Kansas Democratic Party to Pay $19K Fine for Errors in Finance Reports
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Democratic Party has agreed to pay a $19,000 fine after an audit concluded it had filed incorrect campaign finance reports in 2011 and 2012. The Federal Election Commission's audit earlier this year found the party underreported contributions and other receipts by a total of $149,000 in 2011 and 2012. The audit said expenditures were underreported by more than $227,000 during the two-year period. The audit also said the party failed to keep required monthly logs documenting the time employees worked on federal and state campaign activities. The commission last month approved the agreement between one of its enforcement attorneys and the party's attorney. The Kansas Democratic Party said in the agreement that the problems with its reports were inadvertent and that it took steps to prevent future errors.
Kansas City Residents to Vote on Proposed New Airport
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A fight over the fate of Kansas City International Airport will come in for a landing tomorrow (TUE) when voters in Kansas City, Missouri will decide whether to approve a nearly $1 billion project to build a new airport terminal. The question on the ballot for Tuesday's citywide vote calls for replacing the 45-year-old airport's three horseshoe-shaped terminals with a single terminal. Mayor Sly James and other supporters say the makeover will help boost the economy, attract new businesses and provide jobs for Kansas City and the entire region. Supporters say the changes wil also enhance security at the airport. They also promise that no taxpayer money will be used. But opponents say they don't believe that. They say taxpayers will be on the hook for at least part of the cost in the future. Opponents also say improvements could be achieved at a much lower cost by remodeling the current terminals and that a single terminal would be less safe and less convenient for travelers.
Manhunt Underway for Home Invasion Killing Suspect
INDEPENDENCE, Mo. (AP) — Authorities are searching for a suspect in an Independence, Missouri home invasion killing after arresting two others. The Kansas City Star reports that 46-year-old Nathan Hendricks is one of three men charged with second-degree murder, armed criminal action and first-degree burglary in the death of 72-year-old William Domann. Two other suspects, Xavier Otero and Onelio Garcia, both 32 and from Kansas City, Kansas, have been arrested and are in custody. No attorneys are listed for them in online court records. Police say Hendricks may have fled to the Columbia or Hermann areas of Missouri. Police found Domann in his bedroom on the morning of October 30. He'd been restrained and shot multiple times in the head and arm. A friend called police after finding that Domman's door had been kicked in.
Fifth Person Charged in Shawnee County Triple Homicide
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A grand jury has indicted a Kansas woman on first-degree murder and other charges for her alleged involvement in a triple homicide. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that Shawnee County District Attorney Mike Kagay announced the charges Saturday against 31-year-old Kora Liles, of Topeka. Authorities say 19-year-old Matthew Leavitt, 38-year-old Nicole Fisher, and 20-year-old Luke Davis were strangled or smothered to death with trash bags in March and that the violence stemmed from an unproven rape allegation against Leavitt. Four other people have been charged in the case, including a man who says he was forced to participate to save his own life. Three of them are awaiting trial, while one man has pleaded guilty to first-degree murder.
Police: Kansas Man Admits He Put Racist Graffiti on Own Car
MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — A black Kansas man has admitted he put racist graffiti on his own car as a Halloween prank that got out of hand. The Riley County Police Department said in a news release Monday that no criminal charges would be filed against 21-year-old Dauntarius Williams for filing a false report. Authorities concluded filing charges would not be in the best interests of the citizens of Manhattan. His vehicle was parked Wednesday near Kansas State University and the incident fueled racial tensions at the university and in the community. The FBI subsequently opened a civil rights investigation. Police say Williams made a mistake and is now doing his best to own up to it. Williams apologized to the community in a statement for "the pain and news" he brought.
2 Injured After Small Plane Crashes in Pottawatomie County
ST. MARYS, Kan. (AP) - Authorities say a pilot and passenger have been injured after a small plane crashed in northeast Kansas. The Kansas Highway Patrol reports that the crash happened around noon Sunday in Pottawatomie County as the pilot was flying the T-Bird fixed wing aircraft to Lyndon, near Pomona Lake. The patrol says a propeller broke and the aircraft lost power. The plane crashed before reaching the airfield. The pilot and his passenger were taken to hospitals. The extent of their injuries wasn't immediately known.
Man Found Dead in Burned Douglas County Home
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Authorities are investigating the death of a man found in a burning home after gunshots were reported in the Lawrence area. The Douglas County sheriff's office reports that deputies arrived at the home south of Lawrence on Friday night following reports of gunshots. The house was on fire. According to a news release from the sheriff's office, a man was found dead in the home after firefighters put out the flames. No one else was inside. The sheriff's office hasn't released the man's identity, and the cause of his death is being investigated as suspicious. The cause of the fire is not yet known.
Brownback Confirms He Fired Former Commerce Secretary
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Governor Sam Brownback's office has confirmed that he fired the state Department of Commerce's top administrator in June partly over questions about agency contracts. The statement from the governor's office Friday came after weeks of denials that former Commerce Secretary Antonio Soave had been terminated. The Kansas City Star reports that the confirmation came less than a day after it published a detailed story on contracts with Soave associates. The Star identified at least nine Soave friends or business partners who landed consulting or marketing contracts during Soave's 18 months as secretary. Brownback said Soave's tenure presented problems resulting in his termination that included "inappropriate" contracts. Soave said he resigned by mutual agreement with the governor and the department's followed all existing policies in making the contracts.
Slain Man Was Shot in Back by Police, Death Certificate Says
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The death certificate for a black man killed by Topeka police in September says he died from gunshot wounds to his back, The Topeka Capital-Journal reports. The newspaper obtained a copy of Dominique White's death certificate Saturday. The document isn't a public record. Topeka police said initially that White was shot after a struggle and that at least one shot struck his chest. The department declined to discuss the death certificate Monday and referred questions to Lawrence police, who are investigating the shooting. Lawrence police described the investigation as "ongoing." Shawnee County District Attorney Mike Kagay says his office will review the investigative report once it's completed. A group demanding to know what happened has been camping since Thursday in front of the law enforcement headquarters in Topeka.
Officials: Fire at Middle Eastern Restaurant Was Intentional
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Federal investigators have determined that a fire last week at a Kansas restaurant run by a Middle Eastern family was intentionally set. The Petra Mediterranean Restaurant in Wichita was destroyed Wednesday. The words "Go back" were painted on a nearby storage unit. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is offering a $5,000 reward for information about the fire. The FBI, which investigates hate crimes, was notified last week. The restaurant's owners, Ranya Taha and Bashar Mahanweh, said last week that they thought the fire might have been a hate crime. They also said the community has rallied around them and they have lived in Wichita for years and have always found the community to be loving and supportive.
Kansas Commission Reviewing Wastewater Well Permits
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Kansas' energy-regulating agency is reviewing errors found in oil wastewater permits. KCUR-FM reports that six wastewater wells were issued permits even though their operators didn't accurately inform nearby residents of their right to protest the wells. Companies must publish a notice in a local newspaper to inform residents of any planned wells. Residents then have 30 days to protest the well to the Kansas Corporation Commission. A commission spokeswoman says the agency's commissioners are reviewing their legal options. The wells were located in Cowley, Greenwood, Linn, Miami and Sheridan counties. The commission will ask operators to restart the application process for another eleven well because they lacked the public notification process. Companies can dispose of hundreds or thousands of barrels of oil and gas wastewater into the wells per day.
Lawrence Man Breaks with GOP, Creates New Centrist Party
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Lawrence businessman Scott Morgan has "broken up" with the Republican party and wants to start a relationship with a new centrist party in Kansas. Morgan, a self-described Republican moderate, posted a tongue-in-cheek letter online this week explaining why he was leaving the Kansas GOP. He says he wants to start the Party of the Center, for what he says is a large number of people who have been left behind by extremism in the two major parties. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that Morgan is working with a group of people, mostly from Douglas and Johnson counties, to form the party. He says they know similar efforts have failed in the past but changes in politics and the economy make this the right time to try again.
Kansas DCF Head Stepping Down Amid Foster Care Scrutiny
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Secretary Phyllis Gilmore plans to retire December 1st as the Kansas Department for Children and Families' top administrator amid ongoing scrutiny of the state's foster care system. Governor Sam Brownback's office announced Gilmore's retirement Friday and said her nearly six-year tenure had "transformed" the department to combat childhood poverty and help poor and disabled adults. But the department has faced criticism from legislators for months over issues related to the state's oversight of services for abused and neglected children. Problems include several high-profile cases of children who were not removed from homes and later died and reports of foster children sleeping in contractors' offices because there were not homes for them. The 72-year-old Gilmore has been the department's secretary since February 2012 and is a former Kansas House member.
Judge Approves Jail Postcards Settlement in Kansas
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A federal judge given the final go-ahead to a settlement in the lawsuit filed against the Wilson County sheriff over his jail's policy of allowing inmates to receive and send only postcards in the mail. U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson approved the agreement and consent decree Friday allowing inmates to send and receive letters in envelopes at the southeast Kansas jail. The deal also requires the sheriff to pay $10,000 in litigation costs. The American Civil Liberties Union of Kansas and the Social Justice Law Collective sued Sheriff Pete Figgins last year alleging the post card policy violated the free speech and due process rights of prisoners and the people who write to them. Jail officials can still restrict correspondence that poses a safety threat or encourages criminal activity.
Kansas Researchers Turn Tea Leaves into Green Energy
PITTSBURG, Kan. (AP) — Researchers at Pittsburg State University are trying to turn natural waste into green energy. The Joplin Globe reports that an assistant professor of chemistry and a team of students are looking to transform waste such as green tea leaves into batteries. The project aims to develop a suitable high-performance, lightweight and safe replacement for lithium batteries, which are commonly used to power cellphones, computers and some cars. But researchers say the chemistry of lithium batteries make them more likely to catch fire under certain conditions because they contain a flammable electrolyte and are kept pressurized. The team has created small batteries from tea leaves and bamboo. Researchers are now focusing on creating a hybrid device that has the long-lasting power of a battery and the instant charge of a supercapacitor.
Spirit AeroSystems Employee Injured in Workplace Accident
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — An employee of aircraft parts maker Spirit AeroSystems has been critically injured in a workplace accident. The Wichita Eagle reports that the accident happened Friday night. A Sedgwick County 911 dispatch supervisor says the agency was notified around 7 p.m. that a man had suffered a chest injury. An ambulance took the victim to a hospital. Spirit Aerosystems described the injuries as "serious" in a statement and said that an investigation has begun. No other details were immediately released.
Kansas State Steps Up Patrols after Racist Incident
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas State University is stepping up police patrols and taking other safety measures following a series of racial incidents that culminated last week when a black man's car parked near campus was scrawled with racist graffiti. The president of the Black Student Union says minority students generally don't feel safe on campus. But school officials say they are taking steps toward more inclusion and a safer campus for all students and staff. Kansas State officials say they are reviewing the need for additional security cameras across campus. The school is also making progress on a multicultural student center and hiring two top leadership positions tasked with diversity issues. The FBI has opened a civil rights investigation into last week's graffiti incident as a possible hate crime.
Man Arrested After Theft of Manhattan Police Vehicle
MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) - Authorities have arrested a man suspected of stealing a police vehicle in Manhattan. The Hays Post reports that the 32-year-old man was taken into custody early Saturday and is being held on $32,000 bond. Riley County Police spokeswoman Hali Rowland says the police vehicle was stolen Friday night after a stop involving several suspects. The vehicle was recovered a short time later. Kansas Department of Corrections records show that the suspect has previous convictions for aggravated battery and burglary.
Missouri Women Dies After Collision with Deer
LEE'S SUMMIT, Mo. (AP) - Authorities say a woman has died after hitting a deer on a suburban Kansas City highway. The Missouri State Highway Patrol identified the victim as 37-year-old Mindy Jacobs, of Blue Springs. The patrol says Jacobs' car began to skid after she hit the deer Sunday morning on Interstate 470 in Jackson County. The patrol says the car struck a guardrail twice and overturned. Jacobs wasn't wearing a seat belt and was ejected. She was rushed to a hospital, where she was pronounced dead.
Seattle Dog Returned After 3 Months on the Loose in Kansas
LINDSBORG, Kan. (AP) - A 4-year-old dog who escaped at a Kansas rest stop while en route to his new adoptive home in Seattle has been found after three months. The Salina Journal reports that Domino is a black-and-white Border Collie-Labrador mix who was saved from a shelter in Texas. Domino was eventually adopted by Katie Aretz, a Seattle resident who found him online. But on his way to Aretz, Domino escaped from his crate August 3 at a rest stop in Lindsborg and was missing for several months. Though many volunteer groups' searches turned up unsuccessful, one volunteer found Domino, who didn't resist being taken. Aretz flew to Kansas to finally meet her new companion last week and take him back to Seattle. He's now microchipped for identification.
Kansas City Chiefs Drop Game to Cowboys, 28-17
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) —The Dallas Cowboys overcame a last-play touchdown in the first half by Kansas City's Tyreek Hill to beat the Chiefs 28-17 on Sunday. Ezekiel Elliott's 2-yard plunge in the third quarter for the Cowboys (5-3) came after the Chiefs turned a 14-3 deficit into a 17-14 advantage at half-time, sparked by Hill's 56-yard catch with the first-half clock expired and seven Dallas defenders inside their 25 trying to prevent the score. Last year's NFL rushing champion as a rookie, Elliott had 93 yards, ending a streak of three straight 100-yard games but outgaining Kareem Hunt, this year's rushing leader in his first season entering the game. Hunt matched a season low with nine carries, finishing with 37 yards as a club record-tying nine-game road winning streak ended for the Chiefs (6-3) in their third loss in four games since a 5-0 start.