Larned State Hospital to Overhaul Sex Offender Treatment
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas is overhauling a program that confines sex offenders indefinitely for post-prison mental health treatment. The changes to be rolled out this month follow a federal lawsuit, a critical legislative audit and legal challenges to similar programs in other states. Officials at the Larned State Hospital program said treatment will become more structured, personalized and focused on changing behavior that could cause patients to commit new crimes. They also said patients will be allowed a greater number of short, supervised community visits.Advocates for the 264 men committed by state courts to the program said they're encouraged by the promised changes but remain concerned about staffing issues at the western Kansas hospital.Twenty-five patients filed a federal lawsuit in October 2014 and a critical legislative audit followed last year.
Hays Officer Cleared in Shooting of Autistic Man
HAYS, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas police officer was found justified in shooting an autistic man who tried to take his gun away, but the victim's family says things might have turned out differently if the officer had been aware of the man's mental issues.The Salina Journal reports Joseph "Joey" Weber was fatally shot by a Hays police officer Aug. 18 after grabbing the officer's gun as the officer tried to take him into custody.Weber's family is pushing for a new law that would allow people to include on their vehicle registration information any mental and physical conditions that might cause erratic behavior.Salina attorney Ken Wasserman, who represents Weber's family, says there was nothing about Weber's appearance that would have indicated to an officer that he had mental health issues.
130-Year-Old Kansas Fruit Plantation For Sale
HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) — A former plantation near Nickerson that was once the largest shipping point for fruit between the Missouri River and California is for sale.The Hutchinson News reports the 130-year-old Yaggy Plantation used to grow up to 50,000 apple trees and a million catalpa trees, which were used for fence posts and railroad ties. Up to 300 people worked there during harvest season.Today, the land is mostly grassland and irrigated cropland, with no apple trees and few catalpas remaining.The plantation was founded by Levi Walter Yaggy. His descendants have decided to auction off the acreage. The auction will be Oct. 5 at the Cosmosphere in Hutchinson.The family is selling about 1,260 acres, which will be offered in five tracts and combinations.
Reported Rapes Down at the University of Kansas
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — A new report shows that the number of rapes reported at the University of Kansas went down from 2014 to 2015.The university's latest Clery report shows there were 13 reported rapes at the university in 2015, down from 19 reported in 2014.The new report, which was released Friday, also shows that of the 13 rapes reported at the university in 2015, five occurred in campus housing and five occurred elsewhere on campus. One occurred at a "non-campus" location, and two occurred on public property.The Lawrence Journal-World reports that fondling reports also went down, from 14 in 2014 to four in 2015.The federal Clery Act requires postsecondary institutions to track and annually report crime reported on their campuses.
Wichita Man Completes Appalachian Trail Hike
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A 22-year-old Wichita, Kansas, man who hiked 2,190 miles of the Appalachian Trail through 14 states is crediting God and Dr. Seuss for giving him the inspiration.The Wichita Eagle reports that Joshua Gribble completed the Georgia-to-Maine, 158-day trek on Sept. 15.Gribble says the motivation came from a 2015 church service in which he heard the pastor quote Dr. Seuss, "You're off to great places! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting! So get on your way!" Gribble says he took that as God nudging him.Gribble says he prepped for the hike for a year before launching it on April 10. Along the way, he came across several rattlesnakes and a dozen black bears.
Kauffman Foundation Announces New Scholarships
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A foundation named after the pharmaceutical company founder who established the Kansas City Royals has announced a $79 million scholarship program to celebrate what would have been Ewing Marion Kauffman's 100th birthday.Students from low- and modest-income families in two Kansas counties and four Missouri counties can apply starting next year for the three-tiered program called KC Scholars. The Kansas City Star reports it will serve 2,000 students when it's running full scale.The program includes a traditional scholarship of up to $10,000 a year for five years that would be awarded to 11th grade students with at least a 2.5 GPA. There's also a scholarship of up to $5,000 a year for five years for adults 24 and older.
Fitzwater Exhibit to Open at Kansas State Library
MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — An exhibit about former presidential press secretary Marlin Fitzwater is opening next month at Kansas State University.The Salina Journal reports that Fitzwater donated his personal papers to the Richard L.D. & Marjorie J. Morse Department of Special Collections at Kansas State Libraries. A sample of that donation makes up the exhibit, with visitors able to examine correspondence, publications, photos, memorabilia and official government documents.The exhibit will remain on display through March 17.Fitzwater is a Salina native who grew up in Abilene and graduated from Kansas State. He worked in the Environmental Protection Agency, and the departments of Transportation and the Treasury, before serving Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush. Before going to Washington, he worked on newspapers including The Manhattan Mercury and The Topeka Capital-Journal.