Kansas Supreme Court to Evaluate Legislature's School Funding Changes
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Supreme Court plans to hear arguments this week on whether legislators have satisfied a mandate to improve funding for poor schools. Legislators this year made technical changes in how state aid is distributed without affecting most districts' share or boosting overall state spending. Attorneys for four school districts contend the changes don't fix the problem because poor school districts aren't getting enough money. But the state's lawyers have submitted nearly 950 pages of material from the Legislature's debate to back up its case that the changes satisfy the high court's February mandate, which came in a lawsuit filed in 2010 by four of the state's 286 school districts. The court plans to hear arguments Tuesday and is expected to rule quickly.
Severe Weather System Slams Western Kansas with 2 Tornadoes
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The National Weather Service says severe storms have spawned at least two tornadoes in western Kansas. Meteorologist Ray Burgert says a tornado touched down in Trego County just after 6 pm Sunday. Another touched down in northern Ellis county around 7:20 pm. Burgert says the weather service didn't receive any immediate reports of damage or injuries. Crews were surveying the area. The weather service says much of the state, including parts of eastern Kansas, is still under the threat of severe weather this (MON) afternoon with the possibility of hail, strong winds and tornadoes.
Kansas Suspending Work on Limiting Plants' Carbon Emissions
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas is suspending its work on a plan for complying with federal regulations meant to combat climate change by reducing carbon emissions from power plants. Governor Sam Brownback has signed legislation approved by the GOP-dominated Legislature to put the work on hold because of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in February. The new law takes effect May 19 and is a response to the high court's 5-4 ruling staying the federal rules until legal challenges are resolved. Wyoming and Virginia have enacted similar measures. The Kansas law will prevent state agencies from conducting studies or doing other work for a carbon-emissions plan while the U.S. Supreme Court's stay is in effect. Brownback spokeswoman Eileen Hawley said Monday that the federal government is attempting an "unprecedented expansion" of its power.
UPDATE: Kansas Detective Fatally Shot; Man Arrested
KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Police say a Kansas City, Kansas, detective was shot and killed, and a man who'd been sought for questioning in that was later wounded and arrested after a shootout with police in neighboring Missouri. Police say the detective was shot at least twice about 12:30 pm Monday while helping respond to a report of a suspicious person near the Kansas Speedway. Police said in a statement that he later died at a hospital. His name wasn't released. Police say the shooter fled in the detective's car, then carjacked a vehicle with two children inside before abandoning that vehicle, leaving the kids unharmed. Police sought 28-year-old Curtis Ayers for questioning in the shooting. He ultimately was taken into custody in Kansas City, Missouri, when he crashed his car after exchanging gunfire with officers.
1 Hurt in Machete Attack During Topeka Home Invasion
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — One person has been hurt in a machete attack during a Topeka home invasion. Police Sergeant Kristen Marr says two men forced their way into the residence early Monday before attacking the man with a machete. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that the victim was taken to a hospital in an ambulance and listed in stable condition. No one was immediately arrested. Authorities are urging anyone with information to come forward.
County Describes Old Schoolhouse Property as 'Junk Yard'
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Douglas County commissioners are asking a judge to stop a family from dumping junk at an old schoolhouse property south of Lawrence. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that a petition filed in Douglas County District Court requests a temporary restraining order or a preliminary injunction. The property includes a rural schoolhouse that was built in 1890. The petition describes the property as a "junk yard" and describes it as "dangerous" and a "nuisance" that could harm the health, welfare and safety of other residents. Junk on the property includes old cars and tires, machinery, vehicle motor parts and yard equipment. It's an unusual step for the county, whose code-enforcement philosophy in recent years has been to work with violators rather than to penalize them.
Topeka Police: Homeowner Shoots, Wounds Intruder
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say a man has been shot after breaking into a Topeka home. Police said in a news release that the man was attempting to enter a home in the south-central part of the city when the homeowner shot him. The man was taken to a hospital in stable condition. Authorities are urging anyone with information to come forward.
Man Arrested in Deadly Hit-and-Run Crash in Wichita
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A man accused killing two people when he crashed into a van that was transporting people with intellectual disabilities has been arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence and fleeing the scene. The 56-year-old man is being held on $300,000 bond in the Friday afternoon crash that killed 48-year-old Dirk MacMillan and 25-year-old Leonard Atterbery. No charges have been filed. Police Sergeant Nichelle Woodrow says the victims were among three Starkey residents who were returning home from a day program when the collision occurred. The surviving Starkey resident sustained critical injuries, while one staff member was seriously injured and a second staff member was treated at a hospital and released. Woodrow says the suspect was arrested a couple blocks away from the scene of the crash after he ran.
3 Dead in Kansas City, Kansas Crash
KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Three men in their early 20s have died in a rollover crash in Kansas City, Kansas. Police say the three men were ejected from the vehicle after the driver lost control late Saturday night. Police did not immediately release the victims' names.
3 Charged with Stealing Bronze Urns from KCK Cemeteries
KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Charges have been filed against three people accused of stealing bronze urns from two cemeteries in Kansas City, Kansas. The Kansas City Star reports operators of Maple Hill Cemetery said someone had taken several hundred of the urns from graves. Chapel Hill Cemetery also is listed in court documents as reporting stolen urns. The charges against the two men and a woman involve alleged thefts between December and mid-April. All three were booked into the Wyandotte County jail on Thursday, and bond for each is set at $20,000.
National WWI Museum's New Exhibit Focuses on Bloody Battles
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A new exhibit at the National World War I Museum and Memorial focuses on two pivotal battles and features more graphic material than other temporary displays mounted by the facility. The Kansas City Star reports that the centennial exhibit, "They Shall Not Pass 1916," covers the Battle of the Somme and the Battle of Verdun. Only three of the 150 or so items on display in the exhibit have ever been publicly displayed before. Some of the items include a British helmet with a bullet hole on the top, a German coil of barbed wire and an imperial Russian pilot's leather coat. Photos show terrain cratered by explosives and dead soldiers. The exhibit opened Friday at the museum in Kansas City, Missouri, and runs until next March.
Wichita Zoo's New Elephants Settle Ahead of Exhibit's Grand Opening
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The director of the Sedgwick County Zoo in Wichita says the six elephants that arrived from southern Africa earlier this year are settling into their new home ahead of the grand opening of a new exhibit later this month. Community leaders in Wichita raised more than $10 million dollars to pay for construction of the new habitat and to ship the elephants to the U.S. from Swaziland. The Wichita Eagle reports a total of 17 elephants were imported from Africa in a partnership involving zoos in Wichita, Dallas and Omaha. The elephants were imported despite protests and a lawsuit from conservation and animal rights groups. They maintained that moving the elephants from the game reserve in Africa to American zoos was detrimental to the elephants' health. The zoos argued that Swaziland is experiencing an ongoing, extreme drought and described the move as a rescue mission. Sedgwick County Zoo's new elephant exhibit opens to the public May 27.
Sculpture Removed from Kansas City's Bartle Hall for Repair
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Crews have temporarily removed a 24,000-pound aluminum sculpture from on top of Kansas City's Bartle Hall. The artwork, which has been on the building along with three other pieces for more than two decades, was removed by crews in a helicopter Sunday. The Sky Station works were installed in 1994 as part of city's public art program. The piece removed Sunday will undergo repairs for a lightning strike and water damage. The Kansas City Star reports dozens of spectators gathered nearby to watch the procedure, which involved closing area streets and highway ramps. Nearly all of the $1.3 million cost for repairs is covered by insurance. Reinstallation is expected in September.
Promoter Says Topeka's Evel Knievel Museum Will Draw Thousands
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - The man who is creating a museum honoring daredevil Evel Knievel in Topeka says he expects it be a big draw. Mike Patterson owns a Topeka Harley-Davidson dealership, which is being expanded to include a 16,000-square-foot area to house the museum. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports Patterson is projecting the museum will draw 100,000 people a year. He says a two-month Knievel exhibit in Milwaukee drew 50,000 people from around the world. Patterson says several exhibits will incorporate science, technology, engineering and math education. For example, one exhibit will detail the physics of planning one of Knievel's jumps. Another will allow visitors to sit on a bike and create a virtual reality jump. The museum is expected to open sometime this year.
Royals Lose Early Lead Drop Game to Indians, 5-4
CLEVELAND (AP) — Indians' pticher Josh Tomlin is still unbeaten as he helped Cleveland bounce back from an early deficit leading the Indians to a 5-4 win over the Kansas City Royals Sunday. Tomlin (5-0) worked into the seventh inning and became the first Indians pitcher to win his first five outings since Justin Masterson in 2011. Tomlin is 12-0 in 13 starts following a loss since the beginning of last season. Carlos Santana and Mike Napoli homered off the Royals' Edinson Volquez (3-3) as the Indians took two of three games in the series against from the defending World Series champions.