Authorities Identify Some Victims in I-70 Crash
BONNER SPRINGS, Kan. (AP) - The Kansas Highway Patrol has released the names of some of the five people killed in in a fiery six-vehicle crash that temporarily closed a stretch of Interstate 70 near Bonner Springs on Tuesday afternoon. The victims included two retired professors from Washburn University in Topeka. Retired chemistry professor, 83-year-old Sheldon Cohen and his wife, 79-year-old Virginia Cohen, a former biology teacher at Washburn died in the wreck. Dr. Sheldon Cohen began teaching at Washburn in the early 1960's and retired in 1999. The Kansas Turnpike Authority says the westbound tractor-trailer rammed three slowing passenger vehicles in a construction zone before crashing into a stopped tractor-trailer. The resulting crash and massive fire closed the interstate for several hours.
Newspaper: Log Offers Different Account of Prison Disturbance
EL DORADO, Kan. (AP) — A newspaper says an emergency log book suggests the Kansas Department of Corrections perhaps downplayed an inmate disturbance last month at a prison. Kansas prison officials had reported that no violence occurred and no weapons were accessed by inmates during the June 29 incident at the El Dorado Correctional Facility. But The Kansas City Star reports a log book shows there were two fights involving separate groups of inmates, at least one inmate had a weapon and at least one fire broke out. The head of the union representing prison workers has said inmates, while refusing to return to their cell houses, controlled parts of the prison. Corrections spokesman Todd Fertig says he hasn't seen the log, and that no department weapons ever were possessed by the inmates.
Police Identify Suspect Fatally Shot as Leavenworth Officer Investigates Theft
LEAVENWORTH, Kan. (AP) — The man who was shot and killed by a Leavenworth police officer has been identified. The Kansas Bureau of Investigation says the man killed was 47-year-old Antonio Garcia Jr. of Leavenworth. A news release said the officer fired at Garcia on Tuesday night after an "altercation" while the officer was investigating a vehicle theft. Garcia was pronounced dead after emergency responders were called to the scene. A woman was arrested during the investigation on suspicion of interfering with law enforcement, criminal damage to property and concealing, destroying or altering evidence. Leavenworth police Chief Patrick Kitchens said the officer was at the scene about 10 minutes before reporting that shots had been fired. The officer wasn't hurt. Neither Leavenworth police nor the KBI offered any other details about what led up to the shooting.
Feds Stop Requiring Bi-Weekly Kansas Reports on Medicaid
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Federal officials are no longer requiring Kansas to file bi-weekly reports on a large backlog of applicants for the state's privatized Medicaid program. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment was notified last week by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid that the state can discontinue the reports it has been sending since early 2006. At the time, Kansas had more than 7,000 backlogged applications that had been pending for more than 45 days for its Medicaid program, called KanCare. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that health department spokeswoman Angela deRocha said the federal agency was satisfied with the progress and results the state has achieved. The CMS said it will still periodically ask Kansas for updates on its eligibility processing.
Kansas Education Officials Seek Training for More Graduates
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Education officials in Kansas say the state needs more high school graduates who go on to college or career training programs to fill its future employment demand. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that Deputy Education Commissioner Brad Neuenswander presented new state education data to the Kansas State Board of Education on Wednesday. Neuenswander says that over 70 percent of jobs are going to require some form of additional certification or degree after high school by 2020. The state data, obtained from nonprofit National Student Clearinghouse, shows that less than half of Kansas high school students achieved a degree or certificate or were enrolled in a postsecondary program two years after graduation. The education department recently began tracking the data to help determine how to accredit school districts.
Wichita Teacher Arrested on Suspicion of Dealing Cocaine
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say a third-grade Wichita teacher has been arrested on suspicion of being a drug dealer after a two-month investigation. The Wichita Eagle reports that the 48-year-old teacher was booked into the Sedgwick County Jail on Tuesday. The Sedgwick County Sheriff's Office says the teacher was arrested on suspicion of seven counts of cocaine distribution. She is being held on $57,500 bond. Wichita School District spokeswoman Susan Arensman says the woman is a third-grade teacher at Enders Open Magnet Elementary School.
10 Kansas Lifeguards Suffer Chlorine Exposure
MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — Officials say ten lifeguards at a public pool in Manhattan were taken to a hospital for chlorine exposure. Manhattan Parks and Recreation spokeswoman Melissa Kirkwood says the lifeguards were exposed Wednesday at Northview Pool. KSNT-TV reports that patrons weren't sickened because the chlorine apparently was released during a break that gives the lifeguards a chance to get into the pool and cool down while everyone else gets out of the water. Kirkwood blamed the release on an equipment malfunction that was caused by a lightning strike earlier this month. The Manhattan Fire Department was able to contain the leak late Wednesday afternoon, but the pool remains closed for now.
Missouri Man Gets 3 Years in Prison for Marriage Fraud Plot
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A Kansas City, Missouri, man who played a leading role in a plot that helped African nationals evade immigration laws by arranging fraudulent marriages has been ordered to spend three years in federal prison. Forty-nine-year-old Delmar Dixon was sentenced Thursday in Kansas City. That's where he pleaded guilty in March to conspiracy and falsely swearing in an immigration matter. Dixon admitted he arranged 30 to 40 fraudulent marriages, including his own. He charged the African nationals $1,000 upfront and another $1,000 after the wedding was complete. The nationals were asked to pay their spouses $250 a month until the immigration process was complete. Five co-defendants also have pleaded guilty. Two of them have also have been sentenced to prison.
Girl Found Safe After Car Theft
KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Authorities have found a girl safe in the backseat of a car where she was sleeping when the vehicle was stolen from a Kansas City, Kansas, gas station. The Kansas City Star reports that a woman stole the car around 7 pm Wednesday after the driver left the vehicle running with the girl inside while he went into the gas station. Authorities found the child about an hour later in Tonganoxie in neighboring Leavenworth County. The girl is around 4 years old. Police say she wasn't hurt but was taken to a hospital as a precaution. Police dogs were used to search a nearby wooded area, but officers didn't immediately find the suspected thief or a man who was with her. The man was driving an older utility truck.
US Winter Wheat Forecast Improves, Still Below Year Ago
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The government has updated its forecast for winter wheat production now that harvest is under way across the nation's breadbasket. The National Agricultural Statistics Service projected on Wednesday that U.S. growers would bring in 1.28 billion bushels of winter wheat. That is up 2 percent from last month's forecast, but is still down 23 percent from last year. Its estimate is based on an estimated 49.7 bushels per acre with nearly 26 million acres expected to be harvested across the country. The agency also had a more optimistic forecast in Kansas compared to just a month ago. It is now projecting the Kansas wheat harvest to come in at 324.3 million bushels. Average yields are 47 bushels per acre. Kansas farmers are expected to cut 6.9 million acres of wheat.
Man Sought After Winfield Fire Found Dead
WINFIELD, Kan. (AP) - The Cowley County sheriff says a man who was the subject of a search after a mobile home fire has been found dead. Sheriff David Falletti says a deputy found the body of 25-year-old Jacob Andes early Wednesday while doing a routine check of property where a mobile home was destroyed by fire Tuesday. Falletti says Andes appears to have died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Deputies began looking for Andes after they went to the property about three miles east of Winfield to investigate a report of a domestic dispute early Tuesday and found the mobile home on fire. A deputy reported hearing popping noises from inside the mobile home and believed it could be gunshots or sounds from the fire.
Wichita Eagle Names KU Grad as New Publisher
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The Wichita Eagle has named as its new publisher a man who started his career with the newspaper. Fifty-nine-year-old Kelly Mirt will return as publisher and vice president of adverting for the Eagle and Kansas.com. The Wichita Eagle reports that Mirt comes from another McClatchy Co. newspaper, the Charlotte Observer in North Carolina. He has been vice president at the Observer since January 2012. He brings 35 years of experience as an advertising executive at nine newspapers in seven states. His first job after graduating in 1980 from the University of Kansas was at the Eagle. Over five years he worked his way up from advertising representative to assistant retail sales manager. Mirt begins his Wichita job in late July. He replaces Roy Heatherly, who left in April.
Bobcat Responsible for Southwest Kansas Power Outage
LAKIN, Kan. (AP) — A power outage in southwest Kansas was found to be caused by a bobcat. The Wichita Eagle reports that a crew from Wheatland Electric found the bobcat atop a 35-foot utility pole on Tuesday near Lakin. The animal came into contact with a pair of electrified lines and died immediately. The line crew had used a bucket truck to take the dead bobcat and evaluate the electrical equipment for any further damage. Wheatland had contacted the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism office in Pratt once power had been restored. The department has dispatched a game warden from Deerfield to assess the electrification.