Kansas Senate President Urges Governor to Cut the Budget
The president of the Kansas Senate says Governor Sam Brownback should make immediate cues to the state budget. Recent revenue numbers show Kansas facing a $350 million budget shortfall in the current fiscal year. Senate President Susan Wagle says Brownback should take steps now to cover the deficit. A spokesperson for Brownback's office says he's giving lawmakers the chance to use their constitutional power of the purse. Brownback's office has said he'll present a balanced budget plan to lawmakers at the beginning of the legislative session in January.
Governor Declares Disaster After Chemical Plant Blast in Southeast Kansas
NEODESHA, Kan. (AP) — Governor Sam Brownback has issued a disaster declaration after an explosion at a southeast Kansas chemical plant that injured at least one person. The declaration allows the National Guard to help respond to the explosion and fire earlier this week at the Airosol Incorporated plant in the town of Neodesha. The effort includes providing bottled water to residents. Public water systems have closed water intakes on the Verdigris River downstream from the plant to prevent contamination from substances used to fight the fire. The plant in Neodesha manufactures and packages aerosols and other specialty chemicals.
Water Service Resumes in Northeastern Oklahoma Town After Kansas Plant Explosion
NOWATA, Okla. (AP) — The mayor of Nowata, Oklahoma, says the city can start using water from the Verdigris River again after service was shut off because of contamination concerns following a chemical plant explosion in Kansas. Mayor David Lynn says that the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality gave the city permission this (FRI) morning to resume pumping water from the river. Thursday, water service had been shut off after an explosion and fire at the Airosol, Inc., chemical plant in Neodesha, Kansas. The Verdigris River runs through parts of southeastern Kansas and northeastern Oklahoma and into the Arkansas River near Muskogee.
Missing Wichita Woman Found Dead in Partially Submerged SUV
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A missing southern Kansas woman has been found dead in a partially submerged sport utility vehicle. The Wichita Eagle reports that a bicyclist discovered the submerged vehicle Thursday. The cyclist called police, leading authorities to the body of 28-year-old Diana Guevara, of Haysville. Kansas Highway Patrol Trooper Joe Middleton said her SUV apparently landed in a canal in north Wichita after taking an off ramp, leaving the road and driving through fencing that surrounds the water. She was last seen late Wednesday and had been reported missing after failing to arrive home from work. It wasn't immediately clear what caused her to crash.
Woman Dies in Kansas City Area House Fire
INDEPENDENCE, Mo. (AP) - Authorities say an elderly woman has been killed in house fire in Independence. The Kansas City Star reports that crews responded early Wednesday and found flames and smoke pouring out of the front windows and doors. The blaze was brought under control in about 10 minutes. Fire officials said there was only one person inside the house at the time of the fire. The woman's name wasn't released, and the cause of the fire is under investigation.
Wichita Police Say Teenager Died After Shooting
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Police say a 15-year-old boy has died after he was shot outside a Wichita laundromat. A 13-year-old boy told police he and the 15-year-old were in the parking lot the laundromat Wednesday when three men approached them. The 13-year-old told police that one of the men shot the 15-year-old with a handgun. Police say the teenagers ran across the street to a Burger King parking lot. The 15-year-old then collapsed and was taken to a hospital, where he died. Wichita police are searching for three suspects.
Kansas City Officer Hit by Police Car While Chasing Suspects
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Police say a Kansas City police officer was seriously injured when he was hit by a patrol car while pursuing carjacking suspects. The Kansas City Star reports that the officer is in stable condition at a hospital Thursday. Police were chasing a vehicle taken during a carjacking Thursday morning. Three occupants crashed the vehicle then fled on foot. The officer was struck while he was chasing them. Police say they caught the three suspects and are investigating. They suspect the stolen vehicle was used in recent robberies.
University of Kansas Professor Gives Spencer Library 700 Celebrity Portraits
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — A University of Kansas professor is giving more than 700 autographed portraits of celebrities to one of the school's libraries. The Lawrence Journal-World reports associate film and media studies professor John Tibbetts will give the portraits to the Kenneth Spencer Research Library. Tibbetts interviewed celebrities through his work as a radio and television broadcaster. Celebrity portraits include depictions of "Fahrenheit 451" author Ray Bradbury, cellist Yo-Yo Ma, actor Julie Andrews and celebrity Whoopi Goldberg. Tibbetts is giving the portraits in a series of multi-year donations. The first installment will include writers, musicians, broadcasters and sports figures.
Navy Warship Named for Topeka Man, First Black Marine Corps Pilot
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - A U.S. Navy warship has been named in honor of a three star general from Topeka who became the first black aviator, first black general and first black base commander in the Marine Corps. Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus announced that the destroyer under construction will bear the name of Lieutenant General Frank E. Petersen Jr. Mabus said Petersen's courage and perseverance made him deserving of the honor. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that Petersen enlisted in the Navy in 1950 and left in 1952 to accept a commission as a second lieutenant and become the first black pilot in the Marine Corps. Petersen retired in 1988. He died in 2015. Construction of the USS Frank E. Petersen Jr. began in April. It is expected to enter the Navy fleet in 2020
Kansas City's Plaza Lights Lit For the Holidays
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Kansas City's Country Club Plaza, an upscale shopping and dining district has flipped the switch on an annual holiday tradition. Tens of thousands turned out last (THUR) night at the Country Club Plaza for a lighting ceremony that is an 87 year old tradition. Olympic medalist tennis player Jack Sock was this year's celebrity to be given the honor of flipping the switch. He won gold in mixed doubles and captured a bronze medal in men's doubles at the Rio Olympics. Through mid-January, several blocks of buildings will be outlined in holiday lights.
Kansas City Mayor to Light 100-Foot-Tall Christmas Tree
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - The mayor's 100-foot-tall Christmas tree in Kansas City, Missouri will be lit this (FRI) evening. The Kansas City Star reports 2014 Olympic gold medal-winning ice dancers Meryl Davis and Charlie White will help light the Douglas fir in Crown Center Square. The tree is wrapped in more than 6,000 white lights. The tree will be recycled and made into ornaments used to raise money for the Mayor's Christmas Tree Fund, a charity for children, people with disabilities and aging citizens in the city. This year's tree was donated by an Oregon timber company. Mayor Sly James says the tree is taller than the trees at Rockefeller Center in New York and at the White House.
Santa Arrives in Downtown Lawrence Friday Night
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) - Firefighters are preparing for their annual rescue of Santa Claus from the rooftop of a downtown Lawrence department store. Santa is expected to "land" Friday night on the roof of Weaver's Department Store. Firefighters then will use a ladder truck to climb up and rescue him. Once on the ground, Santa will listen to the Christmas wishes of children and pose for pictures. The event coincides with the city's holiday lighting ceremony.