Heavy Rain Causes Flash Flooding in Southern Kansas
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Heavy storms have led to flash flooding in southern Kansas, including along a roadway where two people were rescued. The National Weather Service on Sunday issued flood warnings for several areas, including in south-central Kansas where flash flooding was reported along several roadways and fields. Scattered power outages were also reported in the Wichita area. Two adults and a child were in a vehicle that was swept off a roadway late Saturday night in east Wichita. Authorities said they found the vehicle partially in a creek, and the people inside couldn't open the doors as the water started to rush around them. One of the two adults was able to get out of the vehicle on their own. Firefighters saved the other adult and child.
Documents: Kansas Officials' Travel Mixes Family, Politics
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Documents show Kansas taxpayers have been picking up the tab for state officials and legislators to fly in the state-owned executive aircraft to attend out-of-state sports events and take trips with family and friends. The Associated Press used open records requests to document who was traveling in the state's nine-passenger plane. It found state officials often mixed political, religious and family interests with state business while traveling on government business. Kansas has a statute that specifically allows the governor to use the plane for personal or political travel as long as he reimburses the state, but it mentions no other state agencies. The Kansas Highway Patrol oversees executive aircraft operations, but it leaves it up to each state agency to decide who gets to travel and where they go.
Kobach Uses State Plane to Speak at GOP Events
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Documents show Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach frequently flies in the state-owned executive aircraft to promote voter ID efforts outside of Kansas and to speak at Republican political events across the state. All of that is done at state expense. The Associated Press used open record requests to document thousands of dollars Kobach spent to fly more than 4,350 miles during a 15-month period. Several flights appeared to either offer no benefit to Kansas or have little connection to Kobach's official duties. On some trips, the state business coincided with Republican Party functions where he spoke, and his family often flew with him. Kobach says he visited county election officials and his public appearances did not cost extra. Kansas has no written guidelines for state agencies traveling on the state plane.
Lawrence Teen Accused of Online Harassment
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) - A 31-year-old New Zealand woman is pursuing charges against a Kansas teenager she believes harassed her online. Rachel Gronback lives in Auckland, New Zealand, where she blogs about "fashion, online shopping and body positivity." Gronback says that when she started receiving inappropriate online sexual messages in November, she was able to identify the suspect as a man who was then a Lawrence high school student. The Lawrence Journal-World reports she notified Lawrence police. Douglas County prosecutors told her they're prepared to file a harassment charge, but before a charge can be filed, Gronback would have to be willing to appear in court if it goes to trial.
Wildfire in Kansas, Oklahoma Called 'Ecological Cleansing'
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The biggest wildfire in Kansas history has a silver lining despite scorching nearly 600 square miles of land in Kansas and Oklahoma. Conservation experts say it would have taken decades to clear out the number of eastern red cedars consumed by the Anderson Creek fire in March. Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks agent Ken Brunson called the blaze an "ecological cleansing for the environment" because it killed so many cedars, also known as junipers. Red cedars are drought-resistant trees that crowd out native grasses, suck up moisture from the soil and reduce the amount of forage for wildlife and livestock. Aron Flanders with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service estimates it would have cost Kansas landowners $56 million to remove the same number of trees killed in the fire.
Kansas Man Injured in Fall From Wind Turbine
PRATT, Kan. (AP) - One man has been hospitalized after falling from a wind turbine in southern Kansas. KSN-TV reports that two men fell from the turbine Sunday morning in Pratt County. One man was in a safety harness and was uninjured. That worker was able to work himself free and lower himself to the ground. The other man fell about to the ground and suffered serious injuries. He was taken to an area hospital. Pratt Count Sheriff Vernon Chinn says the men were repairing a wind turbine outside Pratt. Their names haven't been released.
Body of Missing Kansas Man Found in Missouri
SIKESTON, Mo. (AP) — Southeast Missouri authorities say they have found the body of a missing 66-year-old Kansas man, whose death appears suspicious. Larry Weaver of Pittsburg was reported missing earlier this week after he failed to check out of a Sikeston motel. Authorities discovered his motorcycle was also missing, but his wallet and other belongings were left in his motel room. The New Madrid County Sheriff's Department told the Sikeston Standard-Democrat Weaver's body was found Saturday in a cotton field. The department says two people were taken into custody and are being held on charges of tampering with a stolen vehicle and receiving stolen property. Captain Jim McMillen says another suspect is being sought. McMillen says Weaver's death appears suspicious and an autopsy is scheduled to determine how he died.
Missouri, Kansas Pioneer Trail Nearly Complete
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A hiking and biking trail through Missouri and Kansas will allow people to follow in the footsteps of pioneers. The Kansas City Star reports that the 3-Trails Corridor will closely retrace the path of old wagon swales. The trail will start in the Missouri city of Sugar Creek and move through Independence, Raytown and south Kansas City. It will also go through the Kansas cities of Leawood, Overland Park, Olathe and Gardner. Some stretches of the trail already exist, while others await construction. The trail was sketched out 25 years ago by trail enthusiasts in Kansas City. The National Park Service is working with the Mid-America Regional Council to come up with a comprehensive plan to involve all the counties and cities through which the trail will run.
Woman, 85, Found Slain in Kansas Home; Suspect Arrested
LEAVENWORTH, Kan. (AP) — Leavenworth police say they've made an arrest in connection with an 85-year-old woman's weekend death. Investigators say Anna Higgins of Leavenworth was found dead Sunday afternoon in a home. Police did not publicly say how Higgins was killed, though investigators expect to turn over their reports to prosecutors on Tuesday. No charges had been filed as of Monday.
Raytown Police Shoot, Wound Burglary Suspect
RAYTOWN, Mo. (AP) — Police in the Kansas City, Missouri, suburb of Raytown say officers investigating a burglary shot and wounded one suspect and arrested another. Police say the shooting happened about 9:40 am Sunday after officers responded to a burglary alarm at a residence and found two men inside the home. Police say that after one of the alleged intruders pointed a gun at the officers, one of the officers shot that suspect in the stomach. That man was taken to a hospital with injuries police said were not considered life-threatening. The officers were not injured. There was no immediate word Monday about any charges.
Lake Afton Observatory Comes Out of the 'Dark Ages'
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A southern Kansas stargazing landmark is expected to reopen on Labor Day weekend after its closure prompted a public outcry. The Wichita Eagle reports that Sedgwick County commissioners will vote Wednesday on whether to lease the Lake Afton Public Observatory to an enthusiast club called the Kansas Astronomical Observers. Plans call for a technological upgrade for the observatory. The observatory also will boast a new logo, with a social media and online presence as well as interactive screens and tablets in the observatory. After 35 years of showing people the stars, the observatory closed in August because Wichita State University could no longer afford the annual costs when it switched from being a moneymaker to an expense of roughly $50,000 to $70,000 per year.
Orangutan Climbs Wall at Kansas City Zoo
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - An orangutan got to the top of a wall surrounding the Kansas City Zoo's ape exhibit, but quickly returned to the enclosure without any contact with zoo visitors. The zoo instructed visitors to go indoors until the situation was resolved Sunday afternoon. Zoo spokeswoman Julie Neemeyer said there were no injuries, and the 17-year-old female Borneo orangutan didn't have to be tranquilized. Zookeepers brought the exhibit's seven orangutans into a holding building while they tried to figure out how to keep the incident from recurring. Before the zoo's $6 million orangutan exhibit opened last spring, human rock climbers tested the enclosure to ensure the animals couldn't escape. On Friday, an orangutan escaped its Busch Gardens Tampa enclosure before it was tranquilized and returned.
Producer: 1970s Wichita Gorilla Movie Could Have Been a Hit
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The producer of a 1970s movie about a gorilla trained in kung fu that fights its way across Wichita says the film might have been one big-name actor away from being a hit. Bob Walterscheid says "King Kung Fu" was intended to be a widely distributed comedy but instead became a movie that "most people look at in the evening so they can drink." The Wichita Eagle reports this year marks the 40th anniversary of the film about a gorilla that stops in Wichita "to let the rednecks gawk at him." "King Kung Fu" played in only 11 U.S. theaters and lost most of the money sunk into the film. Still, Walterscheid and director Lance Hayes say they feel they accomplished something by making a movie in Wichita.
editor's note: the KPR news staff totally wants to see this film.
Royals Lose to Phillies, 7-2
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The Phillies' Cameron Rupp hit a three-run homer off Kansas City Royals starting pitcher Yordano Ventura. Philadelphia's starter, Vince Velasquez threw six effective innings as the Phillies beat the Royals 7-2 Sunday. Maikel Franco smashed his team-leading 14th homer of the season in the eighth inning as the Phillies finished with 11 hits. Cody Asche also joined in on the home-run parade as he picked up his third home run of the season after missing the first 53 games. The Phillies' offense has done a complete turnaround to break out of a rut that saw them drop 11 of 13 contests from June 14-26. They have scored four or more runs in four of their last five games. The Royals' road trip continues with three games in Toronto before they head back to Kansas City for a weekend series versus the Seattle Mariners.