Kansas Governor Signs New Limits on Welfare Payments
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Governor Sam Brownback signed a bill Monday that he said is aimed at freeing more people from poverty, but opponents argue the new welfare restrictions leave families without a safety net during financial difficulties. Under the new law, Kansans will be limited to 24 months on cash assistance over their lifetime. The previous limit was 36 months. Able-bodied recipients of food assistance also will be required to participate in an employment or training program and not quit a job that offers at least 30 hours of work per week. The Brownback administration estimates that about 9 percent of the approximately 4,900 households receiving cash assistance will reach the new lifetime limit within the next year.
Kansas Residents Donate $1.8M to Presidential Candidates
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Federal Election Commission data shows that Kansas residents have donated more than $1.8 million to presidential candidates and hundreds of millions more through PACs and super PACs. The Wichita Eagle reports that Kansas ranks in the bottom 10 among states' donations between January 2015 and March 2016. Less than 4,000 Kansas residents made donations to individual candidates. The most common individual donation was $50. About two-thirds of all donations were $50 or less. But the average donor gave money to their candidate five times, and the most common total amount given was $250. At this point in the 2012 campaign, Kansas residents had donated $2.4 million. Nearly twice as many Kansas residents gave money in this election cycle than in 2012, although each person has given less.
Huelskamp's Doctoral Dissertation Used Against Him in Re-Election Bid
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The two-decade-old dissertation of Kansas Congressman Tim Huelskamp is being used against him as he seeks re-election. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that Huelskamp rails against New Deal-era agriculture subsidies and price supports in his 400-page essay on congressional agriculture committees. He completed it while he was a Ph.D. student at American University in Washington. To continue representing the 1st Congressional District of western and central Kansas, Huelskamp must overcome Great Bend obstetrician Roger Marshall in the Republican primary. One issue that's emerged is Huelskamp's removal from the House Agriculture Committee after he clashed with former Speaker John Boehner. Marshall noted that Huelskamp, citing research from other scholars, said in his dissertation that the House and Senate agriculture committees "over-represent rural and agricultural interests." Huelskamp calls the dissertation questions "outrageous."
Two Hurt in Accidental Shooting at Augusta High School Graduation
AUGUSTA, Kan. (AP) - Authorities say two people have been wounded at a high school graduation ceremony in south-central Kansas, after a man with a concealed weapon permit adjusted a sock he had stuffed a pistol into. Police in Augusta say the shooting was accidental. The bullet went through the man's foot -- but then traveled another 50 feet before striking a woman in her calf. Neither injury was life-threatening.
Citizen-Scientists: Uncle Sam Wants You to Help Fight Zika!
MIAMI (AP) — The mosquitoes that can spread Zika are already buzzing among us. The U.S. government could use some help figuring out exactly where. There's little money in government budgets to track the spread of disease-carrying mosquitoes. That's why the U.S. Department of Agriculture is working to scale up a nationwide experiment in citizen-science. The Invasive Mosquito Project is recruiting high school students and science teachers to collect mosquito eggs in their communities and upload the data to populate an online map. That provides real-time information about hot spots to help researchers and mosquito controllers respond. The USDA entomologist coordinating the project also hopes to adapt its lesson plans for middle schools, scout troops and gardening clubs and make mosquito surveys as common as public bird counts for conservation groups.
TransCanada to Replace Some Sections of Keystone Pipeline, Including Some in Kansas
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) _ A Canadian-based company plans to replace sections of its Keystone pipeline so the company can begin pumping oil at higher pressure. The Lincoln Journal Star reports that some of the sections of TransCanada Corp.'s pipeline didn't meet federal strength standards, so the company must replace those sections so it can pump oil at higher pressure. TransCanada spokesman Terry Cunha told the newspaper that running at the higher pressure ``allows us to be more efficient with our operations.'' The work is scheduled to begin this month and extend through 2017 in Nebraska, South Dakota, Kansas, Illinois and Missouri. The 30-inch pipeline first went into operation in June 2010. In November, President Barack Obama killed the company's plans to build the Keystone XL pipeline.
Tax Fight with Pizza Magnate Could Affect Kansas Legislation
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A multimillion dollar income tax dispute involving a former Kansas businessman could influence whether Governor Sam Brownback signs a bill allowing taxpayers to challenge rulings of the state's Board of Tax Appeals. Brownback spokeswoman Eileen Hawley told The Wichita Eagle the governor hasn't decided whether to sign a bill that passed on the final night of the legislative session this month. The measure would allow any taxpayer appealing a decision by the tax board to have a new trial in district court, where new evidence could be presented. The governor's office tried to restrict such trials to property tax appeals. Pizza magnate Gene Bicknell is suing to force the state to refund $42 million he paid in 2013 after an unfavorable ruling by the then-Court of Tax Appeals.
Kansas Man Shot, Wounded by Police Accused of Assault
KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas City, Kansas, man shot and wounded by police after allegedly pointing a shotgun at officers is accused of assault. The Kansas City Star reports that Wyandotte County prosecutors have charged 38-year-old Thomas Torrence with seven counts of aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer. He's also charged with single counts of aggravated assault and criminal damage to property. Police say Torrence was wounded in the leg during the confrontation early Saturday involving officers who responded to a report of a domestic disturbance. The newspaper says jail records showed that Torrence remained hospitalized as of Monday afternoon. It was not immediately clear Monday if Torrence has an attorney.
New Book Supports Topeka Daycare for Homeless Children
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Topeka homeless shelter employee is seeking to give children hope with a new book. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that "In Darkness, a Light Still Shines...for Kids!" features 52 short chapters. It's the creation of Jessica Hosman, who is director of children's ministries for the Topeka Rescue Mission. The book has child-friendly replications of stories found in "In Darkness, a Light Still Shines," which was written by the mission's executive director, Barry Feaker, in 2012. Feaker wrote stories about homelessness, depression, poverty, hunger, mental illness and other challenges confronting those coming to the mission. Hosman says the children's book is intended to be read as a weekly devotional for children ages 6 to 12. Book sale proceeds will support a day care facility for homeless children.
New UMKC Research: Smile to Look Younger, Skinnier
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) _ Look younger and skinnier - without dieting? Apparently so, according to new studies from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. The research suggests that smiling makes people look younger and thinner to other people. The research from the UMKC psychology department says that when you smile, other people tend to see you as younger than if you are staring back with a neutral expression or a frown. The study also says that if you frown, you look heavier.
Police Investigate Topeka Homicide
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Authorities are investigating a homicide in Topeka. Topeka police said in a news release that officers were dispatched early Sunday to a reported shooting and found 34 year old Tevon D. Stokes, of Topeka, dead. Another victim was transported to a hospital with non-life threatening injuries. No additional information was immediately released. Authorities are urging anyone with information to come forward.
Authorities Investigate Deadly Shooting in Kansas City
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Authorities are investigating a shooting death in Kansas City. Police say 26-year-old D' Adrian Bell, of Kansas City, was killed at a home early Sunday. Officers talked to several witnesses, but police haven't released any information about a possible suspect. Authorities are urging anyone with information to come forward.
Police: Officers Shoot, Wound Man in KCK
KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) - Police say officers have shot and wounded a man in Kansas City, Kansas, after he pointed a shotgun at the officers. Police say the shooting happened early Sunday when a man called about a disturbance and told officers his brother was breaking things inside a home. Officers say they talked to the man, but when the officers left the house, the man came to the front door with a gun. Police say the suspect, who is white, then went back inside before returning to the front door and pointing the weapon. The release says that's when the officers fired, striking the man in the leg. The suspect was taken to a hospital with non-life threatening injuries. None of the officers were hurt.
Ex-Controller at Kansas Company Gets Prison Term for Theft
KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — The former controller of a Kansas company has been ordered to serve a year and three months in federal prison after pleading guilty to embezzling more than $135,000 from his employer. Forty-three-year-old Alan Wenk was sentenced Monday in Kansas City, Kansas. That's where he pleaded guilty in February to two counts of bank fraud. Wenk has admitted the crimes happened while he was working as regional controller and corporate accounts payable manager for Performance Contracting Group Inc. in Lenexa. Prosecutors say Wenk caused the company to issue 20 fraudulent checks to him and business entities he controlled. PCG has 50 offices throughout the U.S.
2 in Custody in Fatal Shooting of Garden City Man
GARDEN CITY, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say two people have been arrested in a fatal western Kansas shooting. Finney County Sheriff Kevin Bascue says a 22-year-old Garden City man was shot around 3 pm Sunday in a parked vehicle southeast of the city. The Hutchinson News reports that the name of the victim wasn't immediately released. A search followed the shooting. After a brief standoff at a residence near the shooting, police took one of the individuals into custody. The second person was taken into custody later at the same residence.
Protected Birds Draw Feds into Lawrence Apartment Dispute
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Questions have arisen after federally protected birds began nesting at a Lawrence complex. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that barn swallows have a habit of protecting their nests by swooping near those who approach. That led to complaints from some tenants of the Remington Square complex. After some nests were knocked down, resident Sarah Archer called wildlife officials, and they recently made a visit. Under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, it is illegal to remove the active nests of certain migratory birds. Assistant complex property manager Bryan Cargill says the only time staff is taking nests down is if they are built on sprinkler heads. Cargill says that creates safety issues and adds that staff is looking into ways to prevent the nests from being built in the future.
Royals Beat Braves 4-2
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) _ Kendrys Morales hit a walk-off, two-run homer with two out in the 13th inning as the Kansas City Royals defeated the Atlanta Braves 4-to-2 yesterday (SUN). The Royals took two of three from the last-place Braves after losing their five previous series.