Army Suspends Fort Riley Commander, Launches Investigation
FORT RILEY, Kan. (AP) — The U.S. Army says it has suspended the commander of Fort Riley and launched an official investigation, although no details have been provided. Army spokesman Colonel Patrick R. Seiber announced yesterday (FRI) that Major General Wayne Grigsby has been suspended as commander of the 1st Infantry Division at the Kansas base. He declined further comment. An Army spokeswoman also declined to disclose the nature of the investigation. About 17,000 troops are stationed at Fort Riley. Grigsby assumed command of the base in August 2015, after 31 years of military service that included a stint as commander of the Combined Joint Task Force in East Africa. Grigsby was previously stationed at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas and served in multiple deployments to Iraq, including as commander of the 1st Infantry Division's G3 unit.
Kansas Election Official Accused of Not Complying with Order
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The American Civil Liberties Union is asking a judge to enforce her earlier order requiring Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach to put on voter rolls people who registered at motor vehicle offices without providing citizenship documents. In a filing yesterday (FRI), the group also requested that U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson issue an order for Kobach to show cause why he should not be held in contempt. Kobach says the state "is in full compliance with the district court's order." The ACLU contends Kobach has not registered in the official poll books these voters for federal elections. Those voters must use a provisional ballot, instead of a regular ballot. The ACLU also argues Kobach violated the order by issuing a confusing and misleading notice to the organization.
Kansas AG Questions Federal Spending on Gitmo Surveys
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas' attorney general has released a document showing that the U.S. Department of Defense spent nearly $26,000 surveying potential sites last year for housing terror suspects now held in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Republican Attorney General Derek Schmidt says he's concerned the federal agency may have violated a prohibition from Congress on spending federal money to move the prisoners to U.S. soil. Fort Leavenworth was among the sites surveyed. Local and state officials strongly oppose moving detainees there. In a letter to Kansas' congressional delegation, Schmidt said he obtained the one-page report after filing a federal lawsuit in July seeking documents related to the Obama administration's plan to move detainees. Defense Department spokeswoman Lieutenant Colonel Valerie Henderson says the agency does not comment on ongoing lawsuits.
Pittsburg State University Gets Native Prairie Land as Gift
PITTSBURG, Kan. (AP) — Pittsburg State University has been given two small patches of native prairie land northeast of Cherokee as a gift. The Joplin Globe reports that the university has managed the land known as the O'Malley Prairies for several years and received it as a gift this week from the descendants of Mary O'Malley and her brother, Charles O'Malley. A ceremony was held Thursday to mark the land's transfer. Pittsburg State biology students have since used the land as an outdoor research lab and will continue to do so. The O'Malley Prairies total about 12 acres and are remnants of the vast prairie ecosystem that once covered large swaths of the Midwest.
Brownback: Budget Proposals not Considered Open Records
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Governor Sam Brownback's administration has declared that budget proposals forwarded to the governor by state agencies are "draft" documents and not subject to the state's open records laws. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports budget director Shawn Sullivan told Cabinet agency staff members recently that budget proposals are internal documents and not subject to the Kansas Open Records Act. Brownback spokeswoman Eileen Hawley says the governor's past and current position has been that draft budget documents are not public information until he releases his budget recommendations to the Legislature. Even so, in December 2014 Sullivan shared with select lobbyists an outline of Brownback's ideas for filling a budget hole driven by massive income tax cuts.
KU Chancellor to Step Down in Summer 2017
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The University of Kansas says Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little plans to step down from the position in the summer of 2017. The university issued a statement Thursday. Gray-Little has been chancellor of the state's largest university since August 2009. Gray-Little said in a statement that with major initiatives at the university nearing completion, it's an ideal time for her to leave its top administrative job. She also said that announcing her departure now will help the university and the Kansas Board of Regents find a replacement without having to name an interim chancellor for a smoother transition. She was the university's first female and black chancellor. Board of Regents Chairwoman Zoe Newton called her a "transformative figure." Before coming to Kansas, Gray-Little was a top University of North Carolina administrator.
Nonprofit: Chelsea Manning Faces Solitary Confinement at Fort Leavenworth
LEAVENWORTH, Kan. (AP) — A nonprofit group says a transgender soldier imprisoned in Kansas for leaking classified information faces up to two weeks in solitary confinement in part for a recent suicide attempt. Fight for the Future said in a statement yesterday (FRI) that Chelsea Manning was sentenced Thursday to 14 days in solitary confinement. The statement was backed by one of Manning's lawyers. Manning is serving 35 years in prison at Fort Leavenworth for passing classified files to WikiLeaks. The statement included comments from Manning, who said no date's been set for the discipline to start. She also said she can appeal and that she'll only have to serve seven days in solitary if she stays out of trouble for six months. An Army spokesman said it'd be inappropriate for the Army to comment.
Flint Hills Exhibit Highlights Ghost Towns
MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — An exhibit showcasing the collected history of Flint Hills communities that no longer exist will soon open in Manhattan. The Manhattan Mercury reports that the exhibit will open today (SAT) at the Flint Hills Discovery Center and run through January 8. The seven towns chosen for the exhibit are Broughton, Bodarc, Cedar Point, Chalk Mound, Maple City, Volland and Kaw Village. The exhibit features a story booth, which is a replica of an old general storefront, where people can record their own stories. The stories will also be uploaded to the Library of Congress. Exhibit curator Bonnie Lynn-Sherow says it's meant to make people aware that their story about their hometown is important history. An interactive map near the entrance will show the growth and decline of more than 300 towns in the Flint Hills between 1850 and 2000.