National Weather Service Expands Severe Weather Risk Area
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Forecasters at the Storm Prediction Center in Oklahoma say nearly 50 million people are at risk for severe weather today (TUE). Forecasters say large and destructive hail is likely in parts of Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas throughout the day and into the evening hours. The latest forecast says "significant" tornadoes are also possible in those states, but baseball-sized or larger hail will be more widespread. Forecasters say most of the storms are expected to hit Tuesday afternoon and evening. Due to the threat of dangerous weather, Wichita State University and Emporia State University closed early today (TUE), as did a number of K-12 schools in south-central Kansas.
The Latest: Kansas Air Base Moves Planes Ahead of Storms
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Officials have removed aircraft from a Kansas military base to prevent them from being damaged during expected heavy storms. McConnell Air Force Base spokesman Colby Hardin says the aircraft are being sent to Fairchild Air Force Base in Spokane, Washington, and Grand Forks Air Force Base in North Dakota. The Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma, is forecasting severe storms with the possibility of tornadoes and large hail Tuesday, including in the Wichita area. McConnell is about 9 mile southeast of Wichita. The aircraft and support personnel will return when conditions are safe. The air base is open for business Tuesday. McConnell currently houses mostly 1950s-era KC-135 refueling tanks. That fleet is being replaced by new KC-46A tankers, which are scheduled to begin arriving next year.
Kansas to Delay Consolidation of Home Services for Disabled
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas is delaying a planned consolidation of seven programs providing in-home services for the elderly and disabled until spring 2017. Lieutenant Governor Jeff Colyer made the commitment in a letter to Kansas House Health and Human Services Committee Chairman Dan Hawkins last week. Colyer is a leading spokesman on health care issues in Governor Sam Brownback's administration. Hawkins said Tuesday that the delay will give lawmakers a chance to review the so-called integration plan during their session next year. Brownback's administration has pursued consolidation since last year and initially planned for it to take effect in January. The administration contends it will make the delivery of services more efficient. Advocates for the disabled and some lawmakers worried the administration was moving too quickly and services could be cut.
Kansas Lawmakers Reject Audit for Same-Sex Discrimination
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas lawmakers have again refused to audit the Department of Children and Families to determine if the agency discriminates against same-sex couples in adoption or foster care cases. The Legislative Post Audit Committee on Tuesday voted 5-4 along party lines not to approve the audit. Representative Jim Ward, a Democrat from Wichita, sought the audit after several same-sex couples alleged last year that the agency had discriminated against them. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that the vote came after DCF Secretary Phyllis Gilmore issued a statement denying the discrimination allegations. She says the agency has no policies or documents related to same-sex or non-traditional families. Ward countered that substantial anecdotal evidence shows blatant discrimination against same-sex couples. He called Tuesday's vote "shameful."
Standard and Poor's Says Kansas Could See Credit Rating Drop
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) _ A national credit rating service says there's at least a 50-50 chance it could lower Kansas's AA credit rating later this year, depending on how the Legislature handles the state's current budget crisis. The Kansas City Star reports that Standard and Poor's Rating Services said it has placed Kansas on a "credit watch'' because of the state's budget shortfall and concerns about Governor Sam Brownback's proposal for filling the gap. New revenue estimates for the state recently projected a $290 million budget shortfall through June 2017. Brownback spokeswoman Eileen Hawley says the governor has presented three options for the Legislature to consider in balancing the budget. The rating service says it will resolve the credit watch in 90 days, based on the Legislature's actions.
FBI: Body Found After Kansas Shootout Was Robbery Suspect
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The FBI says a man's body found in charred ruins of a Kansas motel room after a shootout that injured three federal agents is that of the robbery suspect they were trying to arrest. The FBI said Tuesday the body was identified as 28-year-old Orlando Collins, and the preliminary conclusion of the coroner is that Collins fatally shot himself. Toxicology tests are pending. The Saturday night shootout at the Country Club Motel in Topeka injured two deputy federal marshals and an FBI agent who were part of a fugitive task force. The FBI says its agent remained hospitalized Tuesday in good condition. Authorities trying to arrest Collins came under fire as they approached a motel room, from which a fire then erupted. Topeka's fire marshal says investigators believe the room's occupant set the blaze.
Mother Charged with Aiding in Southeast Kansas Jail Escape
GIRARD, Kan. (AP) — A mother is charged with aiding her son and another man in a southeast Kansas jail escape. The Pittsburg Morning Sun reports that 57-year-old Marlene Louise McAfee, of Arma, is jailed in Crawford County on $50,000 bond. After her son, Shaun Steven Simpson, and fellow inmate Steven Ray Barnes escaped Saturday from the Crawford County Jail, surveillance video from a nearby hospital showed them getting into McAfee's sport utility vehicle and leaving. Authorities continued searching Tuesday for the men. The 33-year-old Simpson was being held on kidnapping and other charges, while the 26-year-old Barnes was jailed on a parole violation. McAfee said at a bond hearing Monday that she is "cooperating with everyone." Her attorney, Jason Wiske, didn't immediately return a phone call from The Associated Press seeking comment.
Another Patient Accuses Former VA Employee of Sex Abuse
LEAVENWORTH, Kan. (AP) — Another patient has filed a lawsuit accusing a former physician assistant at the Veteran's Administration hospital in Kansas of sexual abuse. The complaint filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court of Kansas brings to at least four the number of civil lawsuits filed against Mark E. Wisner, and the federal government. Wisner also faces criminal charges of aggravated criminal sodomy, solicitation and sexual battery. Wisner did not return a phone message. The hospital in Leavenworth, Kansas, reiterated that once accusations were brought to the attention of its leadership Wisner was immediately removed from patient care and an investigation initiated. The Iraq war veteran alleges that Wisner conducted improper genital examinations and comments. He contends Wisner suggested he would withhold pain medications if the patient did not allow the examinations.
OSHA Finds Multiple Violations Related to Kansas Man's Death
HILL, Kan. (AP) — A federal safety agency has cited the employer of a southeast Kansas man killed in a workplace accident with multiple violations. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is seeking $59,000 in fines from Viking Blast & Wash Systems. The industrial cleaning equipment manufacturer is located in Rose Hill. The company didn't immediately return a phone message from The Associated Press seeking comment. OSHA said in a news release that safety guards may have prevented a metal bar from striking and killing a lathe operator in January. Rose Hill police previously identified the man as say 24-year-old Robert Haigler of Udall. OSHA regional director Judy Freeman says the man's life "might have been saved if the lathe had been equipped with required safety mechanisms."
Kansas Highway Safety Improvements Could Be Delayed
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Motorists in parts of Kansas could be driving on more congested and dangerous roads in the future. The Kansas Department of Transportation says it plans to delay 25 large highway projects that had been scheduled during the next two years as part of the state's efforts to balance its budget. Governor Sam Brownback issued proposals last week that would divert $185 million in sales tax revenues earmarked for highway projects help bridge a projected budget shortfall of more than $290 million in the 2016 and 2017 fiscal years. The shift will delay at least 25 large highway projects through fiscal year 2019. The projects would have widened shoulders, flattened hills, straightened curves and added passing lanes and greater capacity to the highway system.
ACLU: Two-Thirds of New Kansas Voter Registrations on Hold
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) _ The American Civil Liberties Union contends voting rolls in Kansas are in "chaos'' now because of the state's proof-of-citizenship requirements. It said in a recent court filing that an affidavit from the state elections director shows about two-thirds of new voter registration applications submitted during a three-week period in February have been put on hold because they did not provide proof of citizenship. Kansas's dual registration system is under multiple legal challenges in an election year, a time when registrations surge. Rulings are expected at any time in lawsuits unfolding in Kansas and in Washington, D.C. The state's primary is in August.
Cherokee County to Appeal Ruling on Kansas Casino Lawsuit
COLUMBUS, Kan. (AP) — Cherokee County commissioners have voted to appeal a Shawnee County judge's decision that upheld how Kansas awarded a license for a state casino being built in Crawford County. The Joplin Globe reports that commissioners voted 2-1 on Monday to authorize spending up to $20,000 in legal bills on the appeal. Commissioners Pat Collins and Robert Myers continue to support a proposal for Castle Rock Casino Resort that didn't get chosen to be built in Cherokee County. In a March decision, Judge Larry Hendricks denied petitions for judicial review that sought to restart the casino selection steps. Kansas Crossing Casino and Hotel, a $70.2 million project, is expected to open in Crawford County next March. Casino officials have said it would create more than 300 jobs.
Pompeo Won't Seek US Senate Seat in Kansas
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — U.S. Representative Mike Pompeo says he is not running for U.S. Senate, ending speculation that he would mount a primary challenge to Senator Jerry Moran. The south -central Kansas Republican said in an email to supporters that he is filing for re-election to the House, saying the 85 remaining days before first votes are cast preclude him running the kind of Senate campaign he wants. He cited his continuing commitments in the House. Pompeo says he started exploring a potential Senate run over conflicting messages Moran sent out on Supreme Court nominee. He also criticized the Republican establishment for pushing backs once his possible candidacy became public.
Man Pleads Guilty to Explosives Use Tied to Wichita Abortion Clinic
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A homeless man has pleaded guilty to criminal use of explosives after he went to apply for a job a Wichita abortion clinic with a small bottle of gunpowder and a wick in his backpack. The Wichita Eagle reports that 20-year-old Moises R. Trevizo Jr. admitted Monday to the charge and is scheduled to be sentenced June 24 in Sedgwick County District Court. Police have said he didn't mean any harm and carried everything he owned in the backpack when he showed up to the South Wind Women's Center in August. Police said the device was too small to damage the clinic. The clinic operates in the building once owned by slain abortion provider George Tiller.
University of Kansas to Study Stress in Kansas City Children
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — A $3.7 million federal grant will allow a University of Kansas researcher to study how stress affects young children in Kansas City. The university announced the five-year grant from National Institute of Mental Health on Monday. The research will be led by Yo Jackson, professor in the clinical child psychology program and the psychology/applied behavioral science departments. The study will focus on hundreds of children aged 3 to 5 who are clients of Kansas City social service agencies. Jackson says researchers will study how trauma affects the children's emotions and thinking. The goal of the research is to develop protocols to help children deal with traumatic events.
Wichita Infant Dies While Sleeping with Parent
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Police say a 5-month-old baby has died while taking a nap in bed with his mother. The Wichita Eagle reports that police say it was the seventh time this year that a child has died while sleeping in the same bed as someone else. The practice is called co-sleeping. Kansas Infant Death and SIDS Network director Christy Schunn says babies are safest sleeping alone, on their backs in a clutter-free crib. Some parents view co-sleeping as a way to bond with their children. But experts say adult beds can be dangerous for babies because blankets and pillows can suffocate them.
South Carolina Governor Heads to Washington to Discuss Guantanamo Closure
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Governor Nikki Haley is going to Washington to voice her concerns over the possible transfer of Guantanamo detainees to sites including South Carolina. Haley's office says the governor is among those testifying Thursday before the U.S. House Homeland Security Committee. The panel discussion is focused on implications for state and local communities if the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, prison is closed. The second-term Republican has been outspoken in her opposition to the transfer of remaining detainees. A Naval brig near Charleston is among possible transfer sites already surveyed by a Defense Department team. Legislation introduced Monday on Capitol Hill would maintain a ban on transferring prisoners from Guantanamo to the United States. The longstanding congressional prohibition has kept President Barack Obama from fulfilling a campaign pledge to close the facility.
Emergency Landing Amid Michigan Storms Damages Small Plane
SOUTH HAVEN, Mich. (AP) — Authorities say a small plane went off a runway in southwestern Michigan after the pilot made an emergency landing due to thunderstorms. No one was injured in Monday night's landing at South Haven Area Regional Airport. Police say the plane was heading from Kansas to Mount Pleasant, Michigan, when the pilot reported encountering strong storms with high winds. The plane was found off the end of the runway and had damage to its front end from the landing. Police didn't say where in Kansas the flight originated. South Haven police say the Federal Aviation Administration is investigating. Lighting from the storms also was blamed for sparking a fire at an appliance business in nearby South Haven Township. The Kalamazoo Gazette reports no one was injured in the fire.
Man Found Guilty in Lawrence Murder
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — A 34-year-old man has been convicted in the death of a Lawrence man who was found bleeding outside a fast-food restaurant. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that Joshaua Back was found guilty Friday of intentional second-degree murder in the May 2015 killing of Tracy Dean Lautenschlager. The jury also found Back guilty of felony theft. Authorities say Back stabbed Lautenschlager in the neck outside a Lawrence home. Lautenschlager was found bleeding in a McDonald's parking lot. He was pronounced dead at a hospital. Back fled in a truck that he told authorities he planned to steal as collateral for a drug debt. He was arrested two days later in Leavenworth County. The defense said the killing was an act of self-defense. Sentencing is scheduled for June 2.
2 Federal Agents in Kansas Gunfight Leave Hospital, 1 Agent Still Hospitalized
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) _ Two of three federal agents injured during a fiery weekend shootout at a Topeka motel are out of the hospital, and authorities are trying to identify the body found inside the suspect's charred motel room. A U.S. Marshals Service spokeswoman said Monday that two deputy marshals were treated and released after sustaining gunshot wounds during Saturday night's confrontation. The FBI says an FBI agent also received non-life-threatening injuries. FBI spokeswoman Bridget Patton in Kansas City, Missouri, says the agent was in good condition Monday afternoon at an unspecified hospital. The FBI says fugitive task force members trying to arrest robbery suspect Orlando J. Collins at the motel came under fire. A blaze then erupted in the room where authorities later found a body. The Shawnee County fire marshal and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are investigating what caused the fire.
Embezzler's Vehicles on Auction Block in Kansas City
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A fleet of two dozen expensive cars and motorcycles seized from a Kansas City-area accountant who defrauded more than $4 million from clients is heading for auction. The U.S. Marshals Service says the 25 machines up for bidding at noon Thursday include a number of vehicles previously owned by Thomas Hauk. The vehicles for sale at the auction include a Ford Mustang Cobra Jet, Ferrari 430 Scuderia, Ford GT, Mosler MT900S and McLaren 12C. A dozen Ducati motorcycles also will be sold during the auction at KCI Auto Auction in Kansas City, Missouri. Potential buyers can preview the items at the auction site from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday. Hauk, of Overland Park, Kansas, is awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty last December to federal fraud charges linked to his on-the-job theft at a financial services company.
3-D Printers Design Engine of Replica Plane at Topeka Museum
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) _ A University of Kansas professor has used 3-D printers to design an engine for a Topeka museum's replica of a World War I fighter plane. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that Huw Thomas, an associate professor of industrial design at the university, took on the project after the Topeka Combat Air Museum acquired an 80 percent replica of a De Havilland 2 World War I fighter plane about a year ago. Three 3-D printers made dozens of parts with the same material as Lego bricks. Thomas used a substance similar to super glue to attach the pieces together. The 3-D replica rotary engine was placed onto the back of the aircraft Wednesday. It weighed a few pounds and was about 3 feet across and 14 inches wide.
Teacher Residency Program Comes to Kansas City Area Schools
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) _ A group of nearly 40 men and women will join Kansas City area students in the classroom this fall as part of a new program designed to prepare aspiring teachers be effective urban educators. The Kansas City Star reports that the 39 students will be a part of the Kansas City Teacher Residency, which was launched this year with a $1.2 million federal grant. The program is modeled off of medical residencies. In the first year of the program, the students receive $25,000 while in residence. They teach full time and finish their degrees in the second year. The first class was chosen from 130 applications and consists of some recent education school graduates, along with others with bachelor's degrees who are seeking a career change.
Report: Kansas Wheat Heading, Corn Planting Makes Progress
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) _ A government report shows the Kansas winter wheat crop is maturing at a faster rate than usual. The National Agricultural Statistics Service reported Monday that 23 percent of the state's wheat crop was already headed. That is ahead of the 15 percent that would be average for this time of year. It also rates wheat condition as 2 percent very poor, 9 percent poor and 36 percent fair. About 48 percent is rated as good and 5 percent as excellent. The agency also reported corn planting in the state is now at 43 percent, ahead of the 27 percent which would be average at this point in the season.
Royals Lose to Angels 6-1 in Anaheim
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — The Los Angeles Angels' Albert Pujols hit two homers and Mike Trout added another, powering the Angels to a 6-1 victory over the Kansas City Royals on Monday night. Angels starter Garrett Richards (1-3) allowed only three-hits into the seventh inning in his first win of the season. Pujols connected on solo shots in the third and fifth innings against the Royals' Ian Kennedy (2-2). The homers were the 564th and 565th of Pujols's career, moving him out of a tie with Reggie Jackson and into sole possession of 13th place on baseball's career list. Trout added a solo shot in the seventh, his fourth homer of the season. Salvador Perez drove in the Royals' only run.