Icy Roads Blamed in 2 Kansas Deaths
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Freezing rain and high winds have hit Kansas, causing several accidents, including two fatalities. The National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning for sections of central and southern Kansas through 6 pm today (SAT). KAKE-TV reports that several accidents have been reported in the Wichita area Friday. The Kansas Highway Patrol says two traffic fatalities on Thursday have been attributed to the icy road conditions in western Kansas. The first fatality occurred in Hodgeman County when a car ran off an icy road, hit a ditch and rolled. Another person also died Thursday near Holcomb when he was ejected from a pickup that hit some ice, rolled and hit a car.
Judge, State Differ on Judicial Selection
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Attorneys for a Kansas judge contend recent legislation changing judicial selection in Kansas is unconstitutional. But the state argues the law is a proper exercise of longstanding legislative authority. District Judge Larry Solomon of Kingman County has been challenging a 2014 law that says judges in the 31 judicial districts in Kansas pick their chief judges, taking that authority from the Kansas Supreme Court. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that Solomon's attorneys argue in new court filings that the legislation is unconstitutional as a violation of the separation-of-powers doctrine. Solomon's lawyers also ask the Kansas Supreme Court to invalidate the entire law. The state says in its brief that the law is "a proper exercise of longstanding legislative authority to regulate the selection of 'officers.'"
Menard Proposes 100-Job Facility in Lawrence
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — The home improvement retailer Menard Inc. is proposing a $25 million distribution center and manufacturing facility in Lawrence. The Kansas City Star reports that the facility would bring about 100 jobs to the community. Economic Development Corporation of Lawrence and Douglas County said in a statement that Midwest Manufacturing would operate the facility. Midwest Manufacturing is a division of Wisconsin-based Menard and supports the retail stores by handling such things as door manufacturing, steel siding and roofing. The development organization says the company must still complete property and engineering examinations of its 90-acre site. The project also is contingent on receiving necessary permits and approvals. The organization says the projects will receive a local assistance package, but details weren't disclosed. The package requires final approval.
Army Identifies Soldiers Killed in Helicopter Crash
FORT HOOD, Texas (AP) — The Army has released the identities of four crew members who were killed when their helicopter crashed during a routine training exercise at Fort Hood in Texas. The Black Hawk went down about 6 p.m. Monday in the northeast portion of the sprawling military post about 60 miles north of Austin. Killed were 40-year-old Sergeant 1st Class Toby Childers of Hays, Kansas; 40-year-old Chief Warrant Officer 3 Stephen Cooley of Cantonment, Florida; 35-year-old Sergeant 1st Class Jason M. Smith of Destrehan, Louisiana; and 40-year-old Chief Warrant Officer 2 Michael F. Tharp of Katy, Texas. The cause of the crash remains undetermined. Fort Hood covers 214,000 acres, making it one of the largest Army posts in the country. More than 135,000 acres are reserved for training purposes.
Authorities Investigating Wichita Bank Robbery
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Authorities are investigating a bank robbery in Wichita. The Wichita Eagle reports that the robbery happened yesterday (FRI) morning at an Intrust Bank branch. Authorities are seeking a man who wore a black hooded sweatshirt and had a black bandanna over his face.
Kansas Man Charged with Abuse after Human Remains Found
KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas City, Kansas, man has been charged with child abuse after police responded to an armed disturbance that led them to discover human remains at a barn on his property. Forty-four-year-old Michael A. Jones also was charged Friday with aggravated battery and aggravated assault with a firearm. He is being held on $10 million bond. The Wyandotte County prosecutor's office didn't immediately respond to an email asking whether he had an attorney who could comment. The prosecutor's office said in a news release that he is accused of battering a woman and "torturing or cruelly beating" his 7-year-old son. Police said that while responding to the disturbance they were told that the boy had been missing for "an extended period of time." The remains found haven't been identified.
Pittsburg State Exchanges Land with City
PITTSBURG, Kan. (AP) — Pittsburg State University and the City of Pittsburg have formalized a deal to exchange about 100 acres of land. The Morning Sun reports that under the deal formalized this week, the city receives about 72 acres in southeast Pittsburg valued at $283,550, and Pittsburg State receives 25.10 acres in one parcel and about 5 acres of land at another site that are together valued at about $283,992. Pittsburg State President Steve Scott says the land exchange process began nearly two years ago when the city and the university realized they each had land the other could use. The exchange required nearly 18 months of negotiations and the approval of the Kansas Board of Regents, the Kansas Legislature and the Kansas Attorney General.