Kansas Governor Sets April 11 Election to Fill Pompeo's Seat
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Governor Sam Brownback has called a special election for April 11 to fill the 4th Congressional District seat previously held by CIA Director Mike Pompeo. Brownback signed the necessary document Tuesday, the day after the U.S. Senate confirmed Pompeo's appointment by President Donald Trump. The governor's action officially kicks off an already crowded race to replace Pompeo in the south-central Kansas district that includes Wichita. At least six Republicans and three Democrats might seek the seat. The Republicans include State Treasurer Ron Estes, former congressman Todd Tiahrt and Trump campaign official Alan Cobb. The Democrats include former State Treasurer Dennis McKinney. Republicans and Democrats must have district conventions by February 18 to pick their nominees. It will be the state's first special congressional election since 1950.
ACLU Seeks Copy of Proposed Changes to US Election Law
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The American Civil Liberties Union is asking a federal court to force Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach to turn over proposed changes to the nation's voter registration law. It's being sought as part of the ACLU's lawsuit challenging Kansas's proof-of-citizenship voter registration law. The ACLU filed its request Monday. Kobach was photographed bringing the proposal to a meeting with Donald Trump in November. But the plan was partially obscured by Kobach's arm and hand in the photograph that The Associated Press took. The ACLU contends the proposal is relevant to its lawsuit, citing lobbying by Kobach to change central provisions of the National Voter Registration Act. Kobach argues that it's subject to "executive privilege" because he was on the transition team advising Trump.
Trump Signs Executive Action Advancing Oil Pipelines
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump has signed executive actions to advance the construction of the Keystone XL and Dakota Access oil pipelines. Trump tells reporters in the Oval Office that the construction of the pipelines will be subject to the terms and conditions being renegotiated by the U.S. Former President Barack Obama killed the proposed Keystone XL pipeline in late 2015, saying it would hurt American efforts to reach a global climate change deal. The pipeline would run from Canada to U.S. refineries in the Gulf Coast. The U.S. government needs to approve the pipeline because it crossed the border. The Army decided last year to explore alternate routes for the Dakota pipeline after the Standing Rock Sioux tribe and its supporters said the pipeline threatened drinking water and Native American cultural sites.
Marking Roe Anniversary, Abortion Foes Pin Hopes on Trump
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Abortion opponents are expressing optimism that President Donald Trump's early months in office will advance their cause. They rallied Monday at the Kansas Statehouse to mark the 44th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion across the nation. The event in Kansas was a prelude to the movement's annual March for Life on Friday in Washington. Trump has promised to fill a vacancy on the Supreme Court with what he has called a "pro-life" justice and has said he would sign anti-abortion measures approved by the Republican-controlled Congress. Abortion rights advocates are bracing for potential changes in law and on the high court.
Kansas Official Hopes to Resolve Medicaid Noncompliance
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A top Kansas health official is hopeful for a quick resolution under the Trump administration to a finding that the state's privatized Medicaid system isn't complying with federal law. The federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services found that Kansas failed to oversee the companies it contracts to run the program, known as KanCare. The agency also said Kansas would face financial sanctions if it doesn't submit a corrective plan by February 17. Kansas Department of Health and Environment Secretary Susan Mosier told a Senate committee Monday that the Obama administration was leaving office when the agency released its findings. Mosier says the new administration has signaled that it will ease regulations on states' Medicaid programs as it moves to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
Lawmaker: Kansas Juvenile Justice Reform Needs Work
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas lawmaker says a program focused on getting more children out of juvenile detention centers and into foster care is falling behind schedule. Republican Representative Russ Jennings tells the Lawrence Journal World that the Juvenile Justice Reform Act missed the first implementation deadline due to technical and outlier issues. Jennings, who chairs the House Corrections and Juvenile Justice Committee, says more delays are possible because some key systems are still not in place. Jennings says the Legislature will continue to discuss the state Department for Children and Families' concerns regarding funding and staff shortages, but he is confident JJRA will eventually find better places for children to receive rehabilitation. The bill is expected to go into effect by 2019.
1 Dead in Missouri Police-Involved Shooting
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) _ Authorities say officers shot and killed one man and wounded another after a police chase in suburban Kansas City, Missouri. Independence police said that the shooting happened around 2:20 a.m. Tuesday in Sugar Creek after a car took off when police attempted to stop the driver. Police didn't say what prompted the attempted traffic stop in Independence, how it ended or what led to the shooting. One suspect died and the other survived with a serious but not life-threatening injury. The race and identities of the men weren't immediately released. Police said additional information will be provided as it becomes available.
Kansas State Student Accidently Shot Himself in Dorm
MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) - Authorities say a Kansas State University student accidentally shot and wounded himself in a residence hall. The university said in a news release Monday that the 19-year-old student remains hospitalized in stable condition. The shooting happened Sunday night in the student's room at Goodnow Hall. The release didn't say what the student was doing when the firearm went off and police are investigating. Firearms aren't currently allowed in campus buildings or residence halls, although that's on track to change. Starting in July, a Kansas law will allow concealed guns on state college campuses unless a legislative effort to undo the law is successful. Faculty and student organizations generally have been strongly opposed to concealed guns on campus.
Man Accused of Email Scheme That Bilked Sedgwick County
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A Georgia man is accused of carrying out an email scam that cost a Kansas county $566,000. George S. James of Brookhaven, Georgia, is charged in Wichita with a federal wire fraud count. Authorities say Sedgwick County made an October $566,000 payment to Wichita construction company Cornejo & Sons for a road project, but that payment through the Automated Clearing House never reached Cornejo. Governments and businesses use the ACH to pay for benefits, payroll, bills and business transactions. Prosecutors allege James had sent an email to the county purporting to be from Cornejo's CEO, with a form attached requesting payments be made electronically to a new Wells Fargo account in Georgia. Prosecutors allege James fraudulently received the payment. Online court records don't show whether James has an attorney.
Grant Money Awarded to Help Shooting Victims
HESSTON, Kan. (AP) — About $225,000 in grant money has been awarded to help support victims and first responders affected by last year's mass shooting in Hesston. The Wichita Eagle reports the grant money was awarded to SafeHope, a domestic violence and sexual assault shelter that serves Harvey, McPerson and Marion counties. SafeHope will use the grant to provide support groups, mental health and counseling services, victim advocate services and resources for children. A total of $10,000 of the grant money, funded by the Victims of Crime Act, will go directly to the shooting victims to aid with transportation, clothing, food and lodging. A man used an AK-47 rifle to shoot 17 people on February 25, 2016, during a shooting rampage that ended at Excel Industries in Hesston. Three people were killed.
Lawsuits in Fatal Wichita Police Shootings Dismissed
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Federal civil rights lawsuits involving two fatal shootings by Wichita police officers have been dismissed. The Wichita Eagle reports the suits were brought by the families of 24-year-old Troy Lanning II and 45-year-old Karen Jackson, who were both killed by police separately in 2012. Both lawsuits accuse the city of Wichita and the involved police officers of violating the victims' constitutional rights against the use of excessive force. Lanning, who was unarmed, was shot six times during a foot chase that came after a report of a possible drive-by shooting. The judge says the plaintiff failed to show violations by the officer of "clearly established law." Jackson was shot after walking toward two officers with a butcher knife, stabbing herself and calling on them to fire. The judge says those officers could have reasonably believed their actions were justified.
Hutchinson Man Bound Over for Trial in Deadly Crash
HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) — A judge has found sufficient evidence for a Hutchinson man to stand trial in a deadly wreck. Twenty-five-year-old Everette Hardy was bound over Monday for trial on an involuntary manslaughter charge in the May 2016 crash. Eighty-year-old John "Jack" Johnson, of Hutchinson, died about three weeks later. The Hutchinson News reports that the prosecution argued that Hardy had accelerated in an effort to beat oncoming traffic at an intersection. After being struck in the passenger-side door, Johnson's truck slammed into a nearby utility pole and came to rest partially atop the back of Hardy's car. A state trooper testified that Hardy pushed the accelerator nearly to the floor one second before impact. Surveillance video also showed Hardy's vehicle run the stop sign beforehand. Arraignment is scheduled for February 6.
Train Strikes and Kills Topeka Motorcyclist
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) _ Authorities say a train struck and killed a man after he lost control of his three-wheeled motorcycle near Paxico late last (MON) night. The Kansas Highway Patrol identified the victim as 64-year-old Frank Narvaez, of Topeka. The patrol says he was turning when he veered off the road and onto nearby railroad tracks. The back end of the Harley Davidson became caught on the tracks and Narvaez was still on the trike when an oncoming BNSF train came along. A woman who was riding on the trike with Narvaez was taken to a hospital with unspecified injuries. Neither of the riders was wearing a helmet.
2 Wichita Men Plead Guilty in Armed Bank Robbery
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) _ Authorities say two men have admitted to a Wichita bank robbery. The U.S. attorney's office says 35-year-old Raishat McGill and 25-year-old Elijah Shelton pleaded guilty Monday to one count each of brandishing a firearm in a crime of violence. The Wichita men admitted in their pleas to robbing a Carson Bank branch in June. Prosecutors allege that two robbers entered the bank and that one of them brandished a firearm. The money they received contained a global positioning device that police used to track and arrest them. A seven-year term will be recommended when McGill and Shelton are sentenced on April 13. The sentencing comes three days after a co-defendant, 30-year-old Andre Bryant of Wichita, is set to be sentenced for the same charge.
Western Kentucky University to Consider Presidential Candidate at Meeting
BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (AP) — Western Kentucky University's Board of Regents will consider hiring a new president during their meeting this week. A statement from the school says the board's agenda for Friday's meeting includes considering a presidential appointment and related contract. The board has already announced that University of Kansas Vice Chancellor for Public Affairs Timothy Caboni is its "preferred candidate" for the job. Caboni, a Western Kentucky alumnus, has been invited to visit campus on Jan. 25 and Jan. 26 to attend campus forums. Caboni acts as the official spokesman for the University of Kansas and is also a professor of educational leadership and policy in the university's School of Education. The New Orleans native holds a Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University in higher education leadership and policy.
Police Identify 2 Lee's Summit Teens Killed in Weekend Crash
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Authorities have identified two teenagers killed in a Kansas City crash. The Kansas City Star reports that police identified the victims Tuesday as Kaeden Hernandez and Zachary Meyer, of Lee's Summit. Police say the two 18-year-olds were killed and another teen was critically injured over the weekend when their car slid off the side of a road and hit a tree. Witnesses reported that the car was speeding before the crash.
Historic Kansas Trail Celebrates 150th Anniversary
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The historic Chisholm Trail that helped start the Old West era in Kansas celebrates its 150th anniversary. The Wichita Eagle reports the trail is named after Jesse Chisholm and began in 1867. Chisholm had a trading post in Wichita and often traded with Native American tribes in the region. The trail, where herds of cattle were driven up from Texas to Kansas, brought to life an iconic image Kansas historian Jim Hoy calls the "American folk-type cowboy." Special exhibits in area museums, bus tours, presentations and cattle drives held throughout the year in Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas will celebrate the trail's legacy. An exhibit called "Chisholm Trail Sesquicentennial: Driving the American West 1867-2017" will travel throughout Kansas museums this year.
Judge Faults Missouri Company in Worker's Construction Death
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A federal judge has ruled that a Missouri steel-erection company's workplace safety violations caused the 2014 death of an ironworker at a job site. U.S. Chief District Judge Greg Kays concluded last week that evidence presented during a trial last August shows DNRB Inc. of Pacific, Missouri, ignored safety violations. A sentencing date wasn't immediately set. DNRB, doing business as Fastrack Erectors, in 2014 was a subcontractor in the construction of a Kansas City, Missouri, distribution warehouse. A worker, 22-year-old Eric Roach of Raymore, wasn't using fall-prevention equipment as required by federal statutes when he fell 36 feet to the ground. He died the next day. A message left Tuesday by The Associated Press with DNRB was not immediately returned.
Kansas Man Admits Robbing Bank to Escape Wife
KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) - A 70-year-old man who told investigators after robbing a Kansas bank that he'd rather be imprisoned than with his wife has admitted carrying out the holdup. Lawrence Ripple pleaded guilty Monday in Kansas City, Kansas, to a federal bank robbery count. He faces up to 20 years in prison. Court documents show that Ripple gave a Kansas City bank teller a note in September demanding cash and warning he had a gun. Ripple grabbed nearly $3,000, sat in the lobby and told a guard he was the "guy he was looking for." An FBI agent says Ripple had argued with his wife earlier and told her in writing he'd "rather be in jail than at home." The Kansas City Star reports that Ripple's wife accompanied him to court Monday.