Hutchinson News reports that Moses William Hilton arrived 11 days early on June 2 at the Hutchinson Regional Medical Center. He was delivered by C-section and was 22 inches long. Gina Hilton said she knew she was carrying a big baby because both of her and her husband's daughters weighed around 9 pounds at birth. Jill White, nursing director of the hospital's birthing unit, said Moses was the largest baby that had been delivered in her nine years of working at the hospital. Hospital officials say that Moses is healthy and will remain at the hospital for a day or two more before going home.
Saline County Investigates High Lead Levels in 30 children
SALINA, Kan. (AP) - Kansas health officials say they are investigating after 30 Saline County children were found to have high levels of lead in their blood. Saline County Health Department Director Jason Tiller says routine blood testing discovered the high lead levels between January 2015 and March 2016. He says investigators have not found an obvious cause or connection between the cases. The Salina Journal reports that the state health department is planning a public hearing June 21 to discuss the investigation. Health officials say no obvious symptoms indicate lead poisoning and there is no way to correct lead's health effects.
Kansas City Man Convicted in Death at Child's Party
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - A Kansas City man will be sentenced in July for fatally shooting another man during a child's birthday party at a water park. A Jackson County jury on Thursday convicted 24-year-old Divonte Lewis of murder and armed criminal action in the May 2015 death of 19-year-old Ryshun Bell. The shooting occurred at the CoCo Key Water Resort. The Kansas City Star reports Lewis claimed he shot Bell in self-defense. But prosecutors said Lewis shot Bell after he became angry when he and several others were asked to leave the party area. Lewis will be sentenced July 29.