LISTEN LIVE KPR - On Air: Listen Live to classical, jazz and NPR news Schedule LATEST
NEWSCAST
KPR 2 - On Air: Listen live to KPR's all talk-radio service, KPR2 Recordings

Share this page              

Headlines for Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Here's a look at area headlines from the Associated Press

School Systems, Colleges Cancel Classes Because of Cold

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Low temperatures and dangerous wind chills are closing schools across Kansas. The school systems canceling classes Tuesday include Wichita, Lawrence, El Dorado, Salina, Wamego and McPherson. Several Johnson County schools, including Shawnee Mission, Olathe and Blue Valley, had previously scheduled a professional development day for teachers on Tuesday. In some areas, forecasters were predicting wind chills of nearly 20 below. Some colleges also canceled classes, including Wichita State University and Emporia State University.

==================

Lawrence Motel Partially Collapses During Blaze

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say a fire has destroyed a Lawrence motel but that the occupants evacuated safely. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that the fire started before noon Monday in the Americas Best Value Inn. The building, which has been a Super 8 motel in recent years, is located northwest of the intersection of Sixth and Iowa streets. Lawrence-Douglas County Fire Medical Division Chief and Fire Marshal James King says the fire started in the lowest level. After one firefighter fell through a floor inside the building while battling the blaze, the decision was made to battle the fire defensively, pouring water on it from the outside. The firefighter who fell was quickly rescued, evaluated at the scene and returned to his crew uninjured. The cause of the fire wasn't immediately determined.

==================

Prosecutor Clears Police in 5 Kansas City-Area Shootings in 2016, 2017

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A committee that reviews deadly police shootings in the Kansas City area cleared officers in five such shootings in 2017. The Kansas City Star reports that Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker posted on her website letters detailing why prosecutors cleared the officers. The investigations completed last year stemmed from police shootings then and in late 2016. Three of the shootings were fatal, including that of David Crosby-Dowdy, Carlos Cruz and Dakota Lukecart. Police say Crosby-Dowdy and Cruz were armed. Police say Lukecart was shot when he accelerated at police after a pursuit. Baker created the use of force committee in 2012 to investigate police shootings in a more public way. It includes a retired circuit court judge and prosecutors. Previously, investigations were conducted in secret by a grand jury.

==================

Opponents Raise Concerns About Ending College Track Program

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (AP) — A plan to dismantle the 32-year-old track and field program at Johnson County Community College is generating pushback. The Kansas City Star reports that opponents have taken to social media to protest the decision, which the college announced more than a year ago as part of its facilities master plan. Graduates have started the website savejccctrack.com to garner support. Hundreds have commented. The college said it chose to shut down the program and pull out the track because of financial considerations and because too few students benefit from the dollars spent. Plans also call for tearing out the widely used track. The school's decision leaves St. Thomas Aquinas High School searching for a new place to practice. The championship high school team has practiced on the JCCC track since 1989.

==================

Officials: Rappers Used Wichita Fire Truck Without Permission

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The Wichita Fire Department says rappers didn't have permission to use a fire truck in a music video that had explicit language and made references to drugs. The Wichita Eagle reports that the video was posted to YouTube in October and shows musicians Blue Scrilla and Pj rapping both inside of and in front of the fire truck. Wichita Fire Marshal Stuart Bevis says the vehicle was used a backdrop when it wasn't in use. Bevis added that the rappers also went into various stores on the east side of the city for backdrops. Bevis says the department filed a report with police. No charges have been filed. Hit King Productions produced the "Right Now" video. The Eagle couldn't reach Hit King Productions or Blue Scrilla and Pj for comment.

==================

Wichita State Gun Case Shows Loophole in Campus Carry Law

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The case of a former Wichita State University student who was arrested for carrying a loaded gun on campus points to what could be an unintended loophole allowing criminals who are barred from carrying a gun to get away with it. The Wichita Eagle reports that under the current law, police can't question someone carrying a firearm unless they suspect that person has committed another crime. Police can't check whether a person has a past conviction making it illegal to carry. Court documents show the Wichita State case began after a student reported that classmate John W. Bannon frequently carried a gun. He was later jailed on a gun charge after a 2013 police search. Permitless concealed carry took effect July 2015. Lawyers say police wouldn't have been allowed to investigate Bannon under current law unless they suspected him of another crime.

==================

Ex-Education Official Focuses on Kansas Workforce Challenges

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas' former education commissioner is hoping to bridge the divide between how schools teach and what businesses need from their workers. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that Diane DeBacker was appointed late last year to the new executive director of business and education innovation position at the Kansas Department of Commerce. Her job is meant to bring education voices into the department. DeBacker hopes to bring education and business officials together to better prepare students for the workforce at a time when Kansas faces worker shortages in skilled and technical jobs. The Kansas Labor Department says nearly 49,000 jobs were vacant last year. DeBacker says the Commerce Department will outline goals in the coming weeks, which may include rethinking the school day structure or tailoring curriculum for students' career interests.

==================

Plane Crashes on Kansas-New Mexico Flight, Pilot Hurt 

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Authorities say a man is hospitalized in critical condition after the small plane he was flying crashed in New Mexico. Santa Fe Sheriff's officials say the pilot called a regional emergency communications center about 8 p.m. Monday to report the crash. The man provided coordinates directing emergency personnel east of the Rancho San Marcos subdivision off State Road 14. Sheriff's deputies say the man was found at the crash site and complained of leg, back and arm injuries. He told authorities he was flying from Kansas to Santa Fe and his single-engine aircraft iced up and lost lift as he flew through a storm toward the Santa Fe Airport. The man's name and hometown weren't immediately available Tuesday. The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the crash.

==================

Overland Park Police Receive Hoax Emergency Call

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (AP) _ Overland Park police say a call from a man claiming he shot a relative was a hoax. Police spokesman Officer John Lacy says dispatchers received a call Monday morning from a man who said he shot a relative inside a home and he would shoot police if they showed up. Officers surrounded the home but eventually determined a man and two sons inside had not made the call and no one in the house was hurt.  Lacy says such calls, sometimes called "swatting,'' aren't funny. He says investigators are looking for the caller, who could face charges. The call comes about three weeks after a similar call in Wichita led police to fatally shoot a man who opened the door at a home that was the target of the hoax. 

==================

Suspect in Wichita Hoax Call Expresses Remorse for Death

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A California man accused of making a hoax emergency call that resulted in the fatal police shooting of a Wichita man says he regrets the man's death but he wouldn't say whether he made the call. Tyler Barriss is charged with involuntary manslaughter in the December 28 death of Andrew Finch at his Wichita home. Police went to the home after receiving a fake report about a shooting and kidnapping at a home. Finch was shot when he opened the door. During interviews with KWCH-TV, Barriss admitted that he had been paid to make other hoax calls in the past. But he declined to answer when asked directly if he was paid to make the call to Wichita. He also expressed remorse over Finch's death.

==================

Person Dead in Shooting Near Washburn University in Topeka

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A person of interest in a homicide near Washburn University has turned himself in to Topeka police. Police Lieutenant Steve Roth says officers responding to a report of shots fired Sunday morning found a man dead inside a car. The dead man was identified Monday as 37-year-old Travis Larsen.  Investigators say a 21-year-old man who is considered a person of interest in the case turned himself in to police Monday afternoon. Police say someone was seen running from the scene onto the Washburn University campus. The school issued an alert asking students to shelter in place but lifted it when the suspect couldn't be found on campus. This was Topeka's third homicide in the new year.

==================

Arkansas School Investigates Racist Taunts During Games 

HARRISON, Ark. (AP) — An Arkansas community college will investigate allegations that fans attending basketball games yelled racial slurs toward black players on the opposing team from Kansas. North Arkansas College President Randy Esters says the school plans to investigate. He says if the allegations are true, the school will take action to ensure it doesn't happen again. The college's men's and women's basketball teams played Labette Community College last week in Harrison. The northern Arkansas city has a history linked to white supremacy, including the decades-old headquarters for the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. The Parsons Sun newspaper in Kansas reports that video of the game shows North Arkansas fans making crow and monkey noises directed at black Labette players. The newspaper hasn't published the video, saying the source wants to remain anonymous. Esters says officials haven't see the video. The teams are scheduled to play each other again on Wednesday. 

==================

Opponents Raise Concerns About Ending College Track Program

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (AP) - A plan to dismantle the 32-year-old track and field program at Johnson County Community College is generating pushback. The Kansas City Star reports that opponents have taken to social media to protest the decision, which the college announced more than a year ago as part of its facilities master plan. Graduates have started the website savejccctrack.com to garner support. Hundreds have commented. The college said it chose to shut down the program and pull out the track because of financial considerations and because too few students benefit from the dollars spent. Plans also call for tearing out the widely used track. The school's decision leaves St. Thomas Aquinas High School searching for a new place to practice. The championship high school team has practiced on the JCCC track since 1989.

==================

Industrial Hemp Backers Narrow Proposal for Kansas Research
 
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Advocates of industrial hemp production in Kansas are pursuing a new legislative proposal for allowing state universities to research it. The new bill is narrower than a measure opposed by law enforcement officials last year. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that the Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee had a hearing Tuesday. The new measure would allow state universities to research industrial hemp but prohibit its cultivation outside state-sanctioned test plots. The House approved a bill last year to allow research and commercial cultivation with industrial hemp growers licensed by the state Department of Agriculture. The measure stalled in the Senate because of law enforcement opposition. A Kansas Bureau of Investigation spokeswoman said it is less concerned about this year's bill, and several law enforcement groups did not formally oppose it.

==================

Wichita Considers Outdoor Drinking Rules for NCAA Tournament

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Wichita leaders are considering loosening rules governing outdoor drinking. At their meeting today (TUE), the City Council will consider allowing bars and restaurants to apply for permits that would allow them to expand their drinking spaces for a year at a time. The council also will look at opening outdoor areas of numerous public facilities to drinking events. Mayor Jeff Longwell says the "common consumption areas" would allow outside drinking in areas like the city's Old Town entertainment district and allow customers to move from one establishment to another with a drink in their hands. The Wichita Eagle reports the city pushed state officials to approve for the common consumption areas and the new ordinance is likely to pass. Supporters want the new drinking zones in place by March, when Wichita hosts an NCAA basketball tournament weekend.

==================

Kansas Biker Group Helps Victims of Child Abuse

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas biker group is helping victims of child abuse as they face their alleged attackers in court in Kansas and Missouri. The Kaw River Chapter of Bikers Against Child Abuse formed in 2016, The Kansas City Star reported. The group provides free emotional support and acts as a safety buffer for children alleging abuse. The approximately 15-member chapter works with hospitals, law enforcement and social service centers to find families in need of support. Members go through criminal background checks to reassure the families they help. They typically use road names to protect their identities so accused abusers can't find them. The bikers provide camaraderie and confidence to frightened children facing hard questions and stares, said Judy Jones, who is with the Missouri-based advocacy group Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. The bikers are available to help a child whenever they feel threatened, anxious or lonely. The children often attend outdoor cookouts with the group and many join the organization as adults.

==================

Man Walking on Interstate 70 Near Salina Hit, Killed by Car

SALINA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Highway Patrol says a Florida man died after he was hit by a car as he walked along Interstate 70 near Salina. The patrol says 35-year-old Cody Nordlund of New Port Richey, Florida, died in the accident Sunday night. He was walking in an eastbound lane of the interstate in Saline Count when he was struck by a vehicle. The driver of the vehicle stopped at the scene. It was not immediately clear why Nordlund was walking in the interstate.

==================

Police Captain Accused of Shoving Youth Ref Placed on Leave 

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Wichita police say an off-duty captain accused of pushing a teenage referee during a youth basketball game has been placed on paid administrative leave. The Wichita Eagle reports that the confrontation happened Saturday in the town of Augusta, which is just east of Wichita. A video of the confrontation has been shared thousands of times since it was posted to Facebook. Officer Charley Davidson said Tuesday the captain is on paid administrative leave pending a police investigation and internal review. A spokesman with the Augusta Police Department says the department is investigating.

==================

World War I Painting on Loan from UK Coming to Kansas City

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The National World War I Museum and Memorial in Kansas City is preparing to display a John Singer Sargent painting depicting British soldiers blinded by a gas attack on the Western Front. The American artist's 8-by-20-foot oil on canvas titled "Gassed" is so large the museum had to build a new exhibit space, called the Wylie Gallery. The exhibit opens Feb. 23 and lasts through June 3, The Kansas City Star reports. Sargent's 1919 painting, which shows soldiers being guided to a medical station, is on loan from the Imperial War Museum in London. It has been on tour while its home exhibit space is being renovated. Kansas City is the only stop in the Midwest. The visit coincides with ongoing centennial observations of World War I. "This is a pretty astounding thing for us to be able to have it here on loan and on exhibition," said Doran Cart, senior curator at the museum at Liberty Memorial. "We're highly regarded by the Imperial War Museums" in England. "Their director general is on our international advisory board, and she's been here." Sargent witnessed this scene in the aftermath of a mustard gas attack near Arras, France, in August 1918, just weeks before the Armistice ended the war. Such scenes had become routine, which explains why other soldiers can be seen playing soccer in the background. "'Gassed' is a national treasure in the United Kingdom, and bringing this magnificent painting to the National World War I Museum and Memorial stands as one of the most important achievements in our history," museum President Matthew Naylor said.Museum officials had the painting in mind when they designed the Wylie Gallery in previously empty space beneath the deck of the Liberty Memorial. Oversize doors from a loading dock were necessary to fit the painting inside. It will occupy nearly the entire center wall of the new space. The exhibit will also include objects relating to gas warfare from the National World War I Museum's collection as well as more modern items from the U.S. Army Chemical Corps Museum at Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri.

==================

Penguin Chick Joins Flock at Kansas City Zoo 

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The first king penguin chick hatched at the Kansas City Zoo is now on public display. The chick was named Louie after a vote on social media. He joined the rest of the flock Tuesday at Helzberg Penguin Plaza. The Kansas City Star reports that Louie will be in a "penguin playpen" on the other side of a glass that offers close-up views for visitors. He still has his gray chick fur. He will eventually grow as tall as a yardstick. Kings are the second largest penguins, after emperors. Louie was hatched November 8 from a surplus egg provided by the Saint Louis Zoo. He was hand-raised by zoo staff. His gender was determined by a blood test.

==================

Trial Set to Begin in Ex-NFL Player's Road-Rage Killing

GRETNA, La. (AP) — The trial in a road-rage shooting that took the life of former NFL football player Joe McKnight began Tuesday in a New Orleans suburb, where a judge and attorneys were questioning dozens of potential jurors. Ronald Gasser, 56, is charged with second-degree murder in the Dec. 1, 2016, shooting of the player who began his career as a local high school football star. Initially charged with manslaughter, Gasser was indicted on the more serious charge last February. He has pleaded not guilty. Gasser, who remains jailed with bond set at $750,000, was dressed in a dark blue pinstripe suit as he entered the courtroom, accompanied by sheriff's deputies. McKnight, 28, was a running back, considered a top recruit when he came out of John Curtis Christian School. He played college ball at Southern California before three seasons with the New York Jets and one with the Kansas City Chiefs. Jury selection was set to begin in the courtroom of state District Judge Ellen Kovach. Gasser's attorneys have cast McKnight as the aggressor and are expected to argue Gasser fired in self-defense. If convicted as charged, Gasser would face a mandatory sentence of life in prison. Police said the confrontation took place as the men traveled across a Mississippi River bridge in New Orleans and on roads in neighboring Jefferson Parish. Authorities said the shooting happened after both cars had stopped and McKnight approached Gasser's vehicle. Gasser shot McKnight three times. Defense attorneys said last year that they believe McKnight tried to enter Gasser's car through the passenger window. They noted that Gasser stayed on the scene after the shooting and said he cooperated with police. The case bore striking similarities to an earlier 2016 shooting death involving another former NFL player. Will Smith, who retired after starring on New Orleans Saints teams that inspired the city after Hurricane Katrina with winning seasons and a 2010 Super Bowl victory, was shot to death during a confrontation following a traffic crash. A 29-year-old New Orleans man, Cardell Hayes, was sentenced to 25 years in prison after a jury convicted him of manslaughter.

==================

Jayhawks Rally to Beat Mountaineers, 71-66 

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) — The Kansas Jayhawks’ Svi Mykhailiuk scored 17 points, including 12 in the final seven minutes as No. 10 Kansas roared back from a 16-point first-half deficit to beat No. 6 West Virginia 71-66. KU’s Devonte Graham added 16 points and Udoka Azubuike had 10 points for the Jayhawks. Kansas has now won four straight and broke a four-game losing streak in Morgantown. West Virginia's Sagaba Konate had 16 points, 10 rebounds and five blocked shots for the Mountaineers, who lost their second straight. Kansas head coach Bill Self said his players worked hard for the victory. The Jayhawks (15-3, 5-1) stormed past the Mountaineers (15-3, 4-2) and gained a full-game lead on West Virginia in the Big 12 race and a half-game lead on Texas Tech and Oklahoma.

Tower Frequencies

91.5 FM KANU Lawrence, Topeka, Kansas City
96.1 FM K241AR Lawrence (KPR2)
89.7 FM KANH Emporia
99.5 FM K258BT Manhattan
97.9 FM K250AY Manhattan (KPR2)
91.3 FM  KANV Junction City, Olsburg
89.9 FM K210CR Atchison
90.3 FM KANQ Chanute

See the Coverage Map for more details

Contact Us

Kansas Public Radio
1120 West 11th Street
Lawrence, KS 66044
Download Map
785-864-4530 (Main Line)
888-577-5268 (Toll Free)
contact@kansaspublicradio.org