Authorities Investigate Suspicious Package at Kansas Capitol
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Some streets around the Kansas Statehouse are closed after a suspicious package was found on the lawn on the southwest side of the building. Capitol Police Captain Andy Dean says the Capitol remains open today (FRI) amid the investigation. Dean, the supervisor of the Capitol Police division within the Kansas Highway Patrol, says the investigation began after a man walked came into the police department around 6:30 a.m. Friday and reported that another person had left the package on the Capitol grounds. Dean says the package appears to be a barrel with a hazardous material decal. The Topeka Police Department's bomb squad has responded and is determining how to proceed.
Jenkins and Other Kansas Republicans Not Abandoning Trump
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas congresswoman Lynn Jenkins and a fellow Republican candidate are not withdrawing previous endorsements of GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump over sexual assault allegations against him. Jenkins told The Associated Press: "I'm not going to come out with a new statement on the presidential race every time a new headline hits the papers." The Republican seeking re-election in the 2nd District of eastern Kansas suggested there's a "double standard" because Democrats aren't asked whether they continue to support Hillary Clinton amid potentially damaging leaks of campaign emails. In the 1st District of western and central Kansas, GOP nominee Roger Marshall said the allegations make him sick but he wants to see more evidence. Marshall said of Trump, "I'm giving him the same grace I would give anybody."
Heavy Rains Extensively Damage Kansas High Court Building
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) _ Rainwater has seeped into the building that houses the Kansas Supreme Court, causing extensive damage and forcing some employees to temporarily relocate. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that the Kansas Judicial Center's leaking roof, which was in the process of being repaired, was inundated by heavy rains on September 13. A court spokeswoman, Lisa Taylor, says the most significant water damage occurred on the third and second floors. The Office of the Judicial Administration, which is housed on the third floor, was also damaged. Fifty people -- including all seven justices, five other judges, their staffs and other court employees -- were moved from their offices to other spaces in the building.
Great Plains Energy-Westar Merger Moves Forward
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Great Plains Energy Inc. has reached an agreement with the staff of the Missouri Public Service Commission intended to insulate Missouri customers against any negative financial impact from Great Plains' takeover of Westar Energy. Great Plains, the parent company of Kansas City Power & Light, is planning an $8.6 billion purchase of Westar, the largest utility company in Kansas. Chuck Caisley, a Great Plains spokesman, said Thursday the agreement addresses some concerns raised by the public service commission about the Westar acquisition. He says the agreement also allows the company to move forward with the proposal with more certainty. Caisley says the combination of the two utilities is still expected to close by next spring. The proposed sale of Westar must be approved by the full Missouri Public Service Commission.
Judge Orders Separate Trials For 4 Defendants in Kansas Gun Shop Killing
OLATHE, Kan. (AP) — The four men charged with killing the co-owner of a suburban Kansas City gun store during a robbery will have separate trials. A Johnson County judge granted a motion on Thursday from two of the defendants, Londro Patterson and De'Anthony Wiley, seeking separate trials. The Kansas City Star reports prosecutors wanted Patterson and Wiley tried to together but did not object to separate trials for the other defendants, Hakeem Malik and Nicquan Midgyettt. The four men are all charged with first-degree murder in the January 2015 shooting death of Jon Bieker. He died while defending his wife at the She's A Pistol gun store in Shawnee. Three of the four alleged robbers were wounded.
Nearly 6% of KU Freshmen Entered School Through Alternative Route
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) _ Nearly 6 percent of University of Kansas freshmen were admitted through an alternative process after failing to meet the school's new and tougher standards. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that the more exacting standards took effect this semester. A committee reviews applications from students who don't meet the criteria for automatic admission. The change led to concerns that minority enrollment would drop. But university data shows 47 percent of the 750 students admitted through the committee process were minorities. Among those committee-admitted students, 243 enrolled this fall, and they made up 5.7 percent of the overall 4,233-student freshman class. Enrollment officials say most of the students admitted through the new committee process would have had high enough test scores and grades to be admitted under the old standards.
Kansas Highway Patrol Officer Hospitalized After Crash
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - A Kansas Highway Patrol officer has been hurt after his vehicle was rear-ended while stopped in a median. The patrol says the crash happened Thursday afternoon on Interstate 470 in the Topeka area. The officer and two people from the other vehicle were transported to a hospital. No details about their injuries were immediately available. At the time of the crash, the officer was working as a motor carrier inspector, a job that involves investigating crashes and assisting stranded motorists. The crash is under investigation.
2 Charged in Fatal Shooting at Apartment Near Kansas City
BLUE SPRINGS, Mo. (AP) - Two cousins have been charged with fatally shooting a man during a burglary at a suburban Kansas City apartment. Seventeen-year-old Malik Duren, of Kansas City, and 18-year-old Mahki Hall, of Grain Valley, were charged Thursday with second-degree murder and five other felonies. Court documents say 46-year-old Luis Cedres was killed and Duren was wounded early Wednesday in Blue Springs. Officers pursued a car seen speeding away from the area. When it ran into a ditch, Duren was found inside and rushed to a hospital. Police say Duren had the victim's wallet. Hall and another suspect fled into nearby woods. Hall later was arrested in Grain Valley. Bond is set at $250,000 for Duren and $150,000 for Hall.
4 Kansas Children Have Died in Accidental Shootings Since 2014
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Four Kansas children have died in accidental shootings since January 2014, including the 3-year-old son of a Reno County sheriff's deputy. Data compiled by The Associated Press and USA TODAY over a 2½-year span show three of the Kansas deaths involved children 3 years old or younger. Twelve other people were wounded by accidental shootings involving minors during that time. Reno County deputy Andrew Nagel says he had secured his firearms away from his son when the child visited two weeks before Christmas last year, but his roommate, who wasn't used to having children around, had not. Sheriff Randy Henderson says Kaden Nagel's death prompted his department to revive a gun safety program for children.
Poll of College Coaches Picks Kansas to Win Big 12
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The University of Kansas is the pick to win the Big 12 basketball title in a vote by conference coaches released yesterday (THUR). The Jayhawks received nine of 10 first place votes, making Kansas a unanimous selection as coaches are not allowed to vote for their own teams. West Virginia is picked second, followed by Texas, then Iowa State followed by Oklahoma. Baylor is picked to finish sixth. OU, OSU, Texas Tech, Kansas State and TCU round out the coaches' picks.