Thousands Attend Rallies Against Trump in Kansas and Missouri
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Thousands of protesters gathered in the capital city of Kansas and in Kansas City, Missouri over the weekend to demonstrate their disapproval of Donald Trump's inauguration as U.S. president. Organizers say at least 2,000 people turned out for a rally at the Statehouse in Topeka and thousands more joined a protest march in Wichita. Protesters also crowded into a park in downtown Kansas City, Missouri across from the landmark Union Station. Speakers at the rallies urged the protesters to be vigilant about the new Trump administration's policies especially those concerning women's rights and gay rights.
Marking Roe Anniversary, Abortion Foes Pin Hopes on Trump
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Abortion opponents are expressing optimism that President Donald Trump's early months in office will advance their cause. They rallied Monday at the Kansas Statehouse to mark the 44th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion across the nation. The event in Kansas was a prelude to the movement's annual March for Life on Friday in Washington. Trump has promised to fill a vacancy on the Supreme Court with what he has called a "pro-life" justice and has said he would sign anti-abortion measures approved by the Republican-controlled Congress. Anti-abortion activists like Mission, Kansas, resident Karin Capron have high hopes for the Trump administration. Abortion rights advocates like Topeka resident Marilyn Ault are bracing for potential changes in law and on the high court.
Royals' Pitcher Ventura Dies in Dominican Car Crash
SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic (AP) - Kansas City Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura died in a traffic accident in his native Dominican Republic over the weekend. Authorities say the 25-year-old died in an accident on a highway about 40 miles northwest of Santo Domingo. It's not clear if Ventura was driving. Royals' General Manager Dayton Moore released a statement Sunday expressing condolences on behalf of the Royals organization. The flags at Kauffman Stadium have been lowered to half-staff. Ventura spent his entire professional career with the Royals, pitching in two World Series and, with his 95 to 100-mile-per-hour fastball, helping the Royals win the World Series championship in 2015. A funeral will be held tomorrow (TUE) in the Dominican Republic. General Manager Dayton Moore, Royals manager Ned Yost and several players will attend the service.
Kansas Official Hopes to Resolve Medicaid Noncompliance
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A top Kansas health official is hopeful for a quick resolution under the Trump administration to a finding that the state's privatized Medicaid system isn't complying with federal law. Kansas Department of Health and Environment Secretary Susan Mosier noted Monday when speaking to a Senate committee that the old administration was leaving office when the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services released its findings. The federal agency found that Kansas failed to oversee the companies it contracts to run the program, known as KanCare. The agency also said Kansas would face financial sanctions if it doesn't submit a corrective plan by February 17. Mosier says the new administration has signaled that it will ease regulations on states' Medicaid programs as it moves to repeal President Barack Obama's health care overhaul.
Voting Rights Advocates Seek to Rein in Kansas Election Laws
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - Kansas lawmakers are expected to debate aspects of the state's election laws as Democrats push to reverse some of the strict measures enacted at the urging of Secretary of State Kris Kobach. Democrats want to repeal the law that requires people to show proof-of-citizenship, such as a birth certificate or passport, to register to vote. They also want to allow same-day registration so people can register when they go to the polls to vote. Meanwhile, Kobach is seeking authority to create separate voter registration lists - one for people who can vote in any election and another for only federal races. Republican Representative Keith Esau of Olathe chairs the House Elections Committee. He says elections are running smoothly as they are in Kansas, with strong turnout.
Lawmaker: Kansas Juvenile Justice Reform Needs Work
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas lawmaker says a program focused on getting more children out of juvenile detention centers and into foster care is falling behind schedule. Republican Representative Russ Jennings tells the Lawrence Journal World that the Juvenile Justice Reform Act missed the first implementation deadline due to technical and outlier issues. Jennings, who chairs the House Corrections and Juvenile Justice Committee, says more delays are possible because state officials are continuing to realize some key systems are still not in place. Jennings says the Legislature will continue to discuss the state Department for Children and Families' concerns regarding funding and staff shortages, but he is confident JJRA will eventually find better places for children to receive rehabilitation. The bill is expected to go into effect by 2019.
Kansas Colleges Look for Ways to Offer $15,000 Bachelor's Degree
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Kansas higher education leaders say Governor Sam Brownback's challenge to create a $15,000 bachelor's degree will be difficult but they're willing to try. Brownback wants to make it easier for students to attend college. He says under the proposal, students would likely collect a combination of high school, community college, university and online credits to accumulate the necessary credits for graduation. The Board of Regents and universities have the task of creating the program. The governor says the first school to succeed would get $1 million for scholarships. Some higher education experts question the wisdom of asking the colleges and universities to forego more tuition revenue at a time when state aid is being cut.
2 Kansas Troopers Among 3 Hurt in Freeway Wreck
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say two Kansas Highway Patrol troopers and another person were injured in a three-vehicle accident on a freeway near Topeka. The patrol says the troopers and an occupant of one of the other vehicles sustained injuries not considered life-threatening during the accident Monday along Interstate 470. The patrol says the troopers were outside of their cruiser and talking to occupants of a pickup truck they had stopped when their patrol car was hit from behind by a sport utility vehicle. That SUV then rolled, and the patrol car was pushed into the truck they had stopped. Eastbound lanes of the freeway were closed as the patrol investigates the accident and clear away the damaged vehicles.
Kansas Man Admits Robbing Kansas Bank to Escape Wife
KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — A 70-year-old man who told investigators after robbing a Kansas bank that he'd rather be imprisoned than with his wife has admitted carrying out the holdup. Lawrence Ripple pleaded guilty Monday in Kansas City, Kansas, to a federal bank robbery count. He faces up to 20 years in prison. Court documents show that Ripple gave a Kansas City bank teller a note in September demanding cash and warning he had a gun. Ripple grabbed nearly $3,000, sat in the lobby and told a guard he was the "guy he was looking for." An FBI agent says Ripple had argued with his wife earlier and told her in writing he'd "rather be in jail than at home." The Kansas City Star reports that Ripple's wife accompanied him to court Monday.
Man Dead After Being Run Over by Truck in Topeka Parking Lot
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Police say a man whose body was found in an east Topeka parking lot was run over by a tractor-trailer truck. The man was identified Sunday as 30-year-old Sean McLaughlin. Police say McLaughlin was lying under a trailer parked in the Deer Creek Shopping Center early Saturday and was hit when the trailer left the parking lot. It is unclear why McLaughlin was under the truck. Police say the driver and trucking company have been questioned no foul play is suspected.
Kansas State Student Accidently Shot in Dorm
MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say a Kansas State University student has accidentally shot and wounded himself in a residence hall. The university said in a news release Monday that the 19-year-old student remains hospitalized and that his last known condition was stable. The shooting happened Sunday night in the student's room at Goodnow Hall. The release didn't say what the student was doing when the firearm went off. The release says police are investigating. Firearms aren't currently allowed in campus buildings or residence halls, although that's on track to change. Starting in July, a Kansas law will allow concealed guns on state college campuses unless a legislative effort to undo the law is successful. Faculty and student organizations generally have been strongly opposed to concealed guns on campus, as have administrators.
Case of Kansas Dog Breeder's Death Remains Unsolved
SALINA, Kan. (AP) — The family of a central Kansas dog breeder whose body was found among her puppies nearly seven months ago wants to remind the public that her death remains a mystery. The Kansas Bureau of Investigation and Saline County authorities continue to search for clues in the June death of 57-year-old Lori Heimer. Her body was found on the family's 80-acre farm near Assaria, just south of Salina. The Kansas City Star reports the KBI has not said how Heimer died but said she was brutally murdered. Heimer told her husband that she was expecting a potential customer the day she was killed but didn't return to the house. She bred poodles and other small dogs. A $37,000 reward is being offered for information in the case.
Police Seek Public's Help After Wichita Boy Attacked by Dog
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Police in Wichita are asking for the public's help in finding a brown-and-white pit bull suspected of seriously injuring a 4-year-old boy. Police say the boy was hospitalized with more than 50 lacerations after the attack that took place Monday while was playing in a yard. Police say that when an adult came out of the house to help the boy, the dog attacked the child a second time. Investigators say the boy's injuries are not considered life-threatening. Police say the dog may have been a stray animal.
Historic Kansas Trail Celebrates 150th Anniversary
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The historic Chisholm Trail that helped start the Old West era in Kansas celebrates its 150th anniversary. The Wichita Eagle reports the trail is named after Jesse Chisholm and began in 1867. Chisholm had a trading post in Wichita and often traded with Native American tribes in the region. The trail, where herds of cattle were driven up from Texas to Kansas, brought to life an iconic image Kansas historian Jim Hoy calls the "American folk-type cowboy." Special exhibits in area museums, bus tours, presentations and cattle drives held throughout the year in Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas will celebrate the trail's legacy. An exhibit called "Chisholm Trail Sesquicentennial: Driving the American West 1867-2017" will travel throughout Kansas museums this year, including the Wichita/Sedgwick County Historical Museum.
Wichita State Replaces Women's Basketball Head Coach
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - Wichita State University is replacing women's basketball coach Jody Adams-Birch in what it called an amicable parting. A news release issued Sunday did not say whether Adams-Birch was fired or resigned. Former Shockers women's coach Linda Hargrove will lead the team for the rest of this season before a national search for a replacement begins. The university removed Adams-Birch from the team without any public explanation. Two players have left the team this season. In 2015, four players transferred and Adams-Birch was accused of being mentally and physically abusive. After an investigation, she kept her job and compiled a record of 161-115. Three Shocker teams went to the NCAA Tournament and Wichita State won three Missouri Valley Conference regular-season championships and three postseason tournament championships.