Top Kansas Lawmakers Rebuke Brownback over Budget, Taxes
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Top Republicans in the Kansas Legislature have publicly dressed down GOP Governor Sam Brownback and a top aide over the administration's criticism of budget and tax measures. GOP leaders expressed their frustration during a Friday meeting on budget issues. Senate President Susan Wagle said comments from the administration have been inappropriate. Brownback participated in the meeting by phone while traveling. But Budget Director Shawn Sullivan was present to face pointed questions. The governor and some of his aides have criticized legislators for enacting an income tax increase over his veto that rolls back past tax cuts Brownback has championed. They have suggested that the tax increase is fueling unnecessary spending. Brownback defended his tax policies and said he's made his opinions known about how best to boost economic growth.
Kansas Not Sharing Sensitive Data Sought by Kobach's Voter Fraud Commission
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach says his state will not be giving the federal voter fraud commission he leads the partial Social Security numbers that he has asked other states to provide from their voter rolls. Kobach as vice chairman of the commission has sent letters to every state requesting names, addresses, party, voting history and the last four digits of their Social Security numbers. His office says his letter only asks for publicly available voter roll data. In Kansas, the Social Security number is not publicly available. Kobach told The Kansas City Star on Friday he would not be sharing Social Security information for Kansas voters with the commission at this time. He did not rule out the possibility of providing it to them in the future.
Official: No Injuries, Violence in Kansas Prison Uprising
EL DORADO, Kan. (AP) — Corrections officials say they are reviewing what led to a several-hour uprising by inmates at a south-central Kansas prison. Kansas Department of Corrections spokesman Todd Fertig says no violence or injuries resulted from the protest inside the El Dorado Correctional Facility. Fertig says the incident ended about 5 p.m. Thursday with inmates being returned to their cells. As the head of the Kansas Organization of State Employees union representing prison workers, Robert Choromanski said the disturbance began shortly after 10:30 a.m. when some prisoners refused to return to their cell houses. He says inmates controlled parts of the prison that included the gym, the yard and the kitchen. He says special response teams from prisons in Lansing, Hutchinson and Winfield were sent to El Dorado to assist.
Kansas Secretary of State Kobach Apologizes to Court for Mistake
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach has apologized for what he calls a "misunderstanding" that led to a $1,000 fine against him for misleading the court. Kobach asked U.S. Magistrate Judge James O'Hara on Thursday to reconsider the fine and order requiring him to submit to a deposition by the American Civil Liberties Union. O'Hara ruled Kobach mislead the court about the about the content of materials he took into a November meeting with then President-elect Donald Trump as well as a separate draft amendment to the National Voter Registration Act. Kobach contends the lack of clarity in a court filing was a mistake compounded by last-minute editing, adding it was made in good faith. He says he will do a better job ensuring future arguments are presented more clearly.
Jury Finds Man Guilty in Trial That Divided Kansas Town
HOLTON, Kan. (AP) — A northeast Kansas man who faces several allegations of sexual assault has been found guilty of all charges in cases involving two women. A Jackson County jury deliberated about three hours Friday before finding 22-year-old Jacob Ewing of Holton guilty of rape and aggravated criminal sodomy of the two women. Ewing was acquitted in April of sexually assaulting a 13-year-old girl and faces trials involving allegations from three other women later this year. During closing arguments, defense attorney Kathleen Ambrosio told jurors that testimony from women who said Ewing assaulted them was not backed up by other evidence. Special prosecutor Jacqie Spradling said the case wasn't about revenge or framing Ewing. She also noted several witnesses testified about why the women didn't immediately report the alleged assaults.
Fired Kansas Deputy Charged with Official Misconduct
KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Prosecutors have charged a Wyandotte County sheriff's deputy with official misconduct. The prosecutor's office said in a news release that 38-year-old Jay Pennington also was charged Thursday with unlawful acts concerning computers, forgery and theft. Pennington was a team leader for the offender registration unit at the time of the alleged misconduct. The release said Pennington was fired and arrested Thursday. He was released from jail after posting $20,000 bond. A news conference is scheduled for later this (FRI) morning.
Topeka Man Arrested in Estranged Wife's Death
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A man charged with kidnapping his estranged wife and killing her earlier this month has been arrested. Jefferson County Sheriff Jeff Herrig says 38-year-old Pedro Enriquez was arrested early Friday. Herrig says the arrest came after officers received a tip about a suspicious person with a vehicle in the ditch. Authorities found the vehicle in the tree line of an old homestead, not far from the county landfill in Jefferson County. Shawnee County District Attorney Michael Kagay said Enriquez was arrested on warrants for first-degree murder. He is accused of abducting 33-year-old Viviana Vazquez on June 7 from a home in Topeka, where their 10-year-old son says he saw Enriquez drag her outside by the hair. Her body was found the next day.
Escapee from Lansing Correctional Facility Apprehended
LANSING, Kan. (AP) — A man who escaped from the Lansing Correctional Facility has been recaptured in Topeka. The Kansas Department of Corrections says 34-year-old James Stewart II was arrested in Topeka Friday about two hours after he was seen driving away from the prison in a state of Kansas vehicle. The corrections department said Stewart was a minimum-security inmate. Stewart was convicted of aggravated robbery in three cases in Shawnee and Jefferson counties in 2003 and 2013. He was apprehended by members of the U.S. Marshal's Fugitive Task Force as well as the Shawnee County Sheriff's Office and the Kansas Highway Patrol.
Kansas Congresswoman Jenkins Assails Trump for Crude Tweet
WASHINGTON (AP) — Kansas Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins is assailing President Donald Trump for his crude tweet ridiculing a cable news anchor. The five-term Republican says on Twitter: "This is not okay. As a female in politics I am often criticized for my looks. We should be working to empower women." In a series of tweets Thursday morning, the president went after Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough, who have criticized Trump on their MSNBC show "Morning Joe." Trump called Brzezinski "crazy" and said he had seen her "bleeding badly from a face-lift." Trump said they asked to join him during a visit to his Florida resort, Mar-a-Lago, and that he said "no." Scarborough said the visit was to arrange a Trump interview.
Topeka Police Say Old Military Ordnance Found Underground
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Topeka police say an old piece of military ordnance was found buried underground near the police impound lot. Police say the device was found early Friday by workers for Torgeson Electric, who were digging while preparing for a potential project. Lieutenant Colleen Stuart says the device was removed by an explosives unit from Fort Riley, which will safely dispose of it safely. Streets around the area just north of downtown Topeka that were blocked off were reopened Friday afternoon. Stuart says searchers found no similar objects in the area.
Great Bend Transload Facility Opens
GREAT BEND, Kan. (AP) — After fierce competition across the state, a new transload facility has opened in Great Bend.A ceremony on Thursday officially opened the project, which allows trains to drop off their cargo for trucks and vice versa.The Kansas Department of Transportation led the effort to establish two transload facilities. The state received 111 site applications and the facilities were eventually awarded to Great Bend and Garden City, which has already opened its facility. The Hutchinson News reports the state contributed $3 million to the $8 million project, with another $360,000 in federal funds and funding from private industry. The transportation department said the facility is storing wind energy components but will be ready for aggregate material and cement within a month. It has brought 13 jobs to Great Bend.
Wyandotte County Deputy Charged with Taking County Funds
KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — A Wyandotte County sheriff's deputy is charged with official misconduct after prosecutors say he took money from a unit he led. Wyandotte County Sheriff Don Ash said Friday 38-year-old Jay Pennington was fired and arrested Thursday. He also is charged with making false information, computer crime and forgery. Pennington was a team leader for the Offender Registration Unit. He accepted payments from offenders who are required by state law to register with the sheriff's office. Ash said all other employees in the offender registration unit have been cleared of any wrongdoing. Investigators are still trying to determine how much money was allegedly taken. The Kansas City Star reports that Pennington was released on $20,000 bond and court records don't indicate if he has a lawyer.
Former Kansas Representative Huelskamp to Lead Free-Market Think Tank
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Former Kansas Congressman Tim Huelskamp will become the new president of a free-market think tank also known for promoting skepticism about climate change. The Heartland Institute announced Thursday that its board of directors selected Huelskamp and that the former Republican congressman would take over as president next month. The nonprofit institute is based in the Chicago suburbs and has held 12 conferences on climate change since 2008. Huelskamp was a tea party favorite during his three terms in Congress representing the 1st District of western and central Kansas. But he angered business and farm groups and lost the GOP primary last year to Great Bend physician Roger Marshall, who went on to win the seat in November. Huelskamp served 14 years in the Kansas Senate before being elected to Congress in 2010.
Mastermind of Midwest Lottery Fraud Admits He Rigged Jackpots
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A former lottery computer programmer has pleaded guilty in Iowa to running a criminal scheme that allowed him to collect millions of dollars in lottery winnings in five states. Former Multi-State Lottery Association security director Eddie Tipton on Thursday admitted that he manipulated the computer software he designed, allowing him to provide winning numbers to his brother and others. Tipton, his brother Tommy Tipton and Texas businessman Robert Rhodes will repay $2.2 million in prizes they improperly claimed in Kansas, Colorado, Oklahoma, Iowa and Wisconsin. Iowa prosecutors will ask for a 25-year prison sentence for Eddie Tipton. Tommy Tipton also pleaded guilty Thursday in Iowa and was sentenced to 75 days in jail.
Several Rescued from Flooded Northwest Missouri
MARYVILLE, Mo. (AP) - Authorities have rescued several people from flooded Missouri roads and a campground after heavy rains caused waters to rise, sending cattle floating over a highway. National Weather Service hydrologist Scott Watson said from 8 to 11 inches of rain fell from Wednesday night through Thursday morning in a five-county area in northwest Missouri, with smaller totals elsewhere. One of the rescues happened in Nodaway County, where the sheriff's office said that Maryville officers used a personal watercraft to save a man who drove his pickup truck into swift-moving water. The sheriff's office said the man was heard screaming and that only his head was above water when authorities arrived. Water rescues also were reported in Gentry and Daviess counties.
Topeka Man Sentenced to 20 Years for Deadly Chase Crash
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Topeka man has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for killing a passenger in another vehicle during a February 2016 police chase. KSNT-TV reports that 21-year-old Marcos Cruz Jr. was sentenced Thursday for five felonies, including second-degree murder. A witness at a preliminary hearing testified that a speeding car ran a red light and hit another car, which was forced into a fence at the Topeka Zoo. A passenger in that car, 69-year-old Edward Greene of Tecumseh, died at the scene. The driver was injured. Cruz's 8-month-old son was in his car but wasn't seriously injured.
Kansas Wheat Harvest Mixed Amid Disease, Storm Damage
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The 2017 winter wheat harvest in Kansas has been a mixed bag so far as farmers race to bring in the crop amid damaging spring storms that have pounded some crops with hail. Justin Gilpin, chief executive officer for the industry group Kansas Wheat, says fields around Norton and Goodland in northwest Kansas were hit by hail earlier this week. That comes on the heels of a hail storm last week around Garden City and Deerfield in southwest Kansas. A common theme with this year's wheat crop has been variability. Yields have ranged from 10 to 70 bushels per acre. Protein levels have gone up in heat-stressed crops in western Kansas. But hail has also destroyed some crops and some fields had so much disease they were not harvested.
Detroit Tigers Beat Kansas City Royals 7-3
DETROIT (AP) _ The Detroit Tigers hit three home runs in a 7-3 victory over the Kansas City Royals on Thursday. Justin Upton, Ian Kinsler and Andrew Romine went deep for the Tigers. Fulmer (7-6) appeared headed for his second big league shutout, but the Royals' Ramon Torres and Jorge Bonifacio each singled with two out in the ninth, then Drew Butera drove them in with a double. Upton dropped Eric Hosmer's liner to left field for an error, allowing another run to come in. Royals starting pitcher Jakob Junis (2-2) allowed six runs and seven hits in six innings. He walked three and struck out five. The Tigers' Fulmer, reigning AL Rookie of the Year ended up allowing seven hits, with seven strikeouts and no walks.