Kansas Proposal Would Set Interest Rate Cap on Payday Loans
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Kansas lawmakers are proposing a bill that would set a maximum interest rate for someone taking out payday or other short-term loans. A special legislative committee met this week to consider the bill, which would cap the annual interest rate at 36 percent. Supporters say the limit would help borrowers who are caught in a cycle of debt and are unable to get out. Opponents say the bill would effectively eliminate the payday loan industry and limit a source of credit used by many Kansas residents. The Kansas Office of the State Bank Commissioner says more than 60 companies in the state provide payday and title loans at more than 300 locations. The committee didn't make any recommendations on the proposal Wednesday.
Weather, Not Vandalism, Damaged Jewish Festival Symbol at Kansas State
MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) - Kansas State University says severe weather, not vandalism, is to blame for damage to a temporary outdoor hut built between two residence halls for the Jewish harvest festival Sukkot. The university said in a news release today (FRI) that "no malicious intent was discovered." The sukkah was found October 6 wrapped around the car of graduate student Glen Buickerood. Several other vehicles also were damaged. Buickerood had collaborated with the Jewish student group Hillel to put up the sukkah to promote diversity. The release says the investigation began as a "possible criminal damage to property report." But the investigation later determined that the damage was caused by thunderstorms, heavy rain and high winds. The release says a witness reported seeing the sukkah "tumbling in the wind."
Brownback's Policy Director Resigning from Administration
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Governor Sam Brownback's policy director is leaving the administration next week. Brownback announced Brandon Smith's departure Thursday. Smith has worked for the Brownback administration for nearly three years. Brownback's office said Smith will take a job in Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin's administration. The announcement comes as Brownback is awaiting confirmation to be ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom in President Trump's administration. Once he is confirmed, Brownback will resign and Lieutenant Governor Jeff Colyer will become Kansas' new governor. Smith's replacement has not been named.
Mother Accused of Taking Kids from Kansas to Russia
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - A woman accused of fleeing Kansas and taking her children to Russia amid a divorce has been charged with international parental kidnapping. Federal prosecutors say a grand jury on Wednesday indicted 37-year-old Bogdana Alexandrovna Mobley. She was arrested last month in Wichita but investigators believe her three children remain in Russia. Prosecutors say she left the U.S. three years ago with one child from her first marriage and another child from a second marriage. She gave birth to a third child about two months after returning to Russia. Prosecutors say she allowed her ex-husband to communicate with the children, but he wasn't allowed to see them when he flew to meet her on the border of Poland and Russia in 2015. She emigrated to the U.S. in 2003 and later became a naturalized U.S. citizen.
Author of Transgender Book for Children Will Visit Wichita
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - The author of a children's book about a transgender fourth-grader is planning to visit a city in Kansas where the book's presence in school libraries has prompted debate. The author, Alex Gino has announced a November 2 appearance at Wichita State University. The library supervisor for the Wichita school district has determined that the book contains language and references that aren't appropriate for young children. That means the book, "George," wasn't included in a set of master list titles provided to local elementary schools. Wichita school librarians are still allowed to carry the book. Four of the district's 57 elementary or K-8 schools had purchased a copy as of last month. The controversy led Gino to donate more than 50 copies. So far, librarians at 30 Wichita schools have requested copies.
Lawrence Set to Hold First Veterans Day Parade Since 1968
LAWRENCE, Kan. (KPR) - It's been nearly 50 years since Lawrence held a Veterans Day parade. That will change next month. On November 11th, the city will hold a Veterans Day parade to honor current and former military personnel from all eras. One of the organizers is Saundra Wisdom, a counselor who works with veterans at the local VA clinic in Lawrence. She said the idea for putting on a parade came after working with a group of Vietnam vets. Wisdom says the best she can tell, the last time Lawrence held a parade specifically for veterans was in 1968. Next month's parade will be held on Saturday, November 11th - Veterans Day - in downtown Lawrence. For more information, visit the Lawrence Veterans Day Parade group on Facebook.
Home Health Care Program in Sedgwick County Suspended
JOPLIN, Mo. (AP) - Federal regulators have ordered Via Christi Health in Wichita to suspend a senior care program because of "severe" deficiencies. The program, Via Christi HOPE, is designed to help senior citizens in Sedgwick County stay in their homes by offering a complete health care plan involving primary care, specialists and nurses. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services said program should not enroll new clients because it was not providing participants with medically necessary services. During an audit in August, regulators found problems that hurt patients' health, a failure to determine if patients could safely live at home, and a pattern of home health aides not showing up for scheduled visits. A spokesman for Via Christi, Johnny Smith Jr., says the health system is working to address the auditors' findings.
Man Pleads Guilty in Drunken Crash that Killed Kansas Deputy
OLATHE, Kan. (AP) - A man who was in the country illegally has admitted causing a traffic accident that killed a Johnson County sheriff's deputy. Adrian Espinosa-Flores pleaded guilty Thursday to reckless second-degree murder in the September 2016 death of Master Deputy Brandon Collins. The Kansas City Star reports Collins was killed while conducting a traffic stop in Overland Park. A pickup driven by Espinosa-Flores ran into Collins' parked vehicle, pushing it into the SUV the deputy had pulled over. Espinosa-Flores also pleaded guilty to three counts of aggravated battery for injuries suffered by people in the SUV. Court documents say Espinosa-Flores' blood-alcohol content was twice the legal limit when he was arrested. Immigration officials will take Espinosa-Flores into custody after he completes his prison sentence.
86-Year-Old Kansas Woman Found Dead After Casino Trip
HUNNEWELL, Kan. (AP) - Authorities say an 86-year-old woman who disappeared after leaving a Kansas casino has been found dead near the state's southern border with Oklahoma. The Wichita Eagle reports that Sumner County Sheriff's Captain Mike Westmoreland says Dixie Adair may have left her car after it became stuck in mud on a rural dirt road. Her body was discovered Thursday about 200 feet from her car in the southern part of the county. The Kansas Bureau of Investigation had issued a Silver Alert for Adair, saying she went missing Monday morning after a trip to the Kansas Star Casino in Mulvane near Wichita. She lived in Rose Hill, which is less than 10 miles northeast of the casino. An aircraft spotted her car 40 miles to the south. She apparently had become lost.
Kansas Man Convicted of 1994 Double Murder Presents Case for Innocence
KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) - A hearing is underway in Kansas for a man who has spent more than half of his life in prison for a double homicide that witnesses swear he didn't commit. KMBC-TV reports that the hearing for Lamonte McIntyre began Thursday in Wyandotte County. He's imprisoned for the 1994 deaths of Doniel Quinn and Donald Ewing, who were shot in broad daylight as they sat in a car in a drug-infested neighborhood. A forensics expert testified during the hearing that the investigation was grossly deficient. McIntyre's clothes were not tested for glass or blood, and suspect eyewitness testimony was left unchallenged. Guinn's sister, Marsheil Kendrick, says she believes in McIntyre's innocence. She says the family wants "to see the right thing done" and that it's time for McIntyre to "come home."
Kansas Forecast to Harvest Record Soybean and Cotton Crops
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - A new report says Kansas farmers are expected to harvest record crops of soybeans and cotton this season. The National Agricultural Statistics Service said it anticipates 209 million bushels of soybeans will be cut in Kansas this fall. That is up 9 percent from last year. Another record crop is expected to come in for cotton, with harvest forecast at 190,000 bales. That is a 168 percent jump from last year. Corn production in Kansas is forecast at 697 million bushels. That's down slightly from last year.