Trump Taps Conservative Kansas Congressman Mike Pompeo for CIA Director
WASHINGTON (AP) — President-elect Donald Trump has offered the CIA director job to Mike Pompeo, the conservative Kansas congressman who has heavily criticized the Iran deal and was a member of the congressional committee that blasted Hillary Clinton over the attack in Benghazi, Libya. Pompeo is a Republican member of the House intelligence committee, which oversees U.S. intelligence gathering efforts. In 2014, he was appointed to the House Select Benghazi Committee to probe the 2011 attack on the U.S. diplomatic outpost in Benghazi. He enrolled as a teenager at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y. and graduated first in his class in 1986. According to biographical information on his House web site, Pompeo served as a "cavalry officer patrolling the Iron Curtain before the fall of the Berlin Wall." Pompeo is also a graduate of Harvard Law School and was editor of the Harvard Law Review. After college, he returned to south-central Kansas where his mother was from. He set up Thayer Aerospace and was its chief executive officer for more than 10 years. Later he was president of Sentry International, a company that sold equipment for oil fields and manufacturing.
Pompeo CIA Nomination Would Open Kansas Congressional Seat
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — President-elect Donald's Trump's nomination of U.S. Rep. Mike Pompeo for the top CIA job would put up for grabs the congressional seat in the south-central district. Pompeo says in a statement that he is "honored and humbled" to accept the nomination, calling the decision to leave his congressional seat difficult. He says the opportunity to lead the CIA is a call to service he could not ignore. Before starting the job, Pompeo would have to be confirmed by the Senate. Pompeo was elected to the 4th District congressional seat during the tea party wave of 2010, and easily won re-election this month. A special election would be required to fill the post. There is no primary.
Kansas Court System Seeks Funding Increase for Salaries
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas court system is seeking a $20 million increase in state appropriations to improve the pay of judges and court employees, who are being paid less than peers in other states. The request came Friday after two studies found that every job classification in the state's judicial system was paid below market value, ranging from 4.6 percent to 22.2 percent. One study from the National Center for State Courts found one-quarter of judicial branch employee positions earn starting salaries below the federal poverty level for a family of four. It also found that one-third of court employees work more than one job, a rate 24 percent higher than the state average. Court employees have received only a 2 percent cost of living increase in the last eight years.
Losing Democratic Candidate for Kansas Senate Asks for Recount in Johnson County
A Democratic candidate for the Kansas Senate - who lost her race - is now seeking a recount. Vicki Hiatt lost her bid to unseat Republican Senator Mary Pilcher-Cook in Johnson County. Hiatt, who lost the election by less than 1,000 votes, made the recount request in a letter to the Johnson County Election Commissioner. The letter was prompted by election night tabulation problems in Johnson County that delayed the reporting of results until the next day. The District 10 Senate race was one of the closest in the state, with Pilcher-Cook garnering 51 percent of the vote compared to Hiatt’s 49 percent. Pilcher-Cook has served in the Kansas Legislature for 14 years, the last eight in the Senate. Hiatt has never held elective office. She taught special education in Johnson County school districts for 30 years before retiring four years ago.
State Seeks Proposals to Privately Operate Mental Hospital
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas agency is seeking proposals from private contractors to run a troubled state mental hospital that lost its federal certification a year ago over safety issues. The Kansas Department of Aging and Disability Services issued a request for proposals on Monday to run Osawatomie State Hospital, one of the state's two mental hospitals. The Osawatomie facility, about 45 miles southwest of Kansas City, has been losing between $500,000 and $1 million a month in federal funds since decertification last November. Lawmakers earlier this year approved measures requiring KDADS to seek permission from the Legislature before privatizing the facility. Department secretary Tim Keck says soliciting proposals for private operation will give the state another option next year when lawmakers are trying to decide how to fund the facility.
Kansas Serial Killer Asks Court to Throw Out Death Penalty
OLATHE, Kan. (AP) — A convicted serial killer who left some of his victims' bodies in barrels is asking a court to throw out his death sentence. John Robinson Sr. filed the motion Thursday in Johnson County District Court. He alleges his death sentence violated the Kansas and U.S. constitutions. The Kansas City Star reports that Robinson didn't make specific claims in the motion. He asked the court to appoint a lawyer for him. Robinson was convicted of killing seven women and a teenage girl in Kansas and Missouri in cases dating back to 1984. The bodies of five women were found in barrels at two separate properties in Kansas and Missouri in 2000. He was sentenced to death in Kansas and to life in prison in Missouri.
Kansas Universities Propose Housing, Dining Rate Hikes
EMPORIA, Kan. (AP) _ Kansas's state universities are proposing raising housing and dining rates starting next year. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that the Kansas Board of Regents has received the proposed rates from the six state universities. The largest rate increase would be at the University of Kansas, with a 4.9 percent hike. Kansas State University, Wichita State University, Emporia State University, Fort Hays State University and Pittsburg State University all proposed rate hikes of less than 4 percent. Proposed rate increases were generally driven by anticipated inflationary costs and facility maintenance and enhancements.
Kansas City Man Charged in Sale of Guns to Investigators
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) _ A Kansas City man is charged with selling more than a dozen firearms, including assault-style rifles, to undercover federal agents. The Kansas City Star reports that 29-year-old Cory Adams is charged with eight counts of using a firearm during a drug trafficking crime, possession of a stolen firearm and distribution of methamphetamine, marijuana and ecstasy. Court documents say investigators purchased drugs and firearms from Adams multiple times in July, August and September. It wasn't immediately clear if Adams has an attorney.
City of Lawrence Files Lawsuit Against Hotel; Cites Fraud
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) _ The City of Lawrence has filed a lawsuit to terminate an incentive agreement with a hotel, citing personal purchases and falsified retail sales. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that the lawsuit claims the developers of The Oread hotel fraudulently collected tax rebates for hundreds of unrelated purchases, including landscaping for one of the developer's homes as well as a cabin in Colorado and the rental of a party tent. The lawsuit also says the development group defrauded the city and engaged in activity involving wire and mail fraud. Lawrence officials are seeking to recoup more than $400,000 in monetary damages as well as an end to the incentive agreement. The developers have denied the allegations.
Police: 1 Dead in Apparent Accident at Kansas Plant
GREAT BEND, Kan. (AP) _ Authorities are investigating after an employee died at a Kansas industrial plant. Great Bend Police Chief Cliff Couch told The Hays Post that the male employee died Thursday at the Fuller Industries plant in Great Bend. He says the death appears to have been caused by an industrial accident, but he said details aren't being released while the investigation is underway. The victim's identity also hasn't been released. The company manufactures cleaning supplies and brushes at the Great Bend site.
The Latest: Police Seek Public's Help in Search for Newborn
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Police are pressing for the public's help in finding a missing newborn girl whose mother was shot to death in her Wichita home. Police said Friday that 27-year-old Laura Abarca-Nogueda's boyfriend returned home from work Thursday to find her shot to death and their week-old daughter missing. The FBI has joined the search for the week-old girl, Sofia Victoria Gonzalez Abarca. Sergeant Nikki Woodrow says the girl's father isn't considered a suspect. Wichita Police Chief Gordon Ramsay, during a news conference Friday afternoon, urged anyone with information about the missing baby to call an FBI tip line at 800-225-5324. Police say of special interest are any reports about someone suddenly passing off a child as their own, or buying large quantities of baby formula or clothing.
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Police have publicly identified a Kansas woman who was killed and whose newborn girl is missing as Laura Abarca-Nogueda. Police said Friday that Abarca-Nogueda's boyfriend returned home from work on Thursday to find her shot dead in their Wichita home and their newborn daughter missing. They say the FBI has joined the search for the week-old girl, Sofia Victoria Gonzalez Abarca. Sergeant Nikki Woodrow says the girl's father isn't considered a suspect. She says authorities haven't issued an Amber Alert seeking the public's help in finding Sofia because investigators haven't identified a suspect, which is required for such alerts.
Man Sentenced to More Than 7 Years for Deadly Kansas Bar Fight
OLATHE, Kan. (AP) — A 33-year-old man faces about seven years in prison for killing another man with a pool cue at a Johnson County bar. The Kansas City Star reports that Gregory B. David Cooper was sentenced Friday to seven and a half years in prison. He pleaded no contest earlier to second-degree murder in the death of 23-year-old Tyler Knudsen. Knudsen was fatally injured in December inside an Edgerton bar. Cooper's attorney argued that his client was leaving the bar as another man was challenging him to fight when he felt someone "contact" his back. That's when he swung the cue, striking Knudsen in the neck. Testimony showed Knudsen was not involved in the altercation.
Man Charged in Fatal Shooting at Wichita Restaurant
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A man charged with fatally shooting another man inside a Wichita restaurant says he doesn't know why he is locked up. The Wichita Eagle reports that 20-year-old Jonah Isaac Tausche told a judge Thursday during his first court appearance on a first-degree murder charge that he "ate some meth" and "now I'm here." Tausche is jailed on $250,000 bond in Monday's fatal shooting of 47-year-old Tan Van Vu of Wichita at the Bida Saigon restaurant. But Tausche says there's "no possible way" when he was told of the charges, which also include possession of cocaine and criminal possession of a weapon by a convicted felon. He described himself as a "peaceful person," although court records show he has a history of violence going back to when he was 15.
Kansas Boy Dies from Crash That Killed His Mother, Sister
JUNCTION CITY, Kan. (AP) — A 6-year-old Kansas boy has died from injuries sustained in a suspected drunken-driving crash that killed his mother and younger sister. The Kansas Highway Patrol identified the boy as Jaydon Allan Thompson, of Junction City, who died at a hospital. Kansas Highway Trooper Ben Gardner says 26-year-old Jessica Michelle Thompson had taken Jaydon and 5-year-old Leah Michelle Thompson out of school Tuesday morning for a medical appointment. They were returning when a Houston man driving a large box truck crossed the median on Interstate 70 and crashed into the family's vehicle in Geary County. The truck's driver is jailed in Geary County on $250,000 bond on suspicion of two counts of involuntary manslaughter while driving under the influence and two other counts. No formal charges were immediately filed.
Topeka Man Sentenced in Felony Criminal Threat Case
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Topeka businessman has been sentenced to probation for threatening an Oklahoma man. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that Kent D. Lindemuth was sentenced Thursday to six months in jail, but the judge suspended the sentence and placed him on one year of supervised probation. A Shawnee County jury convicted him earlier of one count of making a criminal threat. During the trial, Lindemuth testified that he denied threatening to shoot Mike Matthews, an Oklahoma trucking firm owner, during a 2014 dispute about a trailer and cargo valued at more than $500,000. Lindemuth, a Topeka real estate developer, said he would appeal his conviction. Lindemuth also faces separate federal charges accusing him of bankruptcy fraud. He's accused in that case of buying 103 firearms after filing for bankruptcy.
Dogs Get in on Internet's 'Mannequin Challenge' Craze
PITTSBURG, Kan. (AP) — The "mannequin challenge" has gone to the dogs. Canines are getting in on the internet craze that has featured videos of athletes, students and celebrities frozen in various poses. Kansas college student Ryan Thomas has garnered nearly 200,000 retweets for his video of a boxer named Boston sitting perfectly still while wearing costumes. The dog also displays impressive willpower by posing in front of a tray of muffins and on a couch while covered in Doritos. Not to be outdone, WTVC-TV reports Ralfi, a dog in Chattanooga, Tennessee, is the star of a challenge video, posing with bacon in its mouth, a ball on its nose and a full glass of wine on its head.