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Headlines for Monday, April 11, 2016

Kansas news headlines from the Associated Press

Grissom to Step Down as US Attorney for Kansas 

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Barry Grissom says he will step down as U.S. attorney for Kansas effective Friday. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch on Monday said that Grissom helped make Kansas and the entire United States a safer and more just place. She lauded his work building new relations with state and local law enforcement. Grissom, 62, told the Kansas City Star that he tendered his resignation to the president about 10 days ago and said he will go into private practice. He said he’s proud of the fact that he met with so many law enforcement officials in rural and western Kansas and “put a face on the federal government." Grissom, a Democrat from Leawood, said he’s has been encouraged to run for political office but hasn't decided when or for which position. He says the office that most interests him is the U.S. Senate. First Assistant U.S. Attorney Tom Beall will serve as acting U.S. attorney. He also served as a member of the U.S. Attorney General's Advisory Committee and served on Justice Department subcommittees focusing on civil rights and other issues. Grissom was nominated by President Barack Obama in 2010.


Kansas Governor Holds Ceremony to Sign Juvenile Justice Bill 

OLATHE, Kan. (AP) — Governor Sam Brownback has signed a bill overhauling the Kansas juvenile justice system during a ceremony outside the courthouse of the state's most populous county. Representatives from a national advocacy group, legislators and Kansas Department of Corrections officials joined the signing event Monday outside the Johnson County Courthouse in Olathe. The new system will keep more low-risk juvenile offenders in their homes as they can participate in community-based programs that focus on anger management and other behavioral changes. The system overhaul will divert money from the construction and maintenance of jails to alternatives to detention. The measure was in part a reaction to 2013 U.S. Department of Justice data showing that the state had the sixth-highest incarceration rate for young offenders in the nation.


Kansas Governor Vetoes Blight Bill, Citing Property Rights 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Governor Sam Brownback has vetoed a bill designed to make it easier for local communities to attack blight by taking over abandoned properties. The Republican governor cited property rights in his veto message Monday to legislators. Brownback said the aim of the bill was laudable but said it "takes a step too far." The bill would have changed the definition of abandoned property to include blighted real estate that has been unoccupied for a year. It would have allowed a district court to give a local government or nonprofit group possession. Current law allows only organizations to seek temporary possession of homes with two years of delinquent property taxes and vacant for 90 days. Brownback said he heard concerns that the bill would hurt poor and minority neighborhoods disproportionately.


Kobach Says He Advised Trump on Immigration, Mexico Wall 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach says he has advised Donald Trump's campaign on immigration issues, particularly the GOP candidate's plan to force Mexico to pay for a border wall. Trump has proposed making Mexico pay for the wall by cutting off remittances that Mexicans living in the U.S. send back to their homeland, unless Mexico makes a one-time payment of $5 billion to $10 billion. Kobach, who has built a national reputation for fighting against illegal immigration, says the remittance plan is consistent with advice he gave Trump's campaign. He says he has spoken to Trump directly and the candidate was receptive to his ideas. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports the Trump campaign didn't respond to a request to elaborate on Kobach's involvement with the campaign.


Kansas Couple to Appeal Custody Ruling; Drug Use Suspected 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas appellate court says five children of a Navy veteran and his wife were taken into state custody because of suspected drug use and neglect, not because of his use of medical marijuana. The Topeka Capital-Journal says a Kansas Court of Appeals panel determined Friday the children don't feel safe returning to Raymond and Amelia Schwab. The appellate court found that Raymond Schwab tested positive for methamphetamine and opioids during a court-ordered blood screening last year. Raymond Schwab says he has used medical marijuana to treat PTSD, even though Kansas has not legalized medical marijuana. He alleges the state "kidnapped" the children in April 2015. The Schwabs' case has become a rallying cry for medical marijuana advocates.


Guard, 6 Others Accused in Kansas Prison Smuggling Scheme 

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — A guard at a Kansas lockup for federal detainees is accused with two inmates and four other people in a scheme to smuggle methamphetamine and other contraband into the prison. U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom announced the charges Monday against 28-year-old guard Anthon Aiono of Platte City, Missouri. He works at the Leavenworth, Kansas, Detention Center, which is run by U.S. government through contractor Corrections Corporation of America. It is separate from the federal prison in Leavenworth. Authorities allege that the scheme involved smuggling into the lockup methamphetamine, synthetic marijuana, alcohol and cigarettes. Online court records do not show whether the seven defendants have attorneys. Their detention hearings are scheduled for Thursday. Grissom says the investigation began last year after authorities learned contraband routinely was making its way into the prison.


Kansas Reports 4.4 Percent Decline in Abortions Last Year 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas says the number of abortions performed in Kansas declined 4.4 percent last year and dropped below 7,000 for the first time since 1987. The state Department of Health and Environment issued a preliminary report Monday saying that 6,974 abortions were reported in Kansas or by its residents in 2015. That's 320 fewer than for 2014. The totals include reports for several dozen Kansas women having abortions in other states. In both years, nearly half of the reported abortions were for patients who came to Kansas from elsewhere, mainly Missouri. Kansas has tightened abortion restrictions in recent years and last year banned a common second-trimester procedure. But a lawsuit has kept the ban on hold, so Kansas saw only a small decline in the affected method, to 629 last year.


New Kansas Website Aims to Aid Residents' Financial Literacy 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The state of Kansas has launched a new financial literacy website in an effort to fight some of the money management challenges residents face. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that the site includes the Kansas Financial Learning Center, an interactive tool with 16 informative modules on a variety of financial topics. A recent WalletHub report says Kansas was the top state in its WalletLiteracy test, which scores the financial literacy of a state's residents. President and CEO of Fidelity State Bank & Trust Co., Allan Towle, says financial literacy is a critical issue and that all ages can benefit from learning information that guides them to making good financial decisions. Chris Burk, supervisor at Topeka's Housing and Credit Counseling Inc., says tackling money challenges early on can make a big difference.


Southwest Airlines Flight to KCI Diverted to Wichita 

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - A Southwest Airlines flight traveling from Dallas to Kansas City has been diverted to a Wichita airport after cabin pressure dropped. Southwest officials say Flight 50 landed safely Sunday night at Eisenhower National Airport in Wichita. The Boeing 737 was carrying 143 passengers and five crew members. The airline says it is working to get passengers to their final destinations.


Sheriff: Missing Former KU Football Player's Body Found

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A former University of Kansas running back who had been missing for a week has been found dead in a secluded area in central Missouri. Maries County Sheriff Chris Heitman said that 24-year-old Brandon Kyle Bourbon's body was found near Vienna, about 80 miles west of his hometown of Polosi. The Sheriff's Office says Bourbon committed suicide. Bourbon was reported missing April 2nd. He played football for the Kansas Jayhawks from 2010 until 2014 then transferred to Washburn for the 2015 season. University of Kansas football coach David Beaty issued a statement sending his condolences to Bourbon's family and calling him a constant source of inspiration within the football program.


Amtrak Sues Kansas Feed Yard over Damaged Tracks, Derailment

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Amtrak is suing a southwest Kansas feed yard claiming gross negligence related to a train derailment that injured 28 passengers last month. The Wichita Eagle reports Amtrak and BNSF Railway Co. filed a lawsuit Friday accusing Cimarron Crossing Feeders of failing to report that one of its trucks had damaged tracks about 20 miles west of Dodge City. The lawsuit says an Amtrak train traveling east shortly after midnight March 14 hit the damaged tracks and derailed near Cimarron. A preliminary National Transportation Safety Board report estimated damage from the derailment at more than $1.4 million. The plaintiffs have requested a jury trial in Wichita. 


Kobach Dismisses Voter Fraud Charge Against Olathe Woman

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — One of the first voter fraud cases Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach filed after being given prosecutorial authority by the Legislature has been dismissed just before it was scheduled to go to trial. The Kansas City Star reports the charge against Olathe resident Betty Gaedtke has been dropped. A jury trial was slated to begin today (MON).  Gaedtke and her husband, Steven were accused of casting 2010 general election ballots in both Kansas and Arkansas. Some of the counts involved advance voting ballots. Steven Gaedtke pleaded guilty in December to one misdemeanor count and paid the maximum $500 fine. Two other counts were dismissed.  


TransCanada Resumes Oil Shipments Through Keystone Pipeline

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — TransCanada Corporation has resumed sending oil through the Keystone Pipeline after a weeklong shutdown prompted by a leak and oil spill in southeastern South Dakota. The pipeline came back online Sunday, but with a reduced pressure. The company says it is continuing cleanup and land restoration at the site of the spill, which TransCanada estimates was about 400 barrels, or just under 17,000 gallons. The leak was discovered April 2. The company says there was no significant environmental impact or threat to public safety. The pipeline transports crude from Alberta, Canada, to refineries in Illinois and Oklahoma, passing through the eastern Dakotas, Nebraska, Kansas and Missouri. It can handle 550,000 barrels, or about 23 million gallons, daily. The company has not released estimates on cleanup costs and repairs.


USGS Records Small Earthquakes in Oklahoma

MEDFORD, Okla. (AP) — The U.S. Geological Survey reports small earthquakes in central and north-central Oklahoma that include a magnitude 4.0 quake northeast of Medford near the Oklahoma-Kansas state line at 4:55 p.m. Saturday. No injuries or damage were reported.  A 2.8 magnitude quake was recorded in the same area and 2.6 and 2.9 magnitude quakes were recorded in the Oklahoma City metro area earlier in the day.  he number of magnitude 3.0 or greater earthquakes has spiked dramatically in Oklahoma from a few dozen in 2012 to more than 900 last year.  Scientists have linked the increase to the underground disposal of wastewater related to the hydraulic fracturing process used in oil-and-gas production. State regulators are asking oil and gas companies to reduce the amount of wastewater injected into the underground disposal wells.


State Warns County Not to Ask Legal Status of WIC Recipients

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Department of Health and Environment is warning Sedgwick County commissioners not to ask participants in the federal Women, Infants and Children program about their citizenship. The Wichita Eagle reports that state officials say asking about immigration status could result in termination of the county's contract to operate the federal WIC program.  County Commissioner Richard Ranzau suggested last fall that the county health department start using a questionnaire that would ask about immigration status of all who use the department's services.  He later proposed that the state redefine eligibility requirements to block illegal immigrants from participating in WIC. The federal program distributes food to poor mothers with young children.


Wyandotte County Work to Improve Residents' Health

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — An annual ranking of health environments throughout the nation contained depressing news for Wyandotte County this year.  The county ranked 101st in Kansas, based on data from factors ranging from premature deaths, obesity, child poverty and access to exercise. Wyandotte County has consistently ranked last or nearly last in the rankings since they began in 2010.  Leaders of a concerted push to improve the county's health are undeterred by the rankings. They say a collaborative effort between private and public officials is making slow but steady progress in advancing the county's health environment. The annual rankings are compiled by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute.


Frank Lloyd Wright Home in Wichita Opens for Regular Tours 

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A Wichita home designed by Frank Lloyd Wright has re-opened to the public on a regular basis nearly 100 years after being built. The Wichita Eagle reports that from 1992 until recently, the buff-brick house on a residential street in College Hill was open only by appointment because the zoning of the house didn't allow it to be open every day. Applying for a zoning change has been on operation manager Amy Reep's to-do list since she started her position last week. Reep, the home's first full-time employee, says she recently began opening a couple mornings a week, and that the schedule is expected to expand for garden parties and twilight hours, with the ultimate goal of being open every day.


Friends University's Library Begins Running on Solar Power

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Students at Friends University in Wichita will be using solar power while they study at the university's library. The Wichita Eagle reports that the university is installing a 29-panel, 9.5 kilowatt solar power array at the entrance of the Edmund Stanley Library.  The $85,000 installation is part of a Westar Energy grant program to promote solar energy in Kansas. The current generated by the solar panels will augment the power the university buys from Westar.  The demonstration project is one of 15 in Kansas being supported by Westar, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment


Syrian Father Surprised by Fast Move from Jordan to Missouri 

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The patriarch of the first Syrian family to be moved to the U.S. under a "surge" program designed to quickly resettle refugees says he was surprised when his family was approved for resettlement so soon, and that he's grateful and now feels safe. Ahmad al-Abboud told reporters Monday that he, his wife and five children were given 20 days to pack up their belongings in the single, windowless room they had shared in Jordan. The family, who also lived for a while in a refugee camp in Jordan, fled Syria's civil war three years ago. They arrived in Kansas City last week. The 45-year-old father from Homs said through an interpreter that he hopes to find construction work and that his children, aged 1 to 12 years, learn English quickly.


Wichita Mosque Hit by 2011 Arson Now Vandalized with Graffiti 

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A west Wichita mosque that was the site of a 2011 arson has been vandalized with graffiti. Wichita Police Sergeant Steve Yarberry said Monday that someone vandalized the mosque owned by the Islamic Association of Mid-Kansas sometime between Friday afternoon and Saturday morning. The Wichita Eagle reports that symbols including stars and pitchforks were spray painted on the south side of the building and a fence. The symbols are several feet tall and visible to traffic and neighboring homes. Damage was estimated at $500. An arson fire was set at the mosque in November 2011, causing $150,000 damage. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives offered a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for the arson.



Overland Park's Jack Sock Loses in U.S. Clay Court Final

HOUSTON, Tex. --  In a bid to repeat as the U.S. Clay Court champion in Houston, Overland Park's Jack Sock fell short. He was beaten in the finals by Juan Monaco, a 32-year seasoned professional from Argentina. Sock won the first set, but dropped the next two.

Royals Beat Twins to Win 3-Game Series

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Speedy pinch runner Terrance Gore streaked home on a wild pitch with two outs in the 10th inning, scoring with a headfirst slide to lift the Kansas City Royals over the winless Minnesota Twins 4-3 Sunday. The World Series champion Royals rallied for two runs in the ninth to tie the game, then dropped the Twins to 0-6. Christian Colon drew a leadoff walk in the 10th. Gore then made his first appearance of the season, running for Colon, and dashed to third on May's throwing error on a pick-off attempt.  May retired the next two batters and issued a walk. With a 1-2 count on Lorenzo Cain, May threw a breaking ball that bounced off catcher John Ryan Murphy's chest protector and skittered to the right side of the plate. Gore beat Murphy's throw to the plate to win the game. 

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