Judge Takes Hands-On Approach to Kansas Voter Notice
KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — A federal judge is taking a hands-on approach to the notice Kansas will send to thousands of voters informing them of their eligibility to cast a ballot in November. U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson on Friday gave Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach and the American Liberties Union until noon Monday to submit a joint draft for her review. She has also set a telephone status conference for Wednesday to discuss any revisions. Robinson canceled contempt proceedings for Kobach after he agreed to concessions that register and notify people who applied at motor vehicle offices or with a federal form without providing documentary proof of citizenship. Kobach and the ACLU brokered a deal allowing roughly 20,000 people so far to vote on a regular ballot, instead of a provisional one.
Democrat Sees Kansas Tapping Road Funds; Governor Won't Say
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — While Republican Governor Sam Brownback is avoiding the issue, a Democratic legislator says Kansas is likely to divert additional funds from highway projects to balance its budget. Brownback declined to say Friday whether he would propose the diversion of highway funds to other government programs during the fiscal year that begins July 1. It's a move he and other governors have used regularly in the past when faced with budget problems. Democratic state Senator Laura Kelly of Topeka said the state isn't likely to have any other choice to fill short-term gaps in the budget. She predicted Brownback will propose tapping sales tax revenues now set aside for transportation projects. Brownback also said a task force he appointed will be releasing proposals Tuesday for improving the state's revenue projections.
Brownback: Fixes for Kansas Revenue Projects to Be Unveiled
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Governor Sam Brownback says a task force will outline proposals next week for improving the state's revenue projections. The Republican governor said Friday that the proposals are aimed at addressing problems the state has faced in predicting how much tax revenue it will collect. Brownback appointed the task force earlier this year. Republican legislators slashed personal income taxes in 2012 and 2013 at Brownback's urging, in hopes of stimulating the economy. The state's tax collections have fallen short of expectations 31 of the 44 months since the first round of cuts took effect in January 2013. The state exceeded its tax-collection targets in 23 of the 44 months before the first tax cuts took effect but struggled in 2009 in the Great Recession's aftermath.
Nursing Home Provider Sues State over Medicaid Applications
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A skilled nursing home provider is suing Kansas on behalf of 21 patients who risk being thrown out of its facilities because the state has allegedly not timely processed their Medicaid applications. The Evangelical Lutheran Good Samaritan Society filed its lawsuit Thursday in U.S. District Court in Kansas against the Michael Randol, the director of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. It contends those patients have been unable to pay for their room, board, care and other services because of state's failure to timely comply with federal and state Medicaid laws. A Kansas spokeswoman says the agency cannot comment on pending litigation, but contends the state has significantly reduced the Medicaid application backlog from roughly 10,000 this summer to about 1,500 now.
Army Names New Fort Riley Commander to Replace Fired Officer
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Army has named a new commander at Fort Riley, Kansas, to replace an officer who was fired Monday, just weeks before soldiers from the 1st Infantry Division deploy to Iraq. Major General Joseph Martin is assuming command of the division. Martin replaces Major General Wayne Grigsby, who is the subject of an Army investigation and was removed from command. The Army hasn't released details of the investigation. Martin is a 1986 graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, and recently was commander at the National Training Center in Fort Irwin, California.
Kansas Agency Approves Settlement in Boy's 2013 Death
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Kansas officials have approved the state's $100,000 share of $412,000 settlement Friday in a federal lawsuit over the death of a 4-year-old northeast Kansas boy. The State Finance Council agreed Friday to pay the money to Naomi Boone, the mother of the late Mekhi Boone. The boy's father, Lee Davis, is serving nearly 20 years for second-degree murder in the boy's 2013 beating death. Naomi Boone has contended that one of the state's foster care contractors placed the child with Davis while aware that he had a history of domestic violence. Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley, a Topeka Democrat, says the state is paying the money because it had an obligation to protect the child. Gov. Sam Brownback says TFI Family Services Inc. will pay $312,000.
Kansas Sets Date for Closing Juvenile Correctional Facility
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) _ The state plans to close a juvenile correctional facility in western Kansas in March. The Kansas Department of Corrections earlier this year announced plans to close the Larned Juvenile Correctional Facility because of a declining number of youths jailed at the site. The state's juvenile incarceration operations are to be consolidated at a complex in Topeka. The department said Thursday that it has set March 3, 2017, as the Larned facility's final date of operation. Secretary of Corrections Joe Norwood says many staff members are transferring to nearby correctional facilities and others will work for the Larned State Hospital. Norwood says juveniles will stay at the Larned facility until January 23.
Graduate Students at Regents Universities to Lose Health Care Subsidies
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Board of Regents says graduate student employees at state universities will lose their health care subsidies starting next year as a result of a recent opinion by the IRS regarding health insurance. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that the IRS issued an opinion that an employing university can no longer provide a subsidy for graduate students' health insurance under the Affordable Care Act because the system's student plan is an individual plan. Regents communications director Breeze Richardson says Kansas's state universities plan to offer extra compensation to students in place of the subsidies. The amount may vary by campus. Richardson says there may be efforts at the federal level to get the IRS to change its opinion, but it would likely be too late for the upcoming academic year.
Wichita State Student Being Treated for Tuberculosis
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Health officials say a student at Wichita State University has been diagnosed with tuberculosis. The Sedgwick County Health Department says although the student lived in a dorm, the risk of tuberculosis remains low for other students and staff. Health Department spokeswoman Adrienne Byrne-Lutz says the department received the student's tuberculosis diagnosis Thursday, but was not sure when the student may have contracted the disease. She says the student is undergoing treatment and is being isolated from other people. But she said the student would likely be allowed to return to classes in about a week, when no longer contagious. She told The Wichita Eagle that health department staff would contact about a handful of people who had close enough contact with the student to contract the disease.
Cargill Buys Wichita Eagle Building to House New Offices
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Agribusiness giant Cargill has selected the building site housing the Wichita Eagle as its new headquarters for its protein operations. The company said in a news release Friday that the property would be redeveloped into a newly constructed office complex accommodating about 800 people. Cargill says it has signed a letter of intent with a local investment group to acquire and develop the site, without disclosing the terms. Wichita is home to the company's beef business and its turkey and cooked meat business, which includes deli meats. Its processed-protein services, such as its North American egg business and food distribution, also are located in Wichita. In May, the company announced plans to keep its protein operations in Wichita. Cargill anticipates moving into the new facility by the end of 2018.
Sedgwick County Deputy Hospitalized After Chase
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say a Kansas deputy is hospitalized after flipping his car while chasing a fleeing driver. The Wichita Eagle reports that the pursuit started around 1:30 am this morning (FRI) after the deputy attempted to pull over a car. A Sedgwick County dispatch supervisor says the deputy overturned his car during the pursuit.The deputy was taken to a Wichita hospital with what was reported as serious injuries.
Police Identify 2 Killed in Prairie Village Murder-Suicide
PRAIRIE VILLAGE, Kan. (AP) — Authorities have identified two people killed in a murder-suicide in a suburban Kansas City home. Prairie Village police said Thursday that 48-year-old Richard Glenn is suspected of fatally shooting his wife, 53-year-old Barbara Glenn, before killing himself. The Kansas City Star reports that their bodies were found September 20th after officers were called to check on the welfare of the residents.
Guilty Plea in Shooting that Led to Death of Kansas Captain
KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) _ An 18-year-old man has pleaded guilty to charges stemming from a shooting that a Kansas City, Kansas, police captain was investigating when he was killed. DaQon Sipple pleaded guilty Thursday in Wyandotte County court to charges including aggravated assault and criminal discharge of a firearm. Prosecutors say Sipple fired shots that police were called to investigate on July 19. After Sipple was arrested that day, Police Capt. Robert David Melton was investigating the shooting when a man fired shots into Melton's patrol car, killing him. Jamaal Lewis is charged with capital murder in Melton's death. The Kansas City Star reports that as part of the plea agreement, Sipple has agreed to testify if he's called as a witness in the case against Lewis. Sipple's sentencing is November 18.
Authorities Say Hays Officer Killed Man in Self-Defense
HAYS, Kan. (AP) - Authorities have cleared a western Kansas police officer of wrongdoing in a shooting death. Ellis County Attorney Thomas Drees said in a release Thursday that no crime occurred because the Hays officer was acting in self-defense when he fatally shot the 36-year-old man, who wasn't armed. Drees says the shooting happened August 18 after police tried to stop a vehicle with an expired license plate. Drees says the driver sped off as other officers responded. He says the suspect eventually stopped, got out of the car and again ignored police commands. Drees says the man fled again until an officer caught him and tried to force him to the ground. He says the suspect then tried to take the officer's gun, and the officer fatally shot him in the chest.
Kansas City Streetcar Authority Votes to Add Cars to Fleet
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Kansas City is looking into adding more streetcars to alleviate crowding on a heavily traveled 2.2-mile starter route that opened this spring. The Kansas City Star reports that the Streetcar Authority voted Thursday to develop a financing plan to add two more streetcars to the four-vehicle fleet. Because each car is custom-made and the procurement process takes so long, they likely won't arrive until 2019. Streetcar Authority member Russ Johnson says the route is averaging about 6,600 rides per day, well above the 2,700 rides per day that had been expected. The downtown route spans from the River Market to Union Station. Officials also talked about extending the starter route north to Berkley Riverfront Park. They will conduct a feasibility study.
Minnesota Twins Defeat Royals, 7-6
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Minnesota Twins beat the Kansas City Royals 7-6 on Thursday night. After the Royals' Salvador Perez's RBI single with two outs in the ninth pulled the Royals within a run, Terrance Gore ran for him but Twins' pitcher Brandon Kintzler picked Gore off first base. Gore was initially called safe, but after a review, the call was reversed to end the game. The Twins' Byron Buxton's one-out double triggered a three-run ninth off Kelvin Herrera (2-6). Robbie Grossman, Miguel Sano and Max Kepler contributed run-scoring singles in the ninth. The Twins won for the first time in 10 games this season at Kauffman Stadium.
Kansas Jayhawks Slammed by Texas Tech, 55-19
LUBBOCK, Texas (AP) — Texas Tech quarterback Nic Shimonek threw for four touchdowns and 271 yards to lead the Red Raiders past the Jayhawks 55-19 Thursday night in each team's Big 12 opener. Shimonek came in after starting QB Patrick Mahomes, who also threw for four TDs, got injured in the third quarter. Mahomes, who threw for 277 yards and had one interception, left the game after a 32-yard run that ended with him going down hard on his right shoulder. The defeat for Kansas (1-3) made it 40 straight losses in games on the road.