Hesston Grieves Shooting with 'Hesston Hustler Strong'
HESSTON, Kan. (AP) — Grieving residents of a Kansas town parked riding lawnmowers with American flags beside them on some streets and adorned them with "Hesston Hustler Strong" signs in a reference to the lawn equipment brand from the plant where a gunman killed three co-workers. The Excel Industries factory has long been an economic hub for the peaceful community of 3,700. It is a source of pride that draws nearly 1,000 workers from small towns around the region. Everyone seems to either work there or know someone who does. The quiet was shattered on Thursday when Cedric L. Ford barged into the plant while about 300 people were working the second shift and opened fire. In addition to three people killed, 14 were wounded counting two shot as he drove to the plant.
Woman Charged in Newborn's Death
OLATHE, Kan. (AP) — An Olathe woman will stand trial in the death of her newborn daughter, whose body was found in a trash can. 20-year-old Marissa Carol Fields is charged with first-degree felony murder and aggravated abandonment of a child. After a preliminary hearing Friday, Fields' attorney entered not guilty pleas for her. Prosecutors say Fields gave birth at home in December 2014 after not telling anyone she was pregnant.
The Kansas City Star reports she told police the child was born blue and was cold to the touch. She said she put her in plastic bags and in the trash can because she was in shock. Medical testimony Friday indicated the baby was born alive and took at least one breath. The baby was full term and had no injuries.
Man Pleads Guilty to Lenexa Double Homicide
OLATHE, Kan. (AP) — A Lenexa man has admitted he stabbed two men to death during a burglary at their home. Alex Brune pleaded guilty Friday to two counts of first-degree murder in the July 2014 deaths of 47-year-old Brian Baskind and his stepfather, 79-year-old Clifford Preston at the men's home in Lenexa. Brune was scheduled to go to trial on Monday. The Kansas City Star reports each count carries a sentence of life in prison with no chance of parole for 25 years. Prosecutors said they will ask that the sentences run consecutively when Brune is sentenced May 18th. One of the victims shot Brune during the altercation. Brune told police he had been kidnapped by a stranger and driven to the house, where he stabbed the men while trying to escape.
Nature Conservancy gets $2 Million Gift for Kansas Waterways
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Nature Conservancy of Kansas plans to use a $2 million gift to improve stream conservation in the state. The gift from the David T. Beals III Charitable Trust is the largest gift the organization has ever received. Nature Conservancy officials said Wednesday the money will be used to establish a statewide stream conservation program. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports the Nature Conservancy owns 46,000 acres in Kansas. It also leads conservation efforts in the Flint Hills, Red Hills and Cheyenne Bottoms. The organization plans to work with private landowners on techniques that limit livestock and crop runoff into streams. That work will start occur mostly in rural areas once the agency finds a stream that needs rehabilitation. A program manager is expected to be hired by this spring. Suspect in Kansas workplace shooting served protection order