Democrats Urge Kansas Lawmakers to Force Special Session
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Legislature's top Democrats are urging their colleagues to force Republican Governor Sam Brownback to call a special session on education funding. Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley of Topeka and House Minority Leader Tom Burroughs of Kansas City said Monday that lawmakers need to boost aid to poor school districts to keep all public schools from being shut down. They were joined by Democratic Representative Jim Ward of Wichita. The state Supreme Court late last month rejected school funding changes made by lawmakers earlier this year and said schools won't be able to reopen after June 30 unless legislators approve additional fixes before then. Legislators adjourned their annual session last week. Legislators can force Brownback to call a special session if two-thirds of them sign individual petitions demanding one.
GOP Distrust Stalls Response to Kansas Court Ruling
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Many Republican legislators in Kansas are angry with the state Supreme Court's latest order on education funding. They question the justices' motives and doubt the court will accept any further fixes from GOP lawmakers. Their views prompted Republican legislative leaders to abandon a push to pass further education funding changes Wednesday before lawmakers formally adjourned their annual session. Some Republican legislators advocate defying the court. They argue that complying with its order would encourage what Senator Jeff Melcher, of Leawood, called "bad behavior" by the justices.
Lawrence Police Search for Suspects in Three Aggravated Robberies
Lawrence police are searching for three suspects involved in what appear to be connected, aggravated robberies. Police say that between 4:55am and 5:30am today (MON), three aggravated robberies took place in Southwest Lawrence. A shotgun was used in each robbery and in once incident, a pet dog was shot and killed. Authorities say one robbery happened in the area just southeast of Hy-Vee at 3504 Clinton Parkway when a man was approached by three males who were armed and took the victim's property. One of the suspects was described as dark skinned, about 6 feet tall, with a thin build and wearing a dark hoodie and a baseball style hat, possibly with a red bill. Another robbery occurred in the area of the Holcom Sports Complex. A man in the area was approached by three men who were armed and took items from him. In yet another robbery, this one in the 1500 block of West 27th Street, a man was out walking his dog. He was approached by three males who demanded his property. A shotgun was displayed and the victim's dog was shot and killed by one of the suspects. Police believe these crimes all involve the same suspects. The suspects are described as three males, at least one of whom is described as dark skinned. They are believed to be associated with a small SUV. Anyone with information is encouraged to contact Douglas County Crime Stoppers at 785-843-8477 or the Lawrence Police Department.
Kansas City-Based Hostess Recalls Snack Cakes, Doughnuts over Peanut Residue
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Hostess Brands says it is voluntarily recalling various snack cakes and doughnuts over concerns they may have come in contact with peanut residue not included in the ingredient list. The Kansas City, Missouri-based company's recall announced Friday covers more than 700,000 cases of Ding Dongs, Zingers, Chocodiles and various doughnuts sold in grocery, dollar, drug and convenience stores in the U.S. and Mexico. The recall covers single-serve products and multipack boxes. Hostess says Friday's announcement is a result of a recall by supplier Grain Craft of certain lots of its flour for undeclared peanut residue. Consumers are encouraged to destroy the recalled items or return them for a full refund. Hostess says it has received notice of two allergic reactions involving the recalled products as of Friday.
University of Kansas Seeks to Stop Another Fiber Cable Cut
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) - The University of Kansas is working to prevent another internet fiber cable cut that crippled the campus earlier this spring, with some officials arguing for funding to build a backup system. On March 29, construction crews accidentally cut a section of fiber, shutting down internet access across the Lawrence campus and wireless internet at the Overland Park campus. Phone service also was cut in some buildings. It also shut down state testing for K-12 student in dozens of states. The Lawrence Journal-World reports a University Senate committee report estimates the cost to the university will reach seven figures but an exact amount has not been announced. School officials aren't naming the company that cut the fiber but they insist the school will not be paying for repairs.
Some Elderly Kansans Will Lose In-Home Services
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Funding designed to keep Kansas seniors out of nursing homes by offering in-home services such as cooking and cleaning is set to be cut as the state deals with a budget shortfall. Some advocates for seniors worry that the 30 percent reduction to the Senior Care Act program will affect more than 4,500 elderly Kansans. A spokeswoman for the state Department of Aging and Disability Services says family and community members will help seniors whose services are reduced or eliminated. Opponents say the move will drive elderly people into nursing homes and onto Medicaid, which will cost the state more money in the long run.
Kansas Agency Warns of Deaths from Synthetic Opioid U-47700
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Kansas law enforcement agents are seeking an emergency ban on an easy-to-obtain synthetic opioid believed to have contributed to at least two deaths. The Kansas Bureau of Investigation issued a warning last week about U-47700, which is not illegal in Kansas and can be purchased over the internet. KBI special agent Mark Malick called it an emerging threat that has no accepted medical use. Johnson County District Attorney Steve Howe says it's hard to pinpoint the number of deaths because the drug doesn't immediately show up in post-mortem examinations. Two deaths in his county have been linked to the drug. Ohio, Wyoming and Georgia have taken steps to ban U-47700, which is eight times more potent than morphine. Howe says it might take until August to get a temporary ban.
Cargill Gets $10M Tax Breaks to Stay in Kansas
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Documents obtained by The Associated Press show that a deal to keep agribusiness giant Cargill operations in Wichita includes nearly $10 million in tax breaks over a 10-year period from state and local government entities. The documents, which came from an open records request, show the incentive package includes tax abatements and sales tax exemptions from state, county, city and school district, but no outright cash incentives. The city agreed to provide industrial revenue bonds to build a facility estimated to cost up to $41.6 million, plus an estimated $6 million more for equipment and machinery. In return, Cargill commits to staying in Wichita for at least 15 years. The Minnesota-based company has its beef business, turkey and cooked meat business and processed-protein services in Wichita.
Body Found in Creek Near Where Wichita Boy Disappeared
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Authorities have found a body downstream from where they'd been searching for a missing 11-year-old boy who fell into a Kansas creek. The Wichita Eagle reports that Wichita police Deputy Chief Hassan Ramzah says the body was found Saturday by a kayaker. Ramzah couldn't confirm the identity of the body, other than to say it was a male. Officials say Devon Dean Cooley fell into Gypsum Creek on May 27. Crews have continued searching for the boy, and say the unidentified body was found about a mile downstream from the search area. Cooley's family issued a statement late Saturday saying they believe the body to be Devon's but also acknowledging the absence of official confirmation. Police say the body likely won't be identified until a coroner's investigation is completed.
Hutchinson Woman Pleads Guilty to Strangling Ex-Lover
HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) — A Hutchinson woman will be sentenced July 22 for killing her former lover and leaving her body in a rural Reno County creek bed. Jamie Hatfield pleaded guilty Friday to second-degree intentional murder for the June 2015 strangulation death of 38-year-old Mary Ann Arnett. The plea agreement amended the original charge of premeditated first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder. Prosecutors say Hatfield and Jonathan Perser-Wilson strangled Arnett at a Hutchinson home. The Hutchinson News reports the two then stuffed Arnett's body in a plastic tote and dumped it in a creek. Police shot and killed Perser-Wilson after a confrontation 10 days after Arnett was killed that included Perser-Wilson throwing knives and other objects at officers.
13 Charged in Identity Theft Ring Based in Wichita
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Thirteen suspects are facing a total of 50 federal charges after a federal investigation into an identity theft ring in the Wichita area. Federal prosecutors say the suspects took mail from boxes and mail rooms across the Wichita region. Some of the suspects stole the mail, while others altered checks, created fake checks or applied for credit cards. Others created fake Kansas driver's licenses and some bought goods with stolen identities, including weapons and drugs. Spokesman Jim Cross said Friday this is one of the largest identity theft cases the U.S. attorney in Kansas has ever prosecuted. The fraud brought in an estimated $3.5 million of stolen money and goods.
4 Killed in Southeast Kansas Crash
SEVERY, Kan. (AP) — Four people have died after a two-vehicle accident in Greenwood County. The Kansas Highway Patrol says the accident occurred Saturday afternoon three miles west of Severy when one of the cars went left of the center lane and struck the other vehicle head on before catching fire. The patrol identified the victims as 72-year-old Arden Lee White and 68-year-old Sheryl Elaine White. Both were from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and were in the car that caught fire. The two other victims were identified as 49-year-old Stewart Bell and 46-year-old Ann Marie Bell. They were from Moline and were pronounced dead at the scene.
Police ID KCMO Couple Shot to Death in Car
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Authorities have identified the man and woman who were shot to death in a car over the weekend in Kansas City. Kansas City police said Sunday that 53-year-old Marva L. Amrine and 64-year-old Terrell K. Nance were fatally shot at close range inside a silver Fiat. The Kansas City Star reports both victims were bus drivers at Kansas City International Airport, according to a statement from a Kansas City Aviation Department spokesman. Joe McBride tells the newspaper Amrine worked for the aviation department and Nance had recently retired from the department but was working for another company. Police say they are looking for a newer model black Jeep Wrangler-type vehicle with a black spare tire and silver rim on the back in connection with the Saturday shootings.
Topeka Man to Enter Plea in Car Explosion
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A 38-year-old Topeka man whose 4-year-old son was severely injured when explosives detonated in his car is scheduled to enter a plea in the case. Jacob Daniel Schell is scheduled to enter a plea on July 8 in Shawnee County court, where he faces several charges, including aggravated battery of a child, aggravated endangering of a child and criminal use of explosives. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports Schell's son was injured when a sack containing explosives blew up in his lap, severely injuring the child. The incident occurred July 5, 2015, as Schell was driving. The explosion also peeled back the metal roof of the large car.
Military Plane Makes Emergency Landing in Topeka
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A mechanical problem forced a military aircraft to make an emergency landing at Forbes Field in Topeka. Officials at the 190th Air Refueling Wing, based at Forbes, said that the aircraft, an A-10 type, landed without incident Saturday as a precaution after notice to the crew of a mechanical problem. No injuries were reported. Air National Guard personnel moved the aircraft to a civilian hanger for an inspection to determine the cause of the fault.
Black-Footed Ferrets to Return to Kansas, Wyoming, Colorado, Montana
CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — Wildlife officials hope to restore a population of black-footed ferrets to a pair of Wyoming ranches where the species was rediscovered in the wild 35 years ago. The 35 ferrets will be among as many as 220 captive-bred ferrets released in Wyoming, Montana, Colorado and Kansas this year. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service breeds the ferrets at a facility in northern Colorado. The Wyoming Game and Fish Department plans to release ferrets on the adjoining Pitchfork and Lazy BV ranches in western Wyoming in late July. Biologists had thought the black-footed ferret was extinct until a dog on the Lazy BV brought one home in 1981. Scientists captured the remaining ferrets to begin a captive-breeding program that has released hundreds of ferrets into the wild since the early 1990s.
Indians Shut Out Royals 7-0 for 4-Game Sweep
CLEVELAND (AP) — The World Series champion Kansas City Royals continued their road game slump last (SUN) night losing in a shut-out to the Cleveland Indians. The Indians completed a four-game sweep of the Royals with a rain-delayed, 7-to-0 victory Sunday. The Indians moved past the Royals into first place in the AL Central on Saturday. Cleveland has won five straight overall and six of seven against Kansas City this season. The Royals now head to Baltimore for a three-game series versus the Orioles beginning tonight (MON).