Conservative Losses in Kansas, Republican Wins in Missouri Top AP News Stories of 2016
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Conservative election losses have been named the top Kansas story of 2016 by Associated Press reporters and editors. The gains for moderates in the Kansas Legislature followed mounting discontent over budget shortfalls, education funding and sales and cigarette tax increases. AP named the February shooting at a Hesston lawnmower factory which killed three people as the second-biggest Kansas story of the year. Coming in third was an alleged plot by three members of an anti-Muslim militia group to bomb an apartment complex in Garden City where 120 Somali immigrants live. The death of 10-year-old Caleb Schwab, son of a Kansas state lawmaker, on a Kansas City, Kansas water slide was also named as among the year's top stories. In Missouri, an election that saw Republicans gain unprecedented power was named the state's top story of 2016. Republicans were dominant from president on down in the November election, sweeping statewide races. The NFL's decision to approve the St. Louis Rams' move back to Los Angeles after 21 seasons was the second biggest story of the year in Missouri.
Increased Visibility of Kansas Lieutenant Governor Draws Notice
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Jeff Colyer says his job description as Kansas lieutenant governor requires him to be ready to take over as governor at any time. Legislative leaders in both parties said they've had more contact with Colyer recently than in the past. Senate President and Wichita Republican Susan Wagle told reporters earlier this month that fellow legislators believe GOP Governor Sam Brownback is "looking for a ticket to D.C." and a job with President-elect Donald Trump's administration. Brownback isn't commenting, and there's no indication he's talked to Trump or the businessman's top aides about a job. Incoming House Majority Leader Don Hineman said legislators see Colyer's visibility as a sign that Colyer could become governor. The 56-year-old is a plastic surgeon who takes part in international medical relief missions.
3 Brief Tornadoes Seen in Kansas on Christmas Day
DODGE CITY, Kan. (AP) — Three tornadoes were reported in Kansas on Christmas Day, causing some damage but no injuries. The Dodge City office of the National Weather Service says the first tornado was reported six miles southeast of Bucklin Sunday morning, destroying a cattle building. KAKE reports that 20 minutes later, a horse shed was damaged three miles south of Greensburg. Another weak tornado touched down later in a farm field southwest of Rush Center in Rush County. No damage was reported from that tornado. Strong winds attached to thunderstorms caused damage to roofs, a grain bin and trees. No injuries are reported from the storms.
Kansas Supreme Court Rules in 1999 Lawrence Case
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Supreme Court says a man serving about 54 years in prison after being convicted in a 1999 rape and robbery case in Lawrence may be entitled to a few more days in court. The high court Friday ordered the Kansas Court of Appeals to reconsider if a case can be made that Terry D. McIntyre had ineffective counsel in an appeal. The Lawrence Journal reports that he was tried and convicted in Douglas County District Court on multiple charges of robbery, rape, criminal sodomy, aggravated battery and kidnapping and sentenced to 53 years and nine months. But the Supreme Court said the Court of Appeals must decide if a late appeal claiming ineffective counsel in his previous appeals could be justified.
Kansas Supreme Court Disbars Topeka Lawyer
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - The Kansas Supreme Court has disbarred a longtime Topeka lawyer from practice because of how he handled two clients' estates. In the unanimous ruling Friday, the court disbarred Bruce C. Harrington, saying he "violated his duties to his clients, to the legal system, to the profession, and to the public." The court's ruling said Harrington wrote himself checks over several years on the checking account of one client and spent more than $25,000 from a second client's estate. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that Harrington, who has been a lawyer for 48 years, represented himself in the disciplinary action and disputed the claims.
Lead Cleanup Begins at Lawrence Community Building
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — A nearly $40,000 cleanup is set to begin at a Lawrence community building that was found to have high levels of lead. Since the lead contamination was discovered this year, the basement room at the Community Building has been locked up. Professional decontamination is set to begin Monday. Mark Hecker, assistant director of the Lawrence Parks and Recreation Department, told The Lawrence Journal World the work will involve removing all the surfaces, cleaning and repainting. The approximately 1,400-square-foot space housed a gun range that left behind extremely high levels of lead contamination. The lead contamination built up as bits from lead bullets accumulated as patrons fired their weapons. In May, tests found lead in some areas that was 17,000 times greater than what's considered safe.
Group Wants Citizen Review Board to Work with Topeka Police
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Topeka group is pushing for a citizen review board that it says would improve the relationship between the community and the police department. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that Topekans for Racial Justice believes the review board would give citizens more influence to hold police accountable to the community. Police spokeswoman Amy McCarter says the department is always willing to consider suggestions from the public. She noted that outgoing police chief James Brown had already established an advisory board to encourage discussions between police and the community. Sarah Oglesby-Dunegan, a member of Topekans for Racial Justice, says the advisory board isn't enough because the police chief appointed its members. Brown is leaving the department January 1, and Oglesby-Dunegan questions if citizens will have input into selecting his replacement.
1 Dead in Christmas Day Shooting in KCK
KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Kansas City, Kansas, police are investigating a fatal shooting. The Kansas City Star reports that police responded to a report of a shooting at a home early Sunday and found a man inside had been shot to death. The victim's name hasn't been released.
Anonymous Donors Pay Off Topeka School Lunch Debts
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Donors have given thousands of dollars this holiday season to pay off school lunch debts for Topeka-area families. The donors' combined gifts total more than $6,300 and benefit children at Topeka Unified School District 501, Seaman USD 345, Auburn-Washburn USD 437 and Shawnee Heights USD 450. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that one contribution, which was directed at helping children at Randolph Elementary School, totaled more than $3,000. The generosity may have been inspired by a man who paid off balances at Tecumseh North Elementary last week and then left extra money for children whose families are struggling financially.
Kansas City Airport Traffic Increases for 31st Consecutive Month
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The number of passengers at Kansas City International Airport continues climbing. Airport officials say passenger traffic at the airport increased 6.6 percent in November from a year earlier. It was the 31st consecutive month traffic grew at the airport...and travel increased 5.4 percent through the first 11 months of 2016. The Kansas City Aviation Department's monthly report says 926,293 passengers used the airport last month. For the year through November, 10.14 million passengers used the airport.
Two Found Dead in Vehicle in Kansas City, Kansas
KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) - Police are investigating after two people were found shot to death in an SUV on Interstate 70 in Kansas City, Kansas. The Kansas City Star reports that Kansas City, Kansas police responded to a car wreck along the highway early Saturday and found a man and a woman dead in the SUV from apparent gunshot wounds. Police say their SUV struck a bridge before stopping in the middle of the highway and that the driver of a passenger car traveling behind the SUV struck the SUV. That driver was taken to a hospital with injuries that weren't life threatening. Police say they believe the victims in the SUV were shot by occupants of a third vehicle that left the scene.
Kansas City's World War I Museum to Get $6.4 Million Upgrade
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - The National World War I Museum and Memorial in Kansas City is set to undergo about $6.4 million in upgrades that will include a new exhibit gallery. The museum, which opened in 2006, is planning to renovate empty space at the site to house the first of a planned series of traveling exhibits about the war on loan from governments and museums around the world. The Kansas City Star reports that the 3,500-square-foot Wylie Gallery is part of a $6.4 million package of improvements on the memorial grounds. Work is expected to begin early next year on the gallery. Other improvements include enhancing educational and other programming and reworking the artificial poppy field beneath the glass bridge leading to the exhibits.
Body Found in Trash Dumpster in Wichita
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Wichita police are investigating after a body was found in a dumpster on Christmas Day. Police Sergeant Wendell Nicholson says the cause of death is not clear but investigators are treating the case as suspicious. Nicholson says people going through the dumpster found the body Sunday afternoon outside a bakery in southwest Wichita.
Kansas City Chiefs Secure Playoff Spot, Beat Broncos, 33-10
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Kansas City Chiefs dashed the Denver Bronco's remaining hopes of a return to the Super Bowl with a 33-10 rout at Arrowhead Stadium Sunday night. The Denver loss knocked the Broncos from postseason contention. The Chiefs were already assured of a wild card playoff spot before the game started when Pittsburgh beat Baltimore earlier in the day. With their postseason spot secured, the Chiefs turned to Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill to roll past the Denver Broncos and keep their AFC West title hopes alive. Kelce had 11 catches for 160 yards and a touchdown, and Hill took a handoff 70 yards for another score, as the Chiefs (11-4) beat the Broncos (8-7) and eliminated the Super Bowl champions from postseason contention. Alex Smith capped a 77-yard touchdown march with a 10-yard keeper in the first quarter, and Hill out-ran the banged-up Broncos a few minutes later to give the Chiefs a 14-0 lead. Meanwhile, the Broncos' Trevor Siemian was 17 of 43 for 183 yards and a game-ending interception. The only Denver TD drive came from Justin Forsett and the touchdown gave the Broncos fleeting hope, but it was dashed moments later as Kelce took a screen pass and followed perfectly executed blocking for an 80-yard touchdown and a 21-7 lead. The Chiefs' defense took care of the rest to make it a festive Christmas night for the Kansas City fans.