Kansas Legislators Set to Reopen Debate over Guns
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Lawmakers will return to the Kansas Statehouse Tuesday, hoping to quickly wrap-up a legislative session that’s already into overtime. Leaders want to end the session this week, but they still have significant issues to tackle such as balancing the budget. Meanwhile, lawmakers are preparing to reopen a debate over keeping concealed guns out of those hospitals and other health care facilities. They're driven by a desire to avoid spending millions of dollars on new security at state hospitals. The Senate plans to debate a concealed carry bill soon. Gun-rights groups are pushing hard to narrow the legislation so that it applies to secured areas within hospitals. But Republican legislative leaders also face pressure from other lawmakers and advocates who want to keep concealed guns off of university campuses as well. Existing law says universities, state and other public hospitals, mental health centers, some nursing homes and other facilities must allow concealed weapons in their buildings starting in July unless they provide "adequate" security such as guards or metal detectors.
Slain Boy's Case Raises Interest in Child Welfare Oversight
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Records showing that Kansas officials investigated claims of child abuse for several years before a boy was killed and fed to pigs may be strengthening some lawmakers' desire for increased oversight of the child welfare system. Records released last week show that the Kansas Department for Children and Families investigated claims of child abuse over several years and had contact with Adrian Jones's father, Michael Jones, and stepmother, Heather Jones. The department said it could not substantiate the abuse claims. The two are now serving life sentences connected to the boy's death. Some lawmakers are hoping to create a task force to review the foster care system. Adrian was never placed in foster care, but his family got services from a contractor that provides support services and foster care placement.
Kansas Grain Elevators Crammed for Space
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Grain elevators across Kansas are feverishly working to move last year's grain out to make room for the new winter wheat crop as another harvest nears. Kansas Grain and Feed Association executive director Tom Tunnell says there is still a storage issue, particularly in southwest Kansas. The activity at elevators comes amid a wheat crop that has begun ripening. The Kansas harvest typically begins in the state's southernmost counties and moves northward as the wheat ripens. Cutting could begin late next week in south-central Kansas with harvest expected to be in full swing by the second week of June. Farmers are grappling with damp weather, crop diseases and low prices -- cash prices that are $1 to $1.50 a bushel below break-even cost.
Coroner: Teenager Died in Accidental Drowning
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) - A coroner says the February drowning of a teenager at Douglas State Fishing Lake was accidental. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that the recently released coroner's report found that 18-year-old Cameron Kirchner was not intoxicated with drugs or alcohol at the time of this death February 18. Authorities have said that Kirchner and a 17-year-old boy spilled into the lake the evening of February 18 when the boat they were rowing overturned. The younger teenager resurfaced and survived.
Hutchinson Inmate Sentenced for Attacking Guard
HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) — A Hutchinson prison inmate who was eligible for release in July will instead spend more time in prison after attacking a guard at the jail. Eddie Nunez was sentenced Friday to four years and seven months in prison for attacking the guard in January 2013. The Hutchinson News reports that Nunez was serving time for a 2005 second-degree intentional murder conviction out of Seward County when he attacked officer Holly Seaver on his prison cellblock. Seaver testified during Nunez's trial that the attack was unprovoked and unexpected. She suffered a black eye and numerous bruises.
Construction Boom Set for Wichita State's Innovation Campus
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Wichita State University's new Innovation Campus will rapidly expand in the next few months. University president John Bardo said the project is moving faster than supporters envisioned when the campus was announced in August 2014. The campus will be on 120 acres of a former golf course on the eastern edge of Wichita State's main campus. It will include buildings and other areas to provide spaces for the university and private individuals to conduct research and pursue creative ideas. The Wichita Eagle reports this summer's projects include a partnership building, which will house companies that will work with university students and faculty. Also planned are a hotel, two multi-tenant buildings and completion of a major street, pond improvements and sidewalks.
Police: Don't Run Out in Traffic to Save Wildlife
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Police are urging people to not follow the lead of a Wichita woman who was struck by a car after stepping onto a street in an attempt to rescue a line of ducklings. The Wichita Eagle reports that the 57-year-old woman was treated at a hospital earlier this month and released. Police also ticketed her for failing to yield to a vehicle in the roadway. Some of the ducklings didn't survive. Officer Charley Davidson says that most of the time cars will stop for animals in the street or that the animals will scurry off. But in cases where the animals remain in the street, he urged people to call police and say "it's causing traffic problems." Davidson says police can get the wildlife off the road safely.
Kansas Court: Inmate Can't Change No-Contest Pleas in Double Killing
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Supreme Court has rejected an inmate's bid to withdraw his no-contest pleas in a 2003 attack that killed two women and wounded a third. Friday's ruling rejected 44-year-old King Phillip Amman Reu-El's claims that a Shawnee County judge misinformed him about appellate rights that would be waived by making the pleas. Amman Reu-El was convicted in 2005 of capital murder and other charges in the Topeka shooting deaths, and he was sentenced to death. Those convictions were overturned, and Reu-El entered his no-contest pleas at retrial. He's now serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole for 25 years, as well as a consecutive term of nearly 14 years for attempted murder. Amman Reu-El changed his name from Phillip Cheatham Jr. while awaiting the retrial.
Small-Town Kansas Grocery Store Gets New Life
LITTLE RIVER, Kan. (AP) - A small-town grocery store in Kansas has been revitalized after a recent $200,000 remodel. The Hutchinson News reports that the city of Little River purchased the building that houses the Garden of Eden grocery store and leased it back to the owners. The city council then secured a community grant to help fund the remodel and update the store's outdated coolers and freezers. The remodel also included a new ceiling with improved lighting, new heating and air conditioning, and refurbished wooden floors. David and Debra Nelson have owned the only grocery store in the town of 600 people for the past 12 years. Marci Penner, director of the Kansas Sampler Foundation, says many communities around the state are doing similar things to ensure the future of community grocery stores.
Kansas City Police Investigate Death Along Trail
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Kansas City police are investigating the death of a man whose body was found near a walking and biking trail in south Kansas City. Police say the man's death appears suspicious. His body was found Monday morning near the Harry Wiggins Trolley Track Trail. Four men have been found dead along or near a nearby trail system since August. Police have said they are investigating the similarities in those deaths near the Indian Creek and Blue River trails but currently have not found evidence they are connected. Police spokeswoman Stacey Graves says there is no evidence Monday's death is related to the four earlier deaths.
Young Giraffe from KC Dies at Pennsylvania Zoo After Neck Injury
SCHNECKSVILLE, Pa. (AP) — Officials say a young giraffe recently brought to an eastern Pennsylvania zoo has died after injuring his neck during aggressive behavior. Six-year-old Ernie, a Masai giraffe, was brought to Lehigh Valley Zoo from Kansas City last week along with his 16-year-old father, Murphy. Ernie arrived Friday after an 18-hour trip in a special trailer, and officials said Murphy showed affection after Ernie's arrival. But they said Ernie later became aggressive and the animals were separated. Officials said the animals were allowed to spend some time together Saturday and were separated again for the night, but Ernie again became very aggressive, injured his neck in the stall, and died at about 1 p.m. Sunday. Zoo officials said they are "heartbroken" and an investigation will involve the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.
Indians Crush Royals 10-1 in Cleveland
CLEVELAND (AP) _ Jason Kipnis went 4 for 4 with a home run and two RBIs, Josh Tomlin pitched his first complete game in two years and the Cleveland Indians beat the Kansas City Royals 10-1 on Sunday. Kipnis, who reached in each of his five plate appearances, hit an RBI single in the third and a solo homer in the seventh. Austin Jackson drove in three runs for Cleveland, and Carlos Santana had three hits and two RBIs. Michael Brantley and Jose Ramirez also had three hits apiece. Tomlin (3-6) tossed a six-hitter for his first win since April 30th.